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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 06:38 PM
    For pretty much all my 5e games I've just had players use the averaged values from the PHB. It avoids nasty surprises, without messing with the maths.
    40 replies | 1000 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 08:32 AM
    I'll buck the trend and go with Advantage, simply because it means that you can never be in the position of having to roll that check with Disadvantage.
    27 replies | 1009 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th April, 2018, 10:58 AM
    Well, I personally wouldn't want to associate with an enraged person who has no easy way of distinguishing between friend and foe in battle.
    6 replies | 281 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th April, 2018, 01:10 AM
    Voice is certainly the most likely. It's a documented behaviour in other avians - for instance, penguins can distinguish the call of their parent or child even within the cacophany of a crowded colony.
    10 replies | 282 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th April, 2018, 12:57 AM
    I couldn't ever see playing a campaign using the system, but I have played one or two nice chill-out one-shots of it to wind down at the end of a games con.
    10 replies | 306 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 13th April, 2018, 06:26 PM
    Take three widely different backgrounds, to represent your character's deep and varied backstory. Then, to represent his complex and fully fleshed-out persona, take every single personality trait, ideal, bond and flaw from each background. Then role-play them scrupulously, especially when they directly contradict each other.
    50 replies | 1537 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 9th April, 2018, 01:30 AM
    Not an actual book as yet, as it's still being developed, but I'm enjoying Code::2050 by Legendary Pants, a cyberpunk D&D setting. It's an interesting take, in that it leaves all the existing D&D rules in place, and just layers the modern/futuristic elements on top, in the form of new equipment and subclasses. It makes it a very easy system to pick up and build a new adventure and characters onto.
    48 replies | 1853 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 8th April, 2018, 01:47 AM
    I haven't felt the need to include a lot of downtime in my campaigns, but enforcing or dictating it seems like the wrong approach, as does treating it as 'wasted' time. Instead, find a way to make that time meaningful. Make it the way to get tasks done that the players can take an interest in - founding and growing an organisation, overseeing the construction or refurbishment of a stronghold,...
    22 replies | 807 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 7th April, 2018, 11:19 PM
    How fast can they run compared to (most of) the PCs? If more than 2-3 PCs are high-mobility characters such as monks or rogues, the drow may have difficulty disengaging. Have the drow skirmishers consist of rogues and monks who will use bonus-action Dash and/or high natural speed to quickly disengage, and have them attack from hard-to-reach positions such as clifftops or tree platforms. ...
    5 replies | 245 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th April, 2018, 07:17 PM
    I think there's still a feeling of needing to differentiate the game from 4e, where the action economy was very much a versatile tool to be leveraged to the best possible advantage. It's the foundation the Warlord was built upon, and was also very important for other classes and powers. When Mearls says it's a failure to have to think about the action economy, I suspect that to a large extent...
    163 replies | 5210 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd April, 2018, 08:03 PM
    One of the D&D 4e adventure paths featured Death's Reach, essentially a prison plane within the Shadowfell, within which the gods had locked away primordials, demon lords and anything else they found too offensive to let free and too powerful to simply kill. Plenty of power to be had there, if you can tame it.
    29 replies | 882 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd April, 2018, 07:29 PM
    In many MMOs, including World of Warcraft, there's the concept of 'rest' XP. If you leave your character in a safe place - such as a city or inn - when you log off, you build up a buffer of time during which, when you next play the game, your characters' actions will all earn XP at an increased rate. It's there for precisely the purpose of providing a way of helping players with busy schedules to...
    289 replies | 7617 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 2nd April, 2018, 07:07 PM
    I don't really get this example. If you're using a non-milestone-based XP system, would you award the players XP for not fighting the dragon?
    289 replies | 7617 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 1st April, 2018, 01:29 AM
    I think the format you used was clear enough, but it was a somewhat technical way of phrasing it. I tend to find that 5e often goes with a more natural, almost conversational form of phrasing.
    19 replies | 457 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 31st March, 2018, 11:46 PM
    I'd go with "A character who is proficient in the <skillname> skill may make a <statname> (<skillname>) check to examine the item", then discuss check DCs and results.
    19 replies | 457 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 31st March, 2018, 07:47 PM
    If you're going to make it just an invisible, invulnerable thing that can't attack, defend, or do anything except float next to you and cast spells on your behalf, it doesn't seem like it's worth having any game-mechanical effects based upon it. You basically play the character as a straight-up spellcaster and say that the spirit is doing it for you. But there are a number of monsters and...
    14 replies | 364 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 31st March, 2018, 09:46 AM
    Well, you can obviously cut down the borders and only print out the actual rooms. But beyond that, with the way parts of that map are strung out, you could economise further still. Trim off that top-right room and corridor, and you can make the image significantly shorter. Then print it on a separate A4 so that you can lay it down if necessary.
    8 replies | 340 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 30th March, 2018, 11:56 PM
    MarkB replied to The Derp Snake
    There was one player in our group who notoriously rolled poorly all the time. When he forgot his dice one evening and had to borrow some from another player's dice bag, it wasn't until two hours later when he rolled a natural 0 on an attack that we realised he'd been rolling a 20-sided d10 all evening.
    15 replies | 597 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 30th March, 2018, 06:26 PM
    The tricky part is that there are no full spellcaster classes who can have a companion that's in any way durable. Arcane casters can have familiars, and you could flavour it that your familiar is the one with the spellcasting - but familiars have minimal hitpoints and can generally be slain in a single hit. Rangers can have companions that are tough enough to take some hits, but their...
    14 replies | 364 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 28th March, 2018, 09:58 PM
    If you're going to make it easier for people to hide in combat, but at the same time make it easier to spot hidden people during combat, that seems like it nets out to zero. Not particularly unbalanced, but also not advantageous enough to be worth messing with.
    28 replies | 561 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 28th March, 2018, 09:51 PM
    I play at a local gaming club of around 30 players. We play four 12-week sessions a year, and generally speaking we have no trouble finding enough people who want to put games forward for the next session. We've had a couple of times in the last two years where there weren't quite enough and someone had to be encouraged to step up, but we've had more occasions where there were more people...
    30 replies | 994 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 27th March, 2018, 07:37 PM
    How the hell do you use it on Initiative checks? I guess the cleric could cast it on one person just before the party kick in a door, but it's still only going to help one of them - and it means the cleric is going into combat without another concentration-based spell up-and-running. It certainly wouldn't apply if the party aren't expecting combat to kick off.
    142 replies | 4263 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 26th March, 2018, 06:53 PM
    That's really campaign-dependent. In many campaigns, deities simply wouldn't have that level of individual awareness and micromanagement of their followers, let alone their followers' associates.
    142 replies | 4263 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 26th March, 2018, 02:54 PM
    That doesn't seem like a helpful solution. By creating a new set of specific constraints on how and when the cantrip can be used, you're going to cause more out-of-character questions and debate, and potentially more arguments as to whether it's applicable to a particular task. How is it useful to have the DM allow Guidance on one lockpicking check, but disallow it on the next, based essentially...
    142 replies | 4263 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 26th March, 2018, 02:04 PM
    Given that Section 31 is still active, and still completely clandestine, late into Star Trek DS9's run, how does the show effectively engage with them without changing that? Maybe they won't. Maybe this scene was meant simply as an epilogue - a confirmation of Section 31's involvement in the Spore Drive project, and a way of tidying up Empress Georgiou's fate. But yeah, I really hope...
    542 replies | 21208 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 26th March, 2018, 01:33 AM
    Why would you increase skill check DCs? The whole point of the spell is to give players a higher chance of success at skill checks. If they're passing checks more easily, it's working as intended. In terms of the spell's logistics, I agree that it can get awkward. Players don't want to be reminded "don't forget your extra 1d4" every time they roll, and the DM doesn't want the narrative broken...
    142 replies | 4263 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Thursday, 22nd March, 2018, 10:09 PM
    It was composed by Bilbo, but not necessarily written down by him. I envision it as something he spun together spontaneously on some long comfortable night of gentle revelry in Rivendell, and recited to an audience of elves and various other visitors to the Last Homely House, and that it was some of the audience who first wrote it down. Since most of them were elves, naturally they'd have written...
    7 replies | 210 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 20th March, 2018, 10:20 PM
    I've run the first half of Out of the Abyss, and whilst I didn't find it too hard to navigate, I felt like it eventually outstayed its welcome. The party worked their way through Neverlight Grove, which was fine but felt a little linear, and through Blingdenstone, which was a lot of fun and a great area to embellish, but by the time they'd gone through those areas they'd already leveled up...
    141 replies | 6077 view(s)
    2 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 20th March, 2018, 01:42 AM
    Yeah, none of those are things I'd want to randomly generate, or be particularly pleased if my players randomly generated.
    7 replies | 490 view(s)
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Monday, 26th February, 2018

  • 09:06 PM - lowkey13 mentioned MarkB in post Musings on the "Lawful Jerk" Paladin
    ...r less entirely subjective. Mmmmm..... I give you all the points for "Paladin issues marinated[.]" It's like the worst steak ever. "Why does our kobold fillet taste so bad? It has to be the Paladin marinade!" Anyway, a quick point- OD&D- Paladin lost status by chaotic act; could not regain status. EVER, MAN! See Greyhawk supplement. 1e- If they perform a chaotic act, must confess and do penance. If evil act, cannot regain status. EVER. 2e- Same as 1e. Although it helpfully creates a rule because 1e had "knowingly commit" evil act, so 2e includes the whole, "You got charmed, yo, and now you have to atone!" So ... part of the problem, as it is with most things, is that weird translation from OD&D to 1e. "Chaotic" in OD&D meant, um, evil. Moorcockian. But by dragging out the whole different penalties in 1e/2e, it confused a lot of people, and (IME), most people just conflated the rules and made it, "If Evil, must atone." But contra what you are writing, and what MarkB is positing, these weren't the parts of the code that got people in trouble. There might have been some bad DMs out there, but as a general rule, the DM wasn't looking to strip you of your powers. Instead, and again IME, it was the rules about who the Paladin could party with ... um, who could be in the Paladin's party, that led to the whole "Jerky McJerkface telling the party what to do" reputation. That, and the fact that we all know Paladins suck and need to be excised from the game.

Saturday, 24th February, 2018

  • 01:24 AM - shidaku mentioned MarkB in post Musings on the "Lawful Jerk" Paladin
    ...o know it's a game, right? Not reality? Are you saying that it's wrong to say that, for example, Asmodeus is irrevocably evil? I think it is reasonable to say Asmodeus is currently incredibly evil. That's not to say there's not like, an epic quest line and a DC 9000 you could attempt in order to redeem him. That's also not to say that just because he is evil, doesn't mean he isn't sometimes on the right side of things. It's important to keep in mind that in Asmodeus' case (and by extension all Devils) they are by nature LAWFUL Evil and understand such concepts of honor, loyalty, comradeship, and the value of a well-written contract. While their ideas of these things may be twisted and their endgame may be their own advancement, devils may do good things because at some future point it will be to their gain. LE, unlike LG, does not have a problem with doing things outside of their alignment, provided it serves their interests in some manner. I also have to generally agree with MarkB on this, I've seen some of the posts by people who favor "A jolly good game of 'Kill the Orc'." and frankly it's a little disturbing. I think games set a dangerous precedent when they start running around saying X race is intrinsically evil. It's not terribly difficult to make a game that always sets up Orcs as the "bad guys" but at the same time never says "they're evil". It doesn't even need to be a "shades of grey" campaign to do this.

Wednesday, 14th February, 2018

  • 09:31 AM - Hussar mentioned MarkB in post Discovery Trailer
    I came to that conclusion maybe ten pages ago. These peeps need this show to be the best, actual show be damned! Sent from my C6603 using EN World mobile app Who says it needs to be best? I like it. I am not seeing the issues that you are pointing to, or, rather, the issues that are being pointed to are very much not issues for me. IOW, MarkB hits it square on the head. Like I said earlier, I get that people don't like the show. And that's groovy. There's stuff I haven't liked too. Fair enough. The difference is, I'm not jumping through hoop after hoop in order to justify my feelings. I'm not misinterpreting tropes in order to "prove" how bad Disco is. I'm not playing silly buggers cherry picking games to "prove" that they don't care about canon. I'm not trying to prove anything. I like the show. That's the end of that conversation.

Sunday, 4th February, 2018

  • 02:34 PM - pemerton mentioned MarkB in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...yle mystery scenario, getting the GM to read you bits of his/her notes is the whole point of play: get the clue from here, find the tome there, find the cultists' ritual headquaters, etc. This is all about learning what is in the GM's notes. It's not (or need not be) the GM reading a story: the sequence may not correspond to any particular pre-planned sequence, and there may not be any particular structure of rising action, complication, climax, etc. You also continually use examples of bad GMing to make your point that option 1 is a bad thing.Well, I make do with the examples I have. I don't believe that you've posted any actual play examples. (If you have, and I've missed them, I apologise - can you point me back to them?) The example of the map came (I think) from Lanefan - at least, it has been established in lengthy back-and-forth with him. The example of the plot on the Duke came from Lanefan. The example of the attempt to find bribeable officials came from MarkB. Are you saying that these are all examples of bad GMing? So what does good GMing look like, in this context? What is a good use of secretly-established fictional positioning being used by a GM to establish that a player's action declaration fails, without regard to the action resolution mechanics? A good GM will not send his players on a wild goose chase through the mansion for a map macguffin.So what would the pre-authorship be used for? Even the fiction that I've "pre-authored" can be impacted (or changed entirely if the situation calls for it) at any time by the players' actions - they are the heroes after all.Can you give an example of what you mean? For instance - and I am going to give an example I am familiar with, as I don't have much to go on from your game - I have a PC in my 4e game whose goal is to reconstruct the Rod of Seven Parts. He got the first part at the start of 2nd level. The campaign is now 30th level and he and his friends are in a fight that will de...

Friday, 2nd February, 2018

  • 12:35 PM - pemerton mentioned MarkB in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...shing a story of an orc. If the person asserts (as I think Emerikol does) that "As a player I only want to add those embellishments that correspond to causal powers exercised by my PC in the gameworld, so I will embellish deaths caused by my PC, but not maps discovered by my PC" that's his/her prerogative. It's a type of aesthetic preference. (As well as Emerikol, Lanefan has advocated it strongly in this thread.) My claims about it are two. (1) It is not more "realistic", or less "Schroedinger-y" than embellishing other parts of the fiction. (2) It means that a reasonable amount of your play experience will involve the GM telling you stuff that s/he made up (either in advance in his/her notes, or stuff that s/he makes up as needed but that is to be treated the same by the game participants as if it were part of his/her pre-authored notes). The reason for (2) I take to be obvious given the extensive discussion of it in this thread, and the example provided by Lanefan, MarkB and others. And the more the game involves "exploration" - that is, the players declaring actions which have, as an outcome, their PCs learning about the gameworld (eg opening doors, finding bribeable officials, searching for maps, etc) rather than their PCs changing the gameworld (eg by killing orcs or befriending strangers) - then the more that (2) will obtain. Furthermore, given that a PC's success in changing the gameworld often depends (in the imaginary causal processes) upon unknown but relevant factors (eg the armour of the orc; the temperament of the stranger) then even changing the gameworld through action declarations can become hostage to a resolution process that does not permit the player to embellish other elements of the shared fiction. For instance, if we go from player action declaration through resolution mechanics through embellishment that reflects outcome, then it is possible to have combat systems like D&D (AC, roll to hit, determine outcome from that) and h...

Thursday, 1st February, 2018

  • 12:38 AM - pemerton mentioned MarkB in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...GM, that's not counterindicative at all of having trust issues about the GM being unfair.The last sentence is not something I intend to reply to. I'm not interested in analysing my own conjectured self-doubts in this thread. As I've said, a more prosaic explanation for my preferences is available - my pleasure in RPGing does not come from telling my friends stuff that I wrote in response to them making moves for their PCs that oblige me to engage in such tellings. As for the first bit, you are correct that I "seem to couch [my] arguments from a position where the DM is uses secret knowledge and fiat in ways that benefit the DM's ideas over the players". The reason it seems like that is because it is like that. (I didn't clarify that in my first reply because I assumed it was obvious.) And the reason I couch my arguments (I would prefer to say "analysis", but that's orthogonal) from that position is because that position is correct. Which is what I said was evident in the post from MarkB: inherent in the use of secret backstory as a factor in adjudication is that the GM's ideas are given priority in establishing the content of the shared fiction. I'll respond to the following bit too, though, if you like, though I think it's repetition: a GM may be fair or unfair in saying (on the basis not of action resolution, but of secretly established fictional content) that the map is not in the study where the players have declared that the PCs are searching the study for it. If every other bit of information points to the map being in the study, it's probably unfair. If the PCs have a potion of map detecing with a range that will encompass the whole house (kitchen as well as study) but are not using it, then what the GM is doing is probably fair. I don't care whether it's fair or not. The reason I don't like it is because I find it uninteresting. When I RPG, I don't want to engage in an activity in which my friends are spending most of their time trying to establish - by ...

Monday, 29th January, 2018

  • 02:15 AM - pemerton mentioned MarkB in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...layer agency in a GM setting-driven game, as it was completely orthogonal from the GM's setting. (Eg we had fragments of a prophecy, and we spent a lot of time debating them, imagining how we could read various PCs into various roles outlined in the prophecy, etc. I assume that the GM had some conception, in his mind, of what the prophecy meant and how the events of play related to it, but they were absolutely irrelevant to what we players were talking about. We could have done our stuff just as easily if the GM had simply handed us three random prophecies downloaded from a Google search.) Clearly, you don't trust that players have any form of agency in any game that has substantive GM backstory and adjudication. You're denying that they do all over the place here and in your response to Lanefan. And you don't really seem to trust us when we say that player do have agency in the games we're running in which we do make use of substantial backstory and adjudication. Your response to MarkB here is fairly dripping with it. "you think it is" makes it very clear that you don't believe him or think it's true. It's like you're calling him out but acknowledge he's not technically lying because he seems to believe it's true.We're doing analysis here. Trying to dig down into the processes of play is not "calling someone out". I don't think MarkB is lying. I do think that the suggestion that I don't trust GMs is (i) false, and (ii) irrelevant - as if the only reason someone would play DungeonWorld rather than 2nd ed AD&D is because they don't trust GMs! But anyway, on to the issue of agency: Here is one of my assertions - if the GM is entitled, at any point in the process of resolution to (i) secretly author backstory, or (ii) secrety rewrite backstory, and (iii) to use that secret backstory as if it was part of the fictional positioning so as to (iv) automatically declare an action declaration unsuccessful ("No, the map's not in the study") - then I assert that every acti...

Saturday, 20th January, 2018

  • 05:00 AM - pemerton mentioned MarkB in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    In many ways, they do the same thing, it’s just the puzzle is a little different, less constrictive, and possibly more complex. Instead of a relatively simple puzzle of doping out the best way to maximize treasure within a single dungeon, they might be working on visiting all of the adventuring sites in the region, foiling the impending invasion of the orcsish legion, stopping the predation of a wicked dragon, or just visiting interesting places.The last of these doesn't sound like a puzzle at all. As for the others, as I posted not far upthread (in response to Sadras and MarkB), I'm curious about how the puzzle-solving works, when there are so many (imaginary) elements in play which can introduce parameters to the puzzle to which the players have no access (in practical terms). I don’t see those as unsolvable, but then I don’t really buy into describing RPG gaming, even limited to dungeon crawls, as puzzles to solve. Unless the puzzle is figuring out how to have fun pretending to be a halfling Paladin or half-orc summoner.Right. As the OP said, I think puzzle-solving play is not so common in contemporary RPGing. Given that it's not, then, what is worldbuilding for?

Thursday, 18th January, 2018

  • 11:39 PM - Lanefan mentioned MarkB in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...e notes on any of it. Having it pre-designed even if just in broad strokes makes the describing so much easier. Particularly at the start of the campaign when the players in theory know much less about the game world than their PCs do (canon lawyers for pre-fab settings notwithstanding) the DM has a lot of describing to do and as a side effect of that description is going to drop the PCs into a particular setting be it a steamy jungle, a city based on ancient Athens, a snowy Viking camp, or a pleasant sunny farm village. You'd probably call this railroading, but how else can it work? Of course, that's just the start; if the PCs in the Viking camp immediately decide to go someplace warmer then the DM has to react to that. (one hopes she has a broad-strokes regional or continental map showing areas beyond a short radius around the camp!) Are you able to say more about how you see the GM's work on the setting in advance of play feeding through to give the players that sense? MarkB might see it differently, but for my part it's much easier to figure out a character's motivations, beliefs, goals, etc. when there's a culture (or cultures) and common history to fit into. If, say, the setting history shows that our starting town was devastated by a war ten years ago and since rebuilt, that's going to influence my character and what she thinks; and probably influence other characters as well. But if the starting history shows no such war it's not our place as players to just add it in. We have no right to, as world design is not in our purview. And if there's no pre-designed history then what's the point? What happened before our PCs became PCs? What major events shaped their lives? (it should be obvious but I'd better mention: the DM sets the event but the player chooses what influence it had on her character, if any). Lanefan

Thursday, 28th December, 2017

  • 04:08 AM - ArchfiendBobbie mentioned MarkB in post Han Solo movie incoming....
    MarkB I thought Force Awakens: Incredible Cross Sections was canon due to being written and published after Disney acquired Star Wars?
  • 03:31 AM - ArchfiendBobbie mentioned MarkB in post Han Solo movie incoming....
    MarkB Maybe. But if so, that's a retcon of the Falcon's history. It was originally a freight pusher for orbit; that's why it had the cockpit to the side instead of the YT-standard central cockpit.

Saturday, 23rd December, 2017

  • 02:05 AM - Hussar mentioned MarkB in post Tension, Threats And Progression In RPGs
    Yeah, I gotta go with MarkB on this one. What's the point of trying to draw boxes around whether something is a "game" or not. Like any genre discussion, it's ultimately a deep, deep dive down a dark rabbit hole. And, I would also point out that I don't think anyone has advocated completely taking death off the table either. Just making it a bit more rare.

Friday, 8th December, 2017

  • 03:27 PM - redrick mentioned MarkB in post Losing HP as you level up
    I usually forget that one even can roll for hit points on leveling up. I doubt it's something the designers give much thought to as well. Agree with MarkB, incentivizing rolling for hp would be counterproductive — average hp should be the preferred option. Easier to keep track of, doesn't lead to pointless power differential between characters, takes nothing away from the RP. If rolling for hp, on average, gave you better results, we'd have players groaning and complaining when I said, "and we'll all just take average hp on level up." With the average being statistically better, nobody even notices that rolling for it is gone after a level or two. (If they ever noticed at all.) Roll dice for PC actions. Live with the consequences. But why randomize the squishiness of a character?

Sunday, 17th April, 2016

  • 11:54 PM - Quickleaf mentioned MarkB in post Hard sci-fi question: rotational artificial gravity space station
    ...the questions I'm trying to determine. How high up do you have to climb a building for there to be noticeable change in gravity. I think it would affect how high-rise type buildings were constructed, since the shearing forces (might be using the wrong term) between regular G and lower-G would require stronger building materials. Plus it might suggest activities happening at the upper levels of high-rise buildings would be substantially different...for example moving construction activities to the lower-G zones for increased efficiency. RangerWickett Really helpful on how to visualize entering at the zero-G "fixed" axis and seeing the entire station spin around you. I suspected some kind of shuttle or elevator would be necessary, but hadn't conceived of exactly why... I plugged a 500 m radius in and got a Tangential Velocity (or "rim speed") of 156 mph, which would be "splat your dead" for anyone moving or falling from the zero-G axis to the ground...in scientific terms :) MarkB That's another one of my questions. I mean, nothing we throw on Earth actually travels straight, technically. But in the rotational artificial G environment I'm wondering if it would be more obvious...or would it basically be a case of "throwing a baseball while in a moving car"? In other words, if everything/everyone is rotating at the same rate in relation to each other, there doesn't appear to be any change from Earth-standard gravity (assuming 1 g centripetal acceleration). But what happens if I punt a football down a field or fire a railgun at the elevator/shuttle tube along the central axis when the station is rotating at 1.3 rpms and the rim is spinning at 156 mph?

Friday, 30th October, 2015

  • 09:13 PM - El Mahdi mentioned MarkB in post Warlord Name Poll
    ...epithet; @erf_beto ; @Eric V ; @eryndel ; @Evenglare ; @ExploderWizard ; @EzekielRaiden; @Fedge123 ; @fendak ; @FireLance ; @Fishing_Minigame ; @Flamestrike ; @FLexor the Mighty! ; @Forged Fury ; @Fragsie ; @Fralex ; @FreeTheSlaves ; @froth ; @Gadget; @Galendril ; @GameOgre ; @Garthanos ; @Ghost Matter ; @Giltonio_Santos ; @Gimul; @GMforPowergamers ; @Gnashtooth ; @Green1 ; @GreenKarl ; @Greg K ; @GreyLord; @Grimmjow ; @Grydan ; @GX.Sigma ; @Halivar ; @HEEGZ ; @Hemlock ; @Henry ; @Herobizkit; @Hussar; @IchneumonWasp ; @I'm A Banana ; @Imaro ; @Iosue ; @Irennan ; @JackOfAllTirades; @jacktannery ; @jadrax ; @Jaelommiss ; @JamesTheLion ; @JamesonCourage ; @JasonZZ; @jayoungr ; @JediGamemaster ; @JeffB ; @Jester Canuck ; @jgsugden ; @jodyjohnson; @Joe Liker ; @JohnLynch ; @Johnny3D3D ; @KarinsDad ; @kerbarian ; @kerleth ; @Kinak; @KingsRule77 ; @Kirfalas ; @Kobold Stew ; @koga305 ; @Lanefan ; @Lanliss ; @Leatherhead; @Libramarian ; @Li Shenron ; @LuisCarlos17f ; @lowkey13 ; @Manbearcat ; @MarkB; @MechaPilot ; @Mecheon ; @mellored ; @Mephista ; @Mercule ; @MG.0 ; @MichaelSomething; @Miladoon ; @Minigiant ; @Mishihari Lord ; @Mistwell ; @MoogleEmpMog ; @Mon @MonkeezOnFire ; @MoonSong(Kaiilurker) ; @MostlyDm ; @Mouseferatu ; @MoutonRustique; @Nemesis Destiny ; @neobolts ; @Neonchameleon ; @Nifft ; @nightspaladin ; @nomotog; @n00bdragon ; @Obryn ; @Ohillion ; @oknazevad ; @Olgar Shiverstone ; @Orlax ; @Otterscrubber ; @Pandamonium87 ; @Paraxis ; @PaulO. ; @Pauln6 ; @Pauper ; @payn; @pemerton ; @peterka99 ;@ Pickles III ; @Pickles JG ; @pkt77242 ; @pming ; @pogre; @PopeYodaI ; @Prickly ; @procproc ; @Psikerlord ; @Psikerlord# ; @(Psi)SeveredHead; @Quickleaf ; @Raith5 ; @raleel ; @Ralif Redhammer ; @Raloc ; @Ranes ; @RangerWickett; @Ratskinner ; @redrick ; @Rejuvenator ; @Remathilis ; @Ristamar ; @RolenArcher; @Roland55 ; @RPG_Tweaker ; @Rune ; @Rygar ; @Sacrosanct ; @Saelorn ; @Saeviomagy; @sailor-Moon ; @SailorNash ; @Saplatt ; @Satyrn ; @Shades of Eternity ; @shadowmane; @shead...

Wednesday, 15th July, 2015


Saturday, 29th November, 2014

  • 09:03 PM - Stormonu mentioned MarkB in post Star Wars The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer is now live!
    R2 and 3PO are both still in it. They haven't been replaced. That's good to know. MarkB - On the Death Star, they're low in the trench, but not as ridiculously low over the lake. Yeah, you can fly real-life jets ridiculously low, but the over-the-topness bothers me.

Sunday, 9th November, 2014

  • 08:21 AM - Jester David mentioned MarkB in post Doctor Who s8e12: Death in Heaven [spoilers]
    My wife says Danny shot her to save the Doctor getting his hands dirty. I'll have to rewatch. Like MarkB I assumed it was the Cyberman assumed to be the Brigadier keeping the Doctor's hands clean. But the FX did look more like a teleport. They could have just reused the SFX (those are pricey) or deliberately used that one to allow room to bring back the Master. But, while neat, the Brigadier semi-returning felt deux ex machnica. (Heh. A deus ex machina cyberman. Heh.) It was kinda foreshadowed and it makes total sense but it's so abrupt. Still, any excuse to namedrop Lethbridge-Stewart is fine by me. I liked the mutual lying at the end. Such a different way for companions departing. Despite being extra long it felt like there were some bits missing. I felt there was a scene missing between the graveyard and Clara's room where the Doctor explains that someone could come back. Likely cut for time/pacing but awkward from a story purpose. But I liked Danny sacrificing his life to return the boy he killed. That was such a nice bit of his overall character arc. Perhaps that's a...

Saturday, 4th October, 2014

  • 01:22 AM - JEB mentioned MarkB in post Replacing Use Magic Device
    Thanks for the replies, all! I like where this is going, a "jury-rigging" or "MacGyver" ability. MarkB, that's an excellent start, though it'll need to be streamlined and modified to be more 5E-like. (For starters, I'd probably drop the skill check and just require a certain length of time.) I'll try and take a stab at it myself later this weekend (not happening right now), but if anyone else wants to develop this further... As a sidenote, in this situation, I could see Use Magic Device sticking around as a feat. Mainly because feats are supposed to represent an unusual or exceptional talent (as opposed to UMD being something any Thief can do).

Sunday, 13th July, 2014

  • 06:59 PM - gyor mentioned MarkB in post Thaumaturgy Cantrip.
    Its a Cleric/Tiefling spell, not a Wizard spell, although if the wizard is a Tiefling, Multiclass Cleric, or has a feat that allows him to take a Cleric cantrip he can use it. MarkB good list.


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Wednesday, 18th April, 2018

  • 03:17 PM - mrrockitt quoted MarkB in post To MAX HP or not to MAX HP
    For pretty much all my 5e games I've just had players use the averaged values from the PHB. It avoids nasty surprises, without messing with the maths. Wish my DM allowed this! After the level 1 max HP I have rolled a 4, 3 and 2 for my Paladin's next three levels! (Was planning to make him tanky too!)

Monday, 16th April, 2018

  • 07:47 PM - Mistwell quoted MarkB in post To MAX HP or not to MAX HP
    For pretty much all my 5e games I've just had players use the averaged values from the PHB. It avoids nasty surprises, without messing with the maths. But it avoids nasty surprises!

Saturday, 14th April, 2018

  • 02:31 PM - Blue quoted MarkB in post TOON the cartoon RPG, anybody play it?
    I couldn't ever see playing a campaign using the system, but I have played one or two nice chill-out one-shots of it to wind down at the end of a games con. Yeah, we never did "campaigns" - but we did plenty of one-shots with recurring characters.

Friday, 13th April, 2018

  • 02:15 AM - Mouseferatu quoted MarkB in post Check out the Astral Deadnought from Mordenkainen's Tome
    Maybe a deceased Dreadnought becomes a portal into the Donjon, which will remain open for a few days, providing an easy limited-window delving opportunity. It doesn't even have to "become a portal," per se, just continue to function for a few days. I love the idea that you have to climb down the corpse's gullet to get there. :] In fact, even in games where I don't use the "linked donjons demiplane" idea, I might still do that rather than have the creatures/loot just appear near the corpse. You have to spelunk the dead creature to get your treasure and your friends.

Thursday, 12th April, 2018

  • 09:38 PM - MonsterEnvy quoted MarkB in post Check out the Astral Deadnought from Mordenkainen's Tome
    I'm curious about the Donjon. Certainly, PCs can be sent there without actually dying. By DM fiat, other creatures could too - and this thing will be battling some pretty high-level foes on its own turf. I kind-of want to see an Ecology of the Donjon article. Beyond that, imagine if you could tame one of these things, and harness its powers. If you can train it to swallow creatures without first biting them to death, and to regurgitate them on command, the Donjon then becomes your stronghold. You could furnish it, add some amenities, use the Dreadnought as your vessel on a journey through the Astral Sea. It's stated to be impossible to tame. Any attempt to communicate or reason with a Dreadnought has been met with death.

Wednesday, 11th April, 2018

  • 11:03 PM - MonsterEnvy quoted MarkB in post Check out the Astral Deadnought from Mordenkainen's Tome
    Its low. The DMG recommends 400-445 for a cr 21 monster. And an AC of 19 vs. the 20 it has. You are forgetting about damage resist and offensive CR. Is that supposed to be scary? It's big three-legendary-action special ability does 15 damage, with a save for half. A level 20 barbarian could take this thing in a fight. It just doesn't have the numbers. I guess the anti-magic cone is supposed to be scary, but that only works in one direction at a time, and there's nothing stopping you from just running in a circle around it. It's harder to run around the Antimagic cone when you are far away. But yeah it's damage seems a bit low. And while it does have quite a bit of HP it's actually slightly lower then the One CR Below it Pit Fiend. I haven't looked at many really high-level monsters, but 297 hp kind-of feels low. You could whittle that down even with just up-levelled fireballs and lightning bolts pretty quickly, and in any environment large enough to accommodate this thing, its anti-m...
  • 10:10 PM - TerraDave quoted MarkB in post Check out the Astral Deadnought from Mordenkainen's Tome
    I haven't looked at many really high-level monsters, but 297 hp kind-of feels low. You ... Its low. The DMG recommends 400-445 for a cr 21 monster. And an AC of 19 vs. the 20 it has.

Wednesday, 4th April, 2018

  • 11:27 PM - Mistwell quoted MarkB in post Mike Mearls and "Action Economy"
    When Mearls says it's a failure to have to think about the action economy, I suspect that to a large extent he means that the team want to avoid thinking about ways to mess with the action economy. There's no denying that 5e has a very specific action economy, but in the game as it's been designed so far, the available options to actually leverage that action economy, to bend and twist it to one side's advantage, have been kept reasonably limited and specific - and also universal, in that few if any of them are class-dependent. Anyone can take a bonus action, anyone can Ready an action, anyone can take a reaction. Bonus actions are probably the slippery slope here, due to their specialised nature - different classes use them for different things, and some builds will struggle to find a use for them on a given turn while others will struggle to make do with just one. Yeah I agree with MarkB, I suspect that's what he meant (and thank you for articulating the thought I was trying to zero in on).
  • 06:16 PM - Annie Bulloch quoted MarkB in post EN World's Critical Role Roundup 006: Be the Chaos You Want to See in the World
    And then you'll come up against all the things that you didn't think of or know about but your DM did, and it'll all go pear-shaped anyway :) Yup. Sometimes you do a bunch of risky skill checks because you forgot you have Mage Hand! I didn't get into it in the recap, but they almost forgot to pick up Ulag. Things might have gone very differently if they hadn't remembered at the very last minute and sent Jester to go pick him up. Their plan had so many moving parts that they almost botched a huge element right there. But that happens to most parties eventually!
  • 05:04 PM - fredlove quoted MarkB in post A Stranger Comes To Town: Designing RPG Adventures For Static Locations
    It helps to give them a variety of long-term goals that can only be fulfilled within that location, whether it's establishing a stronghold, or rising through the ranks of an organisation, or ensuring the wellbeing of friends or family. That's a great point! Tying the PCs' goals and quests to the long-term viability of the location is a great way to ensure the characters will invest in the location.

Tuesday, 3rd April, 2018

  • 08:20 PM - ExploderWizard quoted MarkB in post What do you expect out of dual wielding?
    I always picture dual-wielding as more the rapier-and-dagger style of Musketeers movies, rather than the two-equal-blades style of Drizzt. A main weapon primarily for attack, plus a secondary weapon mostly for parrying, but also to discourage an opponent from getting in close. D&D doesn't do a great deal to simulate such a style, or indeed any form of swashbuckling - it makes no provision for weapons as a defensive tool. Even the UA Swashbuckler doesn't bring defensive tactics into the mix to any significant degree. The D&D combat system is still largely abstract featuring static defenses. A trained dual wielder does get a +1 to AC while fighting with two weapons. That along with the parry maneuver is about as defensive as D&D gets. Large piles of ablative hit points do the rest. Systems that feature active defenses as limited resources and a "hit" as more serious than the loss of a few hp do much more for the defensive properties of shields and other weapons.
  • 07:50 PM - Saelorn quoted MarkB in post Why I dislike Milestone XP
    In many MMOs, including World of Warcraft, there's the concept of 'rest' XP. If you leave your character in a safe place - such as a city or inn - when you log off, you build up a buffer of time during which, when you next play the game, your characters' actions will all earn XP at an increased rate. It's there for precisely the purpose of providing a way of helping players with busy schedules to not fall too far behind their friends who are able to dedicate more time to playing the game.Of note, during initial development, this mechanic was presented in the opposite manner. Instead of characters earning rest by not-playing, they accrued fatigue by playing; so instead of characters earning increased XP after not playing, they earned decreased XP after playing too long. From what I recall, the math worked out the same either way, but players were happier with being rewarded for taking a break than they were with being penalized for playing too much.
  • 07:48 PM - iserith quoted MarkB in post Why I dislike Milestone XP
    In many MMOs, including World of Warcraft, there's the concept of 'rest' XP. If you leave your character in a safe place - such as a city or inn - when you log off, you build up a buffer of time during which, when you next play the game, your characters' actions will all earn XP at an increased rate. It's there for precisely the purpose of providing a way of helping players with busy schedules to not fall too far behind their friends who are able to dedicate more time to playing the game. There are also social options for helping players catch up - players who are members of a guild may ask higher-level allies to help them through game areas or quests that they're under-leveled for, to quickly boost them up to match their team-mates. The 'punishment' for being underleveled in an MMO is participation - particular dungeons or PvP areas have prescribed level requirements, and if you lag far enough behind to not meet the requirements, you quite simply cannot join your friends in that activity....

Sunday, 1st April, 2018

  • 08:23 PM - marshmandr quoted MarkB in post ideas for mundane pc with spell casting companion?
    If you're going to make it just an invisible, invulnerable thing that can't attack, defend, or do anything except float next to you and cast spells on your behalf, it doesn't seem like it's worth having any game-mechanical effects based upon it. You basically play the character as a straight-up spellcaster and say that the spirit is doing it for you. Actually this seems like a good idea. Much simpler. Sometimes I over complicate things. ---- It could be even more fun if it's ambiguous if the spirit is real or just in your head... This sounds like great fun. I will have to consider it.
  • 12:55 AM - LordEntrails quoted MarkB in post Phrasing a Skill Check that Requires Proficiency
    Thanks all. Other than you taking out the word Intelligence, your wording seems great. I wanted to make clear is was not an intelligence check. To me, intelligence there would contradict the proficiency required part. Thoughts? I'd go with "A character who is proficient in the <skillname> skill may make a <statname> (<skillname>) check to examine the item", then discuss check DCs and results. I was trying to keep as close as I could with official examples. Do you think the extra verbiage of your format add clarity? Or I guess a better question, do you think the format I did was not clear enough?

Saturday, 31st March, 2018

  • 10:24 PM - Dannyalcatraz quoted MarkB in post AI Creates New D&D Monsters
    Maybe it's a minor typo, and the spell is intended to Ward Off Snade the Pood Beast. Change a letter, change a spell!
  • 06:14 PM - marshmandr quoted MarkB in post ideas for mundane pc with spell casting companion?
    The tricky part is that there are no full spellcaster classes who can have a companion that's in any way durable. Arcane casters can have familiars, and you could flavour it that your familiar is the one with the spellcasting - but familiars have minimal hitpoints and can generally be slain in a single hit. What you need is a way for you to have a spellcasting companion, while avoiding or mitigating both the advantages and disadvantages that come with controlling two characters. I didn't want a physical companion. I guess my spirit creature won't have any hit points and stays near my character. I was thinking that my character has to have the book open to release the spirit so won't be able to attack and has to keep concentration. If I allow the spirit to roam further it requires penalties to tests?

Wednesday, 28th March, 2018

  • 10:41 PM - jgsugden quoted MarkB in post Interesting House Rules - Bonus Action for Skills - What are the Problems?
    If you're going to make it easier for people to hide in combat, but at the same time make it easier to spot hidden people during combat, that seems like it nets out to zero. Not particularly unbalanced, but also not advantageous enough to be worth messing with.*If* both the hider and perceiver are proficient. If not, there is a relative advantage gained by the proficient party. Not to pick on your examples... but... I guess I'm gonna pick on your examples: Not sure I get this. If a PC is invisible, she IS hidden... This is incorrect. Being invisible and hidden are two separate things. There are a lot of threads on this topic. Turning invisible does not hide your location from an enemy, and does not give you the benefits of being hidden. A lot of people site the Predator films as an example of the invisibility granted generally. The knowledge check requiring an action is a weaker example - some DMs require it, others do not (for the reasons noted here). As the rules are a bit...
  • 03:30 PM - Quartz quoted MarkB in post Guidance Cleric cantrip is really dumb
    That's really campaign-dependent. In many campaigns, deities simply wouldn't have that level of individual awareness and micromanagement of their followers, let alone their followers' associates. Agreed, but in some it is.

Monday, 26th March, 2018

  • 08:02 PM - Li Shenron quoted MarkB in post Guidance Cleric cantrip is really dumb
    That doesn't seem like a helpful solution. By creating a new set of specific constraints on how and when the cantrip can be used, you're going to cause more out-of-character questions and debate, and potentially more arguments as to whether it's applicable to a particular task. How is it useful to have the DM allow Guidance on one lockpicking check, but disallow it on the next, based essentially on a whim? Let's not base it on a whim then. Let's say that all lock picking checks takes 2 minutes at least, and so Guidance doesn't help with them OR that they all take 30 seconds and thus Guidance helps. Maybe lockpicking is too much arbitrary and makes for a bad example. Other skills are easier to estimate naturally how long they take. Climbing time depends mostly on height, stealth depends roughly on distance covered etc. Social conversations usually takes minutes at least. It's not about "whim".


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