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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 01:12 AM
    This goes right back to the OP! Absolutely. I don't get this idea that "different" = "narrower", or that "GM curated experience" = "caters to/generates a wide range of experiences". For instance: if player X wants to play Fate, and player Y wants to play Moldvay Basic, a game in which the GM curates Ideals/Bonds/Flaws for X, while rolling wandering monsters for Y, isn't giving either of...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 01:02 AM
    I don't think the latter is system-independent at all. Compare Manbearcat's example of DitV, where the system establishes a relationship with the PC's brother; or In a Wicked Age (that's on my mind befause I GMed a short session of it not too long ago) which establishes interlinked and conflicting "best interests" for each character (PC and NPC). Ie not system-independent. OK, replace...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 12:45 AM
    I thought it was fairly similar to you. That was what I was trying to get at; and it seemed similar to CoC in that respect (insanity in CoC rather than death). This seems broadly similar to Umbran on Dread: it is known that some crisis will occur (the collapse of the tower => PC death; the need to confront the PC's brother); but there is uncertainty around when/how this will happen (until...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:45 PM
    Ovinomancer Going to work backwards. 1) I’m talking about the play default. 2) I’m talking about players skilled in the system. 3) What I’m saying with respect to Blades vs D&D is probably more perceived “loss condition”, “actual loss condition”, and the general brutality of play.
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:57 PM
    Sorry for disappearing. Been in the middle of a career transition while ramping up my training regimen. Here is my basic contention: The different expectations, culture of play, and specific play techniques in utilized in game like Sorcerer provides an experience that does not easily arise when playing modern Dungeons and Dragons. The same is true for Moldvay B/X. although modern D&D can...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:28 PM
    As a GM, 4e is: A high-octane, action-adventure game featuring (1) mythical heroes who each contribute coherently (with respect to their theme/archetype) and meaningfully to conflict-charged scenes and where (2) GMing is frustrationless and rewarding due to the elegance and robustness of the system.
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:34 PM
    I’ll bring up the play example for Dogs that I often cite. When the player in my home game puts “My brother is my hero” on his character sheet and his Relationship attribute has both helping and complicating dice, everyone at the table knows that something inconvenient to a happy/tidy future is going to happen with his brother. The suspense-inducing questions are: “When?” And when I...
    23 replies | 423 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:15 PM
    Mallus If you’d like, give me some playbook info for one of your PCs and xp triggers for the character/game and I’ll give you an example of the kind of scene I’d frame them into (and how the resolution mechanics would support the scene snowballing). If the game has unique mechanics beyond 2d6+ and 6-, 7-9, 10+ results, it would be nice to know that as well. Also, if the game is broken down...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:37 AM
    I've never played Dread, but have read quite a bit about it. Looked at through the lens of Baker's blog post, I want to say (as you do) that we all know that the Jenga tower will eventually collapse, if enough pulls are made. So the suspense is not in relation to the outcome, but rather in relation to what might be achieved or avoided prior to that outcome coming about. (I would say that...
    23 replies | 423 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:57 AM
    But isn't this a bit like Vincent Baker's example of Babe? We're pretty sure, aren't we, that Ingrid Bergman will survive - so what exactly is generating the suspense? That's not to object to the sorts of reveals (and cut scenes?) that you mention in your post, only to wonder more about how they're related to the generation of suspense. Another issue has to do with making a RPG work - which...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:55 AM
    I'm not sure how this generates suspense - especially if it is predictable! I can see that it might generate tension - "Is my PC going to die as a result of this?" - but that in and of itself, without more, doesn't seem to generate suspense (eg if the player can just bring in a new PC of roughly the same functionality, then what cost has been paid?).
    23 replies | 423 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:45 AM
    Burning Wheel has stated GM's principles, and also duties that govern "the sacred and most holy role of the players". From the rulebook (Revised p 268; Gold p 551 - the text is the same in both editions): In Burning Wheel, it is the GM's job to interpret all of the various intents of the players' actions and mesh them into a cohesive whole that fits within the context of the game. He's got...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:06 AM
    I have run a ton of Apocalypse World, Dungeon World, and Blades. I've run some Monsterhearts, Masks, and a Star Wars hack. I haevn't run Spirit of '77, but the formula should be similar. You've got a low resolution setting with broad brush genre tropes and embedded conflicts; pulp American 70s (so Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, Shaft, Dukes of Hazzard, The Warriors, the Cold War, the Granola...
    3 replies | 158 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:31 AM
    Well this is certainly very "Dogs in the Vineyard-ish!" I obviously agree with what Vincent is saying here. Victory/power/honor/survival, but at what price and all the way down to outright Pyrrhic Victories will answer questions about humanity or "who is this PC" or "what have they become?" Ultimately, the answer to those questions are much more profound and ultimately fulfilling than...
    23 replies | 423 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:49 AM
    Definitely not interested in dying on the "principled and disciplined GMing" hill if it isn't useful as a term to delineate it from classic "GMing by fiat." "System-constrained GMing?" That just rolls off the tongue. Should catch like wildfire. Let me rewrite the analogy to an even crappier one so we can focus on the crappiness of my analogies! On crappy analogies that serve only to...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:49 AM
    Suppose we have established a goal. (Maybe the players choose this. Maybe the GM reads them the blurb on the back of the module cover and the players agree to run with that.) Probably the GM, or the module, provides a starting point for doing something that might contribute to that goal. Suppose that the players (via their PCs) engage that starting point and fail. How do we now respond to that...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:11 AM
    Probably. You could probably also do the same with the Fighting Fantasy system (three stats: Skill, Stamina and Luck), in so far as you can frame the challenge, make checks to resolve them, and find out what happens. I don't think this shows that the play experience of Fighting Fantasy closely resembles Traveller (or D&D). I'm running the 1977 edition with some MegaTraveller inspired mods...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:43 AM
    Campbell, Manbearcat and chaochou have good advice when it comes to PbtA. This thread also has some useful ideas.
    3 replies | 158 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:04 AM
    Tony Vargas, if you really think that skills in 3E/PF are capable of carrying the same heft in play as they do in Classic Traveller (where they are the whole of the PC sheet) then I guess there's no arguing it with you! To me it seems obvious that, in 3E/PF, the main way of resolving out-of-combat challenges is not the skill system but the magic system, with the skill system acting as...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th June, 2018, 11:21 PM
    But what have you got in mind? Eg what sorts of structures for framing challenges will lead to choices to buy victory? For example, how do you establish stakes or buy-in?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th June, 2018, 01:51 PM
    pemerton started a thread Suspense in RPGs
    Here's an old blog post from Vincent Baker's website: A Small Thing About Suspense I have no criticism cred to back this up. Just amatuer observations. So kick my butt if you gotta. Suspense doesn't come from uncertain outcomes. I have no doubt, not one shread of measly doubt, that Babe the pig is going to wow the sheepdog trial audience. Neither do you. But we're on the edge of our...
    23 replies | 423 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th June, 2018, 10:22 AM
    In the episode of play I referenced, skill checks (or abilities gated by skills, like driving a speeding ATV out of a starship hold to assault a base) were at the core of the action. But D&D doesn't give you PCs who are centrally defined by skills. The closest it gets to this is the classic Thief class, but that itself is a pre-determined bundle of skills. So D&D simply doesn't permit an INT 2...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th June, 2018, 03:00 AM
    I don't agree. Consider the following analogy (those work). You have a baseball pitcher and a coach. In one instance, the coach simply says to the pitcher "get those guys out the best you can." In another instance, the coach says to the pitcher all of the following: 1) "Pitch count kid. You've got 100 pitches and absolutely no more, so pound the strike zone, get ahead in the count,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th June, 2018, 02:57 AM
    I GMed a session of Classic Traveller a bit over a week ago. The action included: * An untethered space walk to force open an external hatch into a ship's engineering section - in mechanical terms, this tested Vacc-Suit and Mechanical skill; * Coordinating two assault teams within the spaceship, one coming upthrough the engineering section and the other through the main elevator - in...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th June, 2018, 01:38 AM
    @Aldarc and @Tony Vargas Just read the last page or so right quick (anymore my reading of EnWorld is extremely sporadic, quick, and bouncing around) and I just wanted to add something to clarify your discussion. I'm not a big fan of the term "fiat" to describe GMing in games like BitD, DW, etc. When we deploy the term "fiat" with respect to GMing in RPGs, we're typically talking about a...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th June, 2018, 04:09 AM
    Some posters seem to be arguing that a sorcerer is not comparable at DPR than a fighter because it is better off spending spell resources doing other more interesting stuff. I don't follow that argument. If a sorcerer can match, or come close to matching, a featless fighter in DPR, and is better off doing other more interesting stuff leaving the DPR to the fighter, that seems to show that a...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th June, 2018, 09:03 AM
    I'm not Campbell, but here's my take: he's not just talking about theme (colour, flavour); he's talking about actual game play. As soon as the experience depends on the GM trying to provide this experience - eg by making certain choices within much broader (or even non-existent) constraints around world-building, encounter design, establishing scenes, and resolving action declaraions - then...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th June, 2018, 03:59 AM
    When I said "a lot of D&D play" I didn't mean (necessarily) a lot of your D&D play. I'm talking about how various tables approach the game, rather than aspects of the game at any given table. I think there are plenty of tables (what proportion "plenty" equals can be an exercise for the reader) where beating the module is the game. And where the characters (as more than game pieces) and plot are...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th June, 2018, 02:27 AM
    A lot of D&D play isn't about having a story. It's about the players beating the adventure using their PCs as the vehicles for doing that. It's a type of wargaming variant - like freeform wargaming (and unlike boardgames and some wargames), the fiction matters to adjudication and can be "played" directly by a skilled player without the need for mechanical mediation; but unlike a wargame each...
    114 replies | 3063 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th June, 2018, 02:17 AM
    I ran a time travel scenario in my 4e game, and also ran an encounter with Ygorl, who in 4e is travelling backwards in time from the end of the world.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 12th June, 2018, 02:59 PM
    Traits are obviously related to the stuff in my post just upthread. As you present them they seem a bit like Aspects in Fate: compels, or benefits. How do they feed into framing and conflicts?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 12th June, 2018, 01:08 PM
    Is it OK to get hyper-analytical? (If not, disregard what follows!) I've been reading, and doing some play of, Vincent Baker games: In a Wicked Age a couple of weeks ago; Murderous Ghosts with my kids (the required PG aspect given the other player really dials the game down, but it's interesting to see the mechanics - a card-driven, choose-your-own adventure variant of PbtA - at work); and...
    42 replies | 1393 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 12th June, 2018, 12:56 AM
    At least as it has played at our table, the pull is most of the point of it - that's how you achieve lockdown. So having the autopull become an attack vs Will is doubly bad: (1) it undermines the function of the power (at least as I've experienced it); (2) it is a concession to the view that martial PCs can never have auto-success abilities while casters can.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 11th June, 2018, 02:33 PM
    The errata to CaGI, which replaced auto-pull followed by an attack with an attack vs Will to pull and damage, was (in my view) the worst manifestation of post-Essentials capitulation to critics of 4e. The point of CaGI is to allow the fighter to do his/her thing and pull in his/her foes. The damage is secondary.
    170 replies | 7473 view(s)
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Sunday, 10th June, 2018, 01:17 AM
    I feel you vastly overestimate the narrowness of the designs you see outside of the mainstream and grant mainstream designs a flexibility that I have not experienced in the real world. I think you assume that the things that make Apocalypse World, Burning Wheel, Dogs in the Vineyard, Masks, Moldvay B/X, Stars Without Number, Blades in the Dark, Sorcerer and even Fate great games are things you...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 9th June, 2018, 06:23 AM
    Because your parliament is unicameral. Australia is fairly distinctive in combining Westminster parliamentary government with strong bicameralism.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 9th June, 2018, 06:22 AM
    You're thinking of getting into Australian public affairs?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 9th June, 2018, 03:40 AM
    I'm a constitutional lawyer in Australia. I don't think NZ constitutional law is very different from Australia's or the UK's (which I also know pretty well) in these respects. It's not the Queen's job to stop fascist governments. And dissolving parliament other than on the advice of the PM would itself constitute a coup. Some people describe the 1975 crisis in Australia in those terms, but it...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 9th June, 2018, 03:24 AM
    Right. There are a few posters in this thread who seem to be arguing some other point, from some other thread, but not actually engaging with the OP's claims.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 9th June, 2018, 03:07 AM
    So I'm reading and replying in order, and so came to this after posting my reply to Warpiglet. I didn't follow our link but think, but I think I know where it goes to!
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 9th June, 2018, 03:01 AM
    Thanks! The shoving etc is a good point, although in some campaigns might be a little bit boutique - so probably a bit table-variable. I think this is close to TwoSix upthread.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 03:06 PM
    Unless things are very different in New Zealand from what I've heard, the prospects of a police or miliatry-led coup would be close to zero. And the Queen would not endorse it were it to happen. (I'm not sure that she would reject it either. She might stand aloof, as she did during the constitutional crisis in Australia.) The Queen's role is to appoint the Governor-General on the advice of the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 11:34 AM
    Aren't there evil gnoll rangers somewhere in the 3E or 4e canon?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 11:32 AM
    I had a quick look through your adventure. I'm personally not a big fan of the sort of pre-established story structure that you have adopted, but at your table that may be the norm for adventure design. You seemed to have some side quests that would most naturally be framed as skill challenges, but they didn't seem to be framed that way. You might want to look at that. Even some aspects of...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 11:22 AM
    I'm not sure what makes a foreign trade boycott more "organic" than a domestic fight for liberation. I don't think there's a lot of historical evidence that it produces less bitterness either.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 11:18 AM
    Check the date stamps: I discovered that other thread after reading this one, and posting that maybe you're responding to some other thread. Having read some of that thread, my point remains: pointing out that Charm Person can be a strong strategy for a caster tells us nothing about (i) the role of fighters, or (ii) whether fighters without feats are underpowered, or (iii) whether fighters are...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 11:13 AM
    I can't second guess your experiences (for obvious reasons!), but I am faithfully reporting what Mearls said. I have tried to find links but have failed to Google up an archive of his Legends & Lore columns - maybe they all got deleted when the WotC site changed? He said that sales of the Essentials Red Box were good, but that retention was low. I don't get that first sentence of yours. D&D...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 11:12 AM
    Here is the OP on that particular point: The OP is not dismissing the increase to AC from using a shield. The claim is that using a shield leads to a drop in DPR disproportionate to the benefit gained. (Maybe that claim is wrong. Maybe the Shield Mastery feat makes up for it. But that is a completely different argument from the claim that the OP is dismissive of increases to AC.) Here...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 09:56 AM
    I already posted something along these lines. In my case, apparently it's a sign of being an out-of-touch white room theorist. I was going to engage in some white room speculation that you must be a white room theorist too; but then I read a post (presumably sent by someone sitting in a room of a different colour?) that confirmed my speculation in a completely non-white room fashion!
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 09:17 AM
    I'm not sure what "organic" change you are envisaging in lieu of the US Civil War. When reconstruction was ended, the "organic" result was Jim Crow. Jim Crow was ended by a mixture of popular struggle (I'm not sure if you count that as organic or not) and exercises of federal government power. To the extent that the current US Supreme Court has wound back the Voting Rights Act, that seems to be...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 08:46 AM
    I'm not sure I've properly understood your point here. I'm not seeing how GM-player relations factor into the question of what sort of advice (including perhaps refusing to answer requests for advice) does or does not make for a healthy D&D community.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 08:43 AM
    Black Panther doesn't have an all-Black cast. It has a pretty well-known white British actor in a pretty major role. Whether that's a good or bad thing is probably something on which opinions differ. I'm also pretty surprised to find defence of the Polish "anti-defamation" law in this thread. I don't think that current trends in Polish politics and government are very helpful in thinking about...
    334 replies | 11875 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 08:23 AM
    I'm another poster who doesn't think this is a problem. In a Cortex+ Heroic Fantasy campaign I'm currently GMing, one of the PCs is a 14 year old child (I think of ambiguous gender) - a soothsayer and conjurer. Many other posters have pointed to pre-modern norms as providing the surface level narrative justification for this. And the real justification is that it's what your player wants to...
    68 replies | 2087 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 08:06 AM
    That's how it sounds to me too. I don't think players are always obliged to have their PCs cooperate; but actively thwarting is one step further along that path, and though I'm not against that either, as such, there's a time and a place. What you describe just seems like it was poorly conceived and executed by A and the GM.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 07:54 AM
    I don't agree with this at all. Reading Dragon magazine - including Forum letters, which were the early-mid 80s version of a message board - helped me a lot in learning how to approach RPGs.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 07:48 AM
    Either? Both? I imagine ENworld comes up fairly easily on any sort of Google for 5e advice. So it's one important community. It's not the whole of it. Are you saying that 5e players are already pushing for a highly GM-curated experience and hence driving out wargame-type players? Sure. But suppose someone posts saying, say, "Ever since my group saw what a GWM fighter can do damage-wise,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 07:39 AM
    AbdulAlhazred, you need to fix your tables in that post!
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 07:31 AM
    Who knows what loyalty rules were being used by Rob Kuntz back when this PC sheet was typed up! But in the AD&D loyalty rules, it's not that hard to have a fanatically loyal henchman even with only average CHA. Where CHA comes more into its own, even if henchmen aren't that important to a particular table's style of play, is in affecting reaction rolls. But that assumes that reaction rolls...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 03:21 AM
    To follow on from this. I don't agree with CapnZapp that there's some sort of moral imperative of the sort you describe. It's WotC's prerogative to publish what it wants to publish (within the bounds of good taset etc) and if that happens to include broken elements, well, that's how it is! But I think the community response is a bit different. The community, if it wants to remain healthy and...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 11:43 AM
    I agree with this. It's the same reason I didn't like the design of Power Attack in 3E. It's a purely mechanical oddity of D&D that it has both an attack roll and a damage roll. (Contrast, say, HARP or Burning Wheel which have only a single roll; or Rolemaster as an intermediate case because there is a crit roll but the crit table is determined by attack success.) Hence these "penalty to...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 08:26 AM
    Here's TwoSix's maths: Die A rolls something. For dice B and C to both roll something different (hence no doubles) is 5/6 * 5/6 = 25/36. Hence the chance of a double with A (or a triple) is 11/36. Suppose that die B is different from A (that is a 5/6 chance). Then the chance that C is the same as B is 1/6. 5/6 * 1/6 = 5/36 chance of doubles that are different from A. The total chance...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 08:03 AM
    I've been re-reading Maelstrom Storytelling. I've got three versions of the rules: the original volume; the revision in the Dacartha Prime supplement; and the paired-back Story Bones version. (That last one can be downloaded for free from DriveThruRPG.) As well as challenges (which it calls "rolled scenes") and interludes (which it calls "open scenes"), it allows for checks made in the course...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 04:55 AM
    And that's not a claim that DPR is king. It's a claim about the failure of those archetypes to contribute to play in their main dimension of (possible) contribution. If someone (you? some other posters?) think that the main contribution a fighter makes to the game is not damage, or some other combat function (like damage soaking or avoidance) that is at least commensurable with damage, then...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 02:38 AM
    I don't agree with this. Mearls wrote a lot during the 5e design period about 4e's inability to retain new players: that lots of new players tried it, and had some fun with it, but didn't stick with it. He attributed this to various things, but the two I remember are (i) marketing complexity (the "wall of books" thing), and (ii) PC build complexituy (the number of choices needed to build a...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 02:32 AM
    The OP clearly starts from the premise that combat capability is the main thing that "martial" PCs bring to the table. That is not an assertion that DPR is king. (If someone said that buffing is the main thing a bard brings to the table, and then argued that bards are overshadowed by cleric buffing, would anyone suppose that that poster is saying that "buffing is king"?) To repost myself:
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 01:55 AM
    Tony, your slightly contrarian posting style has left me a bit confused on this occasion. I can't tell if you're agreeing with me or disagreeing. I was talking about a play group focusing on DPR in their play of the game. Given how many tools the game gives them to play with in that particular arena; and given the long tradition of playing D&D as a wargame; I don't see how theycan be faulted...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 01:45 AM
    The OP is not about "DPR is king". (It neither affirms it, nor denies it.) It does take for granted that the main mechanical function of a fighter is to deal damage in combat. I don't think that's hugely controversial as a generalisation (a frequent criticism of 4e, after all, was that it had "fighters" whose main mechanical function was not to deal damage in combat). I've sblocked sections of...
    405 replies | 16094 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 01:30 AM
    Would you accept the assertion that this is atypical for D&D? (Given that a SRD guard has 11 hp, and a SRD mage has 40 hp, the number of potentates with 6 or fewer must be rather modest.) An exception of course would be 4e, where a skill challenge to "minionise" the target would be de rigeur; but 5e doesn't have any minion rules (because they are unrealistic, and don't "feel" like D&D).
    405 replies | 16094 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 01:24 AM
    Tony Vargas's post seems accurate to me. But even suppose that the OP and the OP's group did have DPR as their main concern. What would be wrong with that? It's obvious that balance in damage dealt is an important design consideration for 5e (there's no other reason why the spells no longer have the canonical damage ranges, but rather have all these weird damage expressesion, like a fireball...
    405 replies | 16094 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 12:50 AM
    What's your view as to the number of concealed knives a knife-thrower can carry, draw and throw? If a typical 5e combat last 4 rounds, and the fighter takes an action surge as well, that's 5 knives needed to make it through on combat (before we get to any bonus action posibilities). Do you think a character can have five concealed knives on his/her person? In any event, I'm happy to hear...
    405 replies | 16094 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 12:38 AM
    I've read the whole thread. No poster that I read said that "damage is king". (Sacrosanct has me blocked, but I doubt that he said that damage is king.) About 70 posts in you posted the following: So may be all this Charm Person stuff is a response to some other thread?
    405 replies | 16094 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th June, 2018, 02:37 PM
    Fair enough. But I still don't see how it bears upon the topic of the thread. How does the fact that (some, maybe all) casters have a high degree of flexibility and diverse capability in the way that the engage encounters, which makes their DPR a potentially secondary concern, help show that they're not overshadowing featless fighters, at least in some cases (sorcerer and warlock were the two...
    405 replies | 16094 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th June, 2018, 02:29 PM
    I guess I don't think it would be out of place, in an action movie, for a ninja to throw half-a-dozen knives or shurikens at everyone in a room (which is a rough approximation to the "blast 3" AoE of Blinding Barrage). If it was Bullseye or Daredevil (neither of whom is magic) then it would be a single dagger or other object ricocheting from target to target! I think that ability can also...
    405 replies | 16094 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th June, 2018, 11:04 AM
    Here is one of the Charm Person posts (post 80-something upthread): This seems to be a response to the OP ("threads like these"). But the OP isn't a complaint that Charm Person is useless. (Maybe the OP believes this - I don't know. But it is not asserted in this thread.)
    405 replies | 16094 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th June, 2018, 10:27 AM
    You're not talking about a different decade. You're talking about some projected fantasy world.
    334 replies | 11875 view(s)
    3 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th June, 2018, 02:16 AM
    That's a particularly nice point in a post with many good ones.
    405 replies | 16094 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th June, 2018, 01:53 AM
    That's generous of you - thank you. The flipside to this is that we also have assumptions that defy all normal assumptions about gravity - eg dragons can fly, giants dan walk and run, etc. I would say we have certain tropes. These include martial artists who are just as dangerous with their bare hands as a dragon is with its bite. I think there is room in those tropes for a deadly knife...
    405 replies | 16094 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th June, 2018, 01:30 AM
    I agree with Tony Vargas that this is an odd combination of claims. How many individuals on a battlefield ran around fighting dragons, armoured soldiers, etc using bare-handed martial arts? Yet 5e has monks, and you don't seem to have an issue with that. How many individuals on a battlefield defeated dragons, soldiers etc by stabbing them in the kidney while they were distracted fighting a...
    405 replies | 16094 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th June, 2018, 01:09 AM
    Are difference in damage dice for weapons, or in feat support for weaon categories, key thematic differences? A knife thrower is going to be carrying many knives, probably in a bandolier. Those are not going to all be hidden. Moreover, the OP is not complaining about the viability, or otherwise, of a knife-wielding assassin in a courtly intrigue game. It's clear, from having read many of the...
    405 replies | 16094 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th June, 2018, 12:50 AM
    I'm just following the OP's lead. I think the point about classes is an important one. Maybe the knife-thrower should be a rogue? But this also creates tensions with Oofta's point. If it's true that a thrown knife does a lot less damage than an arrow from a longbow, then why - when a rogue uses a thrown knife - does it do so much more damage than a fighter's longbow? This is one of...
    405 replies | 16094 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th June, 2018, 12:49 AM
    What is THE game? What is a player going to talk about and drawn upon, except his/her experiences? What is wrong with building a PC aimed at dealing damage? Or, to move from question to assertion: telling a player who says that (i) I'm interested in the damage-dealing aspect of the game, and (ii) the system produces some wonky results when I focus on that, that (i) was a mistake, seems...
    405 replies | 16094 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 5th June, 2018, 01:56 PM
    Balance can mean an equal chance at doing well. Rolling ability scores can be one form of this, although generally this sort of balance assumes there will be replays. Rolling dice for stats is probably better for one-offs or short campaigns than long, multi-year sagas.
    405 replies | 16094 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 5th June, 2018, 01:43 PM
    But clearly it's feasible to have it be more or less balanced. Eg if Agonising Blast is OP, it is possible for it to be different from what it actually is. (2nd ed AD&D introduced damage caps on spells like Fireball that weren't part of 1st ed AD&D. Presumably this was an attempt to increase balance.) Hiding weapons is probably a marginal thing, especially as a knife thrower is (premsuably)...
    405 replies | 16094 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 5th June, 2018, 01:30 PM
    This doesn't seem to be an argument in favour of the gap. It's an argument that it doesn't matter, isn't it? This also doesn't seem to be an argument in favour of the gap. Rather, it seems to be an argument that it can't be elminated. Btw, what "flavourless" games do you have in mind? I don't know what elements and complexiities you have in mind, partly because I'm not sure what RPGs you...
    405 replies | 16094 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 5th June, 2018, 01:19 PM
    I don't think the superhero metaphor really helps. What I think the OP is saying is that - when it comes to building a damage-oriented character - the game has dominant strategies (eg great weapon, hand crossbow) that crowd out others (eg knife throwing). This claim may or may not be true - on its face it seems plausible to me, at least at a table which plays with a reasonable degree of...
    405 replies | 16094 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 5th June, 2018, 12:58 PM
    A number of posters have pointed out ways in which spell casters can contribute to the game otherwise than by dealing damage. That is true - in fact, I would have thought it is quite uncontroversial (even if someone thinks damage is better, still it's obvious that charming a bandit king contributes to the game). But that doesn't respond at all to the OP's concerns that fighters and other...
    405 replies | 16094 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 5th June, 2018, 11:30 AM
    I don't think I agree with this.
    2803 replies | 76718 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 5th June, 2018, 11:12 AM
    That's one way. But I don't think it's the way that CapnZapp is interested in. Introducing social constraints of the sort you describe can be used to "reward" or "punish" any build of any sort, as the GM chooses. Whereas I think CapnZapp has in mind a knife thrower who has the same sort of chance of contributing to victory in combat in a standard module/AP as does a hand crossbow specialists...
    405 replies | 16094 view(s)
    0 XP
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Tuesday, 12th June, 2018


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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.

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.


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Tuesday, 15th May, 2018

  • 01:46 PM - Gibili quoted S'mon in post Getting Dangerous With The Elite: Dangerous Role-Playing Game
    I think the genius of Elite was in its content generation systems that created the sandbox to play in. What GM-side procedural content generation tools does the RPG have for creating the sandbox? Rather than using tools, I've always achieved that by: * The DM's imagination at the time and ability to improvise. * Ideas spun off from the player's comments whilst they play. Always a great source of things to give the team things to do. * The DM writing scenarios in a modular manner which can be dropped into any location with only minor changes, or changes that can be improvised at the time, thus allowing the players to go where they wish and do what they want. * The DM having a thorough knowledge of the sandbox world, what is going on across the sandbox, who the main movers and shakers are, so that it doesn't matter where the players go, the DM knows what is going on and can thus accomodate such freedom of movement. It's a kind of framework upon which you can hang specific scenarios. What y...

Sunday, 13th May, 2018

  • 06:44 PM - Eltab quoted S'mon in post Harassment Policies: New Allegations Show More Work To Be Done
    we never had booth babes at RPG cons here I attended a con where one individual wore a chainmail bikini - not just preparing for the Costume Contest. I had the good sense to keep a distance, bridle my tongue, and keep my hands at my sides. I still stared some, though, because it was snowing outside, not warm inside (too much glass where walls should be) and I wondered how she avoided being covered in goose bumps. I don't know what she thought of all the extra attention she got.
  • 06:38 PM - ardoughter quoted S'mon in post Harassment Policies: New Allegations Show More Work To Be Done
    Thanks for the reminder about libel laws Umbran - that's enough to explain it. I do think there are cultural differences - eg we never had booth babes at RPG cons here - but I don't know if they affect the incidence of harrassment or not. I really doubt that they would make much difference. It does not take many men at anything or anywhere to create an harassment problem as long as women feel that it is more trouble than it is worth to report it. It will continue.
  • 06:03 PM - Umbran quoted S'mon in post Harassment Policies: New Allegations Show More Work To Be Done
    You guys like to publicise stuff as in this very thread. I have no reason to believe you would not do the same for incidents in the UK. "It isn't pushed in my face by someone else, so it must not happen." Does that make sense to you? A few notes: Until rather recently, conventions did not have formal policies that made harassment a specific things one could report an incident of. Twenty years ago, if a woman got groped in an elevator, there was nothing she could do about it. Now, at some cons, there's a formal process for reporting such things. However, conventions to *NOT* make a practice of telling the public how many incidents got reported. Getting that information requires direct contact with convention staff who are willing to give you that information. When you get a specific report, it is of a high-profile case, where some geek-relevant industry bigwig gets outed as a jerk. A lawyer can correct me if I am wrong, but British media has to deal with different libel la...
  • 05:18 PM - Elfcrusher quoted S'mon in post Harassment Policies: New Allegations Show More Work To Be Done
    You guys like to publicise stuff as in this very thread. I have no reason to believe you would not do the same for incidents in the UK. Wait...are you saying that every, or even most, harassment incident at Cons ends up in a thread here? Oh lord. I suspect the incidents that get posted are the ones that involve "public figures" in the gaming world. And even then it's only (by definition) the ones where somebody reports it and that report becomes public. And even then I doubt it's all of them. The vast majority of incidents are not going to get reported or involve a name gamers would recognize.
  • 03:51 PM - Umbran quoted S'mon in post Harassment Policies: New Allegations Show More Work To Be Done
    OTOH I don't think I've ever seen a report of harassment from a convention here. Why would you expect to? Do you think your favorite cons are going to hunt you down, and tell you straight up the number of harassment incidents they had last year? Have you ever looked for reports on harassment? Are you the person women who were harassed at the con would turn to to talk about it? This is one of the oldest defensive points for men. "*I* didn't see it or know about it therefore it must hot happen!" Because your personal experience counts as data? A great many things go on in the world that you are not personally aware of.
  • 11:24 AM - Elfcrusher quoted S'mon in post Harassment Policies: New Allegations Show More Work To Be Done
    OTOH I don't think I've ever seen a report of harassment from a convention here. Are you a Con organizer? If not, then that's not a very meaningful data point.
  • 11:20 AM - Elfcrusher quoted S'mon in post Getting Dangerous With The Elite: Dangerous Role-Playing Game
    I think the genius of Elite was in its content generation systems that created the sandbox to play in. What GM-side procedural content generation tools does the RPG have for creating the sandbox? Ahhhh...now we're making progress. I could see how content generation tools could make it easier for the GM to improvise in a sandbox setting. However, I'm not sure that makes the RPG itself more suited to sandbox play. It makes it easier to GM the game, but that's not the same. I guess it's a matter of semantics, that is, of whether you want to consider the inclusion of such tools intrinsic to the game itself. I can easily imagine content generation tools for CoC, but since they aren't included in the default game one might argue that the "game isn't as suited for sandbox play".
  • 11:07 AM - Bluenose quoted S'mon in post Harassment Policies: New Allegations Show More Work To Be Done
    Here in England they definitely do. OTOH I don't think I've ever seen a report of harassment from a convention here. So maybe US conventions need different rules for a different culture. :erm: There's a reason Dragonmeet has a harassment policy.

Friday, 11th May, 2018

  • 10:13 PM - Elf Witch quoted S'mon in post Harassment Policies: New Allegations Show More Work To Be Done
    Re the OP, and I do take eg Elf Witch's points seriously... One thing I noticed about the Gencon policy is that it does not give a definition of harassment. Legal definitions typically involve repeated inappropriate behaviour, so following someone around oggling them could well count - and if asked to desist certainly would count IMO. An undesired sexual comment usually does not meet legal definitions of harassment. Would it be beneficial for Convention policies to give at least an indicative idea of what constitutes harassment? There are some behaviours that the perpetrator clearly knows are not welcome or appropriate, and these perpetrators are not going to be deterred by any code. But there is a lot of marginal activity too (such as some of what SPF is accused of) that may be appropriate in some contexts but not in others. And social mores change too, behaviour typical in 1978 may be seen as reprehensible in 2018. Would an indicative list of behaviour considered inappropriat...
  • 02:21 PM - jasper quoted S'mon in post Can a Critical Hit miss?
    .... I guess in that circumstance -....ambush then double-20 - I'd declare the PC's bolt had impaled a passing squirrel. :) Suddenly an angry Moose charges the party yelling "you killed Rocky!" After overdrawing your pcs Visa and MasterCard it wanders away looking for a Mountie.

Thursday, 10th May, 2018

  • 03:24 PM - kenmarable quoted S'mon in post Harassment Policies: New Allegations Show More Work To Be Done
    Re the OP, and I do take eg Elf Witch's points seriously... One thing I noticed about the Gencon policy is that it does not give a definition of harassment. Legal definitions typically involve repeated inappropriate behaviour, so following someone around oggling them could well count - and if asked to desist certainly would count IMO. An undesired sexual comment usually does not meet legal definitions of harassment. Would it be beneficial for Convention policies to give at least an indicative idea of what constitutes harassment? There are some behaviours that the perpetrator clearly knows are not welcome or appropriate, and these perpetrators are not going to be deterred by any code. But there is a lot of marginal activity too (such as some of what SPF is accused of) that may be appropriate in some contexts but not in others. And social mores change too, behaviour typical in 1978 may be seen as reprehensible in 2018. Would an indicative list of behaviour considered inappropriat...
  • 12:58 PM - Sadras quoted S'mon in post Harassment Policies: New Allegations Show More Work To Be Done
    Re the OP, and I do take eg Elf Witch's points seriously... One thing I noticed about the Gencon policy is that it does not give a definition of harassment. Legal definitions typically involve repeated inappropriate behaviour, so following someone around oggling them could well count - and if asked to desist certainly would count IMO. An undesired sexual comment usually does not meet legal definitions of harassment. Would it be beneficial for Convention policies to give at least an indicative idea of what constitutes harassment? There are some behaviours that the perpetrator clearly knows are not welcome or appropriate, and these perpetrators are not going to be deterred by any code. But there is a lot of marginal activity too (such as some of what SPF is accused of) that may be appropriate in some contexts but not in others. And social mores change too, behaviour typical in 1978 may be seen as reprehensible in 2018. Would an indicative list of behaviour considered inappropriate be hel...

Monday, 7th May, 2018

  • 09:57 PM - the_redbeard quoted S'mon in post Harassment Policies: New Allegations Show More Work To Be Done
    Maybe I could have phrased my post better, but I certainly didn't deserve the responses I got. For the record, I have never spoken to a woman's cleavage. I do sometimes find cleavage distracting, especially in a professional context. Billboards with cleavage sometimes cause male drivers to crash - there is an automatic 'brain freeze' reflex which men cannot help. If a dog can be trained to wait for permission before eating food, you'd think a human male could handle a similar level of restraint. At the very least, please put the effort into training yourself so you can drive safely if not for the sake of the women you encounter and your relationships with them. If that's what it takes, dudes. Train yourself to wait for permission. Rover can handle it, I'm sure you can too.
  • 07:53 PM - Jeanneliza quoted S'mon in post Harassment Policies: New Allegations Show More Work To Be Done
    Maybe I could have phrased my post better, but I certainly didn't deserve the responses I got. I agree, just poor phrasing doesn't mean you deserved an attack. But how I dress, where I go, what I say doesn't mean I deserve to be assaulted or harassed. My attitude doesn't mean I deserve to be attacked. My gender doesn't mean I deserve to be attacked. And perhaps, just perhaps, when you guys are forced to make the same statements we have made in our own defense forever, and resent it every bit as much as we do, maybe then we move forward and heal both sides.

Sunday, 6th May, 2018

  • 10:23 AM - Mouseferatu quoted S'mon in post Harassment Policies: New Allegations Show More Work To Be Done
    But on reflection I think you are actually non-ironically making a personal attack against me, calling me a potential harasser? Calling you a "potential harasser" isn't a personal attack. As far as she's concerned, you are. As far as she's concerned, so am I. So is any man she doesn't know well and trust. That's the entire point, and the entire problem in our hobby, and our society, that needs fixing. Like it or not, the sad fact is that women have very good reason to err on the side of being too suspicious than not suspicious enough. And men taking that personally, or fighting against efforts to solve the problem, just makes it worse. The fact that you're treating that list of questions as an accusation, as a list of "harassing behaviors," when it was clearly stated that it wasn't--but was, instead, merely a list of things that, if you've done, should inspire further self-reflection--is not helping your case.
  • 09:34 AM - prosfilaes quoted S'mon in post Hidden
  • 09:18 AM - Riley37 quoted S'mon in post Harassment Policies: New Allegations Show More Work To Be Done
    ...reme behaviour doesn't require a pattern. But on reflection I think you are actually non-ironically making a personal attack against me, calling me a potential harasser? If a woman posted "2+2=4", and you responded with "So you're saying 2+2<4? That's not fair!", then I would just shrug, because at this point it's an established pattern. You're taking Afrodyte's politely worded request as a personal attack. You COULD answer "no, that's more than I choose to share with you at this time" or you could just say "no" and let that be a full sentence. Apparently the scenario of "Smith asks Jones for something, Jones says no, Smith accepts that answer and moves on" is unfamiliar to you. It's a scenario outside of your known range of human interactions, and also beyond your imagination. It's more and more apparent, with each of your posts, that AfroDyte has you accurately pegged. And not in a good way. If a woman were attending her first EN World con, and she told me "I met someone named S'mon and he offered me a ride in his vehicle. Should I trust him, or should I err on the side of safety and treat him as a potential harasser?"
  • 08:30 AM - Afrodyte quoted S'mon in post Harassment Policies: New Allegations Show More Work To Be Done
    At first I thought you were seeking to demonstrate that threatening behaviour such as your above statement can be a one off, that sufficiently extreme behaviour doesn't require a pattern. But on reflection I think you are actually non-ironically making a personal attack against me, calling me a potential harasser? Is that a no?
  • 06:55 AM - Afrodyte quoted S'mon in post Harassment Policies: New Allegations Show More Work To Be Done
    Sure, many actions could constitute harassment if done repeatedly, but the phrase was "Have you ever". Can I have your legal name, social security number, current address and a clear and recently taken picture of yourself, please?


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