View Profile: Ratskinner - D&D, Pathfinder, and RPGs at Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:00 AM
    I ran Planescape back in the day. That was the only time I really used the great wheel. Generally, other than near to or parallel to prime planes...the configuration really just doesn't matter. There's and excellent old supplement for the Primal Order called Chessboards. I can't recommend it enough for wurstions like the OP. Currently, I just lump all the weirdness into a "never never" realm...
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Friday, 18th May, 2018, 06:57 PM
    I disagree* or not.** That group is stuck (or could be) in the same way that all those folks who founded the Forge and the Indie game movement were. They're playing a game that is basically not supporting the kind of things they want to do. (Which is different from allowing it.) Without rules support, they're basically sitting around a table playing "let's pretend" and hoping it works out...
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Friday, 18th May, 2018, 12:57 PM
    Exactly, It kinda makes the whole "religious leader of a community" thing pointless...but its not like Cleric is alone in that. Almost every class has fluff baggage that generally gets ignored.
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Thursday, 17th May, 2018, 07:43 PM
    I've never actually seen a Cleric (or played one, FTM) who actually spent any time ministering or running a church or community. (Beyond preaching from the business end of mace) In fact, the only thing I see clerics behaving as are heavy casters...with HEALING! Were there "Congregation" rules somewhere that I missed. (I'm not sure I'd count the following tables from 1e.) This impression is, I...
    68 replies | 2761 view(s)
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Friday, 4th May, 2018, 12:52 AM
    On Heresy: I am not certain religious language is the best way to frame it, but I have encountered a certain sense of orthodoxy or at least attachment to the mainstream in our shared hobby. There is a certain sense that there is one way to play a role playing game instead of many ways. It also feels like more leniency is provided to use of less mainstream techniques when you do not specifically...
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Thursday, 3rd May, 2018, 06:42 PM
    I suppose I should also mention ICONS. It's a more traditional system that is sorta based on the Fate system. But it's very simple and fast for all that.
    44 replies | 1309 view(s)
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Wednesday, 2nd May, 2018, 06:47 PM
    Totally disagree about D&D being designed for that. At least not non-4e D&D. I've seen way too many orcs in a 20'x20' room for that. Penalties for disengaging, no real way for pair of dueling warriors to slide across the battlefield without at least one of them taking extra attacks, no solid mechanics for sideways goals that aren't reducing HP. Indeed, perhaps as an outgrowth of its...
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Wednesday, 2nd May, 2018, 06:06 AM
    Capes http://www.museoffire.com/Games/index.html is the single best supers game...and honestly one of the best story-type games I've ever played. Its the only one I've played that actually ended up working like comics do (or at least did, when I was reading them regularly). Its got a really simple set of very easy narrative mechanics, once you get to know them. What it doesn't have is a...
    44 replies | 1309 view(s)
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Wednesday, 2nd May, 2018, 12:13 AM
    I wish I knew. I've got my first 5e group up to level 7, and already I'm starting to dread combat. I switched to Mearlsian Initiative, and my guys like it. However, combat in D&D just seems to drag so much. I mean, the rest of the game is fine, a couple rolls, make a check, move on...but then combat starts and everything slows down. Honestly, I blame damage and all the fiddly options more...
    125 replies | 4006 view(s)
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Saturday, 28th April, 2018, 07:03 AM
    Here's what I really want to talk about: Playing and Designing with Purpose. The reason I make the distinction between setting design and world building is entirely focused on what the driving force or motivating energy is behind the design. What I really want to discuss is designing to enable active play versus designing to share content for others to appreciate after the fact. When I run a...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 05:22 AM
    He's not like wrong to do so. The Standard Narrativist Model basically lays down the framework for what most people in the indie scene at the time saw as The Alternative to orthodox 1990's style design. Apocalypse World uses a fundamentally different set of techniques and principles of play. Unlike the clear protagonists with clearly defined dramatic needs that thrown into conflict Apocalypse...
    1900 replies | 63642 view(s)
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Monday, 23rd April, 2018, 01:41 AM
    Maxperson The words we use matter. They shape the ways we think about things and the sort of techniques we use. By insisting that we use the orthodox framing of world building and referring to a game world rather than a setting or a shared fiction in order to participate in this discussion you are insisting that we take a number of assumptions for granted that I for one do not wish to take for...
    1900 replies | 63642 view(s)
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About Ratskinner

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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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Fate is not a choice for games I enjoy?
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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.)

Wednesday, 29th March, 2017

  • 02:00 PM - pemerton mentioned Ratskinner in post Compelling Storytelling
    ...arly all to revere LotR, and Gandalf doesn't try and pick Theoden's pocket. Rather, he asks him for - and receives - a gift (of a horse). There is an element of trickery in Gandalf getting Shadowfax as his horse, but it does not have the juvenile, "game disrupting" tone of trying to pick the king's pocket. If the framing and adjudication of the fiction makes it clear that the players can impact it, including eg by actually befriending NPCs, or successfully dealing with them, receiving gifts from them, etc - and this is all built into action resolution (eg one can easily imagine framing Gandalf, and then the whole Fellowship's, dealings with Theoden as a skill challenge or a Duel of Wits) - then I think that many players will step outside the limits of the "id". I've observed profound changes in "magey" characters' combat behavior (even my own) after they acquire the flight+invisibility combo that removes much of the risk they face in a typical combat.Can you elaborate? EDIT: Ratskinner - I lost my quote tags in this post, so just letting you know I replied (at excessive length).

Monday, 27th March, 2017

  • 09:50 AM - pemerton mentioned Ratskinner in post Compelling Storytelling
    ...ips. The problem with RPG's is that your average player is totally incapable of actually roleplaying. They can react "in character" when prompted, or give a quip using a funny accent, but it's actually a rare thing to have players roleplay with each other in a way that allows character development to take place. <snip> To put it another way, compelling storytelling is about character development, and character development can't happen without relationships with other nouns.But character development doesn't have to be about roleplaying in any theatrical sense. It's about character motivations, goals etc. These can be fairly easily put into play, provided that (i) the players provide some hooks, and (ii) the GM manages the framing properly. I think the bigger obstacles tend to be a sense that player/PC focused "story" is a "sidequest" that should be secondary to the GM's "main plot", which is often set up to be independent of any player/PC hooks. (This is the converse of Ratskinner's point about sandboxes.) EDIT: You're probably not going to get great literature out of RPGing. But presumably that's not the goal. In the same way the pretty crappy music is still enjoyable when you're playing it yourself; or that less than cordon bleu food can be enjoyable when you've prepared it yourself; so I think the same is true of stories and RPGing.

Wednesday, 22nd February, 2017


Friday, 10th February, 2017

  • 05:04 AM - Manbearcat mentioned Ratskinner in post (LOTR) I don't normally ask for system recommendations, but when I do, it certainly doesn't involve Dos Equis
    innerdude , a few things: 1) On Dungeon World, I would say Ratskinner has the right of it in that it is fundamentally anti-metaplot and anti-setting-tourism. Make a map, have some (very loose) backstory, a premise and fill in the blanks and let play snowball. In that vein, heavily defined canon and geography will be problematic for the game's basic agenda (which intersects with the narrative authority of moves and the expectation of freeform "just in time" content generation as the result of moves). That being said, I've run two long term Dungeon World games and a long term Apocalypse World game. Both can handle longterm play without a problem. The Powered By the Apocalypse system is extraordinarily robust and trivial to hack. You could easily hack: a) LotR Playbooks (the Heart of the Fellowship, the Battle Captain, the Reluctant Hero, the Destined Scion, the Sage of Ages, et al) b) Use LotR-themed Bonds and Alignment c) the End of Session move to address specific LotR themes and tropes rather than D&D action/adventure. As long as you'...

Thursday, 9th February, 2017


Friday, 30th October, 2015

  • 09:13 PM - El Mahdi mentioned Ratskinner in post Warlord Name Poll
    ...Joe Liker ; @JohnLynch ; @Johnny3D3D ; @KarinsDad ; @kerbarian ; @kerleth ; @Kinak; @KingsRule77 ; @Kirfalas ; @Kobold Stew ; @koga305 ; @Lanefan ; @Lanliss ; @Leatherhead; @Libramarian ; @Li Shenron ; @LuisCarlos17f ; @lowkey13 ; @Manbearcat ; @MarkB; @MechaPilot ; @Mecheon ; @mellored ; @Mephista ; @Mercule ; @MG.0 ; @MichaelSomething; @Miladoon ; @Minigiant ; @Mishihari Lord ; @Mistwell ; @MoogleEmpMog ; @Mon @MonkeezOnFire ; @MoonSong(Kaiilurker) ; @MostlyDm ; @Mouseferatu ; @MoutonRustique; @Nemesis Destiny ; @neobolts ; @Neonchameleon ; @Nifft ; @nightspaladin ; @nomotog; @n00bdragon ; @Obryn ; @Ohillion ; @oknazevad ; @Olgar Shiverstone ; @Orlax ; @Otterscrubber ; @Pandamonium87 ; @Paraxis ; @PaulO. ; @Pauln6 ; @Pauper ; @payn; @pemerton ; @peterka99 ;@ Pickles III ; @Pickles JG ; @pkt77242 ; @pming ; @pogre; @PopeYodaI ; @Prickly ; @procproc ; @Psikerlord ; @Psikerlord# ; @(Psi)SeveredHead; @Quickleaf ; @Raith5 ; @raleel ; @Ralif Redhammer ; @Raloc ; @Ranes ; @RangerWickett; @Ratskinner ; @redrick ; @Rejuvenator ; @Remathilis ; @Ristamar ; @RolenArcher; @Roland55 ; @RPG_Tweaker ; @Rune ; @Rygar ; @Sacrosanct ; @Saelorn ; @Saeviomagy; @sailor-Moon ; @SailorNash ; @Saplatt ; @Satyrn ; @Shades of Eternity ; @shadowmane; @sheadunne ; @Shasarak ; @shidaku ; @shintashi ; @Shiroiken ; @SigmaOne ; @sleypy; @sleypy01 ; @SpiderMonkey ; @Staccat0 ; @Staffan ; @steeldragons ; @steenan @STeveC ; @strider13x ; @Strider1973 ; @Sword of Spirit ; @Talmek ; @TerraDave; @TheCosmicKid ; @The_Gneech ; @TheHobgoblin ; @The Human Target ; @the Jester; @The Mirrorball Man ; @The Myopic Sniper ; @ThirdWizard ; @Tia Nadiezja ; @Tinker-TDC; @Tonguez ; @Tony Vargas ; @Tormyr ; @TrippyHippy ; @tsadkiel ; @tuxgeo ; @twigglythe Gnome ; @TwoSix ; @Uchawi ; @Ulorian ; @UnadvisedGoose445 ; @UngeheuerLich; @Us ; @Valmarius ; @Warbringer ; @was ; @wedgeski ; @Wednesday Boy ; @Wik ; @WillDoyle ; @Winterthorn ; @Wuzzard ; @Xeviat ; @Yaarel ; @Yunru ; @Zalabim ; @Zansy; @Zardnaar ; @Zeuel ; @ZickZak ; @Zo...

Saturday, 24th January, 2015

  • 05:16 PM - Rune mentioned Ratskinner in post You Roll Low, Nothing Happens. Can this/should this be changed?
    Thanks, Ratskinner. I debated with myself whether or not to derail my post with a discussion about how DW is narrative-driven and what that means, so I'm glad you brought it up. In DW, every single mechanical expression that happens in the game triggers off of narrative (this is one of the reasons it has no turn structure--and why it can function without it). There are broad mechanical expressions designed to catch most narrative expressions (and the GM is encouraged to make adventure/campaign-specific ones, as well). These aren't necessary, though--they're an improv safety net, more or less. They are designed to provide the players some degree of agency in determining the type of result they will get, but all of this can be handled on the fly, if desired. Taking clues from the narrative really makes that easy. The 5e tweaks I posted upthread hint at how I would incorporate this in a 5e game. To fully make it happen, I think you have to lose the round/turn structure completely. ...

Friday, 5th September, 2014

  • 03:15 AM - pemerton mentioned Ratskinner in post I for one hope we don't get "clarification" on many things.
    I am not sure anyone could develop rules to embrace a certain bias as specific as stealth or a similar concept.You can do this if the rules are written with a certain looseness or incompleteness, but can work provided that the reader/player incorporates certain additional assumptions which are being supplied by experience with prior editions, or via "common sense", or whatever else (and Mearls et al will presumably have used the playtest to identify some of these). Rules written in this way may frustrate those who are familiar with multiple, different RPG systems and are looking to the designers to project a clear account of how this particular system is meant to be played (I would put myself in this category), but dd.stevenson's point is that, according to Mearls' market research, those players are a (small) minority. Not that it will frustrate all members of that small minority, though: both Imaro and Ratskinner belong to it, but apparently had little trouble making sense of the stealth rules.

Thursday, 17th July, 2014

  • 07:51 AM - pemerton mentioned Ratskinner in post Is there a "Cliffs Notes" summary of the entire 4E experience?
    We have a dozen different powers that "stun" a foe. Couldn't there have just been one that let the PC define how he did it?In some cases there is arguably needless duplication (eg there are two powers, I think - an Avenger one and a Swordmage one - which are identical to, or very nearly identical to, the fighter power Footwork Lure). But in general, the gameplay reason for different powers is the same as the reason for different classes: to ensure diversity of approaches to the game. (There is also the marketing reason noted by TwoSix, and I think also Ratskinner further upthread.) What you just described is the textbook "reaction" power: a foe does something and the player/character responds."Reactions" and "actions" are metagame notions - devices for regulating turns in the action economy of the game. They don't correspond, except very loosely, to distinct categories of events in the gameworld. Balesir has already made this point in relation to melee exchanges. It can also be applied to OAs: one natural way to understand OAs vs archers and casters is that, when fighting a foe who isn't fighting or parrying back, you get more chances to hurt them. Instead of upping the rate of attacks, though (which can happen in AD&D when very fast weapons are used vs very ponderous weapons), we grant opportunity attacks. In the actual gameworld, the fighter is just attacking - there is no ingame distinction between the action, the immediate action and the opportunity action. Technically, the opponents can't do anything once they get in range until...

Tuesday, 15th July, 2014

  • 03:16 AM - Manbearcat mentioned Ratskinner in post Is there a "Cliffs Notes" summary of the entire 4E experience?
    Just wanted to say great posts @Nagol , @Remathilis , and @Ratskinner . I've discussed my own thoughts on what I tend to label 4e's in-coherency at length with @pemerton , @Manbearcat and a few others. It's just good to see there are others who felt the same way after reading the 4e core books. I get the idea that they were trying to do something D&D has always claimed to do: cater to a wide audience of fantasy and game enthusiasts. Combat was built around tactical/co-op play, with movement and strategy that appealed to wargamers and skirmish-gamers. Character design was built with an eye to MMO gamers with clear roles, powers that returned at various cool-downs, and an emphasis on "builds" and item-acquisition. Role-playing and Non-combat advancement was clearly borrowing from Indie-gaming, but I don't think they were exactly going for "story first". I think that was a pleasant side-effect of the way powers, skills, and such interacted. It was order built from chaos, rather than the "grand design" which is why it seems absent in the early ...


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Monday, 21st May, 2018


Friday, 18th May, 2018

  • 04:39 PM - Chaosmancer quoted Ratskinner in post Oh cleric what are thou? When most classes can heal...
    Exactly, It kinda makes the whole "religious leader of a community" thing pointless...but its not like Cleric is alone in that. Almost every class has fluff baggage that generally gets ignored. But, it isn't exactly a hard fix either. The DM just has to give more space for that storytelling. It would require the right group and (in my mind) a more laidback attitude to how long things are taking, but it can be done.
  • 03:01 AM - Dalillama quoted Ratskinner in post How Would You Design For Spelljammer?
    Soon. It's going to be one of the official settings for the retroclone I am designing. I was developing it as a separate game, but my artist quit on me, and in the interim I started working on a system that would be perfectly suited to two of my three settings. If you can find a copy, you might want to take a look at Hackjammer; the authors were trying to fix a lotta the bugs in SJ. Among other things they added magical oars and sails that could replace helms, with some disadvantages. Lost Spheres has a version too. I don't actually recall a super-whole lot about SJ. I only played in one campaign. However, I like the idea of a "broken" crystal sphere, with asteroids etc. floating out in the phlogiston. Perfect setup for Airship Pirates IN SPAAACE, plus it could look a lot more like the visually awesome Treasure Planet movie. There's canonically a broken sphere, forget the details. Ruleswise.... So I hate the Hit Point mechanic, in general... I can almost deal with it for ha...
  • 02:43 AM - Chaosmancer quoted Ratskinner in post Oh cleric what are thou? When most classes can heal...
    I've never actually seen a Cleric (or played one, FTM) who actually spent any time ministering or running a church or community. (Beyond preaching from the business end of mace) In fact, the only thing I see clerics behaving as are heavy casters...with HEALING! Were there "Congregation" rules somewhere that I missed. (I'm not sure I'd count the following tables from 1e.) This impression is, I think, doubly enforced when historically one man's priest is another man's wizard is another man's demon-pact holding foul miscreant. I tried it in one game. DM even seemed interested in seeing where I could take it, but we kept teleporting to other continents and falling through layers of reality too often for me to actually get any traction in the town we founded. It was even worse when my Warlock tried to create a cult. We didn't stay in one village longer than a few hours at a time, not exactly conducive to building a following.

Thursday, 3rd May, 2018

  • 03:44 AM - Jay Verkuilen quoted Ratskinner in post The "Superstitious Mumbo Jumbo" Of Dice Rolling
    hmmmm.....I think there is also a lot to the fact that many dice are biased, and people tend to roll the same dice. At our table, there is a d20 that (if legend is to be believed) came with a TORG set back in the day. The TORG die is well-recognized as heavily biased. d20's in general are very easily biased. There is also the fact that many people do not actually roll their dice forcefully enough to get them to "roll" across the table. That can lead to long streaks.You're absolutely right about the fact that many people don't roll with enough "juice" to really ensure that their dice rolls are as random as possible. In addition, it's also true that many dice, particularly D20s, are biased. As I recall Chessex are biased against 14 and towards 7, though I could be misremembering, due to the way the flashing coming out of the mold works. Still, most dice superstitions are exactly that, or else applications of the "Law of Small Numbers"---a form of the logical fallacy hasty generalization---and other...
  • 01:47 AM - CubicsRube quoted Ratskinner in post Avoiding Initiative
    Its home is as a puzzle game set in a deadly maze. Fighting, such as it is, is almost as much (or more) about resource management as it is tactics. The critical questions after a typical workaday fight aren't dramatic questions, but resource questions. "Do we have enough juice to go on without pausing or expending more resources to recover?" That is the only question (or variant of) that I always hear around the D&D table. Yes absolutely. And old school d&d really shone in that kind of puzzle play. I actually just ran a game of beyond the wall, and osr game. Very lightweight on the rules. The players had to investigate a fae forest where they encountered a lerpechaun who would only help them if they spoke in rhyme. Later they had to pass an old ent who would only let them through if they left behind something "precious" (which turned out to be a loved memory). Old school d&d thrived on these kinds of things, imo, so they didn't need as many rules to adjudicate finer points, but rather mo...

Wednesday, 2nd May, 2018

  • 07:36 AM - TheCosmicKid quoted Ratskinner in post Avoiding Initiative
    I know it would be a massive change from D&D (as in dropping out a good deal of traditional tactics entirely), but I am desperately intrigued by Uncharted Worlds and its "one roll combats" (they aren't, really, but its close.) Let it be a plot beat or a few and lets move on. Even worse, once combat starts, I kinda get the feeling that everything dramatic goes away. Not all the time, but a lot of the time. Its just about chewing through the bad guys' HP until they are all dead. Watch how fight scenes in good action movies play out. They can be quite extended and involved -- not just "a plot beat or a few". But they're very rarely just the two sides attacking each other until one side dies or runs away. There's almost always some special objective to increase tension, like "get the macguffin" or "hold out for reinforcements" or "don't let them escape". The environment frequently plays a role, whether it's simple like the placement of light and cover or convoluted like the whole thing taking place ...
  • 03:47 AM - Olaf the Stout quoted Ratskinner in post The "Superstitious Mumbo Jumbo" Of Dice Rolling
    hI would also point out that rolling several times while the DM is distracted and choosing successful rolls is not necessarily "good tactics", but seems common amongst the old-schoolers I know. (With the exception of the purists who would have some kind of psychic infarction if forced to do such a thing.) I believe the common term for this is being a "dirty, dirty cheater".
  • 01:00 AM - robus quoted Ratskinner in post Avoiding Initiative
    I wish I knew. I've got my first 5e group up to level 7, and already I'm starting to dread combat. I switched to Mearlsian Initiative, and my guys like it. However, combat in D&D just seems to drag so much. I mean, the rest of the game is fine, a couple rolls, make a check, move on...but then combat starts and everything slows down. I've switched to using the average damage values for the monsters just to keep things moving. And you also have to keep thinking about why the fight is continuing. If the players are easily beating the monsters (and there's no backup) you can call it early and ask them how they want to finish it up? Prisoners? Pile of bodies? If the monsters are getting beaten then why are they still fighting? There better be something worth fighting for! The combat must be happening for a reason or else, yeah, it's a slog.

Wednesday, 25th April, 2018

  • 02:44 AM - Saelorn quoted Ratskinner in post Killing In The Name Of Advancement
    However, Fate presumes that the PCs are competent from the get-go. (Which is, of course another type of uniformity) and that doesn't seem to stop anyone from enjoying Fate.That might depend on how you measure it. How often does anyone run a long-term campaign in a level-free system that successfully lasts for fifty sessions? From my understanding, level-based games offer much better player-retention, since players want to stick around and advance. Games that offer lateral advancement (or no advancement) tend to be popular for short campaigns and one-shots.

Wednesday, 11th April, 2018

  • 08:31 PM - Jay Verkuilen quoted Ratskinner in post How Would You Design For Spelljammer?
    Ruleswise.... So I hate the Hit Point mechanic, in general... I can almost deal with it for hack-n-slash. But if a setting includes firearms? No, just no. All the little things that make HP kinda work (in-fiction) when you squint your eyes in fantasy just go away when firearms are involved. First of all, Hollywood to the contrary, firearms aren't massively more deadly than other weapons. Their main benefit is that they're really convenient and not dependent on strength of the wielder. Having a gun to your throat or a knife to your throat is both about equally bad but not to any even mid-level character even if the holder is a high level rogue. Many people have survived a gunshot wound and there are notable examples of soldiers fighting through a battle with several wounds. Hit points, despite their issues and notable Murphy's rules moments, do useful work in terms of making combat reasonably survivable and exciting despite the massive scale differences between combatants, who can rang...

Wednesday, 14th March, 2018

  • 12:00 AM - Tony Vargas quoted Ratskinner in post Are we overthinking the warlord?
    Not sure about Monk...that class is always a little weird. Probably because its like trying to fit Kwai Chang Caine from Kung Fu into Ring of the Nei....Niebelunginigninegingen...gen Lord of the Rings. It was more of the same, really. It's a class that fights really well, but because it's not wearing armor, it couldn't be a fighter, and had to get all weird. That's been long since fixed, but it doesn't seem to matter. One hoary concept in D&D goes all the way back, and that's the conviction that being able to wear any armor, strap on any shield, and use any weapon is a HUGE advantage. Think about the first 4 classes: Magic-User: Armor? NONE Shield? NONE Weapons? Dagger/Staff Magic? All of it. Cleric: Armor: Plate Mail! Shield: Yes! Weapons: Maces &c Magic? No fun stuff, just Band-Aids for you, but oh, here, turn some undead. Fighter: Armor: Plate Mail! Shield: Yes! Weapons: All the Best, including the most-found-magic-weapon of them all the Longsword! Whoopee! ...

Tuesday, 13th March, 2018

  • 08:44 PM - TheCosmicKid quoted Ratskinner in post Are we overthinking the warlord?
    The previous sarcasm brought to you by a guy who doesn't quite understand why its so important to fans of many "edge" classes to actually be classes, rather than subclasses or builds. Why is it so important to you that they aren't?
  • 06:06 PM - Cap'n Kobold quoted Ratskinner in post Are we overthinking the warlord?
    Meh. I just kinda let that go. As in. "Fine, you're a non-magical valor bard, just don't try to read a scroll or use a wand or whatever." That's pretty much the approach I took. I reckoned that being able to cast in non-magic areas, and being undispellable/uncounterable did not make them any more powerful since it also limited them to non-flashy spells, and required the target to be able to hear you.
  • 05:59 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Ratskinner in post Are we overthinking the warlord?
    I'd suggest that Fighter should have had five subclasses: Champion(meh), Battlemaster, Paladin, Eldritch Knight, Ranger, and WarlordDon't forget Barbarian, Rogue(Swashbuckler) & Monk. But, it'd be a sadly cut-down Pally, Ranger, Warlord, &c to fit in the same class with the meh(Champion). It's really the 'Simple Fighter' imperative that necessitates breaking every other martial type (even the comparably big, dumb, hard-hitting, & simplistic Barbarian) out of the fighter chassis. Were it not for the demand that the Fighter be simple - or, as a compromise, have a blindingly simple sub-class - to the degree that it couldn't be balanced with any other class, there wouldn't be a need to break out so many martial archetypes. Rogue included (and, for that matter, Thief, in the first place). Somehow, D&D over the decades painted itself into a corner in which the 'Fighter' had to be both simplistic to the point of strict inferiority, and the 'best' at one thing - 'fighting.' The 5e fight...
  • 02:57 PM - Cap'n Kobold quoted Ratskinner in post Are we overthinking the warlord?
    Far too simple and straightforward. More importantly, that would not be forcing everyone to publicly acknowledge that Warlord is a wholly entirely complete CLASS of its own and that WOTC was not horribly wrong and for not including a version of this VERY IMPORTANT CLASS in the core of 5e. The Warlordian People have a long and storied history, and for anyone (WOTC INCLUDED!) to suggest that those traits could be duplicated with combinations of feats and other abilities smacks of CLASSICAL APPROPRIATION and outright CLASSISM. The previous sarcasm brought to you by a guy who doesn't quite understand why its so important to fans of many "edge" classes to actually be classes, rather than subclasses or builds. Some certainly. However the main issue with the Fighter/Bard (or just the Bard) as Warlord is that the class will be completely conceptually ruined if any of their abilities go "Ping!" under a Detect Magic spell.

Friday, 9th March, 2018

  • 03:45 PM - Rossbert quoted Ratskinner in post Will D&D make strength matter again?
    My players are convinced that STR is the most important combat stat. Throw in some terrain that requires leaping and climbing, and monsters that grapple. They esteem Athletics as the prince of all proficiencies. That is one of the things that makes me sad about 5e, very few of my characters get to have athletics anymore because they get fewer skills and the backgrounds that give athletics don't usually fit.

Monday, 5th March, 2018

  • 07:01 PM - Polyhedral Columbia quoted Ratskinner in post To Mike Mearls: C'mon, bring back the whole D&D Multiverse!
    the rather generic D&D-style fantasy worlds? (Mystara, Greyhawk, Dragonlance)....I just don't see why. File off the serial numbers from the relevant adventures and plop them into FR...if that. That's the kind of well-meaning but vague thinking that crafted the 4E setting of Nerath: "Hey we'll just ignore the entire history of the D&D worlds, and just cram them into a single world, and hope people forget about the others." It'd be like saying: "Well, a bunch of the countries in Faerun are kinda European-ish fantasy cultures, so why not just reshape Faerun into a single rectangle-shaped continent with a few blob shaped countries...they're all kinda the same anyway." If I just wanted a genericized setting that completely ignored the 40 years of continuity of the D&D Multiverse as depicted in hundreds or thousands(?) of modules and novels, then I'd just play in Nerath or Thunder Rift (the setting of the D&D Black Box). Yet, I agree that every adventure should be placeable in every setting (well, ...
  • 04:46 AM - Jacob Lewis quoted Ratskinner in post Looking At Genesys From Fantasy Flight Games
    Not a whole lot. I get the die system (generally). Whatever magic there is in the die system must be heavily experiential, because I don't really see it from these descriptions (yours or the official ones). To me it looks like there are just two dimensions to the roll: success/fail and advantage/threat. I gave you two very specific reasons why it's not the same as rolling a d6 on the side. If you can't understand that, then I'm afraid I can't help you by just explaining it again. You'll need to experience it for yourself. Good luck!

Sunday, 4th March, 2018

  • 07:23 PM - Jacob Lewis quoted Ratskinner in post Looking At Genesys From Fantasy Flight Games
    However, I'm not sure that a similar result to Genesys couldn't be obtained by rolling a "Threat/Advantage" die alongside whatever dice you would roll in a more traditional game. (For example, in D&D 5e, you might roll a d6 alongside each d20. If it comes up 6, then you get a Genesys-style Advantage, and if it comes up 1 you get a threat. Regardless of the result of the d20. I suppose you could pick bigger dice if you want to reduce the frequency.) If there is some greater intricacy to the Genesys dice-system, it hasn't been explained to me sufficiently. That is not even in the same ballpark, but I can explain why easily enough. For starters, every die used in the narrative dice system for Gensys and Star Wars systems has a specific name which describes exactly what it represents. Collectively, they represent the Ability, Proficiency, Difficulty, Challenge, Boosts, and Setbacks of an attempted action. These are also the exact names for the kinds of dice used, also not by accident. Ability repre...


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