View Profile: BoxCrayonTales - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
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    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 06:07 PM
    It seems highly unlikely that a species would evolve in such a way that they would require three or more parents to reproduce, barring highly specific selective pressure. A scientific paper analyzed why only two sexes evolved using mathematical models. The models showed that three-sexed systems are less responsive to selection pressure than two-sexed systems, and have more genetic variability...
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 03:51 PM
    You're right. We simply aren't given enough information to make an informed analysis, and what information we are given simply doesn't make any sense because there were too many writers and they didn't talk enough. Pretty much every logical explanation I can contrive breaks the dilemma by making the krogan look like callous killing machines and so stupid that they would prefer to invade...
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 01:59 PM
    I think we're getting bogged down in the science and missing the the bigger picture here. The crux of the problem is that the neo-malthusian population control argument is contrived to justify imperialism and genocide, but Bioware didn't think far enough to notice this. Thomas Malthus, for whom the movement is named, advocated for committing genocide against the poor. The web serial Three...
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 07:53 PM
    Maybe I didn't articulate my arguments well enough. I'll try again: The games repeatedly try to manufacture a moral dilemma where you're given a binary choice between curing the genophage or condemning the krogan to extinction. The dilemma being based on the assumption that krogans are inherently predisposed to breeding out of control. It's a disturbing neo-malthusian space man's burden type...
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  • BoxCrayonTales's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 08:34 PM
    The krogan population dilemma doesn't make much sense. According to the timeline, it took many centuries for their population to reach the point where they started invading other inhabited planets. This actually makes their reproduction look far more comparable to humans. We can probably chalk this up less to "inherently breeding like rabbits" and more to "incompetent morons who don't know how...
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Friday, 7th March, 2014

  • 08:40 PM - Mordikenn mentioned BoxCrayonTales in post [GM Tool] Monster Generator - Free Program to Create New Monsters
    Hello everyone~ Just wanted to let a new crowd of people see the program. It's still a great free way to save time making enemies! I clicked random a few times and then fiddled with what it gave me to make the monster below. @Raneth: I have no plans to overhaul this program to perform CR calculations backwards. Unfortunately I've moved on to other projects with the majority of time, including making a few games. However, you can add racial bonuses to skills to monsters under the 'special qualities' menu already ( just click on the bonus to skills options, any of those display as a racial bonus). The majority of those monster rules are already in the program under the powers menu, and you can specify your own custom powers to add to the program. There are details regarding how to do that in the readme, you just go and add things to 'custom_powers.txt' in the data files. If you were thinking about learning to program in order to make that program yourself, be my guest... Just bear in mind that...

Wednesday, 5th March, 2014

  • 01:39 AM - Tovec mentioned BoxCrayonTales in post What qualifies a creature as an extraplanar outsider, an extraplanar animal/humanoid/etc or an extraplanar native outsider?
    Raneth I think you have some misconceptions. I'll clear up what I can. But over all Keldin is right. Especially in that you would have to ask the original authors why an outsider is an outsider as opposed to a magical beast. In the case of the tenebrous worm, according to this: http://paizo.com/PRD/additionalMonsters/tenebrousWorm.html It is typed: N Medium outsider (extraplanar) It is therefore NOT a native outsider. So let me start with terms. Specifically the three you brought up. A. extraplanar outsiders, B. extraplanar creatures of any other type, C. native outsiders that are native to an outer plane or similar. I'm starting with C. (Native Outsiders). By this I assume you mean creatures with the type of Outsider (native), as it is the only time I can remember 'native' being tied in relation to the creature type. You'll note that regardless of its origin, outsiders do not universally gain the "native" subtype just for being on a different plane. Native outsiders, as defined by that same wi...

Thursday, 20th February, 2014

  • 02:57 AM - Quickleaf mentioned BoxCrayonTales in post Skill Groups and Level-Based Skills
    Raneth What you propose looks a lot like 4e's skill system. Which is little surprise since Mike Mearls was the mind behind Iron Heroes and 4e. For example, Pathfinder's physical skills Climb, Jump, Swim, and Ride can be readily grouped as Athletics. And that's precisely what 4e does (well, forgetting the Ride skill). I think you'd need to spend some time determining what constitutes a trained skill use, since all characters can make all skill checks now. For example, when my fighter gets a lucky roll on Knowledge: engineering check, are there limits on what he can do/knows compared to a character trained in Knowledge: engineering? Do you plan to adjudicate that ad hoc, or prepare in advance?

Monday, 26th August, 2013

  • 10:57 AM - Tovec mentioned BoxCrayonTales in post Consolidating monster types further
    In the system I've been working (for the past year and a half or so) has very similar consolidations. Part of the issue I'm still grappling with is the names of certain types (like your "aberrants") but I'll gladly share my thoughts on this subject. This kind of came and went a little while ago, discussing 5e's types/subtypes, with (I think it was) KM making very similar suggestions - though a more consolidated list. Anyway. Oozes not being a type. I completely agree here. But I think you are doing a disservice putting them in the Aberration category. Why isn't ooze simply a subtype that is applied to creatures without discernible anatomies. Water elementals are basically oozes. Air and fire elementals, debatable so. Earth probably not (I make them out to be either outsiders or constructs, depending on source). Undead, also agreed, not a type; but a subtype fits them well. Again, as a subtype there is no reason to simply lump them in with "animated" but I do agree in principle. I wou...

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Sunday, 12th May, 2019

  • 10:34 PM - Parmandur quoted BoxCrayonTales in post The Pilosus, a player race with 6 Genders for your 5th edition Sci Fi setting
    Maybe I didn't articulate my arguments well enough. I'll try again: The games repeatedly try to manufacture a moral dilemma where you're given a binary choice between curing the genophage or condemning the krogan to extinction. The dilemma being based on the assumption that krogans are inherently predisposed to breeding out of control. It's a disturbing neo-malthusian space man's burden type of deal that wouldn't be out of place in a Tom Kratman novel. The logistics as described don't work. The krogans aren't biologically feasible. In fact, any population control dilemma like this doesn't seem feasible. I'll describe this using the "r/K selection theory." It's been discredited but it's still a useful shorthand. Essentially, a r-selected species produces a lot of offspring and invests zero parental care because most of those offspring won't live to reproduce. By contrast, a K-selected species produces a small number of offspring and invests parental care to ensure most live to reproduce. ...

Thursday, 9th May, 2019

  • 09:00 PM - tglassy quoted BoxCrayonTales in post The Pilosus, a player race with 6 Genders for your 5th edition Sci Fi setting
    According to in-game statements about their reproduction, a krogan woman can birth ~1000 babies per year (different sources contradict whether they lay eggs or give live birth). The problem here is that it isn't physically possible for krogan couples to have a thousand kids per year every year, nor logistically feasible for them to raise a thousand kids every year especially if it takes more than one year for krogans to mature (for comparison, the fastest growing mammal on Earth is the blue whale, which doubles in size in its first six months; however, blue whales reproduce very sparsely like humans). You're forgetting that the planet they were living on was so hostile to life, most chidren never reached maturity, and the adults died left and right. Only the strongest, and luckiest, actually survived. They needed the high birth rate in order to combat this and keep the species going. Out the thousands born, only a few would actually survive until adulthood, and considering there are animals who ...

Wednesday, 27th March, 2019

  • 01:41 AM - ccs quoted BoxCrayonTales in post How difficult is it to change the monster type mechanic?
    As far as I can tell, the rules as written do not allow you to add multiple types to a creature, change its type to another, or change the standard listing of types. The standard types mechanic does not fit with my campaign world and I would like to change it. DM > the rules. This is a truth every DM needs to embrace. So embrace it. Change whatever you will. and as mentioned you'll want to consider how this'll effect certain spells/items/maybe a few class features. But first, here, read this. It's from the Moldvay edition of the D&D Basic set from '81. It's as good as advice today as it was back then. "While the material in this booklet is referred to as rules, that is not really correct. Anything in this booklet (and other D&D booklets) should be thought of as changeable - anything, that is, that the Dungeon Master or referee thinks should be changed. This is not to say that everything in this booklet should be discarded! All of this material has been carefully thought out and pla...
  • 01:38 AM - LordEntrails quoted BoxCrayonTales in post How difficult is it to change the monster type mechanic?
    As far as I can tell, the rules as written do not allow you to add multiple types to a creature, change its type to another, or change the standard listing of types. What? The rules say no such thing. In fact I'm sure someone can find a sentence or three in the DMG that says you can change anything you want. Do what you want as the others have said, just be aware of the impacts (not too significant). Have fun:)

Monday, 25th March, 2019

  • 02:41 PM - Cergorach quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Modiphius Takes Over Vampire: The Masquerade
    I'm ambivalent. I've never really liked the restrictive nature of the IP nor its stranglehold over the urban fantasy market. Allowing Onyx Path to keep publishing their World of Darkness derivatives is an unsound business decision. It makes more sense to mandate Onyx Path release their products as supplements for V5. They may have a longer running contract with OP that allows them to publish oWoD. Also, many people find the new art direction of v5 abysmal. There is a sound business reason why OP started publishing oWoD books, they were in demand, a far greater demand then the nWoD books. I suspect that V5 is only further fracturing their own market, the new artstyle, the whole 'incident', etc. But the new owner is launching a new videogame in the same v5 'setting', so we're stuck with it unless they change their minds in the coming year...

Monday, 18th March, 2019

  • 08:01 PM - Deset Gled quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Mind if I pedantically complain that monster manuals butcher myth/folklore/fairytale?
    All of this drives the pedant in me crazy, especially since it is now trivial to research this stuff on google. Is this trend creatively bankrupt? Am I making much ado about nothing? Are there other pendants in the audience? Care to share any stories of pendantry as it relates to game monster design? There is a great story of mythology pedantry that I swore came from a post here, but I can't seem to find it now. Either the post was lost during one of the accidental purges, or it comes from elsewhere. Anyway, it went something like this... The scene is of a typical adventuring party, traversing a valley. They are alerted by a magic ward that an attack is imminent from enemies above them. Looking to the sky, they see a pack of winged creatures come from the behind a mountain. As they unsheathe their magic swords and pull out wands for the for battle, they squint into the horizon to identify the monsters. As the swarm approaches, it suddenly becomes clear: it's a school of flying sharks, ...

Sunday, 17th March, 2019

  • 11:26 PM - Saelorn quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Mind if I pedantically complain that monster manuals butcher myth/folklore/fairytale?
    I’ve always been frustrated by the inordinate focus on violence in RPGs. Plenty of fantasy stories resolved encounters with non-violent solutions. I’m not suggesting adding mental/social hit points or using a genuinely universal task resolution mechanic a la Risus, but I wish the rules had offered XP for any method of conflict resolution. That would introduce a new problem, where you get better at fighting by avoiding combat. It's only really an issue with D&D and similar games, which derived from wargames, such that combat is a reasonable assumption for the designers to make. Most other games give you a way of earning XP without killing things, but most other game lack the type of class structure where XP is automatically converted into fighting ability. You may look at D&D, and ask why the monsters are so mythologically inaccurate. I look at your question, and ask why you're trying to fit everything into the narrow framework of D&D.

Saturday, 16th March, 2019

  • 12:48 AM - Celebrim quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Stirges have cemented themselves as my favorite D&D monsters at this point...
    Did you know? The name stirge derives from the Greco-Latin strix, meaning “screech owl.” It further gained connotations as “witch”, which remained when it was loaned into other languages. Curiously, a similar phenomenon was observed with the words for “screech owl” in Hebrew and Proto-Algonquin. Both came to refer to various demons. Furthermore: An older English compound for screech owl was lich-owl (“death/corpse owl”), as they were seen as omens of death. In other words, screech owls are creepy. This is acknowledged by cultures vastly separated in space and time. I like this guy.

Tuesday, 12th March, 2019

  • 04:37 AM - Umbran quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Do you design worlds according to fantastical physics?
    Characters would experience the world the same way that we do, even if the underlying physics aren’t those of our real world. Or not, as their world has magic, and ours doesn't. Their experiences of their world could be very different than ours. In most works, they are not, but every once in a while, a writer goes deep, and brings up some truly weird stuff. My reasoning for this is that I see, for lack of a better term, D&Disms as being nonsensical compared to adopting a genuinely classical cosmology. D&Disms work fine, if you include parts of old D&D cosmology - the elemental planes, and the positive and negative energy planes, and say, "Arcane magic is simply drawing upon the energies of these other planes." Any of Earths' classical cosmologies fall apart if you try to use them to predict how something will work, because those classical cosmologies are all *wrong*. Classical magic systems are after-the-fact rationalizations, not actual systems that tell you what will happen if yo...

Monday, 11th March, 2019

  • 01:16 AM - Man in the Funny Hat quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Do you design worlds according to fantastical physics?
    Something I dislike about typical modern fantasy world building is that it basically tacks magic onto a world that otherwise operates according to real physics. Logically speaking, magic is a type of science/technology and therefore should independently confirm the same things that real science does if the world operates that way. I guess this has me confused then. You dislike fantasy that simply tacks on magic to real physics, but say that magic needs to confirm the same things that real physics does? Gods explicitly exist in this setting, and it doesn’t make sense that they would design two different sets of physics to govern nature and magic. It doesn’t make sense that whatever non-god responsible for creating reality would do that.Your issue may be with the fact that you're trying to apply logic to that which is inherently NOT logical. Magic DEFIES logic and physical laws - it doesn't conform to them or support their existence. Lurking under the hood of magic is the physics of Schroedin...
  • 12:03 AM - John Out West quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Do you design worlds according to fantastical physics?
    Logically speaking, magic is a type of science/technology and therefore should independently confirm the same things that real science does if the world operates that way. Gods explicitly exist in this setting, and it doesn’t make sense that they would design two different sets of physics to govern nature and magic. It doesn’t make sense that whatever non-god responsible for creating reality would do that. In my world, Azurath, the god of Magic, Knowledge, and Mystery, purposefully designed magic so that its rules are always changing and it can never be understood. As the god of mystery, he wanted magic to be a "Endless frontier." That's not to disagree with your main point. I think the world should appear mundane until you explore too far (and find a Beholder), or look too close. (and find everything is made of the same four elements)

Friday, 8th March, 2019

  • 09:57 PM - Umbran quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Do you design worlds according to fantastical physics?
    I’ve never seen roleplaying games (or other media) that use fantastical physics run into this problem. Nephilim, Glorantha, and Exalted, for example, didn’t break down into angry complaints over how they made no sense. Tons of fiction uses fantastical concepts like holiday characters, the sandman, etc without falling apart. Well, here's a point - having Santa Claus does not mean that the world uses fantastical physics. Santa is an oft-discussed entity, but there's no general Theory of Santa that tells you how the world works that includes the abilities Santa has. There is no law detailing how Santa literally flies to every home in one night without burning up due to air friction. It is just stated that he *does*, and it ends there. You can have magic in the world - instances in which the universe behaves much differently from our own, without having a *physics* detailing *how* it happens. It just does. This is the old saw of "How does it work? MAGIC!!1!" D&D, by and large, works in thi...
  • 09:00 PM - Saelorn quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Do you design worlds according to fantastical physics?
    In typical D&D settings, these elemental planes are assumed to be the origin of the material plane. [...] The spelljammer rules in particular, which are still canon to D&D, pretty much kill any illusion that D&D uses real physics.Where are you getting this? I've never heard the first part, and the second part is only dubiously canon. In either case, D&D as a whole encompasses a lot more than just the Forgotten Realms and the spheres around it. If you want to argue that every published setting is equally as silly as Spelljammer, then I'm not going to argue the point, because published settings are only a tiny fraction of what D&D is built to do. The 5E DMG does a pretty good job of listing out the relevant parameters, by which an individual DM can create a world that is as grounded or as fantastic as they want. If this thread is any indication, it's not uncommon to want a setting that's a little closer to reality (while still allowing the fun fantasy conventions). It’s not like the D&D ecology has...
  • 03:07 PM - Li Shenron quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Mind if I pedantically complain that monster manuals butcher myth/folklore/fairytale?
    Am I making much ado about nothing? No you're not. I always wished D&D was more accurate when borrowing monsters from folklore and mythology (even with the caveat that it's a natural trait of folklore to have many versions of everything), so that we actually learn something. I don't think there was ever any need to modify the nature of folklore/mythology creatures to make them suit the game.

Thursday, 7th March, 2019

  • 10:55 AM - 5ekyu quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Do orcs in gaming display parallels to colonialist propaganda?
    So I see people online claiming that orcs (or drow or any other savage humanoid race) often unconsciously represent cruel stereotypes of people of color and promote a colonialist narrative. I also see plenty of people claiming that orcs do not and never have represented racial minorities, and that even suggesting such is itself racist. This question is very much politicized. How much truth is there to this assumption? Are there any academic analyses of such comparisons? Is there an ironclad argument either way?Huh... late to the party but werent orcs ariginslly in LotR z dur on communism? Political baiting, not race baiting? I remember one of the first reviews of StarTrek: Next Gen which concluded "Klingons are no longer slur at communists, but against african-americans." But, as for what happens "in gaming" mostly anything happens in gaming somewhere. Me, I have used historical political and societal models for part of the foundations for NPCs many times. But usually, its just one seed among man...
  • 10:00 AM - Li Shenron quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Do you design worlds according to fantastical physics?
    Something I dislike about typical modern fantasy world building is that it basically tacks magic onto a world that otherwise operates according to real physics. I don’t think that is holistic, since the pre-modern societies that laid the foundation for the fantasy genre didn’t think that way. So I rejected this paradigm and world build according to my own invented magical physics. Of course that is really difficult on its own, so I like to read pre-modern philosophy and religion and obsolete scientific theories to get ideas for fantasy physics. This leads to a lot of interesting results, like spontaneous generation, four humors, flat world, hearts used for thinking, all diseases being caused by spirits, fighters developing superpowers by training really hard, and so forth. There are a few roleplaying games which did something similar like Nephilim, Glorantha and Exalted. These served as inspiration for myself as well. Do you world build according to magical physics? How so? I always loved th...
  • 12:46 AM - Saelorn quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Do you design worlds according to fantastical physics?
    I prefer to use fantastical physics because they make more sense when fantastical things exist as part of the world. For example, it makes zero sense for there to be elemental beings and planes based on the four classical elements if the world is composed of the periodic elements.I can certainly imagine such a world. Maybe it's the Star Trek influence, but alternate dimensions don't really phase me much. A world with periodic elements isn't necessarily inconsistent with elemental planes, as long as those elemental planes are far-removed from the material plane and only accessible through magic. This creates new avenues for characters to interact with the world. If a villain wanted to, they could cause a drought by killing the local rain dragon or river god. Thus setting in motion a quest to find a new spirit/god to replace it. To me, that feels more like mythology and folklore than the overwhelming majority of published adventure paths.I don't disagree. The difference is that I have zero interest in...

Wednesday, 6th March, 2019

  • 10:35 PM - Bedrockgames quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Mind if I pedantically complain that monster manuals butcher myth/folklore/fairytale?
    Roleplaying games have a long history of taking monsters from mythology and turning them into encounters. Often the monsters are rendered barely recognizable compared to their mythological origins, assuming that said origin had any interesting aspects that got shorn off. Plenty are already so vague and simplistic that the transition didn’t seem to hurt them overmuch. This is very pedantic, I know. Sometimes this is a cosmetic thing like the D&D gorgon and wight actually corresponding to the mythological catoblepas and draug. Or an undead sorcerer being called a lich, even though that only means “corpse/death” as shown by English words like lich-gate, lich-field, lich-way, lich-owl, lich-wake, etc. This should be easy to rectify by using compound names to maintain continuity: catoblepas gorgon, gorgon medusa, draug-wight, elder lich lord, lich mage, etc. For example, Pathfinder tweaks the demilich (literally meaning “half corpse”) to a decayed and weakened lich mage, with the awakened variant being...
  • 09:49 PM - Autumn Bask quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Mind if I pedantically complain that monster manuals butcher myth/folklore/fairytale?
    I could go on for pages about my beef with the fantasy taxonomy mechanics unique to D&D. But I digress. All of this drives the pedant in me crazy, especially since it is now trivial to research this stuff on google. Is this trend creatively bankrupt? Am I making much ado about nothing? Are there other pendants in the audience? Care to share any stories of pendantry as it relates to game monster design? Well, if we're going to be pedants here, no, it is not creatively bankrupt to re-imagine monsters as something different from their lore. However, taking my pedant hat off and looking at the heart of what you're saying, I definitely agree that there is a lot of missed potential in the monster designs. But this isn't a product of them taking liberties with the lore. That's perfectly valid and expected, and is part of being creative. I think it's as you say here: this is probably symptomatic of the fact that the vast majority of roleplaying involves violence. If a monster only exists for the player...
  • 07:33 PM - Umbran quoted BoxCrayonTales in post Do orcs in gaming display parallels to colonialist propaganda?
    So this sort of, I don’t know what to call it, race building is very disturbing to me. You are writing a race whose sole purpose is to be killed by the heroes, and justly killed at that rather than the heroes being vicious psychopaths. I prefer to avoid that if I can. Well, remember that we are playing a game, not building an actual world. The elements in the game world do not actually have a purpose other than to serve the game, and the plaery's goals for the game. If their goals do not include particularly deep consideration of the morality of violence, then yes, the bad guys are just going to be bad, and we are not supposed to feel much for them when they come to harm at the hands of the PCs. You have seen Raiders of the Lost Ark, right? The bad guys are there to be a difficulty for Indiana Jones to overcome, often by punching or shooting them. And they come to a bad end, because they are *bad*. If, for example, you want a deeper consideration of the morality of violence in your ga...


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