View Profile: Jhaelen - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Today, 08:11 AM
    No. I'm playing RPGs to play characters that are different from myself.
    3 replies | 64 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Monday, 15th October, 2018, 08:52 AM
    I have a terrible memory regarding the names of persons or places. But that's what notes are for, right? Anyway, I typically only care for background information as far as it is relevant for the adventure. Iirc, originally the adventure path adventure modules were relatively sparse regarding background information. Separate Dragon articles were used to provide more of that for those who were...
    27 replies | 644 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th October, 2018, 08:52 AM
    Yep, imho Trail of Cthulhu would be an excellent fit. By default the rules support two modes of play: (emphasis mine) E.g. Stunning Eldritch Tales is a collection of four short adventure modules using the Pulp style.
    10 replies | 293 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018, 08:47 AM
    In my experience that's also how you should drink wine: Alternate between drinking a glass of wine and one or two glasses of still water. Works like a charm for me even if I end up drinking a whole bottle of wine over the evening.
    78 replies | 2003 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018, 08:40 AM
    After proofreading a friend's new novel that is soon to be published, I started reading 'A Night Without Stars' by Peter F. Hamilton. It's the sequel to 'The Abyss Beyond Dreams'. I hope it doesn't drag on as much as the first novel did. I mainly picked it up now because it's better to read it while I still remember a few bits about the story.
    23 replies | 434 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Monday, 1st October, 2018, 09:53 AM
    Actually both. I think there's also app support for Imperial Assault. However none of these require an active internet connection. You just download the app and that's it. That's what I thought was odd about 'Detective'. But if you're supposed to search the internet for clues, it makes sense.
    55 replies | 6116 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Friday, 28th September, 2018, 08:28 AM
    Players with such inclinations don't require alcohol to act that way. I've seen it often enough. As I already said: In my experience it leads to more relaxed sessions. Also note that we're not talking about getting drunk drinking several bottles of wodka. It's just a few beers.
    78 replies | 2003 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Thursday, 27th September, 2018, 09:09 AM
    Yep. It makes the railroad more tolerable because it's easier to just shut down your brain, lean back and simply enjoy the show. If I'd been sober, I'd probably been quite annoyed by not being able to affect the plot except in the predetermined way and might have thrown a fit.
    78 replies | 2003 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Thursday, 27th September, 2018, 09:02 AM
    That sounds a lot like the puzzle quests in the Secret World MMO: They use a mix of 'real' websites and websites that were specifically created for the game, e.g. to portray the in-game factions or fictional companies. I really enjoyed these puzzles; so, if it's like that, that's quite cool, but it's not something I would want in a boardgame. I specifically returned to playing board games...
    55 replies | 6116 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th September, 2018, 08:53 AM
    Never in any of my games. Two of my regular players are smokers, though. So we have several short breaks during sessions while they go outside to smoke. It's rarely an issue since the breaks tend to coincide with me preparing a battlemap, someone looking up rules or something like that. I used to participate in an RPG group where everyone was drinking beer. It was decidedly more relaxed and...
    78 replies | 2003 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th September, 2018, 08:47 AM
    Looking at the subject I thought this would be about the IceCube Neutrino Observatory...
    6 replies | 246 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th September, 2018, 08:42 AM
    That's an odd requirement for a boardgame.
    55 replies | 6116 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th September, 2018, 08:41 AM
    In theory, yes. However, since the algorithm has no clue why I'm interested in a particular show it presents a mix of shows that e.g. have a similar name, feature one of the main actors, are from the same director, or simply share the same genre. It's just not helpful since I cannot specify filters of some kind. Thanks. I knew about the latter link, but not the former. Well, that would be a...
    27 replies | 605 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Monday, 24th September, 2018, 09:22 AM
    +1. I really like the Shadowrun setting but the standard rules continue to be terrible and waaaaay too simulationist (and thus clunky). Shadowrun Anarchy keeps what's good and throws away the bad, imho, that is.
    38 replies | 1027 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Monday, 24th September, 2018, 09:11 AM
    I'm still new to netflix and I have to say I really dislike how everything is based on their dubious rankings. It's really hard to find anything, since all searches appear to come up with the same recommendations. I mean, if I'm searching for 'West World' and it's not available on netflix, I'd like to see a message that 'sorry, it's currently not available' and not a dozen completely different...
    27 replies | 605 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th September, 2018, 09:07 AM
    Apparently, there's still some remaining problems. In this post there seems to be an embedded image that's been uploaded to ENWorld. When viewing the thread I'm not seeing anything, and when I try to post the image link into a new tab, I'm getting a cross-site hacking attempt warning. What's up?
    8 replies | 307 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th September, 2018, 09:02 AM
    It's seems my Firefox Quantum (ESR) browser and/or the new NoScript addin still have a problem with ENWorld :-/ If I'm entering that link into a new tab, it's reporting some cross-site hacking attempt...
    15 replies | 891 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th September, 2018, 08:42 AM
    I finished reading 'An Artist of the Floating World' by Kazuo Ishiguro. I can't say I'm impressed. I've read a few reviews to see if I missed anything, but apparently I didn't. After my experience with his first novel, I was reading this one extra-careful, watching out for clues that the narrator deviated from the truth. In fact, it happens plenty of times, but there's no big 'wow' moments where...
    36 replies | 916 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th September, 2018, 02:10 PM
    Yes, I did. It's what I was trying to say in my initial post: Due to the initial incompatibility of Firefox Quantum and NoScript, I had switched to Firefox ESR. However, after the latest update in the beginning of September, the ESR version also switched to Quantum and now I have to use the new version of NoScript, as well. I consider it quite likely this is related to or the source of the...
    8 replies | 307 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th September, 2018, 08:57 AM
    Dear Morrus, I'm a member of ENWorld for almost 12 years now and have been posting over 7700 posts, as is readily apparent by checking the information at the top right of each of my posts. If your 'initial guess' is supposed to be funny, you failed abominably. In fact I consider it quite insulting. If, instead of posting a flippant reply you'd spent a few seconds checking the facts, you might...
    8 replies | 307 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th September, 2018, 08:44 AM
    I'm clicking on the 'Give XP for this post' entry that is shown at the bottom left of every post. When hovering over the entry, all I'm seeing is 'javascript//'. When I'm clicking on it, absolutely nothing happens. Edit: I'm currently running Firefox 60.2.0esr (64-bit). I'm using NoScript 10.1.9.6 and have allowed the following sites: - enworld.org - cloudfront.net - googletagservices.com
    8 replies | 307 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th September, 2018, 08:41 AM
    Here in Germany, The Expanse Season 2 is already available on Netflix. I finally broke down and started to sub Netflix last weekend. My biggest problem is lacking time, so it's difficult for me to turn a subscription into a worthwhile investment. I also consider the offerings available in Germany's free TV to be quite good. They may be about 2 years behind, but if you have the patience,...
    27 replies | 605 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Monday, 17th September, 2018, 09:50 AM
    Ah, I see. It's been a while since I read the OP, but that wasn't my impression. This very much sounds like providing information about rules on an 'as needed' basis. I suppose this could be interpreted as the GM refusing to explain the rules, instead expecting players to figure them out 'by experimentation'. 'Going with the flow of exploration', though, sounds much like my proposed approach...
    45 replies | 1089 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Monday, 17th September, 2018, 08:54 AM
    I'm not sure I agree about the first example. Being unable to read a spell without any arcane (or divine) knowledge? That's a rule grounded in fiction, and can be explained thusly to the player. The second example just shows that the D&D 5e rules covering 'jumping' are bad. In 3e and 4e the maximum jumping distance depends on the outcome of your skill check. So, if I was playing 5e and decided...
    45 replies | 1089 view(s)
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About Jhaelen

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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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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.

Saturday, 29th September, 2018

  • 05:26 PM - Nytmare quoted Jhaelen in post Looking for solo & 2-player tabletop recommendations
    That's an odd requirement for a boardgame. A lot of games are dabbling in that play space now. I think it's novel, but not something that's going to really become the new normal. I think that the new... is it Descent? Maybe Mansions of Madness? Regardless, they've removed the "DM" player and replaced them with an app. I think one of the Star Wars games maybe does that too. There's a mazey kind of game called Mask of Anubis that involves one player wearing a smart phone/VR headset while everyone else is using a board. From what I've heard, In Detective, part of the game is actively researching information by Googling for it.

Wednesday, 26th September, 2018

  • 11:44 PM - Janx quoted Jhaelen in post Ice Cube Physics
    Looking at the subject I thought this would be about the IceCube Neutrino Observatory... But still, it's a cool topic...
  • 08:56 PM - KenNYC quoted Jhaelen in post Looking for solo & 2-player tabletop recommendations
    That's an odd requirement for a boardgame. It's a mystery solving game. There are five cases to solve but you have a limited amount of actions to solve the cases. The cases are all fictional but there is a backdrop of actual real world history and events which you might have to google or check wikipedia pages (or any page you wish really) to find the missing piece of the puzzle. It's very interesting, and the cases are all linked to form a greater story about secrets and corruption which my group and I are slowly unearthing. I am up to case four and think it's a great game, you just need a tablet, computer or smartphone while you play. We play with three players but it is easily done with two.
  • 02:18 PM - Fauchard1520 quoted Jhaelen in post Drinking Problem
    I used to participate in an RPG group where everyone was drinking beer. It was decidedly more relaxed and the adventures tended to be railroads, so it kind of worked, too. That's intriguing. A more structured game worked better with drink. Any theories on why that might be?
  • 02:05 PM - Wolfpack48 quoted Jhaelen in post Delving Beneath the Surface of Runequest: Glorantha
    Glorantha is weird. I like most aspects of the setting but don't care for others (ducks as a player race? Really?!). It was a nice fit for Runequest, though. I also recently bought the PDF for using Glorantha with 13th Age but haven't read it, yet. I think that might be a good match, as well, since 13th Age is by default at the higher end of High Fantasy. I was wondering when the first mention of ducks would come out. It sure didn't take long lol. Ducks are a cursed race, and actually do have some interesting background, but they are only a small population within the greater Glorantha. You could play a long campaign and never run into a duck, so I would think not running Glorantha simply because there is a cursed race of ducks somewhere in the world is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Monday, 24th September, 2018

  • 09:51 AM - trappedslider quoted Jhaelen in post All that streaming
    I'm still new to netflix and I have to say I really dislike how everything is based on their dubious rankings. It's really hard to find anything, since all searches appear to come up with the same recommendations. I mean, if I'm searching for 'West World' and it's not available on netflix, I'd like to see a message that 'sorry, it's currently not available' and not a dozen completely different tv shows I don't care for. It's shows shows that are in some manner like the one you're wanting or related to And how do you find out which shows/movies are going to be removed soon? I started watching 'The Expanse' and only after selecting the first episode of the first season do they advertise the fact the show's going to be removed from netflix at the end of this month. This one is harder,but mostly you can find out by looking at sites that show what's coming this month to netflix,they also tend to show what's leaving https://otakukart.com/tvshows/netflix-october-2018-movies-and-shows-everything-c...
  • 09:08 AM - doctorbadwolf quoted Jhaelen in post Mearls On D&D's Design Premises/Goals
    TL;DR;: Mearls says "current edition good, older editions bad". Exactly like that, but completely different. pemerton, I think you’re nitpicking wording to force a conclusion at this point. DnD doesn’t allow “killing the orc” to be an action, but als doesn’t let “gain an army” be an action. DnD breaks things into single actions, or close enough to best abstracted like it’s a single action. Each action is resolved using the same system. “Win the fight” is an action in some games, in other games it isn’t. Some fights will be won with one action, most won’t. That doesn’t change that actions are resolved in the same way either way. Some puzzles will be resolved in one action, others won’t. Its the same shstem of resolution regardless.

Friday, 21st September, 2018

  • 09:17 AM - pemerton quoted Jhaelen in post The Most Successful Italian RPG Launches on Kickstarter
    That's pretty cool. I don't think I've seen that kind of mechanic anywhere.In Marvel Heroic RP/Cortex+ Heroic, there are various abilities which can be rolled as either d8 or 2d6; or d10 or 2d8 or 3d6; etc; but this is in a context where you are keeping the best two dice in a pool, rather than adding them all up (so the choice requires balacing having more dice in the pool - for more chances to roll high - vs having at least some big dice in the pool - which provides other mechanical benefits but also raises the ceiling for high rolls).

Wednesday, 19th September, 2018

  • 02:42 PM - Jay Verkuilen quoted Jhaelen in post Burning Questions: What's the Worst Thing a DM Can Do?
    Maybe it's not one of the worst things, but I consider it one of the things that distinguishes a good DM from a passable DM. As the article indicates, it's especially bad if there's long texts being read in a monotonous voice. In fact it's almost ensured the players are going to miss important hints hidden in the text, because they're lulled to sleep! I remember when boxed text first appeared. It was clearly done as an aid to noob DMs. However, I think good DMs would learn to transcend it fairly quickly and rephrase it in their own words. (Or read it in a monotonous style for effect!) A passable to mediocre DM uses it as a crutch and never gets past it.
  • 12:19 PM - Jay Verkuilen quoted Jhaelen in post D&D's Going To The Barrier Peaks
    Of the included adventures I only really liked 'White Plume Mountain'. That one is more fun to read than play, IMO, though I was in a long running Greyhawk campaign where Keraptis was the main foil, starting as a villain and, over time, becoming a frenemy. 'The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth' was passable, at best. The thing is: these modules aren't any better than the adventures I've created myself in my early teens: A non-sensical arrangement of rooms that each represented a mostly self-contained puzzle or environment that only started to become real as soon as the party entered it, plus a random encounter table. Now, don't get me wrong: back then we actually enjoyed delving into that kind of dungeon, but (at least in retrospect) it's terrible design. I both ran and played Tsojcanth, the latter in the aformentioned Keraptis campaign. Part of that campaign, which was quite serious in tone much of the time, was that Greyhawk had been studded with dungeons by mad wizards. However, the DM work...
  • 08:29 AM - Lanefan quoted Jhaelen in post Burning Questions: What's the Worst Thing a DM Can Do?
    Personally, I never read boxed texts. I either ignore them or paraphrase them in my own words. Imho, very few published modules have good text boxes. How often have you seen long, super-detailed room descriptions that end by mentioning there also happens to be a huge dragon in the center, as if it was an afterthought? This isn't always a bad thing in one respect: if you mentioned the dragon first you'd never get to the rest of the description because the players would be interrupting all over the place. Or even better (i.e. worse) texts telling the characters how they feel or implying they take certain actions? Worse yet are the boxed descriptions that always assume entry through a particular door and thus describe things as seen from that viewpoint, even though there's three other doors the party could come in through. Imho, describing locations is really easy if you remember to think about the characters' different senses and describing the most obvious things first: What are the def...
  • 02:18 AM - Jay Verkuilen quoted Jhaelen in post D&D's Going To The Barrier Peaks
    Never liked that one. A failed attempt to show that D&D rules also worked for a sci-fi setting. Except they didn't. According to the Wikipedia entry, it was originally run to advertise Metamorphosis Alpha. It was one of the earliest sci fi RPGs (maybe the earliest?) so it gets props for being early, at any rate. TSR dropped that in favor of Gamma World pretty fast, although that never really took off either, though it has been released over and over. I'm not sure sci fi has really ever done super well. I never ran Barrier Peaks, but had fun playing it in the late '90s and as the campaign continued for a while longer, our PCs really valued those Barrier Peaks weapons until they finally ran out of juice because they worked in anti-magic!
  • 02:02 AM - Jay Verkuilen quoted Jhaelen in post D&D's Going To The Barrier Peaks
    You mean a tournament module like the 'Tomb of Horrors'? Small wonder then it's so bad. The idea of playing D&D as a kind of tournament was, is, and will be terrible. But that's just my opinion. If you enjoy that kind of thing, more power to you. The majority of the classic modules---Giants, Slave Lords, Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, and a bunch of others---were originally tournament scenarios. If you look in the originals the scoring is usually listed but the adventures themselves were substantially fleshed out with the assumption they were not being run for competitive play.

Tuesday, 18th September, 2018

  • 11:46 AM - Nagol quoted Jhaelen in post Problem granting XP
    I'm clicking on the 'Give XP for this post' entry that is shown at the bottom left of every post. When hovering over the entry, all I'm seeing is 'javascript//'. When I'm clicking on it, absolutely nothing happens. Edit: I'm currently running Firefox 60.2.0esr (64-bit). I'm using NoScript 10.1.9.6 and have allowed the following sites: - enworld.org - cloudfront.net - googletagservices.com This is a real shot in the dark, but my guess would be NoScript has decided to intervene and prevent javascript to control page bloat. Here's an intermediate article on it: https://timkadlec.com/remembers/2018-09-06-chromes-noscript-intervention/ It's also possible you upgraded to 10 in the summer? -- it sort of reversed the domain --> site model compared to 5. Here's an article about that: https://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/firefox-noscript-10-guide-1.html

Monday, 17th September, 2018

  • 04:56 PM - Lord_Blacksteel quoted Jhaelen in post D&D's Going To The Barrier Peaks
    You mean a tournament module like the 'Tomb of Horrors'? Small wonder then it's so bad. The idea of playing D&D as a kind of tournament was, is, and will be terrible. But that's just my opinion. If you enjoy that kind of thing, more power to you. Yes, I mean like Tomb of Horrors, White Plume Mountain, Steading of the Hill Giant Chief, Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl, Hall of the Fire Giant King, Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, and several others. You know, many of the foundational adventures of the game? As published, they don't really focus on the competitive aspect, though some of them include the details if the DM wants to use them that way. Playing through them in the typical way at home with friends isn't affected by this one way or the other. It does have a "gimmick" with the whole crashed spaceship thing but it's a really good gimmick. That's why it keeps popping up in things like this and Pathfinder's Iron Gods AP among others.
  • 09:30 AM - pemerton quoted Jhaelen in post Do you enjoy playing roleplaying games in which you have no clue about the rules?
    I don't feel there's anything wrong with explaining the rules the moment they become relevant. In fact, when explaining complex board games, I'm doing the same thing. Otherwise it would be overwhelming.I agree with this, but I thought the OP (and the post I replied to not far upthread) were talking about a more deliberate and enduring sort of rules opacity. I'm not sure I agree about the first example. Being unable to read a spell without any arcane (or divine) knowledge? That's a rule grounded in fiction, and can be explained thusly to the player.Well, in classic D&D (OD&D, B/X, 1st ed AD&D) there is no fiction that governs the inabilityof fighters to use magic except the rules for spellcasting that pertain only to wizards and clerics. The whole class architecture is established rules-first, with the fiction to be read off that, rather than vice versa. I've got nothing against that, except that as a player I want to know the rules! (Which will also give me the fiction.) Personally, ...


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