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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 10:37 AM
    The concept of "protagonism" in RPGing is (I believe) relatively well known. If it's unclear what I have in mind, here's the relevant remarks from the OP: If (to further self-quote) "the game rolls off the GM's 'plot wagon' much as it would if you were performing an elf instead" of a dwarf, then the things I've described aren't happening - the player's narration clearly is not engaging...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Today, 08:59 AM
    S'mon replied to So...keelboats
    I think it's established the Qeng Ho fleet did go all over and at the time Chinese ship technology was advanced. The problem was cultural.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 07:57 AM
    For warlord I would suggest the Tolkienesque battle captain. But anyway I agree it's not a problem if you're not using WotC's IP (ie neither their text nor their trade dress).
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 07:52 AM
    Well, some people think that OSRIC is on the margins (or crossing the margins) of copyright infringement. S'mon and I have discussed this before - I'm a bit more doubtful of its legality than S'mon but he's the better IP lawyer of the two of us - so probably it's OK! (If only just.)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 07:21 AM
    Yes, in that context. I'll explain the qualification by way of an example from a specific system. Each PC in Marvel Heroic RP/Cortex+ Heroic has two Milestones. Here are two example milestones - one is from Captain America in the core rulebook, the other is one that I made up in collaboration with the player for the berserker in my Cortex+ Fantasy Hack Vikings game: MENTOR THE HERO 1 XP...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 06:40 AM
    I've not just heard rumours of, but have played through, counter-examples to this. Mostly in an AD&D 2nd ed context, but also CoC and Rolemaster. That's not my experience. You could perform your dwarf - reciting old bits of lore from the dwarvish halls, complaining about the quality of the local ale, remarking on the state of your beard, swearing oaths "by the Mountains of Moradin", etc -...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Today, 06:08 AM
    If you have been using CBLoader you may have discovered that some of the custom content that was served from cbloader.com now returns as though an update is available and over writes the content of the part files with a gibberish spam redirect html with iframe. Not pretty. I had back ups of ones I liked of course and have now disabled the UpdateInfo tags in those copies. Whacky House...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 03:50 AM
    I've got no idea where this comes from. As far as I know I'm the only Prince Valiant player who posts on these boards; am the only Cthulhu Dark player who posts on these boards; have played more Burning Wheel than most posters on these boards; am one of the relatively few posters whose primary point of reference for RPGing is not some version of D&D. I don't think anyone could say that I don't...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 03:38 AM
    At the risk of further controversy, I'll take up where you left off. One central feature of the D&D-as-wargame experience is that the player plays a single figure. This obviously creates some sort of invitation to performance ("playing out my guy"), protagonism etc. I wasn't playing in the mid-70s, but between reading around a bit and looking at some of the products that get published in the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 03:25 AM
    Yes. I'm not sure a hit-points/damage "treadmill" is inherently more virtuous than a to-hit/defence "treadmill". And it seems to have some side-effects ("sack of hp" monsters, for instance) that 4e largely avoided. I will concede the following: many D&D players seem to regard a +2 to hit that is (roughly) matched by a comparable +2 to AC on the GM side as an "illusion" of advancement;...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Today, 03:15 AM
    If we define describing things as a literary endeavor, then yes, RPGing is a literary endeavor because, as it says in the OP, it requires describing things. What I donít get about what you said in your last post to which I responded is how you describe an orc without being conscious that youíre describing an orc.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 03:00 AM
    Yes, I've done that. I get the setting in the sense of genre/colour/tone. Interesting. Maybe my use of "setting" is misleading, or just flat-out wrong? I'll try to explain what I was getting at, and why - for me - it's distinctive compared to what I'm more familiar with. Painting in broad brush strokes, and doing some classification on the run, I would say that I'm familiar with 3 main...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Today, 01:41 AM
    I canít be sure, but you seem to be using being literary to mean something like using language. Even if I accept that usage, however, I still canít make out how itís important that the GM and players use language if they arenít required to make a conscious effort to do so.
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:49 PM
    Okay. This was not a strand of discussion that I was engaging with my post but I will answer your question with earnest. * Here I take "some of these techniques" to refer to some of the things that I had listed: literary storytelling, cinematic storytelling, history, psychological therapy, etc. I'm not sure if using some of these techniques are core to running a game. When I look at early...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:21 PM
    RPGing being a literary endeavor would suggest that the literary quality of the narration is an important part of the activity. Wouldn't it?
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:33 PM
    So you want to make the psion a wizard subclass despite more appropriate classes existing because you love the 5e wizard so much? I can't find much sympathy with that position.
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:15 PM
    The psion probably has more in common with a 5E sorcerer than a 5E wizard. No spellbook. Smaller range of powers known. The main overlap between the psion and wizard has been Intelligence. That said, I know that the psion is most commonly attached to Intelligence as its primary attribute, but I know a number of psionic fans who would wish that the psion was appropriately attached to Wisdom for a...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:11 PM
    His question was beside the point that I was making/discussing. Answering either 'yes' or 'no' to that question was irrelevant to that point.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:23 PM
    I've been reading Vincent Baker's Apocalypse World rulebook over the past week or so, and noticed this. I didn't have it in mind when I started this thread, and as far as I remember I hadn't yet read it when I started this thread. But I've owned Apocalypse World for a while now and have skimmed the rulebook in the past, so maybe I have seen this and it was lurking somewhere in the back of my...
    663 replies | 12633 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:43 AM
    My point was more narrow, I think, than what you've taken it to be. I was simply saying that the growing numbers on the PC sheet in 4e serve a purpose - namely, in conjunction with the published Monster Manuals they support a very clear "pacing", not at the encounter level or even session level but at the level of the campaign arc. Eliminating the level-bonuses on the PC and NPC/creature...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:35 AM
    Yes, which still put it below casters like clerics and druids. But that was the best that psionics had to offer in 3.X so I would say that it did a better job then of power parity. Regardless of its terminological origins, psionics basically has entered general parlance for a type or flavor of "magic" within both science-fantasy - because the moment you introduce psionics into a world, it...
    87 replies | 2578 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:33 AM
    I'm not thinking so much of establishing setting in play - I've done that quite a bit in my RPGing. What struck me about the AW instructions is that the setting is itself the situation, in virtue of having no status quo.
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:31 AM
    IMC a Simulacrum is AC 10 hp 10 all stats 10. Useful for putting a fake king on the throne, not for adding to party firepower.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:30 AM
    Well not for me. Just to point to two things that have come out of it: I've learned that your conception of what makes for good RPGing is quite different from mine. And I've discovered a surprising point of overlap between me and Bedrockgames. Given what you prefer, I can see why you want well-written boxed text in modules.
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:29 AM
    Yes, because the question was beside the point.
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:22 AM
    S'mon replied to So...keelboats
    One of my players did this https://simonsprimevalthule.blogspot.com/2019/03/ships-of-kalayan-sea-by-judith.html?m=1 I give Xebec sailing ship stats but base 6mph for a good one. Tartane has 100hp, DT 10, 3mph for a good one, needs 2 crew and can take 10 passengers and 5 tons cargo.
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:18 AM
    S'mon replied to So...keelboats
    For my Primeval Thule game we had to redo ships entirely based on Roman travel speeds, which were about twice DMG numbers - 4 to 6 knots being typical, half that if winds against you. Main ships are Xebec, a fast sailing ship, and Tartane a small ship or large fishing boat. 5e really feels the lack of any decent ship numbers imo. And the keel boat 1mph only makes sense if trying to sail upriver...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:47 AM
    A literary endeavour is one which aims at having the virtues of literature. An artistic endeavour is one which aims at having the virtues of art. An intellectual endeavour is one which aims to contribute to knowledge. Etc. One can interrogate each of these in more detail, obviously, but the basic notion is pretty clear. REH in writing the Conan stories is engaged in a literary endeavour. He's...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:12 AM
    I did local citizens and nobles in my Nentir Vale game, a mix in my Loudwater game. I am planning to run Red Hand of Doom with the PCs in service to the Lord of Brindol. In general I find natives works best for limited scope games about protecting the community, and an open start works best for long term games that can go anywhere. The latter - wandering adventurers - tends to bring more...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:05 AM
    Good question! This has major implications for the tone of the campaign. In my Primeval Thule game the PCs mostly arrived in Quodeth as wanderers looking to make their names, but include some natives. It tends to a Three Musketeers tone at times. In Princes of the Apocalypse the PCs were sent to Red Larch by their superiors to investigate the goings on. In Heroes of Modron the PCs serve...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:30 AM
    I think this would all be more interesting/successful if utilized in an engine that would purpose built to cater to it. Shouldn't really be hard...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:14 AM
    The difference isn't so big. The level 1 goblin MIGHT survive the first 'hit', but it gets hit automatically! So it WILL DIE at the 2nd blow (assuming the first is only an at-will). The minion has a 50/50 chance to also survive the first attack, roughly. The difference really isn't that great here. Yes, some higher level goblin minion could hit a bit more, and probably on average will do a...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:38 AM
    That's not what the OP is about. REH isn't high art either, but clearly Tower of the Elephant and The Scarlet Citadel are literary endeavours. Read the recent posts from @hakweyefan or uzirath. Those engage with the theme of the thread. Here a quote from you from a way upthread: Assuming that you haven't changed your mind, then this is something that we disagree about. And it's something...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 06:15 PM
    The question seems beside the point of whether we should equate these things.
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 06:12 PM
    Well, different people have different personal concerns and interests whereby they derive their desire to play an RPG. I think concern with the literary quality of narration falls into that category.
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 05:25 PM
    I think that a GM should probably be aware of storytelling techniques to inform and improve their games, but not necessarily literary ones. Literature is one form of storytelling. But GMing could also take cues from cinematic techniques. (Which doesn't make RPGs "film".) Plus, one could be aware of historiography and "Gesichte" to inform your stories, but that does not make RPGs history....
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 02:40 PM
    For what it's worth, my sense is that you don't agree! I think you've appreciated that, in the OP, I said that RPGing requires narration and description. And as I've read your posts, I think you are saying that that narration/description should aim, or be conditioned with an eye towards, formal quality. Even if I've misunderstood you in that respect, I think there are people in the RPG...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 01:56 PM
    A lot of the pieces are there in 5e. It would probably be easier to use 4E Essentials as the basis since there is more overlap there.
    49 replies | 1242 view(s)
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 01:52 PM
    A druid that taps into the world spirit/mind or psychic energies that connects every living creature. A ranger who adapts psionic attacks and defenses so they can better stalk the abberations that threaten the natural order of the world.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 12:36 PM
    I think, here, that you are pointing out that RPGing involves authorship. That's undoubtedly true. But authorship doesn't take us to literary endeavour in the sense intended in the OP, ie quality of wordcraft. Authorship is needed to bring fictions into being (for whatever sense of "being" is apposite for fictions). But bringing fictions into being doesn't depend upon literary quality. When...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 12:15 PM
    Good post. And for what it's worth, I would say that 90% of my efforts as a GM over the past 30 years has been focused on this issue, of coming up with compelling situations. (Although only for about half that time have I had a vocabulary for describing what it is I've been trying to do.) The RPG product that had the biggest initial impact on me, in this respect, was the mid-80s Oriental...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 11:48 AM
    Time deaf, space deaf, maybe just deaf deaf . . . Anyway, here are the two options again: My players aren't too tone deaf. They can tell that the second description paints more of a "word picture" than the first. But is RPGing about enjoying word pictures? On the player side, I think it's about doing - about playing your PC as protagonist in the imagined situation. Which description...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 11:35 AM
    There's an approach to cultural studies and the study of communication which make the point that all communication involves word choice, choice of tone, etc, and hence that - when considered through that lens - there is no distinctive contrast between (say) EM Forster's novels and the instructions you give your kid when sending him/her to the shops. That may be true as far as it goes, but it...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 11:22 AM
    His intent was clear. 4e has a more restricted license for developing potential content whereas 5e does not. So if one wants to expand content for something more 4e like (or an evolution thereof), then 5e would potentially serve as a better chassis due to its less restricted license. So how would one do that. If you wouldn't, then that's fine. Zardnaar, I would also look at the d20 3.X...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 11:14 AM
    I did a Fate one-shot set in a fantastical version of Renaissance Venice. The one shot adventure though was actually based on a Savage Worlds one-shot set on a college campus. The premise was that a merchant family had acquired a small island on the outskirts of the city which they planned to use as a storehouse for their shipping business (and contraband). The island belonged to a group of...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 10:54 AM
    The effect of the numbers in 4e, if you are working from the default Monster books and generally following the advice on encounter building, is that they progress the campaign through "the story of D&D". At the start of the campaign, the PCs will be confronting kobolds, goblins and the like; at the end of the campaign they will be confronting ancient dragons, demon princes and the like. ...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 10:43 AM
    I've been reading the rulebook for Apocalypse World. It's not the first Vincent Baker RPG rulebook I've read, and the punchy style and unequivocal evocation of the spirit of the fiction and the expected feel of play is not surprising. There's one particular bit that I wanted to post about. Discussing how to set up and run the first session of a campaign, and having laid out the process for...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 10:08 AM
    I think the barbarian "can't roll under actual STR score" ability is great for checks and could be granted more widely.
    33 replies | 725 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 06:35 AM
    I find this works best: Short Rest still 1 hour, but only 3/day (so no spamming Temp hp or second wind) Overnight sleep recover 1 hp/level. Long Rest 1 week.
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 03:31 AM
    The OP stated the opinion that the literary quality of narration is unimportant, so, sure, it doesnít matter whether the literary quality is low or high. Unimportant is unimportant. What Iím not following is that you seemed to have been making the argument up thread that someone who thinks the literary quality of narration is unimportant is somehow asking for dull narration. You also seem to be...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 02:34 AM
    Thatís because imagining, exploring, and engaging with good content is whatís at the heart of RPGing. The literary quality with which that content is described runs orthogonally to that.
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 01:32 AM
    A work environment might be more or less formal, but that doesnít make being at work a literary endeavor. Likewise, an awareness of how best to effectively communicate when speaking with others can be useful, but it doesnít make conversation a literary endeavor. Personally, such a controlled approach to communication doesnít really work for me because Iím naturally careful in choosing what I say...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 07:08 PM
    But does any incremental improvement in the quality of the narrative whatsoever qualify the game as a literary endeavor? I don't think so. I think that for such improvements to qualify, they have to be made with the purpose of enhancing the formal, literary qualities of the descriptions and narrations in which they appear. There are many other reasons to make improvements to the narrative other...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 06:51 PM
    I do it all the time in normal conversation. If I'm describing something, I use my ordinary speech patterns and vocabulary to elaborate until I feel I've arrived at an adequate description. I try not to overthink how I'm using the language. Are you always aware of the formal quality of your everyday speech?
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 06:29 PM
    Material of low literary quality is clearly not what the OP is talking about when asking whether RPGing is a literary endeavor. This isn't in dispute. My contention is that the act of describing content is not a literary endeavor in the sense used by the OP. For it to be a literary endeavor in that sense would require that the quality of form, i.e. word choice, phrase and sentence...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 05:43 PM
    You can add all kinds of words to your description of a situation without any regard for its literary quality as a piece of narration.
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 05:35 PM
    I actually addressed this in my response to your post about dungeon dressing. You may have missed it since I didn't quote you, so I'll quote it here in full: I had actually wanted to respond to your post about what you mean by performance because, to me, it doesn't really talk about what I would call performance at all. I didn't respond at the time because I thought it might be a digression,...
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 01:35 PM
    Are you familiar with Posterazor? It may take a bit of fiddling to get each map to exactly 1" squares, but it does precisely what you want.
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 12:11 PM
    This is probably my favorite thing about 4e as well. The mechanics, the races, the classes, the characters, the monsters, and the cosmology are integrated into a cohsesive thematic whole by the its mythic lore. It still influences a lot about a number of my game worlds. And you can also tell that it influenced the world of Critical Role too.
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 10:19 AM
    So which class chassis did you use for the soulknife and wilder? I assume you used a fighter for the psychic warrior.
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 10:18 AM
    13th Age is probably one of the closest "kin systems" of 4E, being developed by the lead developers for both 3E and 4E. For Everyone: I also found a great Angry GM article where he reflects on 4E. He is critical in many places, but he is also incredibly open about the aspects he loved. Here is one part where he talks about the lore cohesion of 4E, which is something that I mentioned...
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  • Mark CMG's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 04:42 AM
    Steven Creech has passed. https://www.hshfuneralhome.com/notices/Steven-Creech https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-steve-creech-author-and-game-designer#/
    143 replies | 8209 view(s)
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 09:18 PM
    I don't think adding a small number of words to "In the room are 2 orcs" necessarily makes describing a situation in an RPG a literary endeavor in the way that was intended by the OP. I don't think whether a player is interested in a particular situation is necessarily a matter of playstyle.
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 08:47 PM
    The choice isn't between narration of literary quality or dull narration. Narration can be both, or it can be neither. The things you describe are content. How the orcs and the hill look and what small actions the orcs are performing are color, which is a type of content that informs the mood. The fact that you're creating this content on the fly and adding it to the situation doesn't mean...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:32 PM
    I agree that the psion should be different from the wizard, but the argument becomes more challenging with other cases, especially with the idea of cramming all psionic archetypes into a singular mystic class. The psychic warrior, for example, fills an incredibly similar niche as the eldritch warrior. So it would be possible to put a psionic twist onto the fighter chassis to create the psychic...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:29 PM
    Please don't equate my "won't" (for the sake of the thread) for "can't". Okay. I apologize that I misread your tone. Yes, Sacrosanct, statements like this are an assumption about what I was meaning: Or this: Or rude dismissive comments like this: But nowhere here did you ask for me to support my claim when you initially responded. You launched into a rant assuming what I wrote while...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:07 PM
    You also assumed a lot about what I meant by my statement. Furthermore, you did not initially ask me anything when you launched into your assumptions. Being pulled into your game of "proving it" does not seem prudent for discourse in this thread especially not when you are being needlessly hostile.
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:50 PM
    I lobbed bombs at no one. It was not directed at anyone in particular. I only noted that the traces of the Edition War have taken on new forms in a lot of Warlord in 5E threads. I have not accused you of being one. I did not even name names. I don't even think that most of the debate, vitriol, or criticisms in the Warlord thread are from "4aters." I do think though that your response has been...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:38 PM
    In principle, I think it offers the same as any genre/setting-focused RPG. Burning Wheel makes it easier to play a pseudo-European game than a pseudo-Asian one. (And the designer even comments on this in the rulebook, noting that some lifepaths will probably have to be changed if the group wants an East Asian flavoured game.) That's a limitation of the game, but it also yields a sense of...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:34 PM
    You are assuming a lot here about the very little that I said. I would recommend not incensing yourself into a rage about your assumptions. My comment was not directed at you. If you are not a 4ater, then my comment would obviously not apply.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:28 PM
    I'd actually go the other way around - it seems most interesting if the issue is all about escaping from the gnolls. (I'm thinking of Captain Haddock in the boat the first time he meets Tintin, in Crab with the Golden Claws.) If the escape is being adjudicated as some sort of skill challenge or via some comparable structured resolution system (5e has some stuff like this for the exploration...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:21 PM
    Ah, OK - in that case I retract the criticism of your teachers! For the sort of writing that I do and teach, making decisions about paragraphing - as one component of making decisions about structure - is a fundamental skill. A doctrine about minimum or even typical length would be no help at all.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:14 PM
    When I GM I would say that talk similarly to how I would in an enthusiastic hobbyist-type context. Eg if I'd been to a film with a friend and was talking about it afterwards. Or if, at work, I wanted to tell someone what I enjoyed about a seminar I went to. So probably a bit more focused than a supermarket chat. But still conversation.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 02:59 PM
    I know these questions are intended as rhetorical, but if I treat them as literal then the answer is I don't know. The game seems to be 3e D&D (Scarred Lands), but who are the PCs? Who are the players? Do they have any reason to give a toss about the glutton Titan Gaurak?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 02:35 PM
    Then, without being too mean about it, you had crappy English teachers. I'm a published author (of non-fiction). A big part of my job is teaching students (UG and PG) how to write. My partner is a published author (non-fiction, some poetry) and a high school English teacher. Most of her job is teaching students how to write. This thread is the first I've heard of this five-paragraph...
    663 replies | 12633 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 02:13 PM
    It's pretty tangential to the thread topic, but there is something strange about being schooled on the meaning and connotations of "literary" by someone who asserts such bizarre stuff about the process and structure of wrting.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 02:11 PM
    Huh? Says who? Here are the first three paragraphs of REH's The Scarelt Citadel (which was the first story I Googled, knowing that REH doesn't write in too long-winded a fashion): The roar of battle had died away; the shout of victory mingled with the cries of the dying. Like gay-hued leaves after an autumn storm, the fallen littered the plain; the sinking sun shimmered on burnished...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 10:09 AM
    This. But not so coincidentally, 5e Warlord threads are also what attract a lot of 4aters. Again pointing out how the Edition Wars have transitioned into the 5e era and the contrast between 4e fans and 4aters with 5e. I would not mind if WotC polished and more cohesively integrated what they have in 5e first: class, subclass and feat balance, ability checks (and skills), inspiration/bonds, and...
    182 replies | 5754 view(s)
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 09:56 AM
    I would not prefer using the spellbook wizard for the 3e Psion. It seems like the Sorcerer would be a more appropriate fit. :erm:
    87 replies | 2578 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 09:52 AM
    Bonuses beat flavour, but bonuses + flavour beats just bonuses.
    31 replies | 796 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 09:49 AM
    I find in my Thule game, with a 1 week long rest in between expeditions, with the expeditions typically taking 1-4 weeks to reach the adventure site, it all works out very well. The PCs naturally tend to face 6-8 encounters between LRs, which gives the recommended class balance between SR and LR classes.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 06:12 AM
    Well, I did put it the other way round: the players don't find it interesting because, for them, it is not interesting/ Eg maybe the situation is something about kobolds on a hill, and the players (in general; today; because of the PCs they're playing; some combination of factors; etc) simply aren't engaged by that sort of situation. I don't know what a Vengaurak is. I know, therefore, that...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 05:00 AM
    By this you're meaning not just gendered roles/classes/playbooks, but sex-based stat penalties? My guess - from the discussion of Conan in the OP - is that CapnZapp wants the play experience that would result from gendered classes/playbooks, but (1) isn't too familar with a wide range of RPGs beyond a certain sort of D&D, and (2) has a certain sort of "simulationist" sensibility that leads to...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:33 AM
    OK. In that case I think it's fairly clear why two GMs might present the same situation with the same degree of clarity and at one table get buy-in while at the other table it falls flat. Or in other words, the answer to the question you posed here seems fairly straightforward: Those players who don't find it interesting are probably the ones for whom it is not interesting.
    663 replies | 12633 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:28 AM
    CapnZapp didn't say that's how things are iRL. To the contrary, The phrase this world referst to the imagined world of the RPG, not real life. I doubt I would play the game that CapnZapp posits. I do play RPGs which, as part of their presentation of mediaeval life, note the significance of certain gender distinctions (Burning Wheel has some lifepaths that are women only; Prince Valiant has...
    104 replies | 2607 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:02 AM
    To elaborate on my question, then: upthread Imaro seemed to assert, or at least very strongly imply, that whether or not a situation is interesting is a player-independent state of affairs. Do you agree? What do you think the GM should have regard to in coming up with situations? Lanefan, in other threads over many years, has posted that the GM should always author scenarios without regard to...
    663 replies | 12633 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:54 AM
    Can I pick up on your example (bolded by me to call it out) and a possible risk in play? Not to denigrate the example, but to try to connect it into how I'm thinking about things. It seems to me that it is possible that the GM might narrate the koblds' drool and bloodshot eyes, hoping and intending to evoke a particular response and engagement from the players, only instead to trigger...
    663 replies | 12633 view(s)
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Saturday, 25th May, 2019

  • 01:43 AM - Hussar mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    ...o on. What you donít tend to see is people getting hung up on what the definition of ďimportantĒ is, or dodging the question by saying ďall factors are importantĒ. Really? So, you think there is a correct answer to what makes a good baseball player? An answer that everyone will agree with? Seriously? You honestly think the answer isn't "all of the above"? Or, better yet, what makes a good movie? or a good book? Or a good pretty much anything. Very, very few things can be reduced down to a single element that you should focus on to the exclusion of everything else. It's a reductionist argument that of course leads absolutely nowhere unless you start from an extreme position. Such as Literary=High Art. Well, I'd say that virtually everyone in this thread agrees that RPGing is not high art and no one really needs to aspire to that to run a game. Fair enough, we're all in the same boat. Well duh. It's a pretty obvious statement. What's happened though is that pemerton has repeatedly shifted the goalposts, refused to actually define what is meant by the question and then ducked and dodged any counter points while trying to champion a reductionist vision of gaming that excludes vast swaths - LARPing, more story oriented gaming, etc - of the hobby. It's no different than the folks that insist that Edition X isn't really a Role Playing Game. It's self serving twaddle and borderline trolling. And, frankly, I'm being to suspect that it was done with a complete disregard to good faith.
  • 12:34 AM - Hussar mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    /snip Yes, I know these need not be mutually exclusive things, but which do you think is more vital to the shared fiction of the game? I would have thought by now that the answer to that has been made pretty clear. They are BOTH important. Sometimes one might be more important than the other, but, at the end of the day, one without the other leads to crap games. A DM who only presents in simple sentences, never uses a compound sentence, never uses a simile or metaphor, never uses any literary technique whatsoever in his or her game would be boring as heck. You can't avoid using literary techniques when gaming. It's virtually impossible. Or, put it another way, there's a reason The Forest Oracle is seen as the worst module ever. pemerton is attempting this reductionist argument that one thing and one thing only matters to running a good game. I reject such notions. Running a game, just like anything else, is complicated and requires many factors. It's no different than asking, "What one thing makes a good baseball player". What is the most important thing about being a baseball player?
  • 12:25 AM - Hussar mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    /snip for brevity I think it's not mere coincidence that all those reasons go to protagonisim and situation, and none of them speaks to the aesthetic qualities of the conversation as such. There's no suggestion that one reason to play is because your friends will entertain you with the quality of their performances. Ok, pemerton, we're back to literary=high art. So, yup, I agree with you.

Friday, 24th May, 2019

  • 05:27 PM - Maxperson mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    so where is the line? At what point do you cross from regular description/presentation/performance into whatever it is pemerton is talking about? Where it crosses from normal literary description/presentation/performance into the high quality literary versions pemerton is talking about will vary from person to person. This whole debate could have been avoided if he had just described it as high quality literary, rather than just literary. Had he specified the subset, rather than the entire set, I would have agreed with him that no, the game doesn't attempt to be the quality of Shakespeare.
  • 05:11 PM - Maxperson mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Who's advocated for such limited description? No one. Bedrockgames says that he prefers conversational language rather than trying to create evocative, literary minded narration. I don't think that means that description is absent....do you? When people have a conversation, are they somehow incapable of describing things? Must you make a strong effort to evoke mood and theme in order to simply describe a room? None of that is required for the content to be literary. Conversational dialogue(simply being a conversation) is a literary technique. What he does is literary, as is what I do, and what you do, and what pemerton does, and... There's a scale when it comes to the literary quality. For some GMs, they want to hit the high end of the scale. Others may be at the low end. Most are likely somewhere in between. If someone says that this is not their main focus when it comes to RPGs, that doesn't mean that they can't still be well within what is acceptable on that scale. I agree. The scale is from a grocery list to Shakespeare. It's all literary is my point. You are promoting the dichotomy. When anyone has said that they place more focus on a game element over the quality of narration, you then insist that their narration must be limited to boring and limited statements. LOL No. I'm saying it's all literary. They're saying it's not literary unless it's an attempt to be Shakespeare or similar quality.
  • 03:55 PM - Imaro mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Who's advocated for such limited description? No one. Bedrockgames says that he prefers conversational language rather than trying to create evocative, literary minded narration. I don't think that means that description is absent....do you? When people have a conversation, are they somehow incapable of describing things? Must you make a strong effort to evoke mood and theme in order to simply describe a room? No one here has said they don't describe things. There's a scale when it comes to the literary quality. For some GMs, they want to hit the high end of the scale. Others may be at the low end. Most are likely somewhere in between. If someone says that this is not their main focus when it comes to RPGs, that doesn't mean that they can't still be well within what is acceptable on that scale. Would you agree with this? so where is the line? At what point do you cross from regular description/presentation/performance into whatever it is pemerton is talking about?
  • 03:24 PM - hawkeyefan mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    ...glacial pace because the GM fails to communicate the situation to the players. OTOH a poorly thought out situation where the players have no stake in the outcome probably wonít be saved by good presentation. So at the end of the day, you are asking for a simplification to a complex act that cannot be reduced down to a single point. "Poorly" is where I get confused. Who wants poor delivery by the GM? People have said that the quality of the GM's delivery is not the most important thing to them....but that doesn't mean they want or expect crap delivery. As an advocate of quality narration, and use of evocative language and/or literary techniques to strengthen your game, does that mean that you expect your content to be bland and meaningless? I don't think anyone is denying that good GMing, or roleplaying in general, is the result of many factors. I think we all know this. However, among those many factors, we each place importance or focus on some more than others. In pemerton's case, he considers the fictional situation to be of primary importance....he wants the players to feel pressure to act based on the content. I don't think this is an attempt on his part to simplify RPGing so much as it's just him stating his preference. No more than if I said the most important part of a car is an engine it doesn't mean that I don't recognize the importance of the wheels.
  • 10:02 AM - Hussar mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    pemerton. Nice tautological definitions there. Until such time as youíd care to plant the goal posts, this discussion regardless of how much blather you want to add, is pointless. óóó hawkeyefan - I would tell such a new DM that there is no single most important thing but rather dming, like any creative exercise is a combination of multiple factors that need to be addressed.
  • 05:13 AM - Hussar mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    That's not what the OP is about. REH isn't high art either, but clearly Tower of the Elephant and The Scarlet Citadel are literary endeavours. Read the recent posts from @hakweyefan or uzirath. Those engage with the theme of the thread. Here a quote from you from a way upthread: Assuming that you haven't changed your mind, then this is something that we disagree about. And it's something that, in the OP, I am denying. ROTFLMAO. Oh, goodie, we're right back to swirling around the rabbit hole of what does "literary" mean. Yay. See, folks, this is why this thread is 50 pages long, and you can talk about pemerton being clear with what he meant all you like, but, this is about as clear as mud. REH is "literary"? Seriously? A minor genre author who wasn't good enough to actually publish a novel and is virtually unheard of outside of genre circles is "literary"? CONAN qualifies as literature? So, until you actually define what you mean by literary, there's no point in this discussion. hawkeyefan or uzirath only "engage with the theme of the thread" because they apparently agree with you. Granted, I have no idea what they are agreeing to, since apparently, literary encompasses everything from Dickens or Melville to pulp fiction writers, so, umm... yeah? I'll stick to the one definition that Bedrockgames seems to be consistently using - literary=high art stuff like Shakespeare or whatnot. Which, fair enough, if that's our definition, certainly RPGing is not a literary endeavour. pemerton, when you can actually clearly write what you are on about in an unambiguous way that uses cl...
  • 03:21 AM - Hussar mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Nope. Still agreeing pemerton. You made your point. RPGing isnít high art. Well done you.

Thursday, 23rd May, 2019

  • 11:11 PM - hawkeyefan mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Nope pemerton. I 100% agree with you. Any earlier disagreement was because of the misleading and vagueness of the OP. If you had simply said, Is RPGing high art?Ē This thread would be three posts long. Instead you used a bunch of word salad verbiage that obfuscated your point and then couldnít be bothered to clarify your point when it was obvious that most here didnít get what you were saying. What an utterly pointless thread and a total waste of time. No wonder itís so frustrating. Although I wasnít entirely sure about the point made in the OP, hereís pemertonís follow up post on page 2, which to me, made his point very clear. Hriston - I'm glad at least one poster found my OP clear enough! To elaborate - and I see what I'm saying in this post as consistent with the OP, and hopefully you will also - I don't see RPGing as primarily performance (in the artistic sense). Not for the GM - of course a melifluous GM can provide entertainment, but I don't see that as core. And likewise...
  • 09:31 PM - Hussar mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Nope pemerton. I 100% agree with you. Any earlier disagreement was because of the misleading and vagueness of the OP. If you had simply said, Is RPGing high art?Ē This thread would be three posts long. Instead you used a bunch of word salad verbiage that obfuscated your point and then couldnít be bothered to clarify your point when it was obvious that most here didnít get what you were saying. What an utterly pointless thread and a total waste of time. No wonder itís so frustrating.

Tuesday, 21st May, 2019

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

Monday, 20th May, 2019

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

Friday, 17th May, 2019

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

Wednesday, 15th May, 2019

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

Sunday, 12th May, 2019

  • 06:10 AM - Hussar mentioned pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    I think we play in very different ways for very different reasons. I feel like I am addressing the points you raise Hussar. I don't think participating in the conversation means I have to either accept new terminology or offer new terminology of my own. Without a common framework of language, all we are doing is talking past one another. I'd hardly call defining content vs performance as "new terminology". It's using the words pretty much as they come out of the dictionary. I do not see why this distinction is important or useful to make. And I do not see how it ties to Permorton's original claim about the non-literary nature of RPGs. What I do think is the word performance naturally suggests a lot of things you value in a GM that I don't. A little context. This thread spawned out of a discussion about boxed text in modules. pemerton argues that the boxed text is pointless since all you need is the basic elements of the situation in order to have a good game. You are getting hung up on the word "literary" and well, we've moved past that since, even in the early parts of this thread, pemerton agreed that "literary" was the wrong word. It's not like performance has any positive or negative connotations at all. It doesn't. It's pretty much as neutral of a word as content. So, can we at least agree that how you present information to your players is as important as what you present to your players? Or, do you take pemerton's stance that how you present this information doesn't matter in the slightest. It's completely unimportant how you present the information, so long as you get the information into the player's hands. That's the basic elements of this discussion. What information you impart to your players = content. How you impart that information to your players = performance. Is that clear...


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Saturday, 25th May, 2019

  • 10:05 AM - Maxperson quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    That's not my experience. You could perform your dwarf - reciting old bits of lore from the dwarvish halls, complaining about the quality of the local ale, remarking on the state of your beard, swearing oaths "by the Mountains of Moradin", etc - while all the while the game rolls of the GM's "plot wagon" much as it would if you were performing an elf instead. I've lived through this. (Though I was playing a version of a Teutonic Knight rather than a dwarf.) You use a different definition of protagonist than most of us, though. We use the definition of, "Main character in a story." With that definition, as long as the DM's plot wagon rolls on with your PC as a main character, your character is a protagonist. I don't think boardgames have protagonism. They just have players. They don't have protagonism, because they don't have a story.
  • 06:51 AM - hawkeyefan quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    I've not just heard rumours of, but have played through, counter-examples to this. Mostly in an AD&D 2nd ed context, but also CoC and Rolemaster. That's not my experience. You could perform your dwarf - reciting old bits of lore from the dwarvish halls, complaining about the quality of the local ale, remarking on the state of your beard, swearing oaths "by the Mountains of Moradin", etc - while all the while the game rolls of the GM's "plot wagon" much as it would if you were performing an elf instead. I've lived through this. (Though I was playing a version of a Teutonic Knight rather than a dwarf.) I don't think boardgames have protagonism. They just have players. Would you say that the difference youíre bringing up is about whatís important to the specific character? That you want for the game to be about the characters and their desires rather than just feature them?
  • 12:25 AM - Hussar quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    /snip for brevity I think it's not mere coincidence that all those reasons go to protagonisim and situation, and none of them speaks to the aesthetic qualities of the conversation as such. There's no suggestion that one reason to play is because your friends will entertain you with the quality of their performances. Ok, pemerton, we're back to literary=high art. So, yup, I agree with you.

Friday, 24th May, 2019

  • 06:10 PM - Tony Vargas quoted pemerton in post Favourite D&D edition thatís not 5E
    My point was more narrow, I think, than what you've taken it to be. Yeah, I spun off on a couple of tangents, there, I think. I was simply saying that the growing numbers on the PC sheet in 4e serve a purpose - namely, in conjunction with the published Monster Manuals they support a very clear "pacing", not at the encounter level or even session level but at the level of the campaign arc. Sure, but that's nothing unique. Really, /levels/, foundational to all forms of D&D and many of it's imitators, do that - the numbers just give level some mechanical teeth. Eliminating the level-bonuses on the PC and NPC/creature side obviously won't change any of the maths of resolution. But it would destabilise this default arc. Whether that would be good or bad is of course a matter of opinion. Hit points, damage, and number/complexity/power/versatility of powers & feats would still support that arc, though. That's what 5e BA did, relative to 4e. I tamped down the impact of level on d20 checks,...
  • 03:04 PM - dragoner quoted pemerton in post Situation, setting and "status quo"
    I'm not thinking so much of establishing setting in play - I've done that quite a bit in my RPGing. What struck me about the AW instructions is that the setting is itself the situation, in virtue of having no status quo. The first thing I did was to look up the definition of status quo: Definition of status quo : the existing state of affairs Huh. Personally I find settingless RPG's to lack depth and continuity, ok for a one shot.
  • 07:35 AM - Maxperson quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    I only quote these to make the point - obvious I think to everyone in this thread except apparently you - that there is a usage of literary in which not all communicative acts, not all uses of words, constitute literary works. That is the usage that occurs in the OP of this thread, which asserts that the narration and description in an RPG performs its function largely independently of its literary quality. Not according to the definition you just quoted. It says, "Concerning the writing, study, or content of literature, especially of the kind valued for quality of form." That definition makes ALL literature the set of what is literary. What it does do, is create a subset of literature that is more highly valued, but does not exclude any literature. The OED definition of literature is, "Written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit." So again, all written works, from my wife's grocery list to Shakespeare, are literature, and all literature is literary...
  • 05:13 AM - Hussar quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    That's not what the OP is about. REH isn't high art either, but clearly Tower of the Elephant and The Scarlet Citadel are literary endeavours. Read the recent posts from @hakweyefan or uzirath. Those engage with the theme of the thread. Here a quote from you from a way upthread: Assuming that you haven't changed your mind, then this is something that we disagree about. And it's something that, in the OP, I am denying. ROTFLMAO. Oh, goodie, we're right back to swirling around the rabbit hole of what does "literary" mean. Yay. See, folks, this is why this thread is 50 pages long, and you can talk about pemerton being clear with what he meant all you like, but, this is about as clear as mud. REH is "literary"? Seriously? A minor genre author who wasn't good enough to actually publish a novel and is virtually unheard of outside of genre circles is "literary"? CONAN qualifies as literature? So, until you actually define what you mean by literary, there's no point in this discussion. hawkeyefan or uzirath only "engage with the theme of the thread" because they apparently agree with you. Granted, I have no idea what they are agreeing to, since apparently, literary encompasses everything from Dickens or Melville to pulp fiction writers, so, umm... yeah? I'll stick to the one definition that Bedrockgames seems to be consistently using - literary=high art stuff like Shakespeare or whatnot. Which, fair enough, if that's our definition, certainly RPGing is not a literary endeavour. pemerton, when you can actually clearly write what you are on about in an unambiguous way that uses cl...
  • 12:32 AM - hawkeyefan quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    @Hriston - I'm glad at least one poster found my OP clear enough! To elaborate - and I see what I'm saying in this post as consistent with the OP, and hopefully you will also - I don't see RPGing as primarily performance (in the artistic sense). Not for the GM - of course a melifluous GM can provide entertainment, but I don't see that as core. And likewise on the player side - thespianism is (in my view) secondary, whereas engaging the fiction from the position/perspective of the character is absolutely central. And here's one way I would make this more concrete in terms of advice: if a new(-ish) GM asked me what is the one thing to do to make his/her game better, I would recommend working on managing framing and consequences to maintain player engagement, rather than (say) working on the portrayal/characterisation of NPCs. Considering we're 50ish pages down this rabbit hole and you have multiple posters obviously not understanding the point, including myself, I'd argue that it wasn't quite...

Thursday, 23rd May, 2019

  • 11:11 PM - hawkeyefan quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Nope pemerton. I 100% agree with you. Any earlier disagreement was because of the misleading and vagueness of the OP. If you had simply said, Is RPGing high art?Ē This thread would be three posts long. Instead you used a bunch of word salad verbiage that obfuscated your point and then couldnít be bothered to clarify your point when it was obvious that most here didnít get what you were saying. What an utterly pointless thread and a total waste of time. No wonder itís so frustrating. Although I wasnít entirely sure about the point made in the OP, hereís pemertonís follow up post on page 2, which to me, made his point very clear. Hriston - I'm glad at least one poster found my OP clear enough! To elaborate - and I see what I'm saying in this post as consistent with the OP, and hopefully you will also - I don't see RPGing as primarily performance (in the artistic sense). Not for the GM - of course a melifluous GM can provide entertainment, but I don't see that as core. And likewise...
  • 07:17 PM - Tony Vargas quoted pemerton in post Favourite D&D edition thatís not 5E
    Iím proposing a 5e Advanced or whatever that injects the balance and depth of 4e into the framework of 5e. Itís an OGL project, not a GSL one.Not a 4e a clone, but an OGL that's like 5e D&D but better? But we already have 13th Age. ;P I kid, but 13A did hit several of 5e's supposed goals more squarely than 5e did, supporting TotM, for instance, balancing classes with radically different resource mixes, for another, oh, and limiting the Xmass Tree effect, and mooks, and, well, more than a few, I guess. The effect of the numbers in 4e, if you are working from the default Monster books and generally following the advice on encounter building, is that they progress the campaign through "the story of D&D". Well sure, it was still D&D. Every edition did that, it just did it with varying degrees of effdup class balance, mechanical dysfunction, and smoke & mirrors. 4e just did it with less of the first and more of the last. I guess you could say there's a lot of valid distinctions amo...
  • 05:18 PM - uzirath quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    That's a perhaps over-long way of saying that my top tip would be (i) work with the players to help them make "laden" PCs, and then (ii) latch onto the hooks those PCs are laden with. And conversely, I think the easiest way to get crappy situation is to come up with it independently of the PCs, and to have the whole thing be driven by We have to do the fetch quest because that's what the GM is serving up. This is helpful. As I looked over your specifics from other games systems, I see that my approach is actually quite similar, though I hadn't distilled it down to its essence. The main system I've GMed for the past 20 years has been GURPS, which provides tons of story hooks on the character sheet. I usually focus on disadvantages and quirks, but skills and advantages come into play too. As a player, I love it when a GM picks up on a relatively minor skill and gives it center stage; I invest points in those skills because I hope they'll be relevant someday. My first time GMing GURPS, back...
  • 01:46 PM - Bedrockgames quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    The interest results from the emotional power of the imagined circumstance: I'm dangling by my fingernails over an abyss! My ATV is about to be blown up by the orbital bombardment unless I can find some sort of cover in the rocks! It turns out my brother probably wasn't the nice guy I thought he was - which means that in trying to redeem him I've just wasted half my life! Darth Vader is my father! As I read your posts, you see the power of these situations as coming from their portrayal. To me that seems like an "external" source of power. I see their power as arising internally, because the player is imaginatively projecting him-/herself into the situation as protagonist. I'm largely indifferent to first person vs third person narration at the table, but I think a type of first-person orientation is pretty fundamental to RPGing. My character is me! If the player is just an external observer, I think that generating that motivation to act becomes much harder. This is a central point for m...
  • 01:19 PM - Maxperson quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    (2) all communication is literary in the sense of governed by concerns about, and expected to live up to, certain standards of formal quality/excellence of wordcraft. Literary doesn't require those standards of excellence. Any old piece of junk sentence is also literary.
  • 12:28 PM - Bedrockgames quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    There's an approach to cultural studies and the study of communication which make the point that all communication involves word choice, choice of tone, etc, and hence that - when considered through that lens - there is no distinctive contrast between (say) EM Forster's novels and the instructions you give your kid when sending him/her to the shops. . It may not surprise you to learn I got into a lot of debates with the professors when I had to take courses in these departments in college. I enjoyed these courses but found lots of points like this where I disagreed.
  • 12:00 PM - Hussar quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    What makes it go is when the setting/situation draw in those would-be protagonists. It's about imagination and the resulting "inhabitation" of the fiction. Huh. How, exactly, do you inhabit the fiction in a conversation? Look, if you're simply asking if RPGing is about creating the next great novel, then, sure, no, it's not. No one is going to mistake an RPG session for high art. If that's the bar you're setting, then, fair enough, this conversation should have ended long ago, because, well, frankly, no one would argue that the goal of play in an RPG is to create timeless art to be enjoyed by millions and discussed by various critics for centuries to come. If that's your bar for "literary" then, ok, I totally agree that RPGIng is not a literary endeavor. OTOH, if we're setting the bar a lot lower, say at the level of popular culture art and fanfic, then, well, the rules change. RPGing borrows far more from art and theater than it does from conversation. The ability of the pla...

Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019

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

Tuesday, 21st May, 2019

  • 11:02 PM - Hussar quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    I know these questions are intended as rhetorical, but if I treat them as literal then the answer is I don't know. The game seems to be 3e D&D (Scarred Lands), but who are the PCs? Who are the players? Do they have any reason to give a toss about the glutton Titan Gaurak? So what? Youíre telling me that both answers would equally evoke a response? That neither one would make the slightest difference in tone or anything at the table? You must have the most time deaf players in the world.
  • 07:45 PM - Lanefan quoted pemerton in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    What do you think the GM should have regard to in coming up with situations? Lanefan, in other threads over many years, has posted that the GM should always author scenarios without regard to which players and/or PCs will engage with them. And to add: also without regard to HOW players and/or PCs will engage with them. (see above post re jokes about the kobolds for example).


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