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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Today, 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
    Yesterday, 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,...
    143 replies | 3916 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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...
    143 replies | 3916 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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...
    575 replies | 19862 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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...
    143 replies | 3916 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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...
    143 replies | 3916 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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
    Yesterday, 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)....
    10 replies | 274 view(s)
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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.
    43 replies | 949 view(s)
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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.
    43 replies | 949 view(s)
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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.
    143 replies | 3916 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 05:41 AM
    Celebrim replied to Firearms
    No, that's just not true.
    143 replies | 3916 view(s)
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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.
    43 replies | 949 view(s)
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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...
    46 replies | 1628 view(s)
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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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    3 XP
  • 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...
    43 replies | 949 view(s)
    2 XP
  • 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?
    143 replies | 3916 view(s)
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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...
    143 replies | 3916 view(s)
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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?
    143 replies | 3916 view(s)
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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...
    143 replies | 3916 view(s)
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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...
    64 replies | 2316 view(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...
    143 replies | 3916 view(s)
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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...
    143 replies | 3916 view(s)
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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...
    64 replies | 2316 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...
    129 replies | 5094 view(s)
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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...
    64 replies | 2316 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...
    64 replies | 2316 view(s)
    6 XP
  • 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...
    575 replies | 19862 view(s)
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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...
    143 replies | 3916 view(s)
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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.
    143 replies | 3916 view(s)
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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...
    143 replies | 3916 view(s)
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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...
    575 replies | 19862 view(s)
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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...
    575 replies | 19862 view(s)
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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...
    46 replies | 1628 view(s)
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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.
    143 replies | 3916 view(s)
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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...
    575 replies | 19862 view(s)
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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...
    575 replies | 19862 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...
    575 replies | 19862 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 | 2213 view(s)
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  • 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 | 2213 view(s)
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  • 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...
    575 replies | 19862 view(s)
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  • 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...
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  • 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...
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  • 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...
    575 replies | 19862 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 03:15 PM
    Ever popular 503 error.
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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...
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  • 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...
    575 replies | 19862 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...
    575 replies | 19862 view(s)
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  • 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...
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  • 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...
    575 replies | 19862 view(s)
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  • 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...
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  • 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...
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  • 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...
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  • 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.
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  • 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...
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  • 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...
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  • 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...
    575 replies | 19862 view(s)
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  • 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.
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  • 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...
    575 replies | 19862 view(s)
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  • 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...
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    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...
    575 replies | 19862 view(s)
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    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...
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    Monday, 6th May, 2019, 07:59 PM
    My usual understanding of evil is to destroy with the outcome of that nothing replaces what is destroyed. This is in contrast to the usual 'natural' world view that destruction is good only in as much as it is a prerequisite for renewal. Thus the usual druidical world view is presented as wanting a balance - death is good only in as much as it feeds and sustains new life, forming a cycle...
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    Sunday, 5th May, 2019, 07:55 PM
    How so? I think if you'd start at the beginning you'd find that that is exactly what I've been saying all along. For example, go back to my first post on the thread: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?658854-What-does-it-mean-to-quot-Challenge-the-Character-quot&p=7596904&viewfull=1#post7596904 Or consider my second post:
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    Sunday, 5th May, 2019, 05:06 PM
    Ok, sure. No hard feelings. My state in this thread is that I would be happy to discuss the difference between challenge to a player and challenge to a character, but I'm not sure anyone is interested in that. I have very much got the feeling that this is a continuation of several other arguments and that for the people who were involved in those other debates, this is mostly a proxy...
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    Sunday, 5th May, 2019, 02:19 AM
    Well, it's a issue, I'm not sure it is the issue. A lot of the issues that I've been talking about have nothing to do with anyone playing in bad faith. Well, no, that's not quite what I said. What I'm talking about is player trying to manipulate the propostion->fortune->resolution cycle in order to move a game that is played normally Fortune in the Middle, to one which is moved to...
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    Saturday, 4th May, 2019, 03:17 AM
    Well, technically, faith is not defined as belief without proof. It's a definition that has arisen relatively recently, and which certain communities promote, but that is not what faith means. And even if it was, you don't understand the word "proof" either. Consider the question, do you believe your wife will be faithful to you? That is, do you have faith in your wife? Will she keep...
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    Friday, 3rd May, 2019, 09:17 PM
    Ok, good. You had me worried there for a bit. Because in this model where 10,000 non-PC classed individuals exist for every one PC classed individual, all the social roles and jobs still exist - there are nobles, clergy, merchants, etc. - they are just not PC classed. So even if they are less wealthy than adventurers, with a 10,000 to 1 population advantage most of the wealth might still...
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    Friday, 3rd May, 2019, 08:02 PM
    Gentrification? "Gentrification" is a process where by wealthy investors buy low value property in economically depressed areas in hopes of flipping it into high value property. There are both rural and urban versions of this, with the rural version usually involving buying farmland and building a golf course. It has as far as I can imagine absolutely nothing to do with what I'm talking...
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    Friday, 3rd May, 2019, 04:44 PM
    I think that there is an overlap between your perspective here and the perspective I've had on the problem. My take on this has always been that the fight can continue to be interesting if the fiction is evolving each round. That is to say, in each new round, the player is considering something new - reinforcements, changed distance of engagement, altered terrain elements, allies needing aid,...
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    Thursday, 2nd May, 2019, 11:16 PM
    I agree with just about everything you say, so I'm not really treating my preference as anything but a subjective preference. There are objective reasons for me to have the preference and advantages that go along with doing it my way, but those advantages have to be weighed against the real advantages of treating PC's and NPC's differently - and that's a value or practical judgment based on...
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    Thursday, 2nd May, 2019, 11:10 PM
    Don't get me started on how ridiculous most religion is in most published settings. Most of it tends to be polytheism, but polytheism as imagined by someone with absolutely no knowledge of actual polytheism in practice, and so polytheism as imagined through the lens of someone who has a vague Judeo-Christian derived view of what religion is like and so assumes all religion is basically like...
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    Thursday, 2nd May, 2019, 10:34 PM
    Well, "sink or swim" is one approach for educating new players.
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    Thursday, 2nd May, 2019, 07:51 PM
    There is something to be said for that. The reason I resist it is mostly a grudge I hold against 1e AD&D, which treated NPC's and PC's differently, and invariably gave to NPC's benefits that PC's could not receive. The unfairness of this when I was a player frustrated me greatly, and so as a DM, I generally prefer to have a situation where the game system at least doesn't distinguish between...
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    Thursday, 2nd May, 2019, 07:47 PM
    As a pet peeve, the definition of Faith has evolved greatly over the last 150 years - at least as it has been presented in dictionaries. Early dictionaries, say those of the 19th century, presented a very different definition of faith than the one that has been trending to dominance among lexicographists over the last 50 years. My contention is that this evolution has occurred as the...
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    Thursday, 2nd May, 2019, 07:31 PM
    An excellent example. The Search skill or acts of searching that use things like a Perception skill are troublesome because they leave vague the fictional positioning of the character. The player's call "Is it Sturdy?" was treated as a proposition by the DM, and validated as an action which needed a resolution. In fact, the problem was poor proposition filtering. The DM should have...
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    Thursday, 2nd May, 2019, 06:37 PM
    I agree both claims are true and coexist simultaneously. Neither in of themselves though proves a particular ratio between non-PC classed individuals and PC classed individuals. So I'm also making further claims. a) While the locations where adventures happen are not representative of the whole world, they are representative of more than 1/10000th of the inhabited world. b) In all...
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    Thursday, 2nd May, 2019, 05:18 PM
    Now that is fascinating. Backing up a bit, one of my big obsessions in RP theory is the notion of a propositional filter. That is to say, what propositions does the GM recognize as valid propositions which then require him to come up with some sort of resolution, and what propositions the GM rejects as invalid that need to be stated in a different manner. It's my theory, and this is a big...
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    Thursday, 2nd May, 2019, 04:09 PM
    Because you seem quite happy to invent things for me to say when it suits your purposes. Is that really all you got out of that? I even called out that the sort of conflicts that I was talking about were not merely the sort that comes from players acting immaturely or having poor social skills, and yet here we are. Style of play? I'm not quibbling over styles of play.
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    Thursday, 2nd May, 2019, 02:58 PM
    There is a difference, but it is a finer and yet more important distinction than you make here. What you say about it being something that PCs cannot do is true only for most traditional RPGs and most traditional processes of play. There are a variety of games where there are processes of play that validate the PC making calls* of the sort, "I have contacts in the city, in fact Bob is captain...
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    Thursday, 2nd May, 2019, 02:26 PM
    You have subtly moved the argument. Now we are talking about how you play the game. And regarding that, my assumption was not that you immediately tried to find the most absurd declarations that you could make within the letter of the law. There may be players like that, and actually, I've probably ran games for a couple of them, but I wasn't making the assumption that because the game did not...
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    Thursday, 2nd May, 2019, 04:31 AM
    Almost certainly to some degree. I've never seen the rules. Ok sure, but can the players except by DM wheedling/persuasion override his choices? That's sort of interesting. I guess. So the player's get perfect information about the mark? You don't run into a situation where you are running a con or a heist, and whoops, you realize you've just stolen funds from the city's...
    575 replies | 19862 view(s)
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    Thursday, 2nd May, 2019, 04:03 AM
    It's not obvious. You really have to start playing it to realize how inflexible it is, how terrible it's math is, how pointlessly complex its mechanics are, how much of it is pure random number generator, how little player choice matters, and so forth.
    575 replies | 19862 view(s)
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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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Tuesday, 21st May, 2019

  • 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?

Friday, 17th May, 2019

  • 07:34 PM - Gradine quoted Celebrim in post Games That Changed How We Play
    Let's be clear. That's not AD&D. That's a video game. It's codified because it doesn't have a Dungeon Master. Might be a fun video game, but it's not D&D. Oh, I'm aware. I'm just giving some context; I know that prior to WotC getting its mitts on D&D "rulings not rules" was a much more common practice; I just had much less experience those editions at the actual tabletop. Yeah, I know how it works at least on paper, though I've never played it, but I'm struck by the huge disconnect we are having here. The thing I like about AD&D is that you can make any proposition you want, and then some mechanical resolution specific to your proposition occurs. So what you say and play literally matter, because they resolve in different ways that simulate the specific thing that you proposed to do. If the rules don't cover it, then the DM is strongly encouraged to make something up on the spot. This is something TSR D&D did quite well, and something 5e tries, but doesn't succeed quite as w...
  • 07:04 PM - Gradine quoted Celebrim in post Games That Changed How We Play
    Now that's interesting, because one of the things I like about D&D is that you are definitely not required to do only what is on your character sheet because D&D doesn't have a proposition filter specified as part of the game, while isn't PbtA the system were all propositions must ultimately be mapped to some move that is associated with your character's moveset as specified by their character sheet and as governed by their class? That's not really my experience with PbtA, but I can see how it can be seen that way. Yes, there are universal moves and playbook-based moves, and every action taken should conform to a specific move, but the moves themselves are pretty open-ended and, well... universal. There's usually also a catch-all, something like act under pressure. Meanwhile, while I grew up with AD&D, it was mostly a solo, computed-based experience with me (starting with Eye of the Beholder and moving on to Baldur's Gate), while the bulk of my experience at the tabletop was with 3.5, a s...
  • 06:33 PM - DMMike quoted Celebrim in post GMs are an endangered species!
    Consider even the problem of this latest season of Game of Thrones. Nothing is more obvious than the difference in the quality of the story between when the episodes sprang from deep myth, and when the creators of the show were forced to become more or less extemporaneous. As long as the show was loosely based on the books, they seemed geniuses. And now the same creators seem idiots. . . . My sense is that a GMed game only requires the GM to be high skill, but a GMless game requires the whole table to be high skill - essentially a table of players that each could be in a different situation a quality GM. Ouch. Well, the HBO GoT writers do have a lot of wrapping up to do in a limited amount of time. But I'm with you on the GMed (George Martin-ed) part of the show being more...captivating. The referee aspect of GMing is a pretty significant one to me. If a game is GM-less, my first concern is knowing that everyone gets treated fairly, and especially that no player is too domineering ...
  • 06:08 AM - Azzy quoted Celebrim in post Firearms
    Ever played GURPS? If you want hyper-realism, play GURPS—don't try to inject it into D&D, it's completely out of place.
  • 06:03 AM - Azzy quoted Celebrim in post Firearms
    I've never really understood the point of this statement and others like it. What are you trying to demonstrate? I need not demonstrate it when this thread does an excellent job for me. I'm simply pointing out the inherent irrationality of trying to assert hyper-"realism" (or, more often, a false perception of realism) on the mechanics of firearms in a game the eschews such realism on other weapons or other aspects of the game. A nice example has been provided here in wanting firearms to be deafening despite similarly loud sounds from spells not being so. This all typically leads to bad game design that is punishing, kuldgy, and/or unecessary. Instead, rules need to be playable, in keeping with the other rules of the game, and not add undue or unnecessary complexity.
  • 02:32 AM - Chaosmancer quoted Celebrim in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    What is the Arcana check for? I don't see an action declaration from the wizard in your breakdown. I'll assume that was a serious question. For seeing if the wizard's character does actually know that knowledge. Arcana is the skill linked with knowledge about elementals and their strengths and weaknesses after all. And as a DM, I can call for checks, correct? That's not the DM's problem. It's up to the players to play their characters effectively. I'm not saying it is a problem, but you keep using it as a defense. Everything is fine, because the smart play is to verify. But, just because it is smart does not mean that is what the player will do. And you know what is a DM problem? The players not having fun. Which is something which I could see happening in extreme cases of this whole discussion. My players do because they have an incentive to. As an example from my current Eberron campaign, the players found a chamber in the dungeon containing crates covered in brown m...

Thursday, 16th May, 2019

  • 08:37 PM - Beleriphon quoted Celebrim in post 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. Having played games with guys that work in the mining industry, I know what somebody with demolition skills can do. I've never been so convinced a half dozen stick of dynamite can take down a castle. 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 weapons or even magic. The biggest problem you have is that lethality is increased at low levels, particularly with respect to low level NPC's armed with firearms. A volley of musket fire is realistically no joke to any character in a mundane/low heroic tier. But since PCs tend to quickly get out of these levels that's not a hard design problem. Rather, my experience with gunpowder is that the PC...
  • 08:30 PM - Satyrn quoted Celebrim in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    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? As I was typing up a reply for another thread, it dawned on me that I was also writing up a real-life example akin to the smelly chamberlain: I had . . . :.-( . . . a cat, a very beautiful cat with flowing white fur and the most gorgeous silver-blue eyes. And though he was a charming buffoon, he carried himself with a natural elegance, like the whole world was his catwalk. I also had a neighbour . . . insisted on calling him by a flowery name she christened him with and referring to him as her. The cat was so beautiful, my neighbour just could not she him as masculine. This went on for years, I just stopped correcting my neighbour. But for all her thinking my cat was female, her ...
  • 07:20 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Celebrim in post Firearms
    This is why I'm focusing on what is less obvious - the fact that practical firearms require practical explosives. Black powder grenades are no particular problem. The problem starts to be the amount of gunpowder that PC's are capable of transporting or conjuring using magic combined with typical player mentalities.I suppose it doesn't have to be conventional black powder (in my 4e pirate game, 'thunderfire rods' used 'alchemical reagents'), and could have different characteristics, like merely smoldering when touched off outside of a gun rather than being a functional low explosive.


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