View Profile: Jhaelen - D&D, Pathfinder, and RPGs at Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
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    Yesterday, 09:39 AM
    In before the lock! ;)
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    Yesterday, 09:38 AM
    I think that just means you haven't yet found a setting that completely sucked you in. Alas, it's true that most campaigns fizzle after a year or two. But my D&D 3e campaign lasted for over 12 years and our group agreed it was a awesome experience. It isn't the length of the campaign that's important. It's if you feel you've fully explored the setting. I kind of agree that a setting is at...
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    Yesterday, 09:22 AM
    After what felt like an eternity, I've finally finished 'The Republic of Thieves' by Scott Lynch. Although a bit tedious at times, I mostly enjoyed it, actually. I'm pretty sure I'm through with Locke Lamora and the Gentlemen Bastards, though. Next up is Peter Hamilton's 'The Abyss Beyond Dreams', a return to his Commonwealth universe.
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    Yesterday, 09:09 AM
    Now that you mention it, so do I! If I'm designing a homebrew setting, I typically try to focus on just a few key races, ideally some that are often under-represented in other settings. E.g. in my D&D 3e Blackmoor campaign, I took some inspiration from the Werewolf RPG and used different types of lycanthropes as the mainstay. I also assigned a preferred class to each changing breed. I also...
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    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 09:14 AM
    You mean something like Cthulhu Confidential?
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    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 09:02 AM
    "All Of This Has Happened Before And Will Happen Again." No, wait, that was something else...
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    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 08:59 AM
    Ugh, that's harsh! It's straining my imagination to think of a tv show with worse writing. ... well, okay, there's Star Gate. ... and Supernatural. ... and X-Files.
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Friday, 13th April, 2018, 09:05 AM
    Now you disappoint me. Apparently 'railroad' is a loaded term and you appear to have a more restrictive view of it than I do. Regarding your example: Who says that the 17 different routes all lead to a dragon 'at the end'? I'm not even sure what 'at the end' is supposed to mean. In a non-linear dungeon layout there is no 'end'. One of these 17 entrances might lead directly to the dragon. In...
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    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 08:57 AM
    I agree that there are players who don't mind being railroaded. A few may even prefer it. It's a great way to play if you're in the mood for a beer & pretzl game and you don't want to exercise your brain. Over a hundred million people enjoy playing "Candy Crush", surely they can't all be wrong. However, why bother playing an RPG if you could just as well play "Candy Crush"? I recall an...
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    Tuesday, 10th April, 2018, 09:17 AM
    I really have trouble figuring out what you consider an 'Archetype'. I don't think there are as many, e.g. all those different types of warriors could easily be condensed into one or two archetypes, imho. Almost all of the psionic classes duplicate already existing 'archetypes', imho, e.g. Psion is just a kind of 'Chessmaster Caster', etc. Given your current list you may actually be better...
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    Monday, 9th April, 2018, 12:12 PM
    Given that it takes myself quite some time to resolve my combat turns, I never felt it would be a good idea to introduce timers in my games. If a player consistently takes very long to decide on what to do, I've sometimes ruled that she's taking the 'delay action' for the time being. Looking up rules is something I try to avoid during combat. I feel it's better to make a ruling on the fly to keep...
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Tuesday, 27th March, 2018, 07:50 AM
    You may be right. Try matching them to the different categories and you'll see! It's a different approach to come up with a full complement of classes. Surely you don't believe that D&D is the one true way? Why doesn't Earthdawn have exactly the same classes as D&D? Were the designers just stupid or may there be a reason why the classes they picked work better for their setting?
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    Monday, 26th March, 2018, 12:51 PM
    These are some great teasers, I have to admit! I was already interested after reading reviews about the first season, but now I'm actually rather hyped. This looks exactly like the kind of thing I enjoy watching. I have to check where I can watch it (or failing that, buy the DVDs).
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    Monday, 26th March, 2018, 09:22 AM
    Ha! That's extremely similar to an idea I once had for a new RPG system. The primary stats for each character were Physical, Mental, and Spirit, each with an Active expression and a Passive expression. (Okay, in a way that was just renaming ye olde D&D stats...) I wanted each character to cover two 'roles', represented by combining a Primary stat and a Secondary stat. I.e. Pp, Pm, Ps, Mp, Mm,...
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  • Jhaelen's Avatar
    Monday, 26th March, 2018, 08:56 AM
    That's a great selection, Danny! I've lately been listening to the Polygondwanaland album from King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. You can even download it for free using the Bandcamp link I provided! This Australian band has been incredibly productive last year. They released no less than five albums, and all of them are rather good!
    191 replies | 11270 view(s)
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About Jhaelen

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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...

Tuesday, 10th September, 2013

  • 04:50 AM - Fiddleback mentioned Jhaelen in post 500 Pounds of Beef – 5 Meaty Board Games for Long Weekends
    I like your suggestions tomBitonti. Though I do have to say I think Squad Leader leaves the realm of board games and heads squarely into war gaming. Nothing wrong with that, just an important distinction to make. Jhaelen, glad Origins piqued your interest. It is out of print, but with some judicious hunting around (and a willingness to part with no small amount of cash) you can find ways to purchase it, or even rent it. Big Megafauna, which I believe used to be called American Megafauna, is, according to the designers, the prequel to Origins. They can, it is suggested, be played back to back for an VERY lengthy gaming experience.

Monday, 5th August, 2013

  • 04:25 PM - Baumi mentioned Jhaelen in post My Review of 13th Age
    Wow this looks awesome. 8D There is only one thing so far that I dont like ... it has no bookmarks, which is really bad for tablet). Strangely enough, the Index and Contents are fully linked. Jhaelen: You can put 5 Points into a Background. There is a list of examples and also some advice on making a good backgrounds. It also warns about miss-using it and that the GM can just rule one out.

Monday, 17th June, 2013

  • 05:40 AM - Challenger RPG mentioned Jhaelen in post Game Design 113: Duplication
    @Jhaelen : That's the way to do it. :) I love to hear those kinds of stories. @Fetfreak : Well said. I like how Pathfinder made their approach. Not too crazy, but fixing things along the way, tool.


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Saturday, 21st April, 2018

  • 08:52 AM - Lanefan quoted Jhaelen in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    Then why are there alignment restrictions for classes, spells, and magic items? Apparently, the game designers cannot decide what alignments should be: Just a loose guideline or a hard restriction? I'm getting ambiguous signals here! Imagine for a second how you would create a PC if there was no alignment system. You'd come up with a personality and background, describe motivations and goals. Think about what your character likes and dislikes, what he hates, loves, and fears. Then look at the resulting character. Is there anything missing? What purpose does it serve trying to match an alignment to this well-developed character? What do you gain by trying to shoehorn the character into alignment categories? Chances are, if you didn't start out picking an alignment for your character, you won't find one that neatly fits. But then how would I apply alignment-based spells, classes and items; all of which I want in the game? Lanefan
  • 07:38 AM - Hussar quoted Jhaelen in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    I think that just means you haven't yet found a setting that completely sucked you in. Alas, it's true that most campaigns fizzle after a year or two. But my D&D 3e campaign lasted for over 12 years and our group agreed it was a awesome experience. It isn't the length of the campaign that's important. It's if you feel you've fully explored the setting. I kind of agree that a setting is at its most exciting when it's still fresh. It's why I prefer standalone novels over long series. Not really. I've played in lots of them over the past thirty years or so. I've obviously had fun. Thing is, the "feel you've fully explored the setting" is not something I've ever been interested in. Don't care. Nor, IME, do players care in the slightest either.

Friday, 20th April, 2018

  • 05:45 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Jhaelen in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    Umm, what? Sorry, but, it's pretty clear. How well you can delight means you are able to delight them in a range from not liking it at all (failed check) to delighting them very well (a very high check). It's not can you change their minds at all, it's how much you can change their minds. 'Can' as opposed to 'may,' possibly? Okay. But they don't help a player at all to come up with a reason why the character is more likely to commit good or evil acts. So, what purpose do alignments serve, again? They make a game seem more like D&D. Especially important if the game in question had "D&D" on the cover. Thinking in alignment categories is thinking in boxes, and when has that ever been a good thing? Organizing and categorizing things can be very helpful. But, again, that's presuming that we're using 3e mechanics. That wouldn't be a heck of a lot of fun would it? In this instance, the 3e mechanics aren't all bad, at least it's a diplomacy skill affecting attitude rather than a persua...
  • 09:08 AM - Charlaquin quoted Jhaelen in post PF2: Spells!
    Well, having to find or acquire a diamond worth 25k gold is still a significant restriction. You cannot just cast the spell whenever you feel like it. I've not really looked into 5e beyond the initial beta phase. So there's no way to restrict the casting of wish spells in any way? Interesting. I wonder how that works out. At least that explains why the Pathfinder 2 designers are fine with the idea, I guess. Well... “no way to restrict the casting of wish spells” is definitely not how I would describe it. It’s simply that the restriction doesn’t come in the form of a resource cost, beyond the spell slot. In addition to the standard “the DM interprets your wish and has permission to give it unintended consequence if they want” clause, if you use Wish to do anything other than reproduce the effect of a spell of 8th level or lower, you start taking damage every time you cast another spell until you rest, your strength drops to 3 for 2d4 days (days spent doing nothing but rest count as double), an...
  • 09:03 AM - Sadras quoted Jhaelen in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    Okay. But they don't help a player at all to come up with a reason why the character is more likely to commit good or evil acts. So, what purpose do alignments serve, again? I see them as descriptors like terms such as elves, outsiders, elemental...etc So in social encounters like NPC elves might gravitate towards elven PCs and perhaps trust their words more than the human or tiefling in the party, one could have angelic beings sense the Goodness of the PC and act more favourably towards them. That is one way I guess.
  • 06:03 AM - Shasarak quoted Jhaelen in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    No real person is always good or always evil. No real person is always lawful or always chaotic. If we were only going to play what real people could do then there is not much in DnD left for us to play. That is why I was surprised that Alignment was the unrealistic thing.

Thursday, 19th April, 2018

  • 11:43 AM - Imaculata quoted Jhaelen in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    No real person is always good or always evil. No real person is always lawful or always chaotic. That is of course correct. But the D&D alignment system do not suppose differently. Real people don't commit evil acts because they're 'Evil'. They always rationalize their actions in some way. If your 'Evil' character commits atrocious acts for no reason other than being 'Evil' what is she? What you (well, at least myself) really want, is players describing their goals and motivations, their personality traits. Following these will result in actions that others may consider good or evil. Again, D&D's alignment system does not claim that people commit evil because they are evil. All the alignments do, is describe if your character is more likely to commit good acts, or evil acts. Likewise the lawful/chaotic axis is way too one-dimensional: You ask: "Do they obey the law, even if they think the law is wrong?" I ask: How does your character feel about law "X"? How about law "Y"? It'...
  • 10:54 AM - Lylandra quoted Jhaelen in post PF2: Spells!
    Mostly this: In my experience (sic!) players were quite reluctant to cast spells with an xp cost. Not only in your experience. That was also the main reason why we didn't care for magic item creation in 3e (okay and the fact that using myriads of exp for high level items would have made no sense at all for the creator... You wish to buy a headband of intellect? Okay, gotta slay a dragon to get enough "resources") Also, many groups use different means of gaining levels now, so an XP cost wouldn't really work for those models.
  • 09:46 AM - Aldarc quoted Jhaelen in post PF2: Spells!
    Mostly this: In my experience (sic!) players were quite reluctant to cast spells with an xp cost."Wish" in Pathfinder has a material cost (a diamond worth 25K gold) and not an XP cost. "Wish" in 5e has no associated cost other than a 9th level spell slot. It remains to be seen whether one of the biggest unbalancers of magic in 3.PF - bonus spell slots based on caster stat - will be present in PF2.
  • 09:37 AM - Xavian Starsider quoted Jhaelen in post Gygax IP To Be Made Available For Video Games
    Board games are also on the rise. Of course they don't sell as many units as video games, but they're far from dead; they're thriving! Meanwhile I have heard that video games are at a bit of a crisis point, because in terms of units sold, video games aren't selling more copies than they were a decade ago, but gamers want more. More voice acting, more game modes, more story, lots of things that raise the cost while they are bringing in the same amount of revenue (because gamers also don't want to pay more for the games) Of course, there's also a fair share of Indy hits. But the companies making the AAA titles have to invest a lot for smaller and smaller returns.
  • 09:08 AM - Lanefan quoted Jhaelen in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    No real person is always good or always evil. No real person is always lawful or always chaotic. Absolutely true. And the same can be said of many PCs. But over the medium to long term a DM can observe what your PC does and how it acts, and take an average; which gets noted as your alignment. (over the short term when a PC has just been introduced the DM often has to guess a bit) And that's not even getting into the issues how alignment is used mechanically in D&D. Because in (almost) all editions and settings your alignment choice is tied to potential consequences. Classes you can't choose (or class abilities you risk losing), spells and magic items you can't use, etc. This is exactly why I keep alignment, as I quite like having all those limits and consequences as part of the game. I also like aligned items and places. And then, worst of all are the (misguided) expectations of many players and GMs: For players it's an excuse to have their character act like a jerk, and for GMs...

Wednesday, 18th April, 2018

  • 01:01 PM - Aldarc quoted Jhaelen in post PF2: Spells!
    What I definitely dislike, though, is the idea of 10th level spells. Who wants a wizard casting wishes all day? I don't. Hopefully, most campaigns will end way before their players get access to 10th level spells.Perhaps I have missed something, but how is that different from getting Wish from 9th level spells in PF1 or D&D?
  • 12:35 PM - TwoSix quoted Jhaelen in post PF2: Spells!
    What I definitely dislike, though, is the idea of 10th level spells. Who wants a wizard casting wishes all day? I don't. Hopefully, most campaigns will end way before their players get access to 10th level spells. Also, what about using scrolls? Can I just buy a bunch of wish scrolls and cast the spell from them? That would be utterly terrible. Considering most campaigns end well before anyone gets 9th level spells, I don't think that will be much of an issue.
  • 10:41 AM - Imaculata quoted Jhaelen in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    ?!!?! So, if I buy a gadget that's been advertised as something everyone requires and find out later that it serves absolutely no useful purpose and is actually detrimental in certain circumstances, it's a not a problem with the gadget? What I mean is that the alignment system is not designed to be a replacement personality for your characters. So if players create their characters this way, that is a problem with the player's imagination, not with the rules. As for being totally useless, I couldn't disagree more. I think the alignments help get a basic idea of where your character stands in regards to morals and values. For example, whether your character is good, neutral or evil, is already a pretty clear step to defining what kind of character you are going to play. If your character is lawful, then this poses the question in what way your character is lawful? Do they obey the law, even if they think the law is wrong? Or do they follow a personal code? I wouldn't call that useless, ...
  • 08:45 AM - Imaculata quoted Jhaelen in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    No. My problem with alignment is that it serves no useful purpose; especially regarding the creation of (realistic) characters. Unfortunately, many players apparently don't realize this and assume choosing an alignment is sufficient as a description of their PC's personality. That seems hardly a problem with the alignment system though.

Tuesday, 17th April, 2018

  • 06:17 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Jhaelen in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    Did I mention recently that D&D's alignment system sucks? It's not a system that supports (or helps with) the creation of realistic characters. If you haven't personally, lately, someone else, somewhere, probably has, prettymuch every day for the last 40 years. ;) It is kinda terrible in that way. It also introduces good & evil (and law & chaos - go Moorcock!) into the cosmology as palpable forces, not just philosophical viewpoints. It's a potentially powerful concept that could be used to paint a very high-fantasy style of campaign. D&D has mostly used it on old-school gotchyas and 3.x's 'Team Alignment' mechanics, though. So still kinda terrible, I guess. The issue is the reverse from the one you mention. In classic D&D it is fairly straightforward for any character of note to have Know Alignment cast on him-/herself to confirm his/her alignment; and there is a further argument that one knows one's alignment innately, in virtue of knowing an alignment language. Which means tha...
  • 10:55 AM - Shasarak quoted Jhaelen in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    Did I mention recently that D&D's alignment system sucks? It's not a system that supports (or helps with) the creation of realistic characters. So the problem you have with creating realistic characters using DnD rules is alignment?
  • 10:36 AM - Imaculata quoted Jhaelen in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    Did I mention recently that D&D's alignment system sucks? It's not a system that supports (or helps with) the creation of realistic characters. Its not designed for that purpose. D&D alignment system is a general guideline, although the distinction between good and evil is pretty clear. But why would it need to support/help-with the creation of realistic characters specifically? Most D&D characters are unrealistic.
  • 09:57 AM - pemerton quoted Jhaelen in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    Does it really matter what the Character think of themselves? Just because you dont think that you are Evil does not mean that you are not Evil.The issue is the reverse from the one you mention. In classic D&D it is fairly straightforward for any character of note to have Know Alignment cast on him-/herself to confirm his/her alignment; and there is a further argument that one knows one's alignment innately, in virtue of knowing an alignment language. Which means that, in classic D&D, evil protagonists and antagonists know that they are evil. Which is weird. Even when Milton's Satan says, "Evil, be though my good" he is most naturally read as using "evil" ironically, or to refer to that which others judge evil but which is his good. Did I mention recently that D&D's alignment system sucks?I think it sucks if you want to have a campaign where what counts as good or evil is a live question - because the system already answers that. (Respecting rights and fostering wellbeing is good; want...

Thursday, 12th April, 2018

  • 12:53 PM - Elfcrusher quoted Jhaelen in post Can anyone point me to an excellent, visual, article on dungeon design? (or the lost images of a certain enworld thread xD)
    I agree that there are players who don't mind being railroaded. A few may even prefer it. It's a great way to play if you're in the mood for a beer & pretzl game and you don't want to exercise your brain. Over a hundred million people enjoy playing "Candy Crush", surely they can't all be wrong. However, why bother playing an RPG if you could just as well play "Candy Crush"? The thing is, I'm not sure a linear dungeon counts as "being railroaded". Let's say there are 17 different routes you can take through the dungeon to reach the dragon at the end. Aren't you still being directed to reach the dragon? So it's still a railroad, right? I don't think so. A railroad, in my opinion, is the DM trying to prevent players from making choices they want to make. (If you force them to fight the dragon, even though they are doing a good job avoiding such a thing, that might start counting as a railroad.) Furthermore, each time you add an alternate path in a dungeon it becomes more difficult...


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