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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Today, 02:07 AM
    Unrelated to what I'm about to post, I just want to say that conversation has moved along rather well and looks to have been pretty profitable overall. While I agree with your post here, let me provide a quick angle of dissent (I was going to do a post on "The Utility of No", but this abridge version will suffice). Skilled Play Dungeon or Hexcrawl games rely upon no. Although...
    414 replies | 11183 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Today, 12:56 AM
    Hmmm... I think you may be smuggling more into Dogs than Dogs has natively. I mean, you: a) Have a game with a focused premise (Gods watchdogs meting out justice in a wild west that never was that is shot through with (supernatural?) sin. There is loads of conflict there. b) Have characters that have relationships and traits and stuff. That will flag extra-Dogs premise stuff...
    414 replies | 11183 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Today, 12:39 AM
    Right quick. Here is the origin point and the relevant bits of Vincent Baker's "Say Yes or Roll the Dice." So. Is something at stake? Yes? Roll dice.
    414 replies | 11183 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Today, 12:08 AM
    I'm not sure what work you intend "probably aren't going to" above. Are you working under some sort of internal causality of the local biome? Are working under genre logic? I guess the primary reason I'm not sure is because I'm certain that I've run enough journey conflict in 4e, Mouse Guard, Cortex+ Heroic Fantasy Exploration, Apocalypse World (where AUF, RaS, OYB and class playbooks do the...
    57 replies | 2251 view(s)
    3 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:07 PM
    I mostly GM in dimly lit pubs; often the light reflecting off my glossy minis is about the only illumination we have! :p
    15 replies | 347 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:56 AM
    BTW it seems to me that since 2013 the Pemertonian approach (eg GM-determined in media res scene start, player-determined open scene resolution) has had a good deal of influence on the hobby. I'm running 5e Primeval Thule (published 2013-16) currently, and it seems deliberately set up to support this style very well. It's also visible in the structure of the 5e WotC adventure books (published...
    414 replies | 11183 view(s)
    1 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:25 AM
    I think games like Traveller and Runequest reacted against D&D's ethos of "We made up some :):):):) we thought would be fun" with a much stronger emphasis on world simulation, with the aim of greater immersion. They are less 'gamey' than D&D - both in the sense of less emphasis on "What would be Fun?" and also less emphasis on player challenge & victory conditions. This tangentially leads in...
    414 replies | 11183 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    414 replies | 11183 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:12 AM
    Any paint on a pewter mini will wear off in play unless there's plenty of varnish. I agree, I don't find Vallejo GC any worse for this. I guess the very thick Army Painter paints might be slightly better, but in any case I prefer a thick coat of clear varnish for my gaming minis. I generally prefer gloss varnish too - I know, I'm a barbarian. :D
    15 replies | 347 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:07 AM
    This takes me back to those glorious, heady days of Permertonian scene-framing! I agree AD&D has a lot of subsystems, many I suspect underused and underappreciated. To Spying as a means of information-gathering can be added sages (whose subsystem is hidden in the NPC hireling tables). But many of the AD&D subsystems are quite clunky as written, and - at least in my experience with them,...
    414 replies | 11183 view(s)
    0 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:05 AM
    1. Always always use a blended mix of 2+ paints for skin tone. A single-paint tone NEVER looks right. I'll typically start with a 'barbarian flesh' paint and add brown for darker tones, white for lighter pale tones. Adding a little black paint to barbarian flesh can work too - gives more of a grey-brown African type skin tone - but adding brown is safer. 2. Use a wash or ink (mid-brown works...
    3 replies | 135 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:58 AM
    My current set is Army Painter. Their washes are very good, but I'd say their paints are a bit too thick; I think my old Vallejo Game Color paints edge them out in quality. I'm still getting good results with Army Painter, especially for ...painting armies. :D Eg I did a set of 8 beastmen + warchief recently and they painted up fast and nicely; the AP mid-brown ink wash brought out the detail...
    15 replies | 347 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:53 AM
    I always enjoy Pemerton's thoughts on 4e, and it's interesting to see Classic Traveller treated as a Dungeon World type game. :) Obviously it's unlikely Marc Miller was thinking in those terms - 'moves' - I'd say he was looking to simulate 'a science fiction odyssey to the distant worlds of the Galaxy' from a you-are-there immersive standpoint, and just made up whatever sub-systems looked...
    414 replies | 11183 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:35 AM
    This is my experience also. Actual actors tend to be sensitive to those around them - it's a professional skill - and looking to play off of them; so they are very good at group roleplay synergy. IME attention hogs tend to be more the basement-dwelling low social skills types with the home-optimised PC (the 3e spellcaster classes attracted them like flies to rotten meat). :D I have seen other...
    19 replies | 314 view(s)
    1 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:24 AM
    I like the acting/speaking in character. If a player wants to describe their speech in third person, that is fine as long as they give me enough detail that I can assign a check DC or otherwise have some idea of NPC reaction. It shouldn't be harder on the player than a caster choosing an appropriate spell from the PHB, but "I diplomatise them" is never acceptable at my table. I recently had an...
    19 replies | 314 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:13 AM
    I tend to agree with Ovinomancer about this - as a general rule classic wargaming/dungeon-crawling D&D doesn't support "say 'yes' or roll the dice", because the GM is meant to have already mapped and "stocked" the dungeon and uses that to regulate what gets introduced into the fiction without being obliged to allow a die roll if s/he doesn't just want to say "yes". And even if you wanted to play...
    414 replies | 11183 view(s)
    4 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:53 AM
    You could certainly run E6 in 5e with PCs getting stat boosts or feats after 6th, say every 10,000 or 20,000 XP, but it seems a lot less necessary in 5e.
    9 replies | 287 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:51 AM
    Man, the Russians are everywhere these days! Good thing the KGB never had such an extensive network infiltrating all levels of American society and government...
    1799 replies | 64292 view(s)
    0 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:41 AM
    S'mon replied to Reaching tier 4
    In my Wilderlands sandbox game, by the time Hakeem the Destroyer reached Barbarian-20 there had been around half a dozen perma-dead PCs, the great bulk of them in Tier I (level 4 is a killer since you likely run into Tier II opposition while not ready for it) and Tier II (level 8-10 likewise vs Tier III stuff). Hakeem himself has never been defeated*, even when victory was ridiculously...
    34 replies | 1185 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:20 AM
    The cleric and paladin are essentially the same archetype, especially pre-2nd ed AD&D: heavily armed and armoured warriors who perform miracles, turn away the undead, and heal with a touch. The differences between them are purely mechanical, not thematic. (And no matter how much a fighter is RPed as a paladin, s/he won't heal with a touch.) So if clerics are played as paladins, then I think...
    116 replies | 3155 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:31 AM
    6 months or more? In order, I've run: 3 * B/X and RC 1 * Classic Traveler 5 * AD&D 2 * 3.x 3 * Dogs in the Vineyard 1 * Mouseguard 3 * 4e 2 * Apocalypse World
    51 replies | 1572 view(s)
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st February, 2019, 04:36 PM
    AD&D 2e turns 30 this year. It feels very odd to suggest that someone playing a 30 year old game is insufficiently set in their ways.
    116 replies | 3155 view(s)
    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st February, 2019, 11:21 AM
    That was Scotland - in the UK. Ireland is practically a Free Speech zone compared to the UK these days.
    165 replies | 6008 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st February, 2019, 10:50 AM
    I just want to assert, quite strongly, that the moral and political equality of people - whatever their sex, gender, race, etc - is not a "social convention". It's a social reality that has been fought for, often quite hard. It doesn't need to be "challenged".
    165 replies | 6008 view(s)
    4 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st February, 2019, 09:39 AM
    Rogues get Thieves' Tools Proficiency and in their starting equipment. Criminal Background gets Thieves' Tools Proficiency - not in the Background starting equipment though. My suspicion is you took Thieves Tools' Proficiency before selecting Criminal, thus annoying the software. It's best to have read a rule book (or the Basic Rules, or even just a wiki like https://www.5esrd.com/ ) before...
    24 replies | 625 view(s)
    0 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st February, 2019, 09:35 AM
    The pregens are at https://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/character_sheets
    24 replies | 625 view(s)
    1 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st February, 2019, 09:33 AM
    Welcome to the game! :) Well my first bit of advice would be to do some reading before you go into electronic character building. I would recommend starting with the D&D Basic Rules - http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/basicrules then buy a 5th edition Player's Handbook. If you are looking to GM you could buy the Starter Set, which is often only around $20. It includes dice and...
    24 replies | 625 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st February, 2019, 09:27 AM
    I don't see how a B/X player can claim to be a grognard - it was one of (is it still, or has 5e overtaken it?) popular D&D products of all time! That would make me a potential grognard. I'm also not sure that Gygax gets to decide what counts as grognard-ism. Arneson's groggish credentials seem just as strong. If I encountered someone who played OD&D + supplements 2 and 3 (so by my reckoning...
    116 replies | 3155 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st February, 2019, 09:18 AM
    I think it's unrealistic to expect that the RPG hobby community will be wildly different from any other community - assuming it even makes sense to speak of the RPG hobby community. The community/communities are just constituent elements of the societies they belong to, with members united by a shared interest in a particular leisure activity but not necessarily too much else. I know nothing...
    165 replies | 6008 view(s)
    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st February, 2019, 08:53 AM
    Eh, then why was the pretty elf PC asking orc bikers about BDSM fantasies with her as the sub? Given that that was nothing to do with the plot!
    30 replies | 1192 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st February, 2019, 08:49 AM
    I didn't say anything about NPCs - I talked about characters in fiction. In the context of RPGing, the PCs are the most salient such characters. And whether or not my claim is a Red Herring, it doesn't rely on any False Dichotomy about realism. Which is what you asserted. I take it that you now retract that assertion. What system are you talking about? Maxperson's table's approach to D&D?...
    414 replies | 11183 view(s)
    1 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st February, 2019, 08:45 AM
    I'm actually using the 4e one for my new 5e campaign (Princes of the Apocalypse, 1491 DR) since it's a direct sequel to my level 1-30 nearly-6-year 4e FR campaign, which started in 1479 DR & ended in 1485 DR with the destruction of the Shades of Netheril, the death of Orcus and Szass Tam, Shar badly weakened and a PC becoming Legendary Sovereign of the Shining Vale - my own RSEs. :)
    29 replies | 1240 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st February, 2019, 08:33 AM
    Why? Men & Magic has 3 classes (fighter, MU, cleric), and then Supplement 1 introduces both thief and paladin. I don't see what's especially grognard-y about adding the thief but not the paladin.
    116 replies | 3155 view(s)
    1 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st February, 2019, 02:11 AM
    I agree, this is completely unacceptable. I'd report it, but obviously the mods have already seen it and apparently don't agree. :mad:
    165 replies | 6008 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st February, 2019, 12:32 AM
    The PHB is not a scholarly work governed by standards of academic ethics; and I very much doubt that the sort of work the "consultants" did on the PHB generates entitlements to be acknowledged under "moral rights" law. (I'm not even sure if the US has moral rights laws.) But it is common for companies to try and promote their products. And in the case of a personality-driven consumer market...
    165 replies | 6008 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 11:49 PM
    I don't see not using monks as "non-Grognard" - they go back to the earliest days of D&D! (Supplement II, to be precise.)
    116 replies | 3155 view(s)
    0 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 11:43 PM
    We're talking game rules, not logic.
    53 replies | 2007 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 11:30 PM
    Having lots of hp and thereby permitting success in melee combat is the main class feature of a fighter - as early editions of D&D tended to point out. So negating that class feature seems a dodgy move. If you want a d8 axe to be able to decapitate a fighter, the easiest thing seems to be to allow max damage to open end (ie make another roll, if it's max to make another roll, etc).
    53 replies | 929 view(s)
    0 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 10:35 PM
    Naw, I've been running Rise of the Runelords/Shattered Star mashup in 5e D&D since 2015 (with a break for 2018); it works great - at higher level it runs FAR smoother than the Pathfinder Curse of the Crimson Throne game I ran. The difference is huge. Conversion is a breeze IME.
    16 replies | 436 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 10:20 PM
    Err... did it occur to you that the player was into a bit of BDSM fantasy her(?)self? This looks like an obvious setup by the player.
    30 replies | 1192 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 10:20 PM
    So a quick thought on this: When you say "challenges to represent matieral changes in the fictional position of the PCs", I'm reading that as "engages with/challenges theme/premise." Is that correct? Assuming that is correct, I have the following thoughts on that. A D&D 4e game at Heroic Tier (broadly) has the following: (The game's broad premise of) * Danger expressed in a Points...
    57 replies | 2251 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 10:13 PM
    Yes but the point made upthread was that you can't do all three on your own turn, as part of counterspelling a counterspell.
    53 replies | 2007 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 03:37 PM
    No, no you can't. :p
    17 replies | 546 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 03:29 PM
    I could really do with a copy of Great Cthulu's 5e stats for my Primeval Thule game - not to mention Hastur & Nyarlathotep. :D Edit: OK I have it now - only took a couple minutes to get the pdf as a Late Pledge on https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/petersengames/sandy-petersens-cthulhu-mythos-for-5e
    17 replies | 546 view(s)
    0 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 03:26 PM
    I think you're misreading it - it says "shortswords and any simple melee weapons that don't have the two-handed or heavy property" - quarterstaffs do not have the two-handed property (PHB pg 149) as they are Versatile and can be used either one or two-handed. pg 147 definition of Two-Handed "requires two hands when you attack with it" - this is different from and exclusive of Versatile. ...
    33 replies | 22079 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 02:50 PM
    I didn't say anything about whether "realism" is a matter of degree or a categorical thing. I said that real human lives don't have the same dramatic "neatness" and development as do those of characters in fiction. The truth of that claim doesn't turn on any view about whether "realism" is or is not a matter of degree. I don't see how "more realistic" bears on this. How realistic is it to have...
    414 replies | 11183 view(s)
    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 02:36 PM
    To me it seems fairly straightforward. When the 5e D&D PHB was published, WotC (the company), presumably relying in part on the judgement of Mearls and colleagues in the D&D team, formed the view that it was a market advantage to be assocated with certain known advocates of particular "old school" or at least anti-"new school" styles of D&D (ie RPG Pundit and Zak S). Whereas they have now...
    165 replies | 6008 view(s)
    1 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 01:54 PM
    If in doubt, I find 3 in 6 chance works really well - "hm, ok, 3 in 6 chance sect members at the tea house" - it's a nice compromise between cinematic reality and reality-reality.
    414 replies | 11183 view(s)
    1 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 12:08 PM
    So my son is just starting to DM for boys his own age (11 or so). He has a PHB & MM. Today I made him up a DM's pack folder of handy resources, such as: 1. The DMG magic items & the individual loot tables - the higher tier tables can be used as low-tier hoards I noticed, sans magic this being a Primeval Thule game. 2. Enough info on the city of Quodeth to run games there, such as city...
    25 replies | 638 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 09:47 AM
    AbdulAlhazred, that's a good post. With respect to the example of melee in Gygax's DMG, literal participants in the melee are Aggro (who killed Balto), Blastum (who killed by Arlanni via shocking grasp) and Arkayn who is fighting Gutboy and Barjin. So my take on the web is that the player is allowed to declare that all the enemy NPCs are caught (ie Blastum, Gutboy and Barjin) but that the PC...
    116 replies | 3155 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 09:34 AM
    Adventure fiction - heck, fiction in general - depends on coincidence: people turn up, or fail to turn up, at the appropriate moment; opportunities arise, or fail to arise, at just the time that will drive the protagonist to action; etc. That's not to say that fiction must be "unrealistic" in the sense of wildly implausible. It is to say that, if you looked at 1,000 human lives, few or even...
    414 replies | 11183 view(s)
    3 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th February, 2019, 06:14 AM
    Guess I'm a bad DM :D OTOH it's not a 'job', I don't get paid to do it. I only do what I enjoy doing, or at least find satisfying - getting those Beastmen minis painted up for my Primeval Thule game was a lot of work, but the results were worth it. Memorising the Traits/Bonds/Flaws of dozens* of PCs does not grab me. *I run four 5e campaign groups currently, two in the same world. Average 6...
    63 replies | 1448 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 06:34 PM
    I don’t have the time necessary to address the various points here, but one thing right quickly. There are more non-thematic pressure points in 4e than is being discussed: 1) There is an assumed, rolling level-1 fungible coin (which can come in the form of, or be used to purchase, residuum, favors/SC successes, Cohorts/Hirelings in the way of Companion Characters, funding Rituals, Mounts,...
    57 replies | 2251 view(s)
    1 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 03:51 PM
    Of my recent campaigns: Wilderlands (4 years 2015-2019) went 1st to 20th (for one PC) in 5e, then 1st to 10th, then 1st to 10th Crimson Throne (2 years 2014-15) went 1st to 14th in Pathfinder Loudwater (5.5 years 2011-2016) went 1st to 29th in 4e, reaching 30th at end of last session (Orcus RIP). Runelords of the Shattered Star (2 years 2015-2017) went 1st to 18th in 5e, recently restarted....
    23 replies | 531 view(s)
    0 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 03:46 PM
    Yes, I might say - "Days later, after a few brushes with goblins..." but I wouldn't engage the combat mechanics and then disengage them with "ok so you kill the last goblin".
    30 replies | 1192 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 02:10 PM
    This was funny - but permanent items as staked/lost resources has actually been a recurrent feature of my 4e play.
    57 replies | 2251 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 02:10 PM
    Conversely, I love not giving myself the freedom, by telling the players in advance - "OK you make it safely to port - UNLESS I roll a 20 on this die...." (said on Sunday). It's part of the Free Kriegsspiel approach I like to tell the players the odds.
    414 replies | 11183 view(s)
    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 02:07 PM
    My campaigns tend to run a couple years or more and usually go over 10th, except the 3e campaigns I deliberately capped at 8th.
    23 replies | 531 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 02:01 PM
    I've played AD&D to 15th-ish level. The system doesn't support play at that level very well - the principle opponents have to be NPCs of similar levels. I've played 4e to 30th level. The system is very robust in my experience of it.
    23 replies | 531 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 10:39 AM
    No - but if the monsters are losing, & retreat off the battlemat, I will say "the monsters flee - do you pursue?" - then if the PCs give chase we'll shift over to chase rules.
    30 replies | 1192 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 10:17 AM
    Yeah, that is my #1 recommendation. I think the 5e DMG is a bit much for someone just starting out, though worth a look. A better/more concise recommendation would be the GM's book in the Pathfinder Beginner Box.
    25 replies | 638 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 10:13 AM
    Phylactery Gygax knew what it meant, but didn't bother explaining. The 2e authors had no idea, and so made it a Lich's hidden soul receptacle.
    21 replies | 732 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 01:15 AM
    I do resort to using monster average damage when I'm tired - it definitely makes combat run smoother.
    63 replies | 1448 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th February, 2019, 01:12 AM
    I give it out maybe once a session on average - for cool stuff, or (very rarely happens) when a player points out they are RPing a trait/bond/flaw. 95% of the time I give it out for cool roleplay without reference to what their character sheet says. The big problem with the system IME is that I as DM do not have your TPFs memorised, so unless you tell me, I won't know.
    63 replies | 1448 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 11:59 PM
    My guess would be you'll confuse them even more! My recommendation would be to go over to all 5e, or split your group.
    16 replies | 436 view(s)
    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 11:48 PM
    Matt Colville gives the best advice (Mercer is good too; personally I'd avoid Angry), but I think the best thing she can do is take a look at how the old masters designed adventures. B2 Keep on the Borderlands for dungeons, and X1 Isle of Dread for wilderness, are two good places to start. U1 Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh is also worth looking at, but omits the home base, whereas B2 and X1 pay...
    25 replies | 638 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 11:45 PM
    darkbard, obviously you know your table and you know your game's fiction, so I can only offer a couple of general thoughts: * The idea of clarifying intent, if it's not entirely clear, seems worthwhile; * In my Traveller game, part of what makes the subsystems for travel able to fit with a broadly "story now" approach to the game is the background setting, which I'll say more about. The...
    57 replies | 2251 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 11:21 PM
    Thanks dragoner. I think I've seen you posting about playing Traveller. When you play, how many characters does each player have?
    3 replies | 207 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 09:24 PM
    Agree 110%. The wishy-washy feel of that PHB section is I think the main reason it tends to be ignored IMO.
    18 replies | 563 view(s)
    1 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 09:19 PM
    Just as long as there are no Gish builds, I'm fine. :p (I kid - I have a Fighter-Wizard playing in my Thule game; Lady Aeridnis Vorzin is awesum!!) :D
    21 replies | 732 view(s)
    0 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 09:17 PM
    Had a player post a nice account of yesterday's session: https://simonsprimevalthule.blogspot.com/2019/02/sunday-session-3-m7-dumet-2213-ar.html
    54 replies | 6425 view(s)
    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 08:12 PM
    1. I mostly use individual XP 2. Individual campaigns only tend to run about 2-2.5 years at a time before I'm starting over with a new 1st level group, possibly in the same campaign world - I will restart old campaigns though. Currently I'm running Runelords (PCs 16th-20th) that started in 2015 and took a break all of 2018, plus new Primeval Thule and Princes of the Apocalypse campaigns. My last...
    14 replies | 433 view(s)
    0 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 04:13 PM
    Forge Domain Cleric, Gloomstalker Ranger and Shadow Monk all seem very powerful. The latter would Pass Without Trace on the whole party and make them undetectable.
    19 replies | 812 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 09:06 AM
    To address this further: as I understand things, Jonathan Tween in 13th Age is correct about the origins of "fail forward" as a self-consciously identified technique (from the 13th Age rulebook, p 42): A simple but powerful improvement you can make to your game is to redefine failure as “things go wrong” instead of “the PC isn’t good enough.” Ron Edwards, Luke Crane, and other indie RPG...
    57 replies | 2251 view(s)
    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 08:42 AM
    Yeah, I store them in the original lattices. Works well except for Skull & Shackles - those ones are loose and fall out. :\
    7 replies | 252 view(s)
    1 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 08:26 AM
    PCs who have started at 1st level in my games and hit Tier IV with no bumps/free levelling along the way are: Hakeem, Berserker Barbarian 20 Quillax, Moon Druid 18 That's in 4 years of frequent play, I probably run 2 5e D&D games a week on average.
    14 replies | 433 view(s)
    0 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 08:20 AM
    Yup - Xanathar's gets by far the most use. I've only just bought Mordenkainen's. Volo's sees little use - players occasionally play the new races. Xanathar's has highly useable PC paths/subclasses plus very nice encounter tables for the DM. Plus the common magic items & the downtime stuff. Really it's more useful than the DMG at table - rather than bring a DMG I can just bring an SRD printout...
    26 replies | 837 view(s)
    0 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 08:17 AM
    I've seen a Zealot Barbarian and (much more) a Swashbuckler Rogue in play. Both are very nice.
    19 replies | 812 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 02:16 AM
    This is an interesting post. It prompted a few thoughts in me, based on my play experience over the past few years with a few different systems. I think at the heart of roleplaying, on the player side of things (assuming a fairly conventional allocation among the participants of player and GM roles), is action resolution. Action resolution begins with a declaration that has some connection to,...
    25 replies | 938 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 18th February, 2019, 12:03 AM
    I think this is one usage of "fail forward", but not the only one and in my view not the primary one. "Fail forward" in a game like Burning Wheel is a way of adjudicating a character's failure to meet his/her goal. In BW, action declaration requires a declaration of both intent and task. If the player's check succeeds, then the PC succeeds at the task and achieves his/her intent. If the...
    57 replies | 2251 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th February, 2019, 06:05 PM
    The problem with adjustments like the above, Max, is that the rider effects to stuff like this quickly either becomes clearly arbitrary or “not D&D.” The kinetic energy of a body at terminal velocity has less kinetic energy than that of an Ancient Dragon swinging its tail (even if for some strange reason you assume 2/3 the acceleration of a human punch). I think people can intuit that without...
    414 replies | 11183 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th February, 2019, 03:06 PM
    I'll ignore the alleged contrast between believable and unrealistic, because all that means is that we have a disagreement at the table as to what is or isn't believable. There are various ways to resolve such disagreements, of which GM decides unilaterally is one but not the only one. But as far as "every time they go looking" is concerned, (i) as I've already posted, why are assuming that...
    414 replies | 11183 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th February, 2019, 03:02 PM
    Apropos of this, I just posted an actual play report of today's Traveller session. Random table results that generated a need for interpretation included an encounter with a group of rowdies (religious zealots burning down an antiquities shop), an encounter with a group of fugitives (a group of people trying to escape from their local religious dictatorship to learn the *truth* about...
    414 replies | 11183 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th February, 2019, 02:37 PM
    I'm a big fan of Classic Traveller and have recently been playing it a fair bit (a report of today's session is here). But I don't think it reasonably counts as rules light. Character creation can be reasonably quick and quite colourful, and the skill names generally give you a sense of what your PC can do. But the game has a lot of subsystems (for intersteller travel; for using vacc-suits;...
    40 replies | 1961 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th February, 2019, 02:26 PM
    For me it depends on system. Running Rolemaster, for instance, this sort of stuff comes up quite a bit. Likewise in Burning Wheel. In systems which have only abstract "hit point"-type damage - D&D being one, and Traveller another - it doesn't come up all that often. Although in our Traveller game, when the PC with a cutlass succeeded in hitting an enemy she was attacking through the slit of...
    53 replies | 929 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th February, 2019, 02:07 PM
    We played a session of Classic Traveller today. I'll sblock some lengthy play accounts before offering some thoughts as referee. Prior session context The PCs had defeated their enemies by first tricking their way onto the latter's starship, then taking it over, then using it to assault the enemies' bioweapons base on the relatively remote planet Olyx. (Some backstory here.) In the course...
    3 replies | 207 view(s)
    3 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th February, 2019, 10:25 AM
    I may well give it another look later - I wanted some nice easy-to-port stuff to get my Tuesday night game off the ground, so the Midlands short adventures looked best.
    54 replies | 6425 view(s)
    0 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th February, 2019, 08:59 AM
    This is how I run it, yup. If a PC is insta-killed by a critical hit I might describe it as a decapitation. I probably would not describe insta-death to a non-crit as decapitation though it's possible.
    53 replies | 929 view(s)
    0 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th February, 2019, 08:54 AM
    I will exterminate the party in a hail of lead if that is the logical consequence of prior events. I did exterminate one 4e party in a hail of 1,000 ghouls - the party were tasked with holding the only river bridge against the Necromancer's ghoul horde until it could be collapsed, giving the town time to evacuate. The PCs decided to stake out position on the north (ghoul) side of the bridge,...
    414 replies | 11183 view(s)
    0 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th February, 2019, 08:43 AM
    S'mon replied to Reaching tier 4
    With other editions I sometimes experience rules-side burnout. Running Pathfinder 'Curse of the Crimson Throne', we finished the entire AP (at level 14) but by the end I was thoroughly sick of it and swearing never to use Pathfinder again, at any rate not above level 5. I don't find rules burnout an issue at all in 5e. Battles can be slow when your party has 3 totem barbarians and a druid who...
    34 replies | 1185 view(s)
    0 XP
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Saturday, 23rd February, 2019


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Monday, 18th February, 2019

  • 08:55 AM - MNblockhead mentioned S'mon in post Pathfinder Pawns: How do you store them?
    As Richards and S'mon, I store my Pathfinder and Kobold Press cardboard pawns in the original lattices, but then I put these in clear sheet protectors in three-ring binders. For other flat minis, such as paper minis that I print and cut for Arcknight flat plastic minis, I organize them into envelopes with the category or creature name written on them, which are then stored alphabetically in boxes. I'm considering moving the cardboard pawns into the envelops so I have just one system.

Sunday, 20th January, 2019

  • 02:44 AM - Libramarian mentioned S'mon in post S'mon's New XP System
    Outside of sacred cows, what is the "weirdness" of 0 XP combats? Should you get an XP for negotiating a good deal on a stay at the inn? Or are some things trivial and not really worth an XP? To use a real world example, how much does your ability to drive from improve from an uneventful daily commute? Milestone XP ignore combats completely, except as one method towards an end. Many game systems that aren't trying to emulate D&D don't give any character advancement specifically for combat either. The weird bit is giving character advancement for some work-a-day tasks and not others. I fear that the difference between insignificant and significant encounters will not seem as definite to the players as the difference between zero and some XP. In which case it might feel arbitrary or even railroady when S'mon decides not to award XP. 1 XP vs. 2 XP offers just enough granularity to make it clear to the players that they can advance without abiding by the DM's definition of significant play, albeit slowly. If an encounter were truly pointless, then I imagine the monsters would immediately flee or surrender, in which case I would not award XP for slaying them. Likewise I'm not suggesting awarding XP for killing random peasants/noncombatants.

Saturday, 19th January, 2019

  • 05:24 AM - 77IM mentioned S'mon in post S'mon's New XP System
    This is extremely similar to an idea I had the other day: a) 100 XP to level up, regardless of your level. b) Easy encounter: 5 XP. Medium: 10 XP. Hard: 20 XP. Deadly: 40 XP. c) If you prefer quest awards instead of encounter awards, just pick the % of a level you think it's worth. Like, "This major quest is worth 2/3 of a level" = 66 XP. If you want, you could scale this up/down based on character levels, e.g., "This level 8 side quest is worth 60 XP at levels 1-6, 50 XP at levels 7-9, and 25 XP at levels 10-20." (You could do a smoother curve or just a direct linear scaling of [base quest XP * quest level / party level], but that gets kinda mathy and defeats the point of a simple "every level is 100 XP" system.) Divide these numbers by 10 and you have S'mon's system, almost exactly (except I would be slightly more generous with the Deadly encounters because, uh, they're deadly).

Monday, 14th January, 2019

  • 09:48 AM - Sadras mentioned S'mon in post [Very Long] Combat as Sport vs. Combat as War: a Key Difference in D&D Play Styles...
    My experience with sandbox-style play with the various editions very much aligns with S'mon's. It might also be the case that 5e is also more familiar (BECMI, 1e and 2e) to me. With 3e I felt that combat could become too swingy and there were all these details the GM had to concern him/herself with. With 4e I felt that combat needed to be properly structured, plus like S'mon said easy combats were just a complete waste of time. Therefore it is no surprise the 4e story-now crowd very much pushed the concept that combat needed to propel story - especially in a system that is known for becoming combat-sluggish.

Friday, 11th January, 2019

  • 03:45 PM - darkbard mentioned S'mon in post [Very Long] Combat as Sport vs. Combat as War: a Key Difference in D&D Play Styles...
    Well, my answer, maybe different from 7 years ago, is that the acquisition and desire to use the special silver sword LEAD to the existence of the shapechangers being framed into the action (though it is perfectly possible that they were foreshadowed before the sword came up too, but then some other reason would exist to believe that the players were interested in fighting such creatures). This puts forth pretty nicely the response I was formulating to S'mon's post above about 4E being ill-suited to "proactive sandboxing," presuming that what he means by this is a kind of Story Now play! Adherents to such play such as yourself, pemerton, Manbearcat, I, etc. have been beating the drum that 4E is the edition of D&D that most facilitates such play, though perhaps S'mon has not played with a group that grokked the possibilities of the system. (But even if that is so, one of the near-universally praised elements of 4E, even by detractors, was the ease of GMing wrt putting together a balanced encounter (especially on the fly), which would seem to lend itself to "sandboxing" regardless of play philosophy!)

Monday, 26th November, 2018

  • 04:53 PM - lowkey13 mentioned S'mon in post On Variability, House Rules, Research, and the 1e/5e Difference
    So, something that came up recently was a discussion about "1e" and what a typical campaign was like. One of contributors to that conversation brought up the example of this page as typical for 1e (h/t S'mon ) - http://immortalshandbook.com/shrine.htm Now, I know better than to yuck on someone's yum, but I would say that this particular example definitely falls on the severe outer spectrum of play for 1e. But I think it's helpful to interrogate both why I think I can make that assertion that it is atypical of play, as well as why it cannot be rules out completely, in order to make some observations about 5e. I'm going to subdivide this into various subgroups of issues. 1e/2e. The first thing that leaps out, of course, is that it is clear that the character was an amalgamation of 1e and 2e rules, made more clear by the timing (a campaign starting in 1988; second edition started in 1989). While 2e is often referred to as a standardization of 1e, the differences are both subtle (in verbiage) and substantial (in options). Even basic things, such as critical hits, became more widespread after being absent from the codified rules of 1e. 1e/1.5. Without putting too fine a point on it, Unea...

Tuesday, 13th November, 2018

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

Thursday, 18th October, 2018

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

Friday, 12th October, 2018

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

Thursday, 11th October, 2018

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

Wednesday, 10th October, 2018

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

Monday, 8th October, 2018

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

Monday, 17th September, 2018

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

Monday, 7th May, 2018

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

Sunday, 16th July, 2017

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

Monday, 26th June, 2017

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

Wednesday, 21st June, 2017

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

Tuesday, 20th June, 2017

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


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Friday, 22nd February, 2019

  • 11:40 PM - BookBarbarian quoted S'mon in post Here Are The Most Popular D&D Feats (War Caster Leads The Pack!)
    Never seen this come up; admittedly I've never played at high level. But I'd think my approach still does well vs critters with Resistance, though a backup +1 greatsword might be handy. The backup approach works fine. I wouldn't say it's a problem limited to high level though. I once ran into a couple of Jackalweres in an AL game when I was level 1. Hell a +1 Dagger would have been handy. Still I think a fair portion of players don't go with PAM because they prefer other weapons for aesthetics .
  • 08:46 PM - Flexor the Mighty! quoted S'mon in post What paints do you use?
    I mostly GM in dimly lit pubs; often the light reflecting off my glossy minis is about the only illumination we have! :p All pubs should be dark and dank.
  • 03:32 PM - Flexor the Mighty! quoted S'mon in post What paints do you use?
    Any paint on a pewter mini will wear off in play unless there's plenty of varnish. I agree, I don't find Vallejo GC any worse for this. I guess the very thick Army Painter paints might be slightly better, but in any case I prefer a thick coat of clear varnish for my gaming minis. I generally prefer gloss varnish too - I know, I'm a barbarian. :D Yes, yes you are. I often will do a coat of gloss then the coats of a really matt varnish like army painter anti-shine. Depends on if its a PC mini that will have a lot of grubby mitts on it.
  • 11:07 AM - pemerton quoted S'mon in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    I always enjoy Pemerton's thoughts on 4eThis takes me back to those glorious, heady days of Permertonian scene-framing! D&D of that era had plenty of similar subsystems, eg Spying & Assassination in 1e DMG, or the Territory Development process in the 1e DMG, or the Escape & Evasion checks in various editions. I would probably include NPC reaction & morale checks, and hireling loyalty, in there too.I agree AD&D has a lot of subsystems, many I suspect underused and underappreciated. To Spying as a means of information-gathering can be added sages (whose subsystem is hidden in the NPC hireling tables). But many of the AD&D subsystems are quite clunky as written, and - at least in my experience with them, which is not extensive for some but is reasonably extensive for others - often quite clunky in play also. Part of the genius of Classic Traveller, in my view, is how playable it is for a sub-system heavy game. Another part of its genius is its relative comprehensiveness - there is th...
  • 03:16 AM - ad_hoc quoted S'mon in post Here Are The Most Popular D&D Feats (War Caster Leads The Pack!)
    Not enough people seem to realise the awesome power of Polearm Master! People probably choose feats more on theme and character personality. A few of the numbers surprised me. But the biggest surprise isn't even about feats: Only 4% of characters are variant human! Since we know from a previous reveal that over 25% of characters are humans, that makes variant-human much less popular than I expected. From previous DDB data we know 11% are variant human (and 11.5% standard). So that's funny.

Thursday, 21st February, 2019

  • 11:44 PM - Zardnaar quoted S'mon in post Here Are The Most Popular D&D Feats (War Caster Leads The Pack!)
    Never occurred to me to worry about having a magic weapon when my non magical one is doing 60-80 damage a round at level 5. :D The great thing about polearm master is how it stacks with greatweapon master and barbarian reckless attack. I get 3 attacks with advantage at -5/+10 from 10' away (2 d10s and if neither killed foe a bonus 1 d4, plus Rage & STR added to all, x2 Rage if GM allows Slayer Barbarian from Primeval Thule), then step back and get a fourth attack as a reaction when enemy enters my reach. Barb-5 STR 16 human barbarian with gw & pm has 2 points of Rage & is hitting for (3x advtg & -5 reckless gwm) d10+15, d10+15, d4+15, and a reaction (standard bonus) for d10+5. And then you come across somehtign requiring a magic weapon and the magic longsword or great sword (that are more common) deal more than you. But yeah I would put PAM in the top 5 feats along with warcaster, healer, sharpshoter and GWM. CBE is good but really needs sharpshooter to shine, all those 5 feats I liste...
  • 11:19 PM - Zardnaar quoted S'mon in post Here Are The Most Popular D&D Feats (War Caster Leads The Pack!)
    Not enough people seem to realise the awesome power of Polearm Master! Magical polearmns are rare in WoTC adventures. omes down to DM may I, so GWM+ somethign else might be beter. Babarian raging dual wielding longswords might be another example of doing something similar to PAM bu with more common magical variants. Sharpshooter+ warcaster are top 5 feats material. So is healer IMHO but its boring and power doesn't always represent popularity. Every caster seems to know warcaster is good, figured that out in 2014.
  • 08:35 PM - Jay Verkuilen quoted S'mon in post Here Are The Most Popular D&D Feats (War Caster Leads The Pack!)
    And Barbarian Reckless Attack! I'm playing a Variant Human with Polearm Master in a campaign that just started. We're only level 2, but the plan is Level 3 Samurai and Level 4 Great Weapon Master. Let the pain begin!
  • 08:31 PM - Jay Verkuilen quoted S'mon in post Here Are The Most Popular D&D Feats (War Caster Leads The Pack!)
    Not enough people seem to realise the awesome power of Polearm Master! No kidding, especially in combination with Great Weapon Master!
  • 07:27 PM - Greenfield quoted S'mon in post Do you ever "call" fights?
    Eh, then why was the pretty elf PC asking orc bikers about BDSM fantasies with her as the sub? Given that that was nothing to do with the plot! She wasn't asking the Orcs anything. She was asking a pirate SIM dealer about BDSM porn. She just happened to be a pretty Elf in an Orc biker bar when she did it! The player may have been playing a personal fetish, or may have been trying to play his character's presumed personal fetish, but over all the player just wasn't thinking. It happens.

Wednesday, 20th February, 2019

  • 09:07 PM - Satyrn quoted S'mon in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    If in doubt, I find 3 in 6 chance works really well - "hm, ok, 3 in 6 chance sect members at the tea house" - it's a nice compromise between cinematic reality and reality-reality. Coin flips work for me, too.
  • 01:31 PM - Imaculata quoted S'mon in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Conversely, I love not giving myself the freedom, by telling the players in advance - "OK you make it safely to port - UNLESS I roll a 20 on this die...." (said on Sunday). It's part of the Free Kriegsspiel approach I like to tell the players the odds. I love doing this as well. Or I'll ask my players to roll a D20 to determine what happens during their travels, and they know that a 20 means "YIKES!". Telling the players the odds can create suspense, while also showing the players what rules you are using. I like to be as open as possible when it comes to my rulings as a DM.
  • 12:16 AM - ParanoydStyle quoted S'mon in post How often do you use the Inspiration rules?
    Pleasantly surprised (slightly amazed) with how this thread blew up. No time to reply to everything but I will TRY to come back and read more individual responses, since it seems like "how" people use Inspiration is just as important as "how often". I give it out maybe once a session on average - for cool stuff, or (very rarely happens) when a player points out they are RPing a trait/bond/flaw. 95% of the time I give it out for cool roleplay without reference to what their character sheet says. The big problem with the system IME is that I as DM do not have your TPFs memorised, so unless you tell me, I won't know. If we're discussing a table full of randos at a convention, having that stuff memorized totally isn't part of your job as a DM. In a long term campaign with consistent players? I'd argue that memorizing at least one important ideal/bond/flaw for each of your PCs IS part of your job as a DM. But of course I come from HERO System (where every PC has a laundry list of disadvant...

Tuesday, 19th February, 2019

  • 07:30 PM - MNblockhead quoted S'mon in post What are the most interesting bits of D&D/RPG Jargon?
    Phylactery Gygax knew what it meant, but didn't bother explaining. The 2e authors had no idea, and so made it a Lich's hidden soul receptacle. Phulactery was used for "soul jar" in the 1977 monster manual entry for Lich. It seems a good choice based on existing definitions of the term, especially if Gygax is using the early Christian definition of the term to mean a receptical for relics or going back to the old Greek meaning of amulet/charm (which has connotations of "protection"). It is interesting that while the term is used in the monster manual, it was not mentioned in Len Lakofka's "Blueprint For a Lich," in Dragon #26 (1979). The first explicit official connection seems to have been made in the Endless Quest book Lair of the Lich (1985). See the following Stack Exchange thread for more details: https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/25154/what-is-the-origin-of-a-phylactery-as-a-soul-jar
  • 12:17 AM - ParanoydStyle quoted S'mon in post Guides for a New Young DM?
    Matt Colville gives the best advice (Mercer is good too; personally I'd avoid Angry), but I think the best thing she can do is take a look at how the old masters designed adventures. B2 Keep on the Borderlands for dungeons, and X1 Isle of Dread for wilderness, are two good places to start. U1 Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh is also worth looking at, but omits the home base, whereas B2 and X1 pay lots of attention to the home base element. Orange B3 Palace of the Silver Princess is also a good tutorial module. She could also look at some of the free adventures at basicfantasy.org that riff off those, eg J N Neal's Monkey Isle (X1) and Chaotic Caves (B2), Fortress of the Iron Duke (in Fortress Tower & Tomb) riffs off B3, and has that romance/betrayal element from B3 the chicks dig. Groovy. :D Also In Search of The Unknown. In Search Of The Unknown is my favorite "my first D&D" type module/adventure. Anyway personally I'd give her the same one piece of advice I give all GMs of any age and ex...

Monday, 18th February, 2019

  • 08:02 PM - Elfcrusher quoted S'mon in post Xanathar's Subclasses
    Forge Domain Cleric, Gloomstalker Ranger and Shadow Monk all seem very powerful. The latter would Pass Without Trace on the whole party and make them undetectable. Both of the last two can cast Pass Without Trace. A Gloomstalker/Assassin is a really powerful combo. With Pass Without Trace the party can get surprise, the Gloomstalker gives an extra attack, with an extra +1d8, and another +1d6 for Hunters Mark, and then all hits turn into crits for double dice. Sick.
  • 04:19 PM - jgsugden quoted S'mon in post Classes reaching Tier 4
    PCs who have started at 1st level in my games and hit Tier IV with no bumps/free levelling along the way are: Hakeem, Berserker Barbarian 20 Quillax, Moon Druid 18 That's in 4 years of frequent play, I probably run 2 5e D&D games a week on average.If I might ask - with that much play (comporable to my levels), why did only 2 PCs in the games you've played in reach 17+? Did the DM end the other campaigns? Players lose interest and end the campaign? Players die and come in with lowere level PCs that for some reason never caught up?

Sunday, 17th February, 2019

  • 02:47 PM - Tormyr quoted S'mon in post Playing at Level 20?
    I was wondering how often do GMs give out Epic Boons? When I had an individual PC hit 20 in my sandbox Wilderlands game, he got EBs for: 1. At BBn-19 he soloed Kainos Warbringer, a CR 25 demigod son of Ares-Bane - hit BBn-20 and my son persuaded me it was so outrageous the PC (not his) should get an EB too. 2. Finally killing Borritt Crowfinger, the (recently turned Lich, CR 21 + minions) BBEG Prince of the Black Sun who'd been the main villain for 7 years of play. 3. Soloing Matriarx, a CR 21 ancient black dragon - though that was a bit of a kerbstomp battle. I've been looking at how I should give out EBs in my Runelords campaign with a bunch of PCs at 20th likely long before the finale. Soloing a CR 21+, and completing a major quest, seem like two possibilities. I'm not very keen on tracking XP-for-boons, it feels like it should need something, well, 'Epic'. :) In my 5e Age of Worms campaign, I had the heroes attain 20th level halfway through chapter 11. When they finished cha...
  • 09:59 AM - Ath-kethin quoted S'mon in post Primeval Thule 5e
    3. They are rather over-written (rather like Paizo stuff) in the interest of creating a baroque mood, and I was finding them hard to decipher given they would need extensive conversion for play. Not a bad product if you are running a specifically Conan game set in his typical adventuring locales, but for me they didn't work. Instead further digging brought up The Midlands book I mentioned, which also has tons of swords & sorcery themed adventures, but the writing is much less baroque and use at table seems far easier. The Midlands book looks awesome; I snagged it as part of the Low Fantasy Gaming Deluxe Kickstarter. No two ways about it. I found the Xoth stuff to be useful for my game. Some of it I ported to Quodeth, though I established Xoth itself as a separate continent east of Thule. Maybe I like overwritten. I can say that I found the Xoth supplement Land of the Silver Lotus very difficult to use largely because it lacks the level of description and detail I like to have. I ...

Saturday, 16th February, 2019

  • 12:15 AM - 200orcs quoted S'mon in post Open Table Campaigns
    Exploration within the dungeon normally step by step but I summarise passing through explored territory. Wilderness travel was rare and mostly summarised. What would you do differently if you where starting over with a new group? Why did your current group stop playing?


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