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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Today, 07:12 PM
    I mean these people have no integrity. They're rotten to the core. They spend their mornings kicking puppies while they twirl their evil mustachios and hatch vile plots for world domination. Ok, seriously. I think two classic examples of not playing the world with integrity would be: a) Post-hoc creating a block of an action declaration (maybe a spell cast or a piece of gear deployed...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Today, 05:52 PM
    There is a substantive difference. However, the problem I see is the culture of D&D embracing the early 90s first principle of GMing that "there is no such thing as GM accountability for playing the world with integrity. The GM is only accountable for what they perceive will create the best story and most fun at the table." The problem with that first principle is that it relies upon (a)...
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  • Nemesis Destiny's Avatar
    Today, 04:54 PM
    Measuring in inches implies mini use just as much as squares, IMO. My first experiences were with 1e, so seeing everything in inches, my first question was, "why?" Answer: It's based on a minis wargame where this is standard practice, and you can still do so, if desired. But, it was always clear that this was unnecessary. However, the bulk of my play experience in my younger days was in 2e,...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Today, 11:27 AM
    Thanks for the analysis that isn't as divergent as I remember, I am going with your thinking. Also sorry about wandering significantly off topic into dredgeville on this thread I think that is my fault.
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Today, 09:31 AM
    I feel like there is a substantive difference between gaming the fiction and gaming the DM. I think just as we can expect and hold players accountable for playing their characters with integrity we can expect and hold GMs accountable for approaching play with curiosity and playing the world with integrity.
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Today, 06:50 AM
    Every time gaming the DM is considered a skill it makes me cringe
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  • MoonSong's Avatar
    Today, 05:43 AM
    I'm not part of that audience either and I'm okish with TLJ -enjoyed some of it, but not enough to want to get a copy at full price-. I know a lot about the old extended universe from second hand though -like about Mara Jade, Ben Skywalker, and someone dropping a moon on poor Chowie-. Perhaps I sit more in the middle of this, I can see what bothers many of them, but most of it doesn't bother me,...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Today, 04:54 AM
    ummm jump from 1 to 2 attacks is a big jump its a jarring dramatic bump in ability and its not even after a significantly larger numbers of levels 5 vs 4? however I remember being at low levels an excruciatingly long time in ADnD compared to modern games so that is even stretched out more in terms of player experience (which is to my mind the fair measurement) anyone got a scale that measures...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Today, 04:36 AM
    Well no its still the same as paragon because you don't get the epic gonzo stuff at level 10. (And you arent fighting Demogorgon and the like at level 6 just because the campaigns end at 10.) People still do campaigns which are all within 1 tier. Yes the context included embarrassing monty haulisms and people being ultra conservative with magic items and not so with spells for the mage, and...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Today, 04:11 AM
    I also met people who claimed their characters had acquired multiple copies of every item in the dmg in their multiple bags of holding ... I think there were reasons people were cautious.
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Today, 03:53 AM
    I saw wizards getting the entire contents of a levels worth of spells in one treasure taken from an npc wizard ... and arm bands giving them plate armor caliber armor class. And not particularly any more weaponry or armor for fighting types The lack of expected treasure except maybe random treasure tables for me was always a negative thing note the above was he result of a DM trying to be...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Today, 02:56 AM
    Its still more gradual than the 5e boom at level 5.
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Today, 02:54 AM
    From the AD&D DMG "The testing grounds for novice adventurers must be kept to a difficulty factor which encourages rather than discourages players. If things are too easy, then there is no challenge, and boredom sets in after one or two games. Conversely, impossible difficulty and character deaths cause instant loss of interest" And later "Creatures inhabiting the place must be of...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Today, 01:47 AM
    Never saw a DM do it well once (including me) they were either dramatically overpowered or underpowered with a narrow window in the middle and sometimes the overpowered was at level 1 with a sleep spell. That is to me an in theory vs an in practice issue I am sure it is possible for my 9th level fighter to have not felt like a sidekick but pretending it actually worked out that way at most...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Today, 01:11 AM
    LOL how is a single class balanced in a game where other classes go from useless to overwhelming the statement is not meaningful. Balance is dependent on context ie balanced with regards to what? (Thief was useless even at high level it never got its shine in the sun without bizarro world adventure designs)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Today, 01:05 AM
    or actually +3 off focus and +2 race and +2 off of background and +2 maybe off of Theme... yes skill just went nutso.
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:13 PM
    Oh right smacks forehead been too long 4e doesn't use the same more attacks technique for increasing ability it is much more gradual in part because it starts at a higher point if you start your 1e at level 5 and going to level 10 was the same distance as level 10 in 4e its about that gradual ... note with dailies and encounters and the like providing spikey booms (which are a bit like instead...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:28 PM
    The fighter getting a new attack is not very fine grained nor is the leap from not having a fireball to having one. Balancing them to me means making sure those bumps happen in synchronicity (I picked an example that I think might actually be concurrent and in one of the levels that might be starting to be more balanced than many didnt I). I cannot look at character levels in 1e land and...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:07 PM
    I would consider adding to 5e a general proficiency bonus that was +1 per 2 levels to many things to break open the higher level awesome sauce. (The bounded accuracy thing seems to defeat the flavor text of the various tiers by keeping mundane obstacles perhaps too challenging when you are high level)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:01 PM
    I was considering letting Warlords and those with Noble background get a DMs best friend +2 bonus on all the skill checks interacting with them from intimidations/bluff/diplomacy or exploiting historical battle lore etc i am not familiar with Battlesystem. I think if 4e had a healthy set of Swarms that might be the first step without going too far afield. I am also curious about...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:46 PM
    The +2 or 3 for weapon proficiency didnt serve a great purpose, what did it do? disguise the AC which tended to be a couple points higher than other defenses. In practice how many times do characters pick up an weapon they arent proficient in? This could be an argument for just putting them at a 5e style disadvantage when they do.
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:37 PM
    I might be interested in seeing that. In 5e at some level Mearls took the flavor text of 2e for the fighter and said yup one Warlord is a type of Fighter. Battlemaster is a nod to that - the prototype Warlord he put out in a video is also a sub type of fighter you could call a chess master styled warlord and it's pretty interesting. It looks like it might have saving throw issues and like...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:18 PM
    By keeping the numbers in the same arena... yeh that is one of the gains on the trade off of bounded accuracy I think... I do understand the motivation.
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:01 PM
    Making general adventuring arena completely distinct is something I could definitely support. However I have also noticed one could go the other direction as many of the mechanisms of more interesting combat actions relate to skills like intimidations and bluffs and diplomacy relating to feints/false openings ie deceptions and in general manipulating enemies and inspiring allies. I have...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:54 PM
    hmmm isnt that basically the same problem 3e had
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:48 PM
    Thanks I rather like the Fort/Ref/Wil for the saving throw arena it can tame the flux. This is the saving throw value impression I have based on frequency of use I have seen. Am I getting this right? Con>Dex>Wis>Str>Cha>Int. Strength seems like the best of the secondary saves and Con the best of the primary ones so the fighter gets both bests
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:41 PM
    Well it is pretty minor though I agree it meant that a base line multi-class feat was a bit overpowered comparatively for someone who wanted versatile non combat ability, you had to be really shooting for specific broad skill set to end up taking a straight skill training feat. Why does my fighter need to dabble to be as skillful as most other classes was kind of derp on the non-combat balance...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:34 PM
    Ah could you elaborate?
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:15 PM
    Oh and I forgot how backgrounds and themes also brought multi-classing elements to your character. I could build a ranger that felt more like a 1e ranger ( than either of the two weapon rangers in 3e or 4e) using a Fighter class plus various of the above.
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:10 PM
    I am a great necromancer lots of interesting thoughts need revisited once in a while. That and I am just getting interested in 5e.
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:57 PM
    The monsters are boring in comparison to 4e ones at minimum because of it (and maybe you are right about them being weak a 4e ogre smash people to the ground with every swing is a lot more interesting and also powerful than the 5e counter part) Yes the scaling defenses (and skills too) I rather like they capture heros getting all around awesome as they level. Ability score caps with old...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:50 PM
    I remember mcing oldschool to be very restrictive feeling? 3e was simple and freeform but very abusable as you have said. However it looks like 5e fixed 3e multi-classing by removing the front loading factor of classes. 4e used arguably 2 complex methods of multiclassing one is a dabbling multiclassing bound to the feat system. Which is pretty flexible and can be engaged throughout the...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:03 PM
    I consider the differing advancement a concession saying we did badly in the design and level does not mean power its almost meaningless.
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:36 PM
    Mearles hinted a finish of his Warlord fighter subclass might be appropriate to Darksun
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:33 PM
    That is how I used Darksun in 4e... almost exactly. Except not necessarily super strong.... more like super inspiring huge bright heroes who are a bold light in the dark of this other world. Turning an assassin into a freedom fighter, freeing slaves left right and center. Carrying healing inspiration around in your pocket.
    50 replies | 5347 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:51 PM
    I'm going to move the core part of this thread either later tonight or tomorrow, but I was thinking. The Skill Challenge above where the Fighter takes over the ATST vehicle? That would have involved: a) Leaping atop of it b) Ripping the hatch off c) Defeating the crew decisively in short order d) Figuring out/adlibing through the alien tech on the fly to pilot it
    142 replies | 4509 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:20 PM
    100 % agree with this. D&D World Causality Chain (so players can successfully infer odds/opportunity cost/outcomes based on some combination of world system mechanics + tropes + D&D's wonky mechanical artifacts + the sum total of their total experience and their personal experience under a specific GM) is absolutely central to skilled play in trad D&D. Its and discussion of this was central to...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:59 AM
    Aren't you already? I consider these discussions to be a significant source of ideas and material for my game ;) Does this mean I have to add credits? Next you'll want royalties! :P
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:41 AM
    Well, there WAS Gygaxian Naturalism, which is something we can't totally ignore. However, I never thought Gygax considered it a technique for generating a 'realistic world' (realistic owlbears, give me a break). Instead it was more of a way of saying "give your scenarios some internal logic that the players can hang their reasoning on." Remember, Gygax was all about testing the player, creating a...
    142 replies | 4509 view(s)
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:36 AM
    Perhaps, but you couldn't even do that without an edition roll, because it wouldn't be numerically compatible with 3.x material. So, effectively, they might as well fix all the flaws in it at the same time, which eventually lead to 4e...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:54 AM
    I have played quite a few others as well including Fantasy Hero and while quite beautiful in some ways just seemed like potentially a mega workload rabbit hole. I am picturing trying to build the 4e defender fighters abilities and I am sure it can be done but wow.
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:16 AM
    Convert your characters to HERO?
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:09 AM
    An angry mob I can see having a "rabble rouser" who keeps the team charged up take him out and they can be considered bloodied then let diplomacy route this force (intimidation not required) heck the rabble rouser might be defeatable with social skills.
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:03 AM
    Gold for XP is definitely not something I will be adopting anytime soon. Implicit message it seems to bring to the table. "Never take on a quest unless you are getting paid and fighting evil should just be avoided.... greed is good after all and we should reward selfish cowardice too after you hide from bad guys or for that matter good guys to get at their gold often enough all that...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:34 AM
    That would be a good port to every D&D I think.
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 10:28 PM
    https://trollitc.com/2010/09/16/mass-combat-with-dd-4e-formations-as-swarms/ Discusses this A quotable quote I think points out something often not realized Casualty usually includes captured by the enemy and similar things not always dead. And the leaders call retreats or parlay etc to keep losses down. A measured retreat is also distinct from a route. He says something that...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 07:09 PM
    Quickleaf If you’re interested in treating it like a Basic Dungeon Crawl with Fail Forward, I suggest the following: 1) Scale the Exploration Turn/Movement Rate to your liking for the climb. I would have 3 rates though (Fast + Disadvantage on a Check/save to deal with an obstacle, Medium with no penalty, Slow and Advantage). This will create an interesting decision-point for the players...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 06:51 PM
    And that is one of the 5e mechanics I find to be pretty damn good.
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 06:10 PM
    The Basic Rules give a couple definitions of roleplaying under “Social Interaction”. The first is a general definition: “Roleplaying is, literally, the act of playing out a role.” This tells us nothing about who determines what a particular role entails. The second definition is D&D-specific: “In this case, it’s you as a player determining how your character thinks, acts, and talks.” (emphasis...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 05:29 PM
    Reskinning can do wonders with the right ability selections you can weave a race or class into something which very much fits a campaign ... like a hybrid of two divine classes come out feeling like a bloodweaver/bloodwright vampire who uses blood manipulation with a hunger that bleeds between the cracks in their discipline to infect their allies with their hunger (mechanically a cleric/invoker...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 05:15 PM
    Good quote.
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 02:54 PM
    This ... back in the day we didnt have the interwebs but it wasn't that insular and you could find out what game designers thought. For instance you could join and even write in apas or zines like Alarums and Excursions or just subscribe some of the names of people who wrote in it included some very interesting and familiar names. Wilf K. Backhaus Greg Costikyan John M. Ford E. Gary...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 02:48 PM
    Starting from the bottom: 1) I never thought you were making a claim about the quality of Dragon (nothing I posted engaged with that). The claim you made that I was addressing (which it appeared to me you were making indispute of my “Trad vs 2nd wave” idea) was that there was an overwhelming pervasiveness of “realism sim” culture so embedded in D&D that the power of that signal was there in...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 02:45 PM
    Economics in D&D has never been wonderful living life even for those who are medieval noblemen is really cheap in comparison to the treasure taken in every version of the game so the gold acquisition is tied into things which grant power not living (but it turns out that is ok). (note in real life its generally "ironically" cheaper to be rich so artificial inflation because players have a...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 08:06 AM
    But, if he didn't think system mattered, then why didn't he just write D&D supplements? Of course it mattered and Steve (whom I happen to have had the pleasure of playtesting games for in that time period) was VERY VERY aware of how different systems created different sorts of games, that's the sort of stuff we all talked about endlessly back in the day. Now, they had different ideas and...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 07:43 AM
    Well, exactly... There isn't any such thing as being outside of a challenge! If you aren't in a challenge then there is no conflict, and NO GAME, just people talking! I mean, in HoML you can have an 'interlude' but it is just that, a connector between scenes (IE it might be a montage, or just players hobnobbing, etc.). Now, interludes can be narratively useful and lead to the generation of new...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 06:24 AM
    @Quickleaf Use Exploration Turns and Wandering Monsters/Random Encounter clock. Per the DMG, the Dungeon Scale: 1) 20 sq/min (Slow - Advantage) 2) 30 sq/min (Normal) 3) 40 sq/min (Fast - Disadvantage)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 05:29 AM
    Nods Also another clarification on the 4e disenchant and items A straight level 1 +1 magic item... 360GP where as one with an enchantment is anywhere from 520GP might be as much as 1000 gp items that are also +1. (this may or may not reflect how useful they are but ... its definitely not the case that the rarity rules actually single out particularly better items. ) I had players...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 04:37 AM
    in 4e if you were level 6 you might get a level 10 item (you cannot begin to disenchant it for 4 levels .... however if you sell it you can probably buy residuum or an item that is your level). There are some feats or boons that allow you to enchant as though you were somewhat higher level ... I would probably allow them to disenchant as though they were higher level. That 3e rule is very...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 04:12 AM
    i am now trying to picture an AD&D fighter simply taking a death ray on the breast plate to double down on intimidating someone..... :lol:
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 03:39 AM
    Some thoughts (that don't just pertain to the quoted text above but to other posts): 1) I agree with AA's post directly above. I'll elaborate: a) AD&D 2e moving xp for treasure/gold from the primary way to advance to an option was no small thing. b) AD&D 2e introducing "Roleplaying xp by way of DM fiat" was no small thing. c) AD&D 2e introducing xp awards for using noncombat...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 03:35 AM
    Fun... I didnt like some later adjustments to 4e like the rarity rules that effectively made some items more convertible to residuum and worth more "just because" and the described reasons for rarity didnt match up worth beans with the items they chose however for me it inspired a rule where your level affected the quality of your disenchant. The difference in your level and the level of the...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 03:12 AM
    I rather like that AbdulAlhazred... hey are you tricking me into designing for HoML?
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 02:49 AM
    4e has companion rules and swarms (I know 5e has boring monsters but it too has swarms and 4es can be pretty interesting I think better can be done) - mash em together with some creativity and you are on the road. However with some extra sauce like new custom martial practices and skill challenges tuned to interact with them, they become like that 2e Warrior Lord known as fighter or with...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 01:11 AM
    I tried them and might try them again but yes I kind of find them cumbersome.
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 02:44 PM
    My teen years were back with the blue book in 70s and I liked each edition better than the last till 5e came out. There are sweet bits in 5e even though not enough for me to like it better than 4e. Not sure how to grab the things from 5e for 4e I like. I loved the class descriptions in the 2e Player's Handbook. And some rich flavor and martial style from the Tome of Battle in 3e. I will say...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 02:25 PM
    He is right about the genre discordance of calling maneuvers and spells - "powers" They had an opportunity to do very minor language change some of the powers were already among feats in earlier games so they could have claimed "feats" as the generic word for active abilities. and spells cast in but a moment represent a "feat of magic", an elaborate sometimes unlikely difficult maneuver is a...
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 01:26 PM
    Why not implement this as a 4E style Skill Challenge? Predetermine the number of successful skill checks before three failures, but don't predetermine which skills can be implemented; let that be determined by the players' declared actions. Consequences for individual failures, i.e., before failing the SC entirely, could be some predetermined range of falling damage for the individual PC, burning...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 10:21 AM
    Well that just took a lot of the interesting out of both deities.
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 09:48 AM
    I am not sure I would have seen essentials design and rejoined D&D however. I think if they had left Epic for later in the release and focused on getting a full complement of initial classes and races (though meh on gnomes really really meh) that could have improved reception. They might have then had time to produce an epic tier including the DMG and let it be more fully its own at that...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 06:27 AM
    I think that this statement is clearly not supportable from my experience. As early as the mid-late 1970's there many diverse opinions on different sorts of rules and already much thinking (albeit of a very early sort) had gone on. Certainly Ken St. Andre and the T&T folks engaged in a robust debate with the D&D folks. Anyone who played a game of Boot Hill certainly was well-educated on the HUGE...
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  • MoonSong's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 05:49 AM
    I was a blank slate when I watched TPM. I wasn't interested in SW at all before that point.Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson and Ray Park hooked me into SW. ^_^ I'm sorry but you are incorrect, Finn's one and true love is Poe. n_n
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 05:28 AM
    My response would be that ONLY 1e out of those 4 is 'traditional' D&D, and even it is on the outer edge of the core traditional phase of D&D as defined by Manbearcat. 1e certainly has the rules and procedures in the forms he talks about such that you CAN play D&D as it was originally conceived. It also allows for something different, epitomized by the OA book, and then finally by 2e, which is to...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 05:27 AM
    If that is the case I would considering using a mechanism like i implemented for martial practices a skill check is used to sometimes avoid the VP cost on a reuse of an intermittent power. You might very flavorfully use power appropriate skills depending on the power perhaps Insight/Perception, or Diplomacy, Bluffing or Endurance or Arcana or Nature or Religion checks or whatever
    31 replies | 770 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 05:19 AM
    And from most I have read it was not really fixed barely included minor house rules and shove it out the door with their branding.
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 05:00 AM
    This is similar to the questions which drove me to the design of HoML, where there are NO SUCH THINGS as individual checks. If a conflict doesn't exist, then there are no dice, and if one does, then it is a challenge. Thus you can't make checks outside of challenges (which include combat encounters in HoML terminology). Now, there ARE 'general challenges' which follow basically the 4e SC...
    142 replies | 4509 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 04:55 AM
    That idea is something AbdulAlhazred is doing in his 4e Descendent design. How did you implement it?
    148 replies | 17432 view(s)
    0 XP
  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 02:37 AM
    Sure, the key element isn't really 'time is imminent' so much as it is 'action is required'. Or maybe even more to the point the success/fail tally is more a measure of how much everyone is actively contributing vs a set of 'prizes' you get which leads to victory. Remember, this was also the version of the system which had a lot more failures at higher complexities (half as many as required...
    142 replies | 4509 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 02:27 AM
    No doubt I agree but I can use my charisma to scare them or fool them or make sure the enemy or hopefully not enemy pays attention to me or various other things on a long laundry list. Hence the various charisma skills in 4e its still an expression of player agency by character action though. I am pretty certain most of that is for the general case RAW in 4e and 5e (You may have to look...
    142 replies | 4509 view(s)
    0 XP
  • MoonSong's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 12:38 AM
    Really? I would have sworn it was like half an hour at least. At least the reality ensues at the end pays off. Del toro definitively sold it. In fact I kind of like that part of TLJ, the crew constantly screwing up the million to one chances that Han and company routinely could achieve. That makes the original party more special by comparison. Honestly Rey, Rose, Finn and Poe are amateurs.
    96 replies | 1703 view(s)
    0 XP
  • MoonSong's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 12:09 AM
    That's probably why I kind of like the Last Jedi, I went out of my way to arrive as a blank state to the movie theater. I avoided trailers, reviews, social networks and youtube channels. I had no pet theories, I just wanted to see how they were going to fix the mess left by the force awakens. Somehow they made everything worse, but the carnage was fun to watch. (Except for the casino scene, that...
    96 replies | 1703 view(s)
    0 XP
  • MoonSong's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th December, 2018, 11:59 PM
    Here's my probably unpopular take (Not including Solo, as I couldn't watch it. Star wars movies are supposed to last at least a month in exhibition. How was I to know this time would be different? No holiday Special as I never watched it) First let's start by the middle of the road The enjoyable movies.- Movies I like, that I could watch on a loop. 6 The Eewooks.- Fun light-hearted movie...
    96 replies | 1703 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th December, 2018, 10:08 PM
    @Celebrim I don’t have time to read your response in detail and respond to it, but one thing sticks out at a quick look. You appear to be using “system” as an analog for “rules” and then evaluating my post based on this usage. I don’t agree with that usage. When discussing a game, when I say “system”, I don’t mean discrete parts. I’m talking about the integration of all of play...
    142 replies | 4509 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th December, 2018, 09:50 PM
    I definitely agree with what you’ve written above (never claimed differently). If I was forced to do 1st, 2nd and 3rd wave categories, I’d probably go: OD&D, Basic, Expert - 1st 1e - mostly 1st with some 2nd 2e - mostly 3rd with some 2nd and a smattering of 1st 3e - mostly 2nd with some 3rd and a smattering of 1st 5e - half 3rd, 1/4 2nd, 1/4 1st
    142 replies | 4509 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th December, 2018, 08:47 PM
    Obviously you know I don't agree with this. I outlined upthread (somewhere near the beginning) what I felt are the most fundamental pieces of machinery/feedbacks that creates any singular sequence of play in traditional D&D and the holistic experience: 1) A mapped/keyed/scaled/stocked environment (primarily dungeon but possibly wilderness...where the game's machinery is put under...
    142 replies | 4509 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Hriston's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th December, 2018, 07:58 PM
    Yes, I think so. Getting back to, "An invisible creature can’t be seen, so it can always try to hide." I think this should be understood to apply under normal conditions in which an invisible creature has freedom of movement, so that once quiet it can obfuscate its location. So can the outdoors at night under a full moon that isn't at maximum, as can trying to see something in a dense...
    53 replies | 1046 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th December, 2018, 06:11 PM
    Basic initial disposition is to my thinking much better handled by fiat the same as personality and would be as much predefined aspect of the npc as anything - though it certainly can change. And to me the reaction table was a arbitrary fortune mechanic devoid of redeeming quality like a DM playing dice off between two monsters to see which one fights the players - is it this guy or that guy lets...
    142 replies | 4509 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Nemesis Destiny's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th December, 2018, 05:37 PM
    I dunno. Start a thread about 4e. See how long it takes before it gets derailed by trolls. Not worth the trouble, IME. Youtube is a dumpster fire at the best of times.
    148 replies | 17432 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th December, 2018, 06:49 AM
    OK arguably a significant amount or even a majority but in some sense I see them as exceptions to the rules. People move this speed and jump this far EXCEPT when someone digs deep and and uses a special maneuver which allows them to strain himself in a very extreme well timed leap which doesnt draw opportunity attacks OR except when the mage uses a specially triggered frogs blood *jump...
    31 replies | 770 view(s)
    0 XP
  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th December, 2018, 06:04 AM
    Yeah, there can be a lot to keep track of if you do it that way. I don't disagree that this is sort of the 'ultimate extreme' in terms of making things crazy and 'magical'. Actually if you think about it, this was D&D 1974! I mean, I was there, NOTHING was known. If you found ANY item it might or might not be magical, it might or might not have almost any effect, good or bad. Mostly DM's had, or...
    31 replies | 770 view(s)
    0 XP
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Monday, 3rd December, 2018

  • 03:01 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned pemerton in post What are your favorite Skill Challenges.
    To answer Garthanos original question: I don't know that I have a favorite exactly. The DMG2 has some good advice and RC has a good clear write up. There are a couple other books that touch on the subject tangentially, but nowadays I live with mostly my own advice. I stick to the RC implementation, technically, but I really like being looser most of the time than any of the books suggest. However I'll agree with pemerton that Complexity 1 and 2 challenges are usually PRETTY tightly focused and work well in the original 4e style.

Thursday, 29th November, 2018

  • 02:06 PM - darkbard mentioned pemerton in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    Sure mate. I'll get a post up either tonight or tomorrow about Strike!'s action resolution and how 4e could crib it. It's certainly not my intention to derail the current focus of this thread from how the framework of 4E's structure makes for a different game than "trad" D&D; your analysis of how these scenes (might) play out is fascinating! Nevertheless, pemerton posted this regarding how combat differs from SCs in another thread, a further difference between mechanics like Strike!, DW, and PbtA engines in general versus 4E that was implied in some of the discussion of this matter but rather clearly and explicitly stated thus: "The need for pressure [in Skill Challenges] is fundamental, because only the players are declaring actions and rolling dice (very different eg from 4e combat or HeroWars/Quest extended resolution)." Anyway, do carry on with the regularly scheduled program! :]
  • 02:35 AM - Garthanos mentioned pemerton in post What are your favorite Skill Challenges.
    OK I admit this thread was inspired by pemerton mentioning 3 of his and I lost the links... they were nicely elaborated ones and I was kind of hoping to bring out anyone elses ;)

Sunday, 25th November, 2018

  • 07:04 AM - Garthanos mentioned pemerton in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    ...spot and yes the healing surge is a possibility I was considering - it could involve a long stare where you are obviously measuring him and making him nervous as well as the more elaborate interactions (though arguably this rogue would likely have been trying to figure this guy out the moment it started becoming a negotiation could cut back time element mildly - but increased time tension due to shooting for the more awesome result is great). One of the aspects I really like about "The Perfect Price" is how the prices can be or arguably should be just as much in terms of story as they are in terms of economy. Also I think the fact that the price you come up with is very much about giving the subject what they value makes it heroic in a way... even Loki is a hero here. I said it earlier but I am going to double up I feel I am developing the practices because they contribute to the not entirely common language of awesome which can be achieved by paragon and epic heroics (even if like @pemerton you do not use them). Not just because they help balance the scales between casters and non-casters in out of combat situations.

Friday, 23rd November, 2018

  • 05:31 PM - Hriston mentioned pemerton in post Keep on the Borderlands shenanigans
    pemerton, you're welcome! I'm glad I finally got around to it. So far no one has chided me for posting in a three-year necro, so I guess I made it in on time. :) The betrayal by the jolly priest wasn't so much contentious as it was both surprising and disappointing for the player. This was a solo game, but I was running the adventure as-written, so he was encouraged, both by me as DM and by some of the NPCs he met, to surround himself with a party of NPCs. In hindsight, I think this was a little unfair. I played the priest as close to Gygax's description as I could, presenting him as a warrior against evil in all of its forms. The one red flag that seemed to give the player pause in accepting the priest into the party was that he didn't want any share of the treasure, claiming that thwarting evil was his only goal, whereas the hill dwarf fighter insisted on a full share and the mercenaries' fees weren't exactly cheap. The player ignored these misgivings, however, and not wanting to tip my ha...

Thursday, 22nd November, 2018

  • 08:01 AM - Hussar mentioned pemerton in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    ...e bigger issue here, and the reason I think that posters like Imaro and BryonD come to such different conclusions when talking about 4e is that there are two very fundamentally different approaches to how to look at mechanics. The reason that, say (and I'm just using you as an example here, not intended at all as any sort of attack on you) BryonD comes to such different conclusions about Page 42 is that he is looking at the rules as discrete elements in the game. Which is fine when talking about 3e and AD&D. The rules were meant as discrete elements. Healing was largely divorced from anything else - you either healed naturally in down time or you healed magically. 3e had some in combat healing, true, but, again, that was 100% magical. Healing is a discrete element. But, 4e doesn't work that way. 4e is very much holistic. You can't just look at Page 42 and come to conclusions. You also have to look at the entire game and then come to conclusions, which is why posters like pemerton and others have such different reactions. They don't see Page 42 as a discrete element, divorced from everything else. You also have to include the advice in the DMG like "Get to the action" and the tiers of play and the implications of those tiers. You don't have super doors in burned out shacks in Epic level play because, if you're following the advice in the game, you will never go into a burned out shack in epic level play. Why would you? Epic level play you should be dealing with gods and major demons and stuff, not wandering around The Keep on the Borderland. These issues just don't come up, if you follow the game holistically. This is why everyone keeps talking past each other. You're fundamentally not speaking the same language. Sure, BryonD is 100% right about Page 42 not making a lot of sense. That's 100% true if you view Page 42 as a discrete element divorced from the rest of the game. Same way as (I forget who made the excellent point) is 100% right in saying t...

Wednesday, 21st November, 2018

  • 04:34 AM - Hussar mentioned pemerton in post Defining RPG's Take 2 - Prescriptive vs Descriptive
    I'd point out that you folks had repeatedly told me that there is no difference between RPG's and other games during the setup phase. None whatsoever. So, things like what your class can do and what equipment you have, is all part of the set up phase and is the same as other games. But, and maybe I wasn't clear here, I was speaking about RPG's during play. If we accept that everything that happens before play is simply "set up", then we can ignore pretty much all the things you've brought up pemerton. Choosing class, stats, whatnot, that's all set up. And, you and others were pretty emphatic that that's the same in all kinds of games. In play, however, is where the difference is seen. Players can choose actions based not on what the rules tell them to do, but based on whatever they feel they can attempt at the time. And the mechanics don't actually tell you WHAT to do. They tell you HOW to resolve that declaration from the player, up to and including, sometimes, just make something up.

Monday, 19th November, 2018

  • 02:29 PM - darkbard mentioned pemerton in post More Prince Valiant Actual Play
    Can you say a little more, pemerton, about character archetype choices? From reading these reports, it is clear one can play a knight (duh), and one of your players has chosen a wandering minstrel type. What other archetypes are permissible in the game?
  • 02:28 AM - Imaro mentioned pemerton in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    Breaking down a door would definitely be an Athletics check at my table, and might even be in the books as an example. If the DM and table don't think a particular challenge would need to be rolled for by Konan the Kongqurer, then the book advises not asking for a roll. DM judgement. Emphasis mine... This as part of the resolution system in 5e keeps getting overlooked by pemerton and others asking what can a 15th level fighter do that a 1st level can't... the answer being whatever the DM, informed by the fiction, decides. In 5e it's clear that if there's no chance for an action to succeed then no roll should take place.

Saturday, 17th November, 2018

  • 09:41 PM - Imaro mentioned pemerton in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    Not sure how to state it, as it seems fairly intuitive to me: both games, being RPGs, are story using some mathematical systems as a bone. Both put story as a priority, and both are easily modded too desire. Maybe I'm not understanding what fiction first means... if 4e has tiers and those tiers are defined by fiction and said fiction then informs resolution... is that fiction easily disregarded or changed? And if so what is the difference between that and 5e as some posters such as pemerton and Manbearcat discussed earlier in the thread?
  • 04:17 AM - Jay Verkuilen mentioned pemerton in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    ...m over all things. Nor am I arguing for 3E style stat blocks, where the monsters were built in the system and had as much detail as a PC. However if you want write them all up with things from how they are at all tiers (with a tier of farmer/apprentice level being populated by level 1 minions. Tiers of play is very, very much a 4E concept. It was hinted at in BECMI due to the way those books were published but not really part of the game otherwise. Shrug its kind of ridiculous to worry about why the 1e soldier in the monster manual didnt have an elaborated strength - doing the same thing with minions is not less so. Not quite sure what you're arguing here, but that's not the point I was trying to make. In 1E and 2E, monster stat blocks were decidedly thinner than monster stat blocks were in 3E, which was the pinnacle of the complete stat block. The issue is that, in the 4E framework and unlike essentially any other edition, an ogre has grossly different stats. According to @pemerton, fiction says the ogre is the same ogre but the representation of the ogre shifts. I'm not saying that's wrong. From a game-mechanical standpoint it might be useful. If you like it, knock yourself out, but it's one of those aspects of 4E that often rubbed people the wrong way. Other people found the 4E design very liberating. As I've said before, I thought 4E had some good ideas but overall disliked it and hated DMing it. I had played RuneQuest before D&D the D&D people thinking they were doing anything naturalistic always made me laugh. Gygaxian naturalism (as defined in the link I provided) is NOT realistic. It doesn't pretend to be. The reason I used "secondary reality" is because there's an internal consistency to it. Keep on the Borderlands is probably one of the best illustrations of that. It really doesn't make sense in a larger scheme of things. I mean, where to those monsters get food from? But it does in terms of how Gygaxian dungeon areas work, with the Great Chain of B...

Thursday, 15th November, 2018

  • 03:12 AM - Parmandur mentioned pemerton in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    ...le in comparison to earlier edition casters and if you picked a ranger it can be very low tactical element even before essentials other than deciding who do I attack twice with occasional how hard. 5e seems to have less short term emphasis - part of the thing that allowed short term to be more interesting was action points (and milestones) and they were an everyman tool not fighter action surge. Second wind too was an everyman. Encounter powers too were a part of it, much more immediate than the 5e analog. Yeah, most of the action economy elements were the same across Classes. And I can abstractly appreciate the elegance of making it the same...but I tend to think Mearls is right in the original post (if I can remember that far back!) that 4E may have better received if it retained more asymmetrical Class design. (Anti-Edition War disclaimer: I never had a strong or emotionally charged negative reaction to 4E, still don't, and may have had a positive reaction if my DM was pemerton, Garthanos or Manbearcat ; I'm interested in understanding the phenomenon of the "New Coke" reception, in myself and others, not telling people they are pretending to be an Elf Wizard the wrong way. I've found this thread very interesting in uncovering my subconscious disappointment with the purely symmetrical action economy, but still think 5E just has the 4E Skill system with streamlined math)

Monday, 12th November, 2018

  • 05:44 PM - Imaro mentioned pemerton in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    You can totally ignore that type of mythic fantasy in 4e too. Refluffing is a thing in 4e, make good choices that reflect realistic options, get table agreement that's the style of play that is supposed to happen. Done. But the mechanics of the powers still speak to that type of fantasy... earlier someone quoted something along the lines of "When you die for the first time today..." It's pretty hard to refluff casual self-resurrection as "realistic"... even D&D realistic Honestly this is baffling me we have @pemerton claiming mythical fantasy is an inherent part of 4e but then you're saying it's casually easy to remove or ignore it... which one is it?
  • 05:08 PM - Imaro mentioned pemerton in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    I think for me it is not so much that 5e does not have supernatural martial characters as I'm not so much of a fan of that genre. It is more that casters do not have as many setbacks and have too many auto abilities as well as non-cost powers (cantrips). Thankfully 5e allows for a fair amount of system tinkering and so that issue, if it is an issue at one's table, can be solved. I think this is one of the biggest difference between 4e and 5e (not that the tools, advice, etc. are absent from 5e as pemerton claims). 5e makes it so that you can totally ignore this type of fantasy and still play up to level 20 and beyond...or if you want a DM can implement Epic Boons and let the advice on Mythic fantasy in the DMG inform his adventures and have a game based in mythic fantasy. 4e gave you one choice... implement mythical fantasy or stop playing at a certain level... which probably rubbed those not looking for mythic fantasy the wrong way.

Sunday, 11th November, 2018

  • 07:33 PM - Garthanos mentioned pemerton in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    ...death early on and in paragon and maybe even takes an ability to do battlefield medic but pictures it as him barring death from the injured. And later mid paragon when this fairly Herakles like hero says I want to save the life of my friends dying wife by Wrestling death perhaps I can just roll with that seeing death idea and get drunk on fancy wines to see death himself I want to challenge him for her soul, exactly 3 days after her death. Perhaps this becomes more balanced when it is gatewayed just like the raise dead ritual - Note late heroic is when the Cleric can plop down expensive incense and raise someone who has been dead for quite a while 100 percent reliably. Note I just rolled out raising the dead via something like an athletics application (or maybe an actual fight and have the whole party be guided by the one) because the help action on the magical forge is getting a bit boring OK the fact that it got rejected while being so basic does make it noteworthy example - @pemerton EDIT : I actually had a player whose character had an ability which was mostly a flavor of seeing dead spirits as they died - long long ago when we were playing with DragonQuest I think actually. (not really more than a healing check might do)... He was an elven bard of the winds with very dark over tones and sort of anti-assassin characteristics. So the Herakles with combat medic who saw death would be entirely in line with that.
  • 01:45 PM - Imaro mentioned pemerton in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    I dont know how typical your example of a skill challenge is but for many Fighters the chances of adding a success look pretty grim with the given examples of skills to use. Given that you need to hit between high 20s to low 30s for a success the player needs to come up with a narrative way they can swing an Athletics or Survival check into convincing the Aspect of Moradin to help. Well here's a list of examples and there usage in another Epic skill challenge from the epic tier adventure "Test of Fire" where both Athletics and Stealth uses are suggested... again in a totally mundane...but with bigger numbers...type of way. I just find it strange that if mythic feats like the one pemerton described (shoving one's hands into a furnace to hold an artifact while it is being forged) are the inherent fiction in epic level 4e... well why do the examples in official adventures seem so mundane? It's almost as if it isn't inherent in 4e but instead what pemerton has chosen the fiction to be in his epic level 4e games (which is a great thing but again something that can be done in 5e as well)... I mean when using stealth why aren't the characters commanding the stuff of shadows to cloak themselves? Why when using Athletics do they need to leap from barge to barge or find a narrow point to leap the length of the canal shouldn't an epic warrior with athletics just be able to make a leap across it's entire breadth at even it's widest point? Skills Use the following general descriptions as a guideline for the types of activities the heroes can attempt with each of this challenge’s primary and secondary skills. All checks in the challenge are made using an adventurer’s...
  • 08:02 AM - Imaro mentioned pemerton in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    Was I talking about your point or Hussars point? Because I really can not see that one 4e DM allowing a character to plunge their hands into a forge is evidence that every 4e DM would allow it, or indeed any other DM. The 4e system is designed to force Players who want to maximise their chances of passing a skill challenge to try and use their best skills in anyway that the DM will allow. I would imagine that the best system of DnD for creating magical items was actually ADnD because the adventure was in the assembly of the materials required rather then in the process of creation itself. Good point... are there any official 4e Epic adventures where something like the forge example @pemerton gave is a part of an official skill challenge or check? I was glancing through an epic tier adventure from Dungeon called "Those Once Loyal" and the skill challenges and checks I saw seemed pretty mundane (with the epicness seeming to come from the opposition as opposed to the capabilities of the PC's). I've included one below but I have to say none of the suggested uses of skills comes close to sticking one's hands in a searing hot magical forge to help in the creation of an artifact. In fact compared to that the skill uses below (though admittedly having large DC's) seem downright tame to the point of well almost being ordinary uses against bigger things. So I'm hoping someone can provide examples of the types of things being cited here as inherent to 4e epic tier and not just how a particular DM chooses to run their game at epic tier. Common Cause The aspect grieves for your troubles, but his own loyalty to Bahamut blinds him to your true purpose. Level: 28 (XP 26,000) ...
  • 07:08 AM - Sadras mentioned pemerton in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    @pemerton and in part @Hussar You have pushed for the merits of a defined skill table at various levels and/or mentioned 5e DM's giving varying DCs on skill checks as issues of the game. I'm wondering if you have the same contempt, because it can only be described as contempt after so many posts, with TotM. Let us face it TotM can produce some varied results, not all DMs will have the exact same picture in their mind and certainly players will have different ones. I'm wondering if you are consistent in your contempt for unsurety across the board or if you're just cherry-picking?
  • 04:27 AM - Imaro mentioned pemerton in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    ... I see it harped on as a major problem is on forums like this and it's usually by a handful of 4e fans who are trying to convince others to be outraged enough about it to actually care as much as they seem to. As long as they are having fun playing the fighter in 1e, 2e, 3e or 5e, and I doubt they'd continue to play a game if they weren't (cue the how irrational people can be argument :yawn: ), they just don't care about this "imbalance" between classes that you feel they should be making an issue about. they probably look at it in the vein of if they wanted to play a magic wielder or a ki channeling monk they would. Instead they picked a fighter and they are a-ok with playing that class because it is fun for them. On a side note I find it interesting that the game that supposedly "corrected" this still had fighters with the lowest amount of skills, nealry all combat focused powers, nothing equivalent to rituals, and still ultimately relied on DM fiat to allow things like pemerton's forge scene. You want to know what baffles me? How proponents of 4e can claim that edition actually fixed this supposed disparity between the magic wielders and the martial classes.

Saturday, 10th November, 2018

  • 07:16 PM - Imaro mentioned pemerton in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    No, not really. I will admit DMs are pretty likely to do that, to keep things interesting, but the scale is very manageable and flexible. Thinking about this, I also just noticed that it is literally impossible for any PC to hit a DC 30, until Level 5...that is, until Tier II. So a certain gating is definitely built into the system. Lol... I made this point earlier to @pemerton. That there are in fact things that can be accomplished by higher level PC's that can't be by lower level PC's (from a mechanical standpoint). The difference I think in the approaches, and maybe where @pemerton ' s contention is, is that 4e tells you these things are part of the epic tier and they involve this specific fiction... while 5e says these are beyond the ken of certain men and you the DM decide what that is in your particular campaign. I think pemerton wants the game to define these things for him while I (and I think others) rea happy to decide what these things are for ourselves in any particular camapign. The fact that official adventures seem to rarely if ever use these DC's (thus also not attaching a specific fiction to them) would seem to reinforce this notion of the DM defining what falls into those extreme DC's. EDIT: I want a more mythical campaign... Fighters sticking their hands into forges of creation to hold an artifact while it is created become doable at...


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Tuesday, 4th December, 2018

  • 08:46 AM - dave2008 quoted pemerton in post Mythological Figures: Odysseus/Ulysses (5E)
    This may be a difference of taste - I tend to prefer considering how a system (in this case, D&D) can do a character based on its range of mechanical options, rather than its PC build constraints. Especially if those constraints are already known to struggle with producing mythic/literary results! However, I think the approach of this series is a more interesting puzzle IMO. As an NPC monster build it is relatively easy to make Odysseus (or by using epic boons and/or past lvl 20 options in the DMG), but limiting to a max lvl 20 PC building is an interesting challenge that can sparks creativity (and discussion) in a way an NPC / Monster build does not. There can be value in the struggle. EDIT: I also struggled to get behind the concept of this thread initially. Building Thor as a PC just seemed crazy to me, but I fully embrace this exercise now. I would never do this if I were to make some of these character, but that is some of the fun of it. The interesting part is trying to see how fa...
  • 07:28 AM - dave2008 quoted pemerton in post Mythological Figures: Odysseus/Ulysses (5E)
    This doesn't fully address some of the comments, though, like Why is STR so lacking when Odysseus was renowned for his strength. There are feats in this build (eg Brilliant) that could be traded for STR without apparent loss. I agree. I am not saying I agree with where he put the stats, I am just explain why he didn't simply use a bunch of 18s. The point of the series is to present an NPC and then discuss why and what we would do differently within the concept of the series (NPC made with PC rules using point-buy / standard array). This was pretty thoroughly reviewed with Conan I believe. EDIT: Mike usually jumps in and explains his choice and then we can discuss some more if you so desire. I think one thing he should address is why Str is so low. Also, the OP does say So the build is intended to be a NPC, not a PC, and there is no requirement in the 5e rules that a "real person" NPC follow PC build rules - eg NPCs have proficiency bonuses that follow their CR, not their PC level (ins...

Monday, 3rd December, 2018

  • 01:09 PM - Sadras quoted pemerton in post What are your favorite Skill Challenges.
    I think that upfront stakes when it's something like cross the river or persuade the corpse to talk to you via Speak wtih Dead is fine. But when the challenge is more complex in the fiction - eg a somewhat open-ended negotiation - and is meant to involve many checks (complexity 4 and 5 is probably my "many checks" as opposed to "few check" zone), then I think more capacity for evolution of the stakes is needed. Just as might happen in combat. I think without the possibility of development there is the risk of the dreaded "dice rolling exercise" to choose between two pre-determined paths. Similarly to your Soul Abattoir and collapsing Shadowfell example where you had not worked out what would happen on a failure? It allows you to avoid the "death" option and to use an alternative. This informs me that setting the stakes is not something enforced at your table, and so it is something the DM (you) might offer if you want the players invested.
  • 12:19 PM - Garthanos quoted pemerton in post What are your favorite Skill Challenges.
    The Soul Abattior example I linked to upthread involved escaping from a collapsing part of the Shadowdark. I don't know what would have happened had the players failed, but not a TPK. The phrase temporarily trapped, lost, injured (insert Garthanos wishing for elaborated affliction rules) and taking a new path entirely comes to mind.... ie all paths lead to something interesting. Heck failure can be more interesting. SC guideline - "Plan for failure" subclause make it interesting.

Saturday, 1st December, 2018

  • 04:30 PM - dragoner quoted pemerton 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. ...

Friday, 30th November, 2018

  • 12:23 PM - Garthanos quoted pemerton in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    Frankly, I think even running a 4e combat then a DW combat would show that players roll the dice isn't the same as only players make mechanical-type moves (I'm bracketing deal damage - I don't think that would change the outcome of the experiment). Oh I do not think having players roll is exactly the same perhaps its just the first step... hmmm maybe I am thinking we could bring the "normal combat" much closer to a standard conflict resolution by having the DM describe enemy offense then players describe how they are dealing with it and having a set of established defense side mechanics... more elaborate and inspiring (and tactical since this is 4e) than just that make a defense roll. I am interested in how one can achieve that idea of having the two contexts mirror one another better without tossing the starting point. Maybe intermediate steps are not "to the point enough"
  • 04:03 AM - Manbearcat quoted pemerton in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    In 4e combat, players roll all the dice won't give it the same dynamic as a skill challenge, because the GM is still declaring actions for NPCs/monsters that have an action economy, generate mechanical states of affairs that interact with the player-side mechanics, deplete PC hit points, etc. Even if a player rolls a "defence" die, it is the GM who forces "OK, roll a defence die" having declared an action for the NPC. Whereas in a skill challenge the GM is only changing the fiction. It's pretty different, at least in my experience. I think the difference would be most acutely experienced if you performed the following experiment: a) Run a 4e combat. b) Run a follow-on noncombat scene using Dungeon World and Apocalypse World/Blades Clocks (which may be as close as you get to 4th edition noncombat conflict resolution).
  • 02:05 AM - Garthanos quoted pemerton in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    In 4e combat, players roll all the dice won't give it the same dynamic as a skill challenge, because the GM is still declaring actions for NPCs/monsters that have an action economy, generate mechanical states of affairs that interact with the player-side mechanics, deplete PC hit points, etc. Even if a player rolls a "defence" die, it is the GM who forces "OK, roll a defence die" having declared an action for the NPC. Whereas in a skill challenge the GM is only changing the fiction. Not totally disagreeing but I feel if you are targeting pressure on the PCs it very much should be fiction that induces - I will solve this issue responses out of the PCs. Now what I see is that the players are more free in the SC to figure out what action they react with not a predefined one like that defense roll, which for me makes it potentially very interesting.

Thursday, 29th November, 2018

  • 11:38 PM - darkbard quoted pemerton in post What are your favorite Skill Challenges.
    The idea of multi-stage can be adapted/generalised, I think - as the situation unfolds, the fiction changes in such a fashion that certain past states are now guaranteed to be in the past (eg in the negotiations, it's clear that the major NPC is no longer going to believe XYZ about the PCs), and the parameters for future states have been changed or at least narrowed (eg now the question is whether the NPC will ally with the PCs or simply send them on their way). I'm kind of divided on this. On the one hand, I absolutely agree that the Skill Challenge must be dynamic, flexible, malleable; that the fiction (and attendant pressure) must morph to accurately represent the PCs' progress towards their goal. However, on the other hand, I've always tried to adhere to the advice given about SCs (and similar mechanics in other games) to make sure the terms of success and failure are clearly articulated and agreed upon before engaging the mechanics. It therefore becomes a very delicate balancing acts at...
  • 05:32 PM - heretic888 quoted pemerton in post What are your favorite Skill Challenges.
    I've used skill challenges for resolving social tension, interrogation, traversing the Abyss (that one wasn't my best), sneaking through an enemy camp, cleansing corrupted angels, taming a bear and dispelling a water weird, trashing Torog's Soul Abattoir, surviving an audience with Yan-C-Bin and then persuading some maruts that it's not the end times, and other stuff too. It's a versatile framework. The thing any GM can always work on is thinking about how to keep the pressure on the PCs (and thereby the players) in a way that respects the fiction. The need for pressure is fundamental, because only the players are declaring actions and rolling dice (very different eg from 4e combat or HeroWars/Quest extended resolution). But equally fundamental is the need to honour the players' successful checks on the way through - not such a big deal if the challenge is complexity 1, but a very big deal if we're talking complexity 12 and so having to narrate up to 11 successes while leaving the possibilit...

Wednesday, 28th November, 2018

  • 02:42 PM - Aldarc quoted pemerton in post Rules Light Games: Examples and Definitions
    I love Fate, but I think its just on the edge of what I would call "light", and some of the published implementations actually cross over that line for me. (naturally a matter of taste.) Honestly, since the advent/dominance of a singular resolution mechanic, many games are fairly "light" in their core mechanics. However, the devil is in all the details added by those listy things. I think the recent editions of D&D are good good examples of this. The basic D20 mechanics aren't very heavy at all, but when you add all the different spell effects, maneuvers, conditions, etc. the system gets very heavy in play. (Even without those, the specificity of the movement rules would make D&D fairly heavy.) This is why Fate is on the line for me. The core mechanics are actually a bit more complicated than D20 and involve more decision points for players on each turn. However, by avoided all the "listiness", it plays much more lightly than D&D. (At least IME, IMO, etc. etc.) I've never played Fate but I...

Sunday, 25th November, 2018

  • 02:41 AM - Garthanos quoted pemerton in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    Admittedly this didn't come online until late heroic, and then really took off in paragon - maybe that's the point I'm missing. It was definitely @Tony Vargas point of view with Martial Controllers or atleast the polearm build one. I am looking at medium range Warlord style enemy manipulating martial controller.

Saturday, 24th November, 2018

  • 08:12 AM - doctorbadwolf quoted pemerton in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    What RPGs do you have in mind here? Narrative is an ambiguous term in these contexts, but when I think "narrative RPG" I tend to think anything by Ron Ewards, Vincent Baker or Paul Czege - and then things like Burning Wheel, Prince Valiant, Marvel Heroic/Cortex+, HeroWars/Quest, and other "indie"-style games. 4e brought some of these sensibilities into a "mainstream" RPG. Things like FFG's narrative dice mechanics, mostly. Give players ways to directly impact the narrative as storytellers, don't make it a matter of what symbols show up on the dice. With respect to this martial controller thing, I feel the game already provided it - the fighter in my game, especially when he switches from mordenkrad to polearm (he is a dwarf who can work with both hammers and axes), is a controller. It's almost impossible to get past him, or to get out once you go in close. (Forced movement, stopping movement, immobilisation, prone, slow - in effectively unlimited quantities.) Admittedly this di...
  • 07:24 AM - doctorbadwolf quoted pemerton in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    This is also true in my case. For nearly 20 years my primary RPG was Rolemaster. I also played various games on the side: AD&D, and various BRP variants like Stormbringer/Elric, CoC and RQ. I noticed the arrival of 3E, and played a small amout of it, but it didn't seem super-exciting to me. The announcement of 4e came at the same time as a second long-running RM campaign was coming to its conclusion, and also as our group was undergoing reconfiguration due to some members moving to the UK, resulting in merging two groups (with some overlap in membership, and the other of which had been playing 3E) into one. It was obvious from the get-go that (i) 4e would have a mechanical heft comparable to RM, and (ii) it would be almost the opposite of RM in its approach to mechanics, adjudication and the relationship between these things and the fiction. Over the past decade or thereabouts I've often posted that 4e fully delivers on the Gygaxian conception of hp and saving throws as a "fortune in t...

Friday, 23rd November, 2018

  • 03:12 AM - Parmandur quoted pemerton in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    Can you say what you mean by "narrative"? In most RPGs, the basic process of play is that a player declares an action which in some fashion engages the shared fiction, and then a check (or comparable resolution process) is established and undertaken. Common examples are things like "I poke the floor in front of me with my 10' pole" or "I raise my hand in a signal of peace to the goblins" or "I cast a fireball spell". In many RPGs, there are some actions whose declation in the fiction more-or-less equates to performing a mechanical move in the game. In Gygax's AD&D, for instance, declaring "I listen at the door" enlivens a particular mechanical process (which contrasts with "I poke the floor in front of me with my 10' pole"). In 5e, declaring "I attack the goblin with my sword" or "I shoot the goblin with Magic Missiles" enlivens a particular mechanical process (the combat rules, and the casting rules, respectively). In most RPGs, there are also actions whose declaration enlivens no partic...
  • 01:30 AM - Ratskinner quoted pemerton in post Do You Think Encounters Should be Difficult?
    I've been taking seriously that this thread is in General, not D&D. Though even in AD&D there have been rules for duels of honour - Unearthed Arcana and Oriental Adventures had these, under labels like vanquishing and subdual. Oh, I agree. But, OTOH, this forum (AFAICT) is mostly populated (and thus informed) by D&D "heavy users". Thus, I think that informs the common responses even to questions in this subforum. I mean, if you're playing Blades in the Dark, you generally want to avoid unnecessary killing because bodies increase the Heat you take on the score. (Naturally, assassinations are the exception to this.)
  • 01:17 AM - Manbearcat quoted pemerton in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    I think so much confusion in play across systems came about by trying to fit square pegs into round holes, as it were, where the system mechanics facilitate some (but not all) roles for its participants and push hard against others. I definitely agree with this. I think the matter is made worse (a) when folks are averse to playing different kind of games (doesn't even have to be TTRPGs...could be Eurogames) and (b) when a culture becomes insular and averse to self-reflection/analysis. And that can be any culture. Its not great when players of rules-lite systems don't understand the mental framework that responds to a rules-heavy simulationist system just like its not great in reverse (or any of the many conflicts over play priorities). (1) In this thread from around a year ago, discussing options for the PCs in my Traveller game, an approach to GMing was being articulated by one poster which is neither of the two you describe. That approach was clearly averse to using reaction rolls...
  • 12:49 AM - Shasarak quoted pemerton in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    Without 4e I am pretty sure I wouldnt have had much renewed interest in D&D. This is also true in my case. It is not a surprise. You guys are exactly who the 4e developers were targeting.

Thursday, 22nd November, 2018

  • 10:39 PM - Ratskinner quoted pemerton in post Do You Think Encounters Should be Difficult?
    I'd reiterate - why do the stakes have to be death? There's no connection between "no chance of losing" and fighting to the death. PCs can lose fights without dying - they get captured, they yield to a superior opponent, they suffer shame, etc. In real life people fight without death being the outcome, and perhaps even moreso in genre fiction. Not that I'm saying the stakes of any encounter or even combat encounter should be death...but! That's all that the basic mechanics address (HP attrition mediated by resource depletion and tactics). I think players tend to lean on the mechanics of the game (whatever game is being played) and in D&D this leads them to address all combats (sometimes all encounters) this way. IME, if there aren't mechanical consequences or at least a framework to directly inform the fiction, there is a large segment of gamers who just won't care. This is what I mean by D&D not being tuned for anything other than this one kind of dungeoneering narrative. Not that ...
  • 12:33 PM - Garthanos quoted pemerton in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    When a game comes along which rests on a different set of premises - as 4e does, in my view, relative to AD&D and 3E - then the discrete elements need to be recontextualilsed into that new framework. It's not oxygen anymore, and so whatever the discrete elements are, they're not doing quite the same thing as your matches used to. This demand for recontextualisation isn't appealing to some people. For me 4e to the contrary created context for many things to make sense. Using just one attribute for attacks is now a simplified expression of fighting style instead of feeling like treating all combat as based on brute force. It brought home advancing hit points as realization of the legendary and mythic nature of the big damn heroes and well hit points feel as the abstraction is fully embraced. In 1e there was a split personality going on where the above was happening and yet there was a plethora of save or die effects (so the awesomeness of Gygax describing how Conan didnt fall to some critical h...


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