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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 04:27 PM
    This is not a genuine contrast. Consider the Star Wars example linked to in this blog: that GM needed some sort of stats for TIE fighters. That's prep. When I turn up intendeding to run 4e, I bring my MMs/MV with me, or some stats for NPCs/monsters that I've written up. Because 4e likes maps for combat resolution, I'll often have some maps too. When I turned up to run Traveller, I had...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 03:56 PM
    How do you see this example as relating to the thread topic? To me, it seems broadly consistent with the OP claim.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 03:51 PM
    As a player: to make choices that will express one's character and shape the outcome of whatever it is that is at stake in play. As a GM: to work with the players to establish whatever it is that is at stake in play, and then push the players (and thereby their PCs) in respect of it. Some people would rather have outcomes be determined by action resolution rather than dictated by the GM's...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 03:20 PM
    I'm not sure how else to put this. If the check succeeds, the players goal for his/her PC is realised. If the aura-reading succeeds, the feather has a trait that is suitable for dealing with a balrog (from memory, I think the PC was looking for Resistant to Fire). If the scavenging check in the tower succeeds, the PC finds the mace he is searching for. If the Circles check succeeds, the PC meets...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 02:23 PM
    Once there are stakes to the action declaration, it's not the case that the purpose of the move is to get the GM to relate some of the content of a fiction that s/he has made up. The player will have established some goal for his/her action - similar to the example of Aura Reading the feather. So the goal of the action declaration is to establish that whatever this is obtains. That's the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 02:09 PM
    Can you give me an example of a GM-worldbuilding game that uses "kickers" to start the action? I've never come across one.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 01:57 PM
    It's not an example of "story now" play at all. There's no stakes in the action declaration, for a start.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 06:54 AM
    Well, I am saying that RPGing can be done in this style, and produce an experience that is different from one based on worldbuilding. In my own view the experience is more fun. Others obviously take a different view. Here are three first sessions GMed in such a fashion: Burning Wheel; Cortex+ Heroic Fantasy; Classic Traveller. Here's a 4e first session which uses Dark Sun to set up a basic...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 05:58 AM
    Here are four actual play posts: * The PCs travel back in time and rescue an apprentice wizard trapped in a mirror; * The PCs, now in the present, dining with a baron whose trusted advisor is (secretly) their mortal enemy, notice that portraits of the baron's family include women who resemble the apprentice, one of whom turns out to be the baron's niece; * The PCs "rescue" the niece, and...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 05:24 AM
    I think less so than in classic D&D because the constraints are more relaxed (the combo of cantrips, and Arcana Unearthed-style slot use). That's not really my experience. I find that PC build in 4e is more like choosing to be a light cleric or an oath paladin or whatever - you are choosing some mechanical stuff that you think (i) will be fun, and (ii) will express your PC in the way that you...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 04:58 AM
    There are a number of differences. Here are some: * If the "no myth" game uses "kickers" or some similar technique then the initial situation may not be narrated by the GM at all. * If the "no myth" GM is framing a scene that doesn't follow directly from a prior episode of resolution, the content of the scene is established by reference to player cues, not the GM's conception of "the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 04:05 AM
    What I describe isn't particularly about "setting tourism." Every time a player talks about "scouting out" some location, or "gathering information", or similar episodes of "exploration", in the context of a GM-worldbuilding RPG, they are talking about having the GM tell them a story about the place s/he made up. Take the simplest example of dungeon play: Player: "I poke in front of me...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 03:30 AM
    A deck of magic cards is (i) a compilation of game moves that is (ii) compiled from a larger pool of game moves subject to certain constraints with (iii) the goal of optimising the moves across a range of circumstances not fully knowable in advance. A classic D&D caster's spell load out is (i) a compilation of game moves that is (ii) compiled from a larger pool of game moves subject to certain...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:13 PM
    Systems: Sorcerer; Dogs in the Vineyard; HeroQuest Revised; The Dying Earth Excitement factor: The first two are foundational systems for a whole style of RPGing (Vincent Baker describes DitV as barely more than a Sorcerer supplement, but I think he's being overly modest). HeroWars and HQ are systems that I've read and re-read a lot, and they've influenced my GMing a lot, but I've never...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:49 AM
    This is an instance of what I mean when I say that extensive world building by a GM means that a significant focus of play is having the GM tell the players stuff that the GM has made up, triggered by the actions that the players declare for their PCs. (So instead of the players looking through a GM-authored encyclopedia for the duergar entry, to learn what the GM has made up about duergar the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:15 AM
    I'm not really sure how deciding that there is no secret door in place X, and then not telling the players that until they (i) declare moves that get their PC to place X, and (ii) decide to search for a secret door there, counts as having cool things that ou can't wait to share! I'm happy to allow that, for some people, the absence of a secret door is a cool thing. But how is this an instance...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:51 AM
    There is nothing "amorphous" or "inconsistent" about a setting established in the course of play, including action resolution. And a world of that sort need not be particularly hard to understand. The "feeling" you refer to seems to involve, at its core, having someone else tell you a story about a place they made up.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:36 AM
    5e follows 4e in its spells having fixed effects, rather than duration and/or damage by level. This is a big part of achieving parity of mechanical effectiveness across classes.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:10 AM
    What are you saying I am blind to? The possible goodness of National Socialism? A conjectured impossibility of conceiving of Turkish culture and natinality independently of the Armenian Genocide? Or something else. I was contributing to a discussion about whether or not certain groups of human beings ("cultures") can be presented as evil or inimical per se. I think there is an obvious...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 08:52 AM
    Well, if the game is run just like a "worldbuilt" one but with the GM building the world on the fly, that will be true. But if the game is run "no myth" or simllarly, then that won't be true. I was referring to a particular sort of impossibility, namely, impossibility that results from the GM making a decision, secret from the players, that there is no secret door to be found; or the GM...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 07:37 AM
    The idea of "external modification" has come up quite a bit in this thread, but to some extent it's a red herring. The action declaration I search for a secret door is not a statement of external modification, nor an attempt at external modification. It is an in-character action declaration. But depending on how setting is established in a particular RPG - eg by prior GM worldbuilding,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 06:54 AM
    What method was used by the referee to keep the dreams you were exploring "stable" enough for you to try and form/verify coherent conjectures about their natures?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 06:46 AM
    Part of that OSR-esque aspect of DW, I think, is the focus on the primacy of the fiction. But the way that is actually worked through in play is (I think) utterly different.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th April, 2018, 12:04 PM
    Saying that "worldbuilding is bad" is like saying that <insert random sport or game here> is bad. There are various sports and games I don't really care for (eg golf); but I've got no reason to doubt the sincerity of other's enjoyment of them (either as spectator, participant, or both). What we can say is that there are connections between worldbuilding and other aspects of RPGing - especially...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th April, 2018, 11:37 AM
    The first system I know of that has a "one unique thing" element to PC building is Over the Edge (also Jonathan Tweet, about 20 years before 13th Age!). But there may be earlier versions of the idea. (I'm not counting points-buy or lifepath games, which allow any given PC to be unique but get there via a universal process.)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th April, 2018, 11:04 AM
    From the Dungeon World rulebook (p 49): Look over the character classes and choose one that interests you. To start with everyone chooses a different class; there arenít two wizards. If two people want the same class, talk it over like adults and compromise. . . . Later on, if youíre making a replacement character, you can choose a class someone else is already playing. And with...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th April, 2018, 10:56 AM
    I remember being on a panel, years (decades) ago now, where a majority were describing some particular neo-Nazi marchers as having been "oppressed" by the counter-marchers who shouted them down and disrupted their march. I and one other panel member were saying, "Hang on, they're Nazis." I'm hesitant to talk about Turks as a type, given that that seems to be one way of doing what this thread...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 01:41 PM
    I thought KotS came out before the core rule books?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 10:22 AM
    Well, it's different in different systems and different campaigns. A lot of posts in this thread describe various sorts of power-ups. That's their main function in classic D&D, once recovered; and as Exploder Wizard said, as yet undiscovered items are a motivation for playing the game (ie adventuring). In 4e, magic items aren't really a motivation for playing the game because (at least by...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 06:36 AM
    I don't know much about wiki threads. My own experience is that explaining techniques to someone who's not encountered them before can sometime be hard, as the audience may be making assumptions that they don't even realise they are making. This came up in the other current worldbuilding thread, where one poster read something about the GM narrating an NPC claiming to be a PC's parent, and...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 06:29 AM
    I haven't played enough DW to know how important equipment lists are in that game, but my default assumption would be "not super-important". In Cortex+ Heroic, for equipment to be worth noting on the sheet it has to be either: (i) a power or power set (so Captain America has his Vibranium Alloy Shield power set; the berserker in my Cortex+ Heroic Fantasy game has his Melee Weapon power; the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 06:12 AM
    Sure, there's that. There's also establishing some sort of shared understanding, culture etc in what continues to be a fairly specialised hobby. Venting frustration, connecting with like-minded hobbyists, and providing ideas/illustrations for yet further hobbyists, aren't mutually exclusive possibilities! Here's a recent post on the 4e sub-forum: I'm not going to say that my influencing...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 01:10 AM
    Whatever my view about evil PCs in games that use the D&D alignment system, the OP tells us that the cleric PC is not evil. And there's no evidence in the OP that anyone is being a jerk. (I guess it's possible the elf player is being a jerk - "Hey, Gruumsh-y, suck this up!" - but there's no indication of that.) Suppose the PC ends up leaving the group - OK, that happens. How is the game made...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 12:49 AM
    My first thought was anything CoC - but you flag the age-appropriateness issue. Tomb of Horrors is a D&D classic that is much more decision-making than combat, though personally I think it's very frustrating. White Plume Mountain and Castle Amber both have more combat, but also a lot of decisions and are a bit more "funhouse" than ToH. A nice scenario but probably hard to find is in the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 02:05 PM
    The words you quote aren't mine, they're Vincent Baker's. And of course he's putting them forward in explaining why he thinks the game is better if the GM avoids using "secret backstory".
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 01:59 PM
    The quote from Volo's Guide says that Gruumsh seeks revenge, by laying waste to the civilsed world. The slaughter seems to be a means to the end of laying waste, not an end in itself. There is no mention of a particular animus against elves - humans and dwarves seem to be equally hated, presumably because, together with elves, they constitute the bulk of the "civilsed world". Thinking about...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 01:45 PM
    Well, here's one example of an opening session. (1) I enjoy talking about RPGing. (2) I think there are some RPGers who might enjoy trying stuff that they haven't yet tried. (3) The flip-side of (1) and (2) - I sometimes find it frustrating when posters make mistaken claims about how RPGing must be. ******************
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 01:28 PM
    It bears on agency in the following way: if I, playing my PC, would like to discover a secret door here and now, the GM has already decided whether or not that is possible. Hence my agency, as a player, over the fiction concerning my character, is constrained by and mediated through the GM's unrevealed decision. You may be indifferent to that particular burden on this particular way of a...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 01:09 PM
    No one has said that he is. To repost part of my post to which you replied, with some additional bolding: A point that I - pemerton, not Eero Tuovinen - made is that if you are playing along the lines of the standard narrativistic model (which Eero outlines, nicely, but did not himself invent) then you have reason not to rely too much on secret backstory. I've just quoted my explanation of...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 07:50 AM
    I just had a look through that thread. I think some of the replies help identify what can be consequences of GM-centric worldbuilding, and "enforcement" of that in the course of actual play. Whether those are good or bad consequences is probably a matter of taste.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 07:28 AM
    Maybe I missed it in the OP, but why is it not the player of the elf who has, in this context, made a divisive character?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 06:23 AM
    Looking back through the first incarnation of this thread, I found the above post by Cam Banks. I think it's a good post. I'm not 100% sure if you're asking for actual play examples, or rather analyses of Darth Shoju's imaginary example. I can provide the former if you like, but for the moment will go with the latter. Here's the post in question: My first take on this is that there is...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 05:32 AM
    To (perhaps) repurpose your post: the possibilities that are implicit in the questions you ask (maybe the players establish some backstory; maybe the backstory is something shared among game participants; maybe some of the "backstory" is actually the result of high-stakes action resolution) is a helpful reminder that, when comparing novels or films to RPGing, it can be (and maybe always is?) a...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 04:21 AM
    Yes, and I would add - it allows the game to actually get going. And setting, backstory etc can then arise "organically" in play. (I put "organically" in inverted commas because it's a bit of a cheating word in this context - but hopefully my meaning is clear enough.) Which I think is already rationalistic/intellectualised in a way that is anachronistic, and (I'll controversially add)...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 04:05 AM
    The reason I referreed to Eero Tuovinen's essay, a long way upthread, is because it gives a very clear statement of the "standard narrativistic model", which is one method of "story now" RPGing. PbtA is another way, which emphasises scene-framing less and extrapolation from the fiction more. (PbtA is, in that way at least, closer to OSR.) In my experience there are some posters on ENworld who...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 03:18 AM
    Generally I agree, and think I've said as much in this thread (eg in the context of my use of GH). The difference between generic, trope-laden swords & sorcery city and Hardby]/i] is that the latter gives us a proper name to refer to the former. Large-scale maps, history etc play basically the same role. System is also a relevant consideration here. If overland travel is handled in a classic...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 01:26 AM
    I don't think I saw anyone make that claim. I thought that darkbard and AbdulAlhazred suggested (between them) that (i) quantifying amounts of knowledge is fraught, and that (ii) earlier people were having experiences that triggered cognitive processes and belief formation at something like the same rate as contemporary people. Longer life expectancies might be seen as a factor relevant to...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 12:57 AM
    Well, this goes back to something that was being discussed a few pages ago. I think that a system can have "heft" - in the sense of delivering PCs with some sort of orientation or incipient dramatic arc; and situations for those PCs to get involved in - without having pre-written worldbuilding. BW PCs have lifepaths, traits, relationships, beliefs. Traveller PCs have lifepaths, sometimes...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th April, 2018, 12:20 PM
    If you include, within your focus, how the fiction becomes what it is then your are not focusing strictly on the resultant fiction - ie your analysis has the character that AbdulAlhazred says it must have. If you don't include that within your focus, then you have not analysis at all. Concrete example, from the session that I GMed today: the PCs, travelling north along a ridge above a glacier,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th April, 2018, 12:11 PM
    I don't think you think a secret door is created in real life. But I do think that you think that, in real life, the player is searching for a secret door. Where is the search taking place, under ths analysis? S/he's searching the GM's notes - of, if the GM has no relevant notes, then s/he's searching for the GM's response generated through some appropriate heuristic - the one I described...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th April, 2018, 11:41 AM
    I'm pretty sure "mist" is a typo for "most", but it's kind-of funny because I think a lot of people's "knowledge" of places they haven't been to can be as if through a mist or distorting lens.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th April, 2018, 11:38 AM
    Some systems bring more "heft" with them than others. The experiences I was thinking of when I made my post were: starting a Burning Wheel game ; starting a Classic Traveller game (a bit of a cheat - I had rolled up two or three random worlds in advance, and so dropped them in when I needed a world - but I could have done that while the players were rolling their Pcs if I wanted to); and more...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th April, 2018, 03:18 AM
    Besides AbdulAlhazrad's point - how much is enough? - there is also the point - how does the GM decide whether or not the outcome is in doubt? This replicates all the same issues as finding the secret door - are the players expected to find out what the GM thinks is a useful way to disrupt the ritual? Or are they allowed to posit modes of disruption, with a check being used to ascertain their...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th April, 2018, 03:14 AM
    The point is that discovering a secret door in play, by way of resolving a declared action, doesn't simulate the authorship of something before the game. Here are two (related) ways in which this is so: (1) it is not presented as input into the fictional situation being resolved - rather, it is an outpute; (2) no one at the table knows whether or not the desired secret door will be part of the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th April, 2018, 02:54 AM
    shidaku, your post prompted a couple of thoughts in me. If the sheet of paper was literally blank, then there wouldn't be a RPG system to use! But if we mean "turning up to a session with the rules and that's it", well I've got no problem with that, and have done it from time to time. This reminded me of Ron Edwards's comment about "karaoke RPGing": This is a serious problem that arises...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th April, 2018, 03:18 PM
    This is why I keep saying that you are not distinguishing reality from fiction. I am going to restate these sentences, but with the reference (to real world, or fiction) made clear: 1 (pemerton): (A PC) discovering the door isn't the same as (the PC) creating the door or (the player) creating the door. 2a (Maxperson): You (the PC?) can't discover something that wasn't there in the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th April, 2018, 04:36 AM
    Returning to this - I at first took it to be a humorous aside, but on the chance that it's a genuine question, here's a straightfaced answer: The typical Cuthbertian, I think, regards the question as nonsense: similar to the refutation of Berkely's idealism by kicking a stone. For Tritherion it's trickier. The answer is, in effect, whatever the Kantian answer is to the same question, but I...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th April, 2018, 04:28 AM
    Nagol has already said some stuff in reply to this; I'll say a bit more. The PCs "stumbling across" a secret door really means that, at certain points, the GM tell the players that their PCs notice a secret door. These moments of telling can be regulated via a complex interaction of pre-authored and pre-mapped architecture, movement rules that require tracking the PC movement on the map, and...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th April, 2018, 04:12 AM
    Well, we're not clones! Maybe AbdulAlhazred's standards for "respecting success" are more liberal than mine. And it also turned out I was right in my skill challenge conjecture! The way you get successes in a skill challenge is by playing your character and engaging the fiction! (If your RPG's mechanics pull away from the fiction, then you've got bad mechanics - and yes, I'm looking at 3E...
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    Saturday, 14th April, 2018, 04:05 AM
    I can see that. As I said in the post to which you responded, I'm sure heraldry can be made important in all sorts of ways - I just don't myself have a good sense of what those are. One of the interesting things about RPGing is the range of fictional elements that can be given significance by the players. My Burning Wheel PC has cooking skill, and an Instinct to always have a fire while...
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    Saturday, 14th April, 2018, 03:57 AM
    What I'm asking is, why would discovering a secret door be anti-climactic? As I posted, searching for a secret door doesn't defuse tension - if we don't find the door, we'll be captured! Being captured isn't anti-climactic. Nor is escaping via a newly-discovered secret door. This is also why I raise the railroading issue. The only mindset from which I can see that escaping via a secret...
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    Saturday, 14th April, 2018, 03:24 AM
    In the Sherlock Holmes stories, Holmes from time to time meets charaters who, up until then, have not been written about. From the point of view of the reader, they are new characters. But no one asserts that Sherlock Holmes's meeting of them created them. The same is true of the secret door. The PCs' discovery of it didn't create it. The engineer and stone masons who constructed it created...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 13th April, 2018, 05:25 PM
    I'm fairly sceptical of conjecture about how a RPG will play made by players who have never even read its rules, or the rules for a similar game, let alone had experience of playing it or seeing how it plays.
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    Friday, 13th April, 2018, 04:04 PM
    Here's a diffrence between the two cases you cite: it seems to me that most of the posters who are expressing these concerns about consistency as a major issue are not basing that on actual experience, but rather on conjecture. Whereas AbdulAlhazred is attributing his claim to actual experience.
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    Friday, 13th April, 2018, 03:43 PM
    The secret door doesn't exist after the action is resolved either. It's imaginary. No. We're talking about establishing fiction. But not all fiction is backstory. Not all fictional elements which, in the story, precede the present moment of action declaration, are backstory - at least in the sense that Eero Tuovinen uses that term. The two sides of the snippage sit in some sort of tension....
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 13th April, 2018, 03:33 PM
    AbdulAlhazred is speaking for himself, just as I'm speaking for myself. He's also envisaging a skill challenge-type structure, where getting to the ultimate goal (whatever that is) requires X successes before 3 failures. In the structure of a skill challenge, getting a success by way of finding a secret door might change the narrative trajectory, and might change the difficulty (by allowing a...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 13th April, 2018, 03:29 AM
    I don't know about you, but in my game when the PCs find a secret door nothing gets created except some new sound waves - as one person tells a story to another person. In other words: at the table, a story about a secret door is authored. In the fiction, a secret door is discovered. No secret door is created.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 13th April, 2018, 03:23 AM
    I personally wouldn't use your descriptions here, because they elide the difference between reality and fantasy. I would say that in your style, much of the fiction is authored in advance. (And if the GM does have to make stuff up on the fly, s/he does her best to make it as if it had been authored in advance - so it should be "objective", neutral etc - rolls on tables are one popular way of...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 05:26 PM
    This is certainly not accurate in relation to my posts. I've spelled out in some detail (mostly in replies to Imaculata) what I want in a RPG - for instance, that I want stuff like religous doctrine, dispositions of NPCs, details of what might be found where, etc to come out in the play of the game, rather than to be decided in advance of play by meta-level negotiation among the game...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 05:22 PM
    That's the sort of "meta-level" thing I mentioned in my post. It's not personally how I like to approach things - it seems to put too much of the action into pre-play negotiation, rather than letting it actual come out in the play of the game. Other's mileage may (and I think does) vary.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 05:13 PM
    No. An action declaration to create a secret door would be "I build a secret door". It would be tested on Stonemason or Engineering or some comparable skill, or perhaps - if being done magically (as per the D&D spell Phase Door or something similar) by testing a sorcerous ability. As opposed to "I look for a secret door", which is tested on some sort of Perception or Search ability. It's...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 12:42 PM
    Can you say more about what you mean by "input"? I can say that, in practical terms, when eventually I start to form some views about my PC's order's doctrine, I don't want the GM to hand me a page of notes but then solicit my input on what I do or don't like about it. I'll establish my own doctrine. (And the GM can either say "yes", or make me roll a skill check: if I fail the roll, the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 12:17 PM
    I don't think this is true at all. It depends on the system and techniques being used.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 12:15 PM
    That's what I called "weaksauce" upthread. If you have failures like that, then of course checking for doors can be anti-climactic, as there's no cost to the check failing. But that's not how systems that allow a full suite of action declarations work. They are generally "fail forward" systems. Upthread I described this aspect of the BW Circles rules: if a Circles check fails, the GM is...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 11:55 AM
    And? Why wouldn't he? But its certainly not an instance of the "standard narrativistic model". He's not saying that the way you play is the only form of proper RPG. (I mean, he actually instances a number of games, including Sorcerer, DitV and HeroWars/Quest, which do not work like what you and Lanefan do.)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 11:51 AM
    No more than they are "winging it" when they attack an orc! It's just action declaration and resolution. Why is trying to find a secret door less exciting than trying to fight your way out? This was discussed a long way upthread. Does the player automatically have the power to buy these potions from the Moon cultists? Does this action declaration actually let the player right down in...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 11:26 AM
    Well, this is true only for certain values of what they do. The players in your game, for instance, have 100% control over whether or not their PCs search for a secret door. They don't have 100% control over whether or not their PCs discover a secret door. Well, I'm not sure what "force fit" means here, and nor what you mean by "doesn't make sense". I mean, if there is a stone wall in an...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 10:20 AM
    I'll agree that each page is potential worldbuilding - in that, in advance of what actually happens, it remains an open possibility that it might get picked up in play. With one qualification, which is also related to the question of whether that increases its value: if you like that sort of thing in play, then its value is increased by its potential to be picked up in play; whereas if you...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 09:58 AM
    I hope it's OK if I take this in two stages. First, about limits - which means, for the sake of discussion, I'll treat what I did as worldbuilding even though I don't think it is (that'll be the second stage). I don't think what I wrote up limits my creativity. It does limit the creativity of my players, should one of them want to play a priest, theologian etc of one of these religions - eg if...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 03:01 AM
    I'm explaining my post to which you responded. A different poster asserted that if a game without setting is good, then a game with setting will be better, because it has all the previous good things plust the good things that setting brings. I am disputing that claim: adding a setting is likely to impose constraints on permissible or effective action declarations, and that is not...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 02:52 PM
    It's a blog arguing that "narration sharing" - ie allowing players to introduce key elements into the fiction at moments of crunch - undermines play in the "standard narrativistic model". This main argument is introduced by some more general comments about how narration sharing can conflict with the reasons for having GM authority over backstory even in non-"standard narrativistic model" games...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 02:36 PM
    Well, the poster to whom I replied seem to be asserting that worldbuilding in advance, presumably by the GM, is going to improve the richness of the RPG experience. I deny that. If you think that neither method in relation to novels has been proven to be better, then presumably you accept at least the weak version of my claim, namely, that the claim that worldbuilding in advance must...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 11:18 AM
    No. When I'm playing my PC leading his horse along the river while looking out for signs of fellow members of my order, my worry that I might not find anyone is not a worry about what the GM has written. It's a worry about the fate of my character, which will be determined by how I play the game. (In this particular case, by the details of my Circles check.) After all, if your way was really...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 11:14 AM
    I'm not the one who said "opportunities will knock" - that was Maxperson's phrase. I asked him where they come from - player (in which case it's the agendas he claims to reject) or GM (in which case it's the menu he claims to reject). The fact that the player might ignore any given opportunity doesn't actually answer my question. How is that not "informally signalling an agenda"? What do you...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 11:13 AM
    As well as what AbdulAlhazred said, I'm pretty confident that Eero Tuovinen is a hell of a lot more learned about Sorcerer, DitV, HeroWars/Quest and the other "standard narrativistic model" games he mentions than posters who have never even read the rules for them! And even consider some of the non-narrativistic games he mentions - Lanefan and Maxperson, have you ever played Trail of Cthulhu?...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 10:41 AM
    This. There's more to RPGing life than learning the layout of the GM's map! Why? Consequential decisions isn't a table-and-player-independent category. It is extremely relative. I'm not saying that the decision about how to approach the giants could never be consequential. But clearly it wasn't in the example I provided, because the players didn't say anything about it! And for fun,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 09:49 AM
    Actual novelists establish setting as part of the process of writing. There's no reason why that can't be done in RPGing. A pre-authored setting can undermine what might otherwise be a strength in a game: for instance, it can rule out the possibility of certain actions (for the PCs) which otherwise might have been possible.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 09:45 AM
    I'll confine my reply to setting that is for the purposes of RPGing. If the history, or the religions, don't factor into play - aren't a feature of the actual situations that the PCs find themselves in and hence which the players are engaging with - then I don't think it counts as RPG setting/RPG wourldbuilding - because no world has been built in which RPGing is taking place! A concrete...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th April, 2018, 04:15 PM
    I think I have two reasons for disagreeing with this. One is about the relationship between commercial products and actual play. I bought the 4e Monster Manual. I use it as my default source of lore for my main 4e game - I told the players that at the start of the campaign (ie "I want to run a default 4e game - who's in?"), and have stuck to it. The MM tells me that orcs worship Gruumsh, so...
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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.

Monday, 22nd May, 2017

  • 01:22 AM - J.L. Duncan mentioned S'mon in post Consequence and Reward in RPGs
    I remember reading Lewis' articles in White Dwarf ca 1984 and he was pretty obstreperous back then too, so I don't think y'all special snowflake Millennials should get too het up about it, he was slagging off the kind of people who liked gonzo Arduin Grimoire style play long before you were born... :p S'mon; I prefer... "before you were an itch in your Daddy's pants." Just remember kids, I will be passing out participation trophies and the end of this comments section (too combative?) :lol:Seriously though, good article. Unlike some here, I think it is appropriate to evaluate the trend in specific RPG (and see how that has changed) rather then blanket them all together. I'm going on 40-ish and the changing trend of what a RPG does or what is supposed to do can cause a gap based on player generation... And get off my lawn, while you're at it.

Sunday, 30th April, 2017

  • 08:51 AM - Libramarian mentioned S'mon in post How do players know they are in the "wrong" location in a sandbox campaign?
    ...s caution. If the PCs do survive an overleveled location then they get correspondingly greater rewards. One of my issues with 5e for sandboxing is it's too easy for the PCs to prevent or ameliorate everything bad that can happen to them outside of an outright TPK. So the difference in danger levels is not very subtle: you're either in basically safe territory, or TPK territory. This makes it too compelling from a minimax perspective to stick to the "right" path. In a system with more random individual PC deaths (like 1e), even the "easy" areas are still kind of scary so there's more incentive to be bold because if you stick to easy areas you're still going to run into a poisoned needle or cursed scroll or something eventually anyway. It's important in a sandbox that there is no path with negligible risk. Otherwise that's too obviously the right path. There should not be safe areas and dangerous areas. More like meaningless death areas and glorious death areas :devil: It sounds like S'mon uses the death of NPC companions to punish the players without killing off PCs, which is interesting.

Monday, 24th April, 2017

  • 09:21 PM - Igwilly mentioned S'mon in post On character wealth an d game balance
    The general philosophy in 4e is that, basically, the rules are abstractions for certain purposes, not the ultimate rules and facts of the gaming world. S'mon did a lot of the work for me, but I’ll add: the cost of components is what the PC pays for such components. With a merchant. The system was devised for adventurers buying and selling stuff, not merchants. The rest of the economy works in any way the DM wants to work. In addition, there are rules regarding damaging objects. In fact, almost every power that target living beings can affect objects too, at the DM discretion; such tricky terrain effects are, in fact, encouraged; and add to that page 42.

Friday, 21st April, 2017

  • 06:13 AM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post Judgement calls vs "railroading"
    ... inconsistent with the Gygaxian mechanics (eg chances to open doors, to find secret doors, for thieves to pick pockets, etc), and then publishes a whole series of modules that don't seem to make picking pockets, opening doors or even cooking food for that matter very significant aspects of play. To the extent that it has a design, it is (i) to enable players to build PCs that have a fair bit of colour, and (ii) to enable the GM to run a game in which the (limited because inherited from Gygaxian skilled play) mechanics play at best a modest role in determining how things pan out. It suits the late-80s/90s GM-driven approach pretty well, but not much else that I can see. 3E I can't comment on, and 5e I won't. But 4e also doesn't really set out to support multiple styles of play. It pushes back very hard against GM management of the fiction during combat, for instance, simply because of the range and depth of resources that it gives players (via PC build elements, action points, etc). S'mon has posted an anecdote about his first 4e session (which I will try to get right), where he played a fighter whose first round action was a charge across the room, then an attack with a strong (daily or encounter) power, then an action point to enable a second attack with a strong (daily or encounter power - which ever one was left), as a result of which the BBEG was dead. (Without knowing the actual PC build, I will speculate that base damage was 1d8+5, so that the two powers, one 2w and one 3w, would do 5d8+10, or around 30 average damage, which with a bit of luck is enough to kill a typical 1st or 2nd level NPC/monster.) The GM got quite upset, because this wasn't what s/he had had planned for the encounter: s/he was not expecting the deployment by a player of his action resolution resources to make such a significant impact on the fiction independently of GM mediation. Now one person's "lack of support" is another person's "look what I can do with a nudge, a wink and a few house...

Friday, 17th March, 2017

  • 05:56 PM - The Fighter-Cricket mentioned S'mon in post Combats and Ressources (again...) - How to condense Adventures
    Thanks for all of your advice! Right now I think I'll try to solve the issue with the Tweet Fix (wonder why it is called that). I will tell the party that the surroundings of Stonefang Pass are too dangerous (and too damp :) ...) to get an extended rest. I'll also fiddle with combat difficulty a bit and see how it works out. Thinking longer about the whole thing I also wonder if 4E really was specifically intended initially to have the 4-5 encounter "workday". DMG2 speaks about that in the segment "Pacing" but I really didn't find any other official info on that. S'mon makes a good point imo if he says that none of the HPE adventures really cared about that kind of pacing. Only the Encounters program had this built into its mechanics (as I re-read some of it thanks to the mention of Rolenet). I always thought about 4E's challenge being about how to survive a fight with tactics (i.e. movement, HS management, battlefield control etc.) and also about when you use your daily ressources in the long run. So would you say that the long run isn't as important as it looks like and the main challenge being about the single encounter? Wonder what you guys think about that.

Saturday, 25th February, 2017

  • 04:14 AM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post Martial Practice : Blood Demand
    ... you could get a few copper pieces. Most games aren't quite that crazy, but there was still a real sense that getting a good item was a SCORE, not just some checkbox that was mandated by being level 3 or whatever. By replacing the risk/reward ratio system of older D&D the game has lost its aspect of 'taking a gamble'. Even if you run a game as a sandbox, the players know what treasure they'll get. You don't have that sort of option anymore to say "well, you COULD go down the stairs to level 2, the treasures are bigger..." so to speak. <snip> Admittedly, gambling with your character is not always very compatible with developing the character and story; it can be though. I mean, many heroes take a big risk, its a part of the job, and its good if there's a big material reward there, something to signify that. I agree that the contrast with AD&D is huge. As you and Tony Vargas are discussing, you can probably depart (at the risk of player disgruntlement, I guess) - and I think S'mon has departed too. And I in my (still fairly new) Dark Sun game we will be using inherent bonuses, which means probably treasure will be much more haphazard than in my main 4e game. But there is another D&D tradition that has always had issues with the dungeoneering gamble approach: the sword gifted to the fighter by the hermit cleric in the Foreword to Moldvay Basic; the daisho of OA Samurai (and as best I remember it James Wyatt, in his 3E version of OA, essentially converted 3E's wealth-by-level guidelines into a system of treasure parcels for OA characters, to make the treasure system more consistent with the desired tropes); the elven cloaks gifted by Galadriel; etc. The fact that 4e just went ahead and did this (even if under a misleading heading), rather than faffing around with some sort of halfway house like wealth-by-level guidelines, I thnk is just another sign of the delibereatness and the crispness of its design. It knows what it wants to do, and it just does it!

Friday, 24th February, 2017

  • 03:19 AM - Neonchameleon mentioned S'mon in post Speculation about "the feelz" of D&D 4th Edition
    ...the range of experiences in my regular group they are all going to know more about a range of things things than I am and are going to ask about it (the latest was panic buying in a city on the edge of revolution). And I'm going to know about things they don't. Also I like it when newbies try to DM. And I have never had a DM, new or veteran, who hasn't done some things better than I do. And I've never had a DM, new or veteran, that hasn't at some point made me think I could do things better. We all have different skills in different areas. This above all else is why I can't stand pure DM fiat; I find the game works better and is more realistic and immersive when it's a synthesis of the table (and if it's meant to be pure DM fiat I wonder what I'm paying for - what I want is a robust system that helps me do better than I would if there weren't rules and helps bring us to the same page without worrying about different people at the table having different angles in a bad way). Oh, and S'mon, yup, Drago's great!

Tuesday, 26th April, 2016

  • 08:50 AM - Sadras mentioned S'mon in post 4th to 5th Edition Converters - What has been your experience?
    How many (very ballparkish) waves until the PCs falter, do you guys think? Yes I know there are several variables and this can't be answered with absolute precision. Just give me a "I'm a pro D&D vet and x waves sounds in the ballpark" answer. In that kind of a scenario, craploads is the right answer. I've never tested this, but I'm willing to put my head on the block and say over 100 waves easy provided the orcs don't get smarter and retreat. So between 100 waves and endless! Fatigue would most likely kick in first. You have 3 PCs with a combined 7 attacks with the two warriors getting around +8/+9 (if not more) to hit against AC13. That is around 20% or less of a chance to miss. They're dropping a wave more often than not EVERY round. And those that remain require a 15 or higher to hit. As @S'mon said the AC would be 20 or more. Our Battlemaster is level 9, and his Armour Class is 20/21. My experience with a Barbarian is strictly theory-crafted. No one has yet selected to play a Barbie at out table, but on paper he looks like a beast. The major area of danger I see is the Bounded Accuracy one. Even with their respective damage reduction, the PCs will be getting hit a LOT. And healed a LOT, don't forget the support class which will also be 12TH level. Regarding Bounded Accuracy, it mostly depends on the initiative order. That is key. Compare that to canon fodder to hit vs AC in AD&D and 3.x. Those ridiculously in favor of the PCs (and 3.x was the most bloody awful iteration of the Fighter there could have been from STs, to default melee control, to the basic action economy working against their fundamental attack mode, etc) All I'm saying that IMHO the 5e Cleave option is not half as impactful as you suggest, that is all. In a pretty specific scenario sure the Clea...

Monday, 25th April, 2016

  • 10:09 PM - Sadras mentioned S'mon in post 4th to 5th Edition Converters - What has been your experience?
    That is, unless folks are running with the Cleave module to amend the Fighter loss of "reaping" and the Mark module to partially (but certainly not wholly) amend the "sticky melee" change. Based on our table's experience, I have to agree with S'mon here, the Cleave option is not a noticeable effect when dealing with mooks, we use it - but it is tactical positioning that plays a much bigger role especially for Battlemasters.

Monday, 18th April, 2016

  • 12:10 AM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post Is it houseruling to let a torch set fire to things?
    ...ell description is exhaustive. The rules nowhere tell us that those sorts of lists are exhaustive, though. So you are extrapolating. I favour a different extrapolation, which I think does a better job of integrating all the salient rules text. Specific beats general. All that fireball says is all that matters. Your general rules and your arguments about them are irrelevant.But fireball says nothing about its description being exhaustive, or about the general rules being displaced. Specific beats general and spells are explicitly pointed out to be specific rules, so your general rule does not apply. <snip> general rules are superseded by fireball's specific rules. A fireball can only damage objects that are not worn. Unless there is a house rule to say otherwise.That word "only" is your interpolation, just as it is seebs' interpolation. It does not appear in any of the spell descriptions were are discussing. By your own lights, therefore, it is a house rule! (Also, S'mon is quite correct to point out that, in natural language, there is no general rule that lists and descriptions are exhaustive.) Just out of curiosity, how do you think the bolded spells damage objects if not by burning (igniting) them?They damage by burning. That text takes the effect of those spells out of the GM's adjudication, as I already stated in my earlier post. The bottom line, for, me, is this: the game does not mandate that a NPC can be burned to death by Burning Hands or Fireball, and yet it is a house rule for the GM to describe his/her clothes as charred or damaged. The rule is that longswords do 1d8 slashing damage and are versatile. Should you decide that it does 1d8 slashing damage and it is versatile, what you decide still applies to my table since it is RAW.No. The text applies to you, but not my interpretation of it.


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Saturday, 7th April, 2018

  • 02:07 PM - Arlough quoted S'mon in post Points of Light - replacement for random encounters
    Have you read this? Make sure you read all six pages, you might find it handy. Thanks for the link. That is an excellent article and is going to be easy to integrate into the proposed PoL system. Especially if you consider an area's threat level to be the same as the Zone level. One thought on the number of rolls per day. 2h seems a bit often to me. Especially considering that those are only random encounters which are kind of "fillers" during the adventure progress. You don't want to spend the evening hacking through 5 random encounters during a single day, I guess. But the usual single random encounter isn't much fun, too. So maybe two roles a day and one per camp or such thing sounds more reasonable to me. Or maybe one per day and if you rolled even you roll again? Btw, is L+3 the highest encounter level suggested by the DMG for a party? After talking this over with a few others in my FLGS, we came to the conclusion that the players roll: 2 hours after entering a zone/territory, en...

Wednesday, 4th April, 2018

  • 07:51 PM - Ancalagon quoted S'mon in post Coin sizes
    Historically before the modern era of central banks holding gold bullion (inflating gold prices) 20:1 for silver:gold was very common. In late 5th century Greece following the influx of Persian gold the ration fell to 10:1, but it had earlier been 20:1 and 20:1 or thereabouts has been more common.This is correct. I've seen values in the 1:12 to 1:15 range in my research. The modern ratio shouldn't be used.

Sunday, 25th March, 2018


Saturday, 24th March, 2018

  • 08:13 PM - Ancalagon quoted S'mon in post The best solution for longswords
    Sorry I meant 1hw has longer reach. Lol - oh the number of posts launched by a typo...
  • 05:05 PM - Ancalagon quoted S'mon in post The best solution for longswords
    True; OTOH a weapon wielded one handed has less reach than the same weapon wielded 2-handed. Actually... it's the reverse, and you can do a pretty simple test to prove yourself that it it's the case. Take a sword like object (some kind of stick will do). Plant your feet on the ground, grab the stick with two hands, and extend it forward as far as possible, arms straight. This is your maximal reach. Now remove one hand, and twist/push forward the shoulder of the hand still holding the "sword" - you will gain at least 4-6 inches of reach. You can't do this with a two handed grip, because while you put one shoulder forward, the other one pulls back. This difference however, while it matters a *lot* in real life, in D&D shouldn't matter much - reach is measured in 5 feet square increments, not inches... edit: mind you, a two handed grip does allow you to use longer weapons! I was talking about the same weapon used one or two handed. In earlier editions it would work ...
  • 11:11 AM - Chase Skylark quoted S'mon in post Amazon: A deeply discounted PHB heads towards the top 10 and overall rankings still really high
    Players? I think most players buy a PHB, certainly at my Meetup. Unlike 4e where most players ran their PCs off the charbuilder software - which meant IME they never got the hang of most of the rules. At any rate, even if most players buy nothing, a lot more PHBs are sold than DMGs & MMs. That seems odd to me. Every person in my group and most at the FLGS have the PHB and at least one other book, SCAG, MM, XGtE, or some module they'd like to run. Licensed products help too with "official dice" and nolzur's miniatures. A PHB for 20 bucks starts a potential long term customer.

Monday, 6th November, 2017


Thursday, 2nd November, 2017

  • 05:39 PM - Yaarel quoted S'mon in post [Homebrew] For an easy realistic economy, what gp conversion rates do you prefer?
    I don't think anyone has ever used platinum for coinage. I mean, platinum never existed before the modern world. It was discovered in 1735. Incidentally, the US mints platinum coins. Technically, they are legal tender. But they are minted for coin collectors, and are sometimes platinum versions of other coins.
  • 05:35 PM - Yaarel quoted S'mon in post [Homebrew] For an easy realistic economy, what gp conversion rates do you prefer?
    Yup. I think the 10:1 scale of most D&D editions works fine, with 1 copper = $1 approx at current rates. A large silver coin at $10 and a small gold coin at $100, works fine for a 1:10 ratio. Even a large coin of copper is only worth about 10Ę. For copper to equal $1, it would have to be 145 g, roughly 5 ounces, too large for a coin.
  • 05:21 PM - Yaarel quoted S'mon in post [Homebrew] For an easy realistic economy, what gp conversion rates do you prefer?
    Historically gold tended to be worth 10-20 times its weight in silver BTW, not 80+ times. 10-1 rate fits eg Greece ca 400 BC and I think is fine for game purposes. One outlier is 4e D&D where 1 platinum = 100gp, there I describe platinum coins as large plates or discs. But in todays modern economy, gold is absolutely more valuable than silver. Both platinum and silver have fallen deeply in value, while gold remains solid. Also, there was no (recognition of) platinum before the modern economy.

Tuesday, 31st October, 2017

  • 10:45 PM - Ilbranteloth quoted S'mon in post Fast Initiative ideas?
    I'm about to start a new 5e campaign in an old-school style. I'm a bit worried that the initiative rolling & tracking may be a major time sink and slow down combat & thus the game - for this game it will be important that the PCs can complete a delve/expedition and get back to base at the end of a ca 4-hour game session. What are good ways to speed up initiative/combat sequence that work well with 5e? Initiative is old school. Although in AD&D RAW was roll a d6 for each side, with very few modifiers (including Dexterity). Low roll goes first, Dex is consulted if there's a tie. Having said that, even though I've written up a roundless initiative/combat system that's very, very fast (and not so different from Hackmaster and similar approaches), my new group has fallen into the approach I've been using for several years, which is no initiative. I've included a variation using rounds, and a more complete version without rounds. Both are very fast in terms of play at the table, al...
  • 07:44 PM - Tony Vargas quoted S'mon in post Fast Initiative ideas?
    What are good ways to speed up initiative/combat sequence that work well with 5e? What I've done to speed up cyclical initiative is compare initiative to the monsters', the player that beats the monsters goes first, then progress clockwise or counter-clockwise around the table (depending on which catches more high-initiative PCs). Monsters go when it gets to me. Worked for running 8+ player Encounters tables inside of 2hrs.
  • 07:40 PM - hejtmane quoted S'mon in post Fast Initiative ideas?
    I'm about to start a new 5e campaign in an old-school style. I'm a bit worried that the initiative rolling & tracking may be a major time sink and slow down combat & thus the game - for this game it will be important that the PCs can complete a delve/expedition and get back to base at the end of a ca 4-hour game session. What are good ways to speed up initiative/combat sequence that work well with 5e? I use the Popcorn method a slight varation but it has been great and everyone likes it even me the DM http://angrydm.com/2013/09/popcorn-initiative-a-great-way-to-adjust-dd-and-pathfinder-initiative-with-a-stupid-name/
  • 03:18 PM - Blue quoted S'mon in post Fast Initiative ideas?
    No, I'm not interested in running this campaign like a 4e campaign. This game is specifically going to have an old-school feel. Okay, so to restate the problem from reading multiple replies, the problem is that when you run encounters that are way below a real challenge that initiative takes a long time. What I'm having a problem reconciling though is that you seem to be willing to go for an entirely un-D&D feel in having an initiative system that's a complete break, but unwilling to address the root problem of vastly easy combats in a way that's reminiscent of other versions of D&D because it doesn't add to the "old-school feel". Are you looking for a faster initiative system but only restricting yourself to old-school ones, or are you willing to try something new, including potentially on the root problem of <1 round encounters? As a side note, the "one orc" encounter is where initiative matters a great deal since it determines if the foe gets their single action off or not, as well as...
  • 03:15 PM - robus quoted S'mon in post Fast Initiative ideas?
    I generally find the system works great for big set piece battles a la 4e encounters, but for "one orc" type encounters the init rolls can take longer than the actual fight, & half the PCs never get to act. It's particularly a problem when the PCs are in a 10' corridor, very common in old-school dungeons. I'm thinking of something like "roll init vs DC set by target init, those who win go first in order of closeness to target". But "d6, 4-6 your side goes first" also sounds good. :D Alternatively you could have the players pre-roll PC initiative at the beginning of the session and at the end of each combat encounter. That way you can roll for just the Orc's initiative and then smoothly transition into combat in the already established initiative order.
  • 01:42 PM - Li Shenron quoted S'mon in post Fast Initiative ideas?
    I generally find the system works great for big set piece battles a la 4e encounters, but for "one orc" type encounters the init rolls can take longer than the actual fight, & half the PCs never get to act. Then you shouldn't even run that encounter... maybe just roll 1 attack for the orc to see if it deals some damage to whoever is in the front, and consider it killed in the first round. IOW, treat the "one orc" as a trap.
  • 01:11 PM - Li Shenron quoted S'mon in post Fast Initiative ideas?
    What are good ways to speed up initiative/combat sequence that work well with 5e? I don't think it's easy to speed it up by changing how initiative works, it's already fast. Variants won't really make it significantly faster, because the standard initiative is just one d20 roll per PC once per battle. If you want to speed up combat in general, you can try running it with TotM instead of using a battlemat, but it's not guaranteed and you may even get the opposite effect, because it depends on your players! If your players normally spend a lot of time to optimize their actions and movements on the battlemat, then in TotM everything might go faster as you can't keep track of exact positions and distances; but at the same time, your players might decide not to be on board with TotM inherent vagueness and to start asking lots of questions, essentially to be able to still make tactical decisions, and TotM may end up being even slower for your group. If you think TotM doesn't work, you hav...

Monday, 30th October, 2017

  • 08:08 PM - Lanefan quoted S'mon in post Is 5e Basically Becoming Pathfinder 2e?
    I have not found difficulty getting players despite restrictions.You do have one small advantage... Population of London: something like 8 million Population of Whitehorse: something like 23,000.
  • 06:15 PM - Tony Vargas quoted S'mon in post Does progression rate slow down?
    I can't really complain about the progression rate, though it probably wouldn't hurt to slow down a lot after 10th and not worry about trying to hit 20th. The kind of stories we've been creating have been great fun but could just as well have worked with 11th-12th level PCs as 18th-20th I think. OTOH the game remains totally playable at Epic level, the PCs never seem unstoppable - just very very powerful. :DThe exp tables help the campaign to slow down and savor 5e's ~5-10th level 'sweet spot,' and, there's presumably just less to 'do' at the highest levels, fewer adventures that call for such powerful heroes, so moving through those levels more quickly makes a certain amount of sense...

Wednesday, 25th October, 2017

  • 01:07 PM - kenmarable quoted S'mon in post Harassment At PaizoCon 2017
    If it makes you feel any better your wife and daughter are safer now then they ever were at any other time in history. No, it doesnít make many of us feel any better. Sure, they arenít going to get burned at the stake, but most people arenít satisfied with a bar set that low. ďBetter than historyĒ is not the best we can do. That's not true and you'd be unwise to believe it; men are a lot more likely to be physically attacked than women. Iím thinking you have some apples and oranges in that pie. But even if it is true, so what? Itís not a contest. If someone wants to have better locks on their house or a security system, distracting with talk about airbags because they are more likely to be in a car crash than to have their house robbed is not helpful. 1. There exists a problem in our community. 2. The problem is experienced frequently enough that it has driven talented professionals and fans out of the community. 3. There are ways people have been successful in reducing this...


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