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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:50 PM
    Without a doubt. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to demean Stoker or his rightfully enduring work of horror. I'm just trying to note exactly the ease of confusion that you note here, that historical etymology is a very inexact science and that it's especially easy for an outsider to make mistakes. I grew up in Jamaica and there is a similar confusion in the vernacular 'Petwa' between moth...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 14th January, 2019, 09:37 PM
    I've said this before, but the world needs another gaming system "like I need another hole in my head" (to paraphrase the song). There is I think at this point excessive interest in writing a rules set or wholesale revising a rules set to the degree that your product is now incompatible with prior rules sets. I think the 5e designers were correct to try to set the expectation that this would...
    18 replies | 781 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 11th January, 2019, 08:51 PM
    All that is probably true and I don't claim to be a scholar of languages, but "unburnt" doesn't sound like "vampire" in any of the languages you just mentioned, and my understanding has always been 'vampire' comes from the Old Slavonic term 'opiri' meaning 'witch' since it was believed that a witch that died would become a vampire. But, I'd be interested in reading any scholarship that indicates...
    22 replies | 786 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 11th January, 2019, 07:55 PM
    Your etymology sounds suspect. I've not wanted to really deal with vampires because the historical vampire is so very different of a creature from the Brom Stoker inspired sexual horror that has come to dominate our imagination. The historical Romanian terror was a disease spirit, and not the creature of rape and lust we've invented as more emblematic of our times. Also, the exact details...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 10th January, 2019, 06:08 PM
    Well, I think I answered that, but I still insist the problem is that 3.5 has no concept of balance whatsoever. Not only is chargen/advancement utterly broken because charop/system mastery plays an excessive role in character prowess and intuitive builds are under powered, but 3.5 rebalanced the game based on the assumption that parties would use charop and rejiggered monsters to higher CR and...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th January, 2019, 06:17 PM
    Ok, I think the theory crafting in the above is pretty decent. I need to run some math to figure out what the actual results for a typical town of say 3000 persons would be annually, based on expected numbers of deaths and the percent that would be violent or involve suffering, alignment demographics, and so forth. My sense is that the number of undead in a town performing due diligence would...
    22 replies | 786 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th January, 2019, 04:05 PM
    That wouldn't be too hard. Undead Test: Roll 3d6. On an 18+, they turn undead. Modifiers -1 Proper Burial -1 Good Aligned -1 Died Without Suffering -1 Died Obtaining their Goals -1 Originally, corpse or ground was Hallowed (see note below)
    22 replies | 786 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 9th January, 2019, 04:14 AM
    I believe the CR's on elementals are wrong, which is a big part of the problem with what you describe. Huge Air Elementals are listed at CR 7, but they have perfect fly speed, DR 5/-, 16 HD, 136 hit points, and two +19 to hit attacks. They don't hit that hard, but they are definitely still relevant against 15th level characters because 16HD, etc. They are probably closer to CR 9 IMO. ...
    6 replies | 323 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 8th January, 2019, 04:09 PM
    On the subject of acquiring magic items, my experiences differ in a lot of ways from the original author. First, my experience is that beginning at around 8th level, it would take about a year of weekly play to gain a level. The original poster asserts that he reached "10th to 15th level" in about a year and managed to do this despite not acquiring many magic items. I find it hard to believe...
    15 replies | 781 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 8th January, 2019, 08:11 AM
    Yes, but if you begin to treat them as mechanics questions, that is to say, if you begin to speculate on the 'physics' of the world that allows it to operate as it is known to do, you can make some really interesting discoveries about how small differences in the mythos creates really big differences in the culture of the world. For example... All of this is true, but since in the game...
    22 replies | 786 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 7th January, 2019, 09:18 PM
    Well, I'll concur with all the concurring voices. In 1e and 2e AD&D, the barriers to making magic items were so high that most groups never made even a single item. The barriers to making potions and scrolls were less high, but they imposed a fairly high burden in preparation and play on the DM to lead the players toward the conclusion that they could make potions, scrolls, and the like. ...
    15 replies | 781 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 7th January, 2019, 03:41 PM
    I guess in theory that could happen, but it would be a truly sacred place indeed, and I've never considered placing anything like that in the world. More likely, with just mortal levels of intervention, you just end up with spontaneously consecrated or hallowed ground. And equivalently level of necromantic taint would just animate bodies as zombies, but would kill living beings that entered...
    22 replies | 786 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 4th January, 2019, 03:12 AM
    Pretty low. Proper burial prevents it 100% of the time. If you put a body in properly consecrated ground ('Hallow') and or use the appropriate divine invocation the body ('Lay to Rest') will never become undead spontaneously and cannot be animated by evil magic. In fact, this is one of the major duties of the clergy in most towns. Unfortunately, if you are using invocations to keep...
    22 replies | 786 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 3rd January, 2019, 07:29 PM
    I had heard really great things about Masks, so I bought a pdf copy of it intending it to be the basis of my campaign. I was so disappointed with it, that I kept putting off playing it, and never ended up actually using it. It certainly isn't scary, and while I considered running it as a more Pulp action adventure, if you are going to do that then IMO the CoC sanity rules actually get in...
    21 replies | 1168 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 3rd January, 2019, 05:49 PM
    Ok, that's seems like a self-evident observation, but to put it plainly like that is clarifying and like many observations that are self-evident when you hear them being able to state them with clarity requires more understanding than one might think. Yes, the reason cosmic horror was deeply effecting to HPL is that discoveries in math and science undermined his faith in things he cared deeply...
    21 replies | 1168 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 2nd January, 2019, 03:59 AM
    I think you say a lot that is true and which indicates you are quite experienced with horror themed games. And while I can see merit in the position you outline here, it does also I think speak to the problem I'm addressing, which is, is cosmic horror really something the modern reader can relate to? Your suggestion that cosmic horror and the mythos be abandoned as unfathomable and therefore...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 31st December, 2018, 06:21 PM
    This is actually a really interesting question. Never having ran an artic campaign, it never came up before for me. The very simple answer is that it happens every 24 hours whether the players can keep track of time or not. Certainly in the case of something like a wizard's spells, the idea seems to be that the wizard needs a certain amount of mental rest. 1e AD&D even experimented...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 31st December, 2018, 06:10 PM
    Law versus Chaos question. Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one, or do the needs of the few or the one outweigh the needs of the many? Is the big picture just made up of a bunch of small pictures, and those ignoring the small picture is the same as ignoring the big picture, or do you have to look at the big picture and realize that for the sake of the big picture...
    8 replies | 292 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 31st December, 2018, 06:01 PM
    From what I've seen of LotFP adventures, they are basically someone who read 'Tomb of Horrors' and really dug the "if you touch something you die" aspect of the dungeons and so they heavily punish player interaction with the environment. But the assumption that they make that players have particular perverse motivations and that knowing that if they touch something and interact with it,...
    9 replies | 454 view(s)
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About Celebrim

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Past 6 years running a homebrew campaign using a rules set evolved from 3e D&D.
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Past 6 years running a homebrew campaign using a rules set evolved from 3e D&D.
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Would very much like a one off in Dread or Fiasco from an experienced GM.
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Saturday, 8th December, 2018

  • 02:55 PM - Sadras mentioned Celebrim in post When did mixing editions become unusual?
    Many of these variants are bringing ideas from older D&D editions or other systems to 5e. I think we are possibly in the Golden Age of system mixing actually. And you haven't even mentioned the variant Inspiration/Fate like rule mixing, the converted 2e Complete Guides for 5e, the converted 3e Prestige Classes and the homebrewed 4e Epic styled 5e. @Celebrim the playerbase might have tinkered more with the very imperfect systems of 1e, 2e and BECMI which is understandable, but in terms of system mixing I'm in agreement with @dave2008 - 5e seems to win this category.
  • 03:39 AM - Manbearcat mentioned Celebrim in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    ...their precious setting, NPCs, and metaplot utterly railroading an entire generation of players. GM's Calvinballing/Fudging/Forcing/Illusionisming their passive players through setting and metaplot tourism until their players became either (i) completely disenfranchised or (ii) so utterly annoyed that they just murderhoboed the setting/ignored the metaplot to utter ruin because the only way they could actually influence the gamestate was through violence/combat. The number of anecdotes and refugee players that fled other games into my own game during that period was truly absurd. I've never seen anything like it before or since. And I sat in on plenty of games and talked to GMs and entertained tons of conversations that bore out this idea of unmitigated authority for GMs to basically be the only active player at the table with the players doing little but characterizing a personality and rolling some dice (and hoping the resolution mechanics actually mattered). 2) My guess is Celebrim never played much Basic (1-3 and solely dungeons) or Expert (4-14 and expansion into wilderness but using the same machinery, principles, and procedures) (most people didn't play Champion/Master/Immortal...some played RC)? Exclusively played AD&D? The Gygaxian prose in AD&D (even though he explicitly called out the game as not realistic and not intended to be a simulation) vs Moldvay, Cook/Marsh made an enormous difference in the rules text. Basic and Expert's rules and prose read as (abstract) "game" while AD&D (even if not intended as a simulation) read as granular content generation rather than (abstract) "game" facilitator. I think there is a marked difference there. When I talk about "system matters", I'm working off a premise of "intentful or thoughtful design (as a holistic/integrated product)". Does anybody actually think Environment Scaling/Movement Rates + Exploration Turns + Wandering Monsters/Random Encounters + Gold for XP (and not for monsters) is just a happy acc...

Thursday, 6th December, 2018

  • 10:08 PM - Manbearcat mentioned Celebrim in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    @Celebrim I don’t have time to read your response in detail and respond to it, but one thing sticks out at a quick look. You appear to be using “system” as an analog for “rules” and then evaluating my post based on this usage. I don’t agree with that usage. When discussing a game, when I say “system”, I don’t mean discrete parts. I’m talking about the integration of all of play premise/goals, codified rules + the handling of exceptions, the expectations of each participant, and the broad procedures (including conversation/flow of information/how stuff enters play) of play...working in concert (or working at odds in some cases) to create a play experience. EDIT - I’ll read through your post and have a fuller response on the coming days.

Thursday, 22nd November, 2018

  • 06:08 PM - Josiah Stoll mentioned Celebrim in post What would happen if you reversed all the alignments for all the creatures in the Monster manual?
    Celebrim What if we removed the association between “light” and “good?” It would start with the angels going mad, I think. They would stream out of the heavens in a starry host, wiping out mortals in droves for some perceived fault. The demons would be those who rebelled against this violence. Cast out and hunted in the light, they retreated into the only safe place they could find- the shadows of the Underdark. Lloth in this world would be using her plotting and magic for good, and the Drow would follow her lead-creating a genuinely awesome matriarchal society. Also of note: this would explain why the goblins and orcs want to build a castle underground and why the elves and dwarves want to murder them so bad.

Thursday, 20th September, 2018

  • 07:41 AM - iserith mentioned Celebrim in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    Celebrim: I know you know this because you've mentioned it before, but your posts are exceedingly long and dense. I really just don't have the time to address them in as equally a thorough manner. I don't want to sound dismissive because I do appreciate the effort, but this is really too much. I may not get to them for days and the thread will have moved on by then I suspect. If it hasn't then I can take the time to respond.

Thursday, 6th September, 2018

  • 01:29 PM - Oofta mentioned Celebrim in post [Homebrew] In a godless campaign what do you with clerics?
    Celebrim: Obviously you believe that the "divine" descriptor means something universal. I disagree ... it's just a label for a type of magic. Since there is no "source" for most magic users other than material/somatic/verbal components I don't see why paladins need anything other than their oath. You do still have to get the components right, which is why it takes time and practice to cast higher level spells. The book is quite clear, unlike clerics paladins do not necessarily get their power from their oaths. Ultimately there's no real answer other than "whatever the fiction of your world dictates". So that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, 1st September, 2018

  • 04:11 PM - dave2008 mentioned Celebrim in post Revised and rebalanced dragons for 1e AD&D
    I'm also starting to disagree with giving the Green Dragon 1d6 scaled breath weapon damage since it results in a noticeable underperformance when compared to the Black and Blue on either side of it. I'm not that keen on it for the White but am more accepting of it since it's the weakest of Chromatic rather than being stuck right in the middle like the Green. Well, one reason Celebrim is doing that is that the cloud attack covers a greater area, so in theory it does more damage across the group. Thus, the total damage is balanced. However, I doubt that really has much of factor in play. I know if my group is planning to take on a dragon (or they encounter one) the make sure to spread out. You are unlikely to catch more than 2 in a cone or cloud. The cloud is theoretically more damage, but I don't think it is practically (to PCs anyway - henchmen is a different story) I'm more inclined to make it something HD related without age categories mattering, either a simple (or simplish formula) like X dice per Y HD (or X dice per Y HD plus A points per B bonus HP) or use the "add breath weapon column to Dragon Attacks table" solution. Yes, I am starting to think the same thing. It is a simple solution if you use HD, seems to solve all problems (age, size, and type). It is just a matter of determining how much damage per HD is the right amount. Heck, it co...

Tuesday, 21st August, 2018

  • 07:54 PM - Lanefan mentioned Celebrim in post The Min-Max Problem: Solved
    Celebrim, if your definition of failure is to fail the overall task, not just to have some setbacks along the road, then it is very different from mine. As a storytelling GM, overall success is assumed - the only failure I as a GM push for are temporary setbacks/quirks. For example, death happens only at the player's option in my games. There's micro-failure e.g. you blow your open-locks roll and the door stays locked, and macro-failure e.g. you set out to rescue the kidnapped princess but instead manage to kill her by mistake. I have no problem with either type of failure. Stuff happens. Some, like you, don't like macro-failure; and I can see where that's coming from if you're looking to tell a continuous story and the players are cool with it. Some, however, can't even handle micro-failure; which is why we're seeing things like fail-forward (which in agreement with Celebrim I see as a faulty term) creep into the lexicon. 'Nuff said. Succeed/fail: rules that set up a dichotomy o...

Thursday, 16th August, 2018

  • 08:20 PM - Lanefan mentioned Celebrim in post Tink-Tink-Boom vs. the Death Spiral: The Damage Mechanic in RPGs
    Death spiral mechanics are fine provided players are willing to have their adventuring parties do something rash like stop and rest for a few days - or even go back to town - to allow the injured a chance to recover. And in time-sensitive adventures they provide a wonderful choice for the players/PCs - do we stop and risk running out of time, or do we press on and risk running out of characters. Love it! :) The system we use ends up more or less like Celebrim 's in practice: most of the time you're in TTB land but if you get really clobbered you're into death spiral territory. We also have a potentially-unconscious range between fully functional (above 0 h.p.) and dead (at -10 h.p.). I'd like to bring in some sort of staggered mechanic; the problem there is finding a simple way to make it work equally well at very low and very high levels, I haven't found one yet and so this remains but a theory.

Thursday, 2nd August, 2018

  • 12:26 AM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post My Attempt to Define RPG's - RPG's aren't actually Games
    While meta-game mechanics may frequently try to tie into the in game fiction, there is no actual requirement to do so. There's no in-game reason why second wind works. It just does. Or, to use another example, what in game fiction am I engaging with when using the life path character generation method of Traveller? Celebrim - interesting link. I could definitely see your point.

Friday, 20th April, 2018

  • 10:06 PM - Imaro mentioned Celebrim in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    ...e available beyond just foot, should I not find what I want here in Karnos and decide to try elsewhere? Are there any unusual local customs or modes of dress etc. that I need to be aware of? Etc., and I haven't even got to nation-region-world-astronomy questions yet. If much of this wasn't provided ahead of time (i.e. this part of the world wasn't built) then I - as would, I suspect, many players - would be asking most of these questions before I ever get around to declaring an action! Even if the questions don't directly inform my action declaration right now they'll inform my general approach later; and very little of this is stuff players should be expected to just make up on their own (and if they do then the GM has to be scribbling like a madman to record all of it in the interests of future consistency - why not just do this work beforehand when you've time to relax and think it through?) Just wanted to comment on this part of your post as it ties back to the point I think @Celebrim was making earlier in the thread... mainly that @pemerton doesn't play a strictly no myth game. He's stated that he uses pre-authored content including geography, deities, names, places, etc. I think the confusion arises because he then creates a distinction (which honestly I'm still not necessarily clear on where the line is actually drawn) between the things he pre-authors and world-building. However my understanding on no myth gaming (and I don't claim to be an expert) is that everything is created during play. What I feel like @pemerton has done is created a hybrid of the two styles while claiming it's no myth which is actually serving to confuse alot of the issues. Personally I'd love if someone could point to some actual play video or streaming of no myth gaming... the only one I can think of that uses no myth gaming is the episode on Tabletop where they play FATE... and the only thing they establish before play is the State the game takes place in. EDIT: Just to note the...
  • 05:59 PM - Ancalagon mentioned Celebrim in post Cultures in D&D/roleplaying: damned if you do, damned if you don't
    I wouldn't put it as strongly as you Celebrim , but I do thank you for the kind words. And you are correct that I am troubled by a set of "rules" that seem limiting and short sighted. If a goal is to be respectful of others (and this seems laudable), and the pursuit of that goal results in gaming/fiction/etc that pretends others don't exist... then we have failed to attain that goal.

Thursday, 5th April, 2018

  • 04:31 PM - Pauper mentioned Celebrim in post What SHOULD be the purpose of magic items in an RPG?
    Within the D&D universe (and the universes deliberately designed to be similar to it, such as Pathfinder's Golarion and Hackmaster's default universe, etcetera), magic exists as a tool -- it is defined, has specific effects, and requires explicit factors to be in place (class, level, components, etc.) before it can be used. In that sense, the 'why' of magic items in D&D is that they are tools that can be used by classes that don't otherwise get to use magic (healing potions are probably the ur-example here), or they are tools that can be used by classes that do get magic to either do magic they don't normally get to do or do so magic they do get to do more efficiently. I have a good deal of respect for Celebrim and his desire to make magic 'numenous', but as he points out, execution is much harder than conception, and D&D as a system has basically given up on making magic items 'special' save in a few specific instances where 'special' equates more with 'powerful' than with 'exotic'. The way most players approach magic items has adopted this pragmatism: if you ask a player what the purpose of a magic weapon is, his answer will likely be that it's to bypass the defenses of monsters resistant to non-magical weapons. This is a big reason why players complain when a DM is seen as 'stingy' with magic weapons -- players don't like to feel 'ineffective', even if the resistance to non-magic weapons is an intentional game design decision. Fifth edition has tried to reduce the importance of magic items, and has even taken steps to reduce the 'characters are magic item carrying platforms' concept of Third and Fourth edition D&D, but some players insist on collecting loads of magic items because th...

Wednesday, 4th April, 2018

  • 09:40 PM - Gradine mentioned Celebrim in post Do We Still Need "Race" in D&D?
    I'm not going to touch the broader debate except to mention for full disclosure that my sympathies lie a lot more with the individualist concerns of the grassroots movements. Perhaps you missed it, because my original post read "how is the academic definition useful?", but I realized my mistake and edited it to say "how is the academic definition useful here?" That's a fair point. I suppose I was just trying to cover my bases? To be honest, it seems like both of you are guilty of attributing nefarious motives to the other, and that's driving a lot of the frustration. Because, of course, once you see someone attributing nefarious motives to you, it's only natural to think they must have nefarious motives for doing so... To be perfectly honest, I have a significant amount of respect for Celebrim; he's intelligent and logical and I genuinely get the sense that his heart is honestly in the right place. He's in fact said as much about me as well (well, the heart-in-the-right place bit, anyway, I'm not sure what he thinks about my intellectual or logical capacities at this point :-P). I do have a tendency to let my heart get ahead of my head in discussions such as these, and get heated and say things which I kind of mean but which are unkind and unhelpful and usually apply to other people within the conversation, which tend to come out because I don't tend to reply to those individuals. Which is, I'll admit, pretty awful of me. These are all things I've been working on but clearly haven't mastered yet. And I can also see how I do try to shoehorn in other subjects that I really feel are really relevant at the time but in hindsight are maybe... relevant-adjacent, I'll say. Relevant from my perspective, sure, but probably way more of interest to me than anyone else in the thread. ...
  • 06:37 AM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post Do We Still Need "Race" in D&D?
    I'm not offended by worthless ideas. I'm also not in the minority here. Race is of absolutely no issue in the game as it stands. At least not to any appreciable number of people. Then how do you explain the change in Pathfinder? If it is of absolutely no issue, then, why is the #2 game changing it and why have a number of other RPG's changed it as well? And, frankly Maxperson, how is it possible to have a conversation with you when you absolutely refuse to acknowledge the other side's point? Whether you agree or not, fair enough. But, you're starting the conversation with "anyone who complains about this is such a tiny minority who shouldn't even be acknowledged". That makes it pretty hard to have any sort of conversation. And, as another point, I'd like to thank BryonD for illustrating my point. Having internalized his own interpretations to such a degree that he cannot even consider that those interpretations aren't actually part of the game. Compare that to Celebrim's elf example, that at least isn't counter-factual some of the time. In AD&D, since the rules were silent on the issue, any interpretation is equally valid. Of course, that means that the "nurture" interpretation is just as valid as the "nature" one. Now, after AD&D, the "nature" interpretation is flat out false since it actually contradicts what's written in the game. Like I said, I'm not terribly fussed abou this. Just bemused that people who spend this much time thinking about the game are so blind to their own internalizations.

Tuesday, 3rd April, 2018

  • 12:26 PM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post Do We Still Need "Race" in D&D?
    ...t. Oh, totally agree. What a DM does in his or her own game is none of my or anyone else's business. That's groovy. What bemuses me though is when people mistake their homebrew for what is actually in the game. They've done it a certain way for so long that they are no longer even aware that they have made changes and then start to argue that the way they've done it is somehow the "right" way of doing it, despite not actually being supported by the game itself. And, frankly, I agree that I wouldn't really want the game to be changed so much that race/origin/whateverdahellwefinallysettleon is a la carte. A baseline elf has elven weapon proficiencies. I'm groovy with that. That's the baseline. If you want to deviate from that (such as AngryDM has) then go right ahead. But, as an argument that somehow those proficiencies are innate to elves is actually not supported by the game. Granted, I'm banging the drum here on a single example, and I don't really mean to pick on Celebrim here actually. It was just something that stuck in my head. The argument is that race is the best term because race encapsulates elements that are not necessarily captured by, say, species because of the existence of magic. And, sure, darkvision (or whatever you want to call it) or trance, yup, that's pretty inherent in being an elf. But, that is still covered by terms like heritage or ancestry.
  • 09:29 AM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post Do We Still Need "Race" in D&D?
    What amuses and bemuses me the most in these types of topics is just how much people have internalized their own interpretations to the point where they can no longer distinguish their own idiosyncratic takes from what is actually stated in the game. For example, angryDM talks about the elf raised in a human city not being proficient in longswords and bows. Celebrim then claims that such proficiencies are the result of the nature of elves. Elves innately know how to use swords and bows. Only problem with that is that it's not true. It's certainly not true in 5e where, while high and wood elves get it, drow do not. They are all elves after all. If it was innate to being an elf, then everyone would have the same thing. Drow aren't proficient in any bows. Plus, it's specifically called out as Elf Weapon Training. Kinda says it right there in the title. In 3e, it's also called out as training - "Elves esteem the arts of swordplay and archery , so all elves are familiar with these weapons" (3e PHB p 16). 2e is silent on the issue - elves simply gain +1 to hit with bows and swords. There is no background given whatsoever. So, angryDM's point is pretty valid. For a good chunk of the game's history, elves do not gain any innate understanding of swords or bows. So, why does being an elf grant automatic proficiencies?

Thursday, 29th March, 2018

  • 01:09 AM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post Do You Use Your RPG Rules as Written?
    Heh, it's nice to agree with Celebrim, just for the novelty of it. :D Yeah, I'm pretty solidly gamist, with a dose of narrativist in my play, so, yeah, Sim play is pretty much bottom of my list of priorities.

Wednesday, 28th March, 2018

  • 01:58 AM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post Do You Use Your RPG Rules as Written?
    To be honest, I look at your list, Celebrim, and pretty much shrug and play on. These things just don't bother me. Web doesn't work because it needs two anchors? Ok, fair enough. It just doesn't work. 1/day non-magical powers? Fantastic. It's a game, it needs balance. No skin off my nose. Like I said, it just doesn't bother me. I simply cannot get up the energy to get bothered by this stuff anymore. I just want to play. If the game says X and X is fun? Good enough for me.

Monday, 26th March, 2018

  • 11:44 PM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post Do You Use Your RPG Rules as Written?
    Celebrim - whereas I ran 3e/3.5 for quite a few years and rarely had any of the issues that seem to trouble you so much. We just didn't. The game ran best when we just stopped trying to fiddle with it. Again, it's all about different experiences. It has very little to do with stability and more to do with the fact that I have zero interest in learning another game, particularly someone's home-brew one. Again, I just don't. Note, RAW =/= you must accept every single book. Where is that part of RAW? RAW means that the rules that you use, you follow. Not, just because it's in a book somewhere, that we're not using, we still must abide by. That would be bizarre to reference a book that no one is using.


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Saturday, 19th January, 2019

  • 02:42 PM - Samloyal23 quoted Celebrim in post Proper Burials & Undead Origins
    Your etymology sounds suspect. I've not wanted to really deal with vampires because the historical vampire is so very different of a creature from the Brom Stoker inspired sexual horror that has come to dominate our imagination. The historical Romanian terror was a disease spirit, and not the creature of rape and lust we've invented as more emblematic of our times. Also, the exact details varied across the Slavic world. In Romania for example, the vampire was so associated with moths that it was believed that if a moth flew across the body of a dying person, or worse landed on the body, that the body would arise as a vampire. For this reason, they were careful to screen the sick beds of the dying to keep moths away. Since vampires were associated with pestilence, if a plague broke out in village, the elders would meet to try to figure out if it was being caused by a vampire. If a likely candidate was discovered, they'd go and dig up the body of the suspect and inspect it for sign...

Tuesday, 8th January, 2019

  • 11:01 AM - Tonguez quoted Celebrim in post Proper Burials & Undead Origins
    Yes, but if you begin to treat them as mechanics questions, that is to say, if you begin to speculate on the 'physics' of the world that allows it to operate as it is known to do, you can make some really interesting discoveries about how small differences in the mythos creates really big differences in the culture of the world. For example... All of this is true, but since in the game undead aren't merely a metaphor for disease and infection, but an actual infection itself, the reality of undead in the world (as opposed to the unreality in our own world) creates some really interesting shifts in behavior. Operating from the same logic given above, it was common in many real world cultures for people who had broken social and moral taboos to be deliberately buried in ways that disrespected them, as part of societies final punishment and warning against evil doers. But, in doing this, those same real world cultures were actually disproving the reality of the undead they believed in,...

Friday, 4th January, 2019

  • 09:46 AM - Jhaelen quoted Celebrim in post Call of Cthulhu as a Horror Game
    So sure, you could run "Masks" as an Indiana Jones pulp action adventure, but if you do, it probably works even better in a different system than CoC.Since the release of the 'Trail of Cthulhu' RPG, I actually wouldn't consider using any other system for a Mythos campaign. It actually puts the focus where it (imho) belongs: on the investigation. Also, it support both pulp action and a more traditional approach. There's an excellent conversion of 'Masks' available for free.

Thursday, 3rd January, 2019

  • 03:17 AM - MGibster quoted Celebrim in post Call of Cthulhu as a Horror Game
    I think you say a lot that is true and which indicates you are quite experienced with horror themed games. And while I can see merit in the position you outline here, it does also I think speak to the problem I'm addressing, which is, is cosmic horror really something the modern reader can relate to? Is cosmic horror still frightening to a modern audience? Let us first define cosmic horror. In a nutshell, cosmic horror is about the insignificance of humanity and our powerlessness in the face of a cold indifferent universe. The horror in a Lovecraft story mainly comes from people learning some facet of the true nature of the universe combined with their inability to make any meaningful changes in broad scheme of things. This is a fairly abstract fear and I don’t think it would work on most people in 1932 never mind in 2019. But that doesn’t mean cosmic horror can’t be used effectively. A decent horror story involves a threat to something we hold valuable. Losing a child scares the ...

Wednesday, 2nd January, 2019

  • 03:31 AM - MGibster quoted Celebrim in post Call of Cthulhu as a Horror Game
    I have just finished a year long CoC campaign. It ended much as you might expect, with a near TPK and the mentally shaken badly wounded survivors fleeing out of a doomed New England town ahead of unendurable horrors. My last CoC campaign ended with a narrowly avoided TPK because one of the PCs managed to give birth to herself. CoC can be weird sometimes. I can't say that I was fully satisfied with the campaign. Part of that is that the group dynamics are more 'beer and pretzels' and they prefer more straight forward kicking the door down and punching Cthulhu in the face to the investigative play and thoughtful planning CoC encourages. It's hard to run a horror game when everyone isn't on the same page. I participated in an Esoterrorist campaign and we had one player who didn't have a lot of fun because he was the "kick the door down and punch the cosmic horror in the face" kind of a guy. We had another player who treated everything as a joke of little consequence even which ki...

Saturday, 29th December, 2018

  • 02:30 AM - Jay Verkuilen quoted Celebrim in post Worlds of Design: When There's Too Many Magic Items
    In my experience, "too many" magic items leads to the "problem" of "too many" henchmen. That's mainly a problem if the PC's insist every henchmen accompany them, in that it slows down combat. But in my experience, henchmen are much more valuable as camp guards than they are trying to help out in situations that actually challenge the PC's. If the henchmen do go down "in the dungeon", you quickly solve the problem of too many henchmen. One way I deal with that particular issue is to institute a "one henchmen on screen at a time" rule. I will flex with it a bit, but in general I want only a few henchmen around. The others can be doing something productive but it will be off screen.

Monday, 10th December, 2018

  • 02:28 AM - OverlordOcelot quoted Celebrim in post Blending the D&Ds
    1e attack progression is vastly more fine grained than it is in later editions - 4e and 5e in particular. The Fighter's first bump in attacks per round is 5/4, meaning that the get 1 extra attack every four rounds of combat. While I'm sure there's a set of rules used by people playing 1e that did this, the PHB and UA rules didn't - PHB has attacks of 1/1, 3/2, 2/1 (at 1/7/13 for fighters) and UA has specialist attacks at 3/2, 2/1, and 5/2 at those same breakpoints. (Missile weapons had different rates of fire, but none with 5/4).
  • 01:47 AM - Garthanos quoted Celebrim in post Blending the D&Ds
    the M-U in 1e AD&D is reasonably balanced provided you don't get to heavily into illusion abuse and follow all the rules for casting a spell. Never saw a DM do it well once (including me) they were either dramatically overpowered or underpowered with a narrow window in the middle and sometimes the overpowered was at level 1 with a sleep spell. That is to me an in theory vs an in practice issue I am sure it is possible for my 9th level fighter to have not felt like a sidekick but pretending it actually worked out that way at most tables does not seem honest. Its wearing pink glasses about tradition.
  • 01:11 AM - Garthanos quoted Celebrim in post Blending the D&Ds
    1e attack progression is vastly more fine grained than it is in later editions - 4e and 5e in particular. The Fighter's first bump in attacks per round is 5/4, meaning that the get 1 extra attack every four rounds of combat. This is no advantage at all in combats that only last 3 rounds, and you could end up fighting for seven rounds and get only 1 extra attack. Fighters were reasonably balanced until Weapon Specialization came along and broke them completely. LOL how is a single class balanced in a game where other classes go from useless to overwhelming the statement is not meaningful. Balance is dependent on context ie balanced with regards to what? (Thief was useless even at high level it never got its shine in the sun without bizarro world adventure designs)

Sunday, 9th December, 2018

  • 11:13 PM - Garthanos quoted Celebrim in post Blending the D&Ds
    1e attack progression is vastly more fine grained than it is in later editions - 4e and 5e in particular. The Fighter's first bump in attacks per round is 5/4, meaning that the get 1 extra attack every four rounds of combat Oh right smacks forehead been too long 4e doesn't use the same more attacks technique for increasing ability it is much more gradual in part because it starts at a higher point if you start your 1e at level 5 and going to level 10 was the same distance as level 10 in 4e its about that gradual ... note with dailies and encounters and the like providing spikey booms (which are a bit like instead of one every 4 rounds its once per encounter or once per day) and over all power spikes are more I hit paragon level and I hit Epic levels. (neither of which is doubling defensive or offensive power) and are something everyone gets. These are thematically at least along the lines of getting Name level capstone abilities. 5e does use the poof I am twice the attacker offensively I...
  • 10:28 PM - Garthanos quoted Celebrim in post Blending the D&Ds
    I don't know that I would go that far. Advancement rates is in theory a legitimate way of achieving balance that might otherwise be difficult because advancement rate is highly granular. It's very clear that the 1e classes are widely imbalanced and its less clear how to make them balanced and retain the 1e feels and simplistic mechanics. The fighter getting a new attack is not very fine grained nor is the leap from not having a fireball to having one. Balancing them to me means making sure those bumps happen in synchronicity (I picked an example that I think might actually be concurrent and in one of the levels that might be starting to be more balanced than many didnt I). I cannot look at character levels in 1e land and say this characters is more powerful than that and I think that undermines the games design including adventure design. And as you said they didnt do a good job using it even if it could have had the desired effect.
  • 07:03 PM - Garthanos quoted Celebrim in post Blending the D&Ds
    Classes using different advancement tables is probably something I would have tried to get rid of in any combined rules set. To the extent that I couldn't get rid of it in a rules system intended to invoke 1e AD&D nostalgia, I would definitely do some adjustments to the old tables to create better balance than they did. I consider the differing advancement a concession saying we did badly in the design and level does not mean power its almost meaningless.

Saturday, 8th December, 2018

  • 02:48 PM - Manbearcat quoted Celebrim in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    I don't think you've left me much of substance to reply to. Clearly I've opened up some old wound that still hurts, and as you even admit much of the reply doesn't pertain to my post, I'm going to just let it pass for the most part. But I do want to protest that however you read me, I did not and never claimed to encapsulate all of what Dragon contained in the early to mid 80s. Certainly I know that it contained art work, interviews, original games, supplemental material of all sorts, comics and so forth and I don't see how mentioning these things is a rebuttal. I was never attacking the quality of Dragon. Starting from the bottom: 1) I never thought you were making a claim about the quality of Dragon (nothing I posted engaged with that). The claim you made that I was addressing (which it appeared to me you were making indispute of my “Trad vs 2nd wave” idea) was that there was an overwhelming pervasiveness of “realism sim” culture so embedded in D&D that the power of that signal was th...
  • 02:36 PM - dave2008 quoted Celebrim in post When did mixing editions become unusual?
    I can't speak of 5e with a lot of confidence. While there is a lot of talk of "rulings not rules", my suspicion is that the tables nearly as monocultural as 4e with respect to mechanics, as there is simply not a lot of material out there, and 5e I think so far has very much focused on a single very popular style of play and appeals mainly to groups that play in that manner. I see nothing like the recognition that a system that works well for combat might not work so well for chases/evasion, mass combat, or what have you and I don't think that many 5e tables have yet focused on dynastic play or any of the other sorts of things that 5e simply hasn't mentioned much in the thus far published rules. However, that's all just a guess. I'm going to disagree here a bit. Now I come form the days when we mixed 1e & BECMI because we didn't realize they were different. However, my options we also extremely limited to what was at my local game store. With 5e and the internet (and decades of experienc...
  • 08:06 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted Celebrim in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    I was around then and I read the Dragon articles, and if you go back and read those early debates it is very clear that no one has a clear idea of how to describe what they are talking about. One word that you would have heard a lot in 1980 is 'realism'. Fans and designers tended to debate games in terms of how 'realistic' they they were, with the implication that mature and sophisticated gamers would naturally gravitate toward the more realistic systems. A very good example of this mindset comes from the introduction of the GURPS rulebook where it says: "The basic rule system emphasizes realism. Therefore, it can fit any situation - fantasy or historical, past, present or future." This is exactly the opposite of the conclusion of the "system matters" people. Here are rules that can fit any game you would want to have, claims the author. How do you know this is true? Because they are realistic. This system is inappropriate for nothing! This is Steve Jackson saying this, one of the big...
  • 07:43 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted Celebrim in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    I was a huge fan of the Mass Effect series before it went downhill. Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2 are notable in that they use very different combat mechanics. Mass Effect 2 is a tightly defined cover based shooter. Combat has to take place in special combat arenas where suitable waist high obstacles are found to make use of its cover mechanics. Mass Effect 1 on the other hand has no unified combat mechanics. It makes no distinction between environments where combat can take place and where combat will not take place. I overwhelmingly prefer Mass Effect 1. It does so much with combat that Mass Effect 2 simply cannot do. Since it doesn't use any special rules and has a single engine for both combat and non-combat, pretty much any terrain can become combat terrain. So for example, there are sequences where you are fighting what are basically zombies, and the zombies can appear in stair cases and in all sorts of tight cramped environments that they just couldn't in Mass Effect 2. ...
  • 03:39 AM - Manbearcat quoted Celebrim in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    ...their precious setting, NPCs, and metaplot utterly railroading an entire generation of players. GM's Calvinballing/Fudging/Forcing/Illusionisming their passive players through setting and metaplot tourism until their players became either (i) completely disenfranchised or (ii) so utterly annoyed that they just murderhoboed the setting/ignored the metaplot to utter ruin because the only way they could actually influence the gamestate was through violence/combat. The number of anecdotes and refugee players that fled other games into my own game during that period was truly absurd. I've never seen anything like it before or since. And I sat in on plenty of games and talked to GMs and entertained tons of conversations that bore out this idea of unmitigated authority for GMs to basically be the only active player at the table with the players doing little but characterizing a personality and rolling some dice (and hoping the resolution mechanics actually mattered). 2) My guess is Celebrim never played much Basic (1-3 and solely dungeons) or Expert (4-14 and expansion into wilderness but using the same machinery, principles, and procedures) (most people didn't play Champion/Master/Immortal...some played RC)? Exclusively played AD&D? The Gygaxian prose in AD&D (even though he explicitly called out the game as not realistic and not intended to be a simulation) vs Moldvay, Cook/Marsh made an enormous difference in the rules text. Basic and Expert's rules and prose read as (abstract) "game" while AD&D (even if not intended as a simulation) read as granular content generation rather than (abstract) "game" facilitator. I think there is a marked difference there. When I talk about "system matters", I'm working off a premise of "intentful or thoughtful design (as a holistic/integrated product)". Does anybody actually think Environment Scaling/Movement Rates + Exploration Turns + Wandering Monsters/Random Encounters + Gold for XP (and not for monsters) is just a happy acc...

Friday, 7th December, 2018

  • 11:11 PM - Quickleaf quoted Celebrim in post How to make an encounter with falling great distances interesting and dangerous, but not deadly?
    What leaps out at me is: Respect. The quicker the players make it to the top, the better they get treated. Like, if the players rocket their way up (taking shortcuts and never resting) the aaracokra monks treat them as grand "Fliers Who Never Leave The Ground" and treat them like champions, while if they dawdle, resting every chance they get, the monks treat them as worthless nobodies. The players will probably end somewhere in between, so get treated well if they're closer to rocketing up, or just tolerated if they struggle up but pushed a little. Totally. :) I've crafted a story that Aerdrie Faenya once sacrificed her wings to uplift humanity (which is reflected in how the aarakocra saint Asharra running the monastery can give up her wings temporarily to magically bestow flight upon the PCs). Purportedly, the monastery holds a white feather of Aerdrie Faenya who made an arduous ascent up the holy plateau without her wings and left a feather with the monks at Kir Sabal. This story is ...
  • 02:37 PM - Advilaar quoted Celebrim in post Blending the D&Ds
    3E multiclassing was nearly perfect, and would have worked just fine if they hadn't have added PrCs and made just a few small tweaks. 3e Multiclassing was a very positive step away from the level limit demihuman multiclassing and nonsense dual class rules of 1/2 e. But, 3e left itself prone to "cherry picking" since many classes, like the fighter were heavily front loaded with class features. I'd use 5e's multiclassing. You get the good saves of the first class. If both classes were spell casting classes, the spell slots stack somewhat and stay relevant even at higher levels since the effectiveness is not based on spellcaster level, but on ability modifier. Unlike 4e hybrid/ multiclass rules, you get to keep most of the first and second classes features nor gimp yourself past level 10. The classes are not so front loaded, but you still get good benefits from taking a level or five of a class. I am guessing most here that had 1e/2e stuck all with campaigns below level 5 or 6. Where 1e/2e tru...
  • 06:27 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted Celebrim in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    Let me try to make a thesis out of this. In the late 90's and early 00's people began to try to think systematically about RPG design and develop a framework for describing RPGs. They contributed a lot of potentially useful terminology to the game and the exercise was itself really worthwhile, even if I'm not convinced any of their conclusions necessarily hold true. One idea that they hit upon was the idea of "system matters". Now, I'd argue that this is something they had to hit upon in order to do the thing that they were doing. It was a necessary pre-condition for the exercise. And, to some extent I agree with it. I would certainly never argue that the system doesn't matter at all. But there is I think a gotcha in the idea of "system matters" that if you overlook, can lead to wildly erroneous conclusions. I think that this statement is clearly not supportable from my experience. As early as the mid-late 1970's there many diverse opinions on different sorts of rules and already much...


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