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    Today, 10:00 AM
    That's pretty close to our group, except I'd swap the percentages of 'getting ready to play' and 'unrelated anecdotes'. These days, we only manage to meet every other month, at best, so there's always a lot of unrelated stuff to chat about.
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    Today, 09:44 AM
    I suppose that could happen. There's definitely a higher danger to get stuck, i.e. failing to come up with an idea how to make progress. But it could also work in your favor. When playing with a (large) group it isn't uncommon that one or several characters find a clue, and the rest of the group isn't aware of it. I.e. as a whole they already have all the puzzle-pieces, but for one reason or...
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    Today, 09:18 AM
    You can, if the AOE only targets enemies. As mentioned above, the caster then gets to decide who's to be considered an enemy for that casting.
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    Thursday, 15th November, 2018, 09:51 AM
    I think it's okay for standalone sessions, but I'm not sure I'd care for it for a whole campaign. I used to do solo sessions sometimes to play through events that involved the backstory of a single character. Having said that, I'm quite intrigued by Pelgrane Press' Cthulhu Confidential. Since it's an RPG system that's been designed to be played as a solo campaign, it could be really good....
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    Monday, 12th November, 2018, 10:15 AM
    Alas, that's very much my own take. When I was a kid my favorite superhero comics were the ones about the 'Legion of Superheroes' in the 30th century, especially if they featured Wildfire prominently. A TV show would likely look really cheesy and thematically be turned into an angsty teenage soap, similar to the CW shows. So, it's probably best if there's never a tv show about it, allowing me...
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Friday, 9th November, 2018, 09:31 AM
    That's true. IIRC, I stopped reading after the 4th novel 'House of Chains'. It's not that I disliked the novels, but it's really hard to get back into the story after a break.
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 10:21 AM
    In 4e there's two kinds of AOE damage: One kind also affects allies (aka 'friendly fire'), the other only affects enemies. The former would be problematic to use in a crowded street, the latter isn't affected, since it's up to the spellcaster (or power user) to define who is to be considered an ally for the effect.
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    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 01:07 PM
    I wonder if that already worked in 2006...
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    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 10:55 AM
    I'm not sure you could turn that convoluted mess into a watchable tv show, to be honest. It's also very much over the top, so it would require pretty good and thus expensive special effects and likely be rated R, too. Still, it would be nice, if they could pull it off, as that would relieve me from having to slog through all of the novels ;-)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 10:41 AM
    That's something I wouldn't have liked (and hated about the Essential classes). Imho, it was one of the greatest achievements of 4e to make all classes equally complex by using the same mechanical framework. At least he's acknowledging that! I kind of agree that the skill challenge system was initially underdeveloped and they tried to hard to fill a matrix of roles and power sources. ...
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 10:28 AM
    I'm not sure if already posted about it: I'm currently reading 'the Unconsoled' by Kazuo Ishiguro. It's been compared to Kafka's work and 'Alice in Wonderland', but so far I'd say it's simply a novel following dream logic: Morphing locations, strangers that turn out to be old friends on closer inspection, the focus of the narrative shifting all the time and even several classic nightmare...
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 10:06 AM
    What do you need the stats for? The only time I used commoners in 4e they worked like an environmental hazard, i.e. a fleeing mob that impeded the PCs.
    15 replies | 441 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 10:03 AM
    Since I'm not supposed to bash shows I don't care for: - I enjoyed Jessica Jones and Daredevil (haven't watched any of the other netflix superhero shows, yet) - Agents of SHIELD has kind of grown on me. It started out okay but gets better with each new season so far.
    55 replies | 1213 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Tuesday, 23rd October, 2018, 08:41 AM
    Trail of Cthulhu: Imho, it's 'Call of Cthulhu' done right. I really like the strong focus on investigation and storytelling and the vague monster descriptions & stats. The thing is: The CoC made for some great reading and promised great gameplay but for me they somehow always failed to work well when we actually tried to play them. The conversions created for Trail of Cthulhu really deliver the...
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd October, 2018, 08:56 AM
    Interesting. In the Guild Wars CRPG they were also called Tengu. I always wondered about that because to me they were clearly D&D's Kenku.
    95 replies | 7600 view(s)
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Monday, 19th November, 2018


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Wednesday, 13th June, 2018

  • 09:13 AM - TheCosmicKid mentioned Jhaelen in post Mythological Figures: Thor Odinson (5E)
    In archeology in Norway, the term hof means a personal shrine in someones own home. But what does it actually mean in Old Norse? The term gođi is one of the later titles that the Icelanders invented for their jarl. Generally, it was his duty to inaugurate a new session of the ţing parliament, at which time he would invoke various nature spirits for a successful year.I think @Jhaelen already fielded this one, but I'll add that even if what you say is accurate (which it isn't), you are still describing a spiritual leader. Which you just said didn't exist. The Norse term gođ means something like ‘helpful nature spirits’, as opposed to ‘unhelpful nature spirits’ (jǫtnar and dvergar). Etymologically, it means something like ‘invoked one’, referring to those spirits that are called on to thank for helpful actions....as opposed to a god, who is invoked and thanked for helpful actions...? Note, when trying to translate the Christian concept of a god into the Norse worldview, a different Norse term, guđ, was used instead. Making the distinction is understandable given the cultural context, but they're just variants of the same underlying word with the same "invoked one" PIE etymology. The feminine form of gođi, gyđja, is even derived from guđ rather than gođ. And at the risk of stating the obvious, both are cognates of "god".
  • 06:17 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Jhaelen in post How to deal with solitary party member?
    ...ing stupid, it's even less of a problem. I recall one of my players' PC(s) dying three times in a single adventure: First he tried to charge over a hanging bridge while goblins at the other end were ready to destroy the supports, then he trampled into a grey ooze, and finally he tried to argue with a roper that had him firmly in its grasp (in case you're wondering: we played the D&D 3e 'Forge of Fury' module). He became a lot more careful after that, although he still managed to accumulate the most character deaths at the end of the campaign. I'd call this an example of D&D's mismatch between advertised fantasy adventure and reality as meat grinder crushing the spirit of the player who actually expected to play an action hero. And this is a point, be very careful not to just crush player's legitimate desire to really adventure (or do whatever) simply because conformity to the game's paradigm is uppermost in your mind. This particular player may not be a case of it, but the one that Jhaelen cites seems like EXACTLY that. Let them blossom.

Thursday, 3rd May, 2018

  • 12:14 AM - pemerton mentioned Jhaelen in post Looking for Advanced Role-Playing Content
    if you game has advanced beyond the need for encounter tables, what does that look like? How do you go about determining what encounters should occur, and where or when?I'm not Jhaelen, but I can answer for my part: when I use systems that don't involve encounter tables (which is every system I run except Classic Traveller), I determine what encounters occur based either on adjudication of player action declarations for their PCs, and/or based on what I thik the demands of pacing, theme, etc require.

Friday, 2nd February, 2018

  • 07:49 AM - Ratskinner mentioned Jhaelen in post Is D&D Too Focused on Combat?
    History shows us that a system which requires combat skills and non-combat skills to compete for character resources will almost invariably end with players investing in combat skills and ignoring the non-combat skills. Words don't work against zombies or otyughs, but swords are effective against everything. Games that use a unified system for everything tend to have worse balance issues than games which keep those activities segregated. I think that Jhaelen's idea there was to simply reduce combat encounters to be similar to some kind of skill challenge, not (necessarily) change the way skills are allocated. You could still pre-package the skills into Race/Background/Class, rather than let the player pick from each bag arbitrarily. IME with more than a few games that do something akin to that. It produces super-fast gameplay and (can) facilitate much better(IMO) storylines, just because speed. However, it doesn't usually produce the visceral tension that turn-based tactical combat like D&D can produce. (Capes, a quirky little superheroes rpg, is the one stellar exception that I am familiar with.)

Thursday, 25th January, 2018


Saturday, 6th January, 2018

  • 10:29 PM - Manbearcat mentioned Jhaelen in post What Is an Experience Point Worth?
    ...: shouldn't 'having fun' be its own reward? Rewarding good role-playing makes slightly more sense, but I still dislike the practice because some players _are_ good role-players and don't need (and usually don't care about) the extra xp. They're roleplaying because they consider it fun (i.e. see above). It's the players who struggle with role-playing who'd benefit most from a rule granting them extra xp to encourage them to give their best. But if you want to treat all your players fairly, they'll still always fall behind the players who are already good role-players. In other words: granting xp isn't a good choice if you want to encourage good role-playing. What you really want to achieve is that your 'problem' players realize that role-playing is fun! So, what works better, imho, is to give them more opportunities to be in the spotlight and reward their efforts with mostly immaterial things, like better contacts or allies. I agree with Campbell and (at least in part) with Jhaelen here. The issue I have with DMMike 's position above is that it seems to assume that GM-agnostic systemization of XP gain is either not feasible or undesirable. The GM doesn't need to be in any position to hand out XP. In the Powered By the Apocalypse systems that Campbell is bringing up, XP isn't "awarded" via one person's (likely opaque and cognitive bias-laden) adjudication. Its simply gained via transparent, focused triggers; eg did you fail on a move, did you make Desperate Action Roll, did you overcome a tough obstacle/threat via coercion, did your Vice get you into trouble. The GM's role in these things isn't in the awarding. The GM's role is in following the game's premise and the player cues, in framing the action whereby decision-points related to vice temptation, desperate situations, and dangerous NPCs that can be coerced are the central focus of play (and whatever else might part of the game's PCs' portfolio and xp triggers such as themes of heritage, beliefs, as...

Thursday, 2nd November, 2017

  • 01:22 PM - pemerton mentioned Jhaelen in post Odd request for help: I need a mathematician!
    I think that Jhaelen is right. I assume I would need to limit the tapestries down to fewer results and if the generator rolls for one, then it would roll again for determining which of the 500 tapestries is the final result.That is the "intermediate table" that Jhaelen refers to. Deciding the numbers for that intermediate table isn't a maths problem, it's just deciding how often do you want tapestries vs paintings.

Thursday, 19th October, 2017

  • 08:59 PM - Blue mentioned Jhaelen in post What are you reading? - October 2017
    I've been reading your posts for a long time Jhaelen, and I never would have guessed that English wasn't your first language. You have a great command of English as well as use of idiom.

Wednesday, 30th August, 2017


Thursday, 13th April, 2017

  • 04:35 PM - DMMike mentioned Jhaelen in post Can I Make Polymorph a First Level Spell?
    Jhaelen: the description says "form or appearance," so yes it's illusory, and yes it's real. Depends on the caster. It's not permanent, by the way, since the caster needs to exert will (spend an action) each round to maintain it. You could also do it the way Lamentations of the Flame Princess handles the Summon spell. You're rolling the dice on a disaster happening every time you summon. This sounds like too much fun. At the least, this is a second level spell, in that it's strictly better than Disguise Self - which allows you to make much more limited cosmetic changes. Secondly, the spell you've described is not 'fluff only', because it does effect fictional positioning. 1) Suppose it lets you polymorph into a barstool, a fluffy bunny, or a goblin. Will NPC's now react to you as if you were a barstool, a fluffy bunny, or a goblin? Only if there was a 100% chance that it would not alter the behavior of NPCs would this be 'fluff only'. 2) Suppose I polymorph into a songbird? Do ...

Monday, 6th February, 2017

  • 11:18 AM - Quickleaf mentioned Jhaelen in post First time making a "serious" dungeon! How do you do it?
    DMMike I always forget about OGRE. Thanks for reminding me! And yes, "dungeon" is often D&D's quirky shorthand for "lair." Jhaelen Maybe that was part of my thinking in the past. I saw plenty of examples I felt were sub-par so I kind of avoided it. Only after years of DMing and writing do I finally feel like I have what it takes to design a big dungeon well. One of the first questions posed in 3e Dungeoncraft is What is the function of your dungeon in your campaign setting? Before you set pencil to paper, you need to decide how the dungeon fits into your campaign setting. Take a moment to consider why the dungeon exists, how it interacts with the rest of the world, and what purpose it (and other dungeons) serve in the grand scheme of things. You could just say that dungeons are the ruins of a forgotten civilization, but many other interesting possibilities exist. Death Trap... Near Frontier... Agent of Evil... Legendary Location... The Bizarre... My hunch is Krak al-Mazhar fits as a Legendary Location... Dungeoncraft also lists 10 possible traits of legendary locations. Here's how I see those applyin...

Monday, 9th January, 2017

  • 11:56 AM - fuindordm mentioned Jhaelen in post Interspecies conflict in sci-fi campaigns
    Thanks for the input everyone. Jhaelen, Reasons for conflict abound... once multiple species are sharing the same world or habitat. What I was looking for was reasons for conflict that could justify the risk of destroying expensive starships, under the assumption that starships cost a significant fraction of a civilization's economic output to rebuild. Naturally, if building starships is cheap, even massive ones like the Enterprise or the Galactica, then species will fight each other for more petty reasons.

Thursday, 8th December, 2016


Tuesday, 28th July, 2015

  • 04:26 PM - steeldragons mentioned Jhaelen in post Psionics Hits Unearthed Arcana
    Jhaelen , it's not you. You're not old...or rather, more likely, I am comparably "old" to you. hahaha. But, while I can't speak to app's or i-anything at all, I can tell you as far as the WotC site, it's not "modern web design"...it's a BAD poorly designed site. It IS confusing. It IS (for no discernible reason I can see) difficult to use/find anything. So, at least in that, chin up! It's not you. :cool:

Wednesday, 1st October, 2014

  • 10:29 AM - steenan mentioned Jhaelen in post Rewarding Proactive Play
    I have encountered people who were shy or short on ideas. In general, I neither kicked them out nor forced them into spotlight. I run the game normally and they usually stay in the background. They don't do much (there is much more talking than fighting in my games typically), but having them in the game hurts nobody. I ask for feedback quite often and when I see that something caught such person's interest, I pursue this theme. I create opportunities for them to gain something by being proactive. I allude to facts in their backgrounds they never mentioned - either confirming or denying these gives me something to work with. Some of them decide that RPGs are not for them. And some gradually open up. There are a few players who, when I started playing with them, only rolled dice for combat or were afraid of any spotlight. After a year or so of playing they became main actors in the campaign. But I definitely agree with Jhaelen that if a player told me something in the general tone of "It's your job to entertain me; don't expect any effort on my part.", I'd show them the door without thinking twice.

Wednesday, 14th May, 2014

  • 09:21 PM - garrowolf mentioned Jhaelen in post Starship Graphics
    @gameprinter - Oh I see. Sorry about that! Jhaelen - Hey! I asked Stardock and they don't mind!! Woot!!!

Wednesday, 19th February, 2014

  • 02:43 AM - Quickleaf mentioned Jhaelen in post The 4e Solo Thread
    Jhaelen Ah, well truthfully I've only had a handful of PC deaths between my last 4e campaign and my current...one from a foreshadowed coup de grace, and two from falling / friendly fire. It would appear my players are their own worst enemies ;) Anyhow, back to the topic of Solo Monsters! I think I've got a list of rules for solo design / major topics that should be covered in a design document: Monster damage equivalence (e.g. solo should be worth 3-5 monsters' DPR) Multi-attacks (connected to above, what is impact of choosing one type of multiattack vs. another? For example area attack vs. opportunity attack vs. minor action attack vs. dual basic attacks) Schrodinger's stat block (i.e. needs to adapt to party size) Action recovery (including mitigating attack penalties) Auras (what makes a good solo aura? how to use effectively in encounter?) Replacing "save ends" powers with something more suspenseful & increasing player agency...you don't just make a saving thr...

Monday, 25th November, 2013

  • 05:32 PM - SkidAce mentioned Jhaelen in post What's your favorite trap?
    Well, as mentioned, I don't particularly like traps, but these 'living' traps are even worse. They are too obviously specifically designed by the DM to screw the players, without regard for making any actual sense. I hate that kind of meta-gaming arms-race. Cloakers and lurkers we love. We consider them a natural evolution of magical creatures. Ears seekers and rot grubs, we tend to agree with Jhaelen.

Friday, 1st November, 2013

  • 10:04 PM - Sword of Spirit mentioned Jhaelen in post Sorting RPG Systems
    @Morrus I didn't originally put in genre because so many games are multi-genre, and I'm looking for defined options in each category. But after putting some thought into it, I think including genre is probably a good idea to make the list as useful as possible. @Jhaelen I don't suppose you have an .exe or java version of that application available? @amerigoV How would you choose to classify Savage Worlds? @Steenen Good call. "Realism" is a bit messy. I'd be willing to split it up if I could come up with a couple of clear categories (and I'm not too keen on the name actually--I wrote the OP up on the fly without spending time on refinement). The main thing I'm trying to get at is a combination of how gritty the game is for "normal" inhabitants, and how well the physics model reality versus a more forgiving high action movie. Character power falls more into genre. For instance, Exalted is based around playing fantastically powerful beings, but the Storyteller system that it uses is probably the lower end of adventurous. I'd therefore categorize Exalted as adventurous. I could definitely use a better term than "realism," though. I tend to refer to the vulnerability to influences concept you are talking about as character identity, or player cont...

Monday, 7th October, 2013

  • 12:29 AM - Challenger RPG mentioned Jhaelen in post How to Design a Village in 5 Easy Steps
    ...ideas is just what you're looking for. @delericho : I think that's a fine idea. I guess, dealing with fantasy, I tend to come up with names first and purpose afterwards, but that's not really how it is in the real world. I guess it's just a liberty I take 'because I can'. I'm sure your way would make more sense. @Hand of Evil : Excellent idea. I think it would be a good idea for anyone to add this step when designing a village. It would definitely add a ton of realism to what you're creating and give you even more ideas to go with. I'd also point out that this could be something really crazy or imaginative from fantasy like: "Because all single women over 22 were cursed to live here in the 12th age" etc. Thanks for the link, too. @Morrus : Yes, thanks. I really enjoy creating name generators myself (for various things) but I guess I was always too greedy/lazy to share them. I still have a dozen or so sitting around my hard drives and papers somewhere. Thanks for sharing! @Jhaelen : Yes. What can I say, when I'm wrong, I'm wrong. :) @Dwimmerlied : Thanks. You're most welcome. @haakon1 : Very cool. Thanks. Kind of makes me wish I lived in England. @Derren : Yep. :) *** Regrettably, this will be my last column here on En World. I would like to thank Mr. Morrus for giving me the opportunity to write for his fine website, and I'd like to thank all the great people who are my fellow columnists for being so supportive and writing their own great material. I've had a some chuckles reading a few of your pieces. Thank you to everyone who read one or more of my columns. I really appreciate your time, and thank you for spending it with some of my writing. There are few things in life I enjoy more. Also, special thanks to anyone who commented. Good or bad, the feedback has been great. I've learned a few things and laughed pretty hard as well. While I'd like to continue writing these articles (they're great fun) reasons of time and business have interfered. At...


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Thursday, 15th November, 2018


Monday, 12th November, 2018

  • 03:10 PM - dragoner quoted Jhaelen in post Worlds of Design: Fantasy vs. Sci-Fi Part 1
    Absolutely, and the idea of a US of A is even more ridiculous... Such a place could never be real! Has there been a Dr Who in America, beyond some one shot that was crap? Mostly I keed through, mostly. The word plausible means "seems reasonable, except can be specious", which is particularly suited to sci-fi. I don't think people are keying in on the meaning of the word.
  • 11:10 AM - Dannyalcatraz quoted Jhaelen in post Super Hero TV shows
    Alas, that's very much my own take. When I was a kid my favorite superhero comics were the ones about the 'Legion of Superheroes' in the 30th century, especially if they featured Wildfire prominently. A TV show would likely look really cheesy and thematically be turned into an angsty teenage soap, similar to the CW shows. So, it's probably best if there's never a tv show about it, allowing me to preserve my fond childhood memories. I think the SFX would be fine...in the right hands. Especially as an animated show, of course. The Achilles heel would indeed be the writing. The LoSH could legitimately feature some angstsy stuff- just like the Teen Titans- depending on the particular era. After all, it was founded by teens & twenty-somethings. But also like the TT, they grew up and the storylines and dynamics changed. Which reminds me... I’d get a kick out of a good take on the Legion of SUBSTITUTE Heroes, Inferior Five, Great Lakes Avengers, Dist H For Hero or one of the o...

Saturday, 10th November, 2018

  • 12:20 AM - Hussar quoted Jhaelen in post Upcoming fantasy movies - spoilers strictly prohibited
    That's true. IIRC, I stopped reading after the 4th novel 'House of Chains'. It's not that I disliked the novels, but it's really hard to get back into the story after a break. Honestly? I found it MUCH better on the reread. Makes a TON more sense when you can read them one after another.

Thursday, 8th November, 2018

  • 10:59 AM - Hussar quoted Jhaelen in post Upcoming fantasy movies - spoilers strictly prohibited
    I'm not sure you could turn that convoluted mess into a watchable tv show, to be honest. It's also very much over the top, so it would require pretty good and thus expensive special effects and likely be rated R, too. Still, it would be nice, if they could pull it off, as that would relieve me from having to slog through all of the novels ;-) Well, the first one was meant to be a pitch for a movie. But, yeah, I get what you mean by convoluted. There are just so many different stories mashed into the one series. Fun, but, yeah, it does get to be a slog and I've completely ignored the later books after the last one in the series. On the plus side, at least it's finished. :D

Wednesday, 7th November, 2018

  • 10:32 AM - pemerton quoted Jhaelen in post Dragon Reflections #16 – Gygax Fights Back!
    I was thinking of a lightning bolt spell, which could result in a crit that required the consultation of three additional tables: First, an impact critical, then an electricity critical, and finally a fire critical.OK! In my game, the player who rolled well enough to get a triple crit on a lightning bolt was happy to make the 3 crit checks! (It being highly lightly that the target of said lightning bolt would be rendered hors de combat!)
  • 04:42 AM - Jay Verkuilen quoted Jhaelen in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    That's something I wouldn't have liked (and hated about the Essential classes). Imho, it was one of the greatest achievements of 4e to make all classes equally complex by using the same mechanical framework. The problem is that there are a lot of folks who didn't want to play a complicated character. They played fighters because they liked not having to think like a caster and worry about expendable abilities. Just thinking of the fighter, 5E provides a useful option in the form of the Champion (simple, few expendable class resources) and Battlemaster (complicated, lots of expendable class resources). I think the background powers they introduced later (iirc, they showed up first in the Dark Sun setting) were a big step in the right direction: Since you could choose backgrounds independently from your class, they allowed you to mix and match roles to a certain degree and the powers scaled, i.e. there was a version of every background power for each tier. All powers should have worked...
  • 02:44 AM - pemerton quoted Jhaelen in post Dragon Reflections #16 – Gygax Fights Back!
    Rolemaster was a lot worse. Some spell attacks required rolling on four different tables to determine the outcome.I ran RM for nearly 20 years - what spell attacks are you thinking of? Base spell attacks (in D&D terms, condition-infliction spells) require a roll on the Base Spell Attack table and then a Resistance Roll (= saving throw) from the target. Directed spell attacks (in D&D terms, damage-inflicting spells like firebolts and fireballs) require a roll on the appropriate spell attack chart (functionally identical, in RM, to a weapon attack chart) and then in most cases a follow-up crit roll (also the case for weapon attacks in RM). Also quite memorable: the one time we actually tried to play MERP my character tried to slit the throat of a guard only to hit him in the foot... hilarious!RM, like RQ, uses random determination for hit location (in RQ, you first determine the hit location then apply the damage; in RM you roll on the crit chart and this gives you both damage and hit ...

Tuesday, 6th November, 2018

  • 07:56 PM - Bootlebat quoted Jhaelen in post Stats for civilians?
    What do you need the stats for? The only time I used commoners in 4e they worked like an environmental hazard, i.e. a fleeing mob that impeded the PCs. What if your group is fighting in the middle of a crowded street? Having bystanders presents an added challenge as the PCs will presumably not want to kill them and just can't just throw around AOE damage spells willy nilly like they could otherwise. Whereas, the bad guys probably don't care how many innocent people get killed by their AOEs.
  • 11:38 AM - Scott DeWar quoted Jhaelen in post Upcoming fantasy movies - spoilers strictly prohibited
    I'm not sure you could turn that convoluted mess into a watchable tv show, to be honest. It's also very much over the top, so it would require pretty good and thus expensive special effects and likely be rated R, too. Still, it would be nice, if they could pull it off, as that would relieve me from having to slog through all of the novels ;-) perhaps it could be a limited audience showing like on Netflix or showtime?

Tuesday, 23rd October, 2018

  • 01:47 PM - gyor quoted Jhaelen in post New Ravnica Race and Guild Details Revealed
    You bet! And it's long overdue, too. I'm just a bit sad they didn't just continue their series of free articles (Planeshift). It's a big advantage if they can reuse the extensive artwork that has been created for Magic. At least theoretically that means they can spend more resources on the actual development and design of the MtG settings. This is an approach that has been working extremely well for 'Fantasy Flight Games'. I think it's going to be a mix of new art and old art.

Saturday, 20th October, 2018


Friday, 19th October, 2018

  • 10:23 AM - Shasarak quoted Jhaelen in post Do your Political Views shape how your villains and heroes act?
    And what does this tell you about D&D's villains? Most of them _are_ one-dimensional and cartoonish. That is a fair description. A cartoonish game lives and dies on its cartoonish villains and DnD has certainly has some scenery chewing ones over the years. The better ones at least have an interesting background, e.g. Dragonlance's Lord Soth or Strahd von Zarovich (although his tragic back-story was retro-fitted). In Eberron there's the Lord of Blades who is a fairly ambiguous character. In 13th Age there's the Crusader Icon that perfectly personifies what I consider an interesting villain. Here's a quote from the 'Common Knowledge' about him in the 13th Age Core Rules: I love Lord Soth and there is no way you can classify him as misguided. He would probably crush your throat if he heard you make the suggestion. The creators of Strahd have been clear that they view him as a monster with no redeemable qualities. He is no sparkling Twilight Vampire or Emo Vampire the Masquerade...
  • 10:01 AM - 5ekyu quoted Jhaelen in post Do your Political Views shape how your villains and heroes act?
    Is it, though? This is exactly the kind of attitude I've seen in plenty of Paladin PCs. They don't mind committing genocide if they believe a species to be 'inherently evil'. Thanks to D&D's crappy alignment system this works perfectly fine. And what does this tell you about D&D's villains? Most of them _are_ one-dimensional and cartoonish. The better ones at least have an interesting background, e.g. Dragonlance's Lord Soth or Strahd von Zarovich (although his tragic back-story was retro-fitted). In Eberron there's the Lord of Blades who is a fairly ambiguous character. In 13th Age there's the Crusader Icon that perfectly personifies what I consider an interesting villain. Here's a quote from the 'Common Knowledge' about him in the 13th Age Core Rules: Yes, that's the kind of 'misguided' villain that I meant."Bad villains think they are evil or wrong or doing bad things. Good villains think they are good or or right or doing the right things. Great villain **are** good or right or doing righ...

Thursday, 18th October, 2018

  • 09:09 PM - Shasarak quoted Jhaelen in post Do your Political Views shape how your villains and heroes act?
    That's not quite true. I actually consider villains that are simply 'Evil' (with a capital 'E', no less) considerably less interesting than villains that are just misguided. Villains should have comprehensible motivations. If you want to be really clever, create villains with goals that aren't actually much different from the PCs. That's guaranteed to generate some interesting roleplaying opportunities. I can not think of any famous iconic DnD villain that is just a misguided good person.
  • 06:30 PM - Umbran quoted Jhaelen in post Do your Political Views shape how your villains and heroes act?
    That's not quite true. I actually consider villains that are simply 'Evil' (with a capital 'E', no less) considerably less interesting than villains that are just misguided. Well, there's a question as to what types of villains are interesting to experience in a story (say, a novel), and what kinds of villains are interesting for the player to deal with an in RPG. There's also another question based on what counts as "misguided". There is one form of misguided, where the culprit isn't aware of the repercussions of their actions - and the only "evil" you may put on these is that maybe they should have done more work to alleviate their ignorance of consequences before starting. There's another thing I have heard of as described as "misguided" in which the culprit is fully aware of the consequences of their actions, but they don't feel they are significant. As in, "I am causing pain to 100,000 people, and I don't care - the ends justify the means." The former is merely ignorance. ...

Monday, 15th October, 2018

  • 02:02 PM - Thomas Bowman quoted Jhaelen in post Dragon Reflections #14 - Dungeons & Dragons Divided!
    I never cared much for Basic D&D. I'd play it if no AD&D group was available, but didn't really enjoy it. It was too simplified for my taste and I thought having races (elves, dwarves, gnomes, ...) as character classes was really stupid. One of my friends was a fan, though, and always tried to convince me that the game would really pick up in the later sets. But what's the point if you never manage to reach name levels? It makes a lot more sense to put the fun parts where it's actually experienced by the majority of players. But that's a lesson that took a few editions for the D&D developers to learn. It was a great introduction to D&D. It was a game in a box, and less of an investment than buying three or four hard cover books just to play a game that you don't even know if that your going to like. Elves and dwarves were character classes so as to simplify the rules. Elves were all fighter-magic users basically, their main advantage was they could multiclass, if you were a human, y...

Wednesday, 10th October, 2018


Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018

  • 03:36 PM - Aldarc quoted Jhaelen in post Shootout at the D&D Corral
    The basic ideas of this article had already come up previously in the discussion of the article on the American influence on D&D, so there are not really any big surprises here. I think the more important point is this: This is actually something I've often experienced in MMOs that have a mix of melee and ranged classes: Unless you either grossly exaggerate the effectiveness of melee weapons (e.g. light sabres in Star Wars) or play down the effectiveness of ranged weapons (e.g. in D&D), ranged weapons are always preferable because they allow you to potentially kill your opponents before they even get into melee range, i.e. without any danger to yourself.Most weapons in D&D (e.g., daggers, slings, shields, spears, bows, etc.) fail to represent their actual effectiveness in historical use. Longbows were not exactly something you used when fighting an ogre in a dungeon. There's a reason knights fell out of fashion in Earth's history!That probably has more to do with the rise of profess...

Sunday, 30th September, 2018

  • 01:01 AM - Lord Mhoram quoted Jhaelen in post Looking for solo & 2-player tabletop recommendations
    I specifically returned to playing board games regularly because I wanted to get away from playing online games and spend more time 'offline' with a bunch of friends. I don't really care for board games that require an app to play. I tend to keep my hobbies seperate - I don't use online stuff when I roleplay. I play video games on console, single player. My board games are a time to unplug. If a game requires an app or an online connection to play it (board or RPG) I won't play that game.


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