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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 24th May, 2019, 06:35 PM
    It doesn't work that way in practice. Different implies the possibility of uninteresting. You cannot guarantee that if different outcomes are possible, that they are all equally interesting. And if you can't guarantee that they are all equally interesting, you can't guarantee that they are interesting at all. But more to the point, if the different choices are all interesting, then the...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 24th May, 2019, 02:55 PM
    That's impossible. In fact, it's self-contradictory. By definition, if the player decision - whether smart or stupid - always leads to ever more interesting decisions, then those decisions are not interesting. If regardless of what I choose, I'm going to get an interesting result, then the decision itself is not meaningful. I could roll the dice or flip a coin for every choice. What does...
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  • Mercule's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 10:57 PM
    Yup. I finally asked the psionics fan in my group why he likes them, a couple years back (we've gamed together for 25+ years, so it's a bit delayed question). His answer: change up from the slots of wizards.
    91 replies | 2842 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 06:53 PM
    I think this sums up my whole point in this thread: it's neither inventive, creative, or unexpected. It's almost the first thing that a group of players think of every single time. It comes up all the time. It's probably the least creative solution that PC's could possibly try to apply, and in most cases it is a non-solution. The only time I got took off guard by it was the time I...
    47 replies | 1727 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 06:35 PM
    In most of my games, that's really up to the player and not me. It is highly useful if one or more members of the party have a natural connection to each other, and so I encourage players to weave their backgrounds together somewhat, but basically any background that fits the setting and ensures the PC has a motive to participate is going to get approved. Generally, when I try to put a...
    18 replies | 425 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 05:02 PM
    Depends. Coins will likely survive, but could be difficult to find in the rubble. Soft metal objects - gold jewelry, copper items, pewter items, metal plated items - would possibly be fire damaged, and possibly reduced in value to their weight of metal. Most gem stones would probably be destroyed. Most magic items will likely be destroyed as well - potions will boil and explode, scrolls burn...
    47 replies | 1727 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 04:49 PM
    Last time I designed a haunted house adventure, the players did just that. In G1: Steading of the Hill Giant Chieftain, a considerable portion of the 8 pages of original text is devoted to just why the PC's can't successfully burn down the dungeon, and what unpleasant things will happen if they try to do so. So, in general, my advice is have a plan for what happens if the PC's turn arsonist...
    47 replies | 1727 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 02:12 PM
    Celebrim replied to Firearms
    I've totally not got any problem with that. And it could even have color of realism at least in the loading times if you patterned the technology after say late 18th century flintlock muskets or even 19th century caplocks. One round of loading probably isn't going to be game breaking if you don't otherwise load the firearm up with realistic or fantastic advantages. Keep damage, range, and...
    160 replies | 4903 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 09:33 PM
    Celebrim replied to Firearms
    I have D20 rules for all firearms between their invention and the mid-19th century somewhere, based mostly on the firearms rules document by Ken Hood (of "Grim and Gritty" fame) which I consider the best 3.X era rules document on firearms by far. Between the 14th and 18th century, the muzzle energy from firearms didn't substantially increase, nor did the effective range of high end muzzle...
    160 replies | 4903 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 07:40 PM
    I'm sure we disagree over many things passionately. There are, as I'm sure you know, even personal offense taken over a great many matters of academic or trivial debate. I gather that for you this debate is not one that is either academic or trivial, but one you have a personal stake in. For my part, my stake while less personal and intimate than yours, is one I also feel strong emotion about...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 06:59 PM
    I see the thread is getting way off topic.
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 06:29 PM
    Wait... what? You claim to not be offended by reality, but yet this is your response? In addition to the club teams, they regularly hold practice games against the US Boys U-15 squad and the US Boys U-17 squads. They did this for the longest time because there were few to no women's teams that could really push them, so this was a convenient solution that helped both teams. Yet, as would...
    104 replies | 2660 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 05:58 PM
    I'm not making that claim without evidence (although you've slightly altered my claim). You realize that they do play exhibition games against U15 and U17 teams, and that most of the time they do lose? Most of the time these games aren't highly publicized, but I'm sure you'll be able to find the case where they lost to FC Dallas's U15 boys team 5-2, for example. Are you in fact offended by...
    104 replies | 2660 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 03:21 PM
    I'm involved in another community where books are regularly rated, and 'normal curve' does not normally happen. Most reviewers have one of two curves: A) Bimodal Distribution: Everything is either good or bad, and good things tend to receive the highest rating and bad things the lowest. Average ratings tend to be rare, as cases where a person has mixed feelings about something unusual. ...
    41 replies | 1929 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 02:54 PM
    Because they are the exact same mechanic. It's well known you can trick the monkey brain of the player by turning penalties into "bonuses", but fundamentally the two modifiers have the same result. But as I said, I don't think arguing over the mechanics is a particularly interesting thing to do.
    104 replies | 2660 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 02:51 PM
    I don't think the question of stat penalties is particularly interesting. It's a D&D centric approach to mechanics, and one of several systems you could use. I don't really care about the mechanical details, since I think that would end up creating a proxy argument where we acted like we cared a great deal about the mechanical details and spent a lot of time arguing about them, but really we...
    104 replies | 2660 view(s)
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  • Mark CMG's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 04:42 AM
    Steven Creech has passed. https://www.hshfuneralhome.com/notices/Steven-Creech https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-steve-creech-author-and-game-designer#/
    144 replies | 8279 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 02:12 AM
    Well, I sort of agree with you here, but that's because you are responding tangentially to the point I raised. Yes, I somewhat agree that in a fantasy game the issue of what is realistic regarding human strength isn't that important - this is afterall the position that I staked out at the beginning of the thread. That said, I really don't think that there is any reason anyone has to be purist...
    104 replies | 2660 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 11:39 PM
    The study cited suggests that chimp muscle fiber strength is 'only' 50% greater than human muscle fiber strength. It didn't in fact do anything to overturn earlier estimates that chimp strength is pound for pound about 3 times that of humans - it just overturned our assumptions about why they had that much strength. Turns out bone structure, tendon strength, and ratio of fast to slow twitch...
    104 replies | 2660 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 08:45 PM
    Celebrim replied to Firearms
    Tactics are governed by weapons and terrain. It sounds to me very much like you want tactics to be governed by stylistic and not realistic concerns, which suggests to me that you are going to want to avoid realistic weapon stats and instead balance weapons according to your desire for tactical diversity and racial trope fighting styles. For example, historically the blunderbuss was basically...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:22 PM
    As far as I can tell, you aren't actually disagreeing with me. For example, I said: "Addiction and other things like that should be treated as color unless they are established mechanically by some process of play." For example, if the player in a hypothetical rule set had taken a defect 'Addiction (Alcohol)' on character creation in exchange for getting an extra feat (say 'Power Attack'),...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 01:16 AM
    Celebrim replied to Firearms
    That's at least partially true. By the time you get to the Napoleonic Wars, melee weapons are basically obsolete as weapons of war and Kobold Avenger's vision of how wars in that era played out is actually as you say a century or two too late. The thing is though, it would take a bit over 100 years before everyone would really realize that and adjust tactics accordingly, and many of the...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 09:58 PM
    Celebrim replied to Firearms
    A lot of terms get tossed around without a clear definition of what they mean, to the point that I've become highly skeptical of jargon that consists of multiple everyday ordinary words which when put together form a new idea that means something special and technical. It seems to be the goal of a great many fields of study to coin one of these phrases, or just repurpose a single ordinary word,...
    160 replies | 4903 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 09:06 PM
    Celebrim replied to Firearms
    I tend to think I've written a fairly influential essay on railroading, and at no point did I ever argue that the rules of the system themselves were railroading, nor do I see how that can be sustained. Are you defining any game where their are optimal and suboptimal builds as one that is "railroading"? The 1e AD&D Thief class was entirely suboptimal. Are you suggesting that anyone that...
    160 replies | 4903 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 06:31 PM
    You'd think that would be easy to explain and without controversy. It's a bizarre form of 'mother may I'. I don't doubt you are right that it's not unusual, but it can't be logically supported IMO by any tortured path. There are plenty of GMs and even some players that seem frustrated by and even offended by the undeniable fact that the player's mind extends into the game universe...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 06:10 PM
    Celebrim replied to Firearms
    None of that is true, and I think you'll find very few DMs agree with any of those claims. Fundamentally, your opinion seems to continually come down to, "You shouldn't do things that way because I wouldn't do things that way." There are always going to be DMs that do things differently than you do and have different priorities than you do. That's OK. The DM does have a referee hat to...
    160 replies | 4903 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 03:29 PM
    Celebrim replied to Firearms
    This is an example of how different persons can have very different perceptions of what makes sense and feels right. For you, owing to the power of firearms, pirates need to leap on to the decks of other ships armed with all manner of firearms, and to treat swords as a backup weapon. For me, I'm perfectly happy to have a band of cutthroats be mostly armed with all manner of stabbing and cutting...
    160 replies | 4903 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 06:01 AM
    No, having low wisdom means you have low perception which already covers your inability to concentrate when on the watch. However, once you've established that the perception check is failed, you or the player may be free to color the failure as being explained by the players poor habits. Personally, I'd leave that job to the player, though some groups allow the GM's to narrate failures. ...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 05:56 AM
    Wisdom. Wisdom governs self-control and the ability to apply yourself to tasks. If the story or subject is not something they care about, high intelligence is arguably a negative. Some intelligent people have what is known as inappropriate hyper-focus, but this quirk is only a virtue when applied to something they deeply care about (at which point they become inattentive to everything else)....
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 06:03 PM
    LeGuin's "Left Hand of Darkness"? Brin's "Glory Season"? I'm struggling to understand just what you are going here or what you think will happen. I'm hesitant to project or imagine how anyone - much less a hypothetical someone - would react to something else, and I wonder equally whether this discussion of the "sheer amount of baggage" itself smacks of denigrating stereotyping.
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 06:44 AM
    First, because science fiction and fantasy are different. And secondly, because even in fantasy, it helps to have an explanation for why the world has dragons or magic. In fantasy however, that explanation is allowed to be (but does not have to be) mythic as opposed to scientific. For example, we can in fact answer the question, "Why are their dragons?" with respect to Tolkien's Middle Earth.
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 06:41 AM
    Celebrim replied to Firearms
    No one is suggesting you have to do anything.
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 05:41 AM
    Celebrim replied to Firearms
    No, that's just not true.
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 05:35 AM
    Seems like a reasonable thing to do for a science fiction novel. You could then speculate on the conditions that caused this state of being to come about, presumably paralleling the conditions that make say females the larger stronger of the sexes in eagles and spiders. I doubt anyone is going to feel threatened by that speculation.
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 06:50 PM
    I think that this is an important point. One of the problems I've noticed with cooperative board games is that in practice, they tend to devolve to a single more experienced, more domineering, or more tactical player playing all the roles and directing all the other participants. It's rare that you see one where everyone is getting equal input as to what the teams plan is, or even has full...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 06:30 PM
    I've always liked the CoC system in that it "made sense" that what the player would get better in would be what they practiced doing, and it had built in balance that the better you were the harder it was to advance. Mouse Guard does something similar where to advance you must accumulate a certain number of successes and failures. And that probably makes even more sense. But over the...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 06:15 PM
    Meh. I'd never do it in a fantasy setting of any sort. The only setting I can imagine doing it in was a hard realism historical setting where you used some sort of character burner to establish life histories, and out of either slavish or respectful (your pick) adherence to the reality of the setting your characters life path and available choices prior to the start of play depended on their...
    104 replies | 2660 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 02:18 PM
    Celebrim replied to Firearms
    So you are saying they shouldn't care whether it is realistic, because you don't care if it is realistic?
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 05:34 AM
    Celebrim replied to Firearms
    Economics? Demographics and population? Geography? Realistic weather patterns? Feudalism? Army sizes? You've never heard arguments about realism applied to these things? You've not been around that long. No one rants about the fact that studded leather armor shouldn't exist? Or that chain mail should be just called mail? Or that what's called a 'longsword' in D&D is actually an arming...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 03:27 AM
    Celebrim replied to Firearms
    I've never really understood the point of this statement and others like it. What are you trying to demonstrate?
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 03:25 AM
    Celebrim replied to Firearms
    The best known explosives in my campaign world has the stability of raw nitroglycerin (or less) and the explosive power of black powder. The goblins have on several occasions tried to weaponize it, including inventing firearms. However, in battle the tendency is for one spell or accident to set off one or more soldiers stored powder, which then sets of a chain reaction that decimates the...
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  • Mercule's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 07:56 PM
    I think we're using the same term for two different things. There may be room for both, but I definitely don't think they should overlap. I'm coming from the perspective of an Eberron GM. In that setting, the artificer is explicitly someone who treats magic as a craft/industry. They make golems, bind elementals to power airships, create magic swords, etc. It may not be your thing, but that's...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 07:16 PM
    Celebrim replied to Firearms
    You are IMO correct in all regards. This is in fact exactly the rules for firearms I have - simple weapons, barely more damage than crossbows, static bonuses to hit, and low rates of fire. They are typically appealing only to low level characters, and are eventually obsoleted by magic and high level martial skills. This is why I'm focusing on what is less obvious - the fact that practical...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 06:48 PM
    Celebrim replied to Firearms
    While I agree with the science, now you are banking on the players in your game not being conversant in these matters and lacking basic demolition skills. The point I'm trying to make is that RPG combats tend to be based on a notion of fairness, and there is a general agreement to avoid dwelling on deaths that would be unfair. Primitive firearms are pretty easy to balance in combat with melee...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 06:41 PM
    I'm inclined to agree. There are generally two attitudes governing bodies take with respect to their population. The first is, the wealthier the public, the greater my absolute power. The second is, the poorer the public, the greater my relative power. To the second sort, a wealthy public represents as threat in that while their absolute power has increased, their power to control the...
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  • Mercule's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 05:42 PM
    I just did a breakdown for one of my players and came up with these thoughts: Taking another look at the current Artificer, I think there's one major issue I have left, but it's a doozey. With the exception of having a "golem master" specialty, the artificer shouldn't have a pet. The alchemist's homonculus is relatively inoffensive and there's some history in D&D of coupling alchemists and...
    72 replies | 3135 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 05:18 PM
    As far as Gygaxian economics goes, the problem that has plagued D&D since the beginning is Gygax created two separate incompatible economic systems. Gygax the simulationist created a system based on historical research that was based on the living wage of roughly 1 silver coin per day. This is the NPC economy and food and other necessities, wages of unskilled labor, and taxes are valued in...
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  • Mercule's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 04:23 PM
    Hmm... Using your breakdown, I guess this makes more sense: Sorcerers: Are magic (no disagreement, here) Wizards: Magic as science. I think we're good, here. Artificers: Magic as engineering or magic as craft. It's still magic, though, and should look as much like modern (or even enlightenment) engineering as wizards look like modern science. I think that last is part of the key. I'm...
    72 replies | 3135 view(s)
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  • Mercule's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 03:31 PM
    Somewhere between "major changes" and "rebuilt from scratch". Mechanically, I don't think it's unbalanced. Flavor-wise, it's an abomination. Way too much "science" in my magic. What's up with the clockwork turrets? Those are gross. I came up with a basic axiom for the Artificer. If it's the way a Son of Ether (from Mage: the Ascension) would do it, it doesn't belong on the artificer. No...
    72 replies | 3135 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 10:05 PM
    If a player believes he is the only person playing at a table, my solution would be to make this conclusion a fact and leave him to it. As far as the whole, way things are meant to be played thing goes, I'd say there are certainly ways that RPGs are traditionally played, and often they are played in this way for very good reasons. But, I've got no problem with people experimenting beyond the...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 09:43 PM
    Celebrim replied to Firearms
    There are tons of bad gun rules out there. My personal pet peeve is when someone models shotguns as area of effect attacks. You can pretty much guess right then and there that they've never fired a weapon, much less have particular expertise that they are bringing to the rules. I suppose if you were trying to model shotguns as they appear in B rate movies where one pull of the trigger and all...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 08:13 PM
    Celebrim replied to Firearms
    CoC has always used a similar approach.
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 08:11 PM
    Celebrim replied to Firearms
    There are enough incidents in history where there was a "BIG BANG" as a result of stored gun powder, and enough still extent ruins where the damage from the explosion is observable in all or in part, that I think we can establish that for enough weight of dry, well stored, finely ground and well compounded gun powder, there is in indeed a "BIG BANG". It won't look like a Hollywood explosion...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 07:59 PM
    I agree. The smelly chamberlain example is just the latest example of attempt to assert that the boundaries of the PC extend to encompass all that the PC can observe or think on. One wonders if the person making these claims believes their own person extends to encompass all that they can observe or think on? I really have a hard time taking these arguments seriously, as I think...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 06:28 PM
    Not at all. Or at least, at my tables I certainly don't keep track of the players stuff, and if the player takes something but doesn't write it down on their character sheet, I'm not at all going to overrule and decide that they have it (unless it has a particular sort of curse). All I'm saying is that the DM, in his role as secret keeper, can and usually does have information about the...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 05:13 PM
    It's no secret that I'm not a fan of the "no myth" fad or the games created on the idea that an RPG profits from having "no myth" or having what myth it does have created during play. I've never seen any "no myth" play in a webcast where I feel I would have wanted to be a part of that. Most of them have been actually repellent to me, because being a GM with long experience, I have 15 ranks in...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 08:55 PM
    Celebrim replied to Firearms
    The problem with guns in a campaign world is not the guns. It's the barrels of gunpowder that proves to be the real problem.
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 08:48 PM
    I think that those are all good ways to put it. I would put it as, "The rules recognize that the problem of poor GMing cannot be fixed by the rules." I think that there is a certain theory in some design circles that poor GMing can be fixed by having the right rules or process in place, but 5e D&D in particular radically departs from that fad.
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 05:46 PM
    I can't speak for any one else, but for my part its because I repeat the same things over and over and they just bounce off. I have a hard time believing that you aren't at this point able to answer your own questions. I mean just considering what you've now posted, the answers to your own questions are present if you are willing to see them. I admit I have weird pet peeves and my...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 02:02 AM
    I assume the origin of the 'Chariot of Sustarre'.
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 08:44 PM
    I think I agree with all of this. The rope is in the backpack. That has been established in the fiction by some process of play. The player has a reasonable expectation that, "I take the rope out of my backpack..." is something that should automatically succeed, and is probably the preamble to some larger proposition like, "And start tying one end around my waist." The play may expect that...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 07:27 PM
    Right. So from the perspective of the rules, the DM decides what every rules outcome of an action declaration is. But a social contract might govern who gets to narrate what part of the consequences of that action is, because in D&D the rules themselves are usually silent on who owns the narration in cases where the player character is the focus of the narration or the results. Consider...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 06:30 PM
    Typically, a social contract exists to cover things that are so basic to the process of play, that the game either forgets to or doesn't bother to call them out. It's the usually unspoken agreements that a table comes to make the game playable for their particular group. It usually has at its basis, "We all cooperate.", and expressions like, "No one plays an evil character unless we all agree...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 05:13 PM
    I'll be honest Chaosmancer, at this point I consider you to be trolling and not even arguing in good faith. So I see no reason to continue any of the arguments we've been having. However, I will say that I find this new element of the conversation highly ironic, since if you do believe this, then it is not me that you have an argument with but rather yourself and those that have been arguing...
    580 replies | 20946 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 04:45 PM
    So we've reached the point where this is claimed to be a rational series of steps: a) Player decides to have his PC gas-light an NPC. b) Player declares that the false to facts belief of the PC with respect to the environment is something the PC actually believes. c) Therefore either the PC is correct and the environment retroactively conforms to the PC's belief, or else the GM is playing...
    580 replies | 20946 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 03:11 PM
    There is one major problem with that; Gygax didn't write the class: Dennis Sustare did. I've seen some attempts to reconstruct what Sustare's sources were, but the truth is that Sustare himself didn't remember exactly what they were and its likely from variety of vague ideas coming from early 20th century fantasy literature, and the intention to make them masters of plants and animals, that he...
    68 replies | 2244 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 12:57 AM
    Well yes, spellcasters are widely distrusted by the non-magical world, because their powers are strange and dangerous. A wizard could make you believe that you've accepted coin from him when he'd only handed you a bit of tin or brass, or he could turn invisible and go about your home, or eves drop on your private affairs with his magic glass, or charm your daughter to make her believe she is in...
    68 replies | 2244 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Saturday, 11th May, 2019, 02:31 PM
    Do you in any way think that that is unusual or departs from what I or probably the vast majority of groups do? Those sort of comments are beginning to border on disparaging. What we have discovered so far is that at your table you have an unspoken "gentlemen's agreement" regarding the content that is introduced. That's very typical and as long as you have a high trust environment...
    580 replies | 20946 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Saturday, 11th May, 2019, 03:10 AM
    If you can agree with your friend to come over to their house, but first you have to check and make sure it's OK with your parents, you don't have authority. Authority is when you are in charge. You have the power and right make decisions, give orders, and enforce your wishes. If you have to ask, "Mother may I?", it's not authority. Ok, yes. So far so good. I'm sorry, but I...
    580 replies | 20946 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 06:47 PM
    A bit of both. Technically, they are all NPC's and part of the domain of the DM. But they are NPCs which are generally loyal to the PC's, closely connected to them, and willing to take orders from them. Most of the time, it just speeds play to let the player play the NPC in a combat situation, on the assumption that the PC is issuing orders and in their absence the 'dog' or whatever is...
    25 replies | 811 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 05:12 PM
    I agree. It's more reasonable to site familiars or animal companion as an extension of the PC, in that they are in some sense even within the fiction joined together. That might make for some sort of exception. But when you talk about a line in a background feature that says, "You can get an audience with a noble", it's no more reasonable to assume that on account of that line every noble...
    580 replies | 20946 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 03:15 PM
    Ever popular 503 error.
    46 replies | 1797 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 03:15 PM
    I'm going to go with the ever popular, "It depends." Back in the days of the early bronze age, our primitive forefathers believed there was only three reasons to play D&D. But now that we are more advanced, we know that there is not only dozens of reasons to play D&D, there are even some other RPGs out there. The thing about the GM/PC divide is that it really supports some of the traditional...
    46 replies | 1797 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 01:37 AM
    Let me get this straight: a) I the player imagine Francis the Guard. b) I the player imagine that my character believes Francis the Guard exists. c) I the player then conclude firstly that Frances the Guard exists (!!) d) and secondly, that this particular NPC is in fact Francis the Guard(!?!?!) All the other potentially interesting things you are saying for me get wrecked on this...
    580 replies | 20946 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 01:13 AM
    I'm not even convinced that's a disagreement. Without some way of quantifying how much you "fob off a lot more authority" I couldn't really say whether your methodology is different than mine or not. I've allowed players to create whole new deities and establish a cult of assassins operating secretly under the auspices of a neutral good deity. What's important is that they did so under my...
    580 replies | 20946 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 11:25 PM
    This is my sense of what belongs to the player: 1) Their character, once blessed for play, belongs to the player. Typically, the GM will establish a character generation process and make legal whatever the character generation process allows, but in some cases when using a large body of character generation resources, the GM might still impose a reasonableness test. Once in play, in a...
    580 replies | 20946 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 07:05 PM
    As far as inconsistencies in stories go, there have been at least 3 origin stories for Mind Flayers that I know of (and that's before we even finished 2e) and I wouldn't be surprised to find recent editions have introduced more of them, or that 2e settings I'm not that familiar with (Planescape, Spelljammer) had their own backstories that weren't completely congruent. Beyond that, I'd never...
    580 replies | 20946 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 06:52 PM
    My general advice to noob DMs is try the rules first, and only change them if everyone at the table is unhappy with the results. And certainly, if something seems wrong, consult the rules to make sure you are actually using them before complaining about the rules. Make sure you are testing the rules as they exist before deciding to write your own. The big problem with house rules is that...
    580 replies | 20946 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 05:16 PM
    Eh. It's just occurring to me that perhaps I'm not the only semi-autistic humor challenged participant on the boards. Also seriously, you have to be really over the top to separate yourself from the sort of extreme points of view that are all too common at EnWorld. Also seriously, despite the fact that I'm pretty sure that this is satire, it doesn't stop me from wanting to discuss this as...
    46 replies | 1797 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 03:41 PM
    In my homebrew campaign, I don't have Druids the class, but I do have the Shaman class that allows characters to fulfill the same role and any other animist priest or magician. Shamans are persecuted in civilized lands to one degree or the other as a type of "Witchcraft" or "Black Magic". In less tolerant areas, they are every bit as paranoid as Northern Europe in the height of the Witch...
    68 replies | 2244 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Mercule's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 02:25 AM
    True enough. Flavor-wise, the bard has always seemed more like "what I do is magical" and less like a full caster, regardless of mechanics. That's entirely and admittedly my skew to it, though.
    88 replies | 4031 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Mercule's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 10:18 PM
    Agree with the basic premise, but I voted valor bard. The charismatic leader is rarely the best straight-up fighter in the group. He usually wins by either having great will/resolve (which favors the paladin), by being creative and cunning (which favors the bard), or by being able to inspire his companions to be better than they thought they could be (which also favors the bard). Either answer...
    88 replies | 4031 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 07:25 PM
    I think that this is about as likely as a zombie apocalypse breaking out in real life and people not immediately recognizing it as a zombie apocalypse. In a setting where magic is real - or even just believed to be real - any hand waving or chanting looks like magic to the observer, even if it is meaningless mumbo-jumbo. And perforce, anyone that goes around muttering to themselves or...
    5 replies | 304 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 06:25 PM

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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 04:21 AM
    See, again, I think you are trying to draw contrasts that just aren't there, and I wish you'd stop using me as evidence in some argument you are having with someone else.. I wasn't in that discussion, but this seems to be something else entirely. I'm generally of the opinion that there is no such thing as metagaming, so if you the player know that earth elementals are vulnerable to...
    580 replies | 20946 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 01:38 AM
    About 20 years ago I tried, and I went to the college library to learn everything I could about the historical druid. Turns out, everything we actually know about the historical druid fits in a small paragraph. What you just outlined in your short post is considerably more than is actually known about historical druids. So I pretty much gave up at that point.
    68 replies | 2244 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 12:24 AM
    You've already called me on this, so yes I know the question isn't for me, but, for my part at least, I'm happy to say that Francis the Guard exists (or at least did exist). I'm even happy to go with any reasonable suggestion regarding the existence of any NPC implied to exist by the backstory. What I'm not happy about is a player dictating to me that a particular NPC is Francis, or something...
    580 replies | 20946 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 07:03 PM
    I might as well. I might very well agree that the encounter is more interesting if it turns out that this otherwise nameless mook is the potentially important NPC "Francis the Guard". But then, in both cases it is the GM making the judgment call here, not the player. There are games that allow the player to narrate details about the setting, but they then generally have some sort of rules...
    580 replies | 20946 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 02:35 PM
    I'm going to cut out all the objectionable parts and try to respond to just the core of your questions... That depends. Was it established before play began that the player character was raised in an orphanage, or is this call being made spontaneously during play? Normally, a player should expect to have his backstory vetted by the GM before play, and any major points of play he wants to...
    580 replies | 20946 view(s)
    5 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 05:13 AM
    I consider it a far broader definition than you have probably seen. D&D writers have had a notoriously hard time defining morality. Sure, but why is "greed" or "selfishness" actually evil? What is wrong with it? I put forward that the problem with them is that they are destructive, and to the extent that they are not destructive we wouldn't consider them evil. For example, while...
    68 replies | 2244 view(s)
    0 XP
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Monday, 20th May, 2019

  • 09:37 PM - Fenris-77 mentioned Celebrim in post Firearms
    Hmm, yeah, railroading, or at least extreme versions of it, is bad, but nothing we're talking about here fits the bill. It's a term that tossed around a lot without everyone having a clear idea what it means. @Celebrim - you got a linky for that article? Maybe it'll help everyone get on the same page. I'd love to read it too! As for the console analogy, I'm with Kobold et al - the GM isn't a console at all. Fair arbitration is one of the GM's hats, but that's not the same thing as not having an opinion. As a GM I am doing a lot more work than everyone else involved in a game, so it's absolutely critical that I be enjoying myself. Generally that means that whatever contract and agreements that were set up between myself and the players in session zero are being adhered to, and everyone is on the same page with expectations and results. Even then, should I take steps as a GM to reign in players and get things back on track I'm still not railroading. Anyway, we've moved pretty far astray from firearms, but I do think we've hit upon one of the subterranean reasons why the arguments about firearms are so contentious sometimes. @Imaculata - you're making a category mistake. What is commonly true of mo...

Saturday, 18th May, 2019

  • 01:08 AM - hawkeyefan mentioned Celebrim in post Games That Changed How We Play
    I think that Vampire The Masquerade belongs on a list like this. I was never even really a big fan, but that game certainly impacted the hobby. I also think that Apocalypse World has to be on the list. The PbtA system has had a huge impact on gaming. I’ve played a handful of PbtA games, mostly Blades in the Dark. That game alone has greatly affected my approach to gaming. Can’t recommend it enough. Celebrim Seriously try to play this game at some point because I think you’ve misinterpreted some of the elements of a PbtA game. Blades deviates from PbtA, but still has the same core. It’s an outstanding game. And one that probably doesn’t belong on this list, but which was big for me and my friends, was the TSR Marvel Super Heroes game. So many cool things about that game that were different from D&D. And the chart! All you really needed was the chart on the back of the book and you could play.

Sunday, 12th May, 2019

  • 06:47 PM - iserith mentioned Celebrim in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    ... entire point of the example has been to show that players can take actions with player knowledge beyond just simply attacking something in combat. Maybe they buy items specifically to defeat an enemy they have never researched, maybe they break into the shop to steal a wish scroll they only know about because they read the module, maybe they use knowledge from the books to confront a powerful being in disguise as an old man and use a clue they were supposed to get later down the line to trick it into fighting against their enemies. There are many ways in which players can use the carte blanche to know anything with no restriction to disrupt the game. And the GMs job is more than just adjudicating actions, it is making sure things run smoothly. And, while this is amusingly ironic, you seem to be fine with it on this end of the spectrum, but on determining things about a player's past and the people they know after the game has started, you are not fine with it. I think Celebrim establishes a good line here: The player is free to draw upon hard-won knowledge to inform how he or she has the character act. The limit is when the player is not acting in good faith and has, as you suggest above, read the module and presumably didn't tell anyone. I think a player not being forthcoming about this many people would consider rude or worse. But sometimes my players replay my one-shots to try out a different character or approach with a new party. It can work just fine even with perfect knowledge. But anyway let's say that the player does say "earth elementals are vulnerable to thunder damage" then says he or she wants to go Ye Olde Magick Shoppe to buy some scrolls or thunderwave for the party wizard to use. You know as DM that THESE earth elementals have no particular vulnerabilities to thunder damage. Let's up the ante and say that the characters have never encountered earth elementals before. Let's go one step further and say the character is an Int-8 barbarian. W...

Saturday, 11th May, 2019

  • 03:04 PM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Celebrim. Yup. I’d largely agree with that.
  • 04:04 AM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    ...o the players to do things like this. It is pretty understood at my table that we can all do this, with the understanding that we will try to do this to make the game more interesting for everyone at the table. The player can't introduce a new character to the setting without permission of the GM (because the GM absolutely owns the setting), and the GM can't decide something happened to the player's character in the past without permission from the player (because the player absolute owns the PC). I would add the line, "at my table" to the above to make it true for you. It most certainly isn't true at my table. I don't own my setting and I strongly invite players to fold, spindle and maul my setting to their hearts content. On the other side, the players don't really have a problem with me getting my sticky fingers on their characters because they trust that I won't abuse the situation. ((And, generally, I'll ask first, but, not always)) Not really disagreeing with you Celebrim, just cautioning against making too broad a statement about "the game".

Friday, 10th May, 2019

  • 12:27 AM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Already addressed upthread. And there are approaches that DMs take that simply cannot be derived from the plain English words on the pages of the D&D 5e rules books. Some certainly could if you were reading a rules book from some other game. When that happens, expect me to point it out, especially if the poster is reporting dissatisfaction with the game experience. But, what if the poster is reporting satisfaction with their game experience? Why point out the "rules book from some other game" to those posters? What are you trying to prove? No one who is arguing with you here is saying, "Well, my game sucks, but, I'm not doing it your way." What you've gotten as counter arguments is, "We are running games that work quite well but, we aren't doing what you are advocating, therefore, what you are advocating isn't really universal, regardless of what the rules say". Celebrim, I largely agree with what you've said, with a slight amendment that, as a DM, I tend to fob off a lot more authority at the table onto the players. While I understand the notion that letting players have limited fiat control might be off putting to some, I find that since each player has their own fiat control powers, it becomes more a sense that everyone at the table is contributing towards authoring the game, rather than the DM being so central to the larger campaign. And, just because Bob adds in "Frances is my friend" to use an example, doesn't mean that the scene suddenly becomes a non-issue for the rest of the group. As far as everyone else is concerned, does it really matter if "Frances is Bob's friend" comes from Bob or the DM? Either way, the rest of the group now has more information in the scene to work with. I just don't have a real problem with a player adding in elements like this. And, since 5e does allow for this sort of thing by leveraging backgrounds, nemes...

Sunday, 5th May, 2019

  • 06:07 PM - Oofta mentioned Celebrim in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Celebrim, I think you're seeing things a little black-and-white. Some things (climbing a wall) have little or nothing to do with player capability in my game. It's a straight die roll if the outcome is uncertain. It relies only on your Strength(Athletics) score and the luck of the die. Some things, like figuring out how to disarm a complex trap may be a mix of player skill and PC abilities with the players figuring out what skill to apply where to ensure success. Other things, like resolving a mystery, or deciding whom to support in a political drama are primarily player challenges. At least that's how I see it. You could stretch it and say that if your PC has a high athletics score that makes climbing the wall simple that it was the player who ultimately decided where to put ability scores and proficiencies but that's pretty tenuous connection to me.
  • 08:17 AM - iserith mentioned Celebrim in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Isn't the issue, regardless of how we're playing, that the player is trying to game the DM? I don't think the game imagines that the players or DM are playing in bad faith. That is a social problem, not a problem of adjudication or the rules from which that process is derived. What I find rather ironic though is how folks jumped up and down and yelled at me for not understanding how things are played when I talked about players hunting for the "magic phrase" in the goal:approach method, but, when talking about other ways of playing, we immediately jump to dysfunctional play where the players will ask endless streams of questions in order to hunt for the "magic question". It looks to me that you are conflating different people's positions and even topics again and trying to drag @Celebrim into whatever crusade you appear to be on. Perhaps folks just don't understand what we're talking about when we don't use goal:approach methodology. :D But you said in this very thread that you do.
  • 07:59 AM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Heh. Not a major deal Celebrim. Just pointing out the irony. Not a worry. Interesting points you are making actually and apologies for giving in to a bit of humour.
  • 12:02 AM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Isn't the issue, regardless of how we're playing, that the player is trying to game the DM? I mean, Celebrim talks about a player who asks a stream of questions in order to hit upon the "magic question" that allows the player to overcome the challenge without referring to the rules. I talk about players that try for a stream of action declarations in order to hit the "magic declaration" that allows them to overcome the challenge without referring to the rules. The problem isn't in the strengths or weaknesses of a given approach, the problem is with players playing in bad faith. It's not that goal:approach solves the problems, it just shifts the problem of the player playing in bad faith to the left. What I find rather ironic though is how folks jumped up and down and yelled at me for not understanding how things are played when I talked about players hunting for the "magic phrase" in the goal:approach method, but, when talking about other ways of playing, we immediately jump to dysfunctional play where the players will ask endless streams of questions in order to hunt for the "magic...

Saturday, 4th May, 2019

  • 02:27 AM - Sword of Spirit mentioned Celebrim in post Cleric shenanigans (metaphysical, no right answers)
    Defining faith as different from belief is nonsense in my opinion. As Celebrim noted, the word faith has come to have variable connotations in modern usage, but I don't think there is really any substantial difference between the meanings of the terms that is useful for D&D purposes. All belief is based on some sort of evidence, and we act on our beliefs constantly. We eat because we feel hungry and we believe we will feel less hungry if we eat something. In D&D it's no different. People see divine power exercised, and they act based on that. The less clear those manifestation are, the more disagreement there is over what they mean and how to act upon them. I really feel like we basically get into discussions about nothing when we start talking about faith in the context of D&D religion. 1) What do people think are the results of their actions with regards to the gods? 2) How devoted is a person to their gods? 3) Is there any necessary connection between 1 and 2? Those questions are more relevant.

Thursday, 2nd May, 2019

  • 06:05 PM - Laurefindel mentioned Celebrim in post Cleric shenanigans (metaphysical, no right answers)
    Are there any counter-examples you can find from official published settings or adventures? I think @Paul Farquhar meant that examples given in adventures are not representative of the game world because if they were, the adventure would not happen there. You and @Celebrim are advocating that despite the guidelines restricting character classes to a minority, nothing in the published material seem to support that claim according to the examples we are given. From where I stand, it appears to me that both sides are pointing at some inconsistencies, but are comparing apples to oranges. Both claims are true and coexist simultaneously. To a certain point, I like that the players aren't the only casters around. There needs to be enough of them to make believable adversaries (casters can't be THAT rare if that's the 5th one we battle in the last 5 days...) and to support the described economy of spell material components, spellbook supplies etc that is hinted at in certain settings (mainly Forgotten Realm and Eberron). Due to the wide breath of power level from lvl1 to lvl20 (or even lvl10), D&D struggles at giving believable quests for 1-3 lvl characters. Either they become king of the hill by lvl5, or you wonder why the other lvl5 npcs aren't taking care ...

Tuesday, 30th April, 2019

  • 04:13 PM - iserith mentioned Celebrim in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    ...alone, to resolve a social challenge, without reference to the relevant mechanical qualities of the character. While the rules (and here I'm referencing D&D 5e) do say that the character's ability scores and race are taken into account when imagining the character's appearance and personality, there is no particular prohibition on action declarations for a given ability score. Further, the DM is told that it's "when a player wants to do something, it's often appropriate to let the attempt succeed without a roll or a reference to the character's ability scores." So far as I can tell, some posters are adding an additional requirement about who can propose what based on some idea of what, for example, an 8 Intelligence or Charisma means. This is not supported by the rules of the game and, in some cases under examination here, it causes them to have to change the game to one of random number generation followed by description in order to enforce this additional requirement. Which as Celebrim notes appears to be a means by which they try to control dysfunctional player behavior.

Wednesday, 17th April, 2019

  • 01:31 AM - Blue mentioned Celebrim in post Vampire's new "three-round combat" rule
    Celebrim - well presented. Part of calling out something as a personal soap box of mine is I would be lax if I didn't acknowledge it was opinion. You've put together a well thought out different opinion. I see where you are coming from even if for myself my view differs some. Here's my general viewpoint in a nutshell: I think that the amount of time spent on a scene should be in-line with how interesting it is to the players, which is usually (but not always) proportional to how important it is. That is regardless if a scene has combat or not. (And leads back to what we were already discussing, the debated point of combat-focused character creation both a symptom and then a cause of combat taking a lot of RL time.) If my mid level player wants to sell off a magic item in a big city, it's a moderate-big deal. We can spend 10 minutes on how/what/when, with dice rolls and others involved from the bard doing marketting and the rogue planting rumors, the cleric talking to the temple t...

Friday, 12th April, 2019

  • 12:08 AM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post How do you handle hit points?
    Celebrim - I'd say you're right. There's no real functional difference in saying that you are spending HP vs losing HP. At the end of the day, you are down 9 HP either way. The difference is in perception. Because D&D has never actually modeled process simulation at all, despite protestations to the contrary, HP loss in the traditional method doesn't make a lick of sense. You cannot actually narrate any HP loss without the chance of contradiction until combat is over. Otherwise, you run into all sorts of issues - how did you heal that gash in a day (3e D&D and later)? - you were dying six seconds ago and now you can run a marathon, how? - how can those wounds not have any impact on your performance? etc. But, by switching it around, and allowing the players to explain how they have avoided the negative consequence (typically death in D&D), then all the burden of contradiction lies on the player. You shift all the narrative power to the player and all the narrative responsibilit...

Wednesday, 10th April, 2019

  • 03:27 AM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post Keep On The Borderline
    Needless to say Celebrim I disagree with pretty much everything you just said. ToH is unfair because the puzzles are largely nonsensical and have no rational solution.

Saturday, 6th April, 2019

  • 06:42 AM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post Keep On The Borderline
    My problem with ToH, as written, is that virtually none of the "puzzles" can actually be solved without basically just brute forcing your way through the possible combinations. And many of them rely on really out of character meta gaming stuff like knowing how a slot machine works. That sort of thing. But, yeah, mostly my issue is that very many of the "puzzles" are not really puzzles in the sense of something to be solved using the information at hand, but are rather just exercises similar to those old text computer games where you just had to keep bashing away at the keyboard until some fairly random conglomeration of keys allowed you to get to the next point. Celebrim talks about the module being lethal if you make a choice. My issue is, without prior knowledge, I cannot see how any group actually made those choices without relying on either the DM to allow them to find "clues" or simply bypassing the situation entirely. To be fair though, ToH was the one and only time I had ever seen Snakes to Sticks (the reverse of Sticks to Snakes) cast. :D An old post by user Stoat goes through the module rather line by line, explaining my point much better than I ever could.
  • 02:24 AM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post Keep On The Borderline
    Celebrim, while I agree with a lot of your points, I do disagree about S1. I think that if S1 were published today, it would be panned as a terrible module, bereft of virtually any redeeming qualities. Acerak is important to the game because they added stuff AFTER the fact, retconning in all this background material because the module, like B2, holds a place in gaming history, due mostly to nostalgia and ubiquity. As far as quality goes? Naw, both modules are barely adventures. As was mentioned, gimme B4 or X1 long before either of these two.

Friday, 15th March, 2019

  • 04:50 PM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post Role-Players vs. Actors
    Heh. Good, Celebrim, you took that in good fun. :D Posting can be tricky sometimes and I didn't want to rub things the wrong way. That being said, again, I don't see it as my job to move anyone "out of their comfort zone". That zone is comfortable for a reason and I have zero interest in trying to push anyone in any direction. If they want to go all thespian on me, great. If they want to say, "I diplomatize the NPC" that's equally fantastic. To me, it's not about entertaining me. It's about knowing that I provided a fun experience for the group. If everyone is happy, I'm happy. I don't need the players to entertain me. Then again, I do not view D&D as any sort of "art". It's a game. I just played Cribbage with a buddy for three hours over beer. It was pretty much the same experience as a 3 hour D&D session. Lots of fun. I don't treat D&D as a learning or growth experience. It's my fun time to unwind and decompress. Accepting how others want to engage the game has led to me having...
  • 09:05 AM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post Role-Players vs. Actors
    Well, I disagree VERY strongly, on two grounds - one minor and one major. My minor disagreement is that even in real life, verbosity is not equivalent to eloquence. If you can make your point in a few words, do so. At the very least, all of your words should be essential to conveying your meaning, and as much as possible you should avoid redundancy. . /snip I'm sorry Celebrim, but, the irony of this statement just about made me blow my coffee all over my computer. :D Really not meant as an attack. Honest it's not. Just honestly really, really funny. ---------- As a DM, I'm not there to police how other people play the game. If Bob likes to just say, "I bluff the guard" then, groovy. He's not the talky type. No problems. He's probably fun in other ways. Cool, not a problem. Getting all judgemental about it just seems to me to lead to really bad games. If Bob's a kick in the door type player, why try to strong arm him into being something he's not? If he's not terribly interested in the talky bits, then don't force him to do the talky bits. Move on over to the other folks that do like to do the talky bits. Like I said, I really don't have any strong preference. So long as we're having a good time, I couldn't care less about judging the quality of someone's play.


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Friday, 24th May, 2019

  • 03:55 PM - 77IM quoted Celebrim in post Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, off to a good start
    That's impossible. In fact, it's self-contradictory. By definition, if the player decision - whether smart or stupid - always leads to ever more interesting decisions, then those decisions are not interesting. If regardless of what I choose, I'm going to get an interesting result, then the decision itself is not meaningful. I could roll the dice or flip a coin for every choice. What does it matter? It matters because the interesting consequences could be very different. Both interesting, but different. Also, it's not impossible. In Apocalypse World, for example, boring outcomes are explicitly against the rules; it's actually easier to obtain interesting outcomes for any group that has more creativity than a lump of lead. The difficulty for me is that D&D is much more preparation-based, which makes this a bit harder to pull off. (I am starting to think that Shiroiken's advice of "take a 15 minute break" is probably the best thing on this thread.) Fundamentally, an RPG is a co...
  • 10:38 AM - Imaculata quoted Celebrim in post Firearms
    I've never felt the need to go into things like temporary hearing loss and clouds of smoke building up from firearms discharge, but if you want to go there, that sounds cool. I've actually used the idea of smoke build up in a couple of battles in my pirate campaign. The players had been exchanging fire with the crew of another pirate ship for a few rounds, and I described that so much smoke had started building up that they had great difficulty seeing their opponents. It adds a neat bit of extra flavor to a battle while also changing things up a bit.

Thursday, 23rd May, 2019

  • 09:49 PM - Mistwell quoted Celebrim in post Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, off to a good start
    Last time I designed a haunted house adventure, the players did just that. In G1: Steading of the Hill Giant Chieftain, a considerable portion of the 8 pages of original text is devoted to just why the PC's can't successfully burn down the dungeon, and what unpleasant things will happen if they try to do so. So, in general, my advice is have a plan for what happens if the PC's turn arsonist right from the start. In G1, our spellcaster flew to the roof of the main building, cut a small hole in the ceiling, and proceeded to fireball the hall below repeatedly. As the surviving giants fled out the front door of the hall while on fire, the rest of the party easily took them down. Our DM was fine with it. He thought it was awesome in fact. Made that adventure finish a bit faster. I think we melted some scrolls, but you, you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019

  • 07:08 PM - Gradine quoted Celebrim in post If there's one game where stat differences are justified, what game would that be?
    Sure. I've seen the soccer argument advanced to claim male superiority, but I think it's very clear that I'm not doing so. The ability to play soccer is not the judge of the worth of a person, and if it was then I'd be worth less than Alex Morgan. Nor am I arguing for intangible superiority. I'm just saying that in reality men and women are very different, and defining the equality based on capability (as if a person with less IQ than me is worth less than me, for example) is wrongheaded. I'll drop the soccer argument because I should have earlier; it's obvious you know more about this than I do and it doesn't really matter regardless. I will, however, agree with this. Ok, I'd prefer to not add a bunch of other controversial topics to what is already a sufficiently controversial thread. I will just say that we both agree that sex and gender are not the same thing (though I think we probably do disagree on what they are), and further I think we both agree that the division betwee...
  • 06:13 PM - Gradine quoted Celebrim in post If there's one game where stat differences are justified, what game would that be?
    I'm not making that claim without evidence (although you've slightly altered my claim). You realize that they do play exhibition games against U15 and U17 teams, and that most of the time they do lose? Most of the time these games aren't highly publicized, but I'm sure you'll be able to find the case where they lost to FC Dallas's U15 boys team 5-2, for example. And I'm sure that they're putting their best effort in to these exhibition matches against teenagers :p Are you in fact offended by reality? Obviously I am not. I only suggest that when many people claim to be advancing "reality" they are editorializing more than they would care to admit. I'm not innocent of this myself, mind you. The sureness of one's beliefs is human nature, after all. I have no idea what that means. I was referring obliquely to the way our current major athletic structures are failing gender non-conforming and trans athletes. I should have been more clear on that point. No, because I have specifically ar...
  • 05:28 PM - Gradine quoted Celebrim in post If there's one game where stat differences are justified, what game would that be?
    But the longer people keep talking, the more I feel like the crux of the argument is some people are offended by reality. Invariably the conversation shifts from something like 'its demeaning to fantasize about women as purely sexual objects to be possessed' - something I agree with - to something like 'its demeaning to portray women realistically'. And at that point, I become baffled. Isn't it demeaning to even suggest that it would be demeaning to portray women realistically? Are we going to be like the person who stormed out of an academic conference because someone suggested that on average and in the extreme, men are taller than women? Ia any difference between the sexes - however obvious those differences might be - now become taboo to mention? I feel sometimes like we've become Victorian prudes concerning reality, and even very basic and obvious observations about it are now unmentionable. The problem is so much quote-unquote "realism", which is more tenuous than you or many...
  • 01:48 AM - MGibster quoted Celebrim in post If there's one game where stat differences are justified, what game would that be?
    But the longer people keep talking, the more I feel like the crux of the argument is some people are offended by reality. Invariably the conversation shifts from something like 'its demeaning to fantasize about women as purely sexual objects to be possessed' - something I agree with - to something like 'its demeaning to portray women realistically'. And at that point, I become baffled. Isn't it demeaning to even suggest that it would be demeaning to portray women realistically? Are we going to be like the person who stormed out of an academic conference because someone suggested that on average and in the extreme, men are taller than women? Very often people have used realism as a defense for restricting the types of people who can be represented in games which understandably raises some hackles. Given that we're talking about realism within the context of a fantasy setting doesn't it seem odd that we draw the line in the sand when it comes to stat differences between men and women? ...

Tuesday, 21st May, 2019

  • 07:42 PM - Kobold Avenger quoted Celebrim in post Firearms
    That's at least partially true. By the time you get to the Napoleonic Wars, melee weapons are basically obsolete as weapons of war and Kobold Avenger's vision of how wars in that era played out is actually as you say a century or two too late. The thing is though, it would take a bit over 100 years before everyone would really realize that and adjust tactics accordingly, and many of the commanders in that period did believe - sometimes against the evidence of their senses - that battles were fought in the way Kobold Avenger described. While I use Napolean as an example mainly because he's the most recognizable name of a general from the "Age of Enlightenment" which often gets blended in the Renaissance (D20 Modern certainly groups the Enlightenment into Progress Level 3 with the Renaissance), the era of his wars are sort of the end of the Enlightenment and the beginning of the Industrial. Even though technically the Industrial Age started in Britain roughly before the French Revolution....
  • 03:46 PM - DMMike quoted Celebrim in post Resisting boredom, int or wis save?
    Would you consider the occasional wisdom save for said character to avoid getting drunk during his turn on watch? Or something else equally stupid like falling asleep or wandering out of camp when he hears a strange but harmless sounding noise. Not in critical times like having just evaded the party of Gnolls, but more relaxed traveling 3 weeks towards the gnoll lair they plan on raiding. Probably not a good idea to force save-or-stupid saves on PCs. Especially if there's nothing at stake. Wisdom. Wisdom governs self-control and the ability to apply yourself to tasks. I was thinking that players govern self-control, not saving throws. The issue rightfully comes up with magical compulsion, i.e. resisting a siren's call. You can tell a player that his character drinks too much on a failed check, sure, but at least do it in a situation in which that might reasonably occur - like there's a persuasive Belgian monk, with a couple of extra kegs, riding along on the gnoll-visiting trek...
  • 01:42 AM - Tony Vargas quoted Celebrim in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    It's a bizarre form of 'mother may I'. I don't doubt you are right that it's not unusual, but it can't be logically supported IMO by any tortured path. It's really just peeling another onion-layer off action declaration. Implicit in many action declarations is a reason for the choice of method that goes with the goal. If that reason is predicated on knowledge and the PC having or recalling that knowledge is in doubt, then in calling for the check the DM is just breaking down a declared action into necessary smaller actions. DMs have been doing that forever - there's an example of it in the 1e DMG, IIRC - a player declares an action that the DM rules will take several rounds to play out all it's steps. And, yeah, it's common, and, no, it's not cross-pollenated from other RPGs, it was quite a common thing for DMs to do back in the day, IMX, even though the game had no actual official mechanics for 'making an intelligence roll,' DMs, confronted with a use of 'player knowledge' - be it know...

Monday, 20th May, 2019

  • 09:41 PM - tglassy quoted Celebrim in post Firearms
    I tend to think I've written a fairly influential essay on railroading, and at no point did I ever argue that the rules of the system themselves were railroading, nor do I see how that can be sustained. Are you defining any game where their are optimal and suboptimal builds as one that is "railroading"? The 1e AD&D Thief class was entirely suboptimal. Are you suggesting that anyone that played 1e AD&D was a railroading DM because Thief was a suboptimal choice and the GM was somehow deciding that thief skills were not the way to solve problems? We could all tell that. Aha! I think I've now discovered the crux of the argument. For you this isn't an argument about firearms. This is a proxy argument. What you are really arguing is that you've had bad DMs before that were jerks, and now that you've been burned, you are highly skeptical of anyone who wants to change the rules. And so now you are projecting the motives of your bad DM onto everyone else in the thread. Wonderf...
  • 09:38 PM - Imaculata quoted Celebrim in post Firearms
    The problem you're going to run into if you make firearms more than a die better is that it throws the balance of the whole combat system off. If you introduce a class of weapons that do significantly more damage you have to change a whole host of other rules. I don't think that is true. Of maybe more immediate import is that you have, by default, made the characters themselves less survivable, assuming that their humanoid enemies are also going to be armed with firearms. Of course. But the players have plenty of access to healing and protection of all kinds. Deadlier combat simply means the players will have to play differently, and think more about their strategies. Plus you've put your thumb on the scales when it comes to magic, because the damaging spells are scaled against melee by level (mostly). This is a fair point, which is why I think any spells and special abilities that work against projectiles, should also work against bullets. This includes any abilities to deflect arrows...
  • 07:43 PM - iserith quoted Celebrim in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    What are the stakes of these checks really? What meaningful consequence is calling for this Arcana check really adjudicating? Nothing less than who gets to play the player's character. If the player loses the roll, then the GM gets to play the character. And the GM is calling the checks, so presumably he can keep calling the checks until the player bows to his wishes. Wow, I hadn't really thought about it in this way before, but that really is what's at stake. On the surface it's all "hey, we're just checking to see what your character knows, 'kay?" Which doesn't seem that unreasonable, especially if you are used to a paradigm where the DM just asks for checks sometimes without an action stated by the player and the player doesn't look too closely at the rules of the game. Under the surface, it's really about who gets to declare actions for the character. Which ought to be the player, by the rules anyway. Here though, the DM is taking that power or is being given that power by the playe...

Sunday, 19th May, 2019

  • 10:26 PM - Cap'n Kobold quoted Celebrim in post Firearms
    OMG, we're saying if you want to care if it's realistic then you need to care that ALL of it is realistic, not cherry pick things just cause you don't want it in your game. No, that's just not true. So why should we have to create an entirely new, hyperrelaistic hyperspecific hypernloated system for weapon accuracy, damage, and reloading for one specific wepaon type, rather than adapting it into the already existing 5e weapon system? Why do you care so much about a firearm being hyperrealistic when swords and crossbows aren't? Why are people arguing for increased system bloat? Yes, that just is true. No, it is not true. If you're running the game and introducing firearms, you get to decide exactly how realistic their implementation is, and which bits of realism you incorporate. If you want to make revolvers 2d8 damage superweapons because that is "realistic", you are not also required to apply sound-based perception penalties after firing one just because that would also be "rea...
  • 05:10 PM - tglassy quoted Celebrim in post Firearms
    No, that's just not true. Yes, that just is true.
  • 02:24 PM - Umbran quoted Celebrim in post If there's one game where stat differences are justified, what game would that be?
    I doubt anyone is going to feel threatened by that speculation. Oh, they won't say it feels threatening here. This is a put your money where your mouth is, rhetorical question of self-exploration thing. To see whether folks are actually threatened, you have to *do* it, not just talk about it. And you have to lay all the implicit social baggage that comes with the stereotypes into the game as well. And yes, not everybody will feel uncomfortable. But some will. And some will notice the sheer amount of baggage they have to flip around for it, and perhaps learn something form that.
  • 07:04 AM - Immortal Sun quoted Celebrim in post If there's one game where stat differences are justified, what game would that be?
    First, because science fiction and fantasy are different. And secondly, because even in fantasy, it helps to have an explanation for why the world has dragons or magic. In fantasy however, that explanation is allowed to be (but does not have to be) mythic as opposed to scientific. For example, we can in fact answer the question, "Why are their dragons?" with respect to Tolkien's Middle Earth. I'm...hard pressed to apply that to any fantasy I can think of without "splat" support books. Like, LOTR and The Hobbit don't explain why there are dragons. Dragonheart doesn't explain why there are dragons, or magic. Star Trek doesn't really explain warp cores. Dilithim-something-something-sci-fi-sounding. Especially TOS, which is more "cowboys in space" than hard sci-fi. Andromeda doesn't explain why we have AI, other than "someone invented it" and "it's complicated". A great deal of the primary elements of sci-fi and fantasy are really glossed over, and really only expanded upon in suppleme...
  • 06:47 AM - Psyzhran2357 quoted Celebrim in post Firearms
    No one is suggesting you have to do anything. Have you even read the last few pages of the thread? Do you even know ehat the current argument is about?
  • 06:35 AM - Immortal Sun quoted Celebrim in post If there's one game where stat differences are justified, what game would that be?
    Seems like a reasonable thing to do for a science fiction novel. You could then speculate on the conditions that caused this state of being to come about, presumably paralleling the conditions that make say females the larger stronger of the sexes in eagles and spiders. I doubt anyone is going to feel threatened by that speculation. Why would we need to speculate about it in the fiction? Because it's different than normal? It's sci-fi/fantasy. It is because it is. Unless the reversed-sexual-dynamic is the underpinning element of the setting, it doesn't need to be "explained" any more than why the world has dragons or magic.
  • 06:11 AM - Psyzhran2357 quoted Celebrim in post Firearms
    No, that's just not true. So why should we have to create an entirely new, hyperrelaistic hyperspecific hypernloated system for weapon accuracy, damage, and reloading for one specific wepaon type, rather than adapting it into the already existing 5e weapon system? Why do you care so much about a firearm being hyperrealistic when swords and crossbows aren't? Why are people arguing for increased system bloat?


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