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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Today, 06:18 AM
    I assume you really meant 'very troll', because that Tony Vargas, once you start cutting him up, he just keeps fighting! :lol::lol::lol:
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Today, 05:02 AM
    2nd that, hehe.
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Today, 04:45 AM
    Now, see, when I reread it yesterday, after answering you, I thought somewhat differently. It doesn't literally invoke 'story now' (except maybe in the this is a tangent sblock) BUT the play he describes certainly evokes the standard narrative model, or other similar techniques. I mean, he DID contrast two styles of play, whatever they were!
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Today, 04:40 AM
    Yeah, but story type games, like Dungeon World, literally "just don't work that way" There's no 'us and them' in DW, and I don't have it that way in my games either (which are closer to Pemerton's model than DW is, note the last sentence in that quote, which he wouldn't agree with IMHO is part of his style of play). Yeah, I don't agree about the 'oppositional' part of that statement....
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Today, 04:08 AM
    I gotta say, Max, I think you're being more extreme than anyone else! There's a fundamental difference in the give and take in the two techniques of play. You may not LIKE the exact phraseology that Pemerton uses, but I don't think its because its 'wrong', I think its because you want to minimize the effective difference and claim he's doing basically what your doing! That certainly is how it...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Today, 04:03 AM
    This I do. I suspect this is not really something avoided by people who espouse story now play in general. I mean, it could be or not be used. It doesn't necessarily imply any particular situation, etc. OTOH I don't generate these things way ahead of time, like before I get a game rolling. I might not even have anyone interested in running into orcs, nor a reason to threaten something with them,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 02:58 AM
    My own view is that "logically" designed worlds tend to have less verisimiltude - and far more symmetry and order - than the real world. Just confining this point to architecture and urban design - I've seen cities (eg Fez) that are as "illogical" as antyhing that the play of an RPG is going to throw up; and there is a public building not far from where I live that has enough "staircases to...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 01:31 AM
    If I played an RPG that had setting on the scale of the Silmarillion, I wouldn't think it was too much! It would be awesome! Provided that the setting had been established in a particular sort of way. That is, for my part, I'm not fussed about quantity. I'm fussed about process - how the game is played and the fiction established. (This is related to my sense, in the RPG context, that...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 01:25 AM
    I agree (I think) that this is not a very good argument. You can't effectively defend a particular technique by denying the vocabulary to isolate and critically analyse it.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 01:19 AM
    As a reply to Tony Vargas, I was alluding to discussions in the current "worldbuilding" threads - which he had alluded to in the post that I replied to. With less allusion and more literalness: the more precise/detailed the framing, then (everything else being equal) the less "creative"/"imaginative" the action declarations will be, and the more "tactical"/"wargaming". That's painting in very...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 01:10 AM
    If a group are travelling, fighting etc together, and one of them is exhausted (physically, emotinally, or both), it doesn't seem that artificial that the group stops so that person can recover - assuming conditions are propitious for stopping (which is a separate matter). Again, if one of a group who are fighting together is being relentlessly pressured by foes, it doesn't seem that artifical...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 12:53 AM
    I'd be lying if I didn't read Bradley Hindman's post and think about establishing certain details of the fiction as an outcome of action resolution rather than a constraining input. There's a separate question of when one should say "yes" as opposed to call for a check. Hopefully many action declarations are amusing and/or imaginative.
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Today, 12:53 AM
    Stormbringer
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:11 PM
    So you would agree that your was a question not asked in good faith? I hope that's true. I suppose we will see through your actions. But when you say that I am simply "arriving bad motives to those who disagree with " - which is certainly a negative insinuation of my motives and character in its own right - and then I respond by saying that the reactions made by others are "sympathetically...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:28 PM
    What I'm asking is that if you are doing the stuff that Hussar doesn't call "worldbuilding", which is also the stuff he is quite happy with it (eg B2), why would you care that he doesn't use a particular label? And conversely, if you're doing the stuff that he doesn't like, and which he does call "worldbuilding" (eg T1), why does it matter that he doesn't apply that same label to the stuff he...
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:04 PM
    Just as a quick aside, Ovinomancer: We all make typos; it's inevitable. But may I humbly suggest that you slow down a little bit in your responses (the crafting of them, not the frequency!), for over the last few days I have had to reread many, many sentences of yours several times to figure out what word you really mean. Sometimes, as Tony Vargas jokes, the typing is so garbled it defies...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:30 PM
    If all of one's "worldbuidling" resembles KotB rather than Village of Hommlet, then Hussar has no objection to it. What does it matter than he doesn't call it worldbuilding, and confines that word to the stuff you don't do? Conversely, if some of what you do is more like VoH than KotB, Hussar has said he doesn't like it. What does it matter to you that he doesn't use the term "worldbuilding"...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:24 PM
    GIven the places I've seen secret doors in published modules, I'm not sure what would count as a bare stone wall in a D&D-style dungeon or fortress where it would be illogical for a secret door to appear! What you say here is (in my view) absolutely correct for Cortex+ Heroic, 4e, HeroQuest revised, or any other system in which DCs are "subjective" ie based on pacing and similar...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:23 PM
    The premise of allowing anyone Healing surge use in Skill Challenges and skilled ie Martial Practitioners (now to do so more efficiently) ... or allowing anyone to expend gold (but ritualists to do so more efficiently) -- brings this back on subject. The I spend a single surge to spare the party similar individual expenditures. ie the repercussions of skill challenges can be expressed in healing...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:53 PM
    That's a loaded question. I don't think that is redefining the term "worldbuilding" at all, but, rather, that his use reflects an understanding of the most prevalent performative mode of activity that "worldbuilding" takes in common parlance.
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:48 PM
    Now look who is more interested in assigning bad motives to people than reaching mutual understanding. So while we are here... Well, do you, Ovinomancer?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:20 PM
    I know we don't agree on everything RPG related, but I think we're in agreement that the interesting part of this thread isn't the semantics!
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:16 AM
    I don't think that these are necessarily "bad motives," but I do think that they are sympathetically human ones. "False equivalence" and "zealotry" do not have to be done out of "malice or mischief" for them to transpire. People who enjoy the broader project of fictive world creation obviously don't enjoy being told that their "hobby project" may not be warranted, productive, or even healthy when...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:14 AM
    Well, I think the OP just asked "in light of story now, what is the purpose of 'prep'"? I don't read it as a misreading of classical play, it is simply positing story now as the technique under discussion. Honestly, I think ALL of the discussion of classical play and the differences, etc. was thread derailment! It was NEVER RELEVANT AT ALL to what was supposedly to be discussed. Yeah, I...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:59 AM
    I think there isn't ONE specific answer. First, different games might allocate specific responsibility for this. It could be a responsibility of the GM, which admittedly then becomes very much like "it isn't on the map". If the GM is really 'story now' though they will only nix possibilities that are really genre breaking or utterly ridiculous in a game-degrading way. Another answer is that...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:25 AM
    Yeah, I think that's a very interesting question. Honestly that seems to me to be the most natural response to the OP, though maybe we needed to go through some steps to get there, I'm not sure... So, I'd say the process would then be that the players make up their characters and pick some high level 'campaign goal' somehow, and then the GM generates the settings and etc. needed to play that...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:06 AM
    Several years ago myself and some other people I play with often decided we wanted to create a story game about Arthurian Knights (except we didn't actually set it in England, we made up a fantasy sort of pseudo France). Anyway, we all agreed on the genre, some plot elements which could be used, selected a mechanics to use, and characters were created with back stories appropriate to the genre...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:45 AM
    Well, I said that I think GMs are pretty important in games, so clearly I don't really disagree with you TOO much, but I think that Story Now games have a lot more 'player telling the story' in general than 'classical' games do. In any case, the primary point is that the player is ordering up the story. Its sort of like going into a pizza joint. You can buy a slice of what's at the counter,...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:28 AM
    So, no other activities exist in the game except checks with success or failure as the outcome! Nobody frames scenes (everything happens in some sort of blank white haze perhaps?). Nobody decides whether a check is required or not (I guess they just always are, can you walk down the street in this game of yours, or do you need to make a walking check?) Nobody establishes how the fiction...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:14 AM
    Its a contentious topic here apparently... There IS IN FACT a school of RPG technique (and games designed specifically to support it) which are often called 'Story Now' and/or 'No Myth' games. You'll find good descriptions along the way, but the general concept is that only the most basic of facts are established at the start of play. USUALLY the players construct back stories for their...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:57 AM
    And this is exactly the nut of the whole thing, and where the 'traditionalist' analysis sinks into the swamp, falls over, and burns (before being rebuilt for the 2078th time). The idea that the players "will just find secret doors everywhere" or that things will be 'too easy', or that the players will , etc. is all based on a fundamentally oppositional model of play. One in which the GM has...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:50 AM
    The GM is expected to establish consequences that are dramatically/thematically compelling. The theme will come from the players authorship and play of their PCs. The GM is expected to be imaginative in thinking of ways to put on pressure. But it shouldn't be a complete non-sequitur.
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:52 AM
    Yeah, well, I think it gets a bit extreme. I mean, here we are on page 207, but if you go back to page 1 I think post 2, maybe it was post 3, was already launching an attack on the OP...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:45 AM
    OK, I guess I'm trying to still understand what these notes and lists and maps and such DO. I think we've actually got that however, it was way back around post 1200 IIRC, so I suspect now we're talking about something 'else'. So, here's a small example: A player states the desire of his character to collect all of the Seven Swords of the Greatest Heroes. After some number of travails he...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:42 AM
    I appreciate the sentiment behind your post - genuinely - but my issue with GM-heavy worldbuilding is not that it's done badly. It's that I don't like it. I won't reiterate why, as I feel I've probably done that enough in this thread. But I'm not saying that I just don't like it when it's badly done.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:36 AM
    I'll ask again: do you disagree that railroading is a relational property? Did you miss my post about that, or are you just dishonestly ignoring it?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:34 AM
    And who has ever said that players get to establish the consequences of failure? Not me. Not Eero Tuovinen. Not any quote I've posted from a rulebook (for DitV, BW, MHRP, maybe others I'm forgetting). In fact, in replies to both you and Lanefan, I have reitereated, again and again, that the GM narrates failures and this is a principal source of story dynamics. Did you now read those...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:27 AM
    I have a copy of Citizen Kane on my DVD shelf. It remains one of the greatest of all films. (My favourite film from that era, possibly my favourite film per se, is Casablanca, but that's because I'm sentimental.) The standard in "standard narrativistic model" isn't describing the model as standard for RPGing. It's standard for narrativistic RPGing. Contrast, say, setting-heavy HeroWars/Quest...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:27 AM
    I think the Warlord could use a move action that models improved vantage point from moving around
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:23 AM
    I have been complaining that the game over rewards specialization for some time... only ever using 1 at-will... wonder if we could configure encouragement for that versatility.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:15 AM
    It also sprang out of this Classic Traveller thread, which I started (i) for fun, and (ii) to get some ideas for what should happen next in my Traveller game, but which turned into a debate about who gets to establish the fiction (players or GM) and hence how important it is for the players to "gather information".
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:03 AM
    I didn't say anything about assumptions I make. I talked about assumptions, and "takings for granted", that are widespread.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:53 AM
    I hadn't seen this post when I posted yesterday. These are exactly the points that you've made before that have shaped the way I think about PbtA games.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:47 AM
    A lot of contemporary filmgoers probably don't know that Breathless, or Citizen Kane, exist - does that mean that discussions of cinema should ignore them? Discussion of RPGing techniques that confines itself to 2nd ed AD&D, 3E/PF/d20, and 5e, is going to be pretty attenuated. There are probably some D&D players who think that (say) the Ideals/Bonds/Flaws mechanic in 5e has no origin in, or...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:40 AM
    I approve the goal
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 10:52 PM
    Statements like this, I suggest, are less than helpful, even in jest, if the idea is to draw Sep back to storytelling (or, at least, explanation).
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 06:25 PM
    Quick addendum: the "What is *worldbuilidng* for?" thread is actually an offshoot of extensive but tangential discussion in another thread ("What is an xp worth?" I think, but I don't have the time or patience to go back and look). It's quite likely that some further qualification of worldbuilding occurred in that thread, preceding the initial post of the former thread, setting up the ensuing...
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 06:14 PM
    Okay, fair enough: I went back and looked at the initial post, and, it's true, that the latter, stronger definition (GM preauthoring used to curtail PC action) doesn't appear there. But your larger point (at least I think it's been your argument at times; as I say above, it becomes increasingly more difficult to keep track), I think, is that pemerton has been inconsistent in his use of the...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 05:02 PM
    This thread demonstrates that the term "worldbuilding" is seemingly too broad for useful jargon when debating its merits and flaws. Because a number of people, yourself included, seem to have a different sense for the term "worldbuilding" that lies outside of its contextual sense in the OP. For some in this thread the term is more analogous to "any and everything that the GM does to establish the...
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 04:22 PM
    Couldn't agree with this more. Granted, this conversation spans many threads, but pemerton, for example, clearly defines his terms in the OP of (and many, many times throughout) the "what is *worldbuilding* for?" thread, yet what you describe is characteristic of how Maxperson and Ovinomancer seem to "choos to misunderstand him for the sake of perpetuating the confusion or sidestepping his...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 03:46 PM
    I can't say that I agree with this particular assertion, but that's just because this fails in common practice of speech where terms are constantly redefined, sometimes broadened and othertimes specified, for the sake of engaging in more meaningful discourse with greater clarity. In this case, the terms "worldbuilding" and "setting building" are assigned more particular sets of meaning within our...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 01:36 PM
    Still easier than Late Bronze Age Canaan. If consensus is difficult, then go with one of the prevailing models for the time period. The Bible Unearthed by Finkelstein and Silberman provides a good historical overview and reconstruction. The historical reconstruction is skeptical of a United Davidic Monarchy, seeing it as Judean historigraphy from the 7th-8th century BCE. In general, Israel and...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 10:52 AM
    Basically I see the "Stipend" from wealthy status being analogous to the Bards class feature and its also a daily resource of a different flavor. Nods... Which reminds me ...once you have spent the effort to get the fighter trained in Arcana or Religion and likely didnt dump stat Intellect and spent the feat to gain rituals AND another ie my "Physical Adept" to enable another daily...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 10:33 AM
    So I was noticing how some martial practices had nonsense levels... level 6 for effects that had to be level 2 now you have me thinking.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 08:20 AM
    I did so with Whelm (which also grew, literally, being reforged first as a mordenkrad and then as an oversized mordenkrad for an Eternal Defender). And also the Sword of Kas, I think.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 08:11 AM
    All standard narrativistic games are "story now" in the Forge sense, but not all "story now" games are standard narrativistic ones. As far as thinking about PbtA goes, I am the faithful student of Campbell. The "standard narrativistic model" is about scene-framed RPGing. PbtA is not scene-framing - I don't have a terrific handle on how best to describe it, but Campbell has explained it well,...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 05:55 AM
    Yeah, in theory, you can simply assign each ritual a DC. The problem, as you note, is that 4e allows for a HUGE variation in bonuses, and I think the Arcana check is actually the VERY worst offender! In my own variant system this is no longer an issue, and in fact 'level' is just a way of stating a standard DC. Teleportation is HARD, and with no more than 5 or 6 points of possible...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 05:50 AM
    True, though Wardens could fall somewhat under the 'fighter' rubric (or not depending on your flavoring of them). Battleminds are just weird... Just to comment on what Garthanos said, yes, high surge characters like fighters GENERALLY use a lot of them in combat, BUT they don't HAVE to necessarily. Also, what about non-combat situations? This is a problem too, all of a sudden things shift...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 05:42 AM
    I see the WIS cleric as a sort of 'holy man' type. He's not a warrior, per-se. Maybe he's 'Van Helsing', or he could just be the village priest waving his holy symbol while he stands on the steps of the temple shielding his men from the attacks of a horde of monsters. The CHA paladin, yeah, Galahad, but Galahad was still a bad-ass. I'd have to go back and dig through the CHALADIN powers and...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 05:36 AM
    The Rod is sort of a weird case, I have to agree. Instead of leaving, it just GROWS. You could extend THAT model to other artifacts as well. I just kind of like the whole ouvre of the world full of this mysterious magical agency which manifests itself in these ancient relics. They come and go, on their mysterious journeys through time.
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 05:29 AM
    Well, you have probably read my previous post on PbtA, but I can also give some other perspective. PbtA is intended to be at least 'Some Story Now', but it also (at least Dungeon World) allows for and assumes that there IS some setting building that the GM does. It is assumed that there is at least a general map. It should have 'lots of blank spaces', but it does represent SOME sort of a 'world'...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 05:22 AM
    He's not like wrong to do so. The Standard Narrativist Model basically lays down the framework for what most people in the indie scene at the time saw as The Alternative to orthodox 1990's style design. Apocalypse World uses a fundamentally different set of techniques and principles of play. Unlike the clear protagonists with clearly defined dramatic needs that thrown into conflict Apocalypse...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 05:16 AM
    You say it was like a sandbox, but it strikes me that it seems almost more like a narrativist exercise. Perhaps what Paul was giving you was exactly what you wanted! Or at least the results of your failures were to lose your stakes and move on to new areas of engagement. I take it that there was a 'second phase of the DGC', and that seems to imply to me that the players made some kind of a...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 05:08 AM
    I think PbtA is a pretty flexible framework, though it is going to obviously depend on which elements you consider necessary to call it 'PbtA'. In other words, if you were to have the 'move structure' of PbtA (I'm just imagining if you had a set of DW characters) you could have the players generate backstory (they kind of have to already since they need bonds, though you can get pretty skimpy if...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 04:38 AM
    OK, but remember, ALL THAT CAME BEFORE, thus all the 'NPCs, Factions, PC backstory, etc' was all invented in service to the story that the players want to engage in! So the GM is perfectly free to operate within the realm of 'story logic' and that doesn't constrain his ability to give the players what they want. In fact it is NECESSARY to giving them what they want, which is the type of...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 04:30 AM
    There is one big difference. That is what the rules of composition for the narrated fiction are. In a pre-authored adventure or as part of 'world building' (however that argument comes out) the fiction is part of a whole scenario which has, as its ends, something the GM thought of. In fact we can't really even say for sure, but its an 'agenda' set by the GM. Maybe, often, its calculated to appeal...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 04:12 AM
    Right, and even beyond this, I still say all the Gruumsh lore is Elvish PR! So, basically, if you want 'Cartoon Evil' to be the word of the day in your campaign, then sure, orcs are just these slavering maniacs who worship brute power, eat babies, etc. OTOH maybe its not so cut-and-dried! Maybe the ORCS view of things is that the elves are a bunch of racist orcicidal bastards! They may well feel...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 04:01 AM
    Yes, this was one of my thoughts as well. The GM can EASILY create an 'enemy of my enemy' scenario, which should transcend any level of hatred. Of course interesting things happen when the alliance has outlived its usefulness (I think only A-bombs curbed that in the case of Stalin and Churchill).
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 03:32 AM
    Three intial things. First, it's neither my job nor my place to draw inferences from general propositions to individual posters' games. Even if I could (and few posters in this thread have posted many actual play examples), that's really up to them. Second, railroading is a relational property - of a game to its participants. If I was to play in Maxperson's game, I suspect I would find it...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 02:39 AM
    Story has two uses. One is "a series of events with a theme/premise, rising action towards a climax, the climax itself, and ensuing resolution." It also just means "a fiction that someone tells to someone else". Tokien's narration of the Old Forest in Book 1 of LotR is a story in the second sense but not the first. Likwise, the typical case of a GM narrating of the gameworld as the players...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 02:36 AM
    It's a model. It's standard (Eero Tuovinen lists a number of games that instantiate it, the best known of which is probably Dogs in the Vineyard). It's narrativistic because it is a model for experiencing/producing/enjoying a play experience that Eero, following Ron Edwards, is calling narrativist - meaning that the goal of play is to produce story in the moment of play, through the interaction...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 02:27 AM
    Putting theological conundrums to one side, the real world is not a game, and the causal forces in the real world are actual causal forces, not imagined proxies for someone's authorial decisions. Being captured by pursuers because one reached a dead end is something that sometimes happens in the real world, due to the way the world is. Being captured by pursuers because one reached a dead...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 02:13 AM
    Agreed! This is a thread in General RPGs, not 5e or other D&D editions - so it's not particularly about D&D. That said, I don't think I'm the only 4e GM to have used action resolution as a device for establishing elements of the fiction. For instance (I've quoted enough to give some context, and have bolded the relevant part): I wouldn't call this "forcing a specific reality on the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 02:05 AM
    Interaction is a misnomer here, or at best a metaphor. The participants at the table interact with one another. But the players don't "interact" with the gameworld. They describe things that their PCs are doing, and the GM describes things that happen to, or about, their PCs. This is an illusion created by thinking of the gameworld as objectively and independently existing. How many belt...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 01:32 AM
    I haven't said that anyone is "guilty" of railroading. I've described a particular approach to play, and why I regard it as railroading. If others don't so regard it, that's their prerogative. In the context of RPGing, as in life more generally, "railroading" has a normative/evaluative element and so judgements in respect of it are likely to differ. Here's one suggested meaning of railroading:...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 01:27 AM
    Does every movie "stink" because there's someone who didn't like it (or wouldn't like it if they watched it)? I don't think it's an imperative, in creative or hobby endeavours, that they appeal to everyone. I know nothing of Maxperson's game except from what I can infer from his posts on these boards. Given his criticism of the way I adjudicated the bazaar-feather scene in my BW game, and his...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 01:15 AM
    I think this is one of the obstacles to clear analysis of RPGing techniques - making the move from the "in play" perspective to the "anthropological" perspective. (Neither of the terms in inverted commas is perfect, but hopefully clear enough.)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 23rd April, 2018, 11:52 PM
    Well, the inverted commas around "stage" tell it all, don't they? An actual stage is an actually existing material thing. Once constructed, its existence is independent of the mental states of any particular person. The same is not true of a purely imaginary thing. Campbell is drawing attention to this point, and expressing a view about whose mental states should be understood as constituting...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 23rd April, 2018, 11:30 PM
    I am assuming that the mystery was written by the GM - is that right? And if that's right, that means that - from the player point of view - a fair bit of play would have been aimed at making the "moves" that would trigger the GM to reveal information that would then permit the players to (try and) unravel the mystery. Is that right? Well, in a traditional D&D game that would suggest the...
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Monday, 23rd April, 2018, 10:48 PM
    Also, it should be noted that while D&D is not explicitly framed in terms of such play, 4E does make overtures towards this mode in several ways, at the very least allowing Story Now principles to work in play. The basic rules set of 5E, as you note, backs away from this approach towards what most are calling "traditional" play hereabouts.
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Monday, 23rd April, 2018, 09:07 PM
    You continue to misunderstand how Story Now, player-facing games work. Of course, if the PC fails the roll the GM dictates the conditions of the failure, including the very real possibility that the PC fails the roll because there is no secret door to find! Now, some "fail forward" iterations of the game might consider that a weak judgment by the GM, but it's absolutely in play as one...
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  • Nemesis Destiny's Avatar
    Monday, 23rd April, 2018, 08:38 PM
    I don't know where there is an updated version, but I just manually enter all card data as needed. You can copy-paste from the compendium and do minimal editing. If you want to go all digital, power2ool.com still works if you force your browser to ignore the expired certificate, but I expect it will be a short time before it goes dark, so don't put anything important there. And welcome back...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 23rd April, 2018, 02:36 PM
    This is (ostensibly) a reply to a post which actually set out (part of) the role of the GM in DitV. I think it's very telling that once the role of the GM is not to manage secret backstory, but rather to establish situation and play the opposition within that situation, you describe the GM as "useless". What you call the "useless" GM is what I call the non-railroading GM.
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Monday, 23rd April, 2018, 02:07 PM
    There was a role difference both in play and in story between the Cleric and Paladin... In story the oath bound champion had actual legend and myth backing it from multiple sources (although the myth of course also had with various style miraculous effects which werent always even healing. ). In function his role was still primarily as a fighter/defender or even striker. Where as the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 23rd April, 2018, 10:59 AM
    This is the province of Wises and similar skills. (In the Adventure Burner, I think it is Architecture skill that is referenced in the context of trying to learn of a secret entrance into a fortress.) Here's the full example (BW Gold, p 31): The most important criteria for passing a test is that play moves in the direction of the success, even if only momentarily. ďI want to humiliate...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Monday, 23rd April, 2018, 09:57 AM
    Anecdotally the fighter is the least likely to end the day with extra HS. If that is par for the course, he needs his HS more its a higher cost. I guess if low risk circumstances were in place, maybe. Additionally if the DMG2 is right on the cost rate 1/10 of a magic item price == 1 healing surge , ie A bribe which actually grants auto successes in your skill challenges at level 1 will be 36...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 23rd April, 2018, 09:17 AM
    I don't really agree with this vis-a-vis the WIS cleric and CHA paladin - I understand the CHA paladin (its Galahad) but not the WIS cleric (it's an invoker variant, which is in turn a wizard variant). But I fully agree about STR paladin and STR cleric. Just like the cleric and paladin back in AD&D, they're the same archetype (heavily armed and armoured holy warrior) just with slightly...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 23rd April, 2018, 09:12 AM
    I've tended to use them a bit differently - counting them as part of treasure parcels, but also not having them always move on. This could be because the first one I used is the Rod of Seven Parts, which is a whole-of-campaign thing.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 23rd April, 2018, 08:00 AM
    Nor did I say that it is. I added additional qualifiers. I didn't make the qualifiers up arbitrarily. They follow from a whole line of RPG design and play. I'm not that interested in what is "typical", given that "typical" constraints of moves in a RPG include the GM having permission to declare the search for a secret door a failure on the basis that the GM's notes do not record the presence...
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Thursday, 26th April, 2018

  • 04:40 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    Whether the story or drama or whatever is player-created or DM-created or a combination; in all these cases conflict and oppositon and challenges - the things that makes the game "fundamentally oppositional", to use your term - have to come from somewhere. Yeah, but story type games, like Dungeon World, literally "just don't work that way" Be a fan of the characters Think of the playersí characters as protagonists in a story you might see on TV. Cheer for their victories and lament their defeats. Youíre not here to push them in any particular direction, merely to participate in fiction that features them and their action. There's no 'us and them' in DW, and I don't have it that way in my games either (which are closer to Pemerton's model than DW is, note the last sentence in that quote, which he wouldn't agree with IMHO is part of his style of play). If the players author these themselves and then also author the means to overcome them you've just said hello to Czege; so that can't work. Now it could, I suppose, turn out that players are authoring challenges and conflicts for other players; but given the general anti-PvP stance around here I somehow don't see this happening very often. Which leaves the DM to author them. She authors the challenges and conflicts (whether this is done by pre-authorship or by story-now action failure narration is for this point irrelevant) and the players try to author solutions through the actions of their PCs. Thus, unless you're doing full-on shared storytelling (which none here are, from what I can see) the game is always going to be somewhat oppositional between the players and the DM. Yeah, I don't agree about the 'oppositional' part of that statement. The GM can be...

Wednesday, 25th April, 2018

  • 04:11 PM - Aldarc mentioned pemerton in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    ... being a "generally vague" sense should not equate to the "commonly understood" way. And I think that Hussar's sense of "worldbuilding" runs much closer to the common parole than the more generally broad way in which "worldbuilding" is everything created under the sun. Hussar's usage of the term is evident in sheer preponderance and character of written and video articles found throughout the Internet on worldbuilding tips, advice, guidance, etc. The character of this term's usage is more particularized to a set of activities that often transpire on a different level than a world that emerges through play. The most common sense of the term frames worldbuilding as an authorial pre-emergent fiction activity. Insisting others accept your definition is fine in a paper or blog post, where you can define and expound, but in a multiuser discussion format you it's an impediment.And yet there are others who are also insisting on their definition or understanding, so putting this burden on pemerton or Hussar seems shortsighted, as this demand does not seem placed on others but just them. If as you say, everyone is insisting on a different definition of "stupid," then it seems a bit odd that you are admonishing one group for "redefining" a term while not admonishing another for doing the same or insisting on upholding a broader, vaguer, more general sense. Of course, you're free to do whatever you want -- I'm not the thread police. But, if you're going to complain because others don't like your redefining of words, I'm going to say I told you so.Again, I don't think that he is "redefining" the term since his usage reflects common parlance of the term "worldbuilding" in praxis.
  • 07:07 AM - Ilbranteloth mentioned pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...he discussion to many others. I think this is going back in the direction of mixing classical game logic with narrativist ideas and things aren't coherent. In classical play your observation is entirely cogent. In standard narrative model it doesn't make much sense. I mean, if the players jumped down, then they had SOME reason, right? I mean, why are they here to begin with? What do they WANT? I would make something happen that was related to the story and the characters. Maybe there's a way out, maybe someone can get back out. I mean, what did you do? "OK, TPK, everyone roll up a new character!"? I mean, that's warranted, in a Gygaxian sense, and perfectly OK. It just doesn't serve narrativist ends and wouldn't happen in that sort of game. Nobody would frame a scene with that element in it which would produce that result. So the scene started when they discovered the old tomb while they were guided for a couple of out of town nobles on a hunting expedition. To tie into one of pemertonís favorite subjects, there were some secret ulterior motives. However, those had no bearing here. Anyway, they opted to explore the tomb, pretty much because it was there. Of course, the prospect of treasure was a driving factor, and they had taken refuge in the entrance as a defensive position against an orc attack. They didnít have to enter the tomb, and their position was very defensible, but they decided to move forward. One of the characters, a 17 year old, decided to jump into the water. Another followed and located the passage that was now under water. To my surprise, the rest followed, without going to collect their rope. They explored, found what they could, then realized they didnít have a way out. I suggested that somebody would probably have gone back to get their rope, but they decided that they didnít. So we just kept playing it out. From that point on, I was needed very little. A few questions here or there, but mostly it was discussions among the characters. Part of...
  • 05:35 AM - Maxperson mentioned pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    So, no other activities exist in the game except checks with success or failure as the outcome! Nobody frames scenes (everything happens in some sort of blank white haze perhaps?). Nobody decides whether a check is required or not (I guess they just always are, can you walk down the street in this game of yours, or do you need to make a walking check?) Nobody establishes how the fiction advances or what the wider consequences of any action are (I guess no new scenes ever appear, the players maybe just use checks to find 'stuff' at random?) Of course they do, which is why pemerton's players declare actions in order to get him to say stuff. Every time he argues that they don't declare actions to get him to say stuff, he's arguing that they control everything, including scene framing, when and what checks are required, and all consequences. It's a ridiculous argument that he's making, followed by a ridiculous counter in order to keep from being the victim of his own propaganda about playstyles other than his own. He can't fess up to his players declaring actions to get him to say stuff, because that's the negative characterization he's tossing at my playstyle. If he does it, too, then his position falls out from under him. That forces him make statements that can only be true if the players control everything The player is describing what his character does and wants to do in response to the events framed by the GM and WRT his goals/agenda/beliefs. That is what the player is doing. He's not trying to elicit fiction from the GM, except as that is incidenta...
  • 05:06 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...f her own? Hardly what I'd call recruitment-poster material for attracting new DMs. :) Lanefan Several years ago myself and some other people I play with often decided we wanted to create a story game about Arthurian Knights (except we didn't actually set it in England, we made up a fantasy sort of pseudo France). Anyway, we all agreed on the genre, some plot elements which could be used, selected a mechanics to use, and characters were created with back stories appropriate to the genre and referencing some of the pre-generated 'stuff'. Now, I ended up GMing this, so I added a bunch of added 'things' in the course of scene framing. These included a child, a tower, a battle on a bridge with a black knight, a tournament, a plot to kill an important NPC, a giant, etc. A lot of stuff really. The players also invented a lot of stuff related to their characters. They invented followers, a way to dispatch the giant, a way in and out of the tower, etc. Honestly I'm not as systematic as pemerton in terms of remembering who did what, but we all had a good amount of input. I would call this typical for MY games. GM is important, but the whole game is an outgrowth of what all the participants were interested in doing.
  • 04:45 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    I could quibble with some details here but we pretty much agree. The main point is that "stories" as pemerton put it, are being told by the GM in either case, not only in the GM-worldbuilding situation. The stories can be different (they don't need to be) but the real difference is the limitations on the way they are generated, not whether one game has GM's telling them or not. Well, I said that I think GMs are pretty important in games, so clearly I don't really disagree with you TOO much, but I think that Story Now games have a lot more 'player telling the story' in general than 'classical' games do. In any case, the primary point is that the player is ordering up the story. Its sort of like going into a pizza joint. You can buy a slice of what's at the counter, or you can order up your own pizza, with the deep crust or the thin crust, or whatever. Either way its pizza, but when you choose the style and toppings it is certainly more fair to say that you had some hand in 'making it'. I would think not, but pemerton has written things that indicates they are at odds with this and the id...
  • 04:43 AM - Ovinomancer mentioned pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    I'll ask again: do you disagree that railroading is a relational property? Did you miss my post about that, or are you just dishonestly ignoring it? :lol: Irony, thy name is pemerton. Sorry, should I <snip> your post to make the irony clear? As for your question, I find that to be a banality and so I ignored it. However, since you seem to insist: I can see the tortuous logic you're using. You're literally claiming the right to continue to call the example railroading, and use that in future arguments, because you claim it's railroading to you. You've defined railroading as something that is unique to each individual; an aesthetic; a preference. But, right at that moment, it ceases to have any use as a diagnostic for analysis. You literally just told everyone in this thread that when you say something is railroading, it's equivalent to saying you think it's pretty. Railroading is now, thanks to your definition, utterly useless for you to use as a criticism of another playstyle that has any more weight than 'I don't like it.' Which would normally be fine, if self-defeating to your larger stated purposes of analyzing playstyle differences (what's the u...
  • 03:57 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ... to guide their characters to it. Once the goal became to have fun playing the game and making up cool stories about the characters, etc. then all that went basically out the window. It is still possible to engage in it as a specific facet of a greater whole, but its not THE GAME anymore. Now, some will contend that they're playing to 'explore', but the model is the same here, the GM has the 'gold' and the players are tasked with navigating the 'maze' to uncover it. The walls and traps of the dungeon maze may be replaced with other stuff, but they still remain. Finally, you can claim to have gone entirely beyond that by saying "well, the players just come to me and tell me what their PC wants to do (in or out of character) and we work on that", but then we come back to the OP of the thread, what's the world building/details FOR? I think the ONLY actual solid answer to that which ever came in this thread (and honestly, maybe it was the other thread, forgive me, was the one where pemerton quoted one of the Story Now guys stating that you CAN have a 'built world', and it has utility in fixing genre and providing some footing for the players to leverage their character's traits into concrete action. What doesn't seem right is that it's a Schrodinger's Secret Door - it both exists and does not exist until it's found (or conclusively established not to exist, somehow, I suppose). There's no Schrodinger's Door if there's no concept of an ESTABLISHED fictional reality outside of what has been presented to the characters. This is something I maintain as a principle of play in games of the type I run, ONLY what has been presented in play exists, all else is vapor until you meet it. That wall didn't exist until we laid eyes on it, so who's to say it didn't 'always have a secret door in it'???

Tuesday, 24th April, 2018

  • 06:15 PM - darkbard mentioned pemerton in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    No, this is false. In the OP ou'd the inner worldbuilding thread, pemerton suggests that building the dungeon maze is worldbuilding. He, pages later, says that what he means by worldbuilding are those things the GM preps needle the game that are used by reference to cause aplayer action declaration to result in failure. It took pages to get that definition. And, it's not a definition anyone in this thread side from pemerton has used. I'll take my lumps -- I have been argumentative with pemerton -- but only those that are actually based on what I've done. Okay, fair enough: I went back and looked at the initial post, and, it's true, that the latter, stronger definition (GM preauthoring used to curtail PC action) doesn't appear there. But your larger point (at least I think it's been your argument at times; as I say above, it becomes increasingly more difficult to keep track), I think, is that pemerton has been inconsistent in his use of the term. And that's where I disagree: I see no inconsistency. What I do perceive is a further refinement an...
  • 04:22 PM - darkbard mentioned pemerton in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    If he provides you his definition of the term(s) or the meaning that he assigns to the term(s), then it seems that you would be intentionally choosing to misunderstand him for the sake of perpetuating the confusion or sidestepping his argument without good faith. Couldn't agree with this more. Granted, this conversation spans many threads, but pemerton, for example, clearly defines his terms in the OP of (and many, many times throughout) the "what is *worldbuilding* for?" thread, yet what you describe is characteristic of how Maxperson and Ovinomancer seem to "choos[e] to misunderstand him for the sake of perpetuating the confusion or sidestepping his argument without good faith." Particularly, when you combine this with what Maxperson says upthread* about delibertately misrepresenting arguments! *I think it's in this thread, but it's becoming increasingly more difficult to keep track of who posted what where....
  • 03:45 PM - Doug McCrae mentioned pemerton in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    You say it was like a sandbox, but it strikes me that it seems almost more like a narrativist exercise. Perhaps what Paul was giving you was exactly what you wanted! Or at least the results of your failures were to lose your stakes and move on to new areas of engagement. I take it that there was a 'second phase of the DGC', and that seems to imply to me that the players made some kind of a comeback. There does seem, from your descriptions, to have been a sort of bathos, to the degree of existential horror to the whole thing. I can see why you would compare it to something like CoC, which certainly tries to evoke that. I think the game contained some Story Before elements, to use the terminology pemerton introduced upthread, and most of the journals are Story After. In my view there wasn't any Story Now. The Story Before components take the form of dramatic scenes, such as Pix's clairvoyant visions, and other reveals that Paul must have prepped beforehand. Pix's endpiece, which gives an account of Paul and the Professor's death, and the split between Mark and the rest of the team, is powerfully written. Tragedy or pathos would probably be a more appropriate term for it than bathos imo. I got quite emotional when Pix describes a young child we had previously saved among the mourners at the Professor's funeral. The way I believe Paul preps rpgs is to start from a detailed simulationist base. He then translates that into something that will work as a game (for example he doesn't just have the bad guys murder all the PCs in their sleep) and he also adds some 'units' of storytelling. The really noticeable storytelling - the complete scenes - became more frequent and more dramatic late on...
  • 04:38 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...ons, PC backstory, etc. not to mention unspoken assumptions ie; gravity, when setting that scene? If they do then it is actually; The GM is framing a scene based on player cues and the GM's conception of the world (albeit the GM's conception of the world is subject to limitations). Which is also what happens in most games, without the limitations on the GM's conception of the world obviously, or at least those specific limitations. OK, but remember, ALL THAT CAME BEFORE, thus all the 'NPCs, Factions, PC backstory, etc' was all invented in service to the story that the players want to engage in! So the GM is perfectly free to operate within the realm of 'story logic' and that doesn't constrain his ability to give the players what they want. In fact it is NECESSARY to giving them what they want, which is the type of entertainment they have asked for. Now, the GM is going to have conceptions and ideas and whatnot, and that's going to play a strong part too. Obviously AbdulAlhazred and pemerton are going to frame different scenes, even if they somehow found themselves GMing the same situation. It's not about the GM "telling stories" or not, it isn't about the whether some actions are impossible or not, not even about whether or not those stories or actions are affected by previously determined aspects of "the world", it's just about where they come from. For some players that is important. Like I mentioned earlier for some seeking "that feeling" (that they have access to a "real" world) it helps if it seems like the world is fully fleshed out somewhere and reacting to their PCs accordingly, and it hinders that feeling if they think it isn't, or it seems like things are being plopped down in front of them, or things are being determined randomly, or other players (not through their PCs) are effecting the world. It would seem that for some other mixes are ideal, some might prefer a highly detailed published setting, because they can read it for themselves. Some might prefer ...
  • 03:22 AM - Maxperson mentioned pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    You continue to misunderstand how Story Now, player-facing games work. Of course, if the PC fails the roll the GM dictates the conditions of the failure, including the very real possibility that the PC fails the roll because there is no secret door to find! Now, some "fail forward" iterations of the game might consider that a weak judgment by the GM, but it's absolutely in play as one possibility. Not according to pemerton. See, doing what you just described is getting the DM to tell you stuff in response to your action. In an effort to avoid being the victim of his own propaganda, he insisted this morning that the DM makes no choices like that and the player determines everything.
  • 02:55 AM - Ovinomancer mentioned pemerton in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    A lot of gamers don't know that DitV exists, or, if they do, know little more about it - that it'd represent a 'standard' is pretty unintuitive. Maybe obscure, rarefied, or alternative? Niche. It's a niche game. What I find amusing is that pemerton is now excluding Powered by the Apocalypse from the standard narrativist model.

Monday, 23rd April, 2018

  • 07:04 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...r in a FRPG. They're there based on the needs of the location builder/owner, not my PC's needs as he evades pursuit. Some of us work pretty hard at coming up with situations and locations that have a certain internal logic to them that works, that makes sense, that clever and observant players can figure out or explore to the point it makes sense to them. We also work pretty hard at being impartial toward the players and their PCs - not taking it personally when they thwart the plans of our BBEGs, boss monsters, and even their rank and file mooks and not forcing them into a story we're pre-written - but rather allowing them to decide what they want to do and exploring how the chips fall from there given the other gears working in the background. And then you come along with a loaded term like railroad to describe something as minor as using the map key to determine if a search check can succeed. And you wonder why people get incensed?It's time for me to say chess and checkers again. Pemerton is relaying the setup from his game and then swapping to a resolution for a different game and trying to say this makes a point, but it's actually incoherent. In pem's playstyle there never is a map for the GM to consult. The blank walls don't exist until they're framed in due to a previous action declaration (likely as a consequence for a previous failure by upping the stakes: trapped in a dead-end with enemies on your heels!). This means that there's zero knowledge on the GM's part as to the state of this area, so that game uses action resolution to help create the backstory needed to advance the story. If a player searches, then a secret door may exist and it will then have been part of the backstory all along. However, when he swaps to the GM checking notes, he's switched to an entirely different game that doesn't have the same underlying premises. In this game, backstory is more fixed and the players have been navigating the game with that understood. The switch is a shell ...

Sunday, 22nd April, 2018

  • 06:38 PM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned pemerton in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    ...s. YOU may not care, and the players YOU play with may not care, but other players very obviously do care about exploring the setting. Again though, do they care about the setting for the sake of the setting, or do they care about what is brought to the table in terms of what their characters are going to experience and what choices they have? Now, I can sort of imagine some player somewhere who's great joy in life is imagining his character wandering through dusty libraries unearthing obscure facts and endlessly applying them to some scheme or other, or to produce the solution to some profound issue. It isn't impossible, and that MIGHT (I say MIGHT because it isn't really established) benefit from some sort of very elaborate structure of lore. Still, I haven't run into that player yet, in 40+ years. I've been in campaigns where there was a scene, perhaps a critical one, where some revelation of some 'lore' produced the logic/lampshade for XYZ to happen. I think you could say that pemerton's scene in the Raven Queen's Mausoleum falls into that category. Notably this happened in a 'Low Myth' environment!
  • 04:58 PM - Maxperson mentioned pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    and You seemed to have missed a massive step. You talk about the characters searching for a secret door. You NEVER refer to the character searching for an orc. The objects in both those situations are door and orc respectively. Your example jumps straight into the combat with the orc i.e. How we engage with the object once it is present. Why would you purposefully use such a disingenuous comparative example? Are ALL your combat encounters introduced only on a failed roll? Based on your play-examples, the answer would be a resounding no. So given your definition of a railroad (based on your above posts) - I guess we all railroad. In conclusion - No Myth Story Now and Worldbuilding Games are both railroads according to your definition. @Lanefan, @shidaku and @happyhermit I wouldn't take offense. @pemerton's entire style is a railroad, which might explain why he doesn't recognize that. The Story Now style involves the players setting goals(rails) and the DM doing everything in hos power to keeping the PCs on those rails by making everything in some way important to those goals. Since his style involves the players wanting to be on the rails, the railroading is a good thing in this instance.
  • 12:55 AM - Hussar mentioned pemerton in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    Except that pemerton has been talking about Traveler and mechanics in Traveler (as well as other Indy games) for a while so lets talk about Traveler mechanics. No, pemerton was discussing reaction mechanics in Traveller. Bringing in other mechanics, that only apply to one specific edition of Traveller chargen mechanics in an thinly veiled attempt to disparage those mechanics is a pretty heavy handed tactic that has nothing to do with what is actually being discussed. IOW, it's disingenuous. The point that was being made is that social mechanics have existed in some form in RPG's since pretty much day one. Various RPG's have incorporated it in various forms. So, why is this such a bizarre idea in 5e?

Saturday, 21st April, 2018

  • 09:03 PM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned pemerton in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    Yes, he has. That those instances of play occurred I obviously can't dispute. :) What I can and will dispute is that this sort of play can provide a campaign that is and remains sustainable for the long term (by which I mean anything beyond just a few sessions), without a ridiculous amount of work probably done by the GM to record everything about the setting that comes up in play so as to be consistent should it ever be encountered again. @pemerton 's game logs - those that we've seen - are exhaustive in their mechanical detail as well as their events recording and probably do give enough info to provide at least some long-term consistency...and in this I maintain that he's so unusual as to possibly be unique. (that's supposed to be a compliment, in case you're wondering!) I dispute that it can continue to do so over time, as things get forgotten or numbers/time/distance/locations shift or morph in ways they shouldn't or things get skipped between scenes that end up needing to be retconned. And note I'm not necessarily suggesting that traditional play (including worldbuilding) doesn't have rocks of its own to run aground on. It does, and over time I think I've probably hit them all. :) But I also think it's got more versatility in what it can do or be made to do in terms of what type-style-length-size of games or campaigns it can support, which gives it the advantage. Eh, I'm not some sort of super detailed note taker or ...
  • 07:16 PM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned pemerton in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    ...e exist fundamentally to create this 'yellow brick road' to follow. One might even call this 'Wizard of Oz Gaming', the adventure is a yellow brick road that leads to 'Oz'. Along the way there are lions, tin men, scarecrows, witches, etc. While each of these elements could in theory lead away from the yellow brick road, in fact they each reinforce the story line and propel it forward to its designated ending. When you try to analyze No Myth Story Now games using the toolset of 'Wizard of Oz Gaming' you run into some problems. In Story Now the various situations aren't intended to LEAD anywhere at all. There's no direction. Its true that this might seem to inhibit things like foreshadowing (what would you foreshadow, particularly in No Myth!). However, we DO know a lot. Just as in my sister's campaign, we know about the characters. They're well-drawn and have fairly discernible agendas, interests, and personality. So we CAN make some sorts of predictions! We CAN foreshadow. Could not pemerton do that in the Cortex+ Heroic game where the PC is trying to save his brother from the Balrog? I mean, there's plenty of things that are established here that can leverage that. And just as in a pre-arranged WoOG adventure path, you can drop as many of these things as you need, and you don't HAVE to use them all! Anyway, there's plenty of other things you ARE doing in Story Now. You could certainly construct the story The Wizard of Oz in a sort of Story Now fashion. I mean, the main character has a very definite goal, creating a straightforward pathway to that goal, putting some obstacles/complications along it, etc. This could evolve quite easily. In fact it represents rather the simplest and most basic form of narrative that could evolve, just as it is the simplest and most basic AP that you could create ahead of time. The difference is, from the start of playing it, there's no specific 'Emerald City', its not an adventure on 'rails' to a known endpoint. The Good Witch Glenda might...


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Thursday, 26th April, 2018

  • 03:26 AM - Ilbranteloth quoted pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    My own view is that "logically" designed worlds tend to have less verisimiltude - and far more symmetry and order - than the real world. Just confining this point to architecture and urban design - I've seen cities (eg Fez) that are as "illogical" as antyhing that the play of an RPG is going to throw up; and there is a public building not far from where I live that has enough "staircases to nowhere" (as a result of renovation and refitting over the years) that I would't be surprised if one of them did have a secret door at the top of it! And I believe that to logically design a world, you have to account for such things. Regardless of how random many things seem, the staircases to nowhere were built for a reason. Logical doesn't mean ordered. But one of my pet peeves in books, movies, TV shows, etc. are the things that are done for convenience regardless of whether it makes sense at all. In some cases it's the entire premise, in other cases it's a lack of knowledge, or just not caring. I'm n...
  • 12:58 AM - Mouseferatu quoted pemerton in post What Aspects of 4E Made It into 5E?
    I'd be lying if I didn't read Bradley Hindman's post and think about establishing certain details of the fiction as an outcome of action resolution rather than a constraining input. Are you talking about things like "I, as DM, didn't think about or establish whether or not there's a chandelier in this room. Therefore, when the player asked if there was one to swing from, I decided there was because it was cooler"? If so, I agree. If there's a detail I hadn't already specified--at least in my own head, if not out loud--and it makes even a bit of sense, I'll usually try to incorporate it if the players' actions warrant. If that's not what you meant, could you clarify?

Wednesday, 25th April, 2018

  • 07:41 PM - hawkeyefan quoted pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    I appreciate the sentiment behind your post - genuinely - but my issue with GM-heavy worldbuilding is not that it's done badly. It's that I don't like it. I won't reiterate why, as I feel I've probably done that enough in this thread. But I'm not saying that I just don't like it when it's badly done. No, I get that entirely. I understand your preference and why you have it. No need for you to explain further. I've not been critical of your preference, so much as I think some of the examples you've made to explain your preference have gone too far to try and prove your point, and they've become examples of "bad worldbuilding", and then many responses are really about that more so than about your preference.
  • 06:56 PM - Ilbranteloth quoted pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    GIven the places I've seen secret doors in published modules, I'm not sure what would count as a bare stone wall in a D&D-style dungeon or fortress where it would be illogical for a secret door to appear! What you say here is (in my view) absolutely correct for Cortex+ Heroic, 4e, HeroQuest revised, or any other system in which DCs are "subjective" ie based on pacing and similar considerations. In the context of an "objective" DC system (eg Burning Wheel, Classic Traveller, I think 5e by deffault), the players do have an incentive to identify an approach with a low DC. Relating this to Ilbranteloth's question above, if a secret door seems unlikely in some place, that would increase the DC. I'm certainly not insisting on this. Many many posts (over 1000) upthread, this was discussed at some length. From my point of view, it doesn't meaningfully change the distribution of agency over the content of the shared fiction for the chance of success to depend on the GM "allowing" the check t...
  • 05:22 PM - Ilbranteloth quoted pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    GIven the places I've seen secret doors in published modules, I'm not sure what would count as a bare stone wall in a D&D-style dungeon or fortress where it would be illogical for a secret door to appear! What you say here is (in my view) absolutely correct for Cortex+ Heroic, 4e, HeroQuest revised, or any other system in which DCs are "subjective" ie based on pacing and similar considerations. In the context of an "objective" DC system (eg Burning Wheel, Classic Traveller, I think 5e by deffault), the players do have an incentive to identify an approach with a low DC. Relating this to Ilbranteloth's question above, if a secret door seems unlikely in some place, that would increase the DC. I'm certainly not insisting on this. Many many posts (over 1000) upthread, this was discussed at some length. From my point of view, it doesn't meaningfully change the distribution of agency over the content of the shared fiction for the chance of success to depend on the GM "allowing" the check t...
  • 02:53 PM - Ovinomancer quoted pemerton in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    If all of one's "worldbuidling" resembles KotB rather than Village of Hommlet, then Hussar has no objection to it. What does it matter than he doesn't call it worldbuilding, and confines that word to the stuff you don't do? Conversely, if some of what you do is more like VoH than KotB, Hussar has said he doesn't like it. What does it matter to you that he doesn't use the term "worldbuilding" to describe the stuff he doesn't mind?Communication of ideas. If I define stupid you mean "those with an IQ of less than 135" and you defined out as "those with an IQ less than 85" and Bob defines it as "people who think differently from me" then we cannot habe a useful discussion about stupidity if we all keep using the same word for it. Outside of that discussion, however, your free to use it giver you want. If you purpose is actual discussion and understandibg, though, confusion of meaning because you all define a term differently is actively harmful to the goal. So, if you want to use worldbuildin...
  • 02:41 PM - Sadras quoted pemerton in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    If all of one's "worldbuidling" resembles KotB rather than Village of Hommlet, then @Hussar has no objection to it. What does it matter than he doesn't call it worldbuilding, and confines that word to the stuff you don't do? Conversely, if some of what you do is more like VoH than KotB, Hussar has said he doesn't like it. What does it matter to you that he doesn't use the term "worldbuilding" to describe the stuff he doesn't mind? This seems like a strange direction to take this discussion/debate. Are you really advocating anyone use terms willy nilly to say things as they wish because it shouldn't matter to anyone else because presumably no-one else is at their table and therefore no objection is warranted? Is that really the type of discussion you're wanting to promote?
  • 05:26 AM - Maxperson quoted pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    And who has ever said that players get to establish the consequences of failure? Not me. Not Eero Tuovinen. Not any quote I've posted from a rulebook (for DitV, BW, MHRP, maybe others I'm forgetting). In fact, in replies to both you and Lanefan, I have reitereated, again and again, that the GM narrates failures and this is a principal source of story dynamics. Did you now read those posts? Every time you say that your players do not declare actions to get you to say stuff YOU are saying that they get to establish the consequences of their failure. If you get to establish those consequences then they are declaring actions to get you to say stuff. You don't get to have it both ways.
  • 05:04 AM - Tony Vargas quoted pemerton in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    I have a copy of Citizen Kane on my DVD shelf. It remains one of the greatest of all films. (My favourite film from that era, possibly my favourite film per se, is Casablanca, but that's because I'm sentimental.) I've had mixed reactions to cinema film schools tell us is great, I understand Citizen Kane brought together some techniques and was innovative for it's day, and that it was thinly veiled biography with a message. It was also reasonably boring. I get the impression a lot of indie games are aspiring to be Citizen Kane while D&D's Fast&FuriousFive kills em at the box office... The standard in "standard narrativistic model" isn't describing the model as standard for RPGing. It's standard for narrativistic RPGing. Nope, doesn't work. Neither does 'Story Now,' really, though it's not as bad.
  • 04:43 AM - Ovinomancer quoted pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    I'll ask again: do you disagree that railroading is a relational property? Did you miss my post about that, or are you just dishonestly ignoring it? :lol: Irony, thy name is pemerton. Sorry, should I <snip> your post to make the irony clear? As for your question, I find that to be a banality and so I ignored it. However, since you seem to insist: I can see the tortuous logic you're using. You're literally claiming the right to continue to call the example railroading, and use that in future arguments, because you claim it's railroading to you. You've defined railroading as something that is unique to each individual; an aesthetic; a preference. But, right at that moment, it ceases to have any use as a diagnostic for analysis. You literally just told everyone in this thread that when you say something is railroading, it's equivalent to saying you think it's pretty. Railroading is now, thanks to your definition, utterly useless for you to use as a criticism of another playstyle that has any more weight than 'I don't like it.' Which would normally be fine, if self-defeating to your larger stated purposes of analyzing playstyle differences (what's the u...
  • 04:10 AM - Ilbranteloth quoted pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    I'm not sure if you intend this as a rhetorical question or not. I will treat it as non-rhetorical, and answer it. To the extent that you intended it rhetorically, you'll probably think my answer inadequate - sometimes that happens in discussions among human beings! Here's the sort of thing I have in mind - it's a bit underdescribed but hopefully clear enough to get us on the same page in respect of it: <the prior events of play, together with GM narration, establish (i) that the PCs are in a stone building facing some bare walls, (ii) thay the PCs are being pursued through the building, and (iii) leave it open what might be behind the walls in question> Player: "There might be a secret door that we could escape through in one of those bare walls - I seach for signs of one." GM: "Make a [Perception, Search, Architecture, as appropriate to system] check." <player makes check> <GM consults notes, notes that the notes describe these walls as nothing more than plain walls with no...
  • 02:52 AM - Lanefan quoted pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    And who has ever said that players get to establish the consequences of failure? Not me. Not Eero Tuovinen. Not any quote I've posted from a rulebook (for DitV, BW, MHRP, maybe others I'm forgetting). In fact, in replies to both you and Lanefan, I have reitereated, again and again, that the GM narrates failures and this is a principal source of story dynamics.Indeed. But is the DM allowed to here introduce her own thematic elements or story ideas, or is she still bound to narrating failure only within the bounds of the PCs' stories and how they are affected?
  • 02:11 AM - Tony Vargas quoted pemerton in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    A lot of contemporary filmgoers probably don't know that Breathless, or Citizen Kane, exist - does that mean that discussions of cinema should ignore them? I've sat through Citizen Kane. It wouldn't hurt. ;P Seriously, though, it means they shouldn't be held up as typical or standard fare. Discussion of RPGing techniques that confines itself to 2nd ed AD&D, 3E/PF/d20, and 5e, is going to be pretty attenuated. There are probably some D&D players who think that (say) the Ideals/Bonds/Flaws mechanic in 5e has no origin in, or connection to, earlier RPG design. But they'd be wrong.Sure, they're wrong about a lot of things, that way. But it won't help them to understand things by making allusions to more obscure games, rather than spelling things out in terms that might risk making sense to them. The Standard Narrativist Model basically lays down the framework for what most people in the indie scene at the time saw as The Alternative to orthodox 1990's style design.See, "Alternative ...

Tuesday, 24th April, 2018

  • 07:00 PM - hawkeyefan quoted pemerton in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    The last quoted sentence seems as good as any to describe what is going on. "Everyone is involved in establishing the game world" is the description you think is best? How is that not worldbuilding? I think the current usage of "worldbuilding" in discussions of RPGing brings with it an assumption of GM authority over that process. I think this is very evident not just in many of the posts in the current threads, but other threads one reads on ENworld, blogs one reads, presentation in D&D rulebooks, etc. It's also very often taken for granted, in RPGing, that a "gameworld" is more-or-less independent of any particular group of players or characters - which relates to the idea of "neutrality" that has been put forward by more than one poster in these threads. The process you describe for City of Mists does not produce a "neutral" setting. I think the criticism is for a specific type of worldbuilding, with the GM as the sole or heavily primary authority on the world details ...
  • 06:15 PM - hawkeyefan quoted pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    Does every movie "stink" because there's someone who didn't like it (or wouldn't like it if they watched it)? I don't think it's an imperative, in creative or hobby endeavours, that they appeal to everyone. I know nothing of Maxperson's game except from what I can infer from his posts on these boards. Given his criticism of the way I adjudicated the bazaar-feather scene in my BW game, and his hints at how he might run a somewhat similar episode in his game, I infer that I wouldn't particularly enjoy playing in his game. That's not any sort of tragedy - after all, I'm not, and as far as I know he doesn't paticularly want me to. It similarly seems that Maxperson would not enjoy GMing a game where the GM is what he calls "useless" - ie has the job of framing, embellishing success, and adjudicating consequences for failure, but does not have the sort of authority over outcomes that he seems to favour. But, again, that doesn't seem to be a problem as he is not being forced or even (as far as I...
  • 05:33 PM - Tony Vargas quoted pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    (If the game was a puzzle-solving game, where the whole idea is to guess the GM's unrevealed secrets, then things would be different. Railroading doesn't really have application in that context, I don't think. As best I can tell, this puzzle-solving element is a bigger thing in Lanefan's game than Maxpersons's.) D&D may have been originally conceived as a wargame, but it seems like 'puzzle-solving game' was the overt primary thrust as early as the Greyhawk supplement, and stayed that way, 2e protestations of storytelling and setting-first notwithstanding, throughout TSRs reign. That's become fixed in a lotta mind-sets.
  • 02:06 PM - Ovinomancer quoted pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    Three intial things. First, it's neither my job nor my place to draw inferences from general propositions to individual posters' games. Even if I could (and few posters in this thread have posted many actual play examples), that's really up to them. Second, railroading is a relational property - of a game to its participants. If I was to play in Maxperson's game, I suspect I would find it railroad-y. But I don't. Presumably his players emjoy it, and don't find it railroad-y. I even posted a definition to this effect upthread of your post. Did you read it, do you disagree with it, or are you just "dishonestly" ignoring it?! Third, there is the use of guilty. Running games I wouldn't emjoy is not a crime. Now to pull back a bit - Lanefan and Maxperson clearly think I run a game that is degenerate in some sense. That's fine - it's their prerogative to dislimke someone else's creative endeavour. My response is to respond to their posts and further explain whatever techniques I thinik they are ...
  • 11:45 AM - Maxperson quoted pemerton in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    The last quoted sentence seems as good as any to describe what is going on. I think the current usage of "worldbuilding" in discussions of RPGing brings with it an assumption of GM authority over that process. I think this is very evident not just in many of the posts in the current threads, but other threads one reads on ENworld, blogs one reads, presentation in D&D rulebooks, etc. It's also very often taken for granted, in RPGing, that a "gameworld" is more-or-less independent of any particular group of players or characters - which relates to the idea of "neutrality" that has been put forward by more than one poster in these threads. The process you describe for City of Mists does not produce a "neutral" setting. People shouldn't assume. Worldbuilding is the building of the world/setting, regardless of whether the DM does it alone, or in conjunction with his players. I think you assume DM authority over the process, because most people play the game in the traditional manner still, s...
  • 08:20 AM - Lanefan quoted pemerton in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    I even posted a definition to this effect upthread of your post. Did you read it, do you disagree with it, or are you just "dishonestly" ignoring it?! You mean your definition of what constitutes a railroad? Yep, I read it; and I disagree with it. Now to pull back a bit - Lanefan and Maxperson clearly think I run a game that is degenerate in some sense. That's fine - it's their prerogative to dislimke someone else's creative endeavour. My response is to respond to their posts and further explain whatever techniques I thinik they are misunderstanding or misdescribing. And to your credit, you have, at great length. I don't agree with a lot of what you post but I commend you for the effort you put in to posting it. It's clear that those two posters, and probably some others, think that a game in which a player is free to declare "I search for a secret door" is not a railroad, even if the GM has already decided there is no secret door to be found, because the player got to choose what a...
  • 05:42 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted pemerton in post [4e] A slim(er) 4e experience through class and options cutting
    I don't really agree with this vis-a-vis the WIS cleric and CHA paladin - I understand the CHA paladin (its Galahad) but not the WIS cleric (it's an invoker variant, which is in turn a wizard variant). But I fully agree about STR paladin and STR cleric. Just like the cleric and paladin back in AD&D, they're the same archetype (heavily armed and armoured holy warrior) just with slightly different mechanical implementations. The difference between Healing Word and Lay on Hands matters a lot in the minutiae of play, but isn't any sort of archetypical difference. I see the WIS cleric as a sort of 'holy man' type. He's not a warrior, per-se. Maybe he's 'Van Helsing', or he could just be the village priest waving his holy symbol while he stands on the steps of the temple shielding his men from the attacks of a horde of monsters. The CHA paladin, yeah, Galahad, but Galahad was still a bad-ass. I'd have to go back and dig through the CHALADIN powers and whatnot, but I think there's a lot there which ...


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