View Profile: MarkB - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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...
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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.
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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...
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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...
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th February, 2019, 12:42 AM
    The "formerly mortal" thing feels like a weak point. Perhaps casting Resurrection on her might force her to regain a degree of mortality. Or else discovering her original mortal name and then conjuring by it might bypass some of her defenses.
    17 replies | 543 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th February, 2019, 11:19 PM
    This isn't the room for an argument. Try down the hall.
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th February, 2019, 11:06 PM
    I thought you disliked strawman arguments. You're the one who mentioned fusion in the first place, and nobody's suggested that we shouldn't even discuss the topic.
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th February, 2019, 10:26 PM
    How so? The topic of discussion is "can we build generation ships yet?" If we're discussing exactly how far off we are from doing so, how can the basic technological requirements for making them a reality be off-topic?
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th February, 2019, 01:34 AM
    Further than what? We're having a discussion, not citing sources. If you want to dismiss extremely difficult engineering challenges as just routine legwork, feel free.
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th February, 2019, 01:02 AM
    Or maybe you have that statement exactly backwards. Are you qualified to tell?
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th February, 2019, 11:24 PM
    If you want the later-launched supply ship to actually catch up with the generation ship, especially late into its voyage, then it can't simply accelerate to the generation ship's speed - it has to travel significantly faster in order to overhaul it. That means it's going to have to decelerate a lot once it gets close, and it can't use solar sails for that - it needs to use actual engines,...
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th February, 2019, 10:40 PM
    The generation ship also has humans on it to perform periodic maintenance and repairs. The supply ships have to survive for hundreds or thousands of years without that. If you're adding long-term high-gee acceleration, even the toughest mechanisms have their limits.
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th February, 2019, 01:35 AM
    The same could be said here and now on Earth, though. Given the effects of population growth, anyone having more than two children per couple is contributing to the misery and death of others. Yet plenty still do. When it comes to the right to breed, people will not always act rationally. Going into an endeavour like this on the assumption that they will would be a recipe for disaster.
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th February, 2019, 12:22 AM
    Maybe don't speak for everyone else in the thread? Yes, there are issues which can be eased by having a larger population. But there are other issues that will be exacerbated. Aside from increasing the technological challenges involved in building a larger vessel, you run into the "Wall-E" issue mentioned earlier in the thread, where a large portion of the population have little or nothing to...
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 12th February, 2019, 01:19 PM
    And how do you check that your strawberry goop is safe to cultivate and eat? Maybe it's carcinogenic if consumed over several years. Maybe it leeches nutrients from the system when grown at industrial scale. You'll need packs of lab rats to test for the former, and sequestered vats for the latter, all extra resources to be carried in order to sustain tests that will take years to complete - and...
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 10th February, 2019, 09:59 PM
    The original series.
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 8th February, 2019, 11:57 PM
    Yeah, but it's not like alien-possession-of-the-week. She's just having trouble shaking off the one entity.
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th February, 2019, 09:39 AM
    Because that comes with its own technological challenges, which we haven't yet overcome. If/when we do, it would indeed be a more viable option.
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th February, 2019, 08:37 PM
    Maybe the clapper isn't absent, just invisible. And the bell is like a dog whistle, ringing at a frequency outside normal humanoid hearing range. It's actually a secret sign used by members of a particular race (I'm thinking Kenku) to identify each other as fellow secret agents for a particular espionage agency. Effectively, the player is carrying around the equivalent of a password or secret...
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 5th February, 2019, 11:53 PM
    Agreed, as a general principle. The engineering challenges in creating a generation ship are great, but I tend to feel that it's the social-engineering challenges that would ultimately defeat it. Hopefully, some form of workable suspended animation would be the way to work around that issue - as you say, there's really only limited use for having a conscious crew aboard the ship during its actual...
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 5th February, 2019, 08:34 PM
    The main reason would be to keep them feeling busy and useful. Let's face it, the least plausible part of Wall-E is the idea that those people who'd spent their entire lives for multiple generations living in luxurious passivity would be in any way prepared, equipped or motivated to claim and develop a world at the end of their journey.
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 5th February, 2019, 02:39 AM
    Not necessarily. Life support failures come to mind. In one crew section the CO2 sensors have malfunctioned, which only becomes apparent after a defective replacement CO2 scrubber is installed and one dormitory's crew goes to sleep that night and never wakes up.
    245 replies | 5395 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 4th February, 2019, 01:50 PM
    The dead goblin didn't have anything the others wanted. They killed him to attract the travellers' attention, and left his body on the trail to distract them.
    20 replies | 1056 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 4th February, 2019, 12:47 AM
    If a character is that super-specialised in melee, it's up to them to figure out how to engage an uncooperative opponent in melee, because it's something that intelligent opponents will otherwise exploit. By 11th level the party should have access to at least some means of flight or short-range teleportation or magical wall-climbing etc., and if they don't, they really shouldn't be surprised when...
    245 replies | 7483 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 1st February, 2019, 08:10 PM
    How about personal shields? They were commonplace in the Old Republic, but were outpaced by advances in blaster technology. Maybe this scientist thinks he's got a way to make them viable again.
    28 replies | 1041 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 1st February, 2019, 08:04 PM
    I'm looking forward to the 2025 games. Superbowl LIX just sounds so... savoury.
    21 replies | 738 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Thursday, 31st January, 2019, 10:37 PM
    They're both for the 5' wide line. They're illustrating that you can choose to fire it down the edge between two rows of squares, to maximise the number of targets, or down the middle of a row of squares, if you need to minimise collateral damage (i.e. if there are allies to either side of an opponent).
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 30th January, 2019, 01:15 PM
    Adding an NPC doesn't have to introduce obscurity, though. They can become a useful conduit to convey information.
    239 replies | 6635 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 30th January, 2019, 12:18 AM
    I'll be interested to see how this works out. I did back a similar cyberpunk reimagining of D&D about a year ago called code::2050, which unfortunately failed to get funded. They had a very good approach of just overlaying their game elements onto the standard D&D ruleset without trying to change anything - no new classes, just new subclasses, very similar weapon stats to the base game, etc. ...
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 30th January, 2019, 12:11 AM
    My recommendation would be to personify the opposition. Come up with an NPC who's trying to do the same thing this PC is doing in regard to the criminal underworld. The NPC is less competent than the PC, but has the advantage of being 100% committed to their plans and not having to deal with whatever everyday adventures the group as a whole are pursuing. Introduce that NPC in a...
    239 replies | 6635 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 29th January, 2019, 09:10 AM
    One option would be to have all reproduction aboard ship and for the first several generations in the colony be via artificial implantation from a genetically diverse 'seed bank' of frozen fertilised ova gathered from across the world. Going with that option, it would make some sense to go with, and maintain, an all female crew throughout the voyage.
    245 replies | 5395 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 28th January, 2019, 07:19 PM
    If they put some work into it, maybe they can turn it into self-donning armour. Speak the command word while within 30 feet of the armour, and the individual pieces animate and assemble themselves around the user. Speak the second command word and they quickly disassemble and package themselves into a convenient bundle. No improved armour benefit, but now you have a suit of plate armour that...
    13 replies | 505 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 28th January, 2019, 12:01 AM
    Generation ships aren't a great option unless you're desperate, for a lot of the reasons mentioned in this thread. Ideally, you want to wait until you've perfected something along the lines of cryogenics/stasis/time-dilation, so that you don't need to deal with the logistics of keeping humans alive and conscious for hundreds of years in space.
    245 replies | 5395 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 26th January, 2019, 08:12 PM
    Gravity doesn't seem like that much of an issue compared to the other technological hurdles. Either you run the ship under constant acceleration aside from a flip-over at midpoint, or you rotate it for spin gravity.
    245 replies | 5395 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 26th January, 2019, 06:05 PM
    The one modern-setting campaign I've run so far for D&D 5e gave guns similar damage output to equivalent base-game ranged weapons. The only major difference was a couple of extra firing-mode options. Basically, the reason characters ran around with guns instead of crossbows was because it was a modern setting and those were the commonly-available weapons. I can see the temptation to do...
    99 replies | 3994 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 26th January, 2019, 05:36 PM
    Aside from fuel and power generation, you need to be able to build a vessel that can be maintained in active use without any external resources for a period of decades or centuries without any major loss of functionality. And then you need to do the same to the crew and social structure onboard - in order to remain functional, a generation ship would likely need to be a totalitarian regime...
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 25th January, 2019, 07:18 PM
    Sigdi's awesomeness intensifies.
    4 replies | 267 view(s)
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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


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...


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Saturday, 23rd February, 2019

  • 01:44 PM - Mustrum_Ridcully quoted MarkB in post Star Trek Discovery not getting any better I fear.
    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 apparent use of time travel within the plot. Overall, the story felt a little forced and one-sided. We get barely a glimpse of the Ba'ul's side of this culture's divisions, and the decision to facilitate the Kelpiens' transformation is made with no knowledge of either its long-term psychological effects or the potential side effects of artificially inducing it upon Kelpiens before their natural maturation. It's a ridiculously reckless move to make with two entire species' survival at stake. Is it really ridiculously reckless? It might be reckless, but consider that you have to compare this recklessness wi...
  • 12:08 AM - Ryujin quoted MarkB in post Star Trek Discovery not getting any better I fear.
    Well, it is the Red Angel. My second guess after Burnham would be Tilly. Third would be Spock. If it's Spock then we're probably talking Red Matter, so Kelvinverse.

Thursday, 21st February, 2019

  • 11:19 PM - Staffan quoted MarkB in post Here Are The Most Popular D&D Feats (War Caster Leads The Pack!)
    I'm surprised [Sharpshooter's] not more popular with Fighters. I've been having a great time playing a ranged Battlemaster. Probably because most people playing fighters would rather mix it up in melee. I mean, ranged fighters are perfectly viable, but it's not the common way to play the class. That's one of the things I sort of liked about 4e, by the way. It specifically had fighters as being melee-focused. You want to play a dude who shoots people? That's the ranger.

Wednesday, 20th February, 2019

  • 11:13 PM - lowkey13 quoted MarkB in post Recommend Star Trek for Non Trekkies.
    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 torpedoes, until Spock suddenly pulled a Treknobabble solution out of his ass. The Nemesis battle is much better - all participants using every weapon at their disposal, actual tactics being employed on both sides, and while a Treknobabble solution is deployed towards the end, it's one that arises from the plot, turning an enemy's capabilities against them. We would all be better off if The Final Frontier, Generations, Insurrection, and Nemesis never existed. Those are four Star Trek movies that try the patience of any fan, and are pretty unwatchable even if you are a fan. (As for the O...

Saturday, 16th February, 2019

  • 04:25 AM - Tyler Dunn quoted MarkB in post Weakening an elder evil
    The "formerly mortal" thing feels like a weak point. Perhaps casting Resurrection on her might force her to regain a degree of mortality. Or else discovering her original mortal name and then conjuring by it might bypass some of her defenses. I don't how casting resurrection on an elder evil weakens it, she's not actually dead. Also I think discovering the true name thing only works for devils.

Thursday, 14th February, 2019

  • 11:26 PM - Shasarak quoted MarkB in post Generation Ships--- Can we build one now?
    This isn't the room for an argument. Try down the hall. Smashes MarkB into the canal with a fish.
  • 11:09 PM - Shasarak quoted MarkB in post Generation Ships--- Can we build one now?
    I thought you disliked strawman arguments. You're the one who mentioned fusion in the first place, and nobody's suggested that we shouldn't even discuss the topic. So then put forward an argument.
  • 10:56 PM - Umbran quoted MarkB in post Generation Ships--- Can we build one now?
    How so? The topic of discussion is "can we build generation ships yet?" If we're discussing exactly how far off we are from doing so, how can the basic technological requirements for making them a reality be off-topic? They aren't off topic. Much of the recent thread has focused on the sociological view of it, but the technological sphere is full of fair points. Broadly - no, we could not build such a ship at this moment. If nothing else, we don't currently have a drive system that would do the trick. We have started using small ion drives on occasional probes, but those aren't up to snuff for moving entire cities of people yet. And that's ab out what we see for a lot of the technologies and systems that we'd need. We have *started* on most of it, but so much is not yet mature technology. This, however, is a far cry from the situation when writers started considering generation ships. So, with a little more time and focused effort, reality could catch up.
  • 10:54 PM - Shasarak quoted MarkB in post Generation Ships--- Can we build one now?
    How so? The topic of discussion is "can we build generation ships yet?" If we're discussing exactly how far off we are from doing so, how can the basic technological requirements for making them a reality be off-topic? Discussing the basic technological requirements for making them a reality is not off topic. Trying to shut down the discussion because engineering a fusion reactor is "hard" is off topic in my opinion. Fusion power is not even some kind of fake science like talking about FtL drives. Complaining that we should not even discuss Generation ships because we have not developed Fusion power yet is ridiculous.
  • 09:21 PM - Shasarak quoted MarkB in post Generation Ships--- Can we build one now?
    Further than what? We're having a discussion, not citing sources. If we are just having a conversation then why do you need to ask for my qualifications? If you want to dismiss extremely difficult engineering challenges as just routine legwork, feel free. Considering that we already have to sort those extremely difficult engineering challenges before even creating the Generation ship it seems odd to worry that we have not solved those extremely difficult engineering challenges yet. Thats just a circular argument.
  • 01:08 AM - Shasarak quoted MarkB in post Generation Ships--- Can we build one now?
    Or maybe you have that statement exactly backwards. Are you qualified to tell? Yes, unless you have any further evidence.

Wednesday, 13th February, 2019

  • 11:32 PM - Shasarak quoted MarkB in post Generation Ships--- Can we build one now?
    If you want the later-launched supply ship to actually catch up with the generation ship, especially late into its voyage, then it can't simply accelerate to the generation ship's speed - it has to travel significantly faster in order to overhaul it. That means it's going to have to decelerate a lot once it gets close, and it can't use solar sails for that - it needs to use actual engines, engines which at that point will have been mothballed for centuries. That is a hard problem, even when compared with the generation ship itself. If you are an RPG geek then it is a hard problem. If you are a Rocket Scientist then its just a Tuesday.
  • 10:50 PM - Shasarak quoted MarkB in post Generation Ships--- Can we build one now?
    The generation ship also has humans on it to perform periodic maintenance and repairs. The supply ships have to survive for hundreds or thousands of years without that. If you're adding long-term high-gee acceleration, even the toughest mechanisms have their limits. If you can use solar sails to get the initial acceleration then all the ship would have to do is de accelerate and maneuver to match with the Generation ship. Thats not a hard problem compared to the Generation ship itself.
  • 01:55 AM - Shasarak quoted MarkB in post Generation Ships--- Can we build one now?
    The same could be said here and now on Earth, though. Given the effects of population growth, anyone having more than two children per couple is contributing to the misery and death of others. Yet plenty still do. Yes and yet we are holding up the ability to have as many children as you want as some kind of "right" rather then looking at it as a responsibility. Take China for example, they have had a one child policy in place for years so it is not as if humans can not do it. When it comes to the right to breed, people will not always act rationally. Going into an endeavour like this on the assumption that they will would be a recipe for disaster. Which is why if we were building a Generation ship that this is something that should be decided before it goes. Look, lets take something less controversial like driving a car. We dont have an inherent "right" to drive a car, you have to get a license first and then there are rules you have to follow or the license will be revoked. ...
  • 12:56 AM - Shasarak quoted MarkB in post Generation Ships--- Can we build one now?
    Maybe don't speak for everyone else in the thread? Ok that is true. Just because I have not seen it does not mean that there was some agreement, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Yes, there are issues which can be eased by having a larger population. But there are other issues that will be exacerbated. Aside from increasing the technological challenges involved in building a larger vessel, you run into the "Wall-E" issue mentioned earlier in the thread, where a large portion of the population have little or nothing to do, and doing nothing becomes ingrained over generations. There's also strong likelihood of creating societal stratification between the 'passengers' and crew. And not only that, there is strong evidence to support the belief that, like in the matrix, humans without something meaningful to do would rather burn the whole place down then live an idyllic lifestyle. And whether "slavery" is precisely the right word to use or not, almost any viable socia...

Saturday, 9th February, 2019

  • 09:13 PM - Dr. Bull quoted MarkB in post Pages From The Upcoming Nautical D&D Book!
    It's a barracks. What should it contain, 20+ apple turnovers? Mark B: Hilarious! I wonder what the Challenge Rating for 20+ apple turnovers might be? Do they get Lair Actions? Maybe the flaked crust can cause choking damage? Perhaps they spin attack (the feared Turnover Maneuver) and then spill molten apple on their victims? Could that cause continuous fire damage (1d4 rounds)? Seriously, though... From my old school days, a barracks full of enemies created a GREAT challenge for the players. A direct assault could easily result in a TPK. Do the PC's circumvent the threat? Lay an ambush? Create a distraction? BTW: The DM's Guild now offer U1 (The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh) as a print-on-demand. I just got it in the mail last week and the quality is excellent. It is truly a great adventure! I think the last time I ran that module was 1987... - Dr. Bull

Saturday, 2nd February, 2019

  • 10:54 PM - Baron Opal II quoted MarkB in post We learn more from failure...
    I've come across a home rule where a person gains 10 xp for each point of damage dealt, and 20 xp for each point of damage taken. AoE gains xp just for one target. Plus xp for loot and goals. It's a bit too fine for me, but I have adopted 100 xp per HD defeated, and 200 xp per level of character for the character when they are dropped to 0. It seems like such a system has some nasty positive-feedback loops in it which will ensure ever-increasing level disparity. Any character who is below the average party level will be able to deal out less damage per combat, and sustain less damage before dropping to zero hitpoints - and vice versa for anyone above the average party level. From what I'm told, there is a feedback loop, but to bring everyone up to the same level. And, since there is also xp for loot, you can give someone a boost by splitting the loot differently. So far, awarding xp by HD, it seems to work okay. As long as you rescue your more fragile friends it works out.

Thursday, 31st January, 2019

  • 11:09 PM - quoted MarkB in post Line Spells / Lightning Bolt
    They're both for the 5' wide line. They're illustrating that you can choose to fire it down the edge between two rows of squares, to maximise the number of targets, or down the middle of a row of squares, if you need to minimise collateral damage (i.e. if there are allies to either side of an opponent). I guess that is a matter of interpretation then. I see the one on the bottom left showing, clearly, a 10' wide effect. But I suppose it could go either way, since it doesn't state anywhere whether it represents a 5' wide line or 10' wide line.
  • 11:00 PM - ad_hoc quoted MarkB in post Line Spells / Lightning Bolt
    They're both for the 5' wide line. They're illustrating that you can choose to fire it down the edge between two rows of squares, to maximise the number of targets, or down the middle of a row of squares, if you need to minimise collateral damage (i.e. if there are allies to either side of an opponent). I can't find anywhere that it says that. I don't see why we would treat a 5' line as a 10' one, etc. Just treat a 5' line as a 5' line.

Wednesday, 30th January, 2019

  • 02:25 PM - pemerton quoted MarkB in post Introducing Complications Without Forcing Players to Play the "Mother May I?" Game
    Establish possible Avenues of Success with Identified Checks Points as well as Risks/Degrees of Failure (gang war, coerced into partnership or ongoing extortion, loss of influence, supplier sabotaged, customer base threatened, exposure and arrest...etc). Some will be known others not, whatever makes sense in the narrative. <snip? So at checkpoint 1 say, a Gang War is contained and the loss is some street muscle (minor setback). At checkpoint 2, the Gang War escalates in duration and violence resulting in innocents being injured and killed in the crossfire, resulting in a severe loss in street muscle (major setback) as well as a Complication (the party is called to investigate, not knowing one of their own is responsible for the event).It's not clear to me how this is avoiding "Mother May I", which seemed to be something that innerdude was worried about in the OP. Adding an NPC doesn't have to introduce obscurity, though. They can become a useful conduit to convey information.Re...


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