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  • grodog's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:59 PM
    Le bump! Allan.
    1612 replies | 408703 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:21 AM
    So we have Darth Emo with Kylo Ren, now we have BatEmo? Bruce Emo? Anyhow, I must say that Affleck was a pleasant surprise, and Batman v. Superman a rather underrated flick, imo. I very much enjoyed it, even moreso on a second viewing. It was flawed, certainly, but darkly epic with several really cool elements.
    15 replies | 289 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:40 AM
    A meaty edition war.
    60 replies | 2084 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 01:57 AM
    Why oh why is Brom not an option?
    131 replies | 3260 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 07:44 PM
    Would Garius Gygaxius be the Father God?
    26 replies | 651 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 07:29 PM
    Daniel Horne -- 22 Keith Parkinson -- 24 Jeff Easley -- 24 Larry Elmore -- 20 Clyde Caldwell -- 22 Todd Lockwood -- 17 David Trampier -- 24 This one looks like it could go on forever.
    131 replies | 3260 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 10:20 PM
    Regardless of criticism, from the more literary-cinematic to the more fannish outrage at missed expectations and/or questionable elements of the story, GoT remains quite enjoyable in terms of pure entertainment. That last episode was wildly entertaining television. That said, the episode was hard to watch: the sheer number of deaths, the wanton violence, the gratuitous gore (more so than most...
    164 replies | 3533 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 10:04 PM

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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 09:38 PM
    "Idiosyncratic setting with funny names allows you to journey into the uniquely strange imagination of Gary Gygax; probably not for those under 40, unless you're a collector of eight-tracks and miniatures made of actual lead."
    67 replies | 2371 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 01:32 AM
    Why does this matter? At all? You can place it wherever you want to. It is in your setting (or, for most folks, on your bookshelf).
    37 replies | 2357 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 08:59 AM
    My sense is that they've already laid the table for what will happen: *Varis will betray Dany and suffer for it, probably eaten by Drogon. *Jamie will confront, possibly kill, Cersei. Both will die. In flagrante delicto? *Dany is becoming more villainous--they've made her less likeable for a couple seasons now, preparing us for her death. Anyhow, she isn't really "meant" to rule Westeros....
    60 replies | 1936 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 07:10 PM
    Daniel Horne--20 Keith Parkinson--22 Jeff Easley--20 Larry Elmore--22 Clyde Caldwell--18 Erol Otus--20 Wayne Reynolds--18 Todd Lockwood--18 Tyler Jacobson--18 David Trampier--20
    131 replies | 3260 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Thursday, 2nd May, 2019, 07:29 PM
    Saw it last night. My overall impression is a lower grade version of the Last Jedi phenomenon: a bit baffled by how much the critics loved it. The movie felt like a jumbled mess...I mean, time travel plots almost never work out well. I enjoyed it as far as pure entertainment, but even the spectacle didn't feel new: we've seen it all before. But here's something I haven't seen mentioned as I...
    176 replies | 4661 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Tuesday, 30th April, 2019, 09:25 PM
    Or how about this. The Night King dies and all of the army and dragon die, but the White Walker survive and take off, hiding out for the rest of the season. A spin-off series starts a year or so later, when the different White Walkers create "terrorist cells," and the rulers (Jon? Dany? Sansa?) create a special force to hunt them down, led by...the Hound.
    83 replies | 2494 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Tuesday, 30th April, 2019, 09:09 PM
    I realize that. It doesn't make it less silly, and of course it is important how it is implemented. Defeating the Night King just seemed too...easy. Such build-up and then, voila, done - and his entire army with him. Winter is no longer coming in one sneaky move by Arya.
    83 replies | 2494 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Tuesday, 30th April, 2019, 06:44 PM
    I read somewhere someone comparing the Night King to the golden snitch in Harry Potter's quidditch game. It is just a silly rule, making the rest of the game superfluous. Kill the Night King, win the whole thing. And yeah, the White Walkers being nothing more than a cool looking entourage was rather...underwhelming.
    83 replies | 2494 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Tuesday, 30th April, 2019, 10:41 AM
    I think she was emphasizing blue eyes, that Arya had already killed people with brown and green eyes, but blue was still to come - meaning, wights, White Walkers, and the Night King. It was foreshadowing that Arya would kill the Night King.
    83 replies | 2494 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Tuesday, 30th April, 2019, 08:43 AM
    One thing that surprised me is how much of a role Melisandre had - not just the fire, but giving Arya that extra little inspiration. I kind of like how this rather monstrous person ended up being someone who was monstrous because it served a greater purpose: sort of a dark twist on the end justifying the means.
    83 replies | 2494 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Tuesday, 30th April, 2019, 08:39 AM
    I just watched it and I'm left with two simultaneous but conflicting feelings: 1) Extremely entertaining, dramatic and visually impressive. So many beautiful scenes (the dragons above the clouds! Drogon protecting the grieving Dany, etc). But... 2) Highly disappointing, anti-climactic, and when examined beyond the surface level of 1, it had so many problems and was rather poorly put...
    83 replies | 2494 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Sunday, 28th April, 2019, 10:10 PM
    I chose Game of Thrones. I want to and will see all three, but Star Wars feels like fan fic so I don't absolulely "have to" know how it ends. Avengers...after growing up reading comics, I'm so used to nothing ever being final, so what does it matter? But GoT has been eight years of slouching towards the end. So yeah, my choice is pretty easy.
    22 replies | 612 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Sunday, 28th April, 2019, 10:07 PM
    You can only watch one of the following. Choose. Oh yeah, you can't ever know what happens in the others. I'm sorry I did this to you.
    22 replies | 612 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Friday, 26th April, 2019, 09:15 PM
    I would guess that the dragons die, but there's a final scene showing a clutch of eggs with one hatching. In my mind the most likely to survive are: Arya, Sam, Tyrion, Sansa, Jon. Maybe Danaerys. Rey. Peter Parker. T'Challa.
    54 replies | 2091 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Thursday, 25th April, 2019, 08:07 PM
    Giant carnivorous goats.
    47 replies | 1645 view(s)
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  • grodog's Avatar
    Thursday, 25th April, 2019, 06:03 AM
    Le bump! Allan.
    1612 replies | 408703 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Tuesday, 23rd April, 2019, 12:54 AM
    Good thing about this series is that I have no idea how it will end - could be really bad, although I suspect some semblance of "the good guys win" will happen. Maybe. I'm curious if and how the Children of the Forest will play a role. And will all of the dragons perish? Probably. I could also see a scenario where Winterfell is totally wiped out except for a rag-tag group of survivors. The...
    54 replies | 2091 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd April, 2019, 01:42 AM
    Here's a thought. Maybe part of the deception of the Sith is that there needs to be "dark vs light", evil vs good. It is to further the duality, to push everyone into this or that side (Sort of like the current cultural-political landscape!) On the other hand, I would think it a rather naive view to hope that a Force--and universe--without the Dark Side would ever be fully possible, at least...
    135 replies | 3673 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd April, 2019, 01:35 AM
    On one hand that could be viewed as a matter of semantics. On the other, I think Lucas--or your take of him--is pointing to a crucial subtlety that aligns with Taoist philosophy. The Force (or Tao) isn't inherently "good" or "evil". It just is. "Balance" isn't as much a stasis between good and evil as it is a free flow, whereas the "Dark Side" would be the attempt to control it, to force...
    135 replies | 3673 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st April, 2019, 10:24 AM
    The difference isn't as much semantic as it is subtle. Being "bound" implies imprisonent; but being rooted in or connected with implies depth and lineage to a tradition of thinking. Anyhow, what is your issue with recognizing that men and women are different? Do you really prefer to see female heroes that are completely interchangeable with male heroes, as if there are no differences between...
    192 replies | 4853 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st April, 2019, 05:44 AM
    Evidently you don't understand me perfectly because I'm not saying SW is "bound" to Campbell, Taoism, or anything in particular - including whatever the latest ideological trends of Hollywood. I am saying that SW is richer for being connected to deeper ideas of myth (Campbell) and spiritual wisdom (Taoism).
    192 replies | 4853 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st April, 2019, 05:05 AM
    OA. Haven't seen the second season yet, but the first was very intriguing. Love Brit Marling. Black Mirror. To be honest, I've only watched about half a dozen episodes because they're painful to watch. But they're damn good.
    18 replies | 516 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st April, 2019, 04:55 AM
    You're reading too much into what I'm saying. In truth, I'm not proposing anything specific, like heroine as nurturer or peacemaker. If anything I am suggesting that what a hero/heroine is can be quite different, and that there are interesting archetypal possibilities to explore. Furthermore, you seem to ignore the fact that SW is based on Joseph Campbell's ideas about mythology, which very...
    192 replies | 4853 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st April, 2019, 04:32 AM
    I am not suggesting that SW does away with Light vs. Dark, but that it reimagines it as not so dualistic, not so absolute. Furthermore, what is "light" can change, and with it what is "dark" in relation to it. I'm not talking about extreme relativism, but some degree of relativism, which is an intrinsic aspect of the Taoist philosophy that partially inspired Lucas's idea of the Force. Taoist...
    135 replies | 3673 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st April, 2019, 04:22 AM
    I disagree with this assessment. First of all, the Star Wars universe is based upon our own in which male and females are "meaningfully different," at least if you think biology and tens of thousands of years of cultural patterns matter. Secondly, even if we view SW as an entirely different universe, it is still based upon mythic ideas from our world, in which there male and female are quite...
    192 replies | 4853 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th April, 2019, 09:31 PM
    doctorbadwolf, I watch absolutely zero anime or cartoons, so can't comment on that. And yeah, it would be nice to see a male hero that doesn't solve everything through brute force. I don't disagree with what you said re: Carol Danvers and WW, but also think there's room for exploring gender-flavored themes and ideas (e.g. "How might a woman use the Force differently than a man?").
    192 replies | 4853 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th April, 2019, 09:27 PM
    Yes, I very much agree with this and like the idea of a more Taoistic, non-dualistic Force tradition. Of course as with the Hegelian dialectic, even if the Skywalkers were a synthesis and transcendence of the duality of Jedi and Sith, a new antithesis would form in contrast to it as a thesis, so we'd be back to "good" Skywalkers vs. "bad" ???
    135 replies | 3673 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Friday, 19th April, 2019, 10:11 PM
    Actually, I'm not - I'm doing the exact opposite, pointing out that Star Wars is fantasy and only needs to make sense within the context of its own world.
    135 replies | 3673 view(s)
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  • Mercurius's Avatar
    Friday, 19th April, 2019, 09:35 PM
    @Zardnaar, I empathize with some of your issues with TLJ and don't think questioning whether Rey is a Mary Sue or not is inherently sexist, but I think you are going a bit overboard in trying to line her up with Luke and compare them in every detail. No matter what way you look at it, their "Mary Sueness" is similar. The only thing that bothered me about Rey's Mary Sueness in TFA was how she...
    192 replies | 4853 view(s)
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Saturday, 9th March, 2019

  • 07:43 PM - dave2008 mentioned Mercurius in post Kids D&D Intro Books: Young Adventurer's Guides
    Are these rules specifically for younger players? If so I will definitely pick these up for my daughter. Shes still a little too young but I'm eating her into the game. No I don't think so and Mercurius backs that up based on what Amazon has posted. FYI, my 4 & 6 year old sons and their friends were able to pick up D&D without simplifying the game or a D&D light for kids version. I don't know the age of your daughters but I wouldn't be surprised if they could handle it. Also, there have been a couple of threads on these forums with advice for playing D&D with young children. You might want to check them out.

Thursday, 10th January, 2019

  • 10:45 AM - cbwjm mentioned Mercurius in post Matt Colville, and Most Tolkien Critics, Are Wrong
    Mercurius One thing I will definitely agree with is that when a teacher is interested and engaging with a topic, students tend to pay attention. It's something I noticed myself as a student at uni. I don't know if I fully agree with attention spans and devices but thinking about it more as I write this, maybe people do need to switch off more. Certainly as a teacher this is a phenomenon that you would be in better position to see. All I can say is that my nieces, and nephews, despite having devices still love to read and draw and play. They aren't teenagers though. I do wonder if it might have more to do with that period of life than easy access to devices and the internet.

Sunday, 9th December, 2018

  • 08:12 AM - Quickleaf mentioned Mercurius in post How to trim 5E down to "Rules Lite" (for kids)
    Mercurius My go to source of inspiration has been James Stowe's blog: http://jamesstowe.blogspot.com/2011/09/dnd-for-8-year-olds.html He took 4th edition I believe and created simplified character sheets oriented for kids. Good stuff! :)
  • 05:41 AM - Blue mentioned Mercurius in post Optimizing a two person party
    Mercurius had an thought provoking post about going through a published dungeon crawl with a small party, possibly a two person group. http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?655479-quot-Solo-crawling-quot-Dungeon-of-the-Mad-Mage That got me to thinking. We often discuss optimization of a single character, but how about a pair of characters (only!) that need to complement each other. Say we needed to handle: RP and social skills Knowledge skills Exploration and discovery Combat where usually the foes have a lot more actions then us Healing/recovery between challengesFind/remove traps, open locks, find hidden things (Assume standard type adventures, not the DM tailoring specifically to two characters - though that does mean the might advance faster so be a bit in level above where a 4-5 character party would be.) Can you suggest character pairs that will work at (around) 6th, 12th and 16th, providing a high degree of synergy as well as covering the needed tasks? It's okay if the...

Thursday, 2nd August, 2018


Tuesday, 31st July, 2018


Friday, 16th March, 2018

  • 02:25 AM - pemerton mentioned Mercurius in post Mythological Figures: Achilles (5E)
    Like Mercurius, I was surprised to see such low physical stats. And like Polyhedral Columbia, I was surprised by the lack of allusion to Achilles's rage. But anyway, the personality traits seem to be missing. Achilles is a great warrior, but there are other great warriors in the Iliad. What distinguishes literary/mythological peronsalities tends to be their character. As a starting point for Achilles I'll suggest Ideal: Glory; Bond: Patroclus; Flaw: Pride.

Friday, 2nd February, 2018

  • 01:26 PM - pemerton mentioned Mercurius in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...he player should describe what the character does and then let the GM determine the outcome based on what's been established and the results of whatever check may be required (Search or Perception or what have you). The player is limited to describing what his character attempts to do.This isn't how D&D handles combat (subject to a qualification in the next paragraph). In combat the player doesn't have to describe what the player does (other than the very generic "I attack with my sword"); and the GM doesn't decide the outcome - we roll to hit dice, and damage dice, and track hit point totals, and some (not all) of us track figures on a map, etc. I agree with you for non-combat, though, in contemporary D&D (I don't know that it was always thus, but it has been at least since 2nd ed and its NWP system). Also, GM fudging of hit point totals or monster to hit rolls or monster AC will tend to change the character of combat to being what you described. That's why upthread, in reply to Mercurius, I described this approach to player action declarations as the player making suggestions to the GM as to how the fiction might be developed. Okay, but if we compare the search for the letter and the attack on the orc, I don't think they're exactly alike. One is the player actively seeking something, the other is the player responding to action from the game world. What if the orc is 100 feet away from the PC and is attacking them with a bow? Is not allowing the PC to retaliate with a melee attack denying their agency? Is the player free to resolve the issue of the orc in any way he sees fit? Or is he bound by the constraints of the fictional world? Is that any different than the hidden letter? It's location determines the chance of finding it.I posted a lot about this upthread. The difference I see is that in your orc example the player knows the fictional positioning - the GM has framed something, and the player has to deal with it. (If the player declared an action to sn...

Sunday, 28th January, 2018

  • 03:44 AM - pemerton mentioned Mercurius in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    Okay, but please explain how one type of note doesn't constrain the DM but another type does? Again, this reads like special pleading: this thing I prep isn't that kind of thing that's prepped, the one that constrains you.I think my longer post (just upthread) explains my analysis pretty clearly. But the short version is: an encounter map I'm carrying around in my backpack ready to whip out if/when needed (or a Monster Manual, or notes about a mysterious benefactor, or whatever) isn't an established element of the shared fiction that is secret from the players and yet that might be a factor in adjudicating the resolution of the actions that they declare for their PCs. And once the map is on the table, there is no secret. The players may not like the GM's framing (it's boring, it's contrived, whatever) but they can see what action declarations are and are not feasible within that framing. So it's not like Mercurius's omnipotent GM, who - in principle - enjoys the power to mediate every action declaration through his/her conception (be it prior, or made up on the spot) of what the fiction contains and has room for.
  • 03:40 AM - pemerton mentioned Mercurius in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...es a desire about the state of the fiction, and the action resolution rules then determine whether or not that desire becomes true. In conventional D&D play, I think the GM is expected to exercise a fairly strong mediating role in narrating the outcome even on a successful check (eg the GM probably decides whether or not the crossbow bolt shot the orc in the head or the chest). In BW, by contrast, the GM is permitted only to add embellishments (so if the player says, "I shoot the orc in the head", and the dice deliver a success, well that's what happened). The player asking "Is the map in the study" and then - on a good roll - fiding it there is strictly analogous to the player "introducing" (by way of successful action resolution) that the orc is dead. Now, if it's controversial that RPGing should include players expressing desires as to the content of the fiction, which then become true if action resolution works out a certain way - well, we're back at what I talked about with Mercurius, namely, player action declarations as, at best, suggestions to the GM as to possible narrations of furure states of the fiction. Under no secret backstory conditions, the player has now signaled that they wish to introduce a map, and the DM has to engage this hook and say yes or roll the dice. If the dice are rolled and successful, then the player has now introduced fiction.Well, this takes me back to the two contrasting cases, both of Circles checks that I've seen occur in BW play: (1) "Jabal the Red is leader of my cabal. I reach out to him to see if he can help us." That is direct authorship of fiction - the cabal is led by Jabal the Red. Then there is a statement of desire - the player wants the fiction to include Jabal helps the PC who has reached out to him. (2) "I wonder if any knights of my order are living around here. As we travel, I keep an eye out for any signs of them." That is a statement of desire - the player wants the fiction to include As I travel through...

Thursday, 25th January, 2018

  • 04:47 AM - pemerton mentioned Mercurius in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    This was a request to comment directly on a commenter's statement that world-building by the GM was an art, was something they appreciated as a creative enterprise in and of itself, and that (one of the primary) roles of players is to explore and appreciate that effort and/or engage in a choose-your-own adventure approach to RPGIng based on that worldbuilding. - This come on the heels of (after and before further) aggressive commentary by a GM stating that THE SETTING IS MINE (and other related commentary). This was not rebuked and this sentiment has been reiterated in other forms in this thread by other commenters and throughout ENWorld's many threads (again, especially in threads that decry players for optimization).And as (I think) the one who requested the comment - thank you, it was interesting! For what it's worth, I find your analysis pretty plausible, though - as I posted upthread following Mercurius's post - I think that there may be subsitutable values of your (2) (eg "Someone's got to do it!") which then feed through, in pretty straightforward ways, into your other points without fundamental effects on them. I want to say it was one of the Linear Fighters, Quadratic Wizards threads of yore!That sounds right. I believe that (as relates to this thread), the pair of contentions you, I, and others were making were the following: * In D&D systems with (a) Vancian casters with Enchantment spells (especially with prolific spell load-outs) and (b) noncombat action resolution governed by a process sim (internal causality rather than genre logic) task resolution (rather than conflict resolution), Wizards/spellcasters are going to be inevitably dominate noncombat action resolution. * The only way this doesn't take place is for GMs to either (a) preemptively protect crucial plot-points/NPCs by pulling out the classic (eye-roll-inducing to any hardened, long term player) block...
  • 01:20 AM - pemerton mentioned Mercurius in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...gainst a difficulty set by the GM in accordance with the skill descriptions; but that mechanical difference doesn't mean that the GM gets to make the passive check fail automatically just because s/he thought it would be better for the map to be somewhere other than the study. In other words, (i) there is not only one model for RPG mechanics, and (ii) even when the mechanics are similar (both D&D and BW use checks against a difficulty), that doesn't tell us why it is the GM's job to do the stuff you say. To be clear: I'm not asserting that there is no answer to the question. But answers that don't take account of the range of ways RPGing works will (necessarily) be incomplete. I mean, obviously setting provides depth - but it doesn't have to be GM authored to do that (witness the various examples I've posted upthread). So a more complete answer adds information eg Caliban says that many players don't want to contribute to establishing the backstory, so someone else has to do it; Mercurius says that he wants the GM to tell him the backstory as part of his process of immersion (to me that seems very similar to being told a story by the GM - I think Mercurius queries that characterisation, but from my point of view I'm still working out why, and also why it's considered pejorative - I went to the pictures recently, and had a story told to me, and that doesn't make me feel offended). Nagol gave some different reasons: GM worldbuilding establishes levers/tools for the players. It makes sense that someone else has to do this, in that being able to just deem your own tools into existence seems a bit cheat-y. To me, that speaks to a style of play much closer to classic dungeoneering, though mabye Nagol would not agree with that. Also, the very term "action resolution" is here a bit misleading. Yes a PC has declared an action, and that action gets resolved...but the resolution of that action only applies to the PC and her immediate surrounds, not to anything static withi...
  • 12:35 AM - pemerton mentioned Mercurius in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    Congrats. You're free to play the way you enjoy. That doesn't make your way the "right"way, but it seems that was the entire purpose of this thread - and we all knew it. Your inability to understand why I prefer to play a different way has no bearing on the validity of that playstyle. Happy gaming.Three things: (1) I've never talked about a "right way" to play. I started a thread with a question: some posters answered it (@Nagol, Caliban, etc). Some other posters - Mercurius, Lanefan - asserted or implied that by asking the question I was insulting them. To be frank, that's on them, not on me. If they don't want to answer the question "what is GM worldbuiling for", or think that the answer is so self-evident that to ask the question is to commit some RPG faux pas, well, no one is forcing them to post in the thread. (2) What makes you think I don't understand why you prefer to play a different way? When I say "This is why I don't like such-and-such", what makes you think I'm telling you why you shouldn't like it? (3) I've replied with courtesy and honesty to all your posts in this thread, and have not attacked you or your preferences (unless you consider me explaining why my preference are different an attack - in which case see (1) and (2) above). I'm a little surprised that you don't seem capable of doing the same.

Wednesday, 24th January, 2018

  • 09:01 AM - pemerton mentioned Mercurius in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    Mercurius If the GM has the inherent power to veto/filter/manipulate, then it is inherent that the GM is not bound by action resolution. Having regard to it when you're not inclined to overturn it is not a mode of being bound. This then relevant to your question "Why not (1) through (4)?" (3) and (4) aren't avaiable to an omnipotent GM, because they only make sense if the GM is bound. An omnipotent GM can, of course, make a dice roll or call for one from the player: but as s/he has the power to disregard/override it, it is nothing more than a suggestion, an additional factor that s/he might consider. This is why I don't like it as a GMing method: when I'm GMing I want to find out what happens; not to take suggestions, consider input, and the decide what happens. The way I do this is by following the rules for action resolution. You say that only an abusive GM would decide that "my guy wins" without action resolution: but in fact that is exactly what is happening every time a playe...
  • 07:03 AM - pemerton mentioned Mercurius in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    Mercurius, there are some point where I think you have mis-spoken, or seem not to understand some RPG techniques. A player's agency in the fictional world is roughly the same as our agency in the real world, and even slightly more so, as I explained. The difference, though, is that in the fictional world, there's a GM - who is akin to a hypothetical supreme being in our world.The player has no agency in the fictional world, any more than you have the power to punch Sherlock Holmes in the nose. The PC has agency in the fictional world, but it's fictional ie imaginary agency and so, as I explained to Lanefan not too far upthread is orthogonal to issues of railroading etc. (A PC might be enlaved by some other being, yet the player have unfettered autonomy, because the player determines the details of what the enslaving being asks of the PC.) And the player may or may not have agency in the real world, in the playing of the game, depending on his/her capacity to change the state of the sha...
  • 05:22 AM - pemerton mentioned Mercurius in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...eed some other technique for dealing with retries. I had to deal with this fairly recently in my Traveller game, because it doesn't use "fail forward", and instead mostly manages retries either through it's rules for the passage of time - so if you're in your starship your life support only lasts for so many days, and so with one chance to fix the engines per day, you only get so many tries before the PCs all asphyxiate - or through a flat-out "no retries" rule. But it's mechanics for overland exploration don't have a no retries rule and don't have time constraints like starship activities do, and hence are - in my view - the weakest part of the ruleset, as they easily lead - I can report from experience - to rather boring play with dice being rolled although nothing significant is at stake.) It is a wrong question, Mr. Pemerton. You seem to have this black or white view of the situation: either the GM is telling the story or the players are. Neither are correct.Well, tell that to Mercurius. He was the one who said that it is the GM's story, and the players are actors - and it was that contention that I was responding to. I would work with the player to develop those religious organizations and the world in which they exist based on the player's assumptions. In some cases, I'd deliberately subvert the player's assumptions to keep things interesting and challenging. We'd play out the scenario, and I would use that predetermined setting information to inform my adjudication of the players' actions and the consequences thereof.Well, I guess all the action is in the words "We'd play out the scenario." I was wondering how, in actual practice, this would work. Eg what sorts of actions might be declared, and how would they be adjudicated? The players declare actions and the GM determines how the world reacts. How is the GM to determine how the world reacts without first determining the nature of the world? Assuming we agree that determination must take place, why do y...
  • 04:48 AM - pemerton mentioned Mercurius in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    Adventures that are ostensibly open world, where the players have the agency to walk away from the plot, are more difficult to run unless the players voluntarily commit to staying within the confines of the plot. The alternatives are things like railroading, moving scenery, or trusting to luck and/or skill, or letting go of the plot and leaving the players wander.Those are not the only atlernatives. A well-established alternative is the one I posted upthread (in replay to Mercurius), put forward in summary form (but in no sense invented) by Eero Tuovinen. Instead of the GM hoping to hook the players and keep them on the rails of plot, the players build PCs with "hooks" for the GM and the GM etablishes situations that speak to those player-evinced flags. It doesn't depend upon luck, nor upon any particular skill (I started GMing in this fashion as a teenager in the second half of the 80s; the player hooks, on that occasion, were provided by the Oriental Adventures character generation process). But nor does it involve the players "wandering". If the GM is doing his/her job properly, then play will be rather focused (I mean, it may or may not traverse a wide geographic scope, but whether or not it does will be a secondary matter). The ideal, of course, is that the players voluntarily stay on plot because they find said plot/story interesting and-or engaging enough to want to play it out. Which means that in a DM-driven game it's squarely on the DM to come u...

Tuesday, 23rd January, 2018

  • 11:36 AM - pemerton mentioned Mercurius in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    We are talking about player generated content (shared worldbuilding with the player) - you cannot seemingly skip that stage in the debate when it doesn't suit you.Well I know what I'm talking about, seeing as I wrote the OP. I'm asking what GM pre-authored worldbuilding is for. You and Mercurius say that it one thing it does is support immersion, by sparing the player from having to generate content. I'm making the point that there are many, many RPGs in which the player doesn't have to generate content in the way you and Mercurius don't like, and yet which don't depend upon the GM pre-authoring content. The reason that I know this is because I play such RPGs. (The only RPG I'm personally familiar with that has the feature you and Mercurius object to is OGL Conan, and I've never played it.) How do I know I'm looking for a map?You declare as your action, for your PC, "I search the study for the map", or something similar. The GM sets an approriate difficulty, the dice are rolled, they tell us whether or not hopes are realised or dashed. In my experience it's quite immersive, and it doesn't require the player to generate any content beyond his/her PC's desires, and the actions that those desires move him/her to undertake. EDIT: the basic concept is no different from...
  • 11:12 AM - pemerton mentioned Mercurius in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    I consider TTRPGs primarily a mechanism for shared storytelling, because that's the one aspect of a TTRPG that cannot be replicated in a book or videogame. Someone has to develop the shared world in which that storytelling takes place, and it usually falls to the GM to do so.I'm not sure about the has to - can't the setting be generated in the course of the telling of the story? I will admit, for the sake of argument, that any GM who declares ownership over the campaign is overstepping. Well, that's what the poster to whom I was replying did. Mercurius also asserted that the GM is omnipotent in respect of the campaign: "One approach assumes that the GM is omnipotent, and the player's relationship to the world is akin to our own relationship to our world." I think it's perfectly reasonable for a GM to declare ownership over the campaign setting. Many of us put a LOT of effort into developing our campaign settings to include NPCs, geography, situations, maps, motivations, etc. Most players put proportionally less work into the game; they roll up their characters, perhaps include a backstory, and show up with some dice. GMing a simulated living, breathing world in which the players can explore and adventure involves a ton of work.OK - I didn't think any of this stuff about effort was in dispute. Writing is hard and takes time. But I'm not sure how that relates to the actual process of play. And the metaphors "exploration" is still in need of cashing out. The way that I "explore" Middle Earth is to read JRRT's books. How does a pl...


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Tuesday, 14th May, 2019

  • 10:10 PM - Sacrosanct quoted Mercurius in post Survivor: D&D cover artists
    Daniel Horne -- 22 Keith Parkinson -- 24 Jeff Easley -- 24 Larry Elmore -- 20 Clyde Caldwell -- 22 Todd Lockwood -- 17 David Trampier -- 24 This one looks like it could go on forever. No longer than any other survivor thread, since every vote post is a net -1 ;)
  • 08:04 PM - Satyrn quoted Mercurius in post Help me name the fantasy-historical pantheons
    Would Garius Gygaxius be the Father God? Danggit. I passed on that golden setup. Nice work!
  • 08:01 PM - Dannyalcatraz quoted Mercurius in post Help me name the fantasy-historical pantheons
    Would Garius Gygaxius be the Father God? Damn, I’ve been struck down by Typonius, the god of clerical errors!
  • 02:22 PM - Raunalyn quoted Mercurius in post GAME OF THRONES SEASON 8--Final Run-- Part 5
    Regardless of criticism, from the more literary-cinematic to the more fannish outrage at missed expectations and/or questionable elements of the story, GoT remains quite enjoyable in terms of pure entertainment. That last episode was wildly entertaining television. That said, the episode was hard to watch: the sheer number of deaths, the wanton violence, the gratuitous gore (more so than most other episodes); and yes, the tragedy of seeing one of the main characters complete her transformation into villainy. But it worked - it was effective. I was wowed. But I ended it in a similar mental space as after watching something like Requiem for a Dream, thinking "that was quality cinema, but why do I need to see that? How does that in any way nourish me as a human being except as yet another reminder of how messed up things can get?" So I'll add another element: What is it in us, culturally and individually, that so relishes this sort of "suffering porn?" I understand that story requires conflic...

Friday, 10th May, 2019


Wednesday, 8th May, 2019

  • 01:47 PM - Morrus quoted Mercurius in post Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4 "The Last of the Starks"
    *Dany is becoming more villainous--they've made her less likeable for a couple seasons now, preparing us for her death. She's always come across like that to me. She does not like it when people disagree with her, and is very happy to coldly mete out extreme punishments and executions.

Tuesday, 7th May, 2019

  • 08:59 PM - zztong quoted Mercurius in post Paizo To Make Kingmaker Bestiary... For D&D 5E!
    This is key. Americans in particular have the "king of the hill" mentality, as if the King Gorilla is the only successful gorilla. It is an incredibly myopic worldview. Not everyone has this view explicitly, but it is a subconscious influence that is particularly prevalent among Americans. Perhaps. But I think it is more the notion that "business is war" and this is the discussion of the spectators and fans. That isn't unique to the USA. I want to say it is probably shared with parts of Asia, but that's not my field of study and I could be... well am... usually full of it.
  • 07:34 PM - lyle.spade quoted Mercurius in post Paizo To Make Kingmaker Bestiary... For D&D 5E!
    This is key. Americans in particular have the "king of the hill" mentality, as if the King Gorilla is the only successful gorilla. It is an incredibly myopic worldview. Not everyone has this view explicitly, but it is a subconscious influence that is particularly prevalent among Americans. Interesting observation, or perceived observation. We can also tend to be a bit manic...everything is awesome and spotless, or all is lost. That aside, there is plenty of room in the market for a few big players, but 5e has really pushed aside most all other systems, and it starting to spread in a manner somewhat like during the d20 era, although I think overall the quality of third party work is much higher than 15+ years ago.

Thursday, 2nd May, 2019

  • 08:05 PM - MarkB quoted Mercurius in post Avengers: Endgame SPOILER THREAD
    But here's something I haven't seen mentioned as I scanned through this thread, and bothered me: so they feel safe about just sending the Infinity Stones off in different directions, knowing full well what they are capable of? How are they to prevent some other mad crazy bad guy from trying to assemble the Stones in the future? I mean, why doesn't this happen again and again? Shouldn't the powers that be in the universe find a better way of safeguarding the Stones? Theoretically, they don't exist anymore. By placing them back in their original times, they still got to be picked up by Infinity-War-Thanos, used to wipe out half of all sentient life, and then destroyed by Thanos. But seriously, just thinking about it makes my head hurt.

Tuesday, 30th April, 2019

  • 11:11 PM - Istbor quoted Mercurius in post GAME OF THRONES SEASON 8--Final Run-- Part 3
    I realize that. It doesn't make it less silly, and of course it is important how it is implemented. Defeating the Night King just seemed too...easy. Such build-up and then, voila, done - and his entire army with him. Winter is no longer coming in one sneaky move by Arya. Yeah. I think summing it up in Too easy or voila, done is over simplifying what was sacrificed. Those were whole armies being chewed up, spat out, and then raised back up to kill what remained of their once-allies. The impact was there, as well as the stakes. Kill the necromancer and defeat his thralls in one fell stab.
  • 09:11 PM - Morrus quoted Mercurius in post GAME OF THRONES SEASON 8--Final Run-- Part 3
    I realize that. It doesn't make it less silly, and of course it is important how it is implemented. Defeating the Night King just seemed too...easy. Such build-up and then, voila, done - and his entire army with him. Winter is no longer coming in one sneaky move by Arya. Well yeah. That’s the fundamental problem with the trope. It’s never been satisfying.
  • 06:59 PM - Morrus quoted Mercurius in post GAME OF THRONES SEASON 8--Final Run-- Part 3
    I read somewhere someone comparing the Night King to the golden snitch in Harry Potter's quidditch game. It is just a silly rule, making the rest of the game superfluous. Kill the Night King, win the whole thing. It's a well-known trope. Also see Independence Day, The Phantom Menace, The Last Starfighter, Army of Darkness, and a hundred more!

Friday, 26th April, 2019


Sunday, 21st April, 2019

  • 06:33 AM - doctorbadwolf quoted Mercurius in post Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi argument
    Evidently you don't understand me perfectly because I'm not saying SW is "bound" to Campbell, Taoism, or anything in particular - including whatever the latest ideological trends of Hollywood. I am saying that SW is richer for being connected to deeper ideas of myth (Campbell) and spiritual wisdom (Taoism). The difference is semantic. Your posts continually push those infleunces quite strongly as things that must be contended with. Telling me that I’m “ignoring” the connection of Campbell, for instance. The actual point of contention is whether it’s new and interesting to make female heroes that are different from male heroes because of their gender. IMO, few things could be less new or interesting.
  • 05:31 AM - doctorbadwolf quoted Mercurius in post Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi argument
    You're reading too much into what I'm saying. In truth, I'm not proposing anything specific, like heroine as nurturer or peacemaker. If anything I am suggesting that what a hero/heroine is can be quite different, and that there are interesting archetypal possibilities to explore. Furthermore, you seem to ignore the fact that SW is based on Joseph Campbell's ideas about mythology, which very much embrace different masculine and feminine archetypes. Look, I get what you don't like and I don't like it either: that men or women "have to" be a certain way along culturally bound stereotypes; and we both like our fantasy to be free from such notions. But I'm talking more along an archetypal level, which fits in with the mythological view of Campbell and the original vision of Star Wars, and would allow for deeper differences in male and female beyond just different body shapes and cultural stereotypes. Unfortunately in today's cultural debates, the differences between a stereotype and an archety...
  • 05:25 AM - doctorbadwolf quoted Mercurius in post Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker Trailer
    I am not suggesting that SW does away with Light vs. Dark, but that it reimagines it as not so dualistic, not so absolute. Furthermore, what is "light" can change, and with it what is "dark" in relation to it. I'm not talking about extreme relativism, but some degree of relativism, which is an intrinsic aspect of the Taoist philosophy that partially inspired Lucas's idea of the Force. Taoist philosophy would likely hold that "aberrations" are just extreme variations of Nature, and ultimately "natural" expressions of it. "Evil," in this sense, isn't as much what is unnatural, but what is in resistance to the flow of Nature. It is egotism - fighting against the flow (Force). In that sense it could be argued that the Jedi fall short of a "true" Taoist philosophy. The are more "in the flow" than the Sith, but still fall short. So we could imagine a Skywalker order that recognizes the necessity of both Light and Dark. If I remember correctly, we get glimmers of this from Yoda and Luke. Right, ...
  • 04:48 AM - doctorbadwolf quoted Mercurius in post Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi argument
    Double post
  • 04:38 AM - doctorbadwolf quoted Mercurius in post Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi argument
    I disagree with this assessment. First of all, the Star Wars universe is based upon our own in which male and females are "meaningfully different," at least if you think biology and tens of thousands of years of cultural patterns matter. Secondly, even if we view SW as an entirely different universe, it is still based upon mythic ideas from our world, in which there male and female are quite archetypally different. In fact, some have criticized Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey for being overly male-centric, that the "female journey" is or can be quite different. There is no evidence that the SW Galaxy is as deeply gender split as our own, or that the same cultural and influences exist to push people toward the same roles and tropes such male aggression and female nurturing, etc. There is a good deal of positive evidence that the SWG does not feature those elements. SW shares this with much of fantasy and science fiction in general. Beyond that, I’m not sure what would be new at all ab...

Saturday, 20th April, 2019

  • 10:49 PM - doctorbadwolf quoted Mercurius in post Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker Trailer
    Yes, I very much agree with this and like the idea of a more Taoistic, non-dualistic Force tradition. Of course as with the Hegelian dialectic, even if the Skywalkers were a synthesis and transcendence of the duality of Jedi and Sith, a new antithesis would form in contrast to it as a thesis, so we'd be back to "good" Skywalkers vs. "bad" ??? I’d much rather continue to have a franchise where there is genuine Good, genuine Evil, and folks in between. In more DnD terms; the Dark Side is the corruption represented by aberrations, and the Force is Nature/The Will of Nature. Nature is unbalanced as long as beholders and aboleths exist. There is no balance between Nature and Aberrations. In the same way, I prefer Star Wars to leave the “everything is grey” stuff to nearly every other franchise out there, and keep doing what makes it special.
  • 10:41 PM - doctorbadwolf quoted Mercurius in post Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi argument
    doctorbadwolf, I watch absolutely zero anime or cartoons, so can't comment on that. And yeah, it would be nice to see a male hero that doesn't solve everything through brute force. I don't disagree with what you said re: Carol Danvers and WW, but also think there's room for exploring gender-flavored themes and ideas (e.g. "How might a woman use the Force differently than a man?"). My issue is, why would a woman use the force differently, in a universe or where they seem to take it for granted that female and male humans (much less other species) aren’t meaningfully different? Regardless of any “liberal orthodoxy” or whatever the phrase was in your earlier post, the SW Galaxy doesn’t pay any mind whatsoever to any meaningful difference between human sexes or genders, beyond some elements of fashion and gendered pronouns and titles. If you swap Han and Leia in the OT, the audience will feel differently about them, but nothing about the fictional universe actually changes, for instanc...


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