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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Today, 12:06 AM
    How committed are you/they to continuing this city scenario? If a change of pace or scene is called for, this seems like a good opportunity. Two scenarios that would work: 1. The PCs are sentenced to hard labour at a remote mining camp the Church owns. En route there, the caravan is attacked and the PCs break free, starting again in a new location. 2. The PCs are sentenced to the whole...
    7 replies | 196 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:06 PM
    I have a feeling it'll turn out to be Tilly, but I'm not sure why I think that. It could also be Stamets. They established his ability to perceive non-linear time, which could be a very useful talent for the Angel. Logically, it would make sense for them to be working through how Section 31 went from being a legitimate, if unconventional, arm of Starfleet in this era to the nigh-mythical...
    5 replies | 85 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th March, 2019, 12:23 AM
    That's up to you - I don't know what works for your setting. It could be anywhere from something boring like improving the software coding to something spectacular like detonating warheads in hyperspace to create the hyperspatial equivalent of sonar pings.
    64 replies | 2400 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 18th March, 2019, 08:27 PM
    MarkB replied to Quest Item Help
    That feels less like a what, and more like a who. Maybe he has a tame Devil on retainer who can oversee his bargains, acting to ensure that both sides keep their side of the deal. If either side reneges, they are inflicted with a curse of Imps - that curse being that, at random times on a more-or-less monthly basis, an Imp will be summoned to tail the subject invisibly and cause mischief for them...
    3 replies | 135 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 18th March, 2019, 01:52 AM
    I've played such a system once, years ago, and loathed it. All too often, by the time the combat came round to a particular player's turn, the situation had change to a point where their chosen actions became nonsensical, redundant or even counterproductive.
    40 replies | 1062 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 18th March, 2019, 01:38 AM
    I wonder where they'll set their next stretch goal. I'll be happy to lose if it means an extra two episodes.
    80 replies | 3223 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th March, 2019, 05:44 PM
    Hyperspace travel in Star Wars involves travelling along hyperspace 'lanes' which allow fast travel between star systems along specific routes, and also pre-jump calculations in order to sync up existing navigational data to account for local planetary movement and galactic drift. So, some reasonably good avenues for research could involve improved methods of mapping and discovering...
    64 replies | 2400 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th March, 2019, 05:27 PM
    Depending upon mission profile, torpedo launchers might be useful simply for range (if I'm remembering my SWSE weapons correctly). You're in a pretty fast ship, so if you're up against slower / larger targets armed with lasers or blasters, you could stay out of their effective firing range while bombarding them with torpedoes.
    9 replies | 247 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th March, 2019, 04:24 PM
    It's different, but it's a matter of degree rather than a fundamental difference. When we play D&D we're playing the roles of characters - which is the definition of acting. Whether we're acting for a small audience of friends or a large audience of strangers, it's still a performance. I don't think you can meaningfully define one as more 'real' than the other.
    85 replies | 2873 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th March, 2019, 03:51 PM
    An interesting approach. While I don't think I'd run a campaign that way, it'd be good for a combat-heavy one-shot, especially at higher levels.
    28 replies | 667 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th March, 2019, 02:19 PM
    I felt that they did enough to give Ariam an emotional connection, but I do agree with Jester David's points about them missing some obvious solutions. Not only did I think that the security officer could easily have put her helmet back on, I found it silly that any of them took their helmets off at all, given the hostile location. I did like the Spock / Burnham scenes, where Spock essentially...
    195 replies | 6037 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 02:45 AM
    I've never watched the livestream (wrong timezone), but I watch it regularly on YouTube, and have started keeping up with Talks Machina now that it's also on YouTube. Critical Role wasn't the first tabletop show I followed - I was a fan of Geek & Sunday's Tabletop series, and watched Titansgrave, but for ages Critical Role's long episodes were off-putting. But I wound up getting into the story...
    85 replies | 2873 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th March, 2019, 10:38 PM
    I feel like you could go with a Wargames / Terminator vibe here. Like, the "Ring" is a malevolent black-box AI that was stolen and then lost by foreign agents. In order to safely dispose of it, the device must be returned to the NORAD base where it was first created, to be safely disabled and disassembled by the ace team of government programmers, the Crackers of Doom. But if it were to fall into...
    61 replies | 1176 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 11th March, 2019, 08:24 PM
    1:34 in the trailer.
    14 replies | 431 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 10th March, 2019, 03:58 PM
    MarkB replied to Command: Flee
    The seasoned warriors might miss. The ground won't.
    45 replies | 1748 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 10th March, 2019, 02:53 PM
    Yeah, making them into encounters sounds good. Maybe come up with a terrain-appropriate random encounters table that contains everything from grazing herds to fishing spots to wild fruit trees to packs of predators. The Survival check is to see whether they find anything, and if they succeed you roll on the encounter table and let them deal with whatever they find.
    12 replies | 361 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th March, 2019, 10:22 PM
    I had a similar situation very recently - the party took down a coven of three hags, but the Night Hag escaped with minimal hit points and went ethereal. What happened next was that they tried to take a night's rest, and the party's cleric (their only full caster) got hag-ridden, and woke up with reduced max hit points and no recovered spells or hit points. Basically, as long as the hag's...
    29 replies | 1416 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th March, 2019, 09:19 PM
    Hag Eye: I'd say it's fundamentally tied to the coven, and the characters couldn't use that particular eye. But they might find ingredients and information within the coven's sanctum that would allow them to craft their own, if they procure a suitable eyeball. It works exactly as it does for the coven - it's shared between three characters, no more or less, all of whom must be attuned to it, and...
    3 replies | 256 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th March, 2019, 02:45 AM
    $7,500,000. Making ten times their initial goal feels about right.
    80 replies | 3223 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 3rd March, 2019, 11:02 PM
    The main issue with this in a group game is that it short-circuits discussion, and can effectively lead to one player dictating the reaction of the entire group.
    22 replies | 674 view(s)
    3 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 3rd March, 2019, 11:56 AM
    Really? I don't recall that having been referenced in the show. If it's the case, shouldn't the shuttle have flared up massive "Destination Prohibited On Pain Of Death!!!" warnings the moment Burnham tried to lay in a course?
    195 replies | 6037 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 3rd March, 2019, 03:33 AM
    So, The Search For Spock is over, but Spock's Brain still has some assembly required. And now they're going to Talos IV, some time in advance of the Enterprise's scheduled first visit. Not much else stood out for me about this episode. Time anomaly was timey-wimey, Section 31 was gratuitously evil, pretty standard stuff.
    195 replies | 6037 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 3rd March, 2019, 01:33 AM
    All of those are acceptable wordings. And in all cases, you'd attack after the spell was cast, because the trigger is the spell being cast. Because that's what the rules say. It's even the specific case used in the Sage Advice quote cited earlier in the thread. You are readying an attack in the event of the Grimlock attacking the wizard, and therefore your reaction occurs after that event...
    197 replies | 5402 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 2nd March, 2019, 09:54 PM
    There's no such thing as a move action in 5e, so what is this "finishes its move" thing you speak of? If you choose to ready an action based upon a creature moving a certain distance, your action will occur after it has moved that distance.
    197 replies | 5402 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 2nd March, 2019, 09:23 PM
    How is "attempt to cast a spell" a different event than "cast a spell"?
    197 replies | 5402 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 2nd March, 2019, 08:43 PM
    Yeah, it occurs after one attack. Just like it occurs after you cast one spell.
    197 replies | 5402 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 2nd March, 2019, 08:27 PM
    You do realise that you've just directly contradicted the very ruling you quoted, right? It states clearly that the readied action occurs after its trigger. If the trigger is casting a spell, the readied action cannot both interrupt the spell and occur after it.
    197 replies | 5402 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 2nd March, 2019, 08:08 PM
    And you've now successfully attacked the Mind Flayer before he started spellcasting, unless he was paralysed until that very moment - which you could have done without readying an action. Heck, I'd have your readied action be triggered the moment you end your turn - the Mind Flayer certainly isn't bothering to keep his hands immobile while everyone else is acting.
    197 replies | 5402 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 2nd March, 2019, 07:51 PM
    You're still acting after the triggering event "the Mind flayer makes gestures with its hand and mutters words" finishes, though.
    197 replies | 5402 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 2nd March, 2019, 06:41 PM
    Then, if that fighter is swinging his sword as a readied action in response to your spellcasting, it makes perfect logical sense that his swing won't connect until after you finish casting, because you started casting first, and then he started swinging. Why? Not all reactions are exactly alike. The Ready action has a specific caveat about how soon you can use your reaction. Counterspell...
    197 replies | 5402 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 2nd March, 2019, 04:43 PM
    Which still doesn't address the second part of my post. Readied actions, unlike reactions in general, don't occur immediately. They happen after the trigger finishes. That leaves a lot less room for interpretations that allow an action to be interrupted. It's the rule dnd4vr was referencing - Xanathar's, page 85.
    197 replies | 5402 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 2nd March, 2019, 04:27 PM
    Which costs you your reaction, leaving you none with which to take your Readied action.
    197 replies | 5402 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 2nd March, 2019, 03:59 PM
    That just opens up more room for disagreements. If the Mind Flayer hasn't actually cast the spell yet, how do you know that's what it's doing, as opposed to speaking or gesturing to an ally? Must the Fighter take his readied action the moment the Mind Flayer utters any word or makes any gesture? And again, you take your readied action after the trigger finishes. What counts as someone...
    197 replies | 5402 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 2nd March, 2019, 02:32 PM
    Pretty much. The Ready action's utility was significantly reduced in 5e, with the only major compensation being that it doesn't change your initiative position anymore (so, in the OP's example, if the Fighter attacks the Mind Flayer with his readied action, he'll then be able to take his turn immediately afterwards, before the Grimlock, rather than having to wait until just before the Mind...
    197 replies | 5402 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 2nd March, 2019, 02:27 PM
    And when does it finish moving its hands and speaking its verbal components? After it finishes casting.
    197 replies | 5402 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 2nd March, 2019, 02:19 PM
    It's pretty simple. "You can take your action right after the trigger finishes." If the trigger is someone casting a spell, you take your action after they cast the spell.
    197 replies | 5402 view(s)
    2 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 1st March, 2019, 01:54 PM
    I don't think of gargoyles as being evil for the sake of it, rather they're ambush predators who have adapted to an urban environment.
    41 replies | 1663 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 1st March, 2019, 01:25 AM
    At first glance, I like it. The Artillerist gives me vibes of the Engineer from Guild Wars 2, throwing down turrets for reinforcement or support. I have an NPC in my Eberron campaign for whom this is a good fit, a rogue House Cannith inventor. I look forward to seeing how it performs.
    278 replies | 16076 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th February, 2019, 01:43 PM
    It depends on what you want to do when you get there. We're getting better at identifying smaller, Earth-scale planets in other solar systems, but we can only detect the very broadest information about them. As it stands, we couldn't easily confirm whether a planet is capable of supporting any life, let alone human life. If you want to go to a new solar system and then spend several hundred...
    260 replies | 6846 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th February, 2019, 09:14 PM
    Or these guys.
    41 replies | 1663 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th February, 2019, 09:07 PM
    There are plenty of good suggestions so far. The real question here is, what's your end goal with this? Get the player to engage more with his character's beliefs? Get him to drop this character in favour of one that's less inconsistent? Let him continue as is, but just punish him for the bad roleplay? Decide where you want this player and character to be at the end of the process, and choose...
    24 replies | 839 view(s)
    3 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th February, 2019, 09:43 AM
    If you remain petrified for long enough, eventually you may adapt, beginning to regain some awareness, regaining some capacity to move, so long as nobody ever sees you as anything but immobile stone, even finding the capacity to inflict those lost centuries upon other creatures...
    32 replies | 1195 view(s)
    2 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 26th February, 2019, 07:04 PM
    The Prime Directive was always about not interfering with pre-Warp cultures. The Federation also avoids interfering in the internal affairs of other powers, but that's not part of the Prime Directive.
    195 replies | 6037 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 23rd February, 2019, 01:58 PM
    But it's not just a choice between "act now, immediately, without hesitation" and "never interfere or intervene ever". They know from the sphere's historical database that the Kelpiens nearly wiped out the Ba'ul previously. They know that Saru has undergone both physical and emotional changes that are still ongoing. For all they knew, for all they still know, the conclusion of that...
    195 replies | 6037 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd February, 2019, 11:47 PM
    Well, it is the Red Angel. My second guess after Burnham would be Tilly. Third would be Spock.
    195 replies | 6037 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd February, 2019, 05:26 PM
    Interesting title for today's episode, and I'm not sure how much to read into it. Taken from a classic science fiction short story, the prototypical crushing-a-butterfly story about the repercussions of changing the past, and it opened with images of butterfly-like creatures flitting between flowers, yet for all the talk about the Red Angel's potential time-travel capabilities there was no...
    195 replies | 6037 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 10:56 PM
    I also enjoyed Star Trek Nemesis. It had its flaws, but I liked the dynamic of the contrast between Picard and his clone, and the battle in the nebula was very well done - a cloaked ship combat done right. I found the starship battle in Undiscovered Country very disappointing in that regard - it mostly consisted of Kirk moving the ship very gently around while letting it get pounded by photon...
    43 replies | 1198 view(s)
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Monday, 18th March, 2019


Wednesday, 6th March, 2019

  • 02:53 AM - CleverNickName mentioned MarkB in post Critical Role Kickstarter Predition Game: Guess the Funding Outcome (GTFO)
    ... Mort: $11,620,000 Zardnaar: 11,354,883 Sadras: $11,120,000 SkidAce: $11,000,000 Tazawa: $10,700,000 togashi_joe: $10,250,000 DM Dave1: $10,101,010 MichaelSomething: $10,000,000 Lazybones: $9,750,000 PabloM: $9,500,000 akr71: $9,250,000 rczarnec: $9,250,000 Azzy: $9,000,000 Henry: $8,900,000 mortwatcher: $8,666,000 Lidgar: $8,423,976.73 vincegetorix: $8,360,000 SmokeyCriminal: $8,008,135 AriochQ: $7,777,777 robus: $7,750,000 MarkB: $7,500,000 <--- Currently Winning! phantomK9: $6,969,696 TarionzCousin: $6,160,000 ClaytonCross: $6,000,000 -----------Highest-Funded Film Project on Kickstarter (MST3K Kickstarter) $5,764,229----------- MaximusArael020: $5,685,000 Prakriti: $1

Wednesday, 19th December, 2018


Saturday, 1st December, 2018

  • 04:30 PM - dragoner mentioned MarkB in post Need idea about player spaceship landing on planets
    You beat me to it! Thanks, I also like the ecological impact of MarkB it could be something like a fusion rocket. Depending upon the setting and the society, you could go for an ecological angle. The shuttle is designed with atmospheric flight in mind, and has a propulsion system that works well for that context. But the ship's engines produce waste products including radioactive particles, dangerous carcinogens etc. ...

Monday, 17th September, 2018

  • 07:35 PM - iserith mentioned MarkB in post Roleplay opportunities in a mine (level 2)
    A social interaction challenge (because combat and exploration are roleplay!) might be the ghost of a miner who died in a cave-in who isn't aware of it. If the PCs can figure out what happened and explain it to the ghost, he or she can move on to the afterlife. If the PCs are successful, the miner shares with them a tunnel that serves as a useful shortcut around a dangerous area (perhaps a cave filled with odorless, explosive gas) and/or leads to a cave that contains a treasure. Edit: Dang! MarkB upstaged me!

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.

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, itís 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 donít see those as unsolvable, but then I donít 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 ó 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



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Tuesday, 19th March, 2019

  • 06:28 AM - Zardnaar quoted MarkB in post What could a scientist in my Star Wars RPG be researching or working on?
    That's up to you - I don't know what works for your setting. It could be anywhere from something boring like improving the software coding to something spectacular like detonating warheads in hyperspace to create the hyperspatial equivalent of sonar pings. Basically you would need to invent a better computer. Sometimes in Star Wars it's faster to jump to multiple systems than fly direct. It might be quicker to fly from Tatooine to Alderaan to Coruscant than Tatooine to Coruscant. Some sort of bio computer that can sense hyperspace routes might be an option. May or may not be force sensitive. Experimental of course.

Monday, 18th March, 2019

  • 10:26 PM - Maximum7 quoted MarkB in post What could a scientist in my Star Wars RPG be researching or working on?
    Hyperspace travel in Star Wars involves travelling along hyperspace 'lanes' which allow fast travel between star systems along specific routes, and also pre-jump calculations in order to sync up existing navigational data to account for local planetary movement and galactic drift. So, some reasonably good avenues for research could involve improved methods of mapping and discovering hyperlanes, or ways to make the calculations for a hyperspace jump more quickly. How could I make navicomputers more efficient or better at making jumps?
  • 05:57 PM - CleverNickName quoted MarkB in post Critical Role Kickstarter Predition Game: Guess the Funding Outcome (GTFO)
    I wonder where they'll set their next stretch goal. I'll be happy to lose if it means an extra two episodes.Looks like they set it at $8.8M. I call shenanigans. It should have been NEIN Million.

Sunday, 17th March, 2019

  • 06:02 PM - Umbran quoted MarkB in post Do you Critical Role?
    It's different, but it's a matter of degree rather than a fundamental difference. No, I think there are some techniques and acting practices that these professionals have and use that do not exist at most tables. Saying there's no fundamental difference here is kind of like saying that there's no fundamental difference between what comes out of a good restaurant kitchen, and what comes out of the kitchen of a bachelor grad student. Different ingredients, different techniques, different results, not just in "degree", but in fundamental qualities. And, quite frankly, I think that ta bunch of professional actors playing for purposes of entertaining large audiences for pay will often make fundamentally different choices about their play than a typical table would - because their goals are not the same.

Wednesday, 13th March, 2019

  • 11:13 PM - Riley37 quoted MarkB in post Brainstorming: Lord of the...WTF?!?!
    I feel like you could go with a Wargames / Terminator vibe here. Like, the "Ring" is a malevolent black-box AI that was stolen and then lost by foreign agents. In order to safely dispose of it, the device must be returned to the NORAD base where it was first created, to be safely disabled and disassembled by the ace team of government programmers, the Crackers of Doom. But if it were to fall into the wrong hands, it could be used to hack any civilian or military system, granting unlimited power to its wielder - or unleashing nuclear armageddon on the world. NORAD is on (or under) a mountain, but it's not in an Mordor-esque industrial wasteland. Not yet, anyways. Chernobyl is already there. So far we're going with evil use of technology vs. better, more ethical use of technology. What role does wild magic play in that mix? Are we applying Clarke's law, and explaining the super-jumps as an outcome of bionic leg muscles? Or is there a tension between magic and tech? Saruman and Gandalf...
  • 02:00 AM - Morrus quoted MarkB in post Critical Role's Kickstarter Breaks $1,000,000 In About An Hour!
    It only got to be its current size due to a large influx of new players brought in by the streaming shows. Indeed. WotC itself attributed over 50% of new players to streaming shows. http://www.enworld.org/forum/content.php?4677-Over-Half-Of-New-D-D-Players-Got-Into-Game-From-Watching-Online-Play&p=7280454 The medium is outgrowing the game.
  • 01:01 AM - Hussar quoted MarkB in post Critical Role's Kickstarter Breaks $1,000,000 In About An Hour!
    What people are paying to see is a story and a performance, not a game. Bemoaning that is like bemoaning the fact that people spend huge amounts of money to watch pop groups playing guitars, but aren't investing nearly as much in supporting the poor guitar manufacturers. Considering the guitar manufacturing industry in the US alone is some 650 million dollars, I'm thinking that guitar manufacturers are pretty well supported. IOW, the bemoaning would be a lot quieter if the TTRPG industry was ten times its current size.

Monday, 11th March, 2019


Wednesday, 6th March, 2019

  • 09:27 PM - jmucchiello quoted MarkB in post Critical Role's Kickstarter Breaks $1,000,000 In About An Hour!
    Iím sure they wonít struggle to get any permission they need. I wouldnít be surprised to see WotC ask *them* to feature D&D branding. D&D does NOT have a good track record on film. But even if that was not an issue, explaining what Mind Flayers are, the whole hive mind thing, and elder brain, etc. Would waste a lot of precious animation time to explain. The Briarwoods are vampire despots. Easy-peasy to convey to the new viewer without a lot of exposition. Assuming that they can. The D&D brand has never done well in movie form, but it has been passed around between a few studios, so the rights to publish something explicitly D&D-labelled in movie or series form may not actually lie with WotC right now. Unless google has failed me, Warner Bros own the D&D movie rights and have a film in production for a 2021 date. No idea if that's still true, though. They'll probably blow through the $5.75m goal before the stream tomorrow night.
  • 12:34 AM - jmucchiello quoted MarkB in post Critical Role's Kickstarter Breaks $1,000,000 In About An Hour!
    They may not feel too motivated to offer further incentives. As it stands, this venture has already blown up to the point where it'll dominate a major portion of their working lives over the next 1-2 years. If it grows much further, it'll challenge their ability to work around their existing commitments, both as voice actors and streamers. Last night they hosted a Q&A on Twitch and on it Mercer said the more money we raise, the more animation we can make. They also said they would be adding new goals at some point. Remember they are hiring writers to write the episodes and they have hired someone else to be the show runner. Their time is only spent in brainstorming at the front, approving visual designs, and one of them (Sam and/or Liam) will likely direct the voice acting. Otherwise, it's Titmouse (the animation studio) who are during the bulk of the work.
  • 12:16 AM - OB1 quoted MarkB in post Critical Role's Kickstarter Breaks $1,000,000 In About An Hour!
    They may not feel too motivated to offer further incentives. As it stands, this venture has already blown up to the point where it'll dominate a major portion of their working lives over the next 1-2 years. If it grows much further, it'll challenge their ability to work around their existing commitments, both as voice actors and streamers. Why would it dominate a major portion of their lives? They arenít writing, animating or directing. Mercer will probably take on some executive producing duties but thatís not a major time suck on an animated show. And the voice work will be a day or two per episode at most.

Tuesday, 5th March, 2019

  • 02:00 AM - Parmandur quoted MarkB in post Critical Role's Kickstarter Breaks $1,000,000 In About An Hour!
    Plus they're in no position to demand anything, since CR could perfectly easily make a compelling animated series without touching a single piece of D&D IP. And if this Kickstarter proves anything, it's that this show has a massive consumer fanbase that WotC would be insane to even consider alienating. WotC and Hasbro have everything to gain by working with the Critical Role crew: someone upthread mentioned toy licensing, and Hasbro would have worse moved than paying CR to use *their* IP.

Monday, 4th March, 2019

  • 09:14 AM - Mustrum_Ridcully quoted MarkB in post Star Trek Discovery not getting any better I fear.
    Really? I don't recall that having been referenced in the show. No one so far has reason to mention events of The Cage. It's just one of many missions the Enterprise under Pike went on. If it's the case, shouldn't the shuttle have flared up massive "Destination Prohibited On Pain Of Death!!!" warnings the moment Burnham tried to lay in a course? That depends on when exactly the prohibition was instituted. It seems it wasn't mentioned in the Cage that the planet would be off-limits now. There isn't really a good reason at the end of The Cage, and the travel ban to Talos IV only seems to exist to create some dramatic stakes in Menagerie. We might actually learn this season why it became off-limits, since the events of The Cage seem to give no good reason for it. The situation is resolved, the aliens and humans had an understanding, and everyone went on their merry way.

Sunday, 3rd March, 2019

  • 11:20 AM - Mustrum_Ridcully quoted MarkB in post Star Trek Discovery not getting any better I fear.
    Vulcan was gorgeous. I wish we could spend more time there. So, The Search For Spock is over, but Spock's Brain still has some assembly required. And now they're going to Talos IV, some time in advance of the Enterprise's scheduled first visit. No, the first visit of the Enterprise has already happened. Discovery plays after The Cage, but before the events The Menagerie. My guess would be that the "some assembly required" might be conducted by the Talosians, but it could be that they are actually involved in the Red Angel stuff. We'll see.
  • 04:42 AM - Hussar quoted MarkB in post Star Trek Discovery not getting any better I fear.
    So, The Search For Spock is over, but Spock's Brain still has some assembly required. And now they're going to Talos IV, some time in advance of the Enterprise's scheduled first visit. Not much else stood out for me about this episode. Time anomaly was timey-wimey, Section 31 was gratuitously evil, pretty standard stuff. I agree with this. Although it does move the plot forward nicely. I do think that the whole Section 31 is "the evils" is a bit lazy. The fact that the captain was lying about the memory extractor was unnecessary. Why can't we stick with morally ambiguous without going full on mustache twirling evil? Sigh.
  • 03:12 AM - DM Dave1 quoted MarkB in post [5E] Interrupting a Spellcaster via Ready Action
    All of those are acceptable wordings. And in all cases, you'd attack after the spell was cast, because the trigger is the spell being cast. Disagree, but we've already tread that ground. Because that's what the rules say. It's even the specific case used in the Sage Advice quote cited earlier in the thread. You are readying an attack in the event of the Grimlock attacking the wizard, and therefore your reaction occurs after that event finishes. Otherwise why would they have bothered including that line in the rules? No, the PC is Readying a spear attack in the case of the Grimlock raising its club against the wizard. That's the trigger. The PC is looking for signs of aggression - and raising a club is a sign of aggression. Once the club is raised, the trigger event has finished, and the Readied action commences. Who's to say that the Grimlock is even attacking? Maybe it is just trying to intimidate? The player doesn't know which it is and the mechanic of the PC's Ready need n...

Saturday, 2nd March, 2019

  • 10:36 PM - DM Dave1 quoted MarkB in post [5E] Interrupting a Spellcaster via Ready Action
    There's no such thing as a move action in 5e, so what is this "finishes its move" thing you speak of? If you choose to ready an action based upon a creature moving a certain distance, your action will occur after it has moved that distance. Ah, I see: you feel a movement trigger is different than an action trigger. That's fine, I suppose. But the trigger can be anything the player specifies. Attempting to cast a spell is moving a hand, or grabbing a spell component, or starting to speak magic words. A completely acceptable trigger is: "if the Flayer attempts to cast a spell, I throw my spear." Perhaps you prefer more nuanced wording and want the fighter to specify: "if the Flayer starts to cast a spell, I throw my spear." A similar trigger might be: "If the Grimlock raises its club to attack the wizard, I throw my spear at it." The Grimlock is attempting to attack, yes? It is starting to attack, right? Why should the fighter have to wait for the club to fall before throwin...
  • 09:54 PM - dnd4vr quoted MarkB in post [5E] Interrupting a Spellcaster via Ready Action
    How is "attempt to cast a spell" a different event than "cast a spell"? You'd have to ask the OP. :) For me, as I have stated repeatedly, when you ready an action how it operates depends entirely on how the trigger is worded. And you think that's more realistic than having the attack land after the spell is completed? A Again, you think it's more realistic for you to be able attack the Wizard mid-spell, have him interrupt your spell with a Reaction spell that has VS components, then resume his original spell than it is for your attack to simply land after the cast? How long do you think an action is? Is casting a spell difficult, or is it easy enough that you can interrupt it with another spell then go back to it with no consequence. If a caster can interrupt and resume a spell with no consequence, what do you expect the attack to do other than damage? Why can't the caster simply resume the spell once your attack is over? Sure, why not? As you say how long does it take to ...
  • 09:47 PM - DM Dave1 quoted MarkB in post [5E] Interrupting a Spellcaster via Ready Action
    How is "attempt to cast a spell" a different event than "cast a spell"? How is "it moves towards us" a different event than "it finishes its move"?


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