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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Today, 01:32 AM
    A work environment might be more or less formal, but that doesnít make being at work a literary endeavor. Likewise, an awareness of how best to effectively communicate when speaking with others can be useful, but it doesnít make conversation a literary endeavor. Personally, such a controlled approach to communication doesnít really work for me because Iím naturally careful in choosing what I say...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:08 PM
    But does any incremental improvement in the quality of the narrative whatsoever qualify the game as a literary endeavor? I don't think so. I think that for such improvements to qualify, they have to be made with the purpose of enhancing the formal, literary qualities of the descriptions and narrations in which they appear. There are many other reasons to make improvements to the narrative other...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:51 PM
    I do it all the time in normal conversation. If I'm describing something, I use my ordinary speech patterns and vocabulary to elaborate until I feel I've arrived at an adequate description. I try not to overthink how I'm using the language. Are you always aware of the formal quality of your everyday speech?
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:29 PM
    Material of low literary quality is clearly not what the OP is talking about when asking whether RPGing is a literary endeavor. This isn't in dispute. My contention is that the act of describing content is not a literary endeavor in the sense used by the OP. For it to be a literary endeavor in that sense would require that the quality of form, i.e. word choice, phrase and sentence...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:43 PM
    You can add all kinds of words to your description of a situation without any regard for its literary quality as a piece of narration.
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:35 PM
    I actually addressed this in my response to your post about dungeon dressing. You may have missed it since I didn't quote you, so I'll quote it here in full: I had actually wanted to respond to your post about what you mean by performance because, to me, it doesn't really talk about what I would call performance at all. I didn't respond at the time because I thought it might be a digression,...
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:35 PM
    Are you familiar with Posterazor? It may take a bit of fiddling to get each map to exactly 1" squares, but it does precisely what you want.
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:11 PM
    This is probably my favorite thing about 4e as well. The mechanics, the races, the classes, the characters, the monsters, and the cosmology are integrated into a cohsesive thematic whole by the its mythic lore. It still influences a lot about a number of my game worlds. And you can also tell that it influenced the world of Critical Role too.
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:19 AM
    So which class chassis did you use for the soulknife and wilder? I assume you used a fighter for the psychic warrior.
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:18 AM
    13th Age is probably one of the closest "kin systems" of 4E, being developed by the lead developers for both 3E and 4E. For Everyone: I also found a great Angry GM article where he reflects on 4E. He is critical in many places, but he is also incredibly open about the aspects he loved. Here is one part where he talks about the lore cohesion of 4E, which is something that I mentioned...
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  • Mark CMG's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:42 AM
    Steven Creech has passed. https://www.hshfuneralhome.com/notices/Steven-Creech https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-steve-creech-author-and-game-designer#/
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 09:18 PM
    I don't think adding a small number of words to "In the room are 2 orcs" necessarily makes describing a situation in an RPG a literary endeavor in the way that was intended by the OP. I don't think whether a player is interested in a particular situation is necessarily a matter of playstyle.
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 08:47 PM
    The choice isn't between narration of literary quality or dull narration. Narration can be both, or it can be neither. The things you describe are content. How the orcs and the hill look and what small actions the orcs are performing are color, which is a type of content that informs the mood. The fact that you're creating this content on the fly and adding it to the situation doesn't mean...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:32 PM
    I agree that the psion should be different from the wizard, but the argument becomes more challenging with other cases, especially with the idea of cramming all psionic archetypes into a singular mystic class. The psychic warrior, for example, fills an incredibly similar niche as the eldritch warrior. So it would be possible to put a psionic twist onto the fighter chassis to create the psychic...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:29 PM
    Please don't equate my "won't" (for the sake of the thread) for "can't". Okay. I apologize that I misread your tone. Yes, Sacrosanct, statements like this are an assumption about what I was meaning: Or this: Or rude dismissive comments like this: But nowhere here did you ask for me to support my claim when you initially responded. You launched into a rant assuming what I wrote while...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:07 PM
    You also assumed a lot about what I meant by my statement. Furthermore, you did not initially ask me anything when you launched into your assumptions. Being pulled into your game of "proving it" does not seem prudent for discourse in this thread especially not when you are being needlessly hostile.
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:50 PM
    I lobbed bombs at no one. It was not directed at anyone in particular. I only noted that the traces of the Edition War have taken on new forms in a lot of Warlord in 5E threads. I have not accused you of being one. I did not even name names. I don't even think that most of the debate, vitriol, or criticisms in the Warlord thread are from "4aters." I do think though that your response has been...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:38 PM
    In principle, I think it offers the same as any genre/setting-focused RPG. Burning Wheel makes it easier to play a pseudo-European game than a pseudo-Asian one. (And the designer even comments on this in the rulebook, noting that some lifepaths will probably have to be changed if the group wants an East Asian flavoured game.) That's a limitation of the game, but it also yields a sense of...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:34 PM
    You are assuming a lot here about the very little that I said. I would recommend not incensing yourself into a rage about your assumptions. My comment was not directed at you. If you are not a 4ater, then my comment would obviously not apply.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:28 PM
    I'd actually go the other way around - it seems most interesting if the issue is all about escaping from the gnolls. (I'm thinking of Captain Haddock in the boat the first time he meets Tintin, in Crab with the Golden Claws.) If the escape is being adjudicated as some sort of skill challenge or via some comparable structured resolution system (5e has some stuff like this for the exploration...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:21 PM
    Ah, OK - in that case I retract the criticism of your teachers! For the sort of writing that I do and teach, making decisions about paragraphing - as one component of making decisions about structure - is a fundamental skill. A doctrine about minimum or even typical length would be no help at all.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:14 PM
    When I GM I would say that talk similarly to how I would in an enthusiastic hobbyist-type context. Eg if I'd been to a film with a friend and was talking about it afterwards. Or if, at work, I wanted to tell someone what I enjoyed about a seminar I went to. So probably a bit more focused than a supermarket chat. But still conversation.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 02:59 PM
    I know these questions are intended as rhetorical, but if I treat them as literal then the answer is I don't know. The game seems to be 3e D&D (Scarred Lands), but who are the PCs? Who are the players? Do they have any reason to give a toss about the glutton Titan Gaurak?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 02:35 PM
    Then, without being too mean about it, you had crappy English teachers. I'm a published author (of non-fiction). A big part of my job is teaching students (UG and PG) how to write. My partner is a published author (non-fiction, some poetry) and a high school English teacher. Most of her job is teaching students how to write. This thread is the first I've heard of this five-paragraph...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 02:13 PM
    It's pretty tangential to the thread topic, but there is something strange about being schooled on the meaning and connotations of "literary" by someone who asserts such bizarre stuff about the process and structure of wrting.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 02:11 PM
    Huh? Says who? Here are the first three paragraphs of REH's The Scarelt Citadel (which was the first story I Googled, knowing that REH doesn't write in too long-winded a fashion): The roar of battle had died away; the shout of victory mingled with the cries of the dying. Like gay-hued leaves after an autumn storm, the fallen littered the plain; the sinking sun shimmered on burnished...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 10:09 AM
    This. But not so coincidentally, 5e Warlord threads are also what attract a lot of 4aters. Again pointing out how the Edition Wars have transitioned into the 5e era and the contrast between 4e fans and 4aters with 5e. I would not mind if WotC polished and more cohesively integrated what they have in 5e first: class, subclass and feat balance, ability checks (and skills), inspiration/bonds, and...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 09:56 AM
    I would not prefer using the spellbook wizard for the 3e Psion. It seems like the Sorcerer would be a more appropriate fit. :erm:
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 09:52 AM
    Bonuses beat flavour, but bonuses + flavour beats just bonuses.
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 09:49 AM
    I find in my Thule game, with a 1 week long rest in between expeditions, with the expeditions typically taking 1-4 weeks to reach the adventure site, it all works out very well. The PCs naturally tend to face 6-8 encounters between LRs, which gives the recommended class balance between SR and LR classes.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 06:12 AM
    Well, I did put it the other way round: the players don't find it interesting because, for them, it is not interesting/ Eg maybe the situation is something about kobolds on a hill, and the players (in general; today; because of the PCs they're playing; some combination of factors; etc) simply aren't engaged by that sort of situation. I don't know what a Vengaurak is. I know, therefore, that...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 05:00 AM
    By this you're meaning not just gendered roles/classes/playbooks, but sex-based stat penalties? My guess - from the discussion of Conan in the OP - is that CapnZapp wants the play experience that would result from gendered classes/playbooks, but (1) isn't too familar with a wide range of RPGs beyond a certain sort of D&D, and (2) has a certain sort of "simulationist" sensibility that leads to...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:33 AM
    OK. In that case I think it's fairly clear why two GMs might present the same situation with the same degree of clarity and at one table get buy-in while at the other table it falls flat. Or in other words, the answer to the question you posed here seems fairly straightforward: Those players who don't find it interesting are probably the ones for whom it is not interesting.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:28 AM
    CapnZapp didn't say that's how things are iRL. To the contrary, The phrase this world referst to the imagined world of the RPG, not real life. I doubt I would play the game that CapnZapp posits. I do play RPGs which, as part of their presentation of mediaeval life, note the significance of certain gender distinctions (Burning Wheel has some lifepaths that are women only; Prince Valiant has...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:02 AM
    To elaborate on my question, then: upthread Imaro seemed to assert, or at least very strongly imply, that whether or not a situation is interesting is a player-independent state of affairs. Do you agree? What do you think the GM should have regard to in coming up with situations? Lanefan, in other threads over many years, has posted that the GM should always author scenarios without regard to...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:54 AM
    Can I pick up on your example (bolded by me to call it out) and a possible risk in play? Not to denigrate the example, but to try to connect it into how I'm thinking about things. It seems to me that it is possible that the GM might narrate the koblds' drool and bloodshot eyes, hoping and intending to evoke a particular response and engagement from the players, only instead to trigger...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:22 AM
    I think there is another reason that books impose demands that are different from RPGing. The goal of a book (typically) is to evoke some sort of response in the reader in virtue of having read the book. This depends heavily on the craft of the narration, on its literary quality in the way the OP uses that phrase. Whereas the goal of a GM's narrration - I assert in the OP and reiterate here...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:07 AM
    It is very close to it. The notion of the craft of the narration is as good as any other way of putting it. For my part, the limitaion in what hawkeyefan says is the emphasis on clearly conveying the situation. I think this is important, but not sufficient. As per the OP, What matters to me is that the players feel the significance of the situations the GM describes - that they feel the...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 12:54 AM
    Curiosity peaked. Which three?
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 10:39 PM
    IME having 7 day LR (so no LR during adventure) Encourages the PCs to press on & complete mission Encourages PCs to avoid unnecessary fights Encourages packing potions of healing etc Encourages running away Generally encourages treating the dungeon as a real & threatening place rather than a theme park.
    51 replies | 1331 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 10:36 PM
    I use 7 day long rests. No LRs in dungeons. It greatly increases the excitement & tension when the PCs are exploring a dungeon deep in the wilderness.
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 10:29 PM
    You ain't from around here, are ya, stranger? :angel:
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 08:55 PM
    I'd say they both fit the usage of literary used in the OP because the work of both authors is literature "of the kind valued for quality of form", which is a standard definition of the word. Now, I think it's debatable whether playing an RPG is participating in literature (I'd say it probably is, but it would depend on your definition of literature and is beyond the scope of this thread), but I...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 07:59 PM
    I think a setting where sexual dimorphism in PC stats works is King Arthur Pendragon, since it is emulating Arthurian fantasy.
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 07:56 PM
    It does not make much sense to have stat mods by sex in Conan - it would disadvantage playing Belit Valeria or Red Sonja type PCs. OGL Conan used stat mods by race. It worked ok but as a part-Celt I resent Cimmerians receiving an INT penalty! :)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 07:38 PM
    City book - I prefer the original CSIO to the 3e version, whereas the 3e WoHF is much better than 0e IMO. Adventures - most are too high level. Good ones include Caverns of Thracia, the Ilhiedrin Book and Lost Man's Trail. Dyson Logos' stuff also fits great in Wilderlands. And you need encounter tables, the 5e ones in XGTE work well. I have also used the old White Dwarf adventures The...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 07:35 PM
    I use the 3e WoHF box plus the Player's Guide for map and flavour, been running it many years - still great. :)
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 07:09 PM
    I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at, but bad presentation doesn't necessarily follow from not prioritizing quality of form in presentation.
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 05:12 PM
    No one is arguing for dull descriptions. The fact that situations must be described has also been noted in the OP and elsewhere. None of this suggests to me, however, that descriptions of content in an RPG must be of a literary quality for the players to be interested in the game's premise and situations, which is, I think, a common goal of RPG play. How does describing an uninteresting...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 04:53 PM
    No, I didn't. I said that provided sufficient clarity in its presentation, a situation would be found interesting or not based on its own merits. That puts the blame for lack of interest squarely on the situation, not the presentation. No, it's more that when faced with an uninteresting situation, I doubt that any amount of *showmanship* is going to trick the players into thinking the...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 04:32 PM
    Well, here's Maxperson's last post: From this, it seems that what you and Maxperson mean by presenting a situation well enough is that the situation is described. I agree that description is necessary, but I fail to see how merely describing a situation makes the formal qualities of that description the focus of the activity. What some players find interesting, other players will...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 02:15 PM
    I started the thread. Hussar is free to say what he likes about the dependence of much RPGing on the logic of genres (it's something I myself have been posting about for maybe 10+ years on these boards). But those things don't rebut the claim in the OP, which is pretty clear: I don't think Hussar has inadvertantely taken that for a claim that genre plays no role in RPGing. And your...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 12:00 PM
    Having a Psion class is a good call. I agree with CapnZapp that a lot of past psionic archetypes could easily be ported to subclasses of preexisting classes: * Psychic Warrior: Fighter Subclass * Soul Knife: Monk or Rogue Subclass * Wilder: Sorcerer Subclass * Ardent: Bard or Cleric Subclass
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 11:53 AM
    I voted for 4E. My foray into D&D technically began with me trying to figure out "whiskey tango foxtot is going on?" during two final sessions of 2E before the group planned on switching to 3E which would soon release. So 3E was really my actual first D&D system. It was new and fun, and I have probably played more games using 3E's d20 skeleton than any other system. So I have a lot of...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 11:18 AM
    This is fine if, by literary endeavour, you means an activity that deploys and/or relies upon some devices used in literary composition. But that's not what the OP meant, and I think it is fairly clear what the OP did mean: quality of composition, with particular reference to the narration and descriptions used by the GM. Using genre tropes and policing genre boundaries doesn't really bear...
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  • MoonSong's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 03:09 AM
    Can't decide if its 2e or 3.5. To me 2e will always have a mystique that nothing can compare with. If it had the sorcerer it would be perfect to me. On the other hand 3.5 is the whole opposite, it has the sorcerer and I feel comfortable with it.
    161 replies | 4739 view(s)
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 02:33 AM
    I think it has to do with the Basic line having developed from the original game along a separate trajectory from the Advanced line. Personally, Iíd lump Holmes Basic in with OD&D as pretty much a restatement of the original gameís first three levels with only a handful of tacked on innovations. But Moldvay Basic, while it used Holmes as a point of departure, was a new game unto itself. I think...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 10:43 PM
    Iím not sure what you mean by ďwell enoughĒ. Iím claiming that as long as the situation is clearly understood by the players, which is an issue with communication, not with quality of form/literary merit, and it fails to interest them nevertheless, that focusing on the artistry of its presentation is unlikely to generate the desired interest in the situation and is more likely to resemble some...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 03:27 PM
    Why not CON? Like other stamina-related feats.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 03:23 PM
    This is highly contingent on (i) system and (ii) ingame situation. To give one example, based on Burning Wheel: I stride down the hall sounds like a Conspicuous test, while I move cautiously down the hall looking carefully for anything out of place looks like a Perception check, perhaps also Stealth and/or Inconspicuous. In Prince Valiant the first might be a check on Presence, the second on...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 08:48 AM
    Went with 1e as the definitive edition. For actual play I prefer Swords & Wizardry, an ODnD clone. Interesting how different these results are from what is recorded as being played out in the wild, where BX clones are popular and 2e and 4e are unloved.
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 04:23 AM
    You said the group wasnít interested in engaging with the situations. That sounds to me like the group thinks your situations are uninteresting. Just replace ďflowery language ď with ďquality of formĒ. Isnít that what youíre arguing for?
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 03:50 AM
    If the problem is that the situations arenít interesting, then I think the solution is to use more interesting situations, not more flowery descriptions of uninteresting situations! You need eggs and milk to make cake batter. You donít need flowery language to play an rpg.
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 02:09 AM
    Or, alternatively, and still well within the bounds of HP as explained by Mr. Gygax, this particular giant, while just as tough as other giants, simply lacks the connections to fate and luck needed to avoid a particularly skilled thrust made by a dwarf fighter with his trusty bastard sword on the rd of Crackrock in the Forest of Grin, land of Kinergh. It is really that simple. And when we are...
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  • DMZ2112's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 09:43 PM
    Thanks for bringing me up to speed. I'll, uh, just be over here in the corner crying quiet tears of joy.
    48 replies | 3098 view(s)
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 08:08 PM
    All things being equal, thereís nothing wrong with well crafted narration. Thatís not the point. The point is rpg groups donít get together to listen to flowery descriptions of the contents of rooms. Thatís what poetry recitals are for. They get together to engage, as their characters, with the situations presented in the game. Any literary quality possessed by that presentation is in service and...
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  • DMZ2112's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 05:24 PM
    I want nothing more than to just shut up and applaud. It is nice to see this sidebar any time it turns up. It is nice to see Greyhawk as the "default" rather than one of the "options." But my question is this: what does the rest of the book say on the topic? Does it actually matter? Does the lore of the sourcebook reflect this choice, or is it all just sandpapered down to generic fantasy?...
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  • DMZ2112's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 04:05 PM
    Daniel Horne -- 18 Keith Parkinson -- 22 Jeff Easley -- 25 Larry Elmore -- 12 Clyde Caldwell -- 19 David Trampier -- 20 "NO MORE CHOCOLATE OR NO MORE HUGS?" "What? I don't know, I--"
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  • DMZ2112's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 03:51 PM
    The thing I find most compelling about D&D5 is the fact that anytime I sit down with the books to do campaign planning, I am reminded in a flood of all the things it does not do that D&D4 did, or that D&D3 did, or that Pathfinder does, or that AD&D2 did... ...but when I sit down at the table with my players and the session begins, none of that matters. What I miss the most is...
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  • DMZ2112's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 03:22 PM
    Gyor necro'd this thread after four years, so I feel justified in re-necroing it after only six months. :) It is apparently still serving its purpose. I feel like, by Planescape's own rules, if the Greek gods did this and were successful, Carceri and Gehenna would flip, or at least Carceri would move to the opposite side of the Grey Wastes. We see this phenomenon initated by mortals --...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 11:30 AM
    S'mon replied to Firearms
    The genre convention is that people who get hit fall over. Very unlike DnD.
    157 replies | 4409 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 11:27 AM
    S'mon replied to Firearms
    High velocity wounds tear rather than cut, and are much more deadly than knife or arrow wounds. It is a myth that bullets don't do much damage. A small bullet wound is a good bit deadlier than a large knife wound. You can compare injury to death rates on eg crime stat reports. Mind you, even most bullet wounds are not immediately fatal.
    157 replies | 4409 view(s)
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  • steenan's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 08:40 AM
    I'm not against making some character concepts gender-specific. But I'm definitely against making some character concepts legal, but painfully suboptimal. It wastes time for players who need to filter out such options and is a trap for these who start with a concept and don't notice in time that it doesn't work. The alternative is making restrictions hard and explicit. In a PbtA setup, you...
    104 replies | 2270 view(s)
    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 07:48 AM
    I use Pathfinder AP parts 5 and 6 and sub in 5e monsters or convert. Works well even at 20th.
    9 replies | 432 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Hriston's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 04:41 AM
    Because color (dungeon dressing) is content that provides atmosphere when imagined by the participants at the table. The quality of form with which itís expressed isnít whatís important but rather whether the odors, noises, furnishings, and items found in an area suggest a torture chamber, a harem, or a wizardís laboratory. In other words, itís the actual content that matters, not the particular...
    561 replies | 10864 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 11:52 AM
    Notice that you've got three different action declarations here. Two of them are contrasting: * Grgur walks down the hallway, be cautious and looking carefully to see if anything is out of place. * Grugr strides down the hallway. And one is less specific: * Grugr moves down the hallway.
    561 replies | 10864 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 11:47 AM
    Not at all. Imaro is the person who introduced clarity as a desideratum. My point was that clarity is not really connected to literary quality, and pointed to instructions as an example. If you agree that instructions don't typically display literary quality, then I think you should agree that - to the extent that clarity matters in RPGing - then that doesn't really bear on the issues...
    561 replies | 10864 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 11:24 AM
    Thanks for the heads up - I've deleted the stray material in that post. As per the OP, it came from multiple recent threads. One was the boxed text thread. Another was the action declaration thread ("DC to know a NPC is telling the truth"). In that second thread, there were some posters who seemed to equate describing a PC's action as a component of action declaration with a florid or literary...
    561 replies | 10864 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 12:46 AM
    People spend millions of dollars painting buildings, too. That doesn't show that painting buildings is per se an artistic endeavour - maybe it is (if we're painting St Peters), maybe it's not (if we're painting a block of flats to protect the exterior against the weather). I'm a published author in a natural language based but technical discipline. (Or in fact two such disciplines: law and...
    561 replies | 10864 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 12:41 AM
    A complication for me in responding to Lanefan's question is what is the story which is not progressing?
    561 replies | 10864 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 12:36 AM
    Yes. This is my point, so I'm not sure why you frame this as disagreeing with me. But this is exactly what I'm talking about. As I posted I think in my last reply to you, I don't understand what role you think action declaration and the distinctive player role in a RPG are doing. As you describe it, it would make no difference if everyone was working through a rough script but improving the...
    561 replies | 10864 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 12:30 AM
    That's actually not what the OP says. Colour, obviously, is fundamental to heaps of RPGing. (Maybe not some classic dungeoncrawling.) I don't think the word "colour" appears in the OP. The OP does say RPGing requires narration: GMs describe situations - that narration and description will involve colour. My claim is about the focus of, and foundation of, emotional engagement in RPGing. As...
    561 replies | 10864 view(s)
    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 08:44 PM
    Oh definitely. If you have the materials you can make the product (if you have the skill).
    129 replies | 5112 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 02:42 PM
    I think that Choose Your Own Adventure books and boardgames are not very satisfactory vehicles for participating in a situation. Their structured natures make them relatively poor vehicles for protagonism. Video games I can't comment on. And I'm not denying that there are people who enjoy RPGs because they are entertained by performances or give entertaining performances. I'm denying that...
    561 replies | 10864 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 02:39 PM
    Really? That's a surprise to me. When I read a letter from a family member I'm not really worried about the spelling or puncutation, let alone it's literary merit.
    561 replies | 10864 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 02:30 PM
    It's not my distinction, actually. I never used the word content. That's Hussar's word. Hussar has suggested that I am eschewing description, but here's the OP: My point in this thread has been consistent: that what is distinctive about RPGing is that it engages by way of participation in situation, not performance to an audience. I don't think it's that hard to understand, whether...
    561 replies | 10864 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 02:21 PM
    The point is simple: a novel probably won't move you if it's poorly written. A letter from a family member is likely to move you regardless of how it's written. RPGing is more like the latter than the former. It's about moving people through shared engagement with an imagined situation, not entertaining people by performing for them.
    561 replies | 10864 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 02:18 PM
    No.
    67 replies | 2445 view(s)
    1 XP
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Tuesday, 21st May, 2019

  • 11:07 PM - Hussar mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    The choice isn't between narration of literary quality or dull narration. Narration can be both, or it can be neither. The things you describe are content. How the orcs and the hill look and what small actions the orcs are performing are color, which is a type of content that informs the mood. The fact that you're creating this content on the fly and adding it to the situation doesn't mean it isn't content. How you describe it and whether your description has formal quality is orthogonal to what you describe. I'd assumed you were responding to the part of my post you quoted. I said you didn't need to use flowery language to play an RPG. You responded that you've played in games that were dull and boring. If you didn't mean that games without flowery language are dull and boring, then I don't know what you mean. Hang on. I got taken to task by pemerton not too long ago for including all these things on conveying dwarfiness at the table and got told it wasnít content. It was in fact pointless color that adds nothing to the game. So which is it?

Monday, 20th May, 2019

  • 02:56 PM - hawkeyefan mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    The definition of literary rebuts the OP all by itself. You can't just redefine things to suit your whims. You can't derail something that is already off the rails and has been since the OP. ;) Itís been clarified again and again. Heís talking about the quality of the presentation. The literary quality of a GMís narration isnít as important as the content of the narration. Thatís pemertonís claim. Heís clarified it again and again, and done so specifically in reply to you. If you think the thread is off the rails, then why not help get it back on track? Why continue to rail on about his choice of word rather than the meaning of what heís saying, which has been made clear? I donít think that RPGs are without literary merit. I donít think they cannot contain literary quality. But the insistence that they must contain a certain level of quality in that regard is absurd.
  • 07:02 AM - Hussar mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    pemerton - perhaps I missed it, but, the point I brought up about using literary techniques, IMO, does speak strongly to the notion that we do need "literary qualities" in an RPG. Without trope, theme, character, and the like, an RPG is simply a really complex board game. All of these aspects, all of these literary techniques, be it clarity of explanation, foreshadowing (which, Bedrockgames, I accept that you do not use, but are present in MANY modules), pathetic fallacies, language to evoke tone and mood, the use of in medias res techniques. Flashbacks. Since we're going to start quoting from esoteric RPG's that virtually no one plays, I've played 3:16 Carnage Beyond the Stars which uses flashback as a major element of the game. Never minding games like Amber Diceless and the like which force the players to use language to define in game events. Heck, even the notion of Aspects as a driving feature of play (from FATE, or the like) is drawn straight from literary techniques and improv t...

Friday, 17th May, 2019

  • 02:53 PM - uzirath mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    For these purposes it doesn't matter. The session consists of the characters sitting on a ship, or around a campfire or at some other uninterrupted down-ish-time, just carrying on a conversation that's all done via in-character role-play at the table. This conversation could reference stuff the characters have already done/met in the established fiction (i.e. they're telling war stories from past adventures), or could reference their backgrounds and histories ("so how did you end up here anyway?"), or their outlooks toward things ("if the Duke upped his taxes by half, would you pay them?" "When you raid a village of Orcs, do you kill the young?") - whatever, as long as they're talking in character. Thanks for this clarification (I had a similar question to pemerton). I would have been a solid 10 for this in my gaming years in high school, college, and in my twenties. Now, in my forties, time is at more of a premium and gaming is more infrequent, so I do like to see the plot moving. But I'd still likely be at a 7-8. I do love it when role-playing happens during a game for no purpose other than to have a good time exploring our characters. My only hesitation is that I often find that this works best when it arises spontaneously. I'm less interested in the idea of everyone doing their homework and then sharing the cool stories they created than I am in spontaneously generated material in response to unexpected questions and prompts.
  • 12:30 AM - Hussar mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    ..., with identical words, written by a complete stranger likely won't engender any emotional response. Since I don't play with family members, it's very unlikely that my friend will engender an emotional response simply because they are my friend. The will, however, engender an emotional response through various techniques - ie. how they present. And, of course, this ignores the various literary techniques used in an RPG - one doesn't foreshadow in a conversation, for example. One rarely has enough control over reality to use pathetic fallacies (the weather or the environment matches tone and mood). And a host of other literary techniques that we use when crafting scenarios in order to convey mood and tension. So, no. An RPG is not like writing a letter to a family member, nor is it akin to conversation. Playing an RPG is far, far closer to an improv performance where the players (including the GM) use various techniques to convey feeling, tone and mood - all those things pemerton writes off as non-sequiturs since, apparently, it's only important if it's tied to mechanics. Now, where Bedrockgames is wrong is that he's insisting that I'm saying that there are better and worse ways to present. That's not true. Every table will have to make a choice as to how that information is presented. And, hopefully, the table will come to some sort of consensus on how that information is conveyed. Granted, I prefer a particular style, but, that doesn't make it better. But, at some point, that table will have to figure out what presentation style works for that table.

Wednesday, 15th May, 2019

  • 07:02 AM - Hussar mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Again, I wasn't objecting to presentation mattering. I was objecting to presentation being framed as your preferred playstyle. And I was questioning the importance of dividing gaming into content and presentation. I could not see the utility of this distinction. See, I think we're talking past each other. Presentation is simply the manner in which you convey information from the DM to the players (or vice versa). Presentation can be full on thespianism or bare bones minimalism, but, in any case, it's still presentation. You and pemerton, for some reason seem to be stuck on this idea that presentation needs to be speaking in funny voices. It's not. Presentation is the how, content is the what. Now, your preferred presentation style and my preferred presentation style might be different, sure, but, we both still HAVE a presentation style. The notion that you can convey content without any presentation style at all or that how you convey that information doesn't matter is proven false by your own statement that presenting one way will cause you to hate the game while presenting the exact same information another way will cause you to like the game. So, in the end, the content isn't the only reason you enjoy the game. The presentation matters just as much. Which is why we're making the distinction. The content might be 5 orcs in a 20x20 room that attack on sight. The presentation of that encounter can vary greatly from bare bones to florid, purple prose, full on thespianism. How you choose to present that ...
  • 12:00 AM - Hussar mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    You can ridicule my post all you want Lowkey13, but I am just responding to the fact that 'performance' has been attached to clear playstyle preferences in this discussion (and those preferences are being positioned as better or more in keeping with the purpose of an RPG than other preference). If people want a real discussion about gaming terminology and analysis, I think it is difficult to do so when personal preferences and peeves are being put front and center into the language of the debate. Umm nope? I pretty clearly defined performance as being anything that is not content. Others amended that to be presentation, which, in hindsight is probably a better way of saying things. pemerton has pretty strongly argued that presentation is not very important and that content is all that really matters. That the scenario regardless of how that scenario is communicated to the players is the most important thing at the table. Iíd argue that presentation is equally important and you prove my point. A dm who presents information one way would make you enjoy the game less than if he or she presented a different way. Even though they are presenting exactly the same information. Seems to me that presentation or performance is extremely important. Equally as important as content since content alone isnít enough for you to enjoy the game.

Sunday, 12th May, 2019

  • 06:10 AM - Hussar mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    I think we play in very different ways for very different reasons. I feel like I am addressing the points you raise Hussar. I don't think participating in the conversation means I have to either accept new terminology or offer new terminology of my own. Without a common framework of language, all we are doing is talking past one another. I'd hardly call defining content vs performance as "new terminology". It's using the words pretty much as they come out of the dictionary. I do not see why this distinction is important or useful to make. And I do not see how it ties to Permorton's original claim about the non-literary nature of RPGs. What I do think is the word performance naturally suggests a lot of things you value in a GM that I don't. A little context. This thread spawned out of a discussion about boxed text in modules. pemerton argues that the boxed text is pointless since all you need is the basic elements of the situation in order to have a good game. You are getting hung up on the word "literary" and well, we've moved past that since, even in the early parts of this thread, pemerton agreed that "literary" was the wrong word. It's not like performance has any positive or negative connotations at all. It doesn't. It's pretty much as neutral of a word as content. So, can we at least agree that how you present information to your players is as important as what you present to your players? Or, do you take pemerton's stance that how you present this information doesn't matter in the slightest. It's completely unimportant how you present the information, so long as you get the information into the player's hands. That's the basic elements of this discussion. What information you impart to your players = content. How you impart that information to your players = performance. Is that clear...
  • 01:57 AM - Hussar mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    I understand that. But specific things are being advanced as important under the heading of "performance" and a lot of them are things I don't think are particularly important, and in some cases even find misguided as ideals in GMing. It could be there is some speaking past each other here. Yeah, that typically happens when folks can't agree on working definitions. Yup, some of the things that are included in "performance" might not be important at your table. Cool. But, that doesn't follow that performance isn's important. It's not like speaking in the 3rd person suddenly removes the "performance" aspect or speaking in 1st person is necessary for performance. Go back a page or so, and I lay out exactly what we're discussing. Since no one seems to disagree with those definitions, let's use those, please? pemerton laid out a bare bones writeup of his session in Evard's tower. To me, I'd be so checked out of that game that I might as well be asleep. No exposition, no description? The tower isn't even important and is completely unremarkable, to the point where Pemerton cannot even remember what it looked like? No thanks. To me, that's a terrible game. I would strongly advise DM's/GM's NOT to do that. The situation was interesting, the setup was great. The execution was a complete snore fest, at least, judging by that writeup.

Thursday, 9th May, 2019

  • 11:43 PM - Imaro mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    I honestly am not sure what you are saying He's clarifying how pemerton is using "literary" in the context of this thread.
  • 03:04 PM - lowkey13 mentioned pemerton in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    You know, I keep thinking about this topic (WHY, GOD, WHY?) and I'm remembering the example pemerton used a while back. I think it was him. Anyway, apparently it resonated, and I thought I'd use it again to be helpful (I can't find it, so if I've misunderstood or misconstrued it in some way, I apologize): I believe the setup was that it was a sci-fi or space game (maybe Traveler?), but that's not really important. The important thing that I remember is that the players were trapped in a room with no independent air supply. That's the setup. The problem: there was nothing in the rules to account for this. I mean, we all "know" (from science, from movies, from general knowledge) that a room without air, with people in it that need air, will run out of said air. Thus killing people inside of that room. The issue: Without rules to handle that situation, what do you do? Now, if I recall correctly, the DM borrowed rules (or made up some) for this situation, and there were players at the table who didn't like those rules because they didn't accurately reflect what would really ha...
  • 10:51 AM - Lanefan mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    One, your individual play experiences with your group of 20+ years does not translate into universal play. This is the usual, "An anecdote is not data." (Technically, an anecdote can be a datum, but you know what I mean). Heck, my play experiences with my old group (aka, grognards) is decidedly different than when I DM to teach kids. Second, you usually reference games that are ... well, not universally played or known (often indie games). There is nothing wrong with that, but given your frames of references are usually IIRC Prince Valiant, BiTD, and now Cthulhu Dark ... In fairness, pemerton also sometimes references 4e D&D and - a bit less often - Moldvay Basic D&D; both of which were a fair bit closer to the mainstream in their day. That said, I'm not sure he runs/ran either system entirely as written (but then, do any of us?) preferring instead to overlay a story-now aesthetic on them. Also, if memory serves he's more into Burning Wheel than BitD, but I could be wrong on this one.

Wednesday, 8th May, 2019

  • 06:04 PM - Tony Vargas mentioned pemerton in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    My position is that the rules are like the directions of a recipe. Every seen a recipe that says "add ______ to taste?" Sure, 5e is like a recipe - one where every ingredient is "to taste." If you don't follow them, you may get a different result than the recipe intended. Whether that's good or bad is a matter of taste. That's all. I follow the recipe and the result is something I find enjoyable enough to keep doing. Others may not. You follow your interpretation of the recipe, to your taste. Unless it blows up on you, it'd be unfair of someone else to say that you're doing it wrong. Grant others the same courtesy, rather than claiming you have a lock on the One True RaW. I don't see how "The DM narrates the results of the adventurers' actions" is anything other than absolutely clear. You're seeing it in pemerton's posts, among others. Describing the results of an action can include narrating what a character thinks, decides, does or feels - or not, depending on your interpretation. I agree. But I also think that pemerton has asserted as much upthread, if I remember correctly. I can go look for the post if my recollection is disputed. I suspect it may have been more along the lines of experience with past editions can't be entirely set aside or compartmentalized when learning a new edition. I went so far as to say it'd be very helpful. I doubt anyone really claimed that 5e is impossible for new players to learn. If all this stuff of serious concern to you? Or is it just philosophical debate for the point of...well, philosophical debate? IIRC, pemerton is an actual philosopher, like IRL. Or am I miss-remembering? I'm not "smearing" anything - I'm enquiring about a particular aspect of the environment (namely, equipment) and who has principal authority over it. Play...
  • 05:34 PM - lowkey13 mentioned pemerton in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...der stood on an even piece of ground facing off against some Celtic irregular warriors, guess what would happen about 99.9% of the time? You can produce this sort of outcome pretty reasonably in Chain Mail, and it can be run in a fair amount of time. Note, however, that Chain Mail does recommend (I don't think they demand it as a necessity) that there be a referee, who would likely adjudicate things not explicitly covered in the rules (IE decide what the effects of heavy rain might be on some archers). D&D obviously evolved from this, as we know, but the areas which it covers are much more diverse and this is probably why Gygax puts 'realism' in quotes when talking about D&D. Not because he is using a different definition, but because he simply has different goals and depicting heroic fantasy adventure doesn't need to be realistic in the same way that Chain Mail does. So, I mostly agree with this, which is why I have brought this up several times (and why I can't understand pemerton 's reference to playing rolemaster since 1990). But let's really unpack this. I mean, we start with the classic Brownstone (Braunstein)/Blackmoor/Greyhawk (heh, colors are awesome!). I won't presume to lecture you on the history I am sure you already know, but suffice to say that we start with a background of actual wargaming that kinda/sorta morphed into TTRPGS (Wesley as the first referee/DM and Brownstone) to a player then taking it and morphing it even more, using adapted chainmail rules (Arneson to Blackmoor) to it then being morphed even more and codified into OD&D by Gygax (and Arneson) (Greyhawk). OKAY ... but going back, what happened with Wesley? Well, he thought all of this fireballs and dragons and what-not was total BS; he was a WARGAMER and wargamers believed in things that are REAL; you know, learning about and recreating history! REALISM. None of this namby-pamby hobbits and balrogs and faeries stuff. C'mon, as if a self-respecting Kriegsspiel player would have e...
  • 03:43 AM - Elfcrusher mentioned pemerton in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    But you haven't answered the underlying question. Does Francis the Guard exist? Can the player track them down in that town, now that they have pulled that from their backstory? I'll try to answer that, and maybe this will help pemerton, too, who keeps trying to get me to define this boundary. Francis the Guard exists if that suits my purpose. He exists only in the player's imagination otherwise. Or he died. Or maybe he does exist, but this isn't Francis. As iserith points out, the player has absolute control over the character's thoughts and beliefs, and the DM has absolute control over the environment. Both may cede some of that authority if they want, but that is going outside the rules. Now, I think your question (and maybe pemerton's...I may be wrong) is really asking the question of how you define a clear boundary, to prevent players from trying to grab too much of the DM's authority. That what's needed is some kind of clear rule, that can't be debated or refuted, right? No. Wrong. This isn't a problem of unclear rules. This is a problem of players sometimes being jerkwads, and I don't need rules to protect my games against jerkwads. I have a door for that. I also don't need rules to prote...

Tuesday, 7th May, 2019

  • 03:06 AM - Maxperson mentioned pemerton in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    And EGG notably refers to the entire realism matter as "an absurd effort at best considering the topic!" while engaging the matter. His position is comparable to the position many of us here also have: it's an inherently absurd, futile effort. So it sounds as if EGG did not really think that realism was something that could be feasibly modeled in the game, and he even puts 'realistic' in quotes with a tinge of irony. His position is not one that either you or pemerton. Gygax came from Wargaming where realism meant get as close to reality as possible. Realism no longer means what he was talking about with that statement, and if you actually read 1e and 2e, he supports realism as it means today all over the place. Gygax with how he designed his games actually supports my position far more than he supports yours. And what remains unresolved: how the frak do you objectively compare the modeling of realism between games? Let's imagine that all else being equal, what is more realistic? A D&D 5E that has its longsword do d8 damage or a D&D 5E that has its longsword do a d10 damage? That's easy. It's d8. Size matters for damage in D&D, and d10 is for larger weapons than a longsword. Glaives, halberds, pikes, and heavy crossbows(which hit with more force than a longsword). So in the damage system that D&D has utilized since the early days, d8 is more realistic than d10 for longswords

Monday, 6th May, 2019

  • 02:25 PM - Aldarc mentioned pemerton in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    There is. Any time your model brings in something from the real world and attempts to model the real world to some degree, realism has increased, even if the model is still highly unrealistic. The real world connection and modeling must have greater realism than having nothing at all, because nothing = 0 and you have at least something greater than 0 with those connections. This seems like circular reasoning, Max. You assert something as being self-evident, namely in the bold. When asked for clarification or support for that thesis, you just repeat the thesis again as if it were objective truth. This sort of circular reasoning is the primary point of disconnect and frustration that I suspect many of us are having with your argumentation.Requoting this point for Max, hopefully adding to the point that pemerton made. If you are arguing that realism has increased in any objective sense, then you need to demonstrate how beyond simply repeating that point. I don't think that "someone will put it into a game" should be equated to mean "realism has increased." To rephrase my point above, it seems to some of us that you, Max, are asserting that X > 0, this is to say that any value of "realism" supplied by a Model (X) is inherently greater than 0 (i.e., no model). The problem is that you have not really demonstrated that X >= 0. It has been more of a circular assumption that X >= 1, ergo 1+ > 0 rather than demonstrating any actual proof of the value of X. Moreover this argument does not take into account multiple mechanical attempts to model reality. How does one comparatively measure the modeling of a realistic phenomenom between systems? To the best of my recollection, this query remains unaddressed.

Friday, 3rd May, 2019

  • 03:39 PM - darkbard mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Here is the original, framing statement: RPGing requires narration: GMs describe situations, and players declare actions for their PCs that respond to those situations. But I don't think the literary quality of that narration is important. If we had started with a quote that said "I think the content of an RPG game is less important than the presentation of it" this thread would have lasted a day at most. Everyone agrees, we move on. But that is not the premise; the thread clearly states that the literary quality is not important. Your collection of quotes is helpful though -- thanks! It does suggest that we have moved the goal posts enough so that we can close in agreement. The OP now believe that is is important, just not as important as content. That seems fair enough to me, so I guess we are good! I think you may be mistaking the premise of this thread. pemerton began it, I believe, to foster discussion and analysis, not to solve something and provide closure.
  • 02:53 PM - GrahamWills mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    I've been idly following this thread and, although I don't wholly agree with the premise that RPGs are not literary, it doesn't seem to me that @pemerton is denying that delivery has an important role to play. He's simply demoting it from first place. Here are a few quotes... Here is the original, framing statement: RPGing requires narration: GMs describe situations, and players declare actions for their PCs that respond to those situations. But I don't think the literary quality of that narration is important. If we had started with a quote that said "I think the content of an RPG game is less important than the presentation of it" this thread would have lasted a day at most. Everyone agrees, we move on. But that is not the premise; the thread clearly states that the literary quality is not important. Your collection of quotes is helpful though -- thanks! It does suggest that we have moved the goal posts enough so that we can close in agreement. The OP now believe that is is important, just not as important as content. That seems fair enough to me, so I guess we are good!

Thursday, 2nd May, 2019

  • 09:23 PM - uzirath mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    It seems an odd position to me that, in an endeavor where the main activity is describing things (what your character is doing, what the world is like, what is going on) someone can take the position that the quality of presentation of that description is pretty much irrelevant. . . . It's a reasonable position to say that the content is MORE important than the delivery, sure. But saying that it is unimportant doesn't seem terribly reasonable. I've been idly following this thread and, although I don't wholly agree with the premise that RPGs are not literary, it doesn't seem to me that pemerton is denying that delivery has an important role to play. He's simply demoting it from first place. Here are a few quotes from posts that I recall: I don't see RPGing as primarily performance (in the artistic sense). Not for the GM - of course a melifluous GM can provide entertainment, but I don't see that as core. And likewise on the player side - thespianism is (in my view) secondary, whereas engaging the fiction from the position/perspective of the character is absolutely central. The player is invited to adopt the perspective of the PC, and from that perspective to make a choice. This is a completely different form of engagement. . . . My view is that when we think about things from the point of view of RPGing, this common invitation to engagement is much more important than the issue of which has more literary merit. A GM who can't control his/her words at all is going to have trouble wrapping up a scene, or cutting to the next situation, in a smooth way; but I think the...


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Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019

  • 12:23 PM - Bedrockgames quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    When I GM I would say that talk similarly to how I would in an enthusiastic hobbyist-type context. Eg if I'd been to a film with a friend and was talking about it afterwards. Or if, at work, I wanted to tell someone what I enjoyed about a seminar I went to. So probably a bit more focused than a supermarket chat. But still conversation. Yes, I think there is definitely more focus, and obviously a supermarket chat could be less durable. My point was really that I just speak in the same manner. When I am talking to a friend at the supermarket, I am not trying to impress them with my words (though I will admit to occasionally trying to impress with the content). Same with gaming. I am not putting on a show or speaking in a way that is different from how I always speak.
  • 12:21 PM - Bedrockgames quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Ah, OK - in that case I retract the criticism of your teachers! For the sort of writing that I do and teach, making decisions about paragraphing - as one component of making decisions about structure - is a fundamental skill. A doctrine about minimum or even typical length would be no help at all. I am seeing posts by other Americans suggesting they were given a 3-8 sentence guideline in school. I never encountered this so I don't know its purpose. America varies tremendously from state to state and from school district to school district so it may just be a regional thing. One thing I noticed for example living on different coasts was there were strikingly different attitudes on things like the importance of style (some places treat style as rules, and others are more flexible). But personally I am in agreement. I think the worst thing you can do is teach kids paragraphs have some kind of minimum sentence requirement (okay there are probably worse things to teach kids about English, but ...
  • 12:11 PM - Aldarc quoted pemerton in post Name ONE favourite thing about your favourite edition
    My favourite edition is 4e. The one thing I will choose for this thread is the integration of PC build, monsters and mythic history: so the default of the game is the PCs engaging with and transforming the fundamental cosmology of the game. It's the Glorantha-isation of D&D!This is probably my favorite thing about 4e as well. The mechanics, the races, the classes, the characters, the monsters, and the cosmology are integrated into a cohsesive thematic whole by the its mythic lore. It still influences a lot about a number of my game worlds. And you can also tell that it influenced the world of Critical Role too.

Tuesday, 21st May, 2019

  • 11:02 PM - Hussar quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    I know these questions are intended as rhetorical, but if I treat them as literal then the answer is I don't know. The game seems to be 3e D&D (Scarred Lands), but who are the PCs? Who are the players? Do they have any reason to give a toss about the glutton Titan Gaurak? So what? Youíre telling me that both answers would equally evoke a response? That neither one would make the slightest difference in tone or anything at the table? You must have the most time deaf players in the world.
  • 07:45 PM - Lanefan quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    What do you think the GM should have regard to in coming up with situations? Lanefan, in other threads over many years, has posted that the GM should always author scenarios without regard to which players and/or PCs will engage with them. And to add: also without regard to HOW players and/or PCs will engage with them. (see above post re jokes about the kobolds for example).
  • 07:43 PM - Lanefan quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Can I pick up on your example (bolded by me to call it out) and a possible risk in play? Not to denigrate the example, but to try to connect it into how I'm thinking about things. It seems to me that it is possible that the GM might narrate the koblds' drool and bloodshot eyes, hoping and intending to evoke a particular response and engagement from the players, only instead to trigger responses about the kobolds having had a hard night out, being stone/hungover, etc. What's wrong with that? You've laid out the description in hopes of getting a reaction, and you got one: the characters* joke about the kobolds' rough night last night. That the reaction isn't what you were hoping for...well, too bad. The point is that you succeeded in your goal, in that you drew a reaction. * - in this instance I'd 100% rule that the joke was made in character.
  • 03:12 PM - uzirath quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Can I pick up on your example (bolded by me to call it out) and a possible risk in play? Not to denigrate the example, but to try to connect it into how I'm thinking about things. Yes. Always! It seems to me that it is possible that the GM might narrate the koblds' drool and bloodshot eyes, hoping and intending to evoke a particular response and engagement from the players, only instead to trigger responses about the kobolds having had a hard night out, being stone/hungover, etc. (Similar to Hussar's reference, I think upthread, to players making d*ck jokes.) Sure. And, depending on the nature of the fiction, I might let that be... the kobolds will be remembered as hungover dogmen. (Indeed, it may be that the bloodshot eyes were meant to indicate that they were tired or drugged or hungover.) If I felt that it was a misunderstanding that wouldn't likely happen within the fiction, then I would gently provide additional detail: "Hmm, there's something more ominous about it than your typi...
  • 02:44 PM - lowkey13 quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Then, without being too mean about it, you had crappy English teachers. I'm a published author (of non-fiction). A big part of my job is teaching students (UG and PG) how to write. My partner is a published author (non-fiction, some poetry) and a high school English teacher. Most of her job is teaching students how to write. This thread is the first I've heard of this five-paragraph doctrine. Do American English teachers get paid by the full stop for their marking? This is a fairly common rule of thumb to teach children in America in terms of writing; I know that they do in 5th, 6th, and 7th grade (for the most part). The reason is that when children are learning to write, many of them ... don't want to write. And they aren't writing long, complex sentences with lots of adjectives, adverbs, and clauses; instead, it's a chore to get them to write anything. So the "five sentence rule" is to help them organize and get to more complex ideas and structure in terms of writing paragraphs. It's so...
  • 02:40 PM - Bedrockgames quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Then, without being too mean about it, you had crappy English teachers. I'm a published author (of non-fiction). A big part of my job is teaching students (UG and PG) how to write. My partner is a published author (non-fiction, some poetry) and a high school English teacher. Most of her job is teaching students how to write. This thread is the first I've heard of this five-paragraph doctrine. Do American English teachers get paid by the full stop for their marking? Pemerton, that post was an error. I got my posts mixed up and thought I was responding to a poster assertion that paragraphs are in fact 5 paragraphs long. The point I was making was none of my teachers ever said paragraphs had to be 4 sentences long. Sorry for the confusion. There is absolutely no 5 sentence doctrine in America.
  • 02:38 PM - Bedrockgames quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Huh? Says who? Here are the first three paragraphs of REH's The Scarelt Citadel (which was the first story I Googled, knowing that REH doesn't write in too long-winded a fashion): The roar of battle had died away; the shout of victory mingled with the cries of the dying. Like gay-hued leaves after an autumn storm, the fallen littered the plain; the sinking sun shimmered on burnished helmets, gilt-worked mail, silver breastplates, broken swords and the heavy regal folds of silken standards, overthrown in pools of curdling crimson. In silent heaps lay war- horses and their steel-clad riders, flowing manes and blowing plumes stained alike in the red tide. About them and among them, like the drift of a storm, were strewn slashed and trampled bodies in steel caps and leather jerkins Ė archers and pikemen. The oliphants sounded a fanfare of triumph all over the plain, and the hoofs of the victors crunched in the breasts of the vanquished as all the straggling, shining lines converged inward...
  • 02:27 PM - Bedrockgames quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Huh? Says who? . Edit: Ooops, wrong post quote
  • 02:14 PM - Maxperson quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Huh? Says who? Here are the first three paragraphs of REH's The Scarelt Citadel (which was the first story I Googled, knowing that REH doesn't write in too long-winded a fashion): The roar of battle had died away; the shout of victory mingled with the cries of the dying. Like gay-hued leaves after an autumn storm, the fallen littered the plain; the sinking sun shimmered on burnished helmets, gilt-worked mail, silver breastplates, broken swords and the heavy regal folds of silken standards, overthrown in pools of curdling crimson. In silent heaps lay war- horses and their steel-clad riders, flowing manes and blowing plumes stained alike in the red tide. About them and among them, like the drift of a storm, were strewn slashed and trampled bodies in steel caps and leather jerkins Ė archers and pikemen. The oliphants sounded a fanfare of triumph all over the plain, and the hoofs of the victors crunched in the breasts of the vanquished as all the straggling, shining lines converged inward like t...
  • 09:05 AM - Hussar quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Well, I did put it the other way round: the players don't find it interesting because, for them, it is not interesting/ Eg maybe the situation is something about kobolds on a hill, and the players (in general; today; because of the PCs they're playing; some combination of factors; etc) simply aren't engaged by that sort of situation. I don't know what a Vengaurak is. I know, therefore, that the stock play is to Magic Missile it. (Or am I confusing gazebos for darknesses?) But more seriously, as well as not knowing what a Vangaurak is I also don't know what game I'm playing, what character I'm playing, and what makes this Vengaurak on this hill relevant to anything. But, that's entirely the point. We talk about the kobolds on the hill and we don't need a whole lot more than that, because, well, frankly, we're all experienced gamers and we know what a kobold is. At some point in our gaming history, someone has described a kobold to us. Probably several someones over the years. ...
  • 05:09 AM - Maxperson quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    To elaborate on my question, then: upthread Imaro seemed to assert, or at least very strongly imply, that whether or not a situation is interesting is a player-independent state of affairs. Do you agree? I don't agree with that, no. However, I've seen how quality presentation can turn something uninteresting into something interesting. I like rocks, minerals and gemstones. My wife couldn't care less, except for when they are in jewelry. Once, though, we were at a museum where someone was doing a presentation on minerals. He was really great with his presentation and actually hooked my wife into paying attention and showing interest. At least until it was done and we moved on to something else. What do you think the GM should have regard to in coming up with situations? Lanefan, in other threads over many years, has posted that the GM should always author scenarios without regard to which players and/or PCs will engage with them. Do you agree? I think that the players should be k...
  • 05:07 AM - Immortal Sun quoted pemerton in post If there's one game where stat differences are justified, what game would that be?
    By this you're meaning not just gendered roles/classes/playbooks, but sex-based stat penalties? My guess - from the discussion of Conan in the OP - is that CapnZapp wants the play experience that would result from gendered classes/playbooks, but (1) isn't too familar with a wide range of RPGs beyond a certain sort of D&D, and (2) has a certain sort of "simulationist" sensibility that leads to a preference for process-driven mechanics (men are stronger, so give them a stat mod) rather than just cutting to the chase and having gendered classes/playbooks. I assume as much as well. So I understand what personal value this adds for him. The larger question is what value this adds to the game, from the not-him gamer POV. Like, if some player who likes TTRPGs (and lets assume, has a similar mindset) saw "Zapp's RPG" on the shelf, and read about how this kind of material is included, how would value be added for that person over a system that says "Be whatever sex you want!" How does Potent...
  • 04:37 AM - Imaro quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    OK. In that case I think it's fairly clear why two GMs might present the same situation with the same degree of clarity and at one table get buy-in while at the other table it falls flat. Or in other words, the answer to the question you posed here seems fairly straightforward: Those players who don't find it interesting are probably the ones for whom it is not interesting. Or, which was my point, there are numerous reasons (including how it was presented) why it could happen outside of lack of clarity... EDIT: It's not interesting because I don't find it interesting doesn't really speak to why one doesn't find it interesting.
  • 04:37 AM - Immortal Sun quoted pemerton in post If there's one game where stat differences are justified, what game would that be?
    @CapnZapp didn't say that's how things are iRL. To the contrary, The phrase this world referst to the imagined world of the RPG, not real life. That's your take on it. Yes I could be wrong. You also could be wrong. Zapp didn't reply to my post (or actually anything since then) so I'll leave it to them at this point to clarify. Frankly, I'm far more interested in the value he feels this adds to the game. Not from an in-world setting perspective as Nagol posts, you can resolve that by limiting classes. If you want to be a Fighter, you're a man. If you want to be a Sorcerer you're a woman. The end result will be physically strong male characters and physically weak female characters, without having to add special sex-based modifiers. Maybe in this world a woman can still be a rogue, or a monk, but since those classes emphasize stats other than strength as primary (at least in D&D in general) you'll still end up with generally the same result. So I'm mainly curious about what he thinks...
  • 04:21 AM - Imaro quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    To elaborate on my question, then: upthread @Imaro seemed to assert, or at least very strongly imply, that whether or not a situation is interesting is a player-independent state of affairs. Do you agree? Just to be clear...I never asserted or implied this. It can be but like most things there's no absolute, 100% all the time answer.
  • 03:54 AM - Maxperson quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Instead: tell us about how you see RPGs working. For instance, what do you see as the role of situation in RPGing. Why do you think the narratie crat with which a situation is presented is so important? What is it that you think we've been doing this whole time? It's not engaging in playstyle wars or pushing a playstyle agenda.
  • 03:24 AM - uzirath quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Upthread, I already posted why crafted narration and conveying a situation that draws in the players might come into conflict. The first benefits from preparation (and the resulting opportunity to test, edit, etc). Whereas the second - like conversation, which has been my reiterated comparitor - benefits from spontaneous engagement within the back-and-forth at the table. I'm intrigued by this conflict and how you think it should best be resolved. I am largely sold on the idea that crafting meaningful situations that draw the players in is more central to the activity of RPGs than working on descriptive language and whatnot. With that said, however, fantastic descriptions and unique details are often the things that I, as a player, latch onto and remember. Somewhere upthread people were talking about kobolds on a hill. For me, it would be helpful to hear about their drool or bloodshot eyes. Such descriptions would seed my imagination, immersing me more deeply in the fiction. To the extent tha...


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