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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 06:20 AM
    The cleric and paladin are essentially the same archetype, especially pre-2nd ed AD&D: heavily armed and armoured warriors who perform miracles, turn away the undead, and heal with a touch. The differences between them are purely mechanical, not thematic. (And no matter how much a fighter is RPed as a paladin, s/he won't heal with a touch.) So if clerics are played as paladins, then I think...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Today, 02:47 AM
    It is arguable that the 'big 4' cover all of the most elementary archetypes, with the paladin being a bit less central. However I would argue that the cleric really is kind of an odd man out in that lineup, and the paladin is perhaps more basic. I mean, you can find knights (fighters), knaves (thieves), sorcerers (magic users), and paladins in Arthurian legend, which is based on a whole cycle of...
    110 replies | 2960 view(s)
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Today, 02:03 AM
    Hey Manbearcat! I just mean that there's no real change in fictional positioning when a party is in a -lets say- 5 day journey when the first day is an uneventful SC that they succeed at. True, the first day of the journey is over, but it seems like a lot of procedure to go through vs a more 'high level' procedure like 'you travel for 3 days uneventfully...' (which might represent a couple of...
    56 replies | 2102 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Today, 12:31 AM
    6 months or more? In order, I've run: 3 * B/X and RC 1 * Classic Traveler 5 * AD&D 2 * 3.x 3 * Dogs in the Vineyard 1 * Mouseguard 3 * 4e 2 * Apocalypse World
    51 replies | 1492 view(s)
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  • chaochou's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:07 PM
    Either run or played in, off the top of my head: AD&D Runequest Call of Cthulhu Twilight 2000 Warhammer FRP Pendragon Vampire:TM Cyberpunk
    51 replies | 1492 view(s)
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:36 PM
    AD&D 2e turns 30 this year. It feels very odd to suggest that someone playing a 30 year old game is insufficiently set in their ways.
    110 replies | 2960 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:35 PM
    This seems to touch upon a problem that I have encountered with Inspiration. For some preferences, it's gimmick that is too intrusive; however, for other preferences, it does not do its supposed "gimmick" well enough. (I don't think I would do any justice to the positions by ascribing particular playstyles to these positions nor would I recommend that others attempt it.) There are certainly...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:24 PM
    Well if we were going with emulating the genre of fiction, we could even employ the fairy tale Rule of 3 trope. The first two places you visit will not have what you seek, but the third time will be the charm.
    371 replies | 10168 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:21 AM
    That was Scotland - in the UK. Ireland is practically a Free Speech zone compared to the UK these days.
    165 replies | 5712 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:50 AM
    I just want to assert, quite strongly, that the moral and political equality of people - whatever their sex, gender, race, etc - is not a "social convention". It's a social reality that has been fought for, often quite hard. It doesn't need to be "challenged".
    165 replies | 5712 view(s)
    4 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:39 AM
    Rogues get Thieves' Tools Proficiency and in their starting equipment. Criminal Background gets Thieves' Tools Proficiency - not in the Background starting equipment though. My suspicion is you took Thieves Tools' Proficiency before selecting Criminal, thus annoying the software. It's best to have read a rule book (or the Basic Rules, or even just a wiki like https://www.5esrd.com/ ) before...
    19 replies | 439 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:35 AM
    The pregens are at https://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/character_sheets
    19 replies | 439 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:33 AM
    Welcome to the game! :) Well my first bit of advice would be to do some reading before you go into electronic character building. I would recommend starting with the D&D Basic Rules - http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/basicrules then buy a 5th edition Player's Handbook. If you are looking to GM you could buy the Starter Set, which is often only around $20. It includes dice and...
    19 replies | 439 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:27 AM
    I don't see how a B/X player can claim to be a grognard - it was one of (is it still, or has 5e overtaken it?) popular D&D products of all time! That would make me a potential grognard. I'm also not sure that Gygax gets to decide what counts as grognard-ism. Arneson's groggish credentials seem just as strong. If I encountered someone who played OD&D + supplements 2 and 3 (so by my reckoning...
    110 replies | 2960 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:18 AM
    I think it's unrealistic to expect that the RPG hobby community will be wildly different from any other community - assuming it even makes sense to speak of the RPG hobby community. The community/communities are just constituent elements of the societies they belong to, with members united by a shared interest in a particular leisure activity but not necessarily too much else. I know nothing...
    165 replies | 5712 view(s)
    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:53 AM
    Eh, then why was the pretty elf PC asking orc bikers about BDSM fantasies with her as the sub? Given that that was nothing to do with the plot!
    29 replies | 1135 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:49 AM
    I didn't say anything about NPCs - I talked about characters in fiction. In the context of RPGing, the PCs are the most salient such characters. And whether or not my claim is a Red Herring, it doesn't rely on any False Dichotomy about realism. Which is what you asserted. I take it that you now retract that assertion. What system are you talking about? Maxperson's table's approach to D&D?...
    371 replies | 10168 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:45 AM
    I'm actually using the 4e one for my new 5e campaign (Princes of the Apocalypse, 1491 DR) since it's a direct sequel to my level 1-30 nearly-6-year 4e FR campaign, which started in 1479 DR & ended in 1485 DR with the destruction of the Shades of Netheril, the death of Orcus and Szass Tam, Shar badly weakened and a PC becoming Legendary Sovereign of the Shining Vale - my own RSEs. :)
    29 replies | 1212 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:33 AM
    Why? Men & Magic has 3 classes (fighter, MU, cleric), and then Supplement 1 introduces both thief and paladin. I don't see what's especially grognard-y about adding the thief but not the paladin.
    110 replies | 2960 view(s)
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:49 AM
    Well, OK, but then what is the dividing line between 'mass' and 'regular' melee? I don't really see those terms used in any consistent way, the word 'mass' or 'mass combat' seems to crop up now and then, but I don't get the impression Gygax is saying there are clear categories of combats. Truthfully, in all my years of AD&D play (20+) I never saw a DM insist on attacks vs random opponents, unless...
    110 replies | 2960 view(s)
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:42 AM
    Yeah, I agree, Gygax here is relying on his "everyone is engaged in one big melee if they are engaged" thing, which is mentioned as a thing someplace in this section, though I didn't specifically pick it out. I guess it is where he talks about randomly attacking different enemies once you're all in melee (which oddly the example never addresses). In fact this whole melee WOULD work pretty much...
    110 replies | 2960 view(s)
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:30 AM
    I guess my answer here in terms of the tea house and the sect is "OK, fine, its determined that the sect is NOT going to be found in the teahouse." Since the point of the game, IMHO is for interesting stuff to happen, then this particular teahouse, at least in the 'finding a sect' context is simply not going to even figure at all. So any decision I might make about it not having sect members,...
    371 replies | 10168 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:11 AM
    I agree, this is completely unacceptable. I'd report it, but obviously the mods have already seen it and apparently don't agree. :mad:
    165 replies | 5712 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:32 AM
    The PHB is not a scholarly work governed by standards of academic ethics; and I very much doubt that the sort of work the "consultants" did on the PHB generates entitlements to be acknowledged under "moral rights" law. (I'm not even sure if the US has moral rights laws.) But it is common for companies to try and promote their products. And in the case of a personality-driven consumer market...
    165 replies | 5712 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 11:49 PM
    I don't see not using monks as "non-Grognard" - they go back to the earliest days of D&D! (Supplement II, to be precise.)
    110 replies | 2960 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 11:43 PM
    We're talking game rules, not logic.
    53 replies | 1929 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 11:30 PM
    Having lots of hp and thereby permitting success in melee combat is the main class feature of a fighter - as early editions of D&D tended to point out. So negating that class feature seems a dodgy move. If you want a d8 axe to be able to decapitate a fighter, the easiest thing seems to be to allow max damage to open end (ie make another roll, if it's max to make another roll, etc).
    39 replies | 756 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 10:35 PM
    Naw, I've been running Rise of the Runelords/Shattered Star mashup in 5e D&D since 2015 (with a break for 2018); it works great - at higher level it runs FAR smoother than the Pathfinder Curse of the Crimson Throne game I ran. The difference is huge. Conversion is a breeze IME.
    16 replies | 429 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 10:20 PM
    Err... did it occur to you that the player was into a bit of BDSM fantasy her(?)self? This looks like an obvious setup by the player.
    29 replies | 1135 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 10:20 PM
    So a quick thought on this: When you say "challenges to represent matieral changes in the fictional position of the PCs", I'm reading that as "engages with/challenges theme/premise." Is that correct? Assuming that is correct, I have the following thoughts on that. A D&D 4e game at Heroic Tier (broadly) has the following: (The game's broad premise of) * Danger expressed in a Points...
    56 replies | 2102 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 10:13 PM
    Yes but the point made upthread was that you can't do all three on your own turn, as part of counterspelling a counterspell.
    53 replies | 1929 view(s)
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 08:57 PM
    Because then they would be lying. Wizards may not have known about the rape, sexual assault, or "in meat life" abuse, but they knew about a good chunk of the rest (up to 2014). Again, this is part of why people are still upset with Round 2 of tepid responses from Wizards of the Coast. During the development of D&D Next, Mike Mearls knew people found his inclusion upsetting. Victims voiced their...
    165 replies | 5712 view(s)
    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 03:37 PM
    No, no you can't. :p
    17 replies | 532 view(s)
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 03:32 PM
    Two-handed is a property that certain weapons have. If a weapon has this property, it cannot be a monk weapon. Neither spears nor quarterstaffs have this property, however, so they both qualify as monk weapons because they are both simple weapons that don't have the two-handed or heavy property. The property that allows spears and quarterstaffs to be wielded with two hands is the versatile...
    33 replies | 22049 view(s)
    1 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 03:29 PM
    I could really do with a copy of Great Cthulu's 5e stats for my Primeval Thule game - not to mention Hastur & Nyarlathotep. :D Edit: OK I have it now - only took a couple minutes to get the pdf as a Late Pledge on https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/petersengames/sandy-petersens-cthulhu-mythos-for-5e
    17 replies | 532 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 03:26 PM
    I think you're misreading it - it says "shortswords and any simple melee weapons that don't have the two-handed or heavy property" - quarterstaffs do not have the two-handed property (PHB pg 149) as they are Versatile and can be used either one or two-handed. pg 147 definition of Two-Handed "requires two hands when you attack with it" - this is different from and exclusive of Versatile. ...
    33 replies | 22049 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 02:50 PM
    I didn't say anything about whether "realism" is a matter of degree or a categorical thing. I said that real human lives don't have the same dramatic "neatness" and development as do those of characters in fiction. The truth of that claim doesn't turn on any view about whether "realism" is or is not a matter of degree. I don't see how "more realistic" bears on this. How realistic is it to have...
    371 replies | 10168 view(s)
    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 02:36 PM
    To me it seems fairly straightforward. When the 5e D&D PHB was published, WotC (the company), presumably relying in part on the judgement of Mearls and colleagues in the D&D team, formed the view that it was a market advantage to be assocated with certain known advocates of particular "old school" or at least anti-"new school" styles of D&D (ie RPG Pundit and Zak S). Whereas they have now...
    165 replies | 5712 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 01:54 PM
    If in doubt, I find 3 in 6 chance works really well - "hm, ok, 3 in 6 chance sect members at the tea house" - it's a nice compromise between cinematic reality and reality-reality.
    371 replies | 10168 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 12:08 PM
    So my son is just starting to DM for boys his own age (11 or so). He has a PHB & MM. Today I made him up a DM's pack folder of handy resources, such as: 1. The DMG magic items & the individual loot tables - the higher tier tables can be used as low-tier hoards I noticed, sans magic this being a Primeval Thule game. 2. Enough info on the city of Quodeth to run games there, such as city...
    25 replies | 631 view(s)
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 10:35 AM
    The idea that this backlash exists the result of a "mere allegation" downplays the scope and nature of these allegations (plural). In particular, it's that 1) these allegations are about an individual with well-known toxic behavior (and lots of red flags), 2) these allegations came from his ex-wife (among other women) - whom the individual in question used as a puppet account for shielding his...
    165 replies | 5712 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 09:47 AM
    AbdulAlhazred, that's a good post. With respect to the example of melee in Gygax's DMG, literal participants in the melee are Aggro (who killed Balto), Blastum (who killed by Arlanni via shocking grasp) and Arkayn who is fighting Gutboy and Barjin. So my take on the web is that the player is allowed to declare that all the enemy NPCs are caught (ie Blastum, Gutboy and Barjin) but that the PC...
    110 replies | 2960 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 09:34 AM
    Adventure fiction - heck, fiction in general - depends on coincidence: people turn up, or fail to turn up, at the appropriate moment; opportunities arise, or fail to arise, at just the time that will drive the protagonist to action; etc. That's not to say that fiction must be "unrealistic" in the sense of wildly implausible. It is to say that, if you looked at 1,000 human lives, few or even...
    371 replies | 10168 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 08:26 AM
    That's fine. If you believe what I wrote is ban-worthy, then you have a report button available at your disposal. This is not my first conversation with iserith regarding inspiration, and I don't particularly enjoy being accosted with him self-promoting his brand of inspiration. I was not going to buy what he was selling then, and I'm certainly not buying it now. :erm:
    63 replies | 1330 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 06:14 AM
    Guess I'm a bad DM :D OTOH it's not a 'job', I don't get paid to do it. I only do what I enjoy doing, or at least find satisfying - getting those Beastmen minis painted up for my Primeval Thule game was a lot of work, but the results were worth it. Memorising the Traits/Bonds/Flaws of dozens* of PCs does not grab me. *I run four 5e campaign groups currently, two in the same world. Average 6...
    63 replies | 1330 view(s)
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 03:47 AM
    I agree that the type of use of the grid in 4e (and this was also true in 3.x, though distances were still measured in feet or inches or something) is materially different. In AD&D (1e particularly) it is fairly unclear exactly what the expected process is. The game is all built on the classic Chainmail style 'just measure on the table' concept, with what pemerton quoted showing that minis...
    110 replies | 2960 view(s)
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 01:05 AM
    A chief problem is that this presumes that there is a singular idea for what perfection entails or should entail. But based upon your own stated game preferences and ideals, that hypothetical game far from constitutes any notion of "perfect" that I would put forth. And I'll admit that this attitude also contributes to some of the aggravation I have our discussions.
    371 replies | 10168 view(s)
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 12:32 AM
    No, thank you. I'm not interested in buying snake oil.
    63 replies | 1330 view(s)
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 08:52 PM
    I think that's a good change considering it's being unseen that grants advantage on attacks, and that the feat would otherwise offer no benefit against an unseen but unhidden attacker, making it better to be attacked by someone who was hidden rather than someone who wasn't. The difference, of course, is that when you are hidden, no one who loses a contest of their Wisdom (Perception) against...
    15 replies | 405 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 06:34 PM
    I donít have the time necessary to address the various points here, but one thing right quickly. There are more non-thematic pressure points in 4e than is being discussed: 1) There is an assumed, rolling level-1 fungible coin (which can come in the form of, or be used to purchase, residuum, favors/SC successes, Cohorts/Hirelings in the way of Companion Characters, funding Rituals, Mounts,...
    56 replies | 2102 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 04:54 PM
    Inspiration fails to be even a half-baked mechanic that has been easily forgotten, if ever remembered, at every table of 5e I have ever played.
    63 replies | 1330 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 03:51 PM
    Of my recent campaigns: Wilderlands (4 years 2015-2019) went 1st to 20th (for one PC) in 5e, then 1st to 10th, then 1st to 10th Crimson Throne (2 years 2014-15) went 1st to 14th in Pathfinder Loudwater (5.5 years 2011-2016) went 1st to 29th in 4e, reaching 30th at end of last session (Orcus RIP). Runelords of the Shattered Star (2 years 2015-2017) went 1st to 18th in 5e, recently restarted....
    23 replies | 490 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 03:46 PM
    Yes, I might say - "Days later, after a few brushes with goblins..." but I wouldn't engage the combat mechanics and then disengage them with "ok so you kill the last goblin".
    29 replies | 1135 view(s)
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 02:32 PM
    Agreed! I chuckled when I read MoutonRustique's comment but at the same time thought of your actual play reports in which the PCs, for example, leveraged their flying tower in an SC, if memory serves (it rarely does these days). I think it's one of those remarkable instances wherein one can tell that the stakes are just as meaningful to the players as they are to the PCs! (For, as MoutonRustique...
    56 replies | 2102 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 02:10 PM
    This was funny - but permanent items as staked/lost resources has actually been a recurrent feature of my 4e play.
    56 replies | 2102 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 02:10 PM
    Conversely, I love not giving myself the freedom, by telling the players in advance - "OK you make it safely to port - UNLESS I roll a 20 on this die...." (said on Sunday). It's part of the Free Kriegsspiel approach I like to tell the players the odds.
    371 replies | 10168 view(s)
    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 02:07 PM
    My campaigns tend to run a couple years or more and usually go over 10th, except the 3e campaigns I deliberately capped at 8th.
    23 replies | 490 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 02:01 PM
    I've played AD&D to 15th-ish level. The system doesn't support play at that level very well - the principle opponents have to be NPCs of similar levels. I've played 4e to 30th level. The system is very robust in my experience of it.
    23 replies | 490 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 10:39 AM
    No - but if the monsters are losing, & retreat off the battlemat, I will say "the monsters flee - do you pursue?" - then if the PCs give chase we'll shift over to chase rules.
    29 replies | 1135 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 10:17 AM
    Yeah, that is my #1 recommendation. I think the 5e DMG is a bit much for someone just starting out, though worth a look. A better/more concise recommendation would be the GM's book in the Pathfinder Beginner Box.
    25 replies | 631 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 10:13 AM
    Phylactery Gygax knew what it meant, but didn't bother explaining. The 2e authors had no idea, and so made it a Lich's hidden soul receptacle.
    21 replies | 696 view(s)
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 06:49 AM
    I beg to differ. Having started playing D&D in 1975 I assure you that there was combat on the table top with the terrain drawn out, and it was pretty much THE way it was done in our neck of the woods. I never heard of this 'Theater of the Mind' or playing without stuff laid out on the table with minis until at least the mid 80's and then we only did it because we were in college and just didn't...
    110 replies | 2960 view(s)
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 06:22 AM
    Any game with story and drama has stakes. 4e is lacking in explicit mechanics which put those stakes on the table in a system way, but if there is conflict there are stakes. Moreover 4e DOES have nascent ways of working with them. In an SC it is pretty easy to interpret the system of Advantages and the DMs hard checks as a way to do that for example. The use of consumables as a somewhat expensive...
    56 replies | 2102 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 06:20 AM
    LOL....
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 02:25 AM
    Sure, and as I say, I think there is coherency, which dictates that at the very least the players are able to look at what they know about the game world and come up with a determination of what they will find when they go into the inn. All of the possible criteria can be factored there too, though it is certainly a positive when you can say "well, the CHARACTERS line of reasoning was..." and it...
    371 replies | 10168 view(s)
    1 XP
  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 02:19 AM
    It isn't a trust issue. Its simply a judgement made by basic reasoning and experience.
    371 replies | 10168 view(s)
    1 XP
  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 02:17 AM
    Yeah, as I say, BA wasn't especially a goal. Depending on how you define it there is less total range of bonuses in my game than in 4e proper, although if you extrapolated to level 30 it would be about the same. I never have gotten the whole thing with not advancing skill (proficiency) checks in 5e anyway. It just breaks a lot of things. There are just a few bizarre things about that system I...
    13 replies | 574 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 01:15 AM
    I do resort to using monster average damage when I'm tired - it definitely makes combat run smoother.
    63 replies | 1330 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 01:12 AM
    I give it out maybe once a session on average - for cool stuff, or (very rarely happens) when a player points out they are RPing a trait/bond/flaw. 95% of the time I give it out for cool roleplay without reference to what their character sheet says. The big problem with the system IME is that I as DM do not have your TPFs memorised, so unless you tell me, I won't know.
    63 replies | 1330 view(s)
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  • chaochou's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 12:41 AM
    To riff off an idea from The One Ring / Burning Wheel, you could give each character a number of Hope points equal to, say, half their Wisdom. When they run out of Hope the character has succumbed to despair and has to retire. Now your characters have a currency to wager / lose on their travels and one which has an ongoing and long-term impact.
    56 replies | 2102 view(s)
    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 11:59 PM
    My guess would be you'll confuse them even more! My recommendation would be to go over to all 5e, or split your group.
    16 replies | 429 view(s)
    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 11:48 PM
    Matt Colville gives the best advice (Mercer is good too; personally I'd avoid Angry), but I think the best thing she can do is take a look at how the old masters designed adventures. B2 Keep on the Borderlands for dungeons, and X1 Isle of Dread for wilderness, are two good places to start. U1 Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh is also worth looking at, but omits the home base, whereas B2 and X1 pay...
    25 replies | 631 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 11:45 PM
    darkbard, obviously you know your table and you know your game's fiction, so I can only offer a couple of general thoughts: * The idea of clarifying intent, if it's not entirely clear, seems worthwhile; * In my Traveller game, part of what makes the subsystems for travel able to fit with a broadly "story now" approach to the game is the background setting, which I'll say more about. The...
    56 replies | 2102 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 11:21 PM
    Thanks dragoner. I think I've seen you posting about playing Traveller. When you play, how many characters does each player have?
    3 replies | 205 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 09:24 PM
    Agree 110%. The wishy-washy feel of that PHB section is I think the main reason it tends to be ignored IMO.
    18 replies | 547 view(s)
    1 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 09:19 PM
    Just as long as there are no Gish builds, I'm fine. :p (I kid - I have a Fighter-Wizard playing in my Thule game; Lady Aeridnis Vorzin is awesum!!) :D
    21 replies | 696 view(s)
    0 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 09:17 PM
    Had a player post a nice account of yesterday's session: https://simonsprimevalthule.blogspot.com/2019/02/sunday-session-3-m7-dumet-2213-ar.html
    54 replies | 6421 view(s)
    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 08:12 PM
    1. I mostly use individual XP 2. Individual campaigns only tend to run about 2-2.5 years at a time before I'm starting over with a new 1st level group, possibly in the same campaign world - I will restart old campaigns though. Currently I'm running Runelords (PCs 16th-20th) that started in 2015 and took a break all of 2018, plus new Primeval Thule and Princes of the Apocalypse campaigns. My last...
    14 replies | 412 view(s)
    0 XP
  • darkbard's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 04:15 PM
    Well, we were supposed to play yesterday, but plumbing and electrical problems at my home this weekend made that impossible, so I have more time to opine here instead. :D Generally, this first part is excellent advice, and I agree that intent takes precedence over task in such cases. Of course, part of my dilemma here is that I'm trying to shoehorn stakes into a game where the default...
    56 replies | 2102 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 04:13 PM
    Forge Domain Cleric, Gloomstalker Ranger and Shadow Monk all seem very powerful. The latter would Pass Without Trace on the whole party and make them undetectable.
    19 replies | 805 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 11:07 AM
    That reading, billd91, does not seem fair to any of the parties involved, whether in their favor or against them.
    371 replies | 10168 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 09:06 AM
    To address this further: as I understand things, Jonathan Tween in 13th Age is correct about the origins of "fail forward" as a self-consciously identified technique (from the 13th Age rulebook, p 42): A simple but powerful improvement you can make to your game is to redefine failure as ďthings go wrongĒ instead of ďthe PC isnít good enough.Ē Ron Edwards, Luke Crane, and other indie RPG...
    56 replies | 2102 view(s)
    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 08:42 AM
    Yeah, I store them in the original lattices. Works well except for Skull & Shackles - those ones are loose and fall out. :\
    7 replies | 233 view(s)
    1 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 08:26 AM
    PCs who have started at 1st level in my games and hit Tier IV with no bumps/free levelling along the way are: Hakeem, Berserker Barbarian 20 Quillax, Moon Druid 18 That's in 4 years of frequent play, I probably run 2 5e D&D games a week on average.
    14 replies | 412 view(s)
    0 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 08:20 AM
    Yup - Xanathar's gets by far the most use. I've only just bought Mordenkainen's. Volo's sees little use - players occasionally play the new races. Xanathar's has highly useable PC paths/subclasses plus very nice encounter tables for the DM. Plus the common magic items & the downtime stuff. Really it's more useful than the DMG at table - rather than bring a DMG I can just bring an SRD printout...
    26 replies | 828 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 08:17 AM
    I've seen a Zealot Barbarian and (much more) a Swashbuckler Rogue in play. Both are very nice.
    19 replies | 805 view(s)
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 06:04 AM
    Right, and that forms of gist of a reply I would make to pemerton above. It is perfectly OK to say that failure to arrive at all is in the cards. It simply must be true that whatever scene frame is thus entered serves to advance the story and doesn't thwart it or turn it in a DM-determined direction, at least to too large a degree. That may mean that 'in the end' the PCs DO get to the...
    56 replies | 2102 view(s)
    2 XP
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Wednesday, 20th February, 2019

  • 03:47 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned pemerton in post How Did I Become a Grognard?
    Yes, it does. And @pemerton just quoted it for us. And my issue isnít the grid. The nature of the use of the grid changed as the rules became more grid focused, and changed even more with the modification of a round, the alteration of where your entire roundís worth of movement occurs on your turn. The game shifted from a TotM approach with things like minis and a grid as aids, to a game that switches to a board game when combat starts. Oh, combat - roll initiative and hang on while I set up the minis. Ok Bob, what do you do? Bob starts counting squares....ĒIf I move here I can do this, but if I move here I can do that...Ē It doesnít have anything to do with grid or no grid really. The focus shifts dramatically from TotM for the rest of the game to moving minis on a map. Of course, the moving minis on a map evolved from what some people were already doing, combining some, evolving some, but the feel of the game, especially combat, was decidedly different. I agree that the type of use of the grid in 4e (and t...

Monday, 18th February, 2019

  • 06:25 PM - Ilbranteloth mentioned pemerton in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...citly deals with the issue of trying to find certain sorts of people in urban situations is Traveller (1977), and it assumes that the outcome of such attempts will be affected by rolls that are affected by skills like Admin, Streetwise and Leadership, with subsequent supplements adding further relevant skills like Carousing and Recruiting. It doesn't say anything about the referee just decding what happens.) I may be contradicting my earlier post, but as Iíve tried to dig deeper into these concepts Iím finding that, like so many others, methodology and experience are two entirely separate entities that are sometimes intertwined. Certain methods may be more predisposed to a certain style of play, but Iím coming to the conclusion that itís rare for it to be incapable of producing that style of play. This isnít entirely a surprise to me, because much of how we play our game is a mashup of other stuff I/we are learning from elsewhere. For example, due in large part to discussions with pemerton and others, we handle things like critical hits, misses, and death quite differently than the usual approach in D&D, and this also addresses fudging. The primary reason I fudge occasionally is because of a choice weíve made on mechanics. We would prefer a bell curve for skill checks, combat, etc., but we like a d20 better. So instead of using 3d6, we accept that most of the time the d20 is fine, but in those circumstances where we decide itís not, then we adjust the consequences. So they were fine with me fudging. But some people are strongly against fudging. And if I know that, then I donít fudge with that group. So I started rolling attack rolls in front of the players, and they would know when I was fudging. There were still no objections, but occasionally somebody would say, ďnah, thatís fine. Let it ride.Ē An interesting thing is that the players who objected to fudging and wanted to ďalways let it rideĒ were usually not the ones accepting their characterís death under these c...
  • 06:04 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned pemerton in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    As others pointed out : Fail forward = success but is only required when the goal of the endeavor is the singular and obligatory path forward. If the game/story can still continue with a "regular failure", then that shouldn't be taken off the table for [Fail forward] to work - it can work with the goal's failure. Right, and that forms of gist of a reply I would make to pemerton above. It is perfectly OK to say that failure to arrive at all is in the cards. It simply must be true that whatever scene frame is thus entered serves to advance the story and doesn't thwart it or turn it in a DM-determined direction, at least to too large a degree. That may mean that 'in the end' the PCs DO get to the destination. It is just that, really, play should be able to continue in most directions. Really the only thing that shouldn't ever happen is "you fail, you're now still no closer to your goal and nothing has changed." So the consideration of what darkbard should do next, is just advance the story in some direction, giving the players a sense of progress if they succeed and a sense of complication or cost if they don't. And make it genre appropriate and coherent with the rest of the plot and setting.
  • 04:57 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned pemerton in post Combat and Roleplaying
    I think something like what pemerton is saying is why I firmly concluded, by early 2009, that 4e was a pure action-adventure game who's purpose is to emulate material in this genre, with the team of heroes that make up the party as the absolute focus. So combat is less about the AD&D type "defeat some monsters so we can find another treasure." and more about enacting the rollicking action sequences of "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Failures always create new complications and consequences, successes propel you on to the next chamber, hallway, rope bridge, etc. If you fight some enemy it is because he's in the way, or maybe now and then because he is just despicable and on your case. Everything is in service to a relatively simply plot, but there's always plenty of room for the PCs to become more fleshed out as they make choices and decide what battles to fight. The resource game of AD&D vintage is far more secondary in importance. It is advantageous to undertake 'good play' and not burn surges willy-nilly, but falling ...

Sunday, 17th February, 2019

  • 05:42 PM - darkbard mentioned pemerton in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    There has been much excellent discussion (and practical ideas that came out of that discussion) already, but I want to return to this a little more if anyone is still interested: Actually, rereading the thread opener, I DO find that the assumption is that the journey will end successfully, and that was in fact the default assumption in the analysis which took place on page 1. Now, darkbard phrased it as an assumption "I presume a "fail forward" ethos, and so simply not arriving at their destination or getting lost is off the table." This was the core of my original analysis. Now, when I responded to pemerton, I thought I was going a bit on a tangent by applying a more classic story now, play to see what happens kind of a process to elucidate how it might contrast with the "party must reach Winterhaven" sort of starter post assumption. Admittedly this assumed that there was some degree of 'script' (IE maybe they were playing out KotS or something like that) vs simply "the players set this as their goal." In the later case, then play to see what happens could allow for either "play to see how they get there" or it could allow for "play to see IF they get there." Over the years several of us have debated the merits of setting clear outcomes of success and failure--what is at stake--before the PCs begin declaring actions in an SC (or similar mechanic). I remember pemerton stating that he believes adhering strictly to defined stakes in certain circumstances can work against the kind of play he is interested in, and I certainly opined that I struggle in the tension between setting clear stake...
  • 08:08 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned pemerton in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...'realism proponents' talk about some sort of 'realistic assessment of what is likely', but I call that unrealistic. That is, I don't think anyone is BSing anyone, deliberately, but I don't think that's EVER what happens in real play in any RPG game which continues on successfully at all. I don't think it is even plausible, or possible. We simply cannot know enough about the world in which the game is taking place. It is in fact whole cloth made up of nothing BUT our feelings and gut instincts, mixed with a thin bit of basic causal reasoning and 99% "it is this way because it will make it fun." That is, in all cases, in all games, the Sect is either met in the Inn or not because that is the option which the GM decided was going to be a better game than any other. Heck, I even put paid to the dice here to a large extent. Yeah, GMs 'follow the dice', but they also ignore them, and probably more often in this sort of case than would be admitted by people invested in that as a concept. pemerton rolled dice to 'find certain kinds of people' in his Traveler game, but did he simply accept every result literally with no interpretation? Of course not. First of all, no chart can give you enough information to run with. You have to fill in a LOT of blanks! This is all done by figuring out what is going to be interesting and 'viable' in play. No GM decides that "Organized Crime" means 50 of your worst enemies show up and pump the party full of lead in an unsurvivable hail of bullets. Maybe its 10 guys, or they show up with derringers "because you can't get anything bigger into town" or whatever 100 other things the GM can say to make it sound logical. Maybe he decides your worst enemies just got a bigger enemy and they let you off the hook if you will take those guys for them. You can make it interesting in a lot of ways, but you will never, ever, in a thousand years, exterminate the party in a hail of lead. Actually I did once run a Traveler campaign where the premise was a doomed ...

Saturday, 16th February, 2019

  • 06:46 AM - Ilbranteloth mentioned pemerton in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...oesnít really matter if it is, as long as they think it is. Because people tend to be more invested in things that are. So when a scenario like your example comes up, I donít care whether I had written up the people that are present ahead of time, determine it randomly, decide on the spot, or any combination of these and other approaches and techniques. What I care about is how the players/PCs experience it. And that essentially comes down to being believable, which is a bit of an art. For example, something nature is good at, but people arenít, is being sufficiently random. For example, if you were to build a model of terrain of a small field and part of a forest, it often looks ďnot quite right.Ē Not because of the textures, materials, and such, but because we have a hard time being random in our placement, but not too random. The art is in making it look appropriately random. But the reality is, itís not really entirely random. There is a causal process at work, which is what pemerton is referring to. So when a player says they want to go to the tea room to see if so-and-is is there, I can consider that causal process. Itís not a question of going through every potential activity and interaction that person might have made to place them in the tea room or not. But we can consider that process when setting a probability between yes, no, or itís not obvious enough so Iíll roll. As GM I might have considered this process ahead of time, and already have an answer. Weíre not really modeling the causal process per se, but using our understanding of the existence and general nature of that causal process to model the results. This is part of what Iíd consider realism. That is. The part that the players experience feels like they experience the real world. In other words, it generally makes sense based on how they experience life in this world. Even with elements of fantasy, magic, etc., the events presented by the GM ďmake sense.Ē To me itís similar to what a writer...

Thursday, 14th February, 2019

  • 10:41 AM - Ilbranteloth mentioned pemerton in post How Did I Become a Grognard?
    Not digging my books out at 2:20AM, but as I recall, the AD&D Rules included info on square and hex facing and determining who was in front, to the side, or to the rear of a given character. If you used those rules- as we did- even if youíre doing ToTM, youíre still internalizing at least an implied grid. Yes, it does. And pemerton just quoted it for us. And my issue isnít the grid. The nature of the use of the grid changed as the rules became more grid focused, and changed even more with the modification of a round, the alteration of where your entire roundís worth of movement occurs on your turn. The game shifted from a TotM approach with things like minis and a grid as aids, to a game that switches to a board game when combat starts. Oh, combat - roll initiative and hang on while I set up the minis. Ok Bob, what do you do? Bob starts counting squares....ĒIf I move here I can do this, but if I move here I can do that...Ē It doesnít have anything to do with grid or no grid really. The focus shifts dramatically from TotM for the rest of the game to moving minis on a map. Of course, the moving minis on a map evolved from what some people were already doing, combining some, evolving some, but the feel of the game, especially combat, was decidedly different.
  • 10:31 AM - Dannyalcatraz mentioned pemerton in post How Did I Become a Grognard?
    Thatís not cross-posting, pemerton , thatís a post quoting stuff I hadnít looked at in years and only vaguely remembered existing. Thenkyew fer dewinit. The fact that they even mention mini scale compatibility in that language is telling. Definite not a ToTM concept there. Still, as you point out, thatís still supported by the rules, too. My first game ever was ToTM- we all had minis, but they were just used as rough approximations of what was going on. Giving clarity. And that was the bulk of my experience until @2 years later. When I joined my longest-running group- 1984-2016- we mixed the two pretty freeely. The major battles were always on a map, though.

Monday, 11th February, 2019

  • 01:45 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned pemerton in post Introducing Complications Without Forcing Players to Play the "Mother May I?" Game
    ... in a scene and use their tools and effort to do so. This reduces the GM overhead because they're now only responsible for the initial scene framing and then adjudicating outcomes. They don't have to plan or hold the world in their head to develop believable and consistant outcomes; they only need to frame danger and then pay it off if not resolved while adding more dangers on failed checks. Sonce the GM is now following the development of play that the players now have the duty to bring, GM workload is much decreased. These styles create very different play at the table. The non-trad games accept a looseness of world and a frenetic pace of play which isn't to everyone's taste. Trad games accept GM fiat, but can also provide a feeling of depth to story that non-trad games can lack*. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your playstyles will help you to become better GMs, on either side, because you'll know where the potholes are and can better steer around them. *I know pemerton often puts his play up as rich and detailed as a counter to this point, but that ignores that he has a lot of experience steering around the potholes. There seems to be a lot of players out there that have bounced off of non-trad games because they failed to get the narrative depth they find in trad games. Those play examples shouldn't be ignored. If bad play examples are going to be referenced for trad games, we should also look at where non-trad games fail as well, not just where they succeed. It takes a whole table to carry a mon-trad game (or most of one), but a trad game can be carried by a good GM.

Sunday, 10th February, 2019

  • 10:52 PM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned pemerton in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    ...se sorts of stakes is that it's not always straightforward to frame them into a check. Whereas some systems have (say) a relationship stat which would factor into a check where the intent is to reconnect with loved ones, 4e tends not to have that sort of thing. So it would make sense to try and make sure stakes, stats/mechanics and resolution framing are all well-aligned. Obviously there's a lot more that could be said, and lots of possibilities, but I think I've got enough for a post! Just generally replying to you guy's input in these two posts above: Actually, rereading the thread opener, I DO find that the assumption is that the journey will end successfully, and that was in fact the default assumption in the analysis which took place on page 1. Now, darkbard phrased it as an assumption "I presume a "fail forward" ethos, and so simply not arriving at their destination or getting lost is off the table." This was the core of my original analysis. Now, when I responded to pemerton, I thought I was going a bit on a tangent by applying a more classic story now, play to see what happens kind of a process to elucidate how it might contrast with the "party must reach Winterhaven" sort of starter post assumption. Admittedly this assumed that there was some degree of 'script' (IE maybe they were playing out KotS or something like that) vs simply "the players set this as their goal." In the later case, then play to see what happens could allow for either "play to see how they get there" or it could allow for "play to see IF they get there." Again, the above quoted bit from the post lead me to assume that the former case was more prevalent, though IIRC I did touch on both in my story now post. I think what this shows us is that there are a wide range of things that could be in play here, depending on exactly what desires the players expressed. Given that darkbard states this is a type of narratively driven play without any set plot lines, either of Manbearcat's or my ...
  • 06:09 PM - darkbard mentioned pemerton in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    If darkbard is telling me/us that the road isn't a "safe route" or the lands aren't "safe", then I agree that the conflict of the "perilous journey" should be played out using the conflict rules (in 4e's case; the SC). We decided to use the default map of the Nentir Vale as the starting point of our game because it allows for easy implementation of the DW principle to "draw maps, [but] leave blanks": there is enough of an outline for each PC to establish roots and connections to the implied setting but lots of room for change, additions, and so on. We very much like what Ron Edwards has to say on setting-centric Story Now play here. ( pemerton has talked about his own similar implementation of the central region of the Greyhawk map.) It is because there is a clear and obvious road between Winterhaven and Fallcrest (and then Harkenwold) marked on the map, our assumption is that getting lost from said road (one of only two true roads in the Nentir Vale) is probably pretty silly, barring some significant circumstances (a blizzard, being driven off the road a great distance, and so on). Nevertheless, though the road is obvious, our desire is that travel on the road is not safe and that travel between points of light (even along marked routes) is perilous. 104702
  • 05:26 PM - Imaro mentioned pemerton in post Introducing Complications Without Forcing Players to Play the "Mother May I?" Game
    @Imaro, you claim this, but @pemerton has engaged this directly upthread: The procedures of the game address setting DCs; yes, GM judgment is involved; no one is denying that. But the difference between your proposed GM fiat and built-in mechanics is that (1) the math of the mechanics is out of the GM's hands--it is what the math of the game requires; (2) various player build options (chosen skill training, various interrupt and reroll powers, etc.) give players significant input in the PCs' ability to meet the descriptors of the set DCs; (3) the descriptors of Easy, Moderate, and Hard DC guide the GM in implementing their judgment; it is not left to whim in the moment. (Yes, a poor GM might misapply those descriptors to any given situation, but we are operating under the assumption of principled play here, no?) 5e has all of this as well... and it was specifically called out as a game whose mechanics are not robust enough while 4e, Traveller and BW are... so again where is the line? To get more specific what makes ...
  • 04:10 PM - darkbard mentioned pemerton in post Introducing Complications Without Forcing Players to Play the "Mother May I?" Game
    You keep failing to engage the question of degrees. [...] Note: We are not speaking to how you in particular run a game...we are speaking to what the rules of said game allow. You keep making this point about 4e but if I assume as has been argued by many of it's proponents that we use the challenge to set DC's and the DM has unilateral control over what challenges are presented to the players... how do the mechanics of 4e not allow for the situation posted above (mainly an impossible DC or a DC so trivially easy you can;t help but pass)? Imaro, you claim this, but pemerton has engaged this directly upthread: From the 4e Rules Compendium (pp 126-27): The following definitions help the Dungeon Master determine which of the three DCs is appropriate for a particular check. The goal is to pick a DC that is an appropriate challenge for a particular scenario or encounter. Easy: An easy DC is a reasonable challenge for creatures that do not have training in a particular skill. Such creatures have about a 65 percent chance of meeting an easy DC of their level. An easy DC is a minimal challenge for a creature that has training in the skill, and it is almost a guaranteed success for one that also has a high bonus with the skill. In group checks (page 128) or when every adventurer in a party is expected to attempt a given skill check, particularly when no one necessarily has training, an easy DC is the standard choice for the scenario. Moderate: A moderate DC is a reasonable challenge for creatures that have training in a particular skill as well as ...

Saturday, 9th February, 2019

  • 11:20 PM - darkbard mentioned pemerton in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    Frankly, I prefer the 'interlude' solution for a lot of these things. Make it a travel montage. I can see why you might feel this way, and the interlude, or "color," is certainly one way to handle it. (If I may presume, perhaps this is how pemerton usually handles such details in his game? As he suggests above, this may not be one of 4E's mechanical strengths.) Nevertheless, as all players concerned want the experience of travel to be a dangerous proposition (both with regard to the events tied to the PCs and to the stakes for the players themselves), I feel, with Manbearcat, that something vital might be lost in glossing over these affairs (sometimes). EDIT: Let me add, the interlude should absolutely be implemented in many cases. For example, I imagine this is how the PCs' current situation will play out (though actual play will see if this holds true). They have just finished a sequence of tough fights and SCs against the beginning nemesis, during which one PC technically lost her life (reduced to negative bloodied value) but then was raised by the intervention of her goddess (for reasons I detail above). So when our next session begins, I imagine that unless the players indicate otherwise, their return to nearby Wint...

Friday, 8th February, 2019

  • 05:08 PM - Jeryl Adams1 mentioned pemerton in post Designing my own system looking for help
    pemerton the goal is to create a completely new system. The main idea revolves around the concept that magic is experimental. The creativity around other magic systems is lacking in my opinion. while yes you can homebrew spells in any game, i wanted to include that in main system for everything. instead of just casting fireball all the time you can modify the spell using different shapes so you can avoid hitting your party and use it differently each time. that is proving to be more random than i originally thought though. i have decided to put in some limitations but i haven't figured out what limitations i should use. in regards to Ars Magica i will have to wait to get paid next month before i can pick it up. the main goal i have is to make being creative as much of a part of the game as the mechanics of other systems. what i really need is people to collaborate with, as my ideas work in my head but then other people come along and bring up something that i haven't thought of or about.

Thursday, 7th February, 2019

  • 07:26 PM - Manbearcat mentioned pemerton in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    I donít have the time to commit to reading through each of the PCs right now, but I will afterwhile and give you some PC-centric stuff to consider. My time is short, but Iím going to take a brief moment to disagree with @pemerton on a few things as this is probably the only TTRPG issue we discuss where there is daylight between our views. 1) A game like Dogs features significant wilderness trekking, but the premise of the game is exclusively about what happens in the Towns. Consequently, travel in between is fast forwarded and treated as a collective time for reflection upon what just transpired in the prior Town. Although you can certainly play D&D in a similar vein (site based adventure and social conflict), and plenty do, I definitely feel that something can be lost with the perilous journey being fast forwarded. I feel like this is particularly true in a PoL setting (like 4e, BtW, DW, etc). a) A lot of the themes and tone connect to and come from the wild. b) Without firsthand experience of the encroanching, suffocating ďdarknessĒ of the wild, the encircled, unique ďlightĒ of civilization will invariably be muted. Perilous journey through that darkness is a strong (when done right) way to enhance the ju...

Wednesday, 6th February, 2019

  • 03:16 PM - Imaro mentioned pemerton in post Introducing Complications Without Forcing Players to Play the "Mother May I?" Game
    Also like @billd91 mentioned in the other thread, isn't the DM ascribing a lower or higher DC to a roll reflecting his/her opinion on what makes good or bad fiction? EDIT: MMI kicks in if there is 0% or less chance of success on the player's action declaration, but 1% possible success or higher is ok? I'd really like to see @pemerton or those who subscribe to his playstyle address this particular issue, how it relates to the avoidance of "Mother May I" play and how it is resolved in the preferred playstyle without creating said effect. IMO only specific/niche game engines can get around this such as Shadow of the Demon Lord or PbtA where there is no GM determined difficulty (thought even then SotDL allows banes and boons to be added through GM discretion and I think some iterations of the PbtA game engine allow modifiers which can create the same effect)... but for the vast majority of mainstream rpg's the GM is deciding the chance that something exists even when he is letting the dice decide the outcome.

Tuesday, 5th February, 2019

  • 11:46 PM - innerdude mentioned pemerton in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...id I get from A to B? Where did that blind hallway actually go? The whole idea was just to poke into every corner I could, because . . . it made me happy. Reading through some GameFAQs walkthroughs, several of the guides pointed out that you can totally "shortcut" through the levels to get to the end faster. Which is the exact OPPOSITE of the type of experience I was wanting to have with the game. I'm also a big fan of the Trine game series (Trine 1 and 2). A few days ago I was playing while two of my daughters watched and hung out with me, and there were several moments where they were saying, "Dad, you don't HAVE to get every single flask of XP in the game!" To which I immediately replied, "Yes, I do!" I would spend 15-20 minutes trying to figure out how to capture one small, relatively insignificant item in the game, but just HAD to prove to myself that I could do it. So I am completely drawn in by the concept of exploration in pen-and-paper RPGs as well. I think for pemerton, though, the draw isn't to just "see what's around the next corner." There's exploration-for-exploration's sake, and there's exploration-for-the-sake-of-revealing-character-driven-stakes. And even in spite of my love of exploration in gaming, I can sort of see his point. Exploration-for-exploration's sake in TTRPGs is ultimately a zero sum game. The very open-ended nature of the enterprise basically ensures you'll never run out of un-poked corners. I think for anyone other than a very small subset of gamers who are wholly committed to "The Sandbox" as an end of its own, this kind of exploration-for-exploration's sake gameplay wears thin rather quickly. TTRPG play becomes more interesting when there's something of value at stake for the characters within the fiction, and the pursuit of those stakes gets expressed by the players.
  • 11:22 PM - Imaro mentioned pemerton in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...he only way to do it, the best, or even the most popular way. I am just saying it is a perfectly fine way to run a game that many people find satisfying. But others in the thread insist that it is mother may I. And again, I have to point out, mother may I is a criticism. It is a complaint players make about play when it is not fun and feels like a game of mother may I. What I keep seeing happening in these discussion with this group of posters is they are they are consistently using terminology in this way, to play up their preferred styles while knocking down others. I think any lexicon of gaming that is that biased, has to have its utility questioned. If you are going to use terms that liken an entire approach to a child's game, or if you are going to attribute positive moral qualities to one style and negative ones to a contrasting style, it isn't a particularly objective lexicon. Well this here is a big part of the disconnect... I, like you actually enjoy exploration games, but pemerton has made it clear in other threads that he doesn't particularly value exploration in his games (and please correct me if I am mistaken here). Personally I see that as a gigantic flaw and a limitation in his style and techniques of play, as well as something that isn't really addressed or explored in any of his arguments (except to dismiss it as something he is not interested or frame it negatively... as opposed to exploring it's actual merits and flaws in a neutral manner).


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Friday, 22nd February, 2019

  • 02:47 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted pemerton in post How Did I Become a Grognard?
    Why? Men & Magic has 3 classes (fighter, MU, cleric), and then Supplement 1 introduces both thief and paladin. I don't see what's especially grognard-y about adding the thief but not the paladin. It is arguable that the 'big 4' cover all of the most elementary archetypes, with the paladin being a bit less central. However I would argue that the cleric really is kind of an odd man out in that lineup, and the paladin is perhaps more basic. I mean, you can find knights (fighters), knaves (thieves), sorcerers (magic users), and paladins in Arthurian legend, which is based on a whole cycle of earlier prototypical Welsh/Irish legends, but there's no priests at all I can remember in all of Mallory. Not one. They are mentioned sometimes in passing, but have no lines, no plot significance, don't occupy any role in society, etc. Anyway, I think in the 'grog' sense it is just a perception that these 4 are the basic toolkit. You can play a fighter as a 'paladin' in an RP sense, but you can't easily fill...

Thursday, 21st February, 2019

  • 03:45 PM - Aldarc quoted pemerton in post Hidden
  • 02:27 PM - Maxperson quoted pemerton in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    I didn't say anything about NPCs - I talked about characters in fiction. In the context of RPGing, the PCs are the most salient such characters. And whether or not my claim is a Red Herring, it doesn't rely on any False Dichotomy about realism. Which is what you asserted. I take it that you now retract that assertion. It was also talking about the two extremes, rather than engaging the spectrum as it should with PCs, as well as NPCs. A statement can qualify multiple fallacies. What system are you talking about? Maxperson's table's approach to D&D? Classic Traveller doesn't require time to be specified in such a way - I GMed a session on the weekend and as I went around the table to find out what the players were having their PCs do one said "I'm looking for a patron." Which takes a week. Most, even the vast majority of them. Exceptions don't disprove the rule. Even with Traveller, it sounds like that time frame is built into the system, but as we did not specify the system, it w...
  • 11:50 AM - Zardnaar quoted pemerton in post What the heck is going on with the professional RPG industry in regards to Zak S?
    I just want to assert, quite strongly, that the moral and political equality of people - whatever their sex, gender, race, etc - is not a "social convention". It's a social reality that has been fought for, often quite hard. It doesn't need to be "challenged". Still a social convention, mostly limited to liberal democracies with Western values. Russia, China, India etc are very different. Go back 50 years it was also different. Note 50 years ago was also a social convention. Here they just need to change a single piece of legislation from 1993 which requires 51% of the vote. And that's in one of the most liberal countries in the world.
  • 09:33 AM - Zardnaar quoted pemerton in post How Did I Become a Grognard?
    I don't see how a B/X player can claim to be a grognard - it was one of (is it still, or has 5e overtaken it?) popular D&D products of all time! That would make me a potential grognard. I'm also not sure that Gygax gets to decide what counts as grognard-ism. Arneson's groggish credentials seem just as strong. If I encountered someone who played OD&D + supplements 2 and 3 (so by my reckoning clerics, fighters, MUs, monks, druids and psionics - a reasonable mix of classes for a pulp-inspired sword-and-sorcery game) and grumbled about all this new-fangled, Greyhawk and post-Greyhawk inspired stuff, I would happily allow them to use the lable grognard! Grognard is usually anti 3E or 4E. OD&D isn't that popular it's usually 1E and B/X with the CMI and 2E being a maybe. OD&D does count though. But yeah go to a grog forum or see what you can find from ten years ago they have mellowed a bit and might adapt stuff from modern D&D like ascending numbers. Not all grogs agree with each other dislike of...
  • 09:07 AM - Zardnaar quoted pemerton in post How Did I Become a Grognard?
    Why? Men & Magic has 3 classes (fighter, MU, cleric), and then Supplement 1 introduces both thief and paladin. I don't see what's especially grognard-y about adding the thief but not the paladin. Some grogs like b/x more than OD&D or clones that have 4 classes. There is no strict Grognard yes/no checklist but Monks are generally the least popular AD&D class. They were removed in 2E and Gygax would have done it as well.
  • 03:42 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted pemerton in post How Did I Become a Grognard?
    AbdulAlhazred, that's a good post. With respect to the example of melee in Gygax's DMG, literal participants in the melee are Aggro (who killed Balto), Blastum (who killed by Arlanni via shocking grasp) and Arkayn who is fighting Gutboy and Barjin. So my take on the web is that the player is allowed to declare that all the enemy NPCs are caught (ie Blastum, Gutboy and Barjin) but that the PC who is also in melee with them (Arkayn) also gets caught. Aggro is spared because Balto is spared from the web because already dead; and Arlanni's body may or may not be caught in the web but no one cares because she is dead. I'll readily concede that the above is inference (or, if you prefer, conjecture) - it's definitely not spelled out. And it doesn't seem to rest on any sense of definite positioning of the various characters. It's one point (in my view not the only one) where the precision assumed in spell descriptions like web contradicts the apparent engaged/not-engaged approach to melee. And is...
  • 03:25 AM - Zardnaar quoted pemerton in post How Did I Become a Grognard?
    I don't see not using monks as "non-Grognard" - they go back to the earliest days of D&D! (Supplement II, to be precise.) Hardcore grogs only 4 classes. And in alternate 2E helmed by Gygax he was going to cut the Monk apparently. I lean towards 8 classes myself, but the Monk does seem out of place even when you add in things like warlock and sorcerer. It's from a different genre is why (wuxia).

Wednesday, 20th February, 2019

  • 06:09 PM - Ilbranteloth quoted pemerton in post How Did I Become a Grognard?
    AbdulAlhazred, that's a good post. With respect to the example of melee in Gygax's DMG, literal participants in the melee are Aggro (who killed Balto), Blastum (who killed by Arlanni via shocking grasp) and Arkayn who is fighting Gutboy and Barjin. So my take on the web is that the player is allowed to declare that all the enemy NPCs are caught (ie Blastum, Gutboy and Barjin) but that the PC who is also in melee with them (Arkayn) also gets caught. Aggro is spared because Balto is spared from the web because already dead; and Arlanni's body may or may not be caught in the web but no one cares because she is dead. I'll readily concede that the above is inference (or, if you prefer, conjecture) - it's definitely not spelled out. And it doesn't seem to rest on any sense of definite positioning of the various characters. It's one point (in my view not the only one) where the precision assumed in spell descriptions like web contradicts the apparent engaged/not-engaged approach to melee. And is...
  • 03:14 PM - Maxperson quoted pemerton in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    I didn't say anything about whether "realism" is a matter of degree or a categorical thing. I said that real human lives don't have the same dramatic "neatness" and development as do those of characters in fiction. The truth of that claim doesn't turn on any view about whether "realism" is or is not a matter of degree. The truth of the claim is irrelevant to the discussion about realism, though. It was a Red Herring. Realism is a spectrum, so whether or not real human lives match up to NPCs lives doesn't matter. I don't see how "more realistic" bears on this. How realistic is it to have a guy's arm cut off in an interstellar cantina? Or to have a guy shot? With a focused laser sword as opposed to a sword made of cheese? It's much more realistic than a cheese sword. Jedi are supposedly extinct, and light sabers thus an ancient weapon, yet no one seems too shocked to see one pulled out - how realistic is that? The entire cantina freezes and goes silent. That's shock. But...
  • 02:27 PM - Maxperson quoted pemerton in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Adventure fiction - heck, fiction in general - depends on coincidence: people turn up, or fail to turn up, at the appropriate moment; opportunities arise, or fail to arise, at just the time that will drive the protagonist to action; etc. That's not to say that fiction must be "unrealistic" in the sense of wildly implausible. It is to say that, if you looked at 1,000 human lives, few or even none of them would exhibit the same degree of dramatic "neatness" and development as one finds in fiction. For the same reason, even the lives of people who lived exciting and dramatic lives generally need editing to be rendered dramatically apt (eg for biopic films or historical novels). The editing needed to make real human lives dramatic can be large or can be small, but editing is required. It seems like you are back to the False Dichotomy that realism must be all or nothing. In Classic Traveller, a PC or group of PCs spends a week looking for a patron to hire them to undertake some (typically ...
  • 01:38 PM - Bedrockgames quoted pemerton in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    If I was playing a game which features sect members and teahouses (or cultists and inns) then personally I would expect that from time to time a visit to the teahouse will result in a meeting with sect members. Different systems and different moods will affect how much we care about time spent waiting for sect members to show up, money spent bribing hospitality staff for tip-offs, etc - but that doesn't change the underlying expectation. That is an entirely reasonable expectation on your part. If you were in my group, I'd consider that kind of expectation when trying to figure out how to make the determination. The intent here isn't to clamp down on a gaming principle, even if it ruins everyone's fun. But that doesn't make it mother may I, if a GM reaches a decision by concluding based on what he or she thinks would be present at the Tea House. It makes it, a style of play Pemerton wouldn't particularly like. Which is entirely reasonable and it is even fair for you to expect the GM to not be a jerk about his style if other people want something different from what's being offered. And like I said before, what is plausible might be one factor among many the GM is weighing. I have no issue with the GM thinking 'what is plausible AND what is genre appropriate' or 'what is plausible AND what is dramatically interesting'. That is all fine by me. I also have no problem with the GM saying 'I don't know so I am going to roll on this here chart'.

Tuesday, 19th February, 2019

  • 02:32 PM - darkbard quoted pemerton in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    This was funny - but permanent items as staked/lost resources has actually been a recurrent feature of my 4e play. Agreed! I chuckled when I read MoutonRustique's comment but at the same time thought of your actual play reports in which the PCs, for example, leveraged their flying tower in an SC, if memory serves (it rarely does these days). I think it's one of those remarkable instances wherein one can tell that the stakes are just as meaningful to the players as they are to the PCs! (For, as MoutonRustique notes, players hate giving up precious items in about equal proportion to their unwillingness to fail a meaningful encounter. Choosing between the two makes for great tension at the table.)
  • 02:23 PM - Sadras quoted pemerton in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    This was funny - but permanent items as staked/lost resources has actually been a recurrent feature of my 4e play. I suspect it is much easier in a system such as 4e with treasure parcels. Costly but easier. I have only green lit it once in our 5e game where I ruled an Arcana DC 30 (only time above 20) which could be fueled via permanent and consumable magical items providing various bonuses to the roll.

Monday, 18th February, 2019

  • 06:25 PM - Ilbranteloth quoted pemerton in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...citly deals with the issue of trying to find certain sorts of people in urban situations is Traveller (1977), and it assumes that the outcome of such attempts will be affected by rolls that are affected by skills like Admin, Streetwise and Leadership, with subsequent supplements adding further relevant skills like Carousing and Recruiting. It doesn't say anything about the referee just decding what happens.) I may be contradicting my earlier post, but as Iíve tried to dig deeper into these concepts Iím finding that, like so many others, methodology and experience are two entirely separate entities that are sometimes intertwined. Certain methods may be more predisposed to a certain style of play, but Iím coming to the conclusion that itís rare for it to be incapable of producing that style of play. This isnít entirely a surprise to me, because much of how we play our game is a mashup of other stuff I/we are learning from elsewhere. For example, due in large part to discussions with pemerton and others, we handle things like critical hits, misses, and death quite differently than the usual approach in D&D, and this also addresses fudging. The primary reason I fudge occasionally is because of a choice weíve made on mechanics. We would prefer a bell curve for skill checks, combat, etc., but we like a d20 better. So instead of using 3d6, we accept that most of the time the d20 is fine, but in those circumstances where we decide itís not, then we adjust the consequences. So they were fine with me fudging. But some people are strongly against fudging. And if I know that, then I donít fudge with that group. So I started rolling attack rolls in front of the players, and they would know when I was fudging. There were still no objections, but occasionally somebody would say, ďnah, thatís fine. Let it ride.Ē An interesting thing is that the players who objected to fudging and wanted to ďalways let it rideĒ were usually not the ones accepting their characterís death under these c...
  • 04:15 PM - darkbard quoted pemerton in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    Well, we were supposed to play yesterday, but plumbing and electrical problems at my home this weekend made that impossible, so I have more time to opine here instead. :D In BW, action declaration requires a declaration of both intent and task. If the player's check succeeds, then the PC succeeds at the task and achieves his/her intent. If the player's check fails, then the GM has to establish the consequences of failure, and is encouraged to focus on intent as much as or moreso than task when narrating failure - so the character may succeed at the task but not realise the desired intent. [...] (Of course in some RPG systems, travel always requires a check - which is to say that the system itself always puts some stakes forward as part of travel. Interstellar travel in Classic Traveller is an example of this. But 4e doesn't fall under that description - there is no rule of 4e that demands a check because the players declare that their PCs travel from X to Y.) Generally, this first ...

Sunday, 17th February, 2019

  • 03:00 PM - Maxperson quoted pemerton in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    It seems to me that, if the players declare We go to the teahouse to look for sect members, then clearly it is believable to them that the sect members might be in the teahouse. So it seems to me that, whatever method is used to work out whether or not the PCs find sect members in the teahouse, it won't contradict believability for them to be their. While it may be believable for that one in a thousand or one in ten thousand change to hit, if it hits every time they go looking for it, it quickly becomes unbelievable or even if they believe it, unrealistic in the extreme. I mean, it's also one in ten thousand believable that a cult member will walk past them where they are standing, so why even bother to go looking. Just tell the DM that you wait where you are at and see if a cult member walks by, and one will.
  • 02:09 PM - Bedrockgames quoted pemerton in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    . If, in fact, you are aware that there are ways of deciding whether or not the PCs find sect members in the teahouse that are neither GM decides based on his/her opinion about the gameworld nor GM says "yes", then why not post something about how those systems - of which Classic Traveller is the earliest example I'm familiar with - affect gameplay. I just want to take this one in isolation. I don't know why you keep banging this drum. But I have no issue with other methods of reaching these conclusions. My purpose in this thread was never to attack alternatives to the GM deciding. I've told you, if you have a great way of handling it, by all means engage it and share it. My problem with your approach is not your play style, it is how you advocate for your play style by dismissing other approaches and even attempting to humiliate other posters. You will hone in on something I say, like "this is no more mother may I than real life" and build a hug argument that doesn't even really addr...
  • 08:08 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted pemerton in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...'realism proponents' talk about some sort of 'realistic assessment of what is likely', but I call that unrealistic. That is, I don't think anyone is BSing anyone, deliberately, but I don't think that's EVER what happens in real play in any RPG game which continues on successfully at all. I don't think it is even plausible, or possible. We simply cannot know enough about the world in which the game is taking place. It is in fact whole cloth made up of nothing BUT our feelings and gut instincts, mixed with a thin bit of basic causal reasoning and 99% "it is this way because it will make it fun." That is, in all cases, in all games, the Sect is either met in the Inn or not because that is the option which the GM decided was going to be a better game than any other. Heck, I even put paid to the dice here to a large extent. Yeah, GMs 'follow the dice', but they also ignore them, and probably more often in this sort of case than would be admitted by people invested in that as a concept. pemerton rolled dice to 'find certain kinds of people' in his Traveler game, but did he simply accept every result literally with no interpretation? Of course not. First of all, no chart can give you enough information to run with. You have to fill in a LOT of blanks! This is all done by figuring out what is going to be interesting and 'viable' in play. No GM decides that "Organized Crime" means 50 of your worst enemies show up and pump the party full of lead in an unsurvivable hail of bullets. Maybe its 10 guys, or they show up with derringers "because you can't get anything bigger into town" or whatever 100 other things the GM can say to make it sound logical. Maybe he decides your worst enemies just got a bigger enemy and they let you off the hook if you will take those guys for them. You can make it interesting in a lot of ways, but you will never, ever, in a thousand years, exterminate the party in a hail of lead. Actually I did once run a Traveler campaign where the premise was a doomed ...
  • 02:35 AM - Bedrockgames quoted pemerton in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    How many times have I posted about there being resolution systems besides GM decides - Many, many, many times. So many, it is impossible for me to not be aware of them, even if I walked into the conversation with no knowledge of them and full commitment to remaining ignorant of them.


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