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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Friday, 24th May, 2019, 10:53 PM
    This happened to me when I made the mistake of starting a game of Modos RPG that would be "similar" to D&D... Lesson learned: don't mention D&D if you're not running D&D!
    19 replies | 596 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Friday, 24th May, 2019, 10:02 PM
    Syntax error. Can't say I've ever bought a bundle of anything, but I am keenly interested in blurring the line between rulebook and adventure module. Isn't that sort of what D&D has been doing with 5th ed?
    6 replies | 261 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Friday, 24th May, 2019, 04:03 PM
    What if these were full-blown RPGs? That would be new.
    6 replies | 261 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:46 PM
    Probably not a good idea to force save-or-stupid saves on PCs. Especially if there's nothing at stake. I was thinking that players govern self-control, not saving throws. The issue rightfully comes up with magical compulsion, i.e. resisting a siren's call. You can tell a player that his character drinks too much on a failed check, sure, but at least do it in a situation in which that...
    13 replies | 408 view(s)
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    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 06:45 PM
    Good question. I suppose that the answer is that falling is one interpretation of "no progress." I don't think that free-climbing is a very good example though, because who looks at a climb-or-die cliff and says "hmm, the only solution must be to start climbing!" For what it's worth: in the Princess Bride, the Dread Pirate Roberts gets stuck on a climb-or-die cliff face. He doesn't fall,...
    179 replies | 8219 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 06:37 PM
    Are we talking about the same game, here? Part of me likes the idea of putting the GM in a prestige position (and one way to do that is by making GMing a difficult task), but another part says that everything is disposable these days, so why not just dispose of a game if it's hard to find a (good) GM for it? Sorry - that last part was the little marketer on my shoulder telling me that...
    46 replies | 1793 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 06:30 PM
    My copy of the PHB says that a failure means you make no progress or you make progress with a setback. That's hardly "falling to your death." You are now safe to resume climbing, Saev.
    179 replies | 8219 view(s)
    1 XP
  • DMMike's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 06:10 PM
    Nope. This is the Internet. There is a good point here, although I'm about as happy with the packaging as Umbran is. Advancement by (conflict resolution) failure means there's no advancement if the GM doesn't ask for conflict rolls. In such a situation, yes, the player has an incentive to try and roll. Which is bass ackwards to me, since it drives me nuts when players roll before they...
    20 replies | 618 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 06:54 PM
    I'd actually like to see 6E pick up where 4E left off, where some other games currently are, and make the GM role more mechanical - putting more narration in the hands of the players. I would expect it to go well with today's Burger King have-it-your-way players. And with a nod to "game modes," it could either leash or unleash the more creative (gonzo) players. Paizo would probably like that...
    46 replies | 1793 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 06:33 PM
    Ouch. Well, the HBO GoT writers do have a lot of wrapping up to do in a limited amount of time. But I'm with you on the GMed (George Martin-ed) part of the show being more...captivating. The referee aspect of GMing is a pretty significant one to me. If a game is GM-less, my first concern is knowing that everyone gets treated fairly, and especially that no player is too domineering for the...
    46 replies | 1793 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 04:37 PM
    Badmouthed on the internet: heard, understood, and acknowledged. But part of the point here is that today's games are addressing the drawbacks of being a GM, and in the process, blurring the GM/PC line. Which is to say that yes, there are some GM-less games out there, but there are significantly more blurry GM/PC games. How are we feeling about some of those attempts (intentional or otherwise)...
    46 replies | 1793 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 02:48 PM
    Fair enough. I must have a pretty good filter; I haven't noticed too many crazy posts lately. Or Umbran is doing a kick-ass job at moderating? The OP (now) asks how you feel about the separation of GM and PC. Or should there even be a distinction? And then later, well, someone starts talking about killing players. So, yeah, ENWorld thread :) One good point: D&D is really the...
    46 replies | 1793 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 04:52 PM
    Fine, there's the new title, in case your Troll-Tolerance is set below 20. (I recommend mid-range, around 125 or so.) I'll just go update the OP... BTW Spencer Crittenden DMed Harmonquest. Which was awesome.
    46 replies | 1793 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 02:37 AM
    You forgot heels. I could work some wonders with heels. Umbran: ask, and ye shall receive: Spencer Crittenden: not seen since 2017. Wil Wheaton: no Titansgrave since 2015. Looks like everyone's in a bad mood today. I could have called the thread RPG Trends That Undermine the Traditional GM Role, but isn't that a little boring? This actually is the thread for it. Although I'm...
    46 replies | 1793 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 05:43 PM
    The situation is dire, friends. The world is running out of GMs, and we might never get them back. Just look at the cute, little things, in their natural habitat: Let's look at the causes, so that we can begin to form a solution: - Not enough Dungeon Master's Guides. Lots of games put all of the rules in one book, giving players easy access to the GM's secrets. - Rules-light games. ...
    46 replies | 1793 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Sunday, 5th May, 2019, 06:35 PM
    DMMike replied to Trudvang
    Nope. O'Doyle rules.
    4 replies | 362 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Saturday, 4th May, 2019, 04:56 PM
    The re-evaluating player might be unavoidable. Actually, there's one solution. Give that player a character that gets only one option in combat. Even if the player quits, problem solved! :devil: This touches on one of the design goals I had for Modos RPG, actually: how to help paralysis-prone players move forward. I ended up reducing damage down to a single die, no bonuses. Roll a...
    74 replies | 3153 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Friday, 3rd May, 2019, 04:53 PM
    Trying to do some housekeeping on my community/group, and when I try to delete a discussion I get this: I went into another discussion and deleted the initial post, and now the discussion still shows up in the discussions list with the note "Discussion deleted..." Is this visible only to me (group leader)?
    0 replies | 104 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Friday, 3rd May, 2019, 04:23 PM
    Interesting how 4E's combat became a "hassle" in reference to 13th Age! I'm curious about the role-playing that occurs when the succubus shows up. On second thought, nevermind. :angel: Good points, but it sounds like you're coming from groups that play efficiently, which tells me that, yeah, any duration of combat can be fun. However, when everyone involved just seems to be rolling...
    74 replies | 3153 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Friday, 3rd May, 2019, 04:07 PM
    Erm, my suggestion was NPCs, not NDBs. This is one of my pet-peeves. You can't close with an enemy while also attacking from range and not expect friendly fire to occur. Yeah, sure, the wizard could target a blast-radius at a high point in the room/hallway, over the heads of friendlies, but please don't tell me that you expect arrows or lightning bolts to safely pass by your allies who are...
    60 replies | 2061 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Thursday, 2nd May, 2019, 05:01 PM
    Several posters have given you three good solutions. I can do it in three letters: NPC. Doorway: you might have a habit of thinking of "monsters" as cannon fodder. Mindless. Put an "NPC" in the room with them, see if your thinking changes. (And in case no one mentioned it, an NPC hostage should cut back on the fireball problem.) Scouting: an NPC might like to follow the scout, thinking...
    60 replies | 2061 view(s)
    1 XP
  • DMMike's Avatar
    Wednesday, 1st May, 2019, 05:36 PM
    There's a question between the lines of this quote: how much time, regardless of what a round is, does combat take before it gets dull or wasteful? For Vampire, three rounds might represent the typical amount of game time spent, say 30 minutes, before players start to wish they could go back to role-playing. I remember a Savage Worlds (fast, fun and furious) combat in which I saw one character,...
    74 replies | 3153 view(s)
    2 XP
  • DMMike's Avatar
    Wednesday, 1st May, 2019, 05:20 PM
    Lots of issues, even more context, so I might be stabbing in the dark, here. If so, feel free to ignore me :devil: One problem here, which I always see as a problem, is trying to put "success" and "failure" into the game world. The problem is that, unless you unequivocally define how each term translates into results, success and failure are 100% subjective. In the Vincent Baker example, a...
    43 replies | 1967 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Wednesday, 1st May, 2019, 04:00 PM
    Some things you might want to consider (and some you probably already know): - Murphy's Law of GMing states that players will always do what you don't expect them to do. The only protection against this is Rule Zero, which should be used prudently. - While players can do the unexpected in the real world, magic can do the unexpected in-game. Opening up 9th-level spells (or any magic,...
    30 replies | 1145 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Tuesday, 30th April, 2019, 05:59 PM
    +1. Players who know too much are your friends, not your enemies. You can ask them to inform you when you get to a rough patch, or you can ask them to actually narrate part of the story/setting. If a PC can't handle player knowledge properly, you throw in a twist to keep him on his toes. (If a player can't handle twists, he's probably playing the wrong type of game.) The GM's job isn't to...
    14 replies | 445 view(s)
    1 XP
  • DMMike's Avatar
    Saturday, 27th April, 2019, 04:53 PM
    Sleep works around corners for PCs, but not for NPCs. Reason: keeping players happy. Just to explore a bit, there's no reason why having a fetish related to the target wouldn't allow a spell to transcend material barriers. Also, the party wizard becomes unbalanced if her spells vastly increase in effect. Even in relative terms. Which might throw off the "level 1-3" part. Just sayin'.
    9 replies | 398 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Friday, 26th April, 2019, 06:04 PM
    You could go the Elder Scrolls route and charge something a little more precious: souls. If a PC doesn't want to collect someone else's soul for enchanting an item, that PC can just give up a level instead. I wouldn't bother with logistics unless you're already using some sophisticated magic system that your enchanting system must complement.
    11 replies | 389 view(s)
    1 XP
  • DMMike's Avatar
    Friday, 26th April, 2019, 05:54 PM
    I'm pretty sure that as soon as a PC casts Raise Dead, it's an Easter-themed game. Or is it the other way around... Werehares sound cool and all, but this is my default bunny encounter. Hands down: http://rs638.pbsrc.com/albums/uu105/ivegotabikeucanride/Monty%20Python/thmonty_rabbit.gif~c200
    6 replies | 387 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Friday, 26th April, 2019, 05:43 PM
    I'm a huge fan of these chairs. Or maybe it's just the people in them... Anyway, it seems they're not gonna get used again :(
    9 replies | 430 view(s)
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About DMMike

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About DMMike
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Writing rules and character concepts.
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I'm an equal-opportunity role-player: both tabletop AND video. I like to write rules and bend them, so I should probably be playing Dungeon World, but instead I'm writing my own games and trying to get into games that don't have alignment or armor classes.

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I like games with stories. And role-playing.
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Saturday, 22nd December, 2018

  • 10:34 AM - Lanefan mentioned DMMike in post If you were able to design your own version of D&D, how would you do it?
    Excluding what DMMike wrote just above, there isn't anything here so far I'd have the least interest in even looking at, never mind playing. Were the next D&D up to me I'd strip it down to the very basics - six attributes, 10-15 classes, 4-6 races - and not put all that much back. And what did get put back would be very modular - use the best system for the job at hand even if it's unique to that purpose, rather than trying to shoehorn everything into a unified mechanic - such that changes to one internal system don't affect much if anything else. (e.g. turn undead would probably work differently than anything else in the game...thus tweaking the turn-undead system would have limited if any effect elsewhere) Abilities would be entirely class-based. Want an ability? Play the class that has it. Want two abilities that aren't shared by a class? Tough - pick one. Play the other one next time. Feats? Gone. Multiclassing? Gone or very close to gone. Skills, other than some basics like swimming or...

Monday, 5th November, 2018


Saturday, 6th October, 2018

  • 05:37 PM - Oofta mentioned DMMike in post Help me fill in the blanks, please Next session in 4 days.
    Like DMMike, I try to avoid "when this happens and the players do X" thinking and instead think of setting, personalities, groups and motivations. So we have the brother. He's war-weary, but I'm not sure surviving for several years would qualify him for higher office. Depending on the campaign and society, rising through the ranks may not be possible if you aren't high born. You know he loves his sister, but what does he think of the townsfolk? Does he plead with old friends and neighbors, or are they relatively new to the area (perhaps refuges)? Or have they just always been on the outs because of some other reason? The sister. You've got a little bit of personality there, but why does she live on the island? What happened to her, or has she always been this way? The villagers. Are they just ignorant? Is there a specific accuser or some other outside force influencing them such as the priest? Is there any possibility of changing their minds? The priest. Yeah, you have to fi...

Wednesday, 11th July, 2018


Monday, 16th April, 2018

  • 02:21 PM - Blue mentioned DMMike in post Deleted Posts

Friday, 30th March, 2018

  • 04:12 PM - Kobold Boots mentioned DMMike in post AI Creates New D&D Monsters
    It was a matter of time before the ML crowd was going to start doing stuff like this. On the note about game designers by DMMike, Yes, even now it should be entirely possible to code desired "game balance" and prevent designers from doing broken things. Whatever "game balance" is though needs to have some clearly defined rules and the fewer of them, the better. I'm in favor of this as it would completely eliminate fanboy-ism or nostalgia from builds. In my opinion, the root cause of much of what is considered broken. But again, simulationist and math nerd behind this post. Be well KB

Wednesday, 24th January, 2018

  • 07:47 AM - pemerton mentioned DMMike in post Integrating Skill Challenges With Combat
    DMMike, AbdulAlhazred - to me, asking "what happens if one fails but the other succeeds" is like asking "what happens if we beat these 3 people but the other 2 don't get beaten?" From the point of view of the fiction it's a partial win, partial loss; and from the point of view of mechanics you just adjudicate it as the mechanics requre. Eg if monsters keep spawinging until the portal is shut, then they keep spawning. If the world ends if the portal isn't shut, the world ends. If the portal gets shut but then the party is TPKed, well (as AbdulAlhazred says), that was a heroic sacrifice! In other words, I don't see any real difficulties in respect of this. Where I think it can get tricky is in more prosaic aspects of 4e resolution: integrating action economy into the skill challenge, making sure consequences (especially for individual failures as the thing unfolds) are (i) fair and (ii) engaging (just as one hopes is the case in monster design), etc. This is an area where p 42, and wre...

Saturday, 6th January, 2018

  • 10:29 PM - Manbearcat mentioned DMMike in post What Is an Experience Point Worth?
    ...ard? Rewarding good role-playing makes slightly more sense, but I still dislike the practice because some players _are_ good role-players and don't need (and usually don't care about) the extra xp. They're roleplaying because they consider it fun (i.e. see above). It's the players who struggle with role-playing who'd benefit most from a rule granting them extra xp to encourage them to give their best. But if you want to treat all your players fairly, they'll still always fall behind the players who are already good role-players. In other words: granting xp isn't a good choice if you want to encourage good role-playing. What you really want to achieve is that your 'problem' players realize that role-playing is fun! So, what works better, imho, is to give them more opportunities to be in the spotlight and reward their efforts with mostly immaterial things, like better contacts or allies. I agree with Campbell and (at least in part) with Jhaelen here. The issue I have with DMMike 's position above is that it seems to assume that GM-agnostic systemization of XP gain is either not feasible or undesirable. The GM doesn't need to be in any position to hand out XP. In the Powered By the Apocalypse systems that Campbell is bringing up, XP isn't "awarded" via one person's (likely opaque and cognitive bias-laden) adjudication. Its simply gained via transparent, focused triggers; eg did you fail on a move, did you make Desperate Action Roll, did you overcome a tough obstacle/threat via coercion, did your Vice get you into trouble. The GM's role in these things isn't in the awarding. The GM's role is in following the game's premise and the player cues, in framing the action whereby decision-points related to vice temptation, desperate situations, and dangerous NPCs that can be coerced are the central focus of play (and whatever else might part of the game's PCs' portfolio and xp triggers such as themes of heritage, beliefs, aspirations, relationships). I signif...

Thursday, 16th November, 2017

  • 09:24 AM - scottaroberts mentioned DMMike in post Xanathar's, Wizards, and FLGSes Charging For Playspace
    ...posts in one reply is beyond my knowledge with this forum software. I truly appreciate people who support their FLGS via MSRP buying of products in the store. There just aren't enough of them. In fact, I've bought the arguments I hear from those who *don't* pay MSRP while trying to convince people to do so. I find it akin to accepting charity: you know, and I know, that you could get that product 40% cheaper. In essence you're donating money to me. It feels as if I am ripping people off or depending entirely on their goodwill and, well, businesses don't really succeed if they're relying on people to realize they should *not* take the bargain offered elsewhere. shidaku: I don't really expect people who can host at home to pay for space. The frequency of purchase of D&D accessories, and their price points, does not make enough money to keep a space afloat in and of itself (although in a larger store, cross-gaming customers can buy enough regularly to keep up the space). DMMike: The gaming cafe model is an excellent one--but it's also much more expensive to set up, run, etc...and the best use of such a space's appeal is not to draw an RPG crowd at all; if I were to do it, it'd be pretty much all boardgames and directed towards a dating/youth market looking for something different to do. But that's just me. Dire Bare: I love hearing about successful stores, but I'll point a few things out: first, you're in Idaho; rural areas and the midwest (due to a lack of competition for entertainment dollars) tend to do quite a lot better than places in more urban areas from my knowledge. Second, they make their money from CCGs and minis games primarily. Third, you just said they lost your business because the employees screwed up--a problem that Amazon does not have. Lastly, you *have to* "care whether they're freeloaders", though many FLGS don't. With the exception of the minority who strive to buy MSRP, RPGers essentially have a large contingent of folks who do t...

Tuesday, 14th March, 2017

  • 12:15 PM - akr71 mentioned DMMike in post Lingering Wounds Revamped
    In addition to what DMMike said, on page page 292 of the PHB says an unconscious creature "attack rolls against the creature have advantage" and "any attack that hits the creature is a critical hit if the attacker is within 5 feet of the creature." Page 197 states that "if you take any damage while you have 0 hit points, you suffer a death saving throw failure. If the damage is from a critical hit you suffer two failures instead. If the damage equals or exceeds your hit point maximum, you suffer instant death." So that big, stinky orc standing over you only needs to hit you twice, with advantage and you are dead. Now your healers only have 1 minute to get over to you safely and cast Revivify.

Tuesday, 28th February, 2017

  • 05:37 AM - Lanefan mentioned DMMike in post Keepiing Current HP from players...
    Sure, you can go shopping for new clothes the whole game if that is more interesting.I think DMMike is trying to remind us there's two other pillars to the game besides combat; neither of which is nearly as subject to a 5-minute workday as combat is. And I agree with him: a DM whose game is all combat all the time with very little (or virtually none at all, I've seen it) exploration or social interaction is doing his players a disservice by only running 1/3 of a game. It maybe gritty and intense but it is not very DnD. Sounds more Rolemastery to me, maybe CoC if you just want players to be more cautious going up against creatures that can insta-kill you given half a chance.Gritty and intense can be very D&D. Just maybe not very this-century-design D&D, more's the pity. Lanefan

Monday, 6th February, 2017

  • 11:18 AM - Quickleaf mentioned DMMike in post First time making a "serious" dungeon! How do you do it?
    DMMike I always forget about OGRE. Thanks for reminding me! And yes, "dungeon" is often D&D's quirky shorthand for "lair." Jhaelen Maybe that was part of my thinking in the past. I saw plenty of examples I felt were sub-par so I kind of avoided it. Only after years of DMing and writing do I finally feel like I have what it takes to design a big dungeon well. One of the first questions posed in 3e Dungeoncraft is What is the function of your dungeon in your campaign setting? Before you set pencil to paper, you need to decide how the dungeon fits into your campaign setting. Take a moment to consider why the dungeon exists, how it interacts with the rest of the world, and what purpose it (and other dungeons) serve in the grand scheme of things. You could just say that dungeons are the ruins of a forgotten civilization, but many other interesting possibilities exist. Death Trap... Near Frontier... Agent of Evil... Legendary Location... The Bizarre... My hunch is Krak al-Mazhar fits ...

Wednesday, 21st December, 2016

  • 07:43 PM - pdzoch mentioned DMMike in post Walock of the Fiend supported by two Enchanters
    DMMike, that's the approach I've decided to take. Typically, I do not want to over plan any encounter, but generally most creatures only have a few actions they can take anyway. Spell casters add numerous more options, and if you include multiple spellcasters, well ... its a lot of action to account for. I've decided that planning the encounter in more detail is not so much planning as it is managing. I recall reading in several published adventures modules guidance to the DM on how to play particular spellcaster enemies. That guidance usually included order of spells to cast and when to cast other spells. For this particular encounter, I have a Warlock of the Fiend and two Enchanters (both from Volo's Guide to Monsters) in an enchanting room performing a ritual the players are supposed to disrupt. The Warlock of the Fiend has the following spells: Alter self, False life, Levitate, Mage armor, Silent image - which he can cast at will as an innate ability. Feeble mind, Finger of...

Friday, 9th December, 2016

  • 08:11 PM - pdzoch mentioned DMMike in post Rules Transparency - How much do players need to know?
    DMMike, Interesting thread, but I think the discussion is drifting into group dynamics and compatibility over DM game management (which is how I understood your post initially). Group dynamics and compatibility (usually with the concepts of gaming styles of the group) is a challenge affecting every group of people who get together for a game, whether it be card game, board game, or RPG game. Sometimes a group completely falls apart because of the differences within a group. (Someone's play style is just too aggressive, or obnoxious, or too serious or not serious enough for the rest of the group) Some groups might even exclude a member for fear of disrupting group stability. (Poker groups refuse to let a bad poker player join/ Bridge players jealously guard their partners). But many groups know there are differences within the group and they accommodate. (over in the board game circles, many player will play a game they do not prefer or play poorly just to be with the group knowing ...

Tuesday, 6th December, 2016

  • 10:56 PM - pemerton mentioned DMMike in post The importance to "story" of contrivance
    the only way to learn how to create event sequences that lead from A to B to C (where C is a fun/interesting outcome) is by playing the game and seeing what works. What I have learned over the last thirty-plus years at the gaming table is to not rely on a preset sequence of events. This does not mean I don't plot my adventures--of course I do that. <snip> The trick is to keep NPCs/intelligent monsters simple. Sure, write up a long and detailed backstory if you must, but follow the advice in the 5E DMG and boil your NPCs down to a few basic motivations, and then stick to them during play no matter what. Linking this to my reply to DMMike upthread: I don't plot adventures. I come up with a few ideas for possilbe NPCs, and perhaps locations - the latter are more important in D&D than other systems. As far as NPCs are concerned, I'll have a basic idea of the NPC's place in the world, but not detailed motivations - those I work out more-or-less as Paul Czege describes here: I frame the character into the middle of conflicts I think will push and pull in ways that are interesting to me and to the player. I keep NPC personalities somewhat unfixed in my mind, allowing me to retroactively justify their behaviors in support of this.

Wednesday, 27th April, 2016

  • 12:29 PM - Li Shenron mentioned DMMike in post Wound Levels -- an alternative way to deal with HP
    I quite like this Wounds system (I take it that your Healing house rules are separate). I wouldn't go with DMMike suggestion about using "HP thresholds" for wounds because in such case everyone would get wounded all the time. At least for my tastes, I'd like to keep wounds fairly uncommon, so that normally there are 0-2 wounded PCs at any time. So I actually like that Springheel system introduces wounds only when reaching 0hp. This is similar to the idea I have been waiting to use (but haven't need so far) i.e. to replace death with a lingering injury, so in my case I'd even wait until the 3rd failed Death ST. I take your point about the unconsciousness. That isn't realistic, but it's a 5e concession I'm willing to live with. Yeah I was actually thinking about this as I read your system... What if you allow the PC to stay conscious? If I were to develop a similar system, I would probably have a small random table for wounds effects instead of your fixed progression, and "unconsciousness" could be just one of the possible effects in the table. Notice that if the player decides the PC stays ...

Thursday, 23rd July, 2015

  • 11:13 PM - pemerton mentioned DMMike in post Critical Hits - why, and why not?
    If a battle axe hits you right between the eyes and you aren't dead there's something wrong with the damage system. As others have pointed out, in D&D there are no hit location tables. If an attack with a battle axe succeeds, and the target's hit points have not been reduced to zero, and the GM nevertheless narrates the result of the attack as hitting right between the eyes, or decapitation, or whatever, the problem is with the GM, not with the hit point system. (As Gygax wrote in his DMG, I think on p 61, because most hit point damage is bruising, scratches, and wearing down luck/resilience, hit locations are not germane to successful attacks in D&D.) On the issue raised by DMMike, as to whether critical hits are an admission of failure: in D&D they're just a way of imposing a non-linear damage curve. Whether or not that's a desirable thing, it doesn't seem to be an admission of failure.

Saturday, 11th April, 2015


Thursday, 2nd April, 2015

  • 05:00 PM - Herobizkit mentioned DMMike in post What does a Martial Artist do?
    @DMMike It gives you a d4 unarmed attack and proficiency in improvised weapons. Also, you can start a grapple as a bonus action if you hit. Improvised weapons do the same damage as a weapon that could best represent it in-game. A broken glass could be a 'dagger', while a mop could be a 'staff', or a chair could be a 'greatclub'.


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Tuesday, 21st May, 2019

  • 04:46 PM - 5ekyu quoted DMMike in post Unsatisfied with the D&D 5e skill system
    Good question. I suppose that the answer is that falling is one interpretation of "no progress." I don't think that free-climbing is a very good example though, because who looks at a climb-or-die cliff and says "hmm, the only solution must be to start climbing!" For what it's worth: in the Princess Bride, the Dread Pirate Roberts gets stuck on a climb-or-die cliff face. He doesn't fall, but he loses a LOT of distance between himself and Buttercup. I'd say he failed his climb roll, there.Yup, "you make it a bit farther but then..." some degree of problems arise. I tend to go with a few escalating style problems before I get to free fall. Slip down a distance, drop gear, get to bad spot with disadvantage to continue or you can backtrack to new line, etc. Things like free falling I tend to hold back until they have disadvantage and then continue anyway. I have tended to show early on to my players that disadvantaged checks is asking for not just failure but bad to worst setbacks and outc...
  • 04:22 PM - Celebrim quoted DMMike in post Resisting boredom, int or wis save?
    I was thinking that players govern self-control, not saving throws. As far as I can tell, you aren't actually disagreeing with me. For example, I said: "Addiction and other things like that should be treated as color unless they are established mechanically by some process of play." For example, if the player in a hypothetical rule set had taken a defect 'Addiction (Alcohol)' on character creation in exchange for getting an extra feat (say 'Power Attack'), then presumably that feat would under certain conditions force a saving throw on the PC, which if failed would result in alcohol intoxication. But in the absence of such a thing, alcohol addiction is the explanation for the PC's low wisdom, and exists as color - no additional mechanical penalty is required unless the player chooses to have his PC drink to excess for whatever reason. Thus, even if the persuasive Belgian Monk is around with a couple of extra kegs, as I'm advising people here there is no saving throw, no additiona...

Monday, 20th May, 2019

  • 07:13 PM - Tony Vargas quoted DMMike in post GMs are an endangered species!
    Are we talking about the same game, here? Part of me likes the idea of putting the GM in a prestige position (and one way to do that is by making GMing a difficult task), Yes. 5e is both easy and hard. It's hard to DM, requiring a lot of skill/talent/experience/gall/whatever to just take up that imaginary absolute power and run with it - but, if you /have/ meet that preq somehow (or you just don't care), it's also /easy/ to just wield that power and have fun with it. I'm not sure if it's 'conversely' or 'by the same token,' or both, but from the players' side, it can /also/ be very easy, if you just let the DM do his thing. Come up with a character, declare what you're doing, and enjoy the show. Sorry - that last part was the little marketer on my shoulder telling me that everything must appeal to the masses (although that is a rule that D&D, as a brand, must follow). And it's a rule 5e is following pretty well - while staying acceptable to it's hard-core-nerdraging fanbase - a n...
  • 06:00 AM - Saeviomagy quoted DMMike in post Unsatisfied with the D&D 5e skill system
    My copy of the PHB says that a failure means you make no progress or you make progress with a setback. That's hardly "falling to your death." So it's now not actually possible to fall while climbing, is that what you're saying? That doesn't seem satisfactory either!

Friday, 17th May, 2019

  • 07:18 PM - Tony Vargas quoted DMMike in post GMs are an endangered species!
    I'd actually like to see 6E pick up where 4E left off, where some other games currently are, and make the GM role more mechanical - putting more narration in the hands of the players. I would expect it to go well with today's Burger King have-it-your-way players. And with a nod to "game modes," it could either leash or unleash the more creative (gonzo) players.While a 4e approach might have been as or more accessible to new players as 5e's, and might've become more so in the long run, it's failure with established fans and 5e's reversion to type means that a new generation of fans are being indoctrinated into the same expectations as the old generation. D&D as it was in the 80s, and is again today, is how it will remain for the foreseeable future. If there's a 6e - and that seems unlikely - it'll be at least as similar to 5e as 2e was to 1e. Paizo would probably like that too. (Does Pathfinder have "GMs" or "DMs?")"PMs?" what are today's games doing to make GMing easier, and thus...
  • 06:58 PM - lowkey13 quoted DMMike in post GMs are an endangered species!
    Regarding an earlier comment from lowkey13 - that there are no good DMs (snark noted) - what are today's ga In the midst of the word DMMike was trying to say, In the midst of his laughter and glee, The Good DMs softly and suddenly vanished away— For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.
  • 06:54 PM - Umbran quoted DMMike in post GMs are an endangered species!
    Ouch. Well, the HBO GoT writers do have a lot of wrapping up to do in a limited amount of time. But I'm with you on the GMed (George Martin-ed) part of the show being more...captivating. I've read some nice analysis of writing that puts it like this: It isn't that they are being "extemporaneous" - they are still following the outline G.R.R.M. gave them. It is that with a fixed number of episodes left, they had to allow the plot to drive events, rather than characterization. The show's problem is that now characters must get from A to B for the big finishes, whether doing so seems in-character for them or not. So, not so much being extemporaneous, as it being heavily railroaded.
  • 06:50 PM - Celebrim quoted DMMike in post GMs are an endangered species!
    If a game is GM-less, my first concern is knowing that everyone gets treated fairly, and especially that no player is too domineering for the others. I think that this is an important point. One of the problems I've noticed with cooperative board games is that in practice, they tend to devolve to a single more experienced, more domineering, or more tactical player playing all the roles and directing all the other participants. It's rare that you see one where everyone is getting equal input as to what the teams plan is, or even has full control of their character without censure from the other players. Having a GM at the table can help mitigate this if everyone has equal access to the GM and the GM is encouraging and validating their play as an individual. It doesn't go away completely in an RPG, but even if the GM isn't intentionally doing this, the GM's desires for the game to not be metagamed tend to coincide with validating each player's individual and uncensored play, and the GM...

Wednesday, 15th May, 2019

  • 05:13 PM - Tony Vargas quoted DMMike in post GMs are an endangered species!
    I would say that D&D 3.5 was, itself, an attack on the DM species, so I wonder how vital that distinction was. All of the significant rules were housed in the PHB, and things were codified (in tables) to the extent that players could, in many cases, provide their own adjudications based on die rolls and table results. Sure - not an attack with intent to render extinct, though, just shaving off some of the privileges of the DM role. 3.5 presented many more rules that applied across the board - to PCs, NPC, & Monster (& objects and IDK what else) - 'equalizing' the DM & player roles and making Player v DM and PvP modes of play more tenable. And, 3.x did leave wealth/level and magic items in the DMG. 4e sorta continued the trend, though it made DMing easier rather than harder, and could be played in a Players v DM mode (Lair Assault was exactly that, for instance), and it was also more transparent. Yet, in spite of that, it wasn't at all suited for PvP - the player & DM roles, though not ...
  • 05:13 PM - Celebrim quoted DMMike in post GMs are an endangered species!
    But part of the point here is that today's games are addressing the drawbacks of being a GM, and in the process, blurring the GM/PC line. It's no secret that I'm not a fan of the "no myth" fad or the games created on the idea that an RPG profits from having "no myth" or having what myth it does have created during play. I've never seen any "no myth" play in a webcast where I feel I would have wanted to be a part of that. Most of them have been actually repellent to me, because being a GM with long experience, I have 15 ranks in GMing illusionism and can see through the curtains to what is really going on. This means when I play, I know the game that lies underneath the transcript, and if the transcript generator is busted I know it. One of the downsides I've found in being a DM is that it makes emersion harder, in the same since that being a writer you are all the time analyzing the techniques that other writers use to create the magic. When a technique is employed well, you appreci...

Saturday, 11th May, 2019

  • 04:27 AM - carter_beatsthedevil quoted DMMike in post GMs are an endangered species!
    Fair enough. I must have a pretty good filter; I haven't noticed too many crazy posts lately. Or Umbran is doing a kick-ass job at moderating? The OP (now) asks how you feel about the separation of GM and PC. Or should there even be a distinction? And then later, well, someone starts talking about killing players. So, yeah, ENWorld thread :) One good point: D&D is really the default RPG, to the extent that in some areas/groups, "game" equals D&D. Which means that in these areas, there must be a DM, and that DM must (more or less) use D&D's definitions of DM and PC. I think the DM role has evolved, if only a little. There used to be more rules that were exclusively in the DMG, no? Then they streamlined some tables and solidified the DC concept, which made the DM role more important, because it would be a little weird to have PCs setting their own DCs... Your circle of GM-life seems pretty on-point to me. Hey! We brought one out of the woodwork. Er, basement? Keep ...

Friday, 10th May, 2019

  • 11:55 PM - Tony Vargas quoted DMMike in post GMs are an endangered species!
    One good point: D&D is really the default RPG, to the extent that in some areas/groups, "game" equals D&D. Which means that in these areas, there must be a DM, and that DM must (more or less) use D&D's definitions of DM and PC. I think the DM role has evolved, if only a little. There used to be more rules that were exclusively in the DMG, no? Oh yeah. Back in 1e, remember, there were not only rules found only in the DMG, there were rules in the PH that were /contradicted/ by inner-mystery rules in the DMG, and DMG rules also contradicted eachother, at times. Over the eds, rules have moved from the DMG to the PH. It peaked in 4e, when even magic items were in the PH! 5e has moved some of the rules (and mystery) back to the DMG, which is consistent with DM Empowerment. Then they streamlined some tables and solidified the DC concept, which made the DM role more important, because it would be a little weird to have PCs setting their own DCs... Well, players could look up DCs in sta...
  • 10:45 PM - Saelorn quoted DMMike in post GMs are an endangered species!
    - Would you like to see a hard line between the GM role and the PC role? - If not, where do you draw the line?My view on this is fairly traditional: The point of an RPG is to role-play, and in order for the players to stay in the character mindset, a GM needs to be there to handle the back-end (playing NPCs, and adjudicating uncertainty in action resolution).
  • 03:15 PM - Celebrim quoted DMMike in post GMs are an endangered species!
    Ever popular 503 error.
  • 03:15 PM - Celebrim quoted DMMike in post GMs are an endangered species!
    The OP (now) asks how you feel about the separation of GM and PC. Or should there even be a distinction? I'm going to go with the ever popular, "It depends." Back in the days of the early bronze age, our primitive forefathers believed there was only three reasons to play D&D. But now that we are more advanced, we know that there is not only dozens of reasons to play D&D, there are even some other RPGs out there. The thing about the GM/PC divide is that it really supports some of the traditional reasons to play an RPG well. The drawback is someone has to be the GM, put in a ton of work, not even get to play the game, and then get bad mouthed on the internet for being a jerk because the DM wouldn't let his Gnome Paladin start with his dad's +5 Holy Avenger that he totally would have given to him when he came of age. You can get by without a GM if you've got a group of amateur thespians that are just happy to tell a short story with a limited cast together, play for a couple of hour...

Thursday, 9th May, 2019

  • 08:00 PM - lowkey13 quoted DMMike in post GMs are an endangered species!
    Changing it up, we are? Two questions: - Would you like to see a hard line between the GM role and the PC role? Yes. Players should buy the pizza. DMs should kill the players. Such is the circle of (gaming) life. You know .... From the day we arrive on the planet And blinking, step into the sun There's more D&D to play than can ever be played More games to run than can ever be run There's far too many orcs that need a killin' And more treasure that needs to be found But my d20 keeps rolling high Need a crit? That's my die See the corpses spread across the battleground It's the circle of life And it moves us all As a player, and as a DM Killing players, and eating pizza Till we find our place In front of, or behind the screen In the circle The circle of life - If not, where do you draw the line? Easy line. Killing orcs? Player. Killing players? DM.
  • 07:05 PM - Tony Vargas quoted DMMike in post GMs are an endangered species!
    This actually is the thread for it. Although I'm not sure I buy it; if a game is hard to GM, doesn't that mean that people just choose a different game to play? Not if the game that is hard to GM is D&D. Then they go through a cycle: the DM wanting to try something else, the group being unable to agree on what else to play, the DM burning out, someone else running something terrible for a short while until the DM (somewhat recovered) can't stand it anymore, and back to the DM running. OTOH, sometimes the hard-to-GM aspect of the game is kinda the point. The GM runs the game the way he likes, and the players either toe the line, or get the old "if you don't like it /you/ run for a while!" That usually shut's 'em up... … I mean, hypothetically.
  • 05:16 PM - Celebrim quoted DMMike in post GMs are an endangered species!
    Fine, there's the new title, in case your Troll-Tolerance is set below 20. (I recommend mid-range, around 125 or so.) I'll just go update the OP... BTW Spencer Crittenden DMed Harmonquest. Which was awesome. Eh. It's just occurring to me that perhaps I'm not the only semi-autistic humor challenged participant on the boards. Also seriously, you have to be really over the top to separate yourself from the sort of extreme points of view that are all too common at EnWorld. Also seriously, despite the fact that I'm pretty sure that this is satire, it doesn't stop me from wanting to discuss this as a serious issue. Also seriously, despite the self-parody (?) of the original post, are you intending to start a more serious discussion, or should I just be going along with the joke? "Asking for a friend."
  • 04:29 PM - Quartz quoted DMMike in post Bethesda Pulls Promotional Elder Scrolls D&D Module Following Plagiarism Accusations
    The Gentleman? If it's anything like the Most Interesting Man in the World, it is the ONLY D&D class I'm playing from here on out. Read it here. :D
  • 03:28 PM - Umbran quoted DMMike in post GMs are an endangered species!
    Spencer Crittenden: not seen since 2017. Who? Wil Wheaton: no Titansgrave since 2015. So, I have to ask, if you walk by a restaurant, and see someone eating a hamburger, do you start jumping up and down, pointing at their meal and hollering, "OMG! Cows are going extinct!!!1!!!one!" I hope not. Not only because you'd be disturbing some poor innocent's dinner, but because the loss of an individual or two is not relevant to discussion of the health of a population. But, here, let me assuage your fears. I ran a game for a friend of mine, to teach his daughter about RPGs. She went on to run her own game. One of her players started also run games. So, Messrs Crittenden and Wheaton have been replaced in the GM pool. There is no cause for alarm. Nothing to see here. Move along. I could have called the thread RPG Trends That Undermine the Traditional GM Role, but isn't that a little boring? Boring. Constructive. To-may-to, to-mah-to.


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DMMike's Downloads

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Dragonborn Light
Dragonborn Light is a rules module for Modos RPG. Plug it in to start adventuring in Skyrim, the icy northern province of Tamriel.

The new rules convert the base rules to add features like: larger pools for Health, Stamina, and Magicka, scalable ge...
78 0 1 Saturday, 17th February, 2018, 07:10 PM Saturday, 17th February, 2018, 07:10 PM
Modos 2 - free demo
Free, easy, ready-to-mod RPG - includes fast-play-rules appendix.

This is the demo edition. The deluxe edition will include more art, powers, helpful sidebars, and appendices.

Unofficial website: modos-rpg.obsidianportal.com (http://modos-rpg.obsi...
368 0 1 Tuesday, 7th November, 2017, 05:36 AM Friday, 12th October, 2018, 05:44 PM
Modular Exoskeleton Trans-Responsive Outfit, In Detail
EDIT: file removed for overdue overhaul. Your thoughts are welcome in the comments.

"The last creature is in captivity. The galaxy is at peace."

Those words were supposed to mean a new era. But here you are, landing on yet another planetoid, sea...
76 0 0 Friday, 23rd September, 2016, 02:00 AM Saturday, 28th April, 2018, 07:37 PM
Return to Volskygge
Update 11/14/17: this adventure module to receive an update after the release of Skyrim Module for Modos.

It has been years since the Dragonborn destroyed the dragon priest Volsung, yet the residents of Haafingar whisper in dark corners:
"So...
47 0 1 Saturday, 14th February, 2015, 06:47 AM Tuesday, 14th November, 2017, 04:10 PM
Modos RPG: First Playtest
Note: the second playtest is now available. Feedback and questions on the first playtest are very welcome!


Modos Roleplaying Game
- First Playtest -


This is a rules-light, multi-genre, open-source roleplaying game. Abstract features (abilities...
79 0 1 Saturday, 2nd August, 2014, 03:50 PM Saturday, 2nd August, 2014, 03:50 PM

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