View Profile: Ratskinner - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:23 AM
    I guess I just don't see the point. I question the value of D&D-style stats in general (especially randomly generated), but really, why bother with the racial/gender modifiers? You wanna play Brienne of Tarth or Red Sonja...or the one Dextrous and Charming Dwarf in Stone Keep...go nuts. If the players at a given table want to emulate a particular set of prejudices, etc. then they can do...
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 05:17 AM
    The only thing about 5e that irked me when running it was the monsters. I'd have preferred a more 4e style of monster design. (IMO, the single best thing about 4e). With the glossing-over of a lot of the tactical detail, they could be super-simple stat blocks.
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 05:06 AM
    I voted for 2e. 3e came along and I was very excited for all the changes...but in the end it seemed more tedium than it was worth. I had a lot of good times with both of those editions, but I tired of 3e in a way that I never tired of 2e.
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 03:12 PM
    I tend to think that this is where playgoals come into it. That is, I'm not sure myself that Conflict Resolution is the best way to conduct Investigative Scenarios (or the Investigative Portions of other scenarios), because part of the point of play is to have the experience of putting the clues together. I think that's one of the big (and effective) realizations of the Gumshoe system. That said,...
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Friday, 3rd May, 2019, 03:24 AM
    I agree, although I think the Skill Challenge was a bit clunky overall. I think my problem here is that after a game like Capes, its really hard to fuzz my eyes as much as I used to. Capes doesn't even have skills. You just have traits. The traits can be almost anything: "Hit 'em with the scenery", "Do a dozen things at the same time." (remember its a supers game) So, when its a...
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Wednesday, 1st May, 2019, 06:09 AM
    I've brought it up before, but there's a game called Capes that focuses solely on Conflict Resolution, and it taught me more about it than all the discussions ever could. Firstly, just to get it out of the way, I hate Vincent's oft-quoted example. Because, asking "Why?" makes no sense outside of the context of the Conflicts and how they determined. Don't ask "Why?", instead ask "Which Conflict...
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Sunday, 28th April, 2019, 02:19 AM
    I might suggest the Fate World: Gods and Monsters. I ran a combo Aria/Primal Order game about a zillion years ago. I'm not sure that the extra mechanics ended up being worth it. I think from an "Interesting game" perspective, I might just use a modified Marvel Heroic (If you have that available.)
    42 replies | 1599 view(s)
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Sunday, 28th April, 2019, 01:52 AM
    I think if I were making recommendations to a new GM/players, I would take a clue from some of the modern games and skip the world-building and just do a session zero. Some of the best worlds I've experienced are just cobbled together and spiraled out from the first couple of adventures. Getting a bit of input from the players is always welcome. "Tell me about the biggest bad guys in this world."...
    9 replies | 764 view(s)
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About Ratskinner

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I wish more people played Indie games in North Akron.
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Currently running 5e for a mostly OSR group. Occasionally, I get them to try out newer games like Fate and PbtA games. Good times.
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Currently running 5e for a mostly OSR group. Occasionally, I get them to try out newer games like Fate and PbtA games. Good times.
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Sunday, 28th April, 2019

  • 02:53 PM - pemerton mentioned Ratskinner in post God Games (NOT D&D)
    ... plans, jumping to other planes or dimensions, locating obscure artifacts, fulfilling ancient prophecies, and similar tropes.That's a pretty good description of my experiences of epic-tier 4e. one way that a deity-tier campaign would be interesting would be to focus on those flaws and weaknesses. That could be accomplished through mechanics or session zero agreements between players and the GM. To me, this would differentiate the tone of play from simply high-powered adventuring. If I'm playing someone like Aphrodite, I would be disappointed if I just ran around using my charm and beauty powers all the time without some complications that created dramatic tension between my basic desire for good and my vicious jealous streak (e.g., stopping some evil plague vs. getting revenge on the queen who dared compare her beauty to mine).4e D&D won't deliver this out of the box - you'd have to do some work (both around play expectations and, probably, mechanics). In this respect, I think Ratskinner's suggestion of Marvel Heroic/Cortex+ Heroic is a good one - that system will support the "epic tier" hijinks and also builds this sort of character stuff right into the system (via the Limits rules and the Milestone rules).

Sunday, 27th January, 2019

  • 04:10 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned Ratskinner in post Observations on matching "One vs. Many" combat mechanics to cinematic combat
    I can't make heads or tails of this. Are you trying to say that you (instead of "people") are looking for a mechanically detailed ststem that does cinematic combat well? Are you familiar with Ratskinner's examples, ie Powered by the Apocalypse games, because calling those "DM discretion" is rather missing the point of those systems. They hard code in player facing cinematic options and mechanically limit DM authority alongside having strong play principles that further enforce the mechanics to deliver the design goal play. I love 5e. Starting a new campaign today, in fact. But, I don't play it for cinematic play. I go to Blades in the Dark for that, and it delivers on that in spades (for heist/skulduggery play, at least). It doesn't do exploration/tactical play well, though.
  • 02:45 AM - Ovinomancer mentioned Ratskinner in post Observations on matching "One vs. Many" combat mechanics to cinematic combat
    +1 Ratskinner. There are plenty of RPGs that do cinematic combat well. They just aren't D&D. Cinema is meant to inspire D&D, but D&D doesn't emulate it well at all.

Wednesday, 12th December, 2018

  • 01:37 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned Ratskinner in post Skills used by players on other players.
    ...tion because it seems like there's a contradiction in the statements and I'd curious as to what causes it. Maybe it'll make him change his mind, or maybe it'll provide a new avenue for discussion, or maybe it won't. If I don't ask, only the latter is sure to obtain. What he does at his table isn't going to effect you and I think this thread has done a lot to show that both sides are right,neither side 100% but enough that we can understand that yeah people are viewing things differently and that's ok. Neither side is engaging in bad or hurtful game play, it's just a difference of opinion in a rpg that aims to have much of it left up to the players and DM. Oh, goodness, someone has forgotten their on a discussion forum. Of course it won't affect my table -- or will it? Because, in that 3 year old thread that was linked a few pages ago about NPCs using skills against PCs, I was on your side of the argument. Go read it, you'll see. I made a lot of the same arguments you and Ratskinner are making (and ccs). But, starting in that thread, and in a few more where I got mad at iserith (I've accused him of trolling, too, much to my future embarrassment), I started looking at how I run games, what I was doing, and realized that a lot of my dissatisfaction was how I was running -- what luggage I was bringing with me. I've changed my style since then, sought out a few good non-D&D games to sample different concepts altogether, and fashioned a different playstyle that's much more iserith and Bawylie that my old one. So, yeah, maybe this is the start of a change and maybe it isn't, but whether or not it affects my table right now, this is still a discussion forum where we talk about pretending to be elves. I think sometimes we get so caught up in the argument that we forget that we are all on the same side. We love rpg's! There are few enough of us out there lets agree to disagree and still hold each other in a positive light. You told us what you would do,...

Wednesday, 28th November, 2018

  • 12:19 AM - darkbard mentioned Ratskinner in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    Combat: A substrate upon which fictional positioning and how it relates to gamestate (the two creating a feedback loop until the conflict has been resolved), action economy, and related opportunity cost dictate moves made and attendant outcomes. vs Skill Challenge: A substrate upon which fictional positioning and how it relates to gamestate (the two creating a feedback loop until the conflict has been resolved) dictate moves made and attendant outcomes. Make sense? Totally. They're not equivalent, as my bolding of your text highlights. And ht to Ratskinner, whose earlier comments, especially with regard to action economy, preview your post. That said--and this is intended as a point of exploration, not as one of disagreement--one could rather easily implement the full suite of actions per turn available to 4E characters in combat in a skill challenge. Most skill applications already have an action unit associated with them, which would faciliate this. And further, implementation of rituals, encounter powers (particularly when a skill challenge is embedded within a combat encounter or vice versa), and daily powers leveraged in SCs do bring an attendant opportunity cost (if I understand correctly what you mean by this). The former is not 4E RAW (though it's an easy hack), but the latter is. Again, this is not completely symmetrical design across the two silos, but with a little work the two share far more than what separates them. But I agree that such implementation does require "deft," creative GMing and a willingness to int...

Saturday, 24th November, 2018

  • 08:24 AM - pemerton mentioned Ratskinner in post Rules Light Games: Examples and Definitions
    I agree with Ratskinner that d20 is not light. I've never played Fate but I'ver read the Fate Core book and it gives me a vibe of being, in play, comparable in heaviness to MHRP/Cortex+ Heroic, which I've played quite a bit and wouldn't call light. I've played a fair bit of Classic Traveller recently and it can move at a pretty quick pace, but I think it has too many subsystems to count as light. Two systems I've played recently that I would count as light are Prince Valiant and Cthulhu Dark. In the latter PC build can literally take place while opening up a packet of snacks - choose a name and an occupation (where "occupation" has the real world meaning of choosing a job, not choosing a PC option from a list). Resolution is very straightforward, based on a pool of 1 to 3 dice with the highest die in the pool counting plus bad things happening if the Sanity die is in the pool and comes up highest. PC build in Prince Valiant takes more like 10 minutes - choose name, archetype and description; alloc...

Friday, 26th October, 2018

  • 09:30 AM - pemerton mentioned Ratskinner in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    A skilled combatant would have better odds of such, but not guaranteed. D&D keeps it simpleSo the criterion is realism, except when it might contradict D&D rules, and then the criterion is simplicity? If simplicity is the key, then it's simple to roll attack and damage together, and to allow the Shield spell to be declared in response to a hit even though the damage has been rolled. (And to echo Ratskinner - I think the "simplicity" of D&D is easily overstated.)

Tuesday, 18th September, 2018

  • 04:15 PM - pemerton mentioned Ratskinner in post Seeking multigenre rpg system
    Ratskinner, good analysis and suggestions (though I think points-buy for power sets might be a bit more than trivial) - but given the last few posts from the OP I don't think Cortex+ is the sort of system being looked for!

Tuesday, 31st July, 2018

  • 11:16 PM - pemerton mentioned Ratskinner in post A discussion of metagame concepts in game design
    The absence of disagreement about the nature of good, or moral truth, does not self-evidently prove (i) that these are not objective matters, nor (ii) that any candidate account or definition of them is not objectively true. Ratskinner mentioned consilience as a marker of knowledge. The absence of consilience in moral philosophy is relevant to the question of whether or not moral philosophy is a science. And it might even be used as part of an argument that there is no objective truth there (eg one candidate explanation for the absence of consilience is that there is no truth for enquirers to converge on). But being an element of a possible argument is not self-evident demonstration. Perhaps it could be argued that consilience is constitutive of their being an "objective definition", but I'm not sure what that argument is.

Saturday, 14th July, 2018

  • 01:39 PM - Manbearcat mentioned Ratskinner in post A discussion of metagame concepts in game design
    ...ws get progressively more difficult with each success unitl one fails, then get reset? (this to allow for a 'death by a thousand cuts' narrative) Where is 'unconscious' as a condition? Could it be a modifier to the save against harm 4 - if you roll within +/-3 of the DC or cutoff point you're unconscious instead of dead, maybe; and if left untended you'll later (maybe minutes, maybe hours, whenever) get another save, where you either wake up (and live), remain unconscious (and repeat this process later), or die? How does magical healing or curing work with any of this? Panic-ridden, Confused, and Demoralized are all conditions that can be inflicted by spell (in 1e D&D: Cause Fear, Confusion, and Emotion respectively) - what's the interaction here? Do these spells now just tick a harm box? Lanefan I donít want to dig down too deeply into the rest of the hacking required, because I was trying to solicit solely the visceral reaction from Emerikol . Iím inthe same camp as Ratskinner ; the reaction to one type of mechanics or information organization versus another is primarily because of familiarity or the internalization of a set of stuff into a mental framework that youíve settled into permanently. So what is the visceral reaction to a set of mechanics which are low mental overhead, much more internally consistent than HPs when modeling biological interactions...yet unfamiliar. But just a brief foray into your question: 1) No, these are not my own ideas (we can discuss the source later). 2) All you would have to do is: a) sub out current HP and condition mechanics and interactions for Harm levels (eg give Mooks no Harm box- everything is Harm 4, make a level one spell that inflicts x condition do y Harm). This would include deriving present system maths:Harm and Saving Throws at your discretion. b) sorting out Armor and mitigation abilities that step down Harm levels (or stop it outright) or Saving Throw interaction. c) sort out recovery (an...

Wednesday, 2nd May, 2018

  • 04:37 PM - Gradine mentioned Ratskinner in post Simple Superhero Systems
    ...vel's Runaways. Thanks for the advice everybody! My very limited experience with superhero gaming involved creating characters using an older DC Roleplaying Game system to build a new class of X-men (don't ask) that never actually got off the ground, but I do remember taking a long time to build my character. I'm trying to advertise and recruit new players into roleplaying and given the, err, prominence of superheroes in our current moment of popular culture, I'd figure I'd be remiss without playing to that genre. I'm using at least one other PbtA game, and I have some familiarity with that style of system, and I'm definitely digging what I'm reading from Masks right now (fun fact: the mutant character I made all those years ago was codenamed Aegis). Given my audience is "people who work primarily with college students" the emphasis on young heroes also seems like it'll be a good draw. But I'm also definitely checking out CapesLite as an alternative; thanks for the suggestion Ratskinner!

Monday, 5th February, 2018

  • 04:28 PM - Manbearcat mentioned Ratskinner in post Is D&D Too Focused on Combat?
    @Ratskinner and @pemerton I donít want to rehash the history of the 4e Skill Challenge or our own history in discussing it! However... Can we at least agree that the fundamental components of noncombat conflict resolution machinery are: - mechanical substrate/framework - procedures to move from framing to locked-in resolution - techniques that being about dynamic, coherent fiction and interesting decision-points A nice bonus would be to have a resolution procedure where tactical depth meets a tight feedback loop with resources/PC machinery that augments PC habitation in the unfolding situation (eg creates urgency or a sense of risk or a sense of emotional investment) for a player. But that isnít fundamentally mandatory (but contemporary game design should include it as understanding has matured significantly). Now, whether one feels 4eís instruction (establish a goal, go to the action, change the situation, success with complications, fail forward, failure is not an endpoint) is sufficien...

Sunday, 4th February, 2018

  • 02:49 PM - pemerton mentioned Ratskinner in post Is D&D Too Focused on Combat?
    Ratskinner, Lanefan Picking up on the "tacitcal socialising" aspect - Duel of Wits encourages very tactical socialising. At the table, this is a player who knows how to work the different action declaration options to maximise successes while minimising risks (I have a player who is very good at this). In the fiction, this corresponds to a character who knows when to speak, when to listen, when to push hard, when to pull back a bit, in order to get what s/he wants. And a bit more generally - I posted an example of play where the main focus of the action was a bar and the downstream consequences of a pick-up attempt. It wasn't a "side quest" or "downtime" - the PC heroes encountered three mercenaries trying to steal a piece of equipment from the Smithsonian, and were able to stop them from doing so because one was trapped in ice in the Washington Monument after Bobby Drake took her there for some romantic late-night skating; another was seduced and then abandoned on the top of the Capitol by...

Monday, 19th June, 2017


Wednesday, 14th June, 2017

  • 11:14 PM - Sadras mentioned Ratskinner in post Why I Am Starting to Prefer 4d6 Drop the Lowest Over the Default Array.
    I absolutely love the stat requirements of earier editions - I just remember I was never a fan of the rolling due to the disparity it created between players, I was also a much younger DM back then and that certainly didn't help. I will certainly incorporate them (stat requirements) now that Ratskinner posted that neat card system for generating stats.

Thursday, 8th June, 2017

  • 10:33 AM - pemerton mentioned Ratskinner in post Consequence and Reward in RPGs
    Also Ratskinner, double post => double XP. A strategy for level gain!
  • 10:33 AM - pemerton mentioned Ratskinner in post Consequence and Reward in RPGs
    Ratskinner, there's a lot in your post, this is just picking up on the bits where I thought I had something to contribute. Often, making a good/interesting story involves loss on the part of the protagonist. Most traditional rpgs have no mechanism rewarding a player for a substantive loss by their character. Reward mechanisms, like XP/leveling, are based solely on "winning" whatever goals the character has, and apply to the character and player as well. Contrast this with Fiasco, in which you the player can "win" by having your character suffer the most during the course of the game. (Although if you do win in this fashion, your character walks away winning as well.) This puts a player's immediate interests at odds with the character's immediate interests in a way that allows for plotlines that D&D would have great difficulty creating.I know of Fiasco but don't know it. Of the systems I do know (again, nothing very radical) I like BW the best in this respect: advancing your PC requires con...

Wednesday, 7th June, 2017


Thursday, 25th May, 2017

  • 01:54 PM - Celebrim mentioned Ratskinner in post Players building v players exploring a campaign
    Ratskinner: I think that's largely fair. For me, the one way D&D gets in the way of story is that in addition to narrative it is also trying to serve the aesthetic of challenge. And sense it is trying to serve the aesthetic of challenge, then it provides for the possibility of failure - without which there would be no challenge. But the problem with providing the possibility of failure is that the timing of failure in a game serving the aesthetic doesn't always - and usually doesn't - well serve the timing required of narrative. One problem that you run into trying to recreate narrative in a game is that in narratives the protagonists can't fail unless it serves the story for them to do so. But in the game, characters just die off at random leaving plot threads dangling unfinished. It's not easy to remove that. A game without challenge becomes like watching reruns of a sports competition. The linearity of the game - the fact that you don't know what is going to happen - is I think t...
  • 10:48 AM - pemerton mentioned Ratskinner in post Consequence and Reward in RPGs
    ... some fashion. One example: all the systems I'm GMing at the moment use some version of "say 'yes' or roll the dice", which means that the GM never calls for a roll unless the situation involves something being at stake which matters to the player, as that player has been build and played by its player. In which case a bad roll doesn't spoil the story; rather, the story is one in which, at the moment of crunch for that PC, things went wrong (this happens to Gandalf multiple times in The Fellowship of the Ring, for instance - first with Saruman, then with Butterbur, then with the Balrog). "Say 'yes' or roll the dice" works well in conjunction with other techniques, too, like "fail forward" - so that allowing failure as a regular part of play doesn't mean the end of the story. But certain resolution systems (especially but not only sim-oriented ones) are very hard to adapt to "fail forward" adjudication. So my own view is that, in fact, system matters a lot. (But I also agree with Ratskinner that many systems are actually not very different in the relevant respects from D&D. Eg changing the resolution mechanic in D&D from d20 to 2d10 or 3d6, or changing the spread of PC ability scores and the way they're calculated - all of which many people would regard as important system changes - probably won't change anything relevant to whether or not D&D supports alternatives for avoiding bad dice rolls other than my (1) and (2) above.)


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Tuesday, 14th May, 2019

  • 10:09 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Ratskinner in post Stakes and consequences in action resolution
    But this is, IMO, the fundamental design problem/question of quasi-sim rpg design: What do you put in mechanical black boxes and what do you leave to the players to work out with actions and adjudication? A case can be made that in order to facilitate a less-intelligent player's portrayal of a great detective, or a less-charming player's portrayal of a smooth-talker, that mechanics should do the lifting there in the same way that things like Strength scores and BAB aid an unathletic player to portray a well-sinewed barbarian. However, in some intangible way, we tend to feel differently about those, even in play. There's just something less satisfying about a GM telling you "You figure out..." vs. describing combat actions. I ran a steampunk game - the system is unimportant, literally, I mostly ignored it - and one of the characters was a Sherlock Holmes type. She didn't get rolls to solve mysteries, rather, when I described things to the player, I threw in details, clues & conclusions that every...

Friday, 3rd May, 2019

  • 09:38 AM - pemerton quoted Ratskinner in post Stakes and consequences in action resolution
    I think my problem here is that after a game like Capes, its really hard to fuzz my eyes as much as I used to. Capes doesn't even have skills. You just have traits. The traits can be almost anything: "Hit 'em with the scenery", "Do a dozen things at the same time." (remember its a supers game) So, when its a character's turn, the controlling player just picks one and narrates a relevant bit of story (there's some complicated dice/point manipulation stuff, too). Thing is, your ratings in the abilities don't correspond to any sort of "power level" or "ability level". So one character might have "Interplanetary Flight" at 1 and another has "Angel Wings" at 5. The wings are "objectively" less powerful in the narrative context, but in a game where "Impress Allison" can be a goal, the wings will be more useful. The trait ratings end up being solely a rough measure of how much you want a given trait to matter in this character's story.That's much closer to HeroWars/Quest, and especially HeroQuest revise...

Wednesday, 1st May, 2019

  • 11:58 AM - pemerton quoted Ratskinner in post Stakes and consequences in action resolution
    Just picking up on a few bits of your interesting post: a) This includes the "Not Yet" rule: if a Conflict has not mechanically been resolved (won?), you cannot narrate an event that would effectively resolve it. <snip> 1) This doesn't play super nice with the quasi-simulation skill system. 2) D&D combat is already (in some ways) a very complicated Conflict Resolution system (its only resolving the one event over and over again...but...) and making the two systems mesh might be problematic.The most developed non-combat resolution system for D&D that I'm aware of is the skill challenge in 4e. It needs your (a) but no rulebook directly states it. A GM needs either to bring that from outside (normally by experience with another game with better-stated rules), or intuit it, or else complain that skill challenges are broken because we have to keep rolling the dice even though the conflict is resolved! I'm not sure about your (1). In 4e the standard solution is to just ignore all the quas...

Sunday, 21st April, 2019

  • 07:50 AM - Al2O3 quoted Ratskinner in post How to get an undead army across an ocean?
    Who needs wind when you have a zombie "motor"? :cool: As far as wastefully expensive...its not like you need to feed most of the army. Also, most of your army doesn't need barracks or quarters. You can literally stack them like cordwood. So you can get away with a lot fewer actual vessels than a living army of the same size.The "wastefully expensive" part was just about the wood and other material needed for building the ships and assuming they are only for that one invasion. If the army is going back home afterwards or the ships are used before for various tasks the waste becomes less.
  • 02:50 AM - Al2O3 quoted Ratskinner in post How to get an undead army across an ocean?
    Seems to me like a lot of options would be tough for your typical zombie/skeleton. I can't imagine that it would be easy to keep track of them all along the ocean floor (plus sharks, canyons, etc.), and crewing a ship seems pretty complicated. What isn't complicated, though, is rowing. If I were in charge of moving such an army. I would just make some large rowboats. Tell the undead to row and all your cultists have to do is navigate/steer."Large rowboat" as in "galley"? It needs to be really large in order to be ocean going, but that just means more stores and possibly cultists can be brought along. Building the ships specifically for a one-way trip to invade seems wastefully expensive in terms of time and resources, but could result in a navy that can travel even against the wind and carry a large amount of troops for boarding actions and the like. Longboats would be ocean going enough and include a simple-to-operate sail, plenty of oars and be useful when turning rowers into soldiers for an ...

Thursday, 21st March, 2019

  • 02:46 PM - Umbran quoted Ratskinner in post Why the hate for complexity?
    I tend to fall into the camp of thinking along the lines of "a thousand things doing something is inherently more complex than one of them doing something." Although, thinking about it too much rapidly devolves into the "What does complex mean?" discussion, IME. I think uphread I did get into the difference between complicated and complex. A mechanical watch has dozens of very specifically formed moving parts - it is complicated. What it does is tell the time, which is not complex. Three bodies moving under their mutual gravitational attraction is super-easy to specify. It is not a complicated system. Their resulting orbits, however area complex and unpredictable. In this way, we can talk separately about how the thing is constructed, and how it behaves in the end. Note: a single thing doing something *cannot* be emergent behavior. Emergent behavior is what you get when *multiple* things interact, and the result is behavior not found in any individual part. As an example: you...
  • 01:23 AM - Umbran quoted Ratskinner in post Why the hate for complexity?
    Seems contradictory to me...I mean "emergence" is usually defined as something like "complex behavior exhibiting from multiple actors following simple rules". Going the other direction doesn't make much sense to me. Emergent behavior emerges. It is the the whole having behavior not found in any of the particular parts. The thing that emerges is not necessarily complicated or simple - so long as it is unexpected from just looking at the individual parts.

Wednesday, 20th February, 2019

  • 04:16 AM - John Lynch2 quoted Ratskinner in post What the heck is going on with the professional RPG industry in regards to Zak S?
    I think youíre making a binary situation where thatís not really how things work. There have been several more years of toxic online behavior sine the earlier allegations. And now there are MORE allegations. I think itís reasonable for more allegations to become a bigger deal. Especially combined with 5 more years of Zak pissing industry folks off and 5 more years of the hobby expanding and reaching new people and 5 more years of social progress. Conditions were different this time around, so the result will be different.So does the industry have a threshold on when it takes action? Is 1 allegation sufficient? 5? 20? Because I doubt very many people were surprised by this recent news. Definitely sadenned. But unfortunately not surprised. How many other professionals have met this threshold but are simply flying under the radar until the next lot of bad press swings their way? Because bad press seems to be the only thing to galvanise WotC and OneBookshelf into action thus far. Also, for an rpg ...
  • 03:35 AM - John Lynch2 quoted Ratskinner in post What the heck is going on with the professional RPG industry in regards to Zak S?
    As a side note, and I'm not calling out anyone around here specifically, the cry of "but he could lose his job!" is often trotted out like its the single worst fate that it could befall somebody. I find that odd, especially in cases of violent activity. I mean, working well with people requires some positive personality traits and behavior (as hawkeyefan alluded to) it shouldn't be surprising or objectionable when someone who fails to exhibit those traits is shown the door, especially when they exhibit profoundly negative traits as well. ::shrug::But his behaviour isn't new nor is it surprising. Also: choosing not to work with someone is one thing. But should these organisations remove all mention of their previous association? Either Zak S deserved to be in the credits because of the work he performed for WotC or he didn't. It'd be like removing Kevin Spacey from the credits of all movies he's ever appeared in. The Zak S situation brings something very disturbing to light. I'm concerned at...
  • 03:21 AM - John Lynch2 quoted Ratskinner in post What the heck is going on with the professional RPG industry in regards to Zak S?
    Not all allegations are created equal. Some are more substantial and believable than others.So your saying the previous allegations aren't credible? What's different about this most recent one? Why is this victim more worthy of our concern then previous victims? Oh, look, a fresh and new take on the topic where a low-post-count user is suddenly supremely concerned with the implications of MEN being accused of bad behaviour online. I'm certain this will be an exciting and original take on the subject.I use to have a different user account over here. I'm not really sure how I ended up with this account. Link: http://www.enworld.org/forum/member.php?6749563-JohnLynch hmmm.....not an expert, but...AFAICT most allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct don't actually go to court, but that won't keep you from getting fired (or not, depending on the company attitude) for a "gig" based industry like rpgs, this is what it looks like. I think, IME, etc. etc.I'd be concerned if my place of employm...

Monday, 11th February, 2019

  • 12:04 AM - pemerton quoted Ratskinner in post Observations on matching "One vs. Many" combat mechanics to cinematic combat
    I find the difference between process and fiction artificial and you probably can't draw a good line between them. In trad games, fiction emerges from the interaction of elements. As soon as something changes in the world, you got story. Whether it's an interesting story or not is a different question.The point about hit points, as I understand it, is that the mechanical changes - like deducting hp from a running tally - don't correlate to any particular fictional change - like some sort of injury. D&D and its offshoots are the worst culprits in this respect, but it can be found in other systems too: Classic Traveller has "abstract" damage, though deducted from physical stats rather than a distinct pool. Prince Valiant also has injury = stat reduction; so does Tunnels & Trolls. Marvel Heroic RP/Cortex+ Heroic has a Physical Stress/Trauma rating that doesn't correspond to any particular form of injury. Etc I think this either puts some pressure on your claim about fiction/mechanics interacti...

Friday, 8th February, 2019


Monday, 4th February, 2019


Friday, 1st February, 2019

  • 06:38 PM - Mike Myler quoted Ratskinner in post Bad Guys Have Adventures Too
    I thought badguy adventures were called things like "Evil Schemes" or "Criminal Enterprises". IME, the biggest hangup about being the badguys is that you (as somebody else's antagonist) shouldn't be passive and wait around for something to come up. You're evil find an excuse to start murdering or something, could be for fun, but better for profit. Like what if the world itself was predicated against you and society elongated the lives of creatures "good of heart" to leave you (and other evil folk) to die from old age much earlier on Sounds like that would be the coolest
  • 12:39 PM - Alexander Kalinowski quoted Ratskinner in post Observations on matching "One vs. Many" combat mechanics to cinematic combat
    Yikes. That's a tough one, because even within some sub genres "Injury" can vary wildly. I cant remember which movie it was, but one guy gets hurt early on, then he later tortures one of the heroes inflicting the same wound. Yet they seemed to have totally different impacts on the characters involved. You can't be consistent across all movies and all franchises and all genres. But if you take a look big picture, a few relevations emerge. I'll get back to it. One thing I think you need to consider in many regards here is the "held at gunpoint" problem that trad rpgs have. Movie heroes are constantly held at bay or captured this way, but rpg HP totals often make the guards' crossbows a joke.* Another thing that might help both this and your first problem is some kind of courage/intimidation rolls that have to be made to engage. I'd imagine a ton of situational modifiers, but maybe there's a way to make it easier. This is a great point: I'm currently designing a scenario for my system w...

Thursday, 31st January, 2019

  • 08:59 PM - Alexander Kalinowski quoted Ratskinner in post Observations on matching "One vs. Many" combat mechanics to cinematic combat
    You claim multiple times that you want characters to have the ability to properly assess a situation Well, here's where I think many combat systems go wrong: let's take the called shot to the head. You can't force that in every situation - it's only a good idea when you catch the enemy not guarding it. We're not simulating this detail in combat. The assessment of the situation is about other aspects of the scene. As for PbtA, it abstracts some things away that I'd rather not have abstracted away. And for people who rather care about story and/or who look at combat as just a specific part of on-going story, it doing so is just fine. Two things: Harnmaster is a red herring -- you don't care about designing for Harnmaster, so bringing it up as a counter-example is just chaff. Second, "trad" is doing a lot of work. Let's be clear, you're designing for 5e. Hell, no. d100 >> d20. ;) Don't hate D&D either, it's an okay game, I occasionally play in its ruleset. These days in the for...
  • 12:12 PM - S'mon quoted Ratskinner in post Observations on matching "One vs. Many" combat mechanics to cinematic combat
    Oh I get that. My problem with this idea is that between turn-based action and the weird fuzziness that comes with HP....that physics is so totally alien to our physics (or cinematic physics) that it beggars belief. No one IRL who has been injured in a fall considers that they have lost 35/42 of their ability to stay up and fighting at full strength. Rather, we know, "Wow, too bad he snapped his neck and died" to "That's a nasty compound fracture of his forearm" to "Wow, I got away lucky with just this twisted ankle." In 5e terms: Snapped neck and died - twice full hp insta-death. Compound fracture of forearm - at 0 hp, made death save, incapacitated. Or he rolled a 20 and somehow fights on at 1 hp. (I'm assuming magic healing is around, otherwise no one ever breaks anything) :D - the GM could describe a PC at failed death saves as apparently having bones broken. Twisted ankle - prone, now at low hp, so vulnerable to being taken down. Losing 12 of 34 hp would be more an "oof!" with no o...

Wednesday, 30th January, 2019

  • 11:49 PM - Alexander Kalinowski quoted Ratskinner in post Observations on matching "One vs. Many" combat mechanics to cinematic combat
    But if your goal is to emulate a cinematic approach while maintaining standard combat mechanics, then I think there are steps you can take to try and give such fights that feel. Perhaps an ďEngagedĒ designation? Any PC can only be Engaged by a maximum number of foes. Each foe Engaged wiyh the PC may reault in a bonus of some sort to its fellows, but this puts a cap on the advantage of numbers. So the solution I have come up with is that you need to do a fighting test before you can attack unless you're the main attacker (which can change!). This is kinda less ideal in some regards - because of the potential frustration factor and because of the added rolling. On the other hand it does create turns in which only 1 attacker can attack and turns in which all can attack. Also, and thisa is crucial to me, the added roll allows the GM to avoid saying "You attack and you miss". If you fail your your fighting test, the GM can narrate (as dictated by the dice): "You step forward but your buddy Billy B...

Thursday, 24th January, 2019

  • 02:22 PM - Aldarc quoted Ratskinner in post What Game Did You Leave D&D For?
    I'm very much a system tourist. I probably couldn't successfully list all the systems I've tried on the first go. I'm constantly disappointed and amazed at how so many different systems are just D&D "in disguise". (maybe a different rolling mechanism; maybe HP are renamed; lists of lists of lists of weapons, vehicles, races, etc.) So few games and mechanics actually add anything new or impressive to the play at table, and so many fail at delivering the "better story" promises that they make....ugh.I don't mind fantasy heartbreakers too much. There can be a time and place for them. However, I kinda loathe the Big Six attributes and the over-reliance on them in game design. This often negatively impacts my enthusiasm for a lot of "D&D in disguise" games. (Including True20, Dungeon World, and Stars Without Numbers.) That said, I there are two relatively popular systems that I think do much better than D&D for me (YMMV, obviously): Fate and the Apocalypse World Engine games. With Fate, the aspec...

Sunday, 13th January, 2019

  • 05:37 PM - darkbard quoted Ratskinner in post RPGs like Penny Dreadful (TV show)
    EDIT: There's gotta be some kind of Apocalypse world book for this kind of thing. Maybe Urban Shadows? I've never seen the TV show, only the print ads and commercial trailers (and those, quite some time ago), but Blades in the Dark might fit the bill. Or, perhaps, one of its many hacks. See its Google+ group before that shuts down or the game's official site, Blades.


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