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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:36 PM
    I have severe difficulty seeing this working except as a comic device in settings like Disc World and 'Harry Potter'. Most anachronisms I note tend to be accidental things ships with 14th century sailing technology but which also have a "crow's nest" or expecting professional journalism to exist in a basically medieval culture. I try to avoid these things myself, and when I do mix and match...
    5 replies | 100 view(s)
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  • Mercule's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th March, 2019, 09:34 PM
    Personally, I don't think you can remove HP from the game and have it still function -- at least not without reworking enough other mechanics such that it is no longer recognizable as D&D. I really think you have two options: 1) Put whatever fluff you need to around HP so that it no longer causes pain. My preference is that hit point is an abstraction that incorporates some elements of skill...
    62 replies | 1954 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th March, 2019, 06:13 PM
    When I look at reallife acrobats − every single stunt that they do requires Strength − and they show it. They are buff! Same goes for Olympic gymnasts who are actual ‘tumblers’. They are strong. And built more muscular than anyone else.
    36 replies | 868 view(s)
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  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th March, 2019, 05:56 PM
    Because investing in TWO ability scores to achieve ONE thematic stunt ability, is too much opportunity cost. It is MADness. Also, the difficulty is with the ability scores themselves, where there is too much sloppy overlap between ‘Athletics’ and ‘Acrobatics’, ‘Jumping’ and ‘Falling’, ‘Jumping’ and ‘Tumbling’, ‘Climbing’ and ‘Catching a Fall’, ‘Pulling up ones own weight’ and ‘Catching...
    36 replies | 868 view(s)
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  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th March, 2019, 03:28 PM
    In my view, I use Strength (Athletics) to run across a beam (as if ‘climb’), for the same reason I use Strength (Athletics) to aim a sword or throw something heavy. Athletics necessarily includes gross motor skills, body coordination, and physical stunts such as jumping. It seems to me, the early 1e decision to link Dexterity to balance screwed up all of the ability scores ever since....
    36 replies | 868 view(s)
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  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th March, 2019, 01:22 AM
    Yaarel replied to Drow Druid
    Actually, that seems like a great interpretation. Taking animal shape escapes vulnerability to sunlight. It makes sense of Norse traditions too, where the Dvergar turned to stone in sunlight, yet shapeshifted into animals that seem to function in sunlight.
    6 replies | 286 view(s)
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  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th March, 2019, 01:17 AM
    Heh, I hate to be so negative, but my personal experience with the socalled ‘Acrobatics’ skill has led me to despise the Acrobatics skill. I delete Acrobatics from existence. I use Athletics instead. For those rare occasions when Dexterity (Athletics) might make sense, that is fine.
    36 replies | 868 view(s)
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  • Yaarel's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th March, 2019, 01:13 AM
    ‘Parkour’ − meaning jumping and climbing − is Strength (Athletics) checks.
    36 replies | 868 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 18th March, 2019, 09:43 PM
    True, and they can blur at the edges. For example, you can implement both hit points and a wound track by having statuses that come into effect when you have various fractions of your max hit points. One of the biggest problems I have with 5e though makes this tough to adapt to 5e, and that is that in an effort to get rid of the fiddliness of prior editions they introduced a very elegant...
    62 replies | 1954 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 18th March, 2019, 07:47 PM
    You could, except the games that implement static single digit hit points tend to have highly aggressive 'wound tracks' where each loss of hit points carries with it a commiserate debuff, which tends to change the problem from "every attack is save or die" to "every attack is save or suck". And while that leaves you with some opportunity to respond, typically you have relatively few options to...
    62 replies | 1954 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Mercule's Avatar
    Monday, 18th March, 2019, 07:36 PM
    I've used declarations, in the past -- like the speed factors from 1E AD&D, among others. They always seem to cause more problems than they solve. Sure, it might seem a bit odd, 3/4 of the way through a six second round, to switch from drawing your greatsword and cleaving the orc to walking to the far side of the melee and laying hands on the wizard. But, that's better than having all 5 PCs...
    41 replies | 1102 view(s)
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  • Mercule's Avatar
    Monday, 18th March, 2019, 07:06 PM
    To be totally honest, I haven't even memorized the skill list for 5E, and I've been GMing it since the Basic Set came out (before the PHB). After 35 years of playing games, I just throw out a potential skill name and let the players pick one close to it. So long as it makes sense, it's all good. I'm very, very much a fan of the idea that the brutish barbarian uses Athletics to hoist himself over...
    36 replies | 868 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Mercule's Avatar
    Monday, 18th March, 2019, 06:47 PM
    I've watched a couple episodes and enjoyed them, but I don't like it well enough to replace my existing TV time. On the other hand, I listen to a ton of podcasts while driving or cleaning house. I've considered adding CR to my rotation but haven't because: 1) That's a lot of back episodes to manually queue up and manage space for (even with a higher-end iPhone, I've had podcasts eat up a...
    85 replies | 2892 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 18th March, 2019, 05:23 PM
    Most people don't understand what hit points do. The main advantage of hit points is that they make encounters mostly predictable. You can estimate how much damage monsters will do, and how much damage monsters will take, and assess whether that outcome is one that is reasonable. If you don't have hit points, you can't predict how things will play out, because everything devolves down to...
    62 replies | 1954 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 18th March, 2019, 03:37 PM
    I have tried several times, but I just can't. And this is coming from someone who has been known to watch 2 or 3 hour livesteams of someone playing 'Path of Exile' or 'They are Billions'. I think it is great that some apparently highly skilled players and a highly skilled GM are out there representing my hobby and helping to elevate play and be aspirational to a younger audience... ...
    85 replies | 2892 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th March, 2019, 05:33 PM
    Never ever plan for a party to be captured. If you are going to run a capture scenario, run it as a fait acompli at the beginning of the game. If you really want the players to experience the capture, run it as flashbacks or dream sequences where you don't have to control how it ends. I suppose I should explain that statement. The purpose of running a scene is to find out how it ends. ...
    17 replies | 448 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th March, 2019, 12:48 AM
    I like this guy.
    14 replies | 398 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 03:31 PM
    The "Paladin"* in my group is wearing armor made from the hide and scales of an adult sea dragon and has a rust proof mithril Morningstar, so would probably end up Hoovering up most or all of the XP from an encounter with rust monsters, no tears involved. *(Actually Champion of Aravar, God of the Dead, with the Guardian and Travel portfolios, but that is so much incomprehensible gibberish, so...
    14 replies | 398 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 03:23 PM
    The irony wasn't lost on me either. But seriously, how long have we argued with each other and you don't know that I don't see that sort of comment as an attack? I'm perfectly fine with laughing at myself. I can see where you are going there, but as a DM I'm playing to have fun. Being a DM is work, and I don't expect to be the one doing all the heavy lifting or the only one with a...
    53 replies | 1891 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 01:03 AM
    Not my favorite but very high up there. One of the things I like about stirges is their ability to stay relevant over a large range of levels. You can throw a stirge at a party at 1st level, but they truly scale up with numbers. They're even nastier under my house rules than normal because I have a 'clinch' maneuver and stirges have improved clinch which makes them really hard to hit once...
    14 replies | 398 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 07:36 PM
    While I think a lot of the discussion in your "Changing the Combat Parameters..." thread, in this case the OP is reporting about a combat that occurred at 2nd level when the math shouldn't in fact be broken. Again, I think this goes back to the fact that the Soldier template (and especially the elite Soldier) is well known to lead to grindy long duration fights. Your suggestions while some of...
    10 replies | 373 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 04:50 PM
    Soldiers are pretty infamous in 4e for producing grindy fights. I'm anything but a 4e expert, but speaking from my perspective, I hate resolving encounter design issues with metagaming. That is to say, you could probably resolve this in a number of ways, none of which are going to be very satisfying conceptually: a) You could avoid using foes that have high defenses, like soldiers, and...
    10 replies | 373 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 12th March, 2019, 02:30 PM
    The problem with that is that D&D largely eschewed that viewpoint right from the beginning, and continually evolved away from it until by the time you get to 3e there is definitely the impression that magic is merely the physics of the D&D universe, and wizards are analogous to scientists. The D&D wizard has almost no counterpart in real world magical traditions - which in real world magic tend...
    43 replies | 1380 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 11th March, 2019, 03:39 PM
    Or, what process of play is used to establish when the "bangs" happen? Who gets to decide when the downtime happens, or The Haven is reached, and why? Compare the classic AD&D haven/delve format where the players initiate a rest by deciding they've run out of resources and need to exit the mega-dungeon, with Mouse Guard where the rest (in this sense) can only happen on the player's turn in...
    21 replies | 465 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 11th March, 2019, 02:26 PM
    Star Trek has an episodic structure. All problems are always resolved by the end of the episode and at the beginning of each episode the Enterprise is whole, restored, and the party fully recovered from their trials. If the Enterprise is not a secure haven, then the space between episodes certainly is one. It's also true that there are ton of TOS episodes where almost all the drama depends on...
    21 replies | 465 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 11th March, 2019, 04:39 AM
    Because of D&D's particular resource allocation structure, the need for a secure 'home base' is absolutely critical if you are to avoid excessive PC deaths. In my parlance, I refer to the home base as 'the Haven'. The haven is where you can go to be relatively sure of not having a further encounter, or that if you do have the encounter it will be in your favor. The haven is essential because...
    21 replies | 465 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 8th March, 2019, 11:04 PM
    Currently playing Pathfinder, "Skull & Shackles" campaign. I'm a player, which is a first in over 20 years, and a very nice change of pace after so much GMing. Have on hiatus a homebrew 3.0e D&D campaign with hundreds of hours in it that I plan to pick back up 'soon-ish'. Finished playing just a few weeks ago a long running Call of Cthulhu 5e campaign. Had fun but my main group is more of...
    49 replies | 1295 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th March, 2019, 03:39 PM
    Anyway, back on target, I think I've covered the points that I need to make in order to start going after the things that were axiomatically assumed earlier in the thread. First, the author's intent does matter. It's irresponsible to go up to a work, merely react to it, and then assert that somehow your reaction to it was anything more than your reaction to it. Your reaction may be...
    624 replies | 14567 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th March, 2019, 03:17 PM
    Regardless of whether they are mislabeling or demonizing, those personalities are referring to Postmodern critical social theory which does exist. We have even a few strident supporters of it on the boards.
    624 replies | 14567 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th March, 2019, 03:12 PM
    I think you should read through that again, because you're misunderstanding. The points go like this. a) I declare someone else's interpretation is wrong. b) That person responds by declaring my interpretation is wrong. c) But that person who just asserted I was wrong cannot also and at the same time believe everyone's interpretation is right. Somehow they have to believe that both...
    624 replies | 14567 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th March, 2019, 03:54 AM
    Just like this, "They are wrong." See how easy that was. If you like, and you didn't get it the first time, I can demonstrate it again. Oh sure, they can disagree. They can say I'm wrong. But if they even as much say that I'm wrong, it suggests their argument is something that they don't understand and is unsustainable in the long run. It may be a two way street or it may not be, but...
    624 replies | 14567 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th March, 2019, 12:43 AM
    No I don't, but I do get to laugh at them - or mourn for them - depending on how much they get it wrong. Communication is a two way street, and I am not solely responsible for it occurring. No, I am not. You can recite that sort of crap all you like, but it doesn't make it true. At the very least, this is a point which is well recognized as debateable and over which reasonable people...
    624 replies | 14567 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th March, 2019, 11:21 PM
    My friend, I handwave nothing away. :) And ok, with that further explanation, I think we are actually on pretty close to the same ground.
    624 replies | 14567 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th March, 2019, 11:16 PM
    Well then, I rest my case. I insist I'm not actually off topic, but that it is necessary to establish a few points before I attack some points that are axiomatically assumed by the earlier discussion.
    624 replies | 14567 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th March, 2019, 11:09 PM
    Oh wow. Ok... I don't even know how to respond to that, other than to say I hope you are wrong, and I hope more in the audience didn't have a take away that extreme. Yet, comparable to Hitler? I think Erik could have made a much more powerful villain had he been more sympathetically portrayed and been more nuanced. I had sympathy for the character owing to his background and his anger...
    624 replies | 14567 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th March, 2019, 11:01 PM
    I never got the sense that was so from the movie. To me the center of the conflict was who was the rightful king, and if you wrap that up successfully it's a simple act to countermand Eric's order before any death and destruction occurs (considering an hour or two flight to London at supersonic speed, plus a couple hours to get organized, because no military operation just happens instantly). ...
    624 replies | 14567 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th March, 2019, 10:44 PM
    I think you misunderstand me. I don't think anyone denies that 'Black Panther' takes on a serious issue, and that it has at its heart and intellectual disagreement that has echoes of serious real world intellectual disagreements. The fighting is how the movie works on a superficial level, but the things that elevate the movie from just being another superhero movie are its willingness to...
    624 replies | 14567 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th March, 2019, 10:04 PM
    Actually, the opposite. That he realized his depiction of Orcs was morally problematic is true, but his solution to the problem was not to go in the direction of a more humanized redeemable creature, but rather to go in the exact opposite direction - to present Orcs as less human creature which was entirely a puppet of the will of its evil master/creator. Tolkien's fundamental issue...
    624 replies | 14567 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th March, 2019, 09:51 PM
    Nope. Rant away. You'll hear no complaints from me. Understand though that as much as I admire your attempts to rectify the blandness of most D&D monster's ecologies, taxonomies, and lore, I still do not think there is one right answer here. I admire your thoughtfulness and your intention to entertain and give the setting more depth and more color, but however a DM wants to go about doing...
    21 replies | 995 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th March, 2019, 06:00 PM
    I have no orcs in my setting. The role of orcs in my setting is held by 'goblinkind'. Goblinkind is one of the six races of mortal free peoples. Their chief Maglubiyet the Flame-Eyed God is the eldest deity, and is in a sense the senior deity of all creation. Certainly he thinks himself the rightful king for the universe. After the gods-war, which was started by a quarrel between the god...
    624 replies | 14567 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th March, 2019, 04:11 PM
    My D&D setting assumes that the physics of the world correspond roughly to the physics ancient peoples believed the world had. a) There are four material elements and basically everything material is composed of combinations of those four elements. b) Things that move are animated by spirits, and are thus alive in some sense and move according to internal rules and will rather than external...
    43 replies | 1380 view(s)
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  • Mercule's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th March, 2019, 03:32 PM
    You lose your guest bedroom and need a U-Haul to game at someone else's house?
    27 replies | 1066 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th March, 2019, 03:13 PM
    I usually apply a 'squeezed' penalty of -4 on attack rolls and -4 to AC, and I treat the space as difficult terrain. I also increase fumble chance (fumbles threaten on natural 2 or lower), but if you don't have fumbles in your game that may to be meaningful. Some swung weapons, usually those whose only mode of damage is 'slashing' or 'bashing', can't be employed normally if you lack room to...
    2 replies | 179 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th March, 2019, 01:40 AM
    You've done some editing so I'm going to back off a bit. My answer is still "No." But when you start addressing something as broad as "gaming", things get complicated.
    624 replies | 14567 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 5th March, 2019, 11:01 PM
    Yeah, well don't let your players know that. From a balance perspective, 3.5 was terrible. Before it came out, the big arguments were over whether or not Haste and Harm were broken as written and needed errata (remember those?). 3.5 came down on the side of nerfing the spells, so my expectation was that 3.5 would take a look at overall spell power (clearly the worst designed part of...
    106 replies | 5412 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 5th March, 2019, 08:56 PM
    I agree. I very quickly banned all divine wands as soon as I noted the issue. Although the CLW wand is the worst offender, the problem isn't specific to it. A quick perusal of the wand, staff, rod options available to clerics in 1e shows that this is a major oversight, as the sort of cheap spell on a stick devices the rules generalization made available just don't exist in earlier...
    106 replies | 5412 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 5th March, 2019, 05:35 PM
    Mine would be: 1. 3e/Pathfinder (I have an existing homebrew rules set) 2. 5e 3. 1e/2e (any attempt to run this would result in a game so house ruled it would be difficult to determine which rules set I was playing) 4. 3.5e (I'd run this as basically core only to avoid the issues of bloat.) 5. 4e/4e Essentials (At this point and below I can't see myself ever running or playing a game.)...
    106 replies | 5412 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 5th March, 2019, 04:43 PM
    There is only one Rules Light system that I admire and think is suitable for running a long running game under, and that's 'Dogs In The Vineyard'. Ironically, I would never actually use 'Dogs In the Vineyard' for its intended setting, but for example, if I wanted to run a Star Trek game, I'd use 'Dogs In the Vineyard' as a the engine for that. Indeed, almost any story where most of the...
    15 replies | 574 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 5th March, 2019, 04:35 PM
    The problem with the word realistic is the same that it has been since its ubiquitous use in the 1980's, namely that too often 'realistic' is used to pretend that subjective preferences are objective truths. Can you rationalize the 4e system to create in game meaning for the rules? Sure. You can go further and suggest it has verisimilitude to certain sorts of genre. But you can't actually...
    106 replies | 5412 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 4th March, 2019, 10:55 PM
    I guess the problem then is I'm struggling to understand what you are saying. Most of the play of D&D I'm familiar with involves a combination of words and dice. Sometimes it happens in D&D that you can win without dice, but I'm unfamiliar with a circumstance in D&D where you can win without words. I've encountered players that dump stat Charisma and then imagine that they can avoid the...
    53 replies | 1891 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 4th March, 2019, 09:07 PM
    Let's not start that again. 4e models a very different reality than the one 1e does, not the least of which is Gygax never suggested that hit points ought to be easily recoverable from a night's rest. Let's not pretend otherwise. You can fully describe the reality that 4e models and defend it without resulting to spurious claims that it isn't any different than the one modelled by 1e. There...
    106 replies | 5412 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 4th March, 2019, 08:05 PM
    The answer is "Yes." A game can concentrate it's complexity in preparation while having a simple mechanical resolution mechanic. If a game does that, the player's have a one time investment in complexity, but after that their experience of play tends to be fairly smooth. Some proponents of the HERO system will make this claim, that all the complexity is front-loaded in the options and set up...
    141 replies | 5649 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 4th March, 2019, 06:18 PM
    I agree with the overall thrust of your observation, although I think you confuse your argument by using 'realistic' to describe what you are going for. You'd actually I think be clearer by dropping realistic from your discussion and just say, "4e is extremely good at modeling expertise", which is I concur one of the problems I have with 5e's approach is that it doesn't model expertise or...
    106 replies | 5412 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 4th March, 2019, 04:29 PM
    The best way to describe my tables is that I only allow second party material in my game, in that my tables tend to be so heavily house ruled that there is little point in using any documents but my house rules. In general, I make no distinction between first party material (published by WotC for D&D example) and third party material (published under the OGL by Green Ronin for example). ...
    23 replies | 764 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 4th March, 2019, 03:48 PM
    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. When I ask a player to RP, I'm expecting...
    53 replies | 1891 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 4th March, 2019, 03:22 PM
    As a practical matter, few players of 3.Xe edition had regularly fired fireballs or longbows at things 100's of yards away. Large distances like that existed solely because in real life, we know longbows were used in combat over great distances, and rarely did anyone try to game them (if they did, they probably ended up changing the rules). One thing that 4e did is that it dropped any attempt...
    106 replies | 5412 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Saturday, 2nd March, 2019, 09:21 PM
    Celebrim replied to New to DM'ing
    While it could be true that the problem a GM faces is that he has bad players, I much prefer to start any discussion with a GM on the assumption that the problems you are facing or could be facing are the GMs fault and can be corrected with GM skill.
    18 replies | 705 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Saturday, 2nd March, 2019, 08:07 PM
    Celebrim replied to New to DM'ing
    1) Start small. Your best bet is to pick up some published module to start. Don't decide as a new DM that you are going to do everything on your own. 2) Work hard. If you are running a published adventure read it several times and take notes, just like if you were preparing for a test. Even if you are running a published module, the amount of preparation you are going to need to do is...
    18 replies | 705 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Saturday, 2nd March, 2019, 05:49 PM
    I think it is vague, poorly defined, and we don't agree on what the definition is... but I don't think that it is subjective. I just think the idea represented in 'complexity' is complex enough that it is hard to offer up an accurate description. Competing definitions don't necessarily mean that there isn't something real underneath the confusion. It just means no sees clearly (yet). (A...
    141 replies | 5649 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 1st March, 2019, 11:12 PM
    Ok, that's good to hear, because you really can't run a science fiction game with a lot of combat if you want your combat to be realistic. If you are familiar with Traveller, why don't you just use Traveller? Personally, I'd probably run D20 Modern/Future and homebrew what I needed, or use N.E.W./O.L.D. but I'm not sure that either would meet your criteria for enforcing sufficient bullet...
    13 replies | 587 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 1st March, 2019, 09:36 PM
    Well, it depends on what skills and weapons you give to the bad guys. But straight out of the box, Chewbacca can certainly run through a blaze of stormtrooper fire, dodge or shrug off the blasts,and maul the armored foes with his bare hands, much less some sort of melee weapon. This goes back to what I'm trying and failing to communicate, that how deadly you want a system to be depends...
    13 replies | 587 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 1st March, 2019, 09:16 PM
    Well, I agree Starfinder is not what you want, since Starfinder is probably closer to Warhammer 40k in theme and assumptions. I do think you should limit your desire for realism some what. When you say things like "A modern or scifi character who regularily runs through heavy suppression fire unharmed..." it suggests to me that you are asking for realism without having ever actually played...
    13 replies | 587 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 1st March, 2019, 12:19 AM
    So, this was developed for 3e, but this is my stats for a hand gonne: 14th Century Hand Gonne: Dmg: 1d10+1, 19-20/x3; Range Increment: 25’; Penetration: +3; Accuracy: -1; Reload: 2 full rounds; Weight: 8lb. Penetration means the armor bonus of the target is reduced by 3 (which negates armor for 5e purposes). Accuracy -1 means that you have an inherent -1 penalty to hit. The weapon can...
    1 replies | 162 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th February, 2019, 11:36 PM
    I guess I should add to this that no edition of D&D has ever claimed that hit points represents the ability to just shrug off hits. There is a false dichotomy that frequently comes up in this discussion that amounts to 'meat/no meat', and Gygax explicitly rejected that interpretation. If your are playing D&D, and a couple of arrows hit you doing say 13 damage, we know absolutely nothing about...
    13 replies | 587 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th February, 2019, 07:22 PM
    Regardless of the game system I use, it always seems to take me 3-5 hours of prep per hour of play time that I want to have. And for me at least, it seems to require nearly that much even if I'm running a prepared published module. To only spend four hours prepping a session is astonishing to me. Normally I'd spend 10-20, and I'd only get below that if I had a sandbox which I'd invested in...
    141 replies | 5649 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th February, 2019, 06:29 PM
    You really have to decide whether you are wanting a game of hard sci-fi or whether you are going more for science fantasy (star wars, star trek, fifth element, etc.) or a more space opera feel. Realistically speaking, you can only have fantasy heroes in an age where defensive technology vastly exceeds offensive technology. That's why two of the great ages of fantasy are the Early Bronze,...
    13 replies | 587 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th February, 2019, 06:10 PM
    Back in the late 70's, early 80's, when I was a wee munchkin, I had an older cousin that played Traveller and to a large extent it was obvious his enjoyment of Traveller was much as a solo game of world building as it was the collective RPG experience. Though I think Traveller might be the definitive example of that, there are similar examples from other games, CharOp and monster modifications...
    141 replies | 5649 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th February, 2019, 06:02 PM
    Sure, but if the strong nuclear force in our hypothetical universe is too weak to support the creation of helium (because the protons fly apart), we still might have a sea of hydrogen awash in neutrinos, free neutrons and a bunch of other detritus left over from the big blow up. Deuterium, Tritium? Agreed, but that goes back to my point. Since to describe the U238 atom we also...
    141 replies | 5649 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th February, 2019, 06:58 AM
    This is a CharOp view of what spells are for, and indeed very much a 'card players' view of what an RPG is about. It has some relevance, but I don't think a list of optimized puzzle solvers is the only thing that a system like D&D needs to be doing with spells. Still, what I object to is redundant spells. For example, over the long run any edition of D&D tends to end up with an over abundance...
    141 replies | 5649 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th February, 2019, 06:14 AM
    I think one of the things that the 4e designers were trying to do was make the complexity do a better job of making interesting choices at all times, at least within what they considered the core gameplay of D&D, which was the skirmish combat. Some people really enjoyed it. Some people didn't. I agree though that D&D rules sets tend to be bloaty and complicated. For example, over time...
    141 replies | 5649 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th February, 2019, 05:58 AM
    You sound like the expert in this, but it seems to me that I can describe all the what it is by simply identifying where all the constituents are. That is to say, in both universes I could simply say: proton, electron, proton, electron, etc. And as long as I labeled where all the parts where and where they were going (ignoring some known problems with that), I would still have a complete...
    141 replies | 5649 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th February, 2019, 03:08 AM
    At this point, it's clear that this isn't going anywhere.
    141 replies | 5649 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th February, 2019, 02:03 AM
    Eureka! I mean, that's not all that this thread is about, but it is a necessary insight to fully understand the conversation. So, suppose you had an RPG that came with a little box something like Alexa, and during combat if you declared an attack, the box would magically spit back a detailed summary of the results of your attack that paid attention to all the factors involved in the attack...
    141 replies | 5649 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th February, 2019, 01:52 AM
    - emphasis added Garbage in. - emphasis added Garbage out. You continue to define things circularly.
    141 replies | 5649 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th February, 2019, 01:41 AM
    Yes, but that is just a truism. You might as well say good complexity is good and bad complexity is bad. You've just used fancy words to connotate 'good' and 'bad' in this context. The question you should be asking is, "How much complexity do I want, and why?" Back to the World's Simplest RPG. It's a complete system. However, some problems with the system are immediately forth...
    141 replies | 5649 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Mercule's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th February, 2019, 01:33 AM
    Beat me to it. I was just coming to say: Because they ugly.
    41 replies | 1663 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th February, 2019, 01:29 AM
    Well, start with a Wikipedia article on 'complexity'. *Beats head against wall* Ok, I'll take a different tack. Rules Light inherently supports less granularity in the resolution. The proponents of Rules Light tended to mock the idea that you needed to have fine grained resolutions, and as a result tended to create games that do not as an element of the resolution process give...
    141 replies | 5649 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th February, 2019, 01:24 AM
    No, you are persisting in using a poor definition. I've offered up better definitions, but you've neither quibbled with them, nor offered your own, nor accepted them. Instead, you are continuing to talk in a circle without even so much as acknowledging the argument I'm making. So in short, this conversation is probably coming to an end. I'm not going to get into refuting that because...
    141 replies | 5649 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th February, 2019, 12:43 AM
    Detail in resolution is, unsurprisingly, a definition of complexity or not a bad pass at one. The positive traits are the complexity. You can't separate the two things. Complexity has to do with emergent properties of a system. You don't attain complexity without having at least some properties that occur across different scales. Absolutely. We should strive to make this game...
    141 replies | 5649 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th February, 2019, 12:21 AM
    All of them. I feel I have to break out "The World's Simplest RPG" again. It has one rule: Rule #1: Whenever any proposition is made, flip a coin. On heads, the proposition succeeds. On tails, the proposition fails. By your argument this game now contains all the positive traits that a game can have. Reading you statement just above this one, I again insist we need a definition of...
    141 replies | 5649 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th February, 2019, 11:36 PM
    Now, I think we are going to need a definition of 'complexity', because I don't feel that that is sustainable at all. Complexity is a good thing. Indeed, it's one of the best things, maybe the best things there is. If we tweaked the fundamental constants of the universe such that the universe was made of nothing but hydrogen atoms, it would contain the same amount of information but none of...
    141 replies | 5649 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th February, 2019, 10:25 PM
    I'm not familiar with Girl Genius, but I've encountered the concept in many other contexts. I confess a lot of my internal ideas of how fey think is set by the portrayal of Tinkerbell in Barrie's 'Peter Pan' (and for that matter of Pan himself). For instance he has one comment about Tinkerbell to the effect of her mind is too small to contain more than one thought at a time which I find very...
    9 replies | 367 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th February, 2019, 10:05 PM
    One thing that I find if you start attempting to model the various factors involved somewhat reasonably is that what works on a battlefield doesn't always work for someone whose job is to explore steaming jungles, trap filled tombs, lightless caves, and reeking mires. One advantage that swords have over pole axes, however much all other things being equal on a tournament floor the pole axe...
    141 replies | 5649 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th February, 2019, 09:34 PM
    I don't know how sophomoric it is, or at least I don't want to think of it as sophomoric because I reasoned along similar lines (just with different math). There is also canonical justification for this reasoning. According to the lore of the elven deities', they are long lived because Labelas Enoreth gave them the gift that time would pass slowly for them. Thus, it's a very major portion...
    9 replies | 367 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th February, 2019, 08:40 PM
    So fey are a big part of my campaign world as well (homebrewed 3.0e D&D) to the extent that 3 of the 10 or so PC races are fairies, the most common of which tends to be the Sidhe, and I can only give you my answers. I don't think there are any one right answers, but hopefully this will give you some inspiration. Fey can reproduce by biological means, but this is actually quite rare. One...
    9 replies | 367 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th February, 2019, 06:12 PM
    That's an extraordinarily deep and useful question, and my way of answering it depends on me discussing what I think an RPG is, and what I think makes a good and successful RPG. My answers are radically different than the conventional ones The Forge offers, so bear with me. So to begin with, I believe an RPG is a game of structured make believe story-telling that is composed of a collection...
    141 replies | 5649 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th February, 2019, 04:19 PM
    Well, that little bit of pretense and calling what other designers and players do 'badwrongfun' in technical language goes back nearly two decades, but the movement away from complexity has been going on for nearly thirty years now. So, a bit of background. In the 80's, design in RPGs was wide open and we barely had language to talk about the issues of design. There was a lot of good design...
    141 replies | 5649 view(s)
    9 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 26th February, 2019, 06:55 PM
    My players seemed to universally appreciate them, but this could be because I was dealing with players with 10-15 years of experience who were by that point seeking novelty from their games, and my particular house rules contributed to my table having a very different flavor than they'd become accustomed to. Also, as I said, I didn't force play to slow down to accommodate the rules. While I...
    16 replies | 557 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 26th February, 2019, 06:03 PM
    There are two reasons I think it was ignored, and one is the one you point out here. Looking up on a table is slow. But cross referencing two tables is too slow, slowing down play to a crawl. My solution for this was to not do it, but instead combine the two tables into one before starting play. At most tables, the procedure of play probably looks something like this. A 6th level...
    16 replies | 557 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Sunday, 24th February, 2019, 08:56 AM
    First, before I answer your question, the most important thing to realize about RPG's is that your processes of play are more important than your rules. That is to say, how you choose to play the game actually dominates over the experience of play compared to what rules you use to adjudicate the dicey stuff. You can play basically the same game with every edition of the game. So beware...
    106 replies | 5412 view(s)
    1 XP
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Saturday, 14th April, 2018

  • 12:57 PM - Afrodyte mentioned Mercule in post I love D&D.....but.
    Mercule Been thinking about this for a couple of days, and I think I should offer some real examples about what I mean when I talk about thinking conceptually. Here's a sample of how you can do the work of "translating" D&D magic to Fate without having to create separate skills or stunts for every spell. ASPECTS To be able to use magic, a PC needs an aspect that describes the nature of that magic. Some examples: Magic in My Blood Sorcerer's Apprentice Chosen by the Sun Goddess The Archfiend Grants Me Power When I Play Music, The World Listens STUNTS Because magic is so potent, it's a good idea to link magic stunts are linked to the appropriate Aspect and require invoking that Aspect to limit how often it gets used. Some examples: Healing Touch. Because you are Chosen by the Sun Goddess, once per scene, you can make an Empathy roll to reduce the severity of a consequence for another character by one level. For each additional level of consequence you wish to reduce du...

Monday, 2nd April, 2018

  • 06:05 PM - Celebrim mentioned Mercule in post Do We Still Need "Race" in D&D?
    Mercule: It's a very good post, so don't think that by my quibbles I think otherwise. Still, I have a lot to quibble with. But it's not 'culture', any more than it's race. Culture implies the social heredity, rather than genetic heredity. That realization is so rare these days. So many people think culture just means music, food, clothing or other superficial cultural artifacts. Even worse, so many people conflate culture and race these days it makes me want to cry - as in, "You are black so you like Rap." or "You are white so you like Heavy Metal." Usually these are the same people who'd never think things like, "You are black so you like watermelon." 'Culture' could certainly include things like the elven knack with a bow, but it can't cover everything currently covered by 'race' -- at least not without bastardizing the word at least as much as 'race' has been. Culture could include the elven knack with the bow but it's not required, and explicitly in my homebrew the elven...

Monday, 26th March, 2018

  • 02:35 AM - Hussar mentioned Mercule in post Do You Use Your RPG Rules as Written?
    ...e the rules change that they were proposing rarely achieved that. Some where the equivalent of Monte Haul GMs that were handing out treasure in the form of broken rules, and others where the equivalent of death dungeon DMs that wanted to change the rules to "keep players in their place". Most of my posts from that era consisted of me trying to explain to some young DM why they probably shouldn't change the rules until they had a bit more experience and a very concrete reason why they wanted to change something and what they hoped to achieve by that change. Now, here is one area where we are in 100% agreement. I've largely come to the same conclusions that you have here. Yes, it's fun to bang out new mechanics, but, watching what people post has made me realize that many people are very bad at it. Like you say, they either set the numbers too high or too low and wind up with mechanics that just aren't all that good. Heh, it's funny Celebrim, while I was writing my answer to Mercule, I did have you in mind when I mentioned 3 inch binders. :p And, I know, from your posts, that you spend incredible amounts of time on your game. Fantastic stuff. But, I also know myself well enough that I would be a very bad fit at your table. I just would. The constant rule changes would bug the heck out of me and I would wind up spending far more time whinging about this or that rule change than actually playing. :D I've gotten very used to playing in groups where RAW is generally the baseline we're all working from. From 3e onwards, the groups I played in and DM'd have generally tried to adhere to RAW. It works better for us. I'm not interested in playing amateur game designer nor am I interested, particularly in indulging anyone else's amateur game designer proclivities. I just want to play the game that we've agreed to sit down and play.

Friday, 23rd March, 2018

  • 12:16 PM - Hussar mentioned Mercule in post Do You Use Your RPG Rules as Written?
    Heh. Mercule - I'd probably chalk it up to differing experiences. I'm pretty vocal about limiting the DM at the table. And, I'm a strong proponent of RAW to do that. If we're following RAW, at least, as close as reasonably possible, then everyone at the table is one the same page. No one is getting blind sided by stuff that someone came up with. And, again, as someone who went through a LOT of very, very bad DM's over the years, I view adherence (again, within reasonable levels of tolerance, I'm not terribly hard nosed about it) to RAW as a sign of a DM that I want to play with because, likely, that DM's views of the game probably line up with my own. If I sit down at the table and the DM pulls out his three inch binder of house rules, I'm very, very likely to recuse myself from the game, simply due to past experiences. Which, really, is probably a shame because I'm possibly missing out on some really great games. OTOH, fool me several times, and I'll finally figure out what I want. ...

Saturday, 10th February, 2018

  • 06:40 PM - monsmord mentioned Mercule in post How much should Human features differ from Humans from Earth?
    Our variation is driven by evolution and environmental influences. A fantasy world will have any number of other extraordinary factors, including magic and the likelihood of interbreeding with non-humans races. Anything goes, really. I do agree with Saelorn to a point - if the features go too far they wouldn't be human per se (wings, scales, extra limbs, etc.). And Mercule's point about baseline abilities is spot on, at least in D&D and similar games. But odd coloration, facial feature sizes/shapes, height/weight - sure, why not? If you do go the extraordinary route with features we'd classify as bizarre or inhuman here, just blame magic. :)

Sunday, 27th August, 2017

  • 11:58 PM - MoonSong mentioned Mercule in post Building a better Sorcerer
    Please don't use bold or custom color when you're not emphasizing select parts of your post. Unless you actually meant to scream at Tonys post, in which case my question instead becomes "wait, what?" Sent from my C6603 using EN World mobile app I've been using pink letters for almost 4 months now. May 5th was the first time actually. I thought everybody would have gotten used to it by now... But if you have any problem with that, tell Mercule, he told me it was ok. How else was I going to be recognizable without avatar and signature?(the bold part is a concession to those using white background)1

Wednesday, 9th August, 2017

  • 12:35 AM - Leatherhead mentioned Mercule in post [Poll] Cleric Satisfaction Survey
    I voted dissatisfied. The class seems to be a vestigial hodgepodge of ideas. I've gone over how the Priest/Cleric was made as a rules patch for earlier editions in this forum (except for 4e, where it was a legacy name attached to the Divine+Leader part of the power grid) Mercule touched on most of the current problems, but they get bigger when you take a look at them. Firstly, what exactly is the difference between the Cleric and any other (sub)class that receives powers from the gods? We have other divine classes, quasi-divine classes (looking at you, Warlock), and a host of upcoming sublasses that look to take the Cleric's narrative away. Secondly, why do Clerics share powers and spells anyway? Why does a cleric of death, destruction, and/or disease get access to healing spells? For that matter, why does a Cleric of trickery or shadows get them?

Friday, 23rd June, 2017

  • 05:59 AM - Kobold Stew mentioned Mercule in post Do you want psionics in your D&D?
    Mercule -- that's what i'd say to anyone who felt the need to add it. I think we agree: any table can add or take away flavour text; that's my point. It is meaningless at most tables, and I don't get why people care about that aspect to the degree they seem to do when posting on boards.

Friday, 9th June, 2017

  • 05:29 PM - JeffB mentioned Mercule in post Why FR Is "Hated"
    Wait, there's more info on the FR in SCAG than there was Greyhwk info in the LGG? Owning both books, LGG is far more detailed, it's not even close! Sent from my VS987 using EN World mobile app I believe Mercule is talking about the 3e Gazeteer. A 32ish page product that was similar to the original GH folio meant as a primer for the setting of Oerth at 3.0's release. I have it on a shelf around here somewhere. Frankly, I think it is the better product for a DM to start a GH campaign. But my lack of enthusiasm for the LGG is no secret 'round these parts ;)

Wednesday, 7th June, 2017

  • 02:44 PM - MoonSong mentioned Mercule in post Why FR Is "Hated"
    But MechaPilot DOES mind - that's his whole complaint. So my answer doesn't apply to you, but does apply to him. Not sure why you decided to take my answer to his specific complaint as an attack on you when it wasn't directed at you or anything you said. MechaPilot is a she... ( Mercule take note) Except that's exactly the opposite of what I've been saying. I'm saying "don't use the Realms, 5e makes it easier than ever to run your own campaign without using pre-published adventures". I don't know, with 5e's arcane xp budgets I have problems creating an adventure that won't screw with party balance. (I had problems with 4e's one, but at least with that one the whole party was on equal footing and you didn't have to plan so much ahead)

Tuesday, 6th June, 2017

  • 06:47 PM - MechaPilot mentioned Mercule in post Why FR Is "Hated"
    ... my personal experience, that's not strictly true. Making minor adaptations to something that's already been made is always going to be easier than creating from whole cloth. The question is, do I have to make only minor adaptations? Or will the adaptions be so significant that I'm better off looking for another adventure. This is part of the reason why I like published adventures that take place on islands. I can drop a relatively small island anywhere in the world without changing the overall world. I can even smite it when the PCs are done having their fun there; the fact that it's an island means it largely won't be missed by the rest of the game world. But MechaPilot DOES mind - that's his whole complaint. So my answer doesn't apply to you, but does apply to him. Not sure why you decided to take my answer to his specific complaint as an attack on you when it wasn't directed at you or anything you said. Actually, no. You're incorrect here. Allow me to quote Mercule for reference, and because his reply is quite pertinent to my situation as well: At this point in my life, I have minimal time, but a strong desire to game and willingness to GM. I don't mind the normal work of tweaking an adventure to "roll with" the PCs and some nominal adjustments. I don't mind doing some work to tweak an adventure. For example, because I don't allow +X magic items in my game, I'm always going to have to do some work to replace them with other treasure (or replacing the +X with a different benefit). I don't mind doing this, because it preserves the kind of game I want to run. I also typically inflate the HPs of the enemies they fight (from average to maximum). I prefer more of the social side of things, but they love combat. So, I make sure they get to enjoy a good fight with either 1) tougher enemies or 2) more enemies. The game is as much for them as it is for me, so I don't mind doing that. It's only when the other required changes go beyond, as...

Thursday, 2nd March, 2017

  • 02:28 AM - doctorbadwolf mentioned Mercule in post Races of Eberron: Goliath?
    I often see them not as ''northen mountain dwellers'' but more like the people of the Andes. I borrowed from the Inca society the idea of many small cities of stone built on the very top of the highest moutains, linked by very long suspended bridges (like, 2 km long) and a very developped road system expertly hidden from the untrained eye. The inca also had a big tradition of long-distance runners, which fits well with the idea of the athletic and the whole ''live for the challenge'' thing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inca_road_system I like all of that. I may work some of that into how I treat them, or my complete re-write of how the Shadar-Kai fit into Eberron. Definitely going to use it somewhere, though. iserith thanks! I almost always love how Keith fits races into the world, but this time I just...idk, I like it but it isn't what I want, for some reason. I think I'm going to develop the record keepers idea a bit more, see where it goes. Mercule interesting thought! I'd even suggest that they may be resistant to quori mind control, but that some Kalashtar are descended from them, rather than humans. This dovetails with my general idea that Kalashtar are descended from a mix of races, which lead to them being secluded to start with, before the quori became part of them. I may actually mix a lot of this into my "Watchers" idea. The Gal'Firuth There are 12 Gal Enclaves in the world of Eberron. In ancient times, there were 13, but the 13th and greatest enclave, located in the mountains of Sarlona, has been abandoned since the Quori turned dark The 12 Enclaves each have about 150-200 people, and there is roughly that many at any given time traveling the world, so the whole world population of Gal'Firuth is about 2,000-2,500. Very few people in Knorvaire have ever met one, and most of those who have didn't know they were meeting one (especially since the Firbolg can hide their appearance). Furthermore, most folks who hav...

Tuesday, 28th February, 2017

  • 10:48 PM - doctorbadwolf mentioned Mercule in post Warlock, Hex, and Short Rests: The Bag of Rats Problem
    ...ine arrangements etc. So yes, the Warlock can wait until the long rest is over, strangle his rat, and then ask the DM if they can start a short rest, while the rest of the party make a start poking around the ruins or scouting the orc camp or whatever. Hmm. You know, technically, the Warlock could actually cast their Hex and throttle the weasel during the Long rest, and then still regain all of their spell slots at the end of the long rest. I agree, actually. Unless your DM decides that the rest ends once you wake up, in which case, the light activity of making everyone breakfast and coffee after having your psuedodragon bring you a rabbit, hexing it, and killing it for said breakfast, should constitute a short rest. Really, either way you just need your warlock to be an early riser, and have companions that are willing to do the other morning chores of breaking camp and setting out while you take care of food and coffee. Long as your warlock takes Last watch, should be easy. @Mercule makes a good point about long rests and races that don't sleep, as well. Any elf wizard could use whatever slots they have left to cast any 24 duration spells they have, as long as only 1 requires concentration, and then do their 4 hour sleep. Welcome to 24/7 charmed animal buddy from level 1. i just asked the sage advice Twitter about elves and sleep, bc my irl friends insist I'm wrong but can't find any relevant rules text that proves their case.

Friday, 17th February, 2017

  • 06:13 PM - Horwath mentioned Mercule in post D&D 5.5e; Your wish for 5.5e update.
    Mercule; agree at magic items: It should be organized as: weapons, armour, body/clothing/jewelry and misc.(non slot items). also add class abbreviations in spell descriptions. Take a look at 3.5 PHB spell sorting. That was very good. And more flavor text in spells.

Monday, 26th December, 2016

  • 07:22 PM - pming mentioned Mercule in post What does "Campaign" mean to you?
    Hiya! Mercule, I'd say that the last "end part" (of your long-standing game) was still part of the original campaign because you didn't start a new time line in the same world, and your "ending" had all the previous games events taken as fact. I've done a bit more thinking on this thread over the past day or two and have come to the realization that there simply is no definitive "line" where on this side...it's a campaign...but on that side, it's not. Far too much overlap and blurring of the lines, so to speak. An AP isn't a "campaign" when looked at as a single series of adventures that have no connection to any other games the DM has run. But an AP can be part of a campaign if it does have direct connections to previous games, or if, after the AP ends, the DM has more games that has direct connections to what went on in that AP. Similarly, if a DM "ends" a campaign, as you did with yours...but then, for example, decides to go back to that campaign and continue it from when it supposedly ended. ...

Tuesday, 6th December, 2016

  • 12:02 AM - pemerton mentioned Mercule in post The importance to "story" of contrivance
    I don't know about that. I think a lot of what we call coincedence in real life is the result of statistical probability (e.g. if we're both in london and we both like jazz and we both like going out, its unlikely but not impossible that we both might end up at Scotties) and/or actual contrivance (e.g. I realise I like someone so I engineer to be at events they're at so I can talk to them).I think dramatic contrivance goes beyond this sort of coincidence, though. What you describe is similar to what Mercule described (which I replied to in post 24 upthread). But the sort of contrivance that I mentioned in the OP goes beyond coincidence. The simultaneous and interconnected resolution of multiple emotional trajectories. Or (say) Frodo and Sam entering Mordor at just the time that Aragorn is able to distract Sauron, thereby making these two prongs of the attempt to defeat Sauron, which extend over weeks and months, coincide to within days and even hours. (And with no common cause, other than "providence", that ensures such an outcome.) Or the sequence of events I mentioned from the opening pages of Queen of the Black Coast.

Monday, 2nd May, 2016

  • 03:57 PM - lowkey13 mentioned Mercule in post Latest D&D Survey Says "More Feats, Please!"; Plus New Survey About DMs Guild, Monster Hunter, Inquisitive, & Revenant
    So, I have an observation and a question stemming from it. By the way, feel free to tell me it's ridiculous if need be, maybe I'm just new.... Looking at this discussion there seems to be quite a bit of negativity towards the idea of more options in general when they're for the player, with some outright stating that this is one of the biggest ways to impact tables in a bad way. Why is that? I'm primarily a player myself, and don't really understand the hostility. I love making characters, mechanically and through narrative, and every time Wizards releases an expansion to character options my field of possible characters and experiences in 5E gets bigger and better. What's wrong with that? Has it always been this way? I'll tackle this as well (although I think that Azzy and Mercule have also covered this, and I agree with what they wrote). The DM should know the rules- which means the rules for the game world (that's all the finicky stuff that the players don't have to worry about) as well as all the rules related to the players (that's all the cool stuff players such as you like). How you view the expansion of player materials depends on a few factors- 1. Increasing complexity (or bloat, if you prefer) is not a good thing. Even within the core rules, unexpected interactions can take place. Part of this is due to the fact that D&D has rules that modify other rules (meta-rules), and working out how these rules impact and refer to each other can be difficult. How does supplement A's spells work with Core Rule B to effect MM3's monster in light of supplement F? 2. Regarding (1), there will be a player (let's call him "That guy," because we all know who he is) who will invariably want to play an Unearthed Arcana Class with a new feat using skills he found o...

Monday, 11th April, 2016


Monday, 21st March, 2016


Wednesday, 30th December, 2015

  • 12:09 AM - Hawk Diesel mentioned Mercule in post How would you make a character who uses a shield like Captain America?
    ...roups game is just as important as anything else. Not every concept can be supported at once without weird and downright silly stuff happening in the setting. For a good example, check out the Spiderman story where Parker makes a deal with the devil to undo his marriage because he can't handle great responsibility. I agree with you that some concepts might not fit a particular gaming group, which is why session 0 is important for any group to create the foundation for the style of play and what kind of game is going to be run/played/enjoyed. But this is seriously getting off target from the OP's question. She did not ask whether she should or shouldn't allow this in her game. She asked how, based on 5e rules, she might fairly implement a character that can use a shield in a manner similar to Captain America. She did not suggest allowing a Captain America stand in for a player, or ask if such a character would be congruent to the theme/play-style of an established game. EDIT: Mercule Sorry, I read that as that druids can control the weather, but not fly like Storm. Not as they can cast control weather, but not use it to fly (a point in which I do agree. A player shouldn't cast that spell and expect to be able to fly). As to the issues with flavor vs. mechanics, I guess my DM style is to let fun concepts to inform rulings, rather that for the mechanics and RAW stand too greatly in the way. As long as it doesn't break the game or unbalance the party, I'm generally ok with it. But I'm a relatively new poster, so I'm not familiar with the Warlord section. While becoming a god has (almost) always been conceptually present in D&D, it was generally viewed as either retirement or a transition to another style of play. It definitely isn't 1st level stuff. Very true, and another point where we agree. But the OP isn't asking for Captain America at first level. She's asking how to get an effect that allows her to have a character use a shield in a similar way as Captain...


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Monday, 18th March, 2019

  • 09:05 PM - robus quoted Mercule in post Do you Critical Role?
    2) I listen to enough other podcasts that I'd just continue to fall further behind. Then again, I could probably use something else in the rotation to break up all the politics and history. This is the curse of modern life, there's way more content being created than can possibly be kept up with! You have to choose the right mix for you. Critical Role is a big investment, I kind of wish they'd have their staff produce a digest version that's around 1 hour bringing in all the highlights and leaving out some of the filler.

Monday, 11th March, 2019

  • 11:22 PM - wcpfish quoted Mercule in post it's a thing...regretfully
    Wait... That's a thing? I mean, I've bought adventures that I've never run, and that were still enjoyable to read, but I always read them with my "GM's eye", which means looking for the stat blocks, etc. I can accept that there are folks that buy adventures with no intent of running (or looting) them, but I'd still expect them to care about the game mechanics stuff, at least enough to be able to follow along. Otherwise, my brain kinda hurts. Yep it's a thing and this is (imho) the primary force driving this decision. Bryce at Tenfootpole.org talks about usability as a DM actually running the game VERSUS the joy of reading Tolkienesque descriptions of the history of each leaf in the forest. Apparently, the "I just bought it and read it and sought inspiration" buying forces are tilting to outweigh the "we're actually gonna play this thing" forces. I'd like a balance of the two and Bryce suggests how to do it. Give me bulleted points, handy one-line NPC motivations, and condensed stat bloc...

Saturday, 9th March, 2019

  • 10:58 AM - guachi quoted Mercule in post WotC Considering NPC Stat Format Change
    Wait... That's a thing? I mean, I've bought adventures that I've never run, and that were still enjoyable to read, but I always read them with my "GM's eye", which means looking for the stat blocks, etc. I can accept that there are folks that buy adventures with no intent of running (or looting) them, but I'd still expect them to care about the game mechanics stuff, at least enough to be able to follow along. Otherwise, my brain kinda hurts. I think it has to be a thing in 5e. I mean, "gorgeous" isn't really high on the list of things necessary to run an adventure. And I find 5e adventure books terribly laid out and not at all easy to use. So I assume WOTC's primary purpose with their adventure books isn't for people to actually run them.

Tuesday, 5th March, 2019

  • 12:13 AM - Parmandur quoted Mercule in post Artificer UA has been released!
    I really wish I could remember where the detail is. Looking at the PHB, I don't see it called out, either way, in either the Classes or Spellcasting chapters. About the best I've got is to say that it came up during a discussion on whether psions could be done as a subclass of sorcerer and related concepts. My personal feeling is that a really great version of psion could be easily achieved with a sorcerer subclass and spell points by just running with the idea that the psion "casts" firebolt by pointing at the bad guy (S) and saying "Burn, bastard!" (V). But, someone pulled out a "you've gotta use the same components" reference. Regardless, if it's officially open to interpretation, that's awesome. I've got no problem ignoring a straight jacket like that, at my table, but I'm happier if the jacket isn't put on. This subconversation probably qualifies as white noise, though. If I was absolutely correct about the RAW, even I would just say, "OK, that's nice. I'm ignoring it." :) Somebo...

Monday, 4th March, 2019

  • 08:25 PM - Valetudo quoted Mercule in post Artificer UA has been released!
    I really wish I could remember where the detail is. Looking at the PHB, I don't see it called out, either way, in either the Classes or Spellcasting chapters. About the best I've got is to say that it came up during a discussion on whether psions could be done as a subclass of sorcerer and related concepts. My personal feeling is that a really great version of psion could be easily achieved with a sorcerer subclass and spell points by just running with the idea that the psion "casts" firebolt by pointing at the bad guy (S) and saying "Burn, bastard!" (V). But, someone pulled out a "you've gotta use the same components" reference. Regardless, if it's officially open to interpretation, that's awesome. I've got no problem ignoring a straight jacket like that, at my table, but I'm happier if the jacket isn't put on. This subconversation probably qualifies as white noise, though. If I was absolutely correct about the RAW, even I would just say, "OK, that's nice. I'm ignoring it." :)you could ...
  • 02:36 AM - Parmandur quoted Mercule in post Artificer UA has been released!
    Absolutely not lost on me, and I didn't mean to imply otherwise. What I was more angling at is that RAW says (exact location escapes me, but I'm pretty sure it's there) that Sorcerer, Bard, Cleric, and Wizard all use the same words and gestures to cast any given spell (where access overlaps). I've never thought that made sense, especially for the Sorcerer. A sorcerer has magic running in their veins and, while they might use words to help channel it, the specifics don't matter. Where a wizard uses precise syllables, a sorcerer might just say, "Burn, you bastard!" Likewise, a cleric should probably be praying or otherwise calling on their patron. This UA is the first time I've seen it officially suggested that the details of the VSM components can be tweaked for character concept. That's what I like. I'm actually pretty sure the opposite is the case, that RAaw specifically doesn't limit what the VSM looks like for any spells. I'm certain this level of reflavoring has been advocated in the...

Saturday, 2nd March, 2019

  • 06:44 PM - Kobold Avenger quoted Mercule in post Artificer UA has been released!
    Tools required/Magic of Artifice: I like it. The whole VSM straight-jacket needs to be broken. Psionics could be spells that change trappings in a similar way to this -- obviously not with tools. Even though I'm adamantly opposed to the artificer using actual technology, they still work with items, so the trappings make sense. Just picture magic oils, special ingredients, etc., rather than gears and sprockets. They are still in the V,S,M paradigm, while it emphasizes tool use nothing seems to indicate they can drop the V part of spellcasting because they're using tools.

Friday, 22nd February, 2019

  • 05:39 PM - Al2O3 quoted Mercule in post Artificer UA to be released in February
    I snipped the rest of your post, just to save space, but I think what you outlined seems totally reasonable. This is coming from someone who really hates tinker (rock) gnomes, automatic crossbows, and guns in my D&D. I get that some people like them and don't want to scream BADWRONGFUN at anyone. Just have some segregation between the traditional tropes and the newer or "bonus" ones. Eventually, some things will get incorporated into the core, organically. Already, I prefer my D&D with dragonborn, for example. I also wonder if there's a matter of scale or cultural fit to this whole conversation, as well. Take guns. I've warmed to them, somewhat, and could actually see me having fun in a setting that has them. I don't want them to be core, but having a published setting that used them wouldn't bother me in the slightest, and I might even pick it up, depending on other factors. What I'm definitely opposed to, though, are silly, giant thunder cannons -- Final Fantasy VII was fun enough, but I d...

Saturday, 2nd February, 2019

  • 07:16 AM - Mistwell quoted Mercule in post The Fiddly Bits (That Still Get My Newer Players)
    Hmm... I wonder what percentage of the comments will be inspiration. My first solution to Inspiration not getting used was to go out and buy a handful of just hideous d20s. Something no sane person would buy, so it stood out and caught the eye. Then, I assigned one to each player. No checking the box. If you had the die in hand, you had inspiration. If you used inspiration, you rolled that, specific die (they were all fair). I even let you spend inspiration to give disadvantage to an NPC/DM roll and you got to roll your inspiration die, which gave a lot more insight into things that you'd think. It helped, but still wasn't ideal. A few months ago, I switched gears. Talking with the players, there was a dawning realization that, even though it's not exactly hard to get back inspiration, having a cap of one feels like a super-limited resource. So, away went the dice and out came the poker chips. Everyone starts every session with three chips, unless they finished the last one with more. Se...

Friday, 25th January, 2019

  • 09:50 PM - 5ekyu quoted Mercule in post Brief me on the CUE system
    The front page news mentioned Shadowrun Anarchy, which is powered by the CUE system. I couldn't find much, online, about how the CUE system plays, other than it's light-weight and narrative. I saw one mention that said it's GM-less, which makes it sound like it goes even further that Fate in being narrative driven. That seems an extremely odd choice for a game with as much combat potential as (traditional) Shadowrun. Anyone with some knowledge willing to enlighten me on the system? Note: As much as I loved Shadowrun, back in the day, I have way less interest in cyberpunk than I used to. My main interest is in just familiarizing myself with some of the newer systems, especially lightweight ones that could be cross-genre, especially fantasy, or from which I could rip ideas to improve my Fate or D&D games. Which isn't to say I don't care about the application in Shadowrun, just that I'm more curious about the system than the setting.https://rpggeek.com/rpgsystem/25150/cue-system

Tuesday, 18th December, 2018

  • 04:49 AM - doctorbadwolf quoted Mercule in post D&D Beyond teams up with Wikia (Fandom)
    Because they make more then than by selling it when it's less valuable? And even more by keeping a profitable company under their umbrella. Probably, this move was something Curse wanted, and twitch/amazon just didn't care as long as the price was reasonable. Well, that's odd. I only got a Twitch account to be able to log into DDB. I wonder how long until the security/admin stuff changes. Won't change your twitch integration, according to the stream linked in the OP. Twitch will remain linked to DDB, and you can still use your twitch login to authenticate your DDB access, or you will be able to use other authentication avenues like google or facebook.
  • 02:15 AM - Morrus quoted Mercule in post D&D Beyond teams up with Wikia (Fandom)
    Well, that's odd. I only got a Twitch account to be able to log into DDB. I wonder how long until the security/admin stuff changes. Here you go: "We're reaching out to let you know that Curse Media will be joining the Fandom team. We are excited for this new opportunity to grow and improve your favorite sites and services. So that you can keep enjoying Curse Media after the transition, we are asking for your consent to transfer your account terms and personal data associated with your account to Fandom to the extent they relate to Curse Media. You will be unable to access your account on Curse Media sites/services after the transition, unless you provide consent. You can provide consent by clicking the link below, or you can learn more by visiting here (or the link below corresponding to your preferred language). Providing consent will not impact your existing relationship with Twitch in connection with other Twitch Services."

Saturday, 15th December, 2018


Monday, 3rd December, 2018

  • 04:21 PM - billd91 quoted Mercule in post Do We Really Need Half-Elves and Half-Orcs?
    That's a fair statement, in theory, but is questionable in application. In worlds where half-elves are marginalized, they should start with a penalty to social interactions -- something like the 1E racial animosity tables, if you're a sadist. The minimum penalty you could really apply is a -1, which is what the +2 to charisma grants. So, the half-elf becomes a wash disguised as a bonus. If you remove the penalty for normal interactions, you've also removed the rationale for the bonus. Mechanically, you're actually better off hand-waving it and saying, "Half-elves are marginalized, but they've learned to work around it, so normal charisma. Go roleplay." Then give them a real stat bonus. Unless, of course, you're going to pull in Nietzsche and say that half-elves have been tempered by their adversity and done more than just offset, but that's a bit too deep for my tastes in D&D. <snip> Either way, having a normal charisma seems best, to me. Except for the other effects of having developed...
  • 07:39 AM - Henry quoted Mercule in post Do We Really Need Half-Elves and Half-Orcs?
    I'm especially baffled at the current incarnation of half-elves where they're marginalized and semi-outcast by both elven and human society but somehow have a bonus to Charisma because they're what, likable, despite being second-class citizens? Especially good at begging the jocks to stop giving them wedgies? Actually it makes perfect sense to me that on average people who are stigmatized would have developed social skills to compensate for their stigmas - class clowns, over-achievers, people who are considered “hard-nosed” or very imposing because they had to stand up for themselves to avoid getting bullied constantly. Whereas half-elves might have developed the “people-pleasing” mechanisms to survive due to average physiques, half-orcs would rely more on intimidation and physical imposition to ward off bullies.

Saturday, 10th November, 2018

  • 02:00 PM - Mark quoted Mercule in post Everyone, Tell us about your games, please!
    Haha. I didn't even see the OP date. The thread just floated to the top and I jumped into the conversation. Also, just to clarify my grognard status, I'm not 35. I've been playing D&D for 35 years. I'll be somewhat coy about my actual age (more privacy than pride), but I'm roughly the same age as the game itself. So, not older than dirt but younger than Chainmail? :p

Wednesday, 31st October, 2018


Sunday, 14th October, 2018

  • 03:52 AM - Ratskinner quoted Mercule in post Need a system recommendation
    This is where Fate (among others) appeals to me, as well. 5E D&D has a "sweet spot" of 5th-10th levels (or so). I can deal with the 1-3 "training" levels, but have been starting games at 3rd. I've also made it clear to my players that things will wrap right around the time they get 5th level spells -- and it's really the spells that bug me, though oodles of HP aren't a winner, either. This matches my experience as well, although plenty of things in D&D beyond the spells manage to bug me as well.. It seems like once you get to about 10th, there's just too much to keep track of and the story just drags and drags behind the weight of the combat. Plus all the attendant homework for the DM. I just ran a 5e game up to level 8/9 and was relieved when the party TPK'd on a trap. I'm not totally sold on just how little advancement there is to Fate. I'd like to see the characters grow some. But, I haven't played in a campaign of it, yet, and it's easier to add in rewards than it is to take the...

Friday, 12th October, 2018

  • 09:13 PM - Reynard quoted Mercule in post Need a system recommendation
    I picked it up when it was on sale for something like $12.50. I liked a lot of what it tries to do and would happily play it. Ultimately, it wasn't enough to suck me away from D&D because I wanted something lighter weight and I felt that Genesys is almost exactly as "heavy" as D&D. Yes, it lacks levels and classes are much more suggestions than straight-jackets (which I consider to be a huge plus). But, my players are resistant to changing systems, so not worth the effort -- especially because I had my eye on Fate specifically because I'm tired of having to memorize rules-by-exception and like the idea of "makes sense for your character". Still, I may have to pick up the Terranoth sourcebook, sometime.My decision to pick up and try Genesys was not based on system "heft" so much as it being a nonbinary core mechanic. I am kind of tired of pass/fail. Also, anything without a power and complexity ramp is good for me. I have grown to dislike running even mid level 5E.

Tuesday, 25th September, 2018

  • 08:21 PM - pogre quoted Mercule in post Would you play a D&D campaign without leveling?
    Eh... I don't think I agree. It might be fair to say "D&D has become about zero to hero," but that wasn't always the case and is not baked into it. I meant 5th. I do think XP or progressive levels are a big part of the D&D experience baked into the rules and expectations for the game. Not saying you cannot play with static PCs - it is just that IMO you are rowing upstream against the rules' structure. You could play an all political intrigue game with D&D rules too. I just think there are better rules systems for this.


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Mercule's Downloads

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Mercule's Eberron Conversion
This is my conversion for running an Eberron campaign in 5E.
467 0 1 Thursday, 6th November, 2014, 02:56 AM Thursday, 6th November, 2014, 02:56 AM

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