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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:14 PM
    Jeremy Clarkson would know about getting into other people's spaces. :p Personally, I ran my gelatinous cube fight theatre of the mind anyway. I don't expect it would have gone differently with minis, though.
    32 replies | 682 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:27 PM
    So unarmoured barbarians add their CON bonus to their AC, as well as their DEX bonus. At low level this gives a moderate AC comparable to medium armour, but at very high level you may see some odd effects. Bracers of Defense (uncommon item) plus CON 20 plus DEX 16 plus shield gives AC 22 a lot cheaper than full plate & +2 shield (rare item). I don't think this is game breaking, but with the half...
    70 replies | 1218 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:22 AM
    I get AC 22 (18 plate, +2 shield, +2 magic shield bonus) since the +1 forge bonus is also magical. I think the rule would hurt magic/casting PCs and favour Barbarians, who can get a great AC in just a loincloth. :)
    70 replies | 1218 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:20 AM
    Yeah, I don't apply the rule to prone, unconscious creatures. You are free to stand on top of them. :)
    32 replies | 682 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:18 AM
    As others have said, the rule is you can't end YOUR turn in another's space. This seems to be a legacy of 3e/4e square-centric combat. I'd rule it (in fact I did rule it recently) that all the PCs who get pushed back get pushed back together in a jumbled heap. If there is no way back because of eg dead end corridor then I would make the engulf automatic.
    32 replies | 682 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:10 AM
    I think it'll work ok. It will tend to hurt PCs and help monsters, especially at higher level. In particular it will make larger PC groups relatively less powerful and lessen the quadratic buff effect. Personally I agree with others that stacking bonuses usually isn't really an issue in 5e because of the Concentration mechanic and because powerful monsters get very high to-hit bonuses, and...
    70 replies | 1218 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:01 AM
    However in 1e the M-U had THAC0 21 and a -5 non-prof penalty, Fighter had THAC0 20, -2 non-prof penalty, and with UA could x2 specialise for +3 to hit, +3 damage and ATT 3/2!
    118 replies | 3831 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:58 AM
    This eventually becomes the case in 5e, but you need to be around twice the 1e level to get the equivalent feeling of power. So eg 10th level 5e PCs can trash mobs of orcs the way 5th level 1e PCs can.
    118 replies | 3831 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:56 AM
    I don't like the 5e Ogre either. But most 5e monsters aren't statted like that. Look at the Bugbear, Lizardfolk, Gnoll, Hobgoblin & Orc for example.
    118 replies | 3831 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:39 AM
    I've been playing D&D with my son since he was 5, he's 11 now. Very young players have short attention spans, only about 30 minutes or so. Nowadays he's much like an adult player, only I guess more likely than most to instigate action. I think the amount of time and commitment needed to play through an AP is not particularly suitable for younger players; generally I think shorter adventures...
    10 replies | 380 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:25 AM
    This is definitely true, and a function of bonus action & 4e minor action healing. You get a kind of quadratic effect. Monsters can counter it by all going at once and finishing off fallen PCs immediately they go down, but I tend to reserve that for after the monsters first see the PCs bringing fallen PCs back up again.
    25 replies | 465 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:22 AM
    Yes, at least give melee creatures some javelins for when they can't reach the foe. Or a troll might have proficiency in throwing rocks - 2d4 damage but a +4 STR bonus still makes it annoying.
    25 replies | 465 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:17 AM
    Some noble stats from my Wilderlands game, the Bronzes of Hara: King Namelin Bronze I ,King of Nerath (fr 20/8/4447) & Lord of Hara Alryan Human Male, Knight ST 16 DE 14 CO 16 IN 13 WI 15 CH 16 AC 19 (15 half plate, +2 shield, +2 DEX) HP 76 (10d8+30) CR 5 PB +3 Saving Throws Str +6 Con +6, Wis +5 Senses passive Perception 12. Disadvantage on Stealth checks. Languages Common,
    54 replies | 1673 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 11th November, 2018, 06:41 PM
    I think you'll find this is overpowered at higher levels. You might get away with having the style give a +2 to AC, but adding Prof will break bounded accuracy. I can already make an Eldritch Knight who is almost impossible to hit, this would make it completely impossible except on a double 20 (assuming I have Blur up). When I first started GMing 5e I did a bunch of house rules, but I found...
    118 replies | 3831 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 11th November, 2018, 12:20 PM
    All the published spellcasting monsters & NPCs get a Proficiency Bonus based off their CR (not caster level). This does make them weaker than PCs at higher level, but they do have a PB.
    118 replies | 3831 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 11th November, 2018, 12:19 PM
    IME 5e has good balance, but you need to play it to get a sense of it. Also, level 1 PCs are more like novices than veterans, the balance for eg MM monster stats is based more around level 3 PCs. So eg kobolds and goblins are very deadly vs level 1 PCs but make nice opponents vs level 3+.
    118 replies | 3831 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 11th November, 2018, 12:14 PM
    I base my approach off the DMG. Basically, Tier I get standard starting gear. Tier II get 1 Uncommon item chosen from a list, plus 100gp, plus standard starting gear. I don't currently start PCs in Tier III or IV. Edit: Perma-death is rare IMC what with Raise Dead being available, so this is more for new players' PCs.
    19 replies | 392 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 11th November, 2018, 12:11 PM
    S'mon replied to AoE-TotM
    Traditionally I'd roll some dice, eg a fireball against a mob on an open field might get 6d6 of them.
    6 replies | 259 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 11th November, 2018, 12:07 PM
    It's mildly annoying.
    36 replies | 1303 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 11th November, 2018, 12:02 PM
    You can have some incompetent monarchs use the MM Noble stat block, that's fine. Others should use Knight, Warlord etc as appropriate.
    54 replies | 1673 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 11th November, 2018, 01:30 AM
    darkbard, sort-of following on from your post: If we assume that magic items are mechanical in some fashion (eg grant bonuses to checks), then once we allow that mechanics can extend beyond combat, we have a framework for making sense of "loot" in the way you describe. In 4e there're are also options for approaching bonuses a bit differently eg the signet of authority allows one reroll in a...
    7 replies | 294 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Saturday, 10th November, 2018, 05:15 PM
    Seems like a pretty substantial list for Scottish kings! AFAICS nobles were well trained, and it makes no sense to distinguish 'noble' from 'knight' for the medieval period.
    54 replies | 1673 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Saturday, 10th November, 2018, 02:51 PM
    Those all sound like good ideas. I suggest increasing the amount of magic weapons and armour, and increase some of the pluses, maybe even make the final weapon from +2 to a +3 sword. Edit: Running a Duergar-heavy adventure recently, I just gave the leaders 2 attacks and this worked well. You could give all the FoF duergar expedition 2 attacks & a +1 CR bump.
    25 replies | 465 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Saturday, 10th November, 2018, 01:36 PM
    In most cases you just want to increase monster numbers for a larger party. However 4 > 5 is a tier break and IMO Forge of Fury (written for 4 ca 3rd level PCs) cannot easily be redesigned to work well with 8 5th level PCs, because of the tier-break effect. You would basically have to swap out all the monsters. Maybe leave the orcs as easily defeatable, and Troglodytes > Lizardmen would help. The...
    25 replies | 465 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Saturday, 10th November, 2018, 01:29 PM
    Even 18th century monarchs still fought on the battlefield. Starts to become rare during the 19th century.
    54 replies | 1673 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Friday, 9th November, 2018, 10:21 PM
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arya_Stark
    54 replies | 1673 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Friday, 9th November, 2018, 12:57 PM
    I use the NPC stat blocks, like Knight, Champion, & Warlord. The Noble stat block is ok for noncombatant nobles. Sansa Stark - Noble Arya Stark - Assassin Bran Stark - Druid John Snow - Champion Robb Stark - Knight That sort of thing.
    54 replies | 1673 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Friday, 9th November, 2018, 12:02 PM
    To get back to the OP; well only a melee combatant can use a shield, giving a +2 to +5 AC bonus which is very significant in 5e. Barbarians & Paladins only work in melee. Comparing Fighters, I'd guess a longbow Fighter is probably better than a greatweapon Fighter but I see more players with greatweapon Fighters so it can't be too crippling. In fact I don't think I've seen a DEX-based light...
    108 replies | 3333 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Friday, 9th November, 2018, 11:51 AM
    5e combat doesn't use squares except as a DMG optional rule. Common cases where I see cover in melee are (a) attacking around a corner and (b) attacking around a pillar or similar between the combatants. A doorframe can also provide cover. Three attackers vs one defender in doorway, I'd give cover bonus to the two attackers from either side of the doorway. I wouldn't give a cover bonus for...
    108 replies | 3333 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 8th November, 2018, 10:24 AM
    This appears to assume, as I said in my post, that the PCs are strangers. What you describe may be an excellent approach for a novelist wanting to introduce his/her readers to his/her imaginary land (I'm currently 50 pages into a rereading of Dune - Frank Herbert is doing a lot of this). But if one of the players is playing a dwarf; or if any of the PCs is from one of the civilisations in...
    46 replies | 1412 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 8th November, 2018, 09:43 AM
    From https://5thsrd.org/combat/cover/ I can't see why cover wouldn't apply to melee attacks.
    108 replies | 3333 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 8th November, 2018, 09:41 AM
    I'd say high magic; magic is ubiquitous and powerful. Lower magic than 3e/Pathfinder but I'd say they were very high magic. Higher magic than any other version of D&D.
    31 replies | 1128 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 8th November, 2018, 09:35 AM
    Re facing & flanking, I think the best approach is just to say that the 5th+ attackers have advantage, since defender can't cover all lines of attack at once. That's basically how we did it in 1e.
    42 replies | 1584 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 8th November, 2018, 03:37 AM
    I don't know - why would they? I suggested that the GM should probably follow the players lead, which the player sketched out in the OP and was seeking some feedback on. Whereas my recommendation would be to answer the question Does a game in which a half orc paladin of conquest seeks divinty by eating the hearts of coutatls, devas etc sound exciting?. Presumably the player thinks it is, or...
    14 replies | 548 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 8th November, 2018, 03:30 AM
    The difference between (1) me, in the world, going to my place of work and saying hello to my colleagues, and (2) me, as a player, asking the GM to tell me where my place of work is, and what it looks like, and who my colleagues are, and what they are like, is huge! The second is very like having someone read me a book or tell me a (perhaps not super-gripping) story. But if the goal is...
    46 replies | 1412 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 10:41 PM
    No it wouldn't. The real world is something I live in and experience. My knowledge of it is intimate. It is not mediated to me through anyone's verbal narration of it. The most obvious way to emulate this in a RPG is for the players to stipulate elements of the setting as they need to. Not for the GM (or a 3rd party) to write up reams of fiction in advance of play. Providing a tool to...
    46 replies | 1412 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 02:41 PM
    Again, this is not my experience at all. When I started a Classic Traveller campaign, I rolled up the starting world in front of the players, after they had rolled up their PCs. We discussed how each of the PCs had got there - integrating the implict story resulting from PC gen (Traveller uses a lifepath system) with the implicit story of the world - and one of the players decided that this...
    46 replies | 1412 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 02:35 PM
    My experience is closer to cmad1977's. Reading someone else's story about what happened in some imagined place at some imagined time doesn't help my immersion.
    46 replies | 1412 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 02:03 PM
    What you've set out sounds fun to me! Why would the GM not just follow the player's lead?
    14 replies | 548 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 09:09 AM
    As far as I know the god Dumathoin was first mentioned in DDG under the entry for Moradin, but nothing was said about him except that he is the "god of secrets under mountains". Vergadain and Dumathoin were written up by Roger E Moore in Dragon 58, as part of his "point of view" and demihuman god series. As far as I know this was the first appearance of Vergadain. This is reprinted as part of...
    2 replies | 191 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 08:39 AM
    Continuing in my persona as the man from 15 months ago: This was interesting, both in general and because I'm trying to get myself into the mindset to GM Dungeon World next year. I don't know BitD outside of this thread and a few other posts about it, so my thinking/question will be framed in (what I take to be) DW-ish terms. And also BW-ish terms. It seems to me that this issue of...
    41 replies | 5146 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 06:00 AM
    When this has come up in my game we've handled it in various ad hoc ways. Remember that the player can always choose that "dropped to zero" equals unconsciousness, not death, so to a significant extent this will be about what the attacking player thinks makes sense in the fiction. I certainly have memories of the wizard player in my game using Colour Spray as an AoE when innocent parties were...
    12 replies | 354 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 05:55 AM
    Coming in a bit late (!), but this resonated with me. It may seem slightly odd, but I had the sort of feeling you describe when our group generated PCs for Classic Traveller. I'm sure it's clunkier than BitD, and probably not as "fiction first", but compared to some other systems (eg AD&D, or RM, or a certain approach to 4e) the characters felt real, with histories that could easily be seen as...
    41 replies | 5146 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 05:19 AM
    Manbearcat, cthulhu42, I think this might be the thread: Blades in the Dark Actual Play. It was started by Campbell.
    5 replies | 261 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 03:10 AM
    I can't find the old post by chao and I that went very in-depth into Blades, unfortunately. I'm sure a solid effort to search should find it. I'm currently running a very intermittent Wild West hack of Blades rifted off of Red Dead Redemption (after considering a Space hack) retrofitting the Duskvol map and refluffing all of the gangs/power players therein. I'd be glad to run DW for you...
    5 replies | 261 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 02:50 AM
    On these boards, I think Manbearcat has played a bit of BitD. Maybe Campbell also. I think there are a lot of RPG systems that are underappreciated and worth talking more about. That's why I keep posting about my play experiences with Prince Valiant, Classic Traveller, etc! Unfortunately I've not played any BitD and not much DW either, so don't have heaps to offer on this occasion. I am...
    5 replies | 261 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 02:25 PM
    On (1), one way to systematize it would be to mechanically gate every spell that is cast by an Intelligence (Arcana), Wisdom (Religion), Charisma (Perform), maybe Constitution (Endurance). Depending on how it’s subsequently systematized, there could be a few different emergent properties. One approach could be a success let’s you cast the spell normally, a success with a cost/Complication...
    734 replies | 9546 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 09:23 AM
    I think 1e at least has the exact same issue with solo monsters dying very fast. The difference is that 1e assumed the DM would be rolling "number appearing" dice and multiple monsters by default. If there is a problem with 5e monsters I think it is that high level non-legendary monsters can be easily taken out by a single spell, whereas in 1e they would usually make their save.
    49 replies | 1637 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 06:46 AM
    What's your resolution system? Ie how do you decide if the PCs have escaped the dreams?
    6 replies | 264 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 05:30 AM
    Agreed with everything above and that (b) is most certainly the lynchpin. The only thing I'll add is that you forgot to add the savant-level memory component required to assimilate an (dare-I-say genre-defying?) overwhelming curriculum of precise arcane formulae (surely in ancient, nigh-impossible-to-articulate, tongues) and spit them out with absolute precision and reproducibility under the...
    734 replies | 9546 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 05:11 AM
    Especially (b), ie the fact that spellcasting in D&D almost never requires a successful check. Think about what, supposedly, the fiction of D&D spellcasting involves - precise hand gestures, speaking complex arcane syllables of such power and profundity that only a few of them can be impressed into a human brain at any one time (ie Vancian spell memorisation/preparation), pulling various...
    734 replies | 9546 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 04:50 AM
    You don't think the below are HUGE PARTS OF THE PUZZLE in the majority of D&D: a) the designers CHOSE (it didn't have to be done this way...plenty of systems don't...and they play VERY differently for it) to have a ridiculous number of codified spell effects covering an absurdly large number of broad, significantly gamestate-changing supernatural abilities ("I can expressly accomplish a, b, c,...
    734 replies | 9546 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 04:29 AM
    What is on the table is how "player-facing" (or codified/explicit) prospects for martial action declarations vs "GM-mediated" prospects for action declaration affect the table. Personally, my sense is it affects the table as follows: 1) In "player-facing" systems, players who play martial characters KNOW FOR CERTAIN (before play ever begins) that (a) their conception of their martial...
    734 replies | 9546 view(s)
    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 03:08 AM
    I've never played serious Pendragon, only one or two one-shots at conventions years ago. I got a copy of Pendragon 5.2 with Prince Valiant as part of the Kickstarter. It's an interesting system, and we're using the price lists and the map for our Prince Valiant game, but I don't think I could imagine actually running Pendragon as a serious campaign. Besides it's general "heaviness", I don't...
    7 replies | 294 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 12:21 AM
    Gygax's DMG, pp 110-11: Serving some deity is an integral part of AD&D. . . . he accumulation of hit points and the ever-greater abilities and better saving throws represents the aid supplied by supernatural forces. This is consistent with the description of hit points on p 82, which includes the increase in hit points . . . reflect both the actual physical ability of the character . . ....
    734 replies | 9546 view(s)
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Monday, 5th November, 2018, 03:22 PM
    I am disappointed in Mike. I do not see the virtue in continuing to re-spark the flames of the edition war every 3-6 months like this. What's the end game here?
    734 replies | 9546 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 5th November, 2018, 08:30 AM
    Sure, but then we need "codified rules" for how a martial PC gets to add a shield (or whatever) to his/her equipment list. And we probably also want some system - a fairly generic one is fine, even desirable - for working out how hard it is to throw your shield (or whatever) and stun three orcs (or whatever). I agree with Garthanos that if we don't go beyond what the GM envisages a strong...
    734 replies | 9546 view(s)
    6 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 5th November, 2018, 04:49 AM
    You're foucsing on the fiction. I'm focusing on the gameplay. A rule that is at work in my 4e game - in virtue of one of the player's choice of epic destiny for a PC - allows that PC to wield bigger weapons that deal more damage. The fiction of the epic destiny is that the PC has grown in stature. I wouldn't mind if the fiction was, instead, that the PC has been injected with super-soldier...
    734 replies | 9546 view(s)
    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 5th November, 2018, 12:33 AM
    I really don't see much evidence in the history of RPGs that this way of approaching it provides dynamic and capable "martial" characters. This applies to everything from the stuff Garthanos is talking about, to exactly how many orcs my Conan-esque fighter can slay per game-unit-of-action, to the need in AD&D for my fighter to PC to get a girdle of giant strength if s/he is going to emulate a...
    734 replies | 9546 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 4th November, 2018, 05:30 PM
    No worries! Like I've said in a couple of posts now, I think it's a bit underappreciated. In five sessions I've used six episodes from the main book (three knightly challenges, a family in distress, a woman in distress, and rebellious peasants twice) and six from the episode book (Kenneth Hite's wild hunt, the episode called A Wild Hunt which is the Crowmaster one, the Blue Cloak, the Crimson...
    7 replies | 294 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 4th November, 2018, 05:22 PM
    I would say "scenario" rather than adventure. It's generally a situation that will activate knightly intervention - attacks by bandits, rescues from bandits, helping out innocent women/villagers/ghosts/etc figure prominently. Ron Edwards gives some nice descriptions of how Prince Valiant scenarios work: . . . the character's judgmental and active presence is established and already in...
    4 replies | 347 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 4th November, 2018, 03:39 PM
    My group has played a couple of Prince Valiant sessions since my last actual play report. The first of these (fourth session in what has turned out to be a campaign) saw the squire PC progress dramatically. The session started with some recap, a mixture of in-character and out-of-character: our fourth player, who had been absent from the previous session, was there, and so there had to be...
    7 replies | 294 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 4th November, 2018, 12:38 AM
    Sorry for the late reply! Yes, we use dice (evens for success) rather than coins, just because we've got plenty of dice ready to hand - and when a joust is on the rattle of the dice in hand emulates the thundering of hooves! I think your idea of using PV for Middle Earth makes sense. If you do it, I'd be interested to hear how it goes.
    4 replies | 347 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 3rd November, 2018, 10:34 AM
    I don't know if Libramarian still posts on these boards, but he used to have good ideas for this sort of thing.
    3 replies | 291 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Saturday, 3rd November, 2018, 08:57 AM
    I find forced movement very easy in 5e, eg with 3 Eldritch Blasts warlocks can be pushing back enemies 30'; a high level Fighter can use one attack for bullrush to knock foe prone then make a bunch of attacks at Advantage.
    42 replies | 1584 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Friday, 2nd November, 2018, 10:33 AM
    You know Hussar, if you just replaced "you" with "I" in your arguments, I bet you wouldn't get a rise out of anyone. :) AFAICS your approach is perfectly reasonable for your own social situation, of a continuing gaming group that wants to stick together and not be divided up. And you recognise other people have other social situations. But because you use "you" so much, it comes across as you...
    1794 replies | 57193 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 1st November, 2018, 11:43 AM
    Personally, I come up with something I'd like to run then go looking for players who'd like to play it. This may include old friends and people I've never met before. I think if the focus is The Group not The Game as with your group then it is necessary to find something everyone in The Group wants to play. Personally I would do much less GMing in that situation since I'd need to be...
    1794 replies | 57193 view(s)
    5 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 31st October, 2018, 11:13 PM
    Yes! They can't be players before they're playing!
    1794 replies | 57193 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 31st October, 2018, 11:36 AM
    I've sblocked an account of a beholder fight in 4e. It was pretty good. I don't know how easy it would be to replicate in 5e.
    25 replies | 707 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 30th October, 2018, 12:41 PM
    I haven't seen a PC use lucky fear in downtime but I have seen a PC make more than one check in a week of downtime.
    36 replies | 852 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 30th October, 2018, 11:06 AM
    I'm going to repost my post to which you replied (and will explain why I've bolded what I've bolded): So I'll ask again, how did it become true, in this example, that the PC is moving across the room? You have once again said that the player's action declaration does not yield such a result. You have said (and I have bolded) that the GM narrates the results but in the original example the...
    1794 replies | 57193 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 30th October, 2018, 11:04 AM
    I'd think a low DC Survival check (or appropriate* description) would be fine to set it off without being caught. To disable it without triggering a Thieves' Tools check seems appropriate. *"I poke the trigger plate with my staff" would work - but cross off one staff. :D
    31 replies | 826 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 30th October, 2018, 10:43 AM
    I'd allow it, but I use 1 week long rests. The game seems to work much better that way.
    36 replies | 852 view(s)
    1 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 30th October, 2018, 10:21 AM
    Yeah. My boss monsters aren't idiots. They'll either attack the camping PCs, leave, or at very least shore up their defences for the coming attack.
    49 replies | 1637 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 30th October, 2018, 10:13 AM
    Before the campaign starts there is no DM, so this cannot be bad DMing. :p
    1794 replies | 57193 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 30th October, 2018, 10:12 AM
    double
    1794 replies | 57193 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 29th October, 2018, 11:42 PM
    As I said, this is the crappiest approach to RPGing I can imagine. Fortunately, 5e doesn't mandate it. The Basic PDF doesn't state it or even imply it. The only edition of D&D that I'm aware of that comes close to this in its rules is 2nd ed AD&D, but I don't think even it comes out and says this quite so bluntly.
    1794 replies | 57193 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 29th October, 2018, 11:36 PM
    Just to be clear: I posted about some experiences that had caused me to leave games. Lanefan and others then posted to say that I was wrong in my view that those experiences were examples of bad GMing, and that I did the wrong thing in leaving those games. So I think you've got it slightly backwards - I've been told I'm not doing my duty as a RPG player because I don't want to play with (what...
    1794 replies | 57193 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 29th October, 2018, 11:31 PM
    It's one thing to have preferences. It's a different thing to interpret a game system. Clearly 5e works more like 5ekyu describes than as you might wish that it did. This is a little ironic given your other post that I've quoted! Because here you're saying that, in fact, the fiction does not unfold over the course of play, but is only established "as a block" when the GM decides what happens....
    1794 replies | 57193 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 29th October, 2018, 01:58 PM
    pemerton started a thread Capture scenario?
    Have you ever run a capture scenario? If so, in what system? How did it go? How did you adjudicate the rescue/escape? (I'm thinking especially of scenarios where the fact of being captured is the fosuc/challenge of play. The Slave Lords isn't a capture scenario, as the capture and release is just colour to set up a survival scenario.)
    3 replies | 202 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 29th October, 2018, 10:13 AM
    I've boded a few words/phrases in your post that seem relevant to what I'm saying. If certain things cannot or must be done, that implies that outcomes of declared actions are not all at the discretion of the GM. If certain things are left up to the table, that implies that outcomes of declared actions may not all be at the discretion of the GM. Which in my view is quite consistent with...
    1794 replies | 57193 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 29th October, 2018, 06:14 AM
    Well, as I understand a RPG it's about pretending to be a different person, often a more adventurious person, in some sort of challenging situation. It's not about suggesting to someone else what story they should tell. In other words, I don't play RPGs to describe what I want my PC to do. I play RPGs to (among other things) describe what my PC is doing. What you describe here appears to be...
    1794 replies | 57193 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 29th October, 2018, 06:05 AM
    In the abstract, sure. But here is Hussar's argument: X is true because I believe X, I'm an English teacher, and therefore I would know. And here is your argument: X is true because I read it in a book, and the book is right because the people who wrote it would know. Those arguments are both appeals to authority. Maxperson, every argument I have ever seen you run is logically...
    1794 replies | 57193 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 29th October, 2018, 12:15 AM
    Bollocks. Even Wikipedia has noticed that it's not: An argument from authority, also called an appeal to authority, or argumentum ad verecundiam is a form of defeasible argument in which a claimed authority's support is used as evidence for an argument's conclusion. It is well known as a fallacy, though it is used in a cogent form when all sides of a discussion agree on the reliability of the...
    1794 replies | 57193 view(s)
    3 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 28th October, 2018, 11:47 AM
    Maxperson, you might want to reread my post noting that (i) and (ii) refer to some steps that your (1) to (3) left out, not to your (1) and (2). I find this a bit hard to follow, because you say that the players work some stuff out but that nothing changes in the fiction until the GM works some stuff out. To be clear: is it your view that the players never bring about any change in the...
    1794 replies | 57193 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 28th October, 2018, 11:39 AM
    OK, but your house rules don't constitute a "built-in assumption" (your phrase). In fact, if you had to house rule, the assumption probably wasn't built in at all! Are you talking about the fiction, or the real-world basis on which the fiction is established? Climbing is something that happens in the fiction. Rolling to hit and damage is something that happens in the fiction. (So is a climb...
    1794 replies | 57193 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 28th October, 2018, 10:28 AM
    Yes?
    49 replies | 1637 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 28th October, 2018, 10:22 AM
    (1) Where is this assumption built-in? Not into AD&D, which uses different to-hit tables for a half-orc depending on whether the half-orc is a PC or NPC (see Gygax's DMG p 74). Not into 4e, which uses different character build principles player-side and GM-side. (2) The GM narrating the results is not "cutting to the chase". It's not a mode of action resolution. It's framing and/or...
    1794 replies | 57193 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 28th October, 2018, 10:12 AM
    ENWorld is the only forum I know where "appeal to authority" is treated as a fallacy rather than good evidence! I've never been to France or spoken to a French government official. How do I know France's capital is Paris? I learned it from an authority! Fallacious me!
    1794 replies | 57193 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 28th October, 2018, 10:09 AM
    Tabletop uses grid map. Online uses theatre of the mind. Edit: When playing in high school I only used theatre of the mind in tabletop, too. 3e got me into using minis for tabletop from 2000, something I hadn't done since age 12/13 15 years previously. I feel like I should try using theatre of the mind for tabletop again, but I'm psychologically pretty locked into minis at this point. Even...
    70 replies | 3300 view(s)
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Tuesday, 13th November, 2018

  • 11:21 AM - dave2008 mentioned S'mon in post Breaking Bounded Accuracy: Proposed Fix
    For attack bonuses, you could change them to increasing weapons' critical range instead of providing a bonus to attacks. Then leave effects like Bless to operate as they already do. Possibly, but Bless is not the only issue. My proposed solution also works for magic items that stack, as noted by S'mon

Thursday, 18th October, 2018

  • 09:40 AM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post Mearls On D&D's Design Premises/Goals
    ... pulling a sword and attacking. Here some other mechanic - be it surprise or flat-footed or whatever else - is required to determine who gets to act right away vs. who is caught off guard. Otherwise what ends up happening all too often is that the dice don't match the intended-by-the-player narrative: Max pulls out a sword and swings, thus triggering initiatives, but somehow ends up near the bottom of the initiative order even though his supposedly acting first is the reason they were rolled at all! Personally, I often find this quite annoying when it happens. Hriston has already discussed this - if Max loses initiative, then (among other things) we learn that he is not very quick on the draw! It's certainly not unheard of in genre fiction for the villains to try and get the drop on the hero, only for the latter to react unexpectedly quickly and turn the tables! In 4e, Max might well get surprise if the others involved don't succeed on an appropriate Insight or Perception check. S'mon has given some suggestions for how 5e would deal with this.

Friday, 12th October, 2018

  • 02:51 PM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    ... talk to me because they're scared of my bear, or whatever, is just making me suck more! What happened to all the people who are intrigued by this guy with a tame bear? The real world is full of those sorts of people, so why not the gameworld? Background as its been described doesn't have anything to do with spotlight time or negation of drawbacks. It's about not using an element as a driver for play. The player is signaling "I'm including something that might look like a plot hook. Please don't use it; I don't want to bother with this. It exists because I thought it appropriate, but exploring it is not interesting to me." So the PC might have a spouse and child "somewhere" (like Winger in Glen Cook's Garrett series), but the player doesn't want them to appear, whether threatened, in need, or angry at abandonment.Right. I don't use this "Background" system - I've never encountered it as a formal device until Hussar mentioned it in this thread. As I've been discussing with S'mon, there is some stuff that is implicitly not to be understood as up for grabs as subject matter of play; but at my table this is all established through informal cues, not via a formal device. But the idea that if the GM can't put pressure on the player of the warlock by having the patron boss the PC around then the player is getting a free ride is absolutely bizarre to me! Do those who think this not have any other ways they can imagine putting pressure on a warlock PC? What do they do when their players decide to play sorcerers instead? If you guys want to agree that the patron is a potatoAnd this is an instance of exactly what I mean. Is it really not possible for someone to play a warlock in your game without you treating that as an invitation to take radical control of that PC's story focus/direction? And as an invitation for the PC to be hosed in some fashion by a GM-controlled patron? I mean, suppose the PCs meet at a tavern and get given quest X. Why can't the player d...
  • 11:55 AM - Sadras mentioned S'mon in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    In short, if you can't handle the drawbacks don't try for the benefits. Perhaps, where the PCs are the story drivers, like at Pemerton's table, the players might be encouraged to push those drawbacks to the foreground as part of their drivers otherwise they might not have an interesting game or story to tell and it risks falling flat. At a different table for instance, where the DM is primarily the driver he/she is encouraged to bring those drawbacks to the fore to explore the characters' backgrounds, their allegiances/loyalties, their oaths, their alignment, their patrons...and thereby build the campaign story. So when @Aldarc and @pemerton say that relationship x is off limits, it's because they expect the characters to bring that to the fore, it is not the DM's job to meddle with that, whereas for say for me (and presumably you) we bring it to the fore to create a tighter connection for the pc to the story and the setting. Now when you have a player like in S'mon's instance who did not want background material brought to the fore, then it becomes a little messy. If the DM is doing it for every other PC except for one, then it feels like they're leaving him/her out. Lan-"I think I'm in a minority of one on this, but for some reason I've always despised 'animal companions' for Druids and Rangers - familiars for casters are bad enough"-efan Curiously why?

Thursday, 11th October, 2018

  • 03:49 PM - Sadras mentioned S'mon in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    Like the races examples, its insisting that your character be exempt from the setting impacts of choices... which gets a no at my table. @pemerton and @Hussar If a player selects to play an elf or a dwarf, does the player also have narrative control over the thoughts and actions of the entire tribe, clan or race?
  • 09:25 AM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    If warlocks, paladins and clerics in this world can choose to have any conflict or blow back or de facto obligation from those "agreements" locked away, why do all those who fo have those restrictions accept them? Are the rest of the warlocks, clerics and such in the world just dolts who got suffered in by a flim flam man?You seem to be equating the player and the PC. No one (as far as I'm aware) is saying that the PC decides what the patron wants. I (at least, but maybe Hussar is sympathetic?) am saying that, as a player and as a GM, I expect the player of a cleric or warlock or whatever to establish the requirements imposed by his/her god/patron/etc. I've never found this to be a problem: eg if a player wants to play an assassin or freebooter then they simply choose not to play a cleric of Bahamut (much as S'mon suggested upthread).

Wednesday, 10th October, 2018

  • 09:26 AM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post 5e GMs - Why or Why Not Wandering Treasure?
    So a combat is falling short of being challenging and maybe even entertaining (drama element) <snip> The combat becomes enjoyable and no one is the wiser S'mon didn't say the GM notices the combat failed to entertain and so spices it up. He said the GM thinks the PCs won too easily and so throws in more enemies. I am responding to that: the GM wanting to change an outcome. And you introduce the notion of "no one is the wiser". In my view this just doubles down on the GM manipulating outcomes. If the issue is about entertainment, then there is no reason why the GM needs to keep what s/he is doing secret. Here's an example from my own RPGing: As the PCs continue through the tunnels, I described them coming to a cleft in the floor, and got them to describe how they would cross it. The drow sorcerer indicated that he would first fly over (using 16th level At Will Dominant Winds) and then . . . before he could finish, I launched into my beholder encounter, which I had designed inspired by this image (which is the cover art from Dungeonscape, I think): http://www.komarckart.com/cov_19.jpg I'm not sure exactly what the artist intende...

Monday, 8th October, 2018

  • 08:38 PM - Rya.Reisender mentioned S'mon in post Magic Missile. How have you and how do you roll the damage.
    S'mon Well, I certainly would require my DM to follow Sage Advice. But I also haven't played D&D before 5e. I'm not sure if Sage Advice even existed before 5e. At the very least in old times where not everybody had internet, it makes a lot more sense that you made your own rulings without consulting any "rules guy". Even 10 years ago, most people already had internet, but not everyone had a smartphone to look everything up on the fly, so even then it was still better to just make a ruling on the fly. So yeah, I guess it's reasonable that this is just a modern trend, mainly because it's easily possible to follow RAI now, while it used to be tedious before.

Monday, 17th September, 2018

  • 07:23 AM - Hussar mentioned S'mon in post Boss Monsters? I Just Say No!
    I think S'mon largely has the right of it. Many of us cut our teeth in D&D through modules. And modules, by and large, are set up for the big showdown fight at the end of the module. There are notable exceptions, of course, but, they are notable BECAUSE they are exceptions. Heck, how many of us got our start in Keep on the Borderlands which has about a dozen boss fights at the end of each cave?

Monday, 7th May, 2018

  • 12:16 PM - Sadras mentioned S'mon in post Harassment Policies: New Allegations Show More Work To Be Done
    OTOH, if you know that that person is doing a number of things that potentially might set off some alarm bells, SHOULDN'T you say something? If that person is surfing sites to research how to make a pressure cooker bomb, makes comments that, while are in no way illegal, but, are somewhat alarming, and whatnot, isn't it your responsibility to step up here? Sure, but there is a massive difference between making a rape comment over a DotA/HoN game and researching how to make a pressure cooker bomb. I guess I got my back up because @S'mon made a comment about repetitive behaviour and misinterpreted talked to with distracted by cleavage and somehow got 'outed' as an offender and everyone seemed ok with it. :erm: I mean you have your obvious trolls and sock-puppets and then you have those engaged in earnest discussion who might have points of disagreement with you*. The point is, do not treat everyone who disagrees with your as some troll/sock-puppet. *You - the general you not you (Hussar) personally.

Sunday, 16th July, 2017

  • 01:46 PM - Lylandra mentioned S'mon in post Cheliax, Empire of Devils
    ...t the Dawn of Time to defeat and bind Rovagug, the Rough Beast. You could certainly play up this 'Auld Alliance' aspect, you could even have a somewhat sympathetic LN Thrunist Inquisitor seek out the Saranrae Paladin's aid against the threat of a Demonic or Far Place incursion, replicating the ancient cycle once more... :) And have the PC richly rewarded by Thrune when successful. Of course this all suits Asmodeus' own plans just fine... Also this. Asmodeus (as a deity) is the eldest god alive. He doesn't give a damn for mortals per se and even cares less for whom else they worship unless they are fine that he is the most powerful and his rule is absolute. This is reflected in Cheliax by the fact that shrines to other gods and even priests of them are allowed, but they have to ceremoniously admit that Asmodeus is the God of Gods. So unless your Paladin went on a Holy Crusade in Cheliax or started preaching against Chelian doctrine, he'd not be challenged at all. If you consider what S'mon said, your Cheliax episode could culimate in one big temptation for your Paladin. He might like the respect and power given to him. He might like the absolute order and draconian "justice". For his worship of Sarenrae: Be sure to offer him rituals of cleansing within his temples after his job is done. Sarenrae (and most gods) is not stupid. She knows her follower's hearts. So as long as the Paladin stays true in his faith, she will not let him fall from grace for paying lip service to Asmodeus in order to stay alive. This would be completely up to him and his actions. However, themes like this are not for every player or GM. If you feel like being unable to handle it, then don't. Don't go there unless you are absolutely sold on the idea. Evil themes and societies dominated by evil hierarchies are hard to portray sensibly. Using a black&white "darkness, corruption, injustice, torture everywhere" scenario then yes, such a society would not stay stable for long. For example, think a...

Monday, 26th June, 2017

  • 08:33 AM - clearstream mentioned S'mon in post adventurers in your world: common or rare?
    ... I've been thinking about this along the same lines as you, and wondering if our goal should be less about knowing how many there are, and more our chances of finding one?! Not sure if this could work, but behold - the DC to find PC table "DC to find PC" Polity size_____Tier 1_____Tier 2_____Tier 3_____Epic+ 100s___________10_________10_________20_______30 1000s__________5__________10_________15_______25 10,000s________5__________5__________15_______25 100,000s_______0__________5__________10_______20 1000,000s______0__________0__________10_______20 Of course the title is tongue-in-cheek, as the idea is we're finding character-class equivalent NPCs who will mostly be represented by abstract MM stat blocks. As a further caveat, I believe 5e DCs could meaningfully scale to 40. If you think so too, then this table might be improved using higher DCs for Tier 3 and Epic+. Could it work to introduce rolls to suggest headcount spreads e.g. d10xN where N is a factor based on polity size? @S'mon @SkidAce

Wednesday, 21st June, 2017

  • 04:53 AM - L R Ballard mentioned S'mon in post Is This Magic Item Overpowered for 5e?
    ...ended charge merely suppresses the power of a magic item for a month rather than drain its power? That's Satyrn's original suggestion: Okay. Here's how I would probably end up using the item if I was presented with it in an adventure module: I'd change it up as I suggested, making it suppress magic rather than destroying it. But I'd also give it charges like a 5e wand. But Satyrn's position still seems open to modification: I'm not really sure I'd change the behaviour of one-use items in a conversion. That way I hew close to the original (an obvious goal I think) and since they're one use-items they're not likely have a long lasting effect on ghe campaign if indeed the item was overpowered. The standard behavior of the 2e version of the rod of cancellation is to completely drain the item's power. Would changing the rod's effect on magic items and giving it charges constitute "a change [of] the behaviour of [a] one-use item . . . ."? On to the incense of meditation, S'mon observes: Seems overpowered to me. For 5e I suggest +1 to spell level, eg casts inflict wounds as 8th level slot when using 7th level slot. And Satyrn offers: I did like S'mon's 5e-ish take on the dust, though, having it treat spells as though they were cast in a higher slot. Thanks for clarifying S'mon's remarks: I did not draw the inference that the incense of meditation should grant +1 to the spell level rather than yield maximum results for the spell. Is that the idea? Use the incense of meditation, and gain +1 spell level for any applicable spell effects?

Tuesday, 20th June, 2017

  • 10:52 PM - Satyrn mentioned S'mon in post Is This Magic Item Overpowered for 5e?
    Thanks. I can see introducing the incense before an epic-level quest. Of course, FRE1 is not an epic-level quest. So, if the incense of meditation doesn't make the converted FRE1, what is a fitting substitute magic item to pair with the rod of cancellation? I'm asking Satyrn this question, but anyone who's reading along, please feel free to recommend a substitute. I'm not really sure I'd change the behaviour of one-use items in a conversion. That way I hew close to the original (an obvious goal I think) and since they're one use-items they're not likely have a long lasting effect on ghe campaign if indeed the item was overpowered. I did like S'mon's 5e-ish take on the dust, though, having it treat spells as though they were cast in a higher slot.

Friday, 9th June, 2017

  • 05:12 PM - Hussar mentioned S'mon in post Let's Not Save The World...Again
    S'mon - It may have been in the Marvel comics. Fair enough. I'll admit, my Conan experiences is far more De Camp. I didn't read the original Howard stories until much later. The problem I have with the article is the same as I have with the other articles. These articles take a very, very narrow view of the genre and then try to make broad claims. And, I gotta think that its deliberate. I mean, the article talks about how back in the day, It used to take a lot less to make us feel heroic. Guns and ships and criminals used to be good enough, as in the stories of Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, and even James Bond as written by Ian Fleming, not as he's known from movies. In pulps, it was enough to defeat a gang or an unusual villain. But, that's not even true. We've got Burroughs and "A Princess of Mars" and subsequent stories being published in 1912. World spanning plot. Hardly a local story about "guns and ships and criminals". Never minding tr...

Thursday, 8th June, 2017

  • 11:26 PM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post Let's Not Save The World...Again
    ... destroy The World.I think this is not a weakness of "save the world" but rather a weakness of the GM! A prioritising of the setting over the play of the game. because we've never jumped the shark, the campaign world remains in good shape for future campaigns.Whereas my approach is to use new worlds. Even when I'm suing GH for the Nth campaign, it doesn't have to be the same GH. I'm not obliged to have regard to past failures to "save the world". My main players simply aren't the sort to want to save the world. Threats have to feel local, regional at a pinch, for them to bite. And part of that is because they're not the sort to commit to a campaign past level 10 or so. So, yeah, local or regional is better... which is a shame because I'm still longing to run a Pemertonian, Epic-level, multiplanar extravaganza at some point. (And pemerton, I know you're not a fan of fanboys, so I hope you won't take offence at "Pemertonian".... ;) )I'm happy to accept "pemertonian"! - I think S'mon coined it a few years ago now, for relatively lowbrow, D&D-fantasy scene-framing GMing.

Tuesday, 30th May, 2017

  • 06:21 AM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post Consequence and Reward in RPGs
    Manbearcat, S'mon I don't know the MMO scene and so won't venture there. I don't know sports very well either, but I don't think that comparison quite fits this case: a group of casual basketballers knows that what they are doing only gets its logic from some more "serious" version of the same activity (ie competitive basketball). Music is similar: my guitar playing is pretty ordinary, and I'm never going to be any sort of serious performer, but I think about the meaning and quality of what I'm doing when I play my guitar using the same framework that I use to think seriously about real musicians. Whereas the "participationist"/"tourism" RPGing is intended by those who do it, I think, to have a meaning and value and so on that is different from classic dungeon-crawling.

Monday, 29th May, 2017

  • 08:25 AM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post Consequence and Reward in RPGs
    ...g wizard what's the harm?) and probably the rule should be dropped - an early case of D&D cargo cult-ism about rules, where the rule lingers on even though its rationale has faded. more plotzy games have been part of the hobby since very early. <snip> when you look at D&D's wargaming roots, frequent death makes perfect sense. No one cares when their three meeple on the Ukraine in Risk get munched. You pick up the pieces, and put them right back on the board next round. Given that all the pieces are identical, who cares if you lose one? However, that wargaming root ran smack dab into the impulse for theatricalism that is part and parcel to the hobby as well. Lots of people play RPG's to create a story. Which means that revolving door PC's don't work very well. I don't think I'm saying anything controversial here. Which is why I've had a real problem wrapping my head around the notion that this is something new.It's not new. The OP knows it's not new, because - as S'mon has pointed out - he was advocating against that sort of "story" play back in the late 70s and early 80s. I think the OP is making a claim about trends - that more contemporary gaming has the "participationary" rather than "challenge" focus. I don't know enough about contemporary games to have a view. I barely know enough about contemporary RPGing to have a view about the little niche of gaming. But - following on from my recent exchanges in this thread with Libramarian and S'mon - I would tentatively assert that one feature of 5e might be argued to be a rather low degree of lethality (comparable, let's say, to 4e, and not, say, to Moldvay Basic) packaged in such a way as to make the game feel more like the classic experience than 4e is ever going to (for instance, by packing that non-lethality into targeted class abilities like Spare the Dying, Revivify, etc rather than making it overt in each PC via the Second Wind/other healing surge/death-and-dying rules). Which probably make...

Sunday, 28th May, 2017

  • 12:56 PM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post Consequence and Reward in RPGs
    I think you were exaggerating earlier as to the gulf between the classic D&D style and typical contemporary D&D play. There's tons of dungeoncrawling in the WotC APs and my sense is most groups play to "beat" them in a basically gamist way.My thoughts on this probably suffer from too much spectating at a distance, but I'll share them anyway - it's a messageboard, right! I think that there are two salient differences between contemporary AP play and the "classic" style. (1) The idea of "story" plays a much bigger role now than it once did, which creates pressure towards completion (and hence designing for being able to be completed), which puts pressure on the system - both mechanics and GMing techniques - to reduce lethality vs PCs. One manifestation of this I remember discussing with S'mon a while ago (and in my memory he agreed with me, but maybe my memory has some bias in it!), is when the tactical challenge becomes something like a suduko - "Given that this is beatable by a standard party, and we're a standard party, what's our optimal resource deployment configuration to beat it" - which I think is pretty different from what Luke Crane describes. Milestone levelling would be another. Yet another is building in failsafes for clues and other info to make sure the "plot" doesn't become derailed. Some of this will take the form of "success at a cost" (if you need the GM to feed you the clue, you suffer for it or get some weaker version of it), but personally I find "success at a cost" as an alternative to failure (whether classic "blank wall" failure or indie "failing forward") to be a rather insipid device. (2) The actual process of play, I think, involve less exploration and less exploitation of fictional positioning. So the idea of making one's own luck has less pur...
  • 08:54 AM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post Consequence and Reward in RPGs
    S'mon, thanks for the reply.


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Tuesday, 13th November, 2018

  • 07:03 PM - OverlordOcelot quoted S'mon in post A gelatinous Cube and a 10-feet corridor ...
    So basically, it's yet another arbitrary situation where I have to be the final umpire and decide whether I want to punish the PCs for sticking together, or throw them a bone and let a successful save be a successful save. Actually, you'd be 'punishing' the PCs for making the tactical decision to cluster tightly in a hallway when there's an acidic cube bearing down on them instead of leaving room to escape when gets close. They can still 'stick together' in the general sense of working together without forming a block that leaves the front people with bad options. Getting 'punished' for how you decide to move and fight during combat is kind of the point of the tactical part of the game, there's a reason having everyone clustered up is called 'fireball formation'. Again, I don't understand why you'd set up a fight in a confined space using a formal map if you don't enjoy the tactical game and consider consequences for positioning to be a bad connotation of 'punishment'. It's less work ...
  • 04:30 PM - OverlordOcelot quoted S'mon in post A gelatinous Cube and a 10-feet corridor ...
    As others have said, the rule is you can't end YOUR turn in another's space. This seems to be a legacy of 3e/4e square-centric combat. That's not true. The rule is that you can't end your move in another creature's space, it doesn't say turn IIRC. According to Jeremy Clarkson, the intent of the rule is that you can't choose to end any part of your move in another creature's space. https://www.sageadvice.eu/2015/09/17/attack-in-an-ally-occupied-space/ I don't really get the idea behind the 'let them ignore positioning' responses; the reason to use a battle map is so that you can track position. If the positioning of characters doesn't actually matter, why not resolve combat with TOTM and save the trouble of setting up maps and miniatures? What makes this fight interesting is that the characters are in a confined space and have to avoid the hazard of being engulfed, the more you softball that aspect of the fight the less memorable the fight becomes and the more it feels like just fightin...
  • 02:06 PM - dave2008 quoted S'mon in post Breaking Bounded Accuracy: Proposed Fix
    So unarmoured barbarians add their CON bonus to their AC, as well as their DEX bonus. At low level this gives a moderate AC comparable to medium armour, but at very high level you may see some odd effects. Bracers of Defense (uncommon item) plus CON 20 plus DEX 16 plus shield gives AC 22 a lot cheaper than full plate & +2 shield (rare item). I don't think this is game breaking, but with the half damage while raging the barbarian will be even better than the Fighter. Yep, that seems a bit out of wack. Don't they have the biggest HD as well?
  • 11:18 AM - dave2008 quoted S'mon in post Breaking Bounded Accuracy: Proposed Fix
    I get AC 22 (18 plate, +2 shield, +2 magic shield bonus) since the +1 forge bonus is also magical. I think the rule would hurt magic/casting PCs and favour Barbarians, who can get a great AC in just a loincloth. :) I will have to look into barbarians, no one in my groups plays one so I am not familiar with the ins and outs of the class. From a glance I am not found of the resistance to damage mechanic.
  • 11:16 AM - dave2008 quoted S'mon in post Breaking Bounded Accuracy: Proposed Fix
    I think it'll work ok. It will tend to hurt PCs and help monsters, especially at higher level. In particular it will make larger PC groups relatively less powerful and lessen the quadratic buff effect. Personally I agree with others that stacking bonuses usually isn't really an issue in 5e because of the Concentration mechanic and because powerful monsters get very high to-hit bonuses, and often do enormous damage on a critical hit. In my Saturday game the dwarven forgepriest Cleric-8 has AC 25 (+1 plate, +2 shield, +1 forge bonus, +1 ring or cloak bonus) so most foes are only hitting on a 20, maybe an 18. He still got taken to single digit hp by a single crit from a wraith. Thank you for the input. So with my suggestion the AC would only be 22 (unless the forge bonus is non-magical, not sure what that is). Still as tough as an ancient red dragon ;) I don't know what I am doing wrong, but it seems like a rarely ever roll crits.
  • 10:51 AM - James Grover quoted S'mon in post Brand new DM to 5E and many concerns...
    However in 1e the M-U had THAC0 21 and a -5 non-prof penalty, Fighter had THAC0 20, -2 non-prof penalty, and with UA could x2 specialise for +3 to hit, +3 damage and ATT 3/2! LOL thanks for pointing it out. I wasn't about to risk bring up the topic again but that goes back to my original point about the Fighter not being so hot in 5E. From the comments, however, I get the Fighter can still be a great character, just different from what I am used to from earlier versions. Personally, once UA came out, players were interested in Fighters again and I can't think of a single 1st-level Fighter that WASN'T specialized (not always double, but always single). Then with the differences in THAC0, they were hitting a bit more often than the other classes and the extra attack every other round made up the difference. Anyway, the way HP is working in 5E really makes up for the lack of increased defense in the sense of AC like in prior editions. We still might end up making some changes, but for ...
  • 09:17 AM - Pauln6 quoted S'mon in post Breaking Bounded Accuracy: Proposed Fix
    I think it'll work ok. It will tend to hurt PCs and help monsters, especially at higher level. In particular it will make larger PC groups relatively less powerful and lessen the quadratic buff effect. Personally I agree with others that stacking bonuses usually isn't really an issue in 5e because of the Concentration mechanic and because powerful monsters get very high to-hit bonuses, and often do enormous damage on a critical hit. In my Saturday game the dwarven forgepriest Cleric-8 has AC 25 (+1 plate, +2 shield, +1 forge bonus, +1 ring or cloak bonus) so most foes are only hitting on a 20, maybe an 18. He still got taken to single digit hp by a single crit from a wraith. I suppose even without magical stacking, they would still have AC23 which is still awesome.

Monday, 12th November, 2018

  • 04:54 AM - Jay Verkuilen quoted S'mon in post Mythological Figures: Conan the Barbarian (5E)
    Sure, but my Meetup has 194 members and I rarely hear a complaint about the no-multiclassing rule. I can see reasons why you might want to do that in your particular game. Nevertheless, I think a character like Conan is pretty hard to build without multiclassing. You can do an OK-ish job without it but probably need to do some house ruling. With multiclassing you can make a fairly credible Conan in terms of meeting pretty canonical, described abilities he has.

Sunday, 11th November, 2018

  • 07:56 PM - eamon quoted S'mon in post Brand new DM to 5E and many concerns...
    I think you'll find this is overpowered at higher levels. You might get away with having the style give a +2 to AC, but adding Prof will break bounded accuracy. I can already make an Eldritch Knight who is almost impossible to hit, this would make it completely impossible except on a double 20 (assuming I have Blur up). When I first started GMing 5e I did a bunch of house rules, but I found the game worked better without them. Give it a try. Ooff; I DM a fairly high-power party, and ACs can definitely creep well into too unhittable to matter range for many (even high CR) mooks. And bounded accuracy is definitely a laudable aim, but it's certainly not the case that 5e low-level critters reliably or even usually can remain relevant to high level adventurers - at least not automatically, without some effort on the part of the DM. A major part of the issue for me is that I'm playing a high magic campaign but even with houserules to avoid item stacking and similar bonuses on monsters+NPC it...
  • 06:24 AM - Azzy quoted S'mon in post How do you stat out rulers such as kings and queens in your games?
    Seems like a pretty substantial list for Scottish kings! AFAICS nobles were well trained, and it makes no sense to distinguish 'noble' from 'knight' for the medieval period. The "medieval period" is a long stretch of history (roughly a thousand years), and throughout that time not all nobles or royals were William the Conquerer or Vlad Tepes strength-at-arms types—their were idle idols and throne jockeys that held their position merely through inheritence and had nothing to back it up except for title (neither having the martial prowess of their bellicose counterparts, any form of competence in leadership or administration, or any personal merit whatsoever).
  • 05:11 AM - Selvarin quoted S'mon in post Mythological Figures: Conan the Barbarian (5E)
    Also multiclassing isn't even a core rule in 5e. An option that is so commonly used it's a de facto standard component of the game. But why split hairs. In any event, we can build the same character through different methods, with varying costs and levels of success. If not for the Rage feature Conan would be the perfect 'barbarian', then again the irony is that he's a barbarian only by the standards of other more 'civilized' people. In contrast he's pretty smart and tends to know more than one expects. Combined with the survival skills he was taught in his early years, that makes Conan more dangerous than his estimated CR at any level.

Saturday, 10th November, 2018

  • 02:07 PM - criticalfumble quoted S'mon in post Scaling for a large group
    In most cases you just want to increase monster numbers for a larger party. However 4 > 5 is a tier break and IMO Forge of Fury (written for 4 ca 3rd level PCs) cannot easily be redesigned to work well with 8 5th level PCs, because of the tier-break effect. You would basically have to swap out all the monsters. Maybe leave the orcs as easily defeatable, and Troglodytes > Lizardmen would help. The Duergar are ok as a threat if you increase their numbers. A young black dragon is no threat to 8 5th level PCs; if you want it to be threat you could use an adult black dragon but that might well kill some PCs. Yeah I'd pretty much resigned myself to some significant rework. Was thinking of tossing in a couple Tanarukks with the orcs near the door, and swapping the bridge guards for some number of Orc Red Fang of Shargaas riding giant bats (that seems like it would be pretty epic as they try to cross). Also pillaged the idea of the leader on the first level being an Oni. Some cool possibilities ...

Friday, 9th November, 2018


Thursday, 8th November, 2018

  • 04:17 PM - smbakeresq quoted S'mon in post Is Ranged really better than Melee?
    From https://5thsrd.org/combat/cover/ I can't see why cover wouldn't apply to melee attacks. It does but the cover would have to be between you and who you are attacking so that means the target would have to be 10’ away, so only applies to reach weapons. Cover is different in melee as the weapon is always attached to you and you are in all parts of the 5’ square and it is assumed you are reaching and attacking from different angles. In the situation where a wall or something say 3’ high but only 1’ thick is between 2 adjacent creatures fighting each other in melee I would play it by ear. In ranged the weapon leaves your space on a vector and that vector won’t change barring outside interference. As far as ranged combat in general, I would only make a few changes: 1. You can equip yourself with strength bows. Bows with higher draw strengths increase velocity and damage. This applies at all ranges. 2. Dexterity to damage should only apply at a limited range. The range should be ...
  • 01:52 PM - Li Shenron quoted S'mon in post Is Ranged really better than Melee?
    From https://5thsrd.org/combat/cover/ I can't see why cover wouldn't apply to melee attacks. It's not that cover doesn't apply to melee... it's that in melee you have a lot easier time to circumvent the cover. Someone moves behind an obstacle while you're in melee with him? You move behind the same obstacle too. Someone moves behind an obstacle 100ft away while you're shooting arrow at him? Without getting into the lengthy discussion (which as usual means, the longer the discussion, the less obvious what is the real answer), cover is indeed the most effective and natural defense against ranged attackers, while distance is the most effective and natural defense against melee attackers. The main advantage of a ranged attacker versus a melee-only opponent is defense, which comes automatically from the distance. The general assumption of the game is that if you invest too much on your ranged skills, you're neglecting other skills such as other defenses that you will need when distance is ...

Thursday, 1st November, 2018

  • 11:52 AM - 5ekyu quoted S'mon in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    Personally, I come up with something I'd like to run then go looking for players who'd like to play it. This may include old friends and people I've never met before. I think if the focus is The Group not The Game as with your group then it is necessary to find something everyone in The Group wants to play. Personally I would do much less GMing in that situation since I'd need to be enthusiastic about GMing something that suited everyone in The Group. Eg I know people who won't play 5e D&D, if I wanted them in The Group I wouldn't be able to run my favourite system. Yup... in the case in question we had been working off and on with one-shots with the designers as part of the playtest of that Starget via Spycraft game. Once the game came out there was intereste among some in playing in a campaign with it. So, when the current campaign wrapped after what was likely its 2-3 year run, the gang decided to try Stargate and i had the discussion with the one player who had not done much in the...
  • 05:17 AM - Aldarc quoted S'mon in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    Yes! They can't be players before they're playing!Players only love you when they're playing; say DMs they will come and they will go.

Wednesday, 31st October, 2018


Tuesday, 30th October, 2018

  • 11:23 AM - 5ekyu quoted S'mon in post Question on Ranger's and traps
    I'd think a low DC Survival check (or appropriate* description) would be fine to set it off without being caught. To disable it without triggering a Thieves' Tools check seems appropriate. *"I poke the trigger plate with my staff" would work - but cross off one staff. :D This comes down to the reference from XGtE i quoted above - about the Gm being open to a variety of options for "defeating" a trap. The official XGtE bear trap that is causing the Op so many questions gives as its defined *countermeasure* "A successful DC 10 Dexterity check using thieves’ tools disables it." That of course is in addition to the broad statement prior about this not being complete, just one example countermeasure. So, as others want to consider the different wording and definitions of disarm vs set off or whatever, it boils down to XGtE used defeat and disable - not specifically set-off or disarm and leaves it wide open for the Gm to adjudicate those as they see fit. Since a typical bear trap...


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