View Profile: Ratskinner - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Sunday, 13th January, 2019, 06:09 AM
    Maybe just rework Dresden Files Accelerated? Similar kinds of worlds. EDIT: There's gotta be some kind of Apocalypse world book for this kind of thing. Maybe Urban Shadows?
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Thursday, 10th January, 2019, 06:29 AM
    I can't say that I've seen this problem in play. The fighters and barbs I know tend to broaden out a bit with background and racial choices. In the game I ran, the barbarian cheerfully went "Survivaling" and the fighter had no problem using his criminal background to sneak a bit. I think this is one of those attitudes-toward-play things, more than a mechanical problem. That said, giving...
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    Wednesday, 9th January, 2019, 12:20 AM
    Wow that looks good! I wish I had a group to playtest it with right now.
    7 replies | 431 view(s)
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Friday, 28th December, 2018, 02:31 AM
    ...and now I know my next character! :)
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Thursday, 27th December, 2018, 03:44 PM
    I suppose that's true. I mean, I've never seen the party cheer when the wizard uses a damage-less "utility" or "control" spell to make the encounter even winnable, let alone possible. /sarcasm :)
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Thursday, 27th December, 2018, 08:38 AM
    umm...if you're not under a time crunch...go hunt down several smaller black dragons and craft some acid-resistant armor, maybe? (a little more seriously) Also, do what you can to draw it out of its lair.
    12 replies | 511 view(s)
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Thursday, 27th December, 2018, 08:32 AM
    I think, IME, that all the issues* that the OP brings up are simply encounter/campaign design (possibly DM) issues. I did several levels with a lot of encounters full of physical obstacles that required athletics checks**...my players openly discussed how STR(Athletics) was the most important Ability(skill) in the game. Ranged combat and Dex or speed-focused builds are easily limited with...
    99 replies | 4058 view(s)
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th December, 2018, 02:03 AM
    Too many to count over the decades, but then I also have the occasional "fluff" or wandering monster encounter that goes sideways in a hurry for a TPK or close to it.
    92 replies | 2788 view(s)
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th December, 2018, 01:28 AM
    Given the common practices in my college gaming group back then, I wouldn't be surprised if photocopy thwartation (look ma, I made a word!) wasn't a big part of the motivation behind that "design decision".
    299 replies | 14582 view(s)
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th December, 2018, 07:33 AM
    Personally, my biggest quirk is balancing the various classes on different recharge schedules....that's just odd, and really locks the game into that 6-8 encounters thing.
    299 replies | 14582 view(s)
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th December, 2018, 07:32 AM
    I dunno. I had an FR book or two back in the 2e days that were absolutely horrible this way. One was printed in dark blue ink on slightly-not-as-dark blue parchmenty background and the other was the same except for being lightish brown on darkish tan. While the contrast (or lack thereof) was a big issue, the mottling of the pseudo parchment just put it over the top for unreadability. ::shrug::
    299 replies | 14582 view(s)
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th December, 2018, 07:26 AM
    Personally, I think the whole thing is pretty good. I'm most impressed by the Retainers and Units rules. The warfare rules are pretty cool, too.
    99 replies | 6919 view(s)
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th December, 2018, 06:50 AM
    I'm not sure if you're asking about process (How would I go about it if I were a WOTC employee looking for sales?) or about preferences (How would D&D look if it were perfect for me?) If process, then I think that WOTC's process for 5e was very good. If preference...well there's a lot, and it honestly wouldn't look very much like D&D mechanically when I'm done...and probably would spark an...
    115 replies | 3582 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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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 don’t 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 . I’m 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 you’ve 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 don’t 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 isn’t fundamentally mandatory (but contemporary game design should include it as understanding has matured significantly). Now, whether one feels 4e’s 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



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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.

Thursday, 10th January, 2019

  • 06:38 AM - FrogReaver quoted Ratskinner in post yes, this again: Fighters need more non-combat options
    I can't say that I've seen this problem in play. The fighters and barbs I know tend to broaden out a bit with background and racial choices. In the game I ran, the barbarian cheerfully went "Survivaling" and the fighter had no problem using his criminal background to sneak a bit. I think this is one of those attitudes-toward-play things, more than a mechanical problem. That said, giving fighters another skill wouldn't phase me, either. IME, the fighter's biggest problem is that I'm not 100% sure that he actually is the best at combat, at least by the margins that the designers were aiming for. He's no slouch, but other classes keep pace or beat him out, especially if the rest/recharge schedule isn't being pushed (paladin, I'm looking at you). I agree, to justify fighter's utter lack of out of combat benefits they do need to be better at combat than they are. (at least the non-feated version does). Or more fun would be to just give them some out of combat options IMO.

Friday, 28th December, 2018


Thursday, 27th December, 2018

  • 10:48 PM - Ash Mantle quoted Ratskinner in post False truisms in 5th edition
    I know posters have been making recommendations to improve the fighter's dpr, but that's because it's the metric MechaPilot introduced. Between the action surge, extra attacks and various things the fighter subclasses get though, fighters have a lot going for them including DPR-wise. I suppose that's true. I mean, I've never seen the party cheer when the wizard uses a damage-less "utility" or "control" spell to make the encounter even winnable, let alone possible. /sarcasm :) Oh man, your party clearly didn't have a bard in it! :p A cheerleader bard archetype (who's also optimistic all the time but this could get a little grating) would be pretty rad.
  • 12:09 PM - Ash Mantle quoted Ratskinner in post False truisms in 5th edition
    *except the Wizard one...I don't know anyone who feels negatively about wizards from actual play. I've seen wizards that take the role of Mr. Utility Knife and wizards that take the role of Mr. Destructo and they both work well enough to be satisfying. There is way more to being an effective combatant or character than DPR. But don't you get it? If you don't play a character that's only an effective combatant or with only DPR in mind then you're clearly playing it wrong! :P /sarcasm

Wednesday, 19th December, 2018

  • 04:45 PM - The Old Crow quoted Ratskinner in post Most frustrating quirk of 5E?
    I dunno. I had an FR book or two back in the 2e days that were absolutely horrible this way. One was printed in dark blue ink on slightly-not-as-dark blue parchmenty background and the other was the same except for being lightish brown on darkish tan. While the contrast (or lack thereof) was a big issue, the mottling of the pseudo parchment just put it over the top for unreadability. ::shrug:: Heh, that sounds like awful design. I never had any FR books. When 2e came out I did buy a pack of character sheets that turned out to have a background alternating between light green and dark green. The dark green was so dark the only way to read pencil on it was to tip the sheet so light would reflect off the graphite. In this case though I don't think they just made a poor aesthetic decision, but were instead trying to thwart the poor copy machines back in the day, and in the process managed to make their product a useless waste of money.

Friday, 14th December, 2018

  • 12:52 AM - Ovinomancer quoted Ratskinner in post Skills used by players on other players.
    I don't see much of a distinction between "fail automatically" and "can't try". However, the persuaded PC might act however they want, but they might then deal with guilt and social or divine consequences to acting against their conscience. But, as mentioned, you can try to get out of the grapple with no lingering effects if successful. How do you get out of the persuasion? I'm specifically addressing the PvP situation. NPCs in our game don't frequently walk up to the PCs to make Persuasion checks on them (at least not when I'm GMing). Generally, the PCs aren't worth that kind of effort within an NPCs plan. Now, there is the not-so-occasional dishonest NPC. I don't actually usually play with too much of a preconceived plotline, but I do have my NPCs have plots and motivations of their own. Those might include or make use of deceiving or persuading the PCs of something. (Then again, my masterminds are often smart enough to have backup plans and plans within plans.) Honestly, I actual...

Thursday, 13th December, 2018

  • 01:39 PM - Ovinomancer quoted Ratskinner in post Skills used by players on other players.
    hmmm....I think I play it differently than you think. I do not dictate the players actions, however I will tell them what they might believe/perceive about a situation. So, for example, if the Barbarian gets convinced (via Persuasion) that helping the villagers should be their priority...that's what I tell the player. "He's convinced you that the village must be defended first." How, they want to respond to that is up to them. The persuading player doesn't get to dictate actions to the persuaded character. This is, to me, no different than (possibly false) sensory information for a player, or conveying world-information about the character's religion etc. And I have seen different reactions to such situations. The persuaded character can still be mad/resentful about it. They might throw it back at the persuader: "Fine! You're in charge and this is on your head. What's the plan, genius?" Alternatively, they might begrudgingly accept the persuasion and take charge themselves: "You're right about t...

Wednesday, 12th December, 2018

  • 02:21 AM - Ovinomancer quoted Ratskinner in post Skills used by players on other players.
    I'm not sure what you mean. Well, you've said that your group uses the ability scores of the PC to inform how that PC should be roleplayed. But, here you're saying that your group prefers roleplaying to be determined in-play, which ability scores are not -- any less than traits, bonds, etc., are. There seems to be a contradiction. Maybe.
  • 02:18 AM - Ovinomancer quoted Ratskinner in post Skills used by players on other players.
    I look at the parallel with Deception. I mean, all NPCs are no better or worse at lying than the DM? Obviously, a DM and the mechanics have the ability to modify what a character believes to be true about the world (even without spells). At least to the extent of determining whether a PC believes the NPC to be lying. How is "the DM establishes the NPC bonus, establishes the scene, and established the attempt, then forces a result through a die roll? " any different from a combat scene? Side note: I too have switched to mostly summarizing NPC speeches, giving a list of points....not that it matters too much with my current group. They always react in 6 different directions, regardless. Because the DM in the first case is using that power to essentially declare actions for the PC -- or, at least, very much limit the available choices of the PC. In combat, things happen to the PC, but the player still always get to choose what it is the PC tries to do next. In the persuade case, you're categ...
  • 12:28 AM - Ovinomancer quoted Ratskinner in post Skills used by players on other players.
    That's an interesting question. I can tell you that it varies quite a bit. (I mean, back in the day you didn't have much to go on.) Overall, what you're describing here is why is prefer Fate to D&D. Fate mechanizes and makes it clear what you're signing onto when you choose your aspects. Most of the older players I know roundly ignore the background characteristics. (Heck, our current DM doesn't even use Inspiration at all.) Which isn't to say that they don't like some depth of character, they just seem to prefer it come from in-play incidents. Pardon for the butt-in, but this last seems a strange statement in defense of stats as roleplaying limitations, yeah?
  • 12:12 AM - Ovinomancer quoted Ratskinner in post Skills used by players on other players.
    If he rolls it, that's fine, part of the game. If the player skips the roll by fast talking the DM...not so fine. The assessment you're objecting to comes from the players who would attempt the scenario I described, who often (IME) view an penalty as being something to desperately avoid rolling. Also to quibble, that "slightly worse than average" only applies to the raw stat, not proficiency/expertise. Even at level one, a tweaked persuader would likely have a +3 (Cha) +4 Expertise for a total of +7. That is your silver-tongued charmer, not somebody who simply has a 12 Cha. Now, can the 8 Cha, also take that? Sure, but I don't see that that often, if ever. (Just like I don't see very many Str 8 Great Weapon Fighters) So your 8 Cha guy is slightly awkward and has only the "natural 20" chance to succeed at DC 20 or better checks. Honestly though, given that the average 4d6 drop the lowest roll is 12, and the PCs are so broadly competent...yeah, having a penalty to something is a kind of ...

Tuesday, 11th December, 2018

  • 10:10 PM - iserith quoted Ratskinner in post Skills used by players on other players.
    I think when we're saying "pay" we're saying "play the character's faults" or "play the character as written". If you've got a dumb or weak willed character who suddenly sprouts iron-willed resistance to a charming character's arguments....well this seems the same as if the physically weak character simply declares that he resists the grapple of the stronger character or something like that. That is to say, if we would resolve the physical conflict with dice, then we should resolve the social conflict with dice as well. (D&D may not be particularly suited to this sort of thing, but that's a different discussion.*) The potential conflict is in a perceived loss of player agency on the part of the weak-willed character and a de-protagonization of the charming character. Some of mentioned that they just remove the part of player agency that would allow for PvP die-rolling entirely. To me, that seems an incomplete and somewhat heavy-handed, but that can vary from table to table. This can be pro...
  • 09:38 PM - Elfcrusher quoted Ratskinner in post Skills used by players on other players.
    That is, the 8 Charisma PC who nonetheless fast-talks his way past the guards because the player fast-talked the DM, or the 8 Int PC solves the complex mathematical cypher puzzle using his player's physics degree. I'm not sure I'd call it cheating so much as unsporting. There seems to be an assumption here that a score of 8 means "really bad at everything related to that stat". So should a character with 12 Charisma be portrayed as a silver-tongued, fast-talking charmer? Because 12 is exactly as far above the "average" score as 8 is below it. How about the 12 Intelligence character? Always solving problems through analysis and logic? Really an 8 means "very slightly (-1 on a d20, or 5%, to be specific) worse at something than average". But there are a lot of people here who seem to think that a "dump stat" of 8 means your feebleness in that area is a defining characteristic of the character.

Sunday, 9th December, 2018

  • 05:06 PM - Parmandur quoted Ratskinner in post There is a lot of stuff out for D&D right now, and sales are doing fine (Amazon)
    I agree. We saw how well it worked out (market-wise, not personal preference-wise) when they went the other direction.* I'm not as sure that one works without the other. That is, if D&D didn't already have those externalities built-in, I'm not sure that the research/development would matter nearly as much. I can't think of an rpg example, but I would point to some of the early social media competitors as examples of the network not being enough. Some of the those products built up massive networks very quickly, but the weakness of the underlying engine was weak and that made the networks fragile. (I would say that Facebook is a middling example, and their current struggles are them rapidly trying to adjust their engine before their network becomes too fragile and disintegrates.) *In particular, the development phase with the massive playtesting is/was a far better way of assessing how people actually use the game than whatever it was they did to develop either of the previous editions. Basi...
  • 08:55 AM - ad_hoc quoted Ratskinner in post There is a lot of stuff out for D&D right now, and sales are doing fine (Amazon)
    In that timeframe, D&D's main competition (and the only one that ever overtook it within the marketspace, as far as we can tell) was essentially a clone(PF). If the edition wars nearly broke or killed D&D, it was because they broke the network externalities that (usually) keep it on top of the market. When a new entrant into the market couldn't figure out what game to pick up (4e, 3e, Pathfinder or whatever else was on the shelf) it adds a cost of entry that can turn them away. My son even experienced that, he had friends playing each of the three, and they couldn't come together on a system. (Not for all the edition war reasons, they were just trying to goof off and learning three versions of the game was just not worth it for them.) Or because of a lot of other reasons like: other ttrpgs aren't as easily available, you can't find groups to actually play those other rpgs, plain old brand recognition, production value, etc. This all applies to 4e. 4e came out after Pathfinder. 4e...

Saturday, 8th December, 2018

  • 09:58 AM - dave2008 quoted Ratskinner in post There is a lot of stuff out for D&D right now, and sales are doing fine (Amazon)
    Especially since I just read an article about "10 worlds I'd love to play in a D&D campaign" that cited non-D&D games by name .... as D&D?!? I didn't read the article, but the title suggest to me that the article would be about non-D&D worlds that they would like see in D&D. Was the author claiming these other worlds are D&D or that they would to play a D&D campaign in those worlds?
  • 08:45 AM - ad_hoc quoted Ratskinner in post There is a lot of stuff out for D&D right now, and sales are doing fine (Amazon)
    I realize this was probably a bit facetious, and I don't think 5e is the worst, but.... One explanation is the power of network externalities. That is, D&D has always been mediocre, but it is the most widespread (being the first in the market) and so is much easier to find a group to play in (which...y'know...is kinda important). Once a standard like that gets put in place, its can be very hard to displace, even if its demonstrably inferior to newer improved standards. This is especially true if the imperfect standard "works pretty okay" and isn't totally trash so that a lot of users already have favorite workarounds (i.e. houserules) for its quirks. I would say that most of D&D (across editions) falls into that category.* 5e has made adoption easy, and they've gotten back to its "works for the most part" roots, that amplifies the strength of its market presence. 5 years ago there was a lot of talk about how D&D might be dead. Now the talk is 'of course it's doing very well, it's D&D'. ...
  • 08:34 AM - Parmandur quoted Ratskinner in post There is a lot of stuff out for D&D right now, and sales are doing fine (Amazon)
    I realize this was probably a bit facetious, and I don't think 5e is the worst, but.... One explanation is the power of network externalities. That is, D&D has always been mediocre, but it is the most widespread (being the first in the market) and so is much easier to find a group to play in (which...y'know...is kinda important). Once a standard like that gets put in place, its can be very hard to displace, even if its demonstrably inferior to newer improved standards. This is especially true if the imperfect standard "works pretty okay" and isn't totally trash so that a lot of users already have favorite workarounds (i.e. houserules) for its quirks. I would say that most of D&D (across editions) falls into that category.* 5e has made adoption easy, and they've gotten back to its "works for the most part" roots, that amplifies the strength of its market presence. I'm not saying I know or believe that that is 100% the case, but I don't think its an insignificant factor. Especially since I ju...
  • 07:20 AM - Lord Mhoram quoted Ratskinner in post Skills used by players on other players.
    Does your social contract include playing the character as written and developed? Can I say that my 6 Con character auto-saved versus a spell or dodged a sword because I chose to? Can a character with poor fighting skills just choose to stab an enemy in the heart in the name of Player Agency? If not, then why can a low Intuition/Willpower/whatever character's player suddenly sprout those abilities when he wants them? Player Agency is exercised in making the choices about your stats in the first place. Now, to be clear, its also exercised when you make the specific actions the character takes. That is, the charismatic character might convince the Barbarian to help the village, but barbarian is not a zombie or pet. The Barbarian can help in whatever way seems best to him. The Persuasion check is not about taking control of another character, its about changing what that character thinks/understands/believes about a situation. Roleplaying that change is part of playing the character. We play v...


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