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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:23 AM
    Ah, I think shamans and druids would disagree with you ;)
    568 replies | 12046 view(s)
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    Wednesday, 18th July, 2018, 08:50 AM
    Curious indeed! I tend to mention it from time to time, especially when I'm bored.
    568 replies | 12046 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th July, 2018, 08:43 AM
    Given that lycanthrope was a template in D&D 3e it's rather simple to create all kinds of weresnakes. I did so myself in my 3e campaign to create a 'naga' npc race.
    8 replies | 738 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th July, 2018, 08:38 AM
    Well, the article mentions, it'll be using the same system as the Blue Rose RPG. And the wikipedia article about the Blue Rose RPG says: Unfortunately, that's where I stopped reading. Because the next sentence says: So, it was a misunderstanding. The AGE system uses 3d6 and when you roll doubles you gain stunt points to use on some kind of maneuver. And that's pretty much all I know...
    12 replies | 380 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 08:53 AM
    Oh dear, now the Ronin has mutated into a Roman :P I need to know more about the setting to tell if it's a bad fit - that's why I asked. Some important factors are the default tech level, the importance of space travel and the number and nature of alien species. But it's definitely interesting that its roots are an RPG campaign. In that case it would probably make sense to use an RPG system...
    12 replies | 380 view(s)
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    Monday, 16th July, 2018, 10:00 AM
    MoI was weird. I agree that DMG2 was mostly uninspired. The Spell Compendium, though, was an excellent investment, just like the Magic Item Compendium. While they surely didn't make for an exciting read, both were great reference books. 1e favorite: 'Fiend Folio', hands down. The worst? I cannot think of one. 'sleeper hit': 'Deities & Demigods'. Not much use for the actual game, but such a...
    95 replies | 13983 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Monday, 16th July, 2018, 09:13 AM
    So, some quick googling seems to indicate this will use rules based on Green Ronin's d20 variant system? I've only read the first novel and haven't watched the tv show, yet, so I'm not sure if that's a good fit. What is it that makes the Expanse setting unique?
    12 replies | 380 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Monday, 16th July, 2018, 09:06 AM
    I pronounce it exactly like the German word for hamburger, because I think it's hilarious :D
    36 replies | 1187 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Monday, 16th July, 2018, 09:00 AM
    I particularly like the 'censored' sticker. Did it come with the minis? :D
    34 replies | 1734 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 08:51 AM
    Interesting! I've been working on a board game that also associates elements with D&D-style stats (and a few other aspects that are important for the game: general spell effects & monster roles, inspired by D&D 4e). Here's what I did: STR - Fire - Attack - Brute CON - Earth -Defense - Guard DEX - Water - Movement - Skirmisher INT - Air - Vision - Artillery WIS - Light - Healing - Leader...
    568 replies | 12046 view(s)
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    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 08:47 AM
    I don't remember if I had already posted this: It's the main theme from the movie 'River King' and arguably the best thing about it. I was recently reminded about it when I watched the rerun of the movie, believing wrongly I hadn't seen it before.
    203 replies | 13998 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 08:46 AM
    Quite true! 'Perdido Station' was my first Mieville novel, too, and it was definitely a love/hate thing. While I really enjoyed his style and was intrigued by the setting, the story was a bit too 'grimdark' for my taste. That's why I delayed reading the next novel using this setting (Leviathan) over a decade. However, when I finally did read it, I was immediately sucked back into the great...
    29 replies | 667 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Monday, 9th July, 2018, 09:06 AM
    To the contrary, they're named after 'Dorian Gray' because they never appear to get any older.
    18 replies | 1555 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Monday, 9th July, 2018, 08:44 AM
    No, you aren't. (This is starting to remind me of kindergarten...) And of course you missed that all Blizzard games that were released in the last decade require you to be online, regardless whether you're playing solo or not. I'm just being realistic. I dislike micro-transactions as much as you do. You cannot be wrong in liking or disliking something. It's simply a matter of taste and...
    54 replies | 1719 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Friday, 6th July, 2018, 09:46 AM
    The lethality of the RPG system you're using is definitely a big factor in this. In games like Runequest or Ars Magica, negotiations are quite frequent, if not the default. And if the PCs are facing an opponent that cannot be negotiated with, .e.g. in RQ the Broo or in Ars Magica (magical) beasts without an IQ stat, they'll either try to avoid combat completely (by fleeing) or at least delay it...
    161 replies | 5185 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Friday, 6th July, 2018, 09:19 AM
    You are definitely mistaken there, unless your definition of 'Mass Effect fan' happens to be 'everyone who disliked Mass Effect 3'. You mean like Blizzard? How dare those EA dudes follow Blizzard's example! Whether you like it or not, micro-transactions are here to stay. They help ensure that the video game company makes a profit, allowing them to produce more games in the future. It's...
    54 replies | 1719 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th July, 2018, 08:46 AM
    I believe it was actually Dave Arneson's influence which caused D&D to become an actual role-playing game. Without him, Gary Gygax probably would never have thought of it. After reading some interviews and posts by Gary I got the impression, though, that he recognized that his game was improved by the addition of role playing concepts. Still, as you mentioned, he could never quite let go...
    568 replies | 12046 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th July, 2018, 08:08 AM
    Oh dear, the nerd rage... So what is the OP actually proposing? Doing nothing, I guess. Okay, I'm in! :D
    54 replies | 1719 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018, 09:12 AM
    Oh, dear. Gary Gygax was a cheater!!! And worse, he was trying to tempt others into cheating, as well! The horror!!!
    568 replies | 12046 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018, 09:08 AM
    A mind map software was my first thought, as well. But I'm not sure how well it would hold up over the course of a campaign.
    16 replies | 585 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018, 09:07 AM
    Yeah, tempus fugit! I still haven't started reading a new novel after finishing 'The Abyss Beyond Dreams' by Peter F. Hamilton. Part of the reason is that I really should read the sequel 'A Night without Stars' next, while I still remember something about the characters and setting, but I'm currently a bit burned out on 'epic' soap operas. I also felt that 'The Abyss Beyond Dreams' wasn't as...
    29 replies | 667 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018, 08:56 AM
    I'm definitely with you regarding most of these tv shows. especially the ones by CW (Arrow, Flash, and presumably Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and Black Lightning). These are just teenie-soaps. I was also quite underwhelmed by Gotham and stopped watching in the middle of the first season. I continued watching Agents of Shield , though. While the first two season were just okay, the third and...
    33 replies | 903 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Friday, 29th June, 2018, 10:20 AM
    That's an excellent point and it's indeed something that happens quite often. In our 4e games this was always a discussion-starter: "Hmm, so our Ranger is already out of surges again. Shall we continue, nonetheless? How's everyone else doing? Alright, since everybody else is still fine, take good care of our Ranger and make sure to keep him out of trouble. On we go!" This is why sources of...
    171 replies | 5851 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 08:57 AM
    That's unfortunately true: You only have one chance to make a good first impression...
    171 replies | 5851 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 08:46 AM
    Given that it's impossible to understand a single word when listening to the band's 'singer', you pretty much have to read the lyrics... ;)
    1 replies | 170 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 10:05 AM
    (Emphasis mine) Aren't you doing here exactly what you're trying to condemn? Imho, your reaction to Caliburn101 is totally out of proportion. Let's relax a bit and look again at what he wrote: (Emphasis mine) 1. Note the conditional statement. 2. Note the qualifier IMO. I fail to see any One-True-Way-ism here. What am I supposed to tell a GM with a preference of fudging die rolls who then...
    161 replies | 5185 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 09:39 AM
    Allow me to first remind you of the original statement I've been responding to: Also, please note that Imaculata is playing D&D 3.5. Now, to address your points: Yep, they can do that. As a DM I may even suggest it. But it's not under my control whether they actually do try to flee or not. See above! See above! There's a very clear definition how difficult encounters should be in the...
    79 replies | 1986 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Tuesday, 26th June, 2018, 09:25 AM
    Well, it still happened both in my first 3e campaign and in our first Pathfinder campaign! IIRC, in D&D 3.0, a waraxe was the default weapon for an orc. In 3.5 they changed this into a scimitar. I wonder why? ;-) Another PC in my first 3e campaign was killed by a choker. In fact, grappling-based monsters remained a deadly throughout all levels of play. A a third PC died by falling from a...
    79 replies | 1986 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Tuesday, 26th June, 2018, 08:53 AM
    Well, our 4e campaigns never got that far. Our longest campaign ended in the middle of Paragon tier. But at that point we ran into the opposite problem: even standard monsters could apply nasty conditions that we really weren't prepared for. Thanks to retraining we managed to adapt a bit, but many encounters became really tough for our group, especially if our main striker was taken out. So,...
    171 replies | 5851 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Monday, 25th June, 2018, 08:23 AM
    Given that I don't know half of these, I refrain from voting...
    18 replies | 1719 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 10:13 AM
    A PLAYER death? Ouch, that's tough! ;-) Umm. what RPG system do you use? In D&D it's impossible to remove the potential of character death from a 'fairly balanced combat encounter'. E.g. in 3e a single lucky crit roll will do it. In 4e it usually requires a string of unlucky saving throws, e.g. vs. continuing damage. And in earlier editions even a single failed saving throw can result in...
    79 replies | 1986 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 09:53 AM
    I agree about the former, but not about the latter: A character dying out of the blue because he didn't bother to check everything for traps is not something I enjoy*. I prefer it, if death results from combat encounters; ideally meaningful encounters. I don't fudge die rolls, so characters will occasionally die through no fault on the player's side, but I vastly prefer if they're forewarned...
    161 replies | 5185 view(s)
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 09:39 AM
    I'm a big fan of 4e, but I didn't care for the Essential classes. I felt it was a mistake to stray from the 'perfect symmetry' of classes they achieved by using the AEDU framework. To me, it felt like the solution to a problem that didn't exist. An anecdote I always mention in this context is that one player in my group who had never played anything but fighters and paladins in earlier editions...
    171 replies | 5851 view(s)
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About Jhaelen

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Friday, 20th July, 2018


Tuesday, 17th July, 2018


Monday, 16th July, 2018


Friday, 13th July, 2018


Thursday, 12th July, 2018


Wednesday, 11th July, 2018


Monday, 9th July, 2018


Sunday, 8th July, 2018


Friday, 6th July, 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 goši 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 žing 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 goš 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, guš, 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 goši, gyšja, is even derived from guš rather than goš. 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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Wednesday, 18th July, 2018

  • 07:58 PM - JacktheRabbit quoted Jhaelen in post The Expanse RPG by Green Ronan
    Oh dear, now the Ronin has mutated into a Roman :P I need to know more about the setting to tell if it's a bad fit - that's why I asked. Some important factors are the default tech level, the importance of space travel and the number and nature of alien species. But it's definitely interesting that its roots are an RPG campaign. In that case it would probably make sense to use an RPG system that is close to the one used in the original campaign. If it's true that it was a d20 Future campaign, then Green Ronin's True20 system should be a fairly good match. Default tech level is no FTL, a ship can travel to the outer planets in a few months, gravity is all thrust or spin based, and the only alien in the first 3 books are all derivatives of an ancient alien device sent to the solar system a few billion years ago and recently released called the proto-molecule. As to the importance of space travel, if you play the game like the books are written then you will spend at least 75% of the t...

Tuesday, 17th July, 2018

  • 10:40 AM - Morrus quoted Jhaelen in post The Expanse RPG by Green Ronan
    So, some quick googling seems to indicate this will use rules based on Green Ronin's d20 variant system? I've only read the first novel and haven't watched the tv show, yet, so I'm not sure if that's a good fit. The AGE system isn't a d20 system.

Monday, 16th July, 2018

  • 11:33 AM - Hand of Evil quoted Jhaelen in post The Witcher RPG to Debut At Gen Con!
    Well, the former isn't all that different from the Magi in the Ars Magica RPG: The gift manifests as a kind of magical aura that causes unease in mundane animals and people. It's why they usually hire companions to deal with people and prefer to spend their time locked up in their labs to conduct research, learn spells and create magic items. Regarding the latter: Did they clarify at the seminar if all players are supposed to portray witchers? Unless they're going for troupe-style play like in Ars Magica, it would be tricky to rationalize. Not all players will be Witchers. The game (at the time of the seminar) had the players being other classes. From what I gathered, classes were not picked but rolled(?), Witchers were to be rare as a class. Not sure how this would play out with a normal group but may work for a small group. Note: at the time of the seminar, they listed a lot more classes. The seminar left me with less than warm and fuzzy and thinking they better have put in t...
  • 10:57 AM - Kris quoted Jhaelen in post Kris' all new miniature thread
    I particularly like the 'censored' sticker. Did it come with the minis? :D I just figured (since this is a family friendly place) that it's better to be safe than sorry (as folks seem to be easily offended nowadays :erm: ).
  • 10:42 AM - Paul Farquhar quoted Jhaelen in post Baldur's Gate Designer Leaves Bioware To Form D&D Publishing Company
    I'm so glad you showed up here to make this post. Otherwise I'd have had to crack a joke about that ;) As someone working in the software industry myself, I can definitely sympathize with his decision. A couple of years ago I also came up with the idea to turn one of my computer game concepts into a board game instead. Ambitious computer games require large teams of specialists to work for years until their game is ready to be released. It requires much fewer resources to do the same thing in the world of pen & paper. Which basically means only lowest common denominator computer games get made. It's what, 25 years since Baldur's Gate was published? And in all that time no one has managed to make a better translation of D&D to the digital medium. I think we have reached the point of computer game saturation, and getting out is a good idea.

Monday, 9th July, 2018


Friday, 6th July, 2018

  • 07:40 PM - Wystan quoted Jhaelen in post Hidden
  • 04:30 PM - Gladius Legis quoted Jhaelen in post For the good of video games, Anthem needs to fail hard
    You are definitely mistaken there, unless your definition of 'Mass Effect fan' happens to be 'everyone who disliked Mass Effect 3'. Nope. I am right. You mean like Blizzard? How dare those EA dudes follow Blizzard's example! Did you miss the SINGLE-PLAYER part in your feeble attempt to be condescending? Of course you did. Whether you like it or not, micro-transactions are here to stay. They help ensure that the video game company makes a profit, allowing them to produce more games in the future. It's literally a small price to pay ;) You seem proud to be part of the problem with AAA video gaming today. Wow, a personal anecdote serving as proof - I'm impressed! Or, I would be, if I weren't able to counter that with a personal anecdote myself: A buddy of mine who is a big Mass Effect fan (who even managed to convince me to buy the game myself) felt that ME3 wasn't as strong as the previous two, but still definitely worth playing. And he is wrong.

Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018

  • 05:33 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Jhaelen in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    Well, I think it's not easy to design good solo monsters in 4e. Also, presumably, it's hard to design challenging epic monsters. It certainly must've been hard for Heinsoo & company to design good solo monsters, since it took them until MM3 to get it right. But, now that it's been done, and we see what's needed, it's pretty easy. Epic monsters aren't hard to design, either, by the numbers. Epic PCs do start to approach the sheer number of options and game-warping abilities that casters tend to get in the low double-digits in other eds (though nothing like 3.x polymorph shenanigans or scry/buff/teleport is ever enabled in 4e, even at 30th), so that's not a big problem, either. But, epic encounters, epic challenges, and especially Epic feel take some thought. The danger with a perfectly useable/challenging epic encounter is that it can end up feeling no different from a Paragon encounter, just with bigger numbers (before the DMG2, when Paragon was still a bit fuzzy, a one-off epic game ...
  • 10:31 AM - Tonguez quoted Jhaelen in post What no Luke Cage love?
    I'm definitely with you regarding most of these tv shows. especially the ones by CW (Arrow, Flash, and presumably Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and Black Lightning). These are just teenie-soaps. I was also quite underwhelmed by Gotham and stopped watching in the middle of the first season. I continued watching Agents of Shield , though. While the first two season were just okay, the third and later seasons were a lot more interesting. Anyway, I think the Netflix Marvel tv shows are a completely different beast. They focus on character development and storytelling and the 'heroes' aren't very 'hero'-like, at all. Your wife is quite right: you should give Jessica Jones a chance! i agree, I've also stopped watchiong the CW shows out of share boredom. I also gave up on season 1 of SHIELD but came back at season 4 and have been impressed since then. Gotham also gets better and as next season looks like its going to be the Batman year 1 arc it wont be too long before it fades into history....

Saturday, 30th June, 2018

  • 05:46 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted Jhaelen in post What is the essence of 4E?
    That's an excellent point and it's indeed something that happens quite often. In our 4e games this was always a discussion-starter: "Hmm, so our Ranger is already out of surges again. Shall we continue, nonetheless? How's everyone else doing? Alright, since everybody else is still fine, take good care of our Ranger and make sure to keep him out of trouble. On we go!" This is why sources of healing that don't require the expenditure of healing surges are so important and desirable. It's something all of the players were looking out for. The most common source were Leader Dailies, but there are a few others, as well. It also reminds me of the 'Healing Standard' our party managed to get hold of in our first adventure. We quickly decided it was the "MIP" of our group: it saved our a**** in countless encounters that might otherwise have resulted in TPKs. In case you don't recall what I'm referring to: Yeah, I gave BSoH to the first party that I ran 4e for in 2008. It was a great way to kind of sm...

Friday, 29th June, 2018

  • 05:25 PM - Les Moore quoted Jhaelen in post Everybody Cheats?
    I'm not sure I'd call that 'cheating' (just like several of the examples given in the article don't constitute 'cheating' for me), but it's definitely something I don't like. In my games RAI always beats RAW, and since I'm the GM, I'm the final arbiter about what's intended and what isn't. I always discourage my players to visit or read the so-called "Character Optimization Boards". As I like to point out, it's not possible for a player to gain any advantage by abusing unintended cheese. The reason is that a player can never 'win' against a GM: If players start to overdo it and optimize their characters too much, all they'll achieve is that I'll be designing correspondingly harder encounters for them. Players are better served spending their creative energy to create a fun character with a believable and interesting background and personality traits. IME, there is always a way to develop a trait, or advantage, over time, with work and character molding. But I have to agree there are things w...

Wednesday, 27th June, 2018

  • 05:03 PM - DMMike quoted Jhaelen in post Death and Storytelling
    Also, please note that Imaculata is playing D&D 3.5. Enough said. With the exception of the D&D 5e rules (death saves and max hp), I was using a general RPG perspective. Obviously, I hope, low-level PC death is not completely avoidable in D&D 3x. I mean, if you don't fudge the rolls, you might say that 1 out of every 20 attacks (from anything larger than a goblin) is going to be a lethal critical hit that will probably take out an average PC...or the party wizard who wasn't smart enough to actually stay far away from sharp things. 3x implemented some nice defensive tools to assist - cover, concealment, full defense, fight defensively (whatever that is) - but when the DMG recommends 5% of encounters be overpowering (good memory, I referenced the 3.0 DMG), low/1st level PCs face a TPK whenever that 5% comes up. I'd rather see a different conversation though: Why is PC death an issue, when Conan, Drizzt, Bilbo, (and) Aragon(sic)don't even do that much fighting? Drizzt, Aragor...
  • 01:27 PM - Imaculata quoted Jhaelen in post Death and Storytelling
    Well, in D&D 3.5 there's very limited official support for ways to gain xp outside of combat. Indeed. There was a chapter in the DMG that covered story-based xp awards, which I guess also covers non-combat encounters. But unlike with combat encounters, 3.5 didn't provide an xp table for the non-combat ones. The text in that chapter is lengthy, very open to interpretation, and mostly amounts to a few suggestions. I don't recall if max hit points were an official rule in D&D 3.5. Although our group always uses this rule, I can't remember if it was an official rule either. But even if they were, it won't always save you from dying by being hit with a lucky crit: A 1st level orc warrior (STR 17) does 1d8+3 (x3) damage. This can one-hit-kill even a barbarian PC who was at full hit points. In 3.5, there's quite a few CR1 opponents that could kill you in one attack if you're only level 1.
  • 04:15 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted Jhaelen in post What is the essence of 4E?
    Well, our 4e campaigns never got that far. Our longest campaign ended in the middle of Paragon tier. But at that point we ran into the opposite problem: even standard monsters could apply nasty conditions that we really weren't prepared for. Thanks to retraining we managed to adapt a bit, but many encounters became really tough for our group, especially if our main striker was taken out. So, what exactly caused this brokenness in the epic tier? The epic destiny abilities? I also have a suspicion that most groups that made it into epic tier were 'early adopters' and only faced encounters with MM1 / MM2 monsters that didn't yet use the proper math. Also, in many reports about epic encounters being too easy, the PCs were apparently able to 'go nova', i.e. use all of their daily powers in every encounter. In our games we usually had at least 3 or 4 encounters before being able to take an extended rest, so on average we only had 1 or 2 daily powers available in each. We were always quite reluctan...

Tuesday, 26th June, 2018

  • 05:53 PM - DMMike quoted Jhaelen in post Death and Storytelling
    RPG's usually have a random aspect to the cooperative storytelling, that regards combat and that determines whether, notably, PC's will survive or die in battle (or in other situations such as traps). However, most popular heroic fantasy storytelling in particular, outside of gaming, does not usually see its main protagonist(s) die: Conan, Drizzt, Bilbo, Aragon, they all survive their ordeals. In a game where each player's PC is the main protagonist, how to reconcile PC death with the storytelling? But protagonists suffer setbacks all the time. Usually at the end of the second act :) The GM always has a choice, whether you know it or not: put the rules first, or put the story/fun first. If you put the rules first, you might be lucky enough to see the player's eyes well up with tears, realizing that his character was not, in the end, THE protagonist. :devil: Have you played in games where PC's simply don't die? Where the DM deploys sometimes obvious efforts to make PC's survive? (I ...
  • 02:47 PM - Jester David quoted Jhaelen in post What is the essence of 4E?
    So, what exactly caused this brokenness in the epic tier? The epic destiny abilities? Likely a combinaion of option creep and power creep synergizing with a group that had spent 20+ levels working out how to work together. I also have a suspicion that most groups that made it into epic tier were 'early adopters' and only faced encounters with MM1 / MM2 monsters that didn't yet use the proper math. Which is a problem, if two thirds of the monsters in the game don't work and the monsters aren't challenging enough for the first couple years of the edition.
  • 01:36 PM - Jay Verkuilen quoted Jhaelen in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    Actually, that's precisely the feeling that 3e gave me: A big part of this was that monsters and NPCs used the same rules as the PCs. Players suddenly wanted to know how and why a monster was able to do something. Everything was questioned and needed to be 'according to RAW'. In fact, I think, it was during 3e that I first encountered that acronym. I know people who had that experience in 3E regarding exactly the point you made, monster design. In contrast 4e had some highly polished rules and a very transparent design. The math was laid bare and for that reason it was easy to see how changing one aspect of the system would affect other parts. E.g. it didn't take me long to figure out that monsters needed a math fix. Others realized the same about the skill system: The DCs were off. But all in all, 4e was the system that needed the least amount if tinkering, imho. <snip> I also feel that 4e gave the DM an unprecedented level of freedom in other, less rule-related areas. Tweaking encounter...
  • 11:08 AM - Lanefan quoted Jhaelen in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    Actually, that's precisely the feeling that 3e gave me: A big part of this was that monsters and NPCs used the same rules as the PCs. Players suddenly wanted to know how and why a monster was able to do something. Everything was questioned and needed to be 'according to RAW'. In fact, I think, it was during 3e that I first encountered that acronym. I found that with 3e as well, though I see a different source for the problem: PCs and NPCs and monsters all using the same rules is just fine. The problem is that the rules for monster design shouldn't be player-facing - the players have no business knowing what makes a monster tick under its hood. IMO 3e made far too many rules player-facing, and 4e only made this worse. 5e seems to have backed off on it a bit, but not enough. I also feel that 4e gave the DM an unprecedented level of freedom in other, less rule-related areas. Tweaking encounter design, healing rates, skill challenges and rate of advancement was very much possible and enco...

Friday, 22nd June, 2018

  • 04:20 PM - Blue quoted Jhaelen in post What is the essence of 4E?
    I'm a big fan of 4e, but I didn't care for the Essential classes. I felt it was a mistake to stray from the 'perfect symmetry' of classes they achieved by using the AEDU framework. To me, it felt like the solution to a problem that didn't exist. From two tables I played at where we got into the mid-teens to low 20s, it really helped with the option paralysis of Paragon+ characters. In my experience some players worked well and some players took a long time with a bunch of thematically linked by fiercely individual powers in terms of how they affected the fight dynamic and range/area which needed to be evaluated every turn. But I was more discussing the tone of Essentials which seemed generally positive to pro-4e players both in the groups I played (which included my FLGS) and on the boards. Not saying it was a good fit for everyone.


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