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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 08:34 AM
    The range of activities that can count as "playing a RPG" is pretty wide. Playing essentially board-game style "Gygaxian" D&D is RPGing. So is playing Dogs in the Vineyard. So is playing Fate. But as far as the minutiae of gameplay is concerned, it's going to be pretty different. (Consider canasta and bridge - both card games, but quite different in the details of play.) And then there is the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:43 PM
    I wouldn't agree that skill choices are meaningless. They make for pretty significant difference between characters.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:55 AM
    AbdulAlhazred, I think you're skipping right to the end of that section, which does have the sort of stuff you mention (eg paying for experimental neural implants to get a skill). But the default rules are for improvement by training: you can attempt a 8+ training roll; if it fails you can't try again for a year, if it succeeds you boost two skills by 1; at the end of 4 years you lose the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:49 AM
    I don't think options is, in itself, the right framework for the analysis. Eg having a list of 200 skills (I'm looking at Rolemaster and its derivatives, or Burning Wheel; RQ doesn't have quite so long a skill list, but it's still longer than D&D's) gives lots of options, but won't break the game. It's the cumulative interaction of choices from multiple lists that is distinctive to D&D and...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:28 AM
    Right. They're not bad motivations if I'm bringing along a PC to a new club game or pick-up game. For a more satisfying or deeper campaign I think something a bit richer might be better. Even Conan, while something of a loner, is often loyal to the given sidekick of an episode. The loner-ish-ness seems more of a literary device than a deep feature of his personality. I ran a session of...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:11 AM
    I don't think this is true. There are quite a few RPGs that I've never heard of breaking due to optional rules or powergaming: DungeonWorld, or Ditv, or HeroWars/Quest; even older games like RuneQuest and CoC. If this thread is meant to have some RPG theory in it, then it seems worthwhile identifying what features of D&D (and in particular 5e) produce the game breakage. I'd start with (i) the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:42 AM
    Yes. I didn't describe the motivations as narrow, but the framing of them. Perhaps "sparse" or "thin" would be a better word than "narrow", but I think my meaning was fairly clear. I don't follow this. If I write up a PC whose goal is to defeat evil, I have almost no control over what my goal will be in the game - it will be about defeating whatever evil the GM serves up. (And I think this is...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 22nd May, 2018, 03:25 PM
    The "doom clocks" I've encountered are in Marvel Heroic RP/Cortex+ Heroic, and in 4e (as skill challenges). The basic idea is that the players have to spend some action economy to dial the clock back and eventually defeat it; left to its own devices it steps up each round, and goes "BANG!" after the specified number of rounds. In the fiction, dialling the clock back might be rescuing a...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 22nd May, 2018, 03:20 PM
    The OGL is a licence agreement. So a party to the OGL is a party to an agreement with other licensees. If the publisher in question is drawing on a WotC-licensed SRD, then that publisher is in a contractual agreement with WotC. What relationship is the 3PP a third party to? The only relatoinship I can see is that between WotC (the core publisher and licensor) and the consumer ie the community...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 22nd May, 2018, 08:58 AM
    Not quite true. There are the rules for improving skills or stats in Book 2. Having recently used them, I can report that they're not much like D&D!
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 21st May, 2018, 10:52 AM
    I've always assumed that "3rd party" here means 3rd party vis-a-vis the relationship between WotC and the D&D player. The italicised relationship isn't really a contractual one - most D&D players don't enter into contracts of purchase with WotC - but is some sort of more amorphous commercially significant relationship between publisher and reader/user.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 21st May, 2018, 09:34 AM
    I think you're framing these motivations fairly narrowly. Even if we just focus on these two, consider The Hobbit - the goal isn't just get money, but rather get this particular dragon hoard - or LotR - the goal isn't just to defeat evil, but to defeat this particular evil by performing this particular deed. I tend to find that having some reasonably distinctive character goal(s) makes it...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 18th May, 2018, 12:26 PM
    Yes. BW can play that way. Cortex+ Heroic Fantasy largely does play that way (not surprising, given its roots in Marvel Heroic RP). There must be many other examples too, that I just happen to be ignorant of.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 18th May, 2018, 10:10 AM
    It allows a shift. Conan often seems to shift, if one takes the REH narration literally.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 17th May, 2018, 10:43 AM
    Passing Attack is a 1st level fighter encounter power that allows taking down multiple minions.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 17th May, 2018, 10:09 AM
    The game experience can be affected by many different facets of both mechanics/system and fiction. We can look at the degree of system complexity. The way the system allocates responsibility across participants for establishing elements of the fiction, what is at stake in conflicts, what consequences flow from success or from failure in complexity. Will the game make the players work hard...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 17th May, 2018, 06:36 AM
    My Fate-fu is finite (unlike my alliteration-fu), but this reminds me of how Marvel Heroic handles it: there is a Webslinging power-set which includes swinging and grappling as features; and an Exhausted limit which the player can trigger for a buff or the GM can pay to trigger, shutting down the power-set. That's a nice way of putting it.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 16th May, 2018, 11:05 AM
    The class imbalance arises because (absent rules variants that aren't the default for the system) a RM caster who uses a day's worth of spell points in a single encounter, or even a couple of encounters, will probably be mechanically more effective than a non-caster in the same circumstances. Solutions that I have adopted include not using adders and even moreso not using PP multipliers;...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 16th May, 2018, 11:02 AM
    Fair enough. I said I believed it to be a minority preference, given that I don't know of anyone else ever raising it, although I've read a lot of threads about balance/pacing/recharge periods.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 16th May, 2018, 10:52 AM
    I know trolls have regen, and I think the maths assumes that they'll get about 4 rounds of regen as part of their hp. If your warlock might miss out on a buff or two due to interfering PCs, then maybe figure it as 2 or 3 rounds? It doesn't have to be perfect! But personally I think monsters with the hp of an elite but lacking the action economy can be a bit underwhelming at the table, so if...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 16th May, 2018, 12:36 AM
    I don't see that an all-wizard party actually raises any issue of balance among classes! That's not what I said, and it's not true. You can push a non-encounter based system into encounter-focused play if you want (I've done it with RM), but you have to be prepared to handle (among other things) resultant issues of class imbalance. This is a different point in my post, and one on which I...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 16th May, 2018, 12:28 AM
    I don't follow what you're saying here. Lingering consequences don't, on their face, seem like they are aimed at limiting balance. Again, I don't see how these points about persistent resources/complications bear on a discussion about the way recovery schemes factor into cross-class balance.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th May, 2018, 12:57 PM
    Lanefan, my concern about class balance of mechanical effectiveness isn't so much about the sort of idiosyncratic tactical scenarios you describe, but systemic effects. Eg if one PC has a whole suite of spells that s/he can bring to bear on the situation, while the other PC has only his/her wits, then (everything else being equal) the first PC seems to have a mechanical advantage. The typical...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th May, 2018, 11:14 AM
    I agree with MoutonRustique. And I would approach this from the point of view of NPC/monster balance, not PC balance. So look at some other temp hp, self-buffing creatures and take your inspiration from that. If you think your warlock's curse-buffing is going to make it, functionally, have the hp of an elite, then you might want to give it a comparable action economy also.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th May, 2018, 11:11 AM
    I've done a lot of "minions as swarms", for paragon and epic tier PCs. Eg hobgoblin phalanxes; hordes of demons; etc. At mid-Heroic I also had a hyena pack as a swarm.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th May, 2018, 09:15 AM
    I'm not sure who you are positing this as an ideal for - a designer? a game publisher? an individual table, or GM? In 4e, without changing the resting rules, the passage of ingame time does have a "meaningful but not overwhelming impact on difficulty" - because of daily powers and healing surge replenishment. But the GM also has the capacity to shape challenge by using the encounter-building...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 15th May, 2018, 12:31 AM
    From my point of view, the contrast is this: if the unit of balance is the encounter (scene), then it is possible to allow events to unfold as they do in accordance with the logic of play, complications, framing, etc, without this having any implications for mechanical balance across PCs (which is a feature of a mechanically heavy system like D&D). If the unit of balance is the adventuring day...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 14th May, 2018, 05:17 AM
    I was thinking about this thread as I was introspecting upon something related to my own play priorities: "What is the difference between a game with a baked-in premise (say Dogs in the Vineyard or My Life With Master) vs a fully GM-authored premise and attendant game?" For myself, as GM, I'd say its the following: 1 - Playing a game with a baked-in premise invariably comes with some...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 14th May, 2018, 04:32 AM
    I agree that it is pretty hard (I'll go with extremely) for the same episode of RPGing to serve both of those priorities. Story Now and Story Before/Sim priorities + play principles and game infrastructure (the latter two serving the first) push in different (perhaps not opposite in all ways...but certainly different) directions. I'm going to extend this with another example. Let me know...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 13th May, 2018, 03:13 AM
    I referred to a number of things. Including that one point of worldbuilding is to give the GM stuff to tell the players. Just as you said. There might be more than one thing that worldbuilding does, and more than one way that it is expereinced (both in a given game, and across games).
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 13th May, 2018, 03:11 AM
    If someone is saying that X is not necessary to Y, and you know of a way of Y-ing that - even if not usual - doesn't need X, wouldn't you at first assume that the someone is talking about that way of Y-ing? And then maybe try to extrapolate from that instance that you're famiiar with to see what else they have in mind? Rather than just assume they're talking about the mode of Y-ing that...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 12th May, 2018, 11:53 AM
    Which GM are you talking about? You might want to do this. Nothing in the Moldvay Basic rules implies that a GM might do tjhis. Because B1 is an introductory module, Mike Carr has a lot of GMing tips at the start of the module. But none of them deal with the stuff you mention. Here is the advice on resting: If the exploring adventurers wish to suspend the game temporarily during a rest...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 12th May, 2018, 11:39 AM
    What does "you by default will also have elves in your game world" mean? Who is writing them in? Is the spirit of D&D descending on the land and making unbidden entries in my note book? And riddle me this: in my OA game I used hobgoblins and never used elves. And I don't think the players were shocked by this. Where did I specificially change the lore? At what point in time? You and...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 12th May, 2018, 11:28 AM
    So I take it you think Lanefan is wrong to have said there is a reason in favour of worldbuilding, namely, that otherwise there is a serious risk of a hodge-podge world. I assume you are going to take him to task for confusing "bad GMing" with some objective risk. Or, alternatively, this whole pseuo-moralising attack on Hussar is nonsense. Yes, I think that's it.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 12th May, 2018, 11:21 AM
    Well, if someone says "worldbuilding isn't necessary for RPGing", and you agree that it's not necessary for a one-shot, then why would you just assume they're talking about something else? And now, once we've got that possibility on the table, what about a campaign in which the players turn up each session and either recommence where they left off in the current dungeon, or else find out which...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 12th May, 2018, 11:09 AM
    If this is worldbuilding, then B2 doesn't have it. There is no coherent history, geography or ecology in that module - I mean, there are dozens of powerful warriors (many superior to their human opponents) living a hour or two's walk away from a modestly defended keep. And with no obvious food supply for either side. And no coherent history either. It's a framing for play, not something that...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 12th May, 2018, 10:46 AM
    On the other thread, when I've suggested this is one thing that worldbuilding is for, there has been a lot of disagreement. Most posters on that thread seem to deny that one function of worldbuilding is to establish stuff for the GM to tell to the players.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 12th May, 2018, 10:43 AM
    It's Moldvay Basic. The game starts at the dungeon entrance. If the group wanted to, I guess they could describe the trip from the town if they wanted. But they don't have to. And even if they do, it's just free narration. From B3, a paragraph or two below the quote you posted: An adventure begins when the party enters a dungeon, and ends when the party has left the dungeon and divides up...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 11th May, 2018, 10:12 AM
    But starting Isle of Dread with "You're sailing from X to Y and then a storm blows up, and beaches you on this lonely island . . ." isn't worldbuilding. (Hussar's post indicates that this isn't the canonical way of starting X1. But it is a possible way, which is enough for my point.) Which is Hussar's point. The Phantom of the Opera happens in Paris, but we don't actually need to build Paris;...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Friday, 11th May, 2018, 09:14 AM
    AFAICT: 1. It would take Rogues or Goblins etc with bonus action Hide to be able to pull off the attack - hide - move combination. 2. Players can declare they're shooting at the area an attack came from even if they can't see anyone there. 3. Player attack will have disadvantage as unseen target. 4. So a crit would require a double '20'.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 11th May, 2018, 01:09 AM
    I'm reporting the adventures as they're actually published, not as someone might choose to run them. Eg in C1 the approach to the building is all done by GM narration - the adventre starts with the PCs having stumbled into the Hidden Shrine. A group might choose to run it differently, but there is no requirement to do so.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 10th May, 2018, 11:31 PM
    Yes. I'm not saying that it's impossible to do more worldbuilding by using an otyugh, or writing lore into a MM. I'm saying that those things need not, as such, be worldbuilding. I'm not dkisputing that sometimes RPGers worldbuild and MM-authors worldbuild (though my threshold for the latter I think is higher than Hussar's). I'm disputing that it is inherent in running a game and setting up a...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 10th May, 2018, 11:28 PM
    Well, Hussar thinks it bogs down published material in unnecessary stuff that doesn't contribute to play. I think (and he may agree - I can't remember all the posts) that it pushes towards an approach to play which emphasises pre-authored fiction as a focus of play, rather than something more spontaneous and mutual between those at the table. I'm sure you disagree with these thoughts. But...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 10th May, 2018, 04:45 PM
    I don't see why "unhelpful" must mean something different from "bad". If someone says "That's a pretty bad knife" they might mean that it's unhelpful because eg blunt, or poorly shaped in the handle, or . . . In any event, I don't think the OP, or others who sympathise with it, are asserting that worldbuilding is bad for GMs in the same way that (say) not eating healthily might be. It's an...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 10th May, 2018, 04:38 PM
    I am making the following assertion: using a giant rat in an AD&D game, but not having Sumatra as part of one's gameworld, is not and instance of changing lore. And it's not an instance of worldbuilding, beyond the utterly trivial (in this place there are giant rats). Likewise, Hussar dropping down an otyugh is not worldbuilding beyond the similarly trivial. In an of itself it implicates...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 10th May, 2018, 04:30 PM
    I'll try again: First, if the Phantom of the Opera was an RPG then it woudln't have a script! Rather, the "script" would be the transcript of an episode of RPGing. Second, if a transcript of an episode of RPGing gave us something resembling The Phantom of the Opera, we would have an intance of an episode of RPGing that required, as setting, an opera house and a subterranean lair. Three,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 10th May, 2018, 04:23 PM
    Well, you seem to be asserting that the AD&D Monster Manual, with its reference to hobgoblins hating elves, is worldbuidling - to the extent that if I drop hobgoblins into my dungeon I've now implicated the existence of elves. But no one thinks that using giant rats implicates that Sumatra is part of my gameworld! I don't see the difference between the elves and the Asian localities. Which...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 10th May, 2018, 04:14 PM
    For those who think that lore is worldbuilding: The AD&D MM describes giant rats as coming from Sumatra, rakshasa as coming from India, ogre magi as coming from Japan, and (in Latin) gold dragons as coming from China. Does that mean that Asia (the actualy Asia of earth where all these places are found) is, by default, part of all AD&D worlds? I've never encountered anyone who thinks so.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 10th May, 2018, 04:12 PM
    I'll repeat what I said: If I place hobgoblins in my AD&D game, and I also place some elves (or a player brings along a PC elf), then the MM tells us that the hobgoblins hate the elves. But the mere presence of hobgoblins in the game does not imply that any elves are part of the game. And I don't have to ignore any lore to produce that result. I just have to not introduce any elves into...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 10th May, 2018, 04:08 PM
    Well, obviously you haven't seen a *good* argument that it's bad, because you think worldbuilding is good! But various posters have put sincere and reasoned explanations of why they think that, as a default, worldbuilding isn't helpful and can be a barnacle on the hull of RPGing. You just happen not to agree with them!
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 10th May, 2018, 11:14 AM
    I think to any English speaker they're going to be distinguishable. Unless you're saying that a good GM should mumble!?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 10th May, 2018, 11:13 AM
    Are you asking? If so, here's an answer: it would depend. I might ask the player why they just didn't say they didn't want to play a game where conflicts with goblins might be expected. But if the goblin ally is a renegade goblin, we might start working out together (or maybe I'd just have the player tell me) how goblins respond to renegades, and what makes a goblin renegade in any event, or . ....
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 10th May, 2018, 11:04 AM
    But if the Phantom of the Opera was a RPG, then we know what happened, and we know exactly how much setting was required - namely, the opera house and the subterranean lair beneath it. That is - at least as I understand it - Hussar (i) is pointing out that a story can proceed without worldbuilding beyond the immediate setting/situation in which the action unfolds, and (ii) is asserting that...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 10th May, 2018, 10:49 AM
    I think so. Hussar doesn't count this as worldbuilding, though - I think because in and of itself it implicates nothing beyond the actual situation currently in play. I don't quite agree - I'll explain why below. This seems pretty plausible. Eg if you read that hobgoblins hate orcs, you may well be prompted to make a hobgoblin/elf conflict part of your setting. But you don't have to. You...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 02:55 PM
    Well, what else do you want to point us to? As far as I can recall the only person who has linked to that sort of material in this thread is me. (If I'm forgetting others, I apologise.) I've linked directly to Edwards. I've linked to Eero Tuovinen, who is heavily influenced by Edwards and The Forge. I've linked to an account of "no myth", which is derived from posts on The Forge. I've linked...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 02:45 PM
    To the extent that these two posts express conflicting views on the matter, I'm firmly with Aldarc. RPGing, and it's "need" for worldbuilding, is not wildly different from any other narrative artform. But what do you think the OP is talking about? What do you think Hussar is talking about? And what are you talking about when you say that, unlike a play, worldbuildinfg would be needed "in...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 02:41 PM
    This just isn't true. As long as I know what someone means by a word they are using, I can discuss things with them even though I would use the word differently. I don't get discombobulated everytime I experience a North American using the word "bathroom" or "liberal" differently from how I would. When it comes to words, like "worldbuilding" in this thread, where differences of usage...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 02:33 PM
    Thanks for this thoughtful post.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 02:30 PM
    Well, to some extent Edwards moved beyond his terminology (eg he prefers "story now" to "narrativism"). Still, one reason that people continue to use his terminology is because there is not a lot else available for serious critical discussion about the aesthetics of RPGing.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 02:28 PM
    It's not a rhetorical question.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 10:43 AM
    If the players all build PCs who are roguish smuggler types, what happens?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 10:35 AM
    Sure, but does that mean that we can't talk about one particular feature that has also/I] been repeatedly mentioned and extolled in the thread? I don't think that last claim is true. If a player says "I want to explore the catacombs, assuming this city has some?" and the GM checks a book/key and says "No, sorry, no catacombs", that is distinguishable from "I'm really not in the mood for...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 10:27 AM
    A couple of additional points. (1) Even if the action (of the play, of the RPG session) extends beyond the opera house, you can add on that stuff as needed. In serial fiction, new elements of the setting are established as needed. In RPGing the same thing is possible. The fact that some GMs and some RPG groups prefer that it all be done in advance doesn't show that it has to be. So someone who...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, 01:36 AM
    Introducing an otyugh for the same reason - ie specifying that, in such-and-such a place an otyugh is to be found performing sanitation services - would be worldbuilding (on a similarly modest scale). I was contrasting actually describing a part of the gameworld as including an otyugh with writing up a monster description that includes notes about the ecological role that otyught's serve. I...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 8th May, 2018, 01:01 PM
    Capes seems like it might be the right system for this. From experience I can recommend Marvel Heroic as very easy to build colourful pre-gens for, that are pretty easy to get into and play. Or just use the ones that come with the game.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 8th May, 2018, 09:32 AM
    Luckily for you, we've kept this thread alive for all that time! OK, so you've teased this out in relation to DW and Moldvay Basic. I think I am making a similar claim in relation not to two particular systems, but two reasonably broad but also recognisable play priorities: players exercising agency over the content of the shared fiction by way of action resolution - a whole range of games...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 8th May, 2018, 09:23 AM
    I think this is more a function of D&D's various systems, including combat resolution and monster-building: historically it was hard to build an effective "solo" dragon, and to make the struggle to climb the slag-pile of the dragon's lair interesting and challenging in play, and so instead the dragon was given servitors instead.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 8th May, 2018, 09:21 AM
    I wrote up a sphinx in Burning Wheel to see what it might look like. I have no idea if I'll ever use it!
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 8th May, 2018, 04:29 AM
    Alright, so I haven't posted in almost 3 months. I'm pretty much in my death throes of posting thoughts on TTRPGs. But I'm going to flail out a response here before rigamortis fully sets in. There are so many reasons why these conversations never bear out any fruit on ENWorld, but a big portion has to do with play priorities and the facts that: a) Not all play priorities play nice with...
    2665 replies | 66288 view(s)
    6 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 7th May, 2018, 11:27 PM
    Obviously not, or I wouldn't have snipped it out! If Gygax put an otyugh into a dungeon for the reason you give, that would be worldbuilding (on a fairly modest scale). But writing up a monster to serve a certain ecological role isn't worldbuilding. No world has been built. And buying a MM isn't worldbuilding, for the same reason. I don't think "lore", "fluff" and "worldbuilding" are...
    1901 replies | 64154 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 7th May, 2018, 01:35 PM
    How is creating a monster worldbuilding? What bit of the gameworld did I establish by buying a MM?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 7th May, 2018, 01:03 PM
    I guess this goes back to the discussion about whether it's world building to write into a gamebook that kobolds are mini-dragons. Like Hussar, I don't see this sort of sketching of the basic essence of an imaginary creature as world-building. Once we start to get some concrete assertions like "There're otyughs here but not there" I see worldbuidling.
    1901 replies | 64154 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 7th May, 2018, 12:53 PM
    I'm very happy to get specific about particular episodes of play! But in the same way that we can talk in general terms about "story now" or "the standard narrativistic model" or "PBtA-style" games, we can probably talk in general terms about other sorts of RPGing. For instance, what's the broad dynamic of AP/module-focused play in which the players "work though" the pre-authored adventure? I...
    2665 replies | 66288 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 7th May, 2018, 12:52 AM
    But I think we can talk meaningfully about processes of establishing constructs of the imagination. We can - and people often do - talk eg about how a film was scripted, filmed, etc. I think talking about mental activity is not that productive in the sort of conversation we can have on these boards! That's why I tried to focus on talking, which is the shared, social manifestation of that...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 7th May, 2018, 12:22 AM
    I don't remember ever having used an otyugh in 30-odd years of GMing. But I had a look at the flavour text in my AD&D and 4e MMs: Are you characterising this as worldbuilding?
    1901 replies | 64154 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 5th May, 2018, 01:03 PM
    This may be true of your game. It's clearly not true of everyone though, given some of the posts early in this thread. What does to play in mean? It's not like a sandpit or a playground. The actual activity at the table is primarily the speaking of words. Until we drop metaphor for literal descriptions, very little useful analysis is going to follow. Again, what does this mean? What actual...
    2665 replies | 66288 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 4th May, 2018, 11:54 PM
    I will try again, trying to build on what Arilyn posted. If the thing that a person enjoys in RPGing is a sense of being in the GM's world, then why would you explain that in terms of agency? The notion of audience membership seems like a more fruitful starting point. I enjoy going to movies, and I enjoy listening to music, but I don't explain that pleasure in terms of my agency. If the...
    2665 replies | 66288 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 4th May, 2018, 11:17 AM
    Many early posts in thie thread said that the purpose of worldbuilding is to underping exploration, which means - more-or-less - learning stuff from the GM about the setting s/he has established and is curating. Now that's not my favourite style of play. But if I was going to explain why it can be appealing as a type of RPGing, I wouldn't begin by emphasising how much agency it gives the...
    2665 replies | 66288 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 4th May, 2018, 08:37 AM
    I hadn't read your posts about BitD when I wrote and posted my comment about PbtA as "advanced", but it seems that we were thinking along similar lines. OK, thanks for this more productive reply! I don't think I agree with this. I think it's not correct even if one confines the focus to more "traditional" RPGs. For instance, Rolemaster takes away the various resolution systems of AD&D...
    119 replies | 2946 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 4th May, 2018, 03:26 AM
    Dead Gods and APs are not "no myth". The Dragonlance modules are not "no myth". As best I can tell from reading people's posts, most RPGing done by ENworlders is not "no myth". Here is "no myth", as per the website I linked to under the heading "practical techniques"; I've grouped some points together because they are really elaborations of the same basic point, and I've replaced one...
    119 replies | 2946 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Friday, 4th May, 2018, 12:52 AM
    On Heresy: I am not certain religious language is the best way to frame it, but I have encountered a certain sense of orthodoxy or at least attachment to the mainstream in our shared hobby. There is a certain sense that there is one way to play a role playing game instead of many ways. It also feels like more leniency is provided to use of less mainstream techniques when you do not specifically...
    2665 replies | 66288 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 3rd May, 2018, 11:57 PM
    Well, "advanced" forms of "no myth" RPGs strip away elements that get in the way of play. 4e D&D illustrates this in comparison to AD&D. (I choose these two examples because they are both fairly well-known systems. Rolemaster would do just as well as AD&D as a comparitor. So would 3E, I think, but I'm less familiar with 3E.) I'll give one reason why. AD&D places a lot of emphasis on the...
    119 replies | 2946 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 3rd May, 2018, 04:08 PM
    I don't understand what you mean by "shifting to something on the same level." I never GMed in an 80s/90s "storytelling" style, and played in such games only for relatively brief periods. But that style did exist, and as far as I can tell is still quite popular. I think that my method is, in comparison, "advanced". (Though as I said that's not a word I would normally use in this context; you...
    119 replies | 2946 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 3rd May, 2018, 02:26 PM
    Not really. I'd generally call it "story now" or "no myth" or an appllication of the "standard narrativistic model". (These labels aren't synonyms, but all "standard narrativistic" play is an instance of "story now", and "no myth" is one pretty common approach to "standard narrativistic" RPGing.) I guess it's "advanced" in the sense that it offers something like what 80s/90s-style...
    119 replies | 2946 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 3rd May, 2018, 10:15 AM
    In the context of Cortex+ Heroic, the GM can just make something up if asked! I mean, there could be something hiding in shadows. Or perched on a peak waiting to drop. Or about to teleport in. Etc. In Cortex+ Heroic the introduction of new scene elements is generally handled by expenditure of dice from the Doom Pool, so that status of the defile as shadowy or well-lit only pertains to the colour...
    2665 replies | 66288 view(s)
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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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