View Profile: Ratskinner - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:32 AM
    I might be okay with that, as our typical campaign style advantages the long-rest classes heavily. Although generally I agree, which is why I think that this "balance" factor was a mistake.
    108 replies | 3333 view(s)
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Monday, 12th November, 2018, 06:45 AM
    I'm thinking about implementing a system from Blades in the Dark. In BiTD, characters each have a "vice" that determines what they do to erase Stress. Vices are Faith, Gambling, Luxury, Obligation (family, love, etc.), Pleasure (carousing), Stupor (drugs), and Weird (for spooky or geeky characters). For 5e, I would use Short Rests as normal, but long rests would require a class-appropriate...
    108 replies | 3333 view(s)
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Sunday, 11th November, 2018, 02:36 PM
    Happy to offer my help. As mentioned by others above. 5e relies much more on HP to describe a target's invulnerability than earlier editions. I've even described "hits" as complete misses that wind or off-balance the target. Its not my favorite solution, but it works out tolerably numerically in the end. Didn't really notice a problem with any pure damage spells being overpowered,...
    118 replies | 3831 view(s)
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Sunday, 11th November, 2018, 01:45 PM
    I just wrapped up GMing a 5e game that got up to level 8. I didn't notice the supposed superiority of Ranged at all, not in comparison to the imbalance caused by the variability of the rest mechanics for Paladins vs Fighters, etc. and that was with most of the campaign being outside rather than dungeons. And that was with a Ranger fully kitted out for ranged. Unless I put them on some kind...
    108 replies | 3333 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Sunday, 11th November, 2018, 04:23 AM
    I make a sub-deck of 18 cards from, a normal deck: all four 6s all four 5s all four 4s three 3s three 2s Deal yourself three cards for each ability score, in order. Optional: switch one pair of cards. So if you are looking for a Fighter and have a 6,3,2 in Str and a 6,4,2 Int; you can swap the 2 card in Str and the 6 card in Int for 6,6,3 Str and 4,2,2 in Int.
    148 replies | 12553 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Monday, 5th November, 2018, 03:22 PM
    I am disappointed in Mike. I do not see the virtue in continuing to re-spark the flames of the edition war every 3-6 months like this. What's the end game here?
    733 replies | 9546 view(s)
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Friday, 2nd November, 2018, 04:37 AM
    AFAICT, IME, the fundamental problem is the action economy. Mercifully, I'm not running 5e right now. If I need to do so in the future, I will split boss monsters up into several "partitions" that will move together but attack/act and get hurt separately.
    49 replies | 1637 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Thursday, 1st November, 2018, 12:14 AM
    Curious, they aren't that complex. Individually, its just a d6 with 1&2 = "-1", 3&4 = "0", and 5&6 = "+1". Fate and Fudge roll 4 of them at a time and sum. This gives a pretty good bell curve from -4 to +4 with most results around 0. You add the result of the roll to your skill level. Now, if you mean more of a philosophical understanding, that's a bit more subtle and a matter of...
    29 replies | 725 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Wednesday, 31st October, 2018, 02:58 AM
    I like the concept overall. Seems easy to do on a grid, use two Fate dice one for each dimension.
    29 replies | 725 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Wednesday, 31st October, 2018, 02:44 AM
    Maybe ask your DM for stats on brass knuckles?
    15 replies | 641 view(s)
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd October, 2018, 08:49 PM
    IME (YMMV) to make a 5e final combat really "climactic", you actually have to stack several combats together in tight sequence, so that they don't get the chance to rest up. If a paladin has the chance to "gear up" for a fight with a good rest...it ain't even pretty. Additionally, add water (or some similar thing like smoke/fog) that puts the characters at a disadvantage right off. Mobility and...
    253 replies | 10281 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st October, 2018, 12:46 AM
    I'll go you one better...run a game that doesn't have HP (or equivalent). Granted, many of them are kinda weird WRT D&D, but they can really blow your mind. Only risk is that they can "ruin" D&D for you...or not, YMMV. Additionally, you can discover that many assumptions like "HP are really the simplest way to do this" are actually not true. I agree, the weight of HP system on D&D's combat...
    253 replies | 10281 view(s)
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st October, 2018, 12:23 AM
    At least for me, that's been a D&D problem forever (with a break for 4e, depending your view of 4e). My group often plays earlier editions and man that's my gripe all over. Although I will say that I think they backed too far off the potency of unique traits for a lot of 5e monsters in comparison to early editions. It seems to me that a lot of classic monsters have their "unfun" powers (e.g....
    253 replies | 10281 view(s)
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Friday, 19th October, 2018, 04:15 AM
    For what it's worth I believe in shared ownership of setting, more in terms of taking an active interest in it and responsibility for it's content than the freedom to do whatever we want with it. The GM is mostly responsible for it in the same way that players are mostly responsibility for their characters. Obviously there's some interaction there. No one is an island. This is a game where we...
    1794 replies | 57193 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 03:39 PM
    Here's the thing: In any social situation we are always constrained by the expectations and customs of the social group, even if we do not give voice to them. When I am playing a role playing game, despite the insistence of total theoretical freedom of action, I am constrained by what is socially acceptable to do at the table. When I run the game the same is true. This is the natural state of...
    1794 replies | 57193 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 06:22 AM
    Anyone else have it? I am still working my way through my copy. Really like most of what I am seeing so far. More thoughts to follow.
    1 replies | 203 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 05:45 AM
    I am not really a fan of back-grounding as a formal mechanic - mostly because I think it reinforces playing a character concept rather than a character. I also think it encourages individual creativity over vigorous collaboration. I am not a fan of these walled off gardens we have the tendency to create in this hobby where we decide how exactly everyone else at the table is allowed to engage with...
    1794 replies | 57193 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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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.)

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...


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Wednesday, 14th November, 2018

  • 02:59 AM - Shasarak quoted Ratskinner in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    What does "narratively it is not accurate" mean? There's lots of relevant fiction with unreliable spellcasting, and plenty of fantasy lit where casting in combat is not even an option (or at least, doesn't happen). The D&D version of a magic wielder (almost any of them) has become so much of its own thing that it seems to be warping what people see and write in the genre. I dont know though. Is there a lot of fiction? I can not think of anything off the top of my head about unreliable magic. Certainly mythologically you do not have unreliable magic. As far as "not fun" goes...well I suppose it wouldn't be for the caster players who are expecting to have everything work automatically, but...a) I've run other games where this was not the case with no problems and b) how is it any more disappointing than when a Fighter or Rogue rolls low damage or misses? Does a Fighter or Rogue have 10 sword blows that they can use per day? A Fighter missing an attack seems to be a completely differen...

Monday, 12th November, 2018

  • 10:45 AM - clearstream quoted Ratskinner in post Is Ranged really better than Melee?
    I'm thinking about implementing a system from Blades in the Dark. In BiTD, characters each have a "vice" that determines what they do to erase Stress. Vices are Faith, Gambling, Luxury, Obligation (family, love, etc.), Pleasure (carousing), Stupor (drugs), and Weird (for spooky or geeky characters). For 5e, I would use Short Rests as normal, but long rests would require a class-appropriate indulgence in a Vice (and I might tweak the list for more heroic fantasy). I haven't decided whether or not to implement a roll with possible consequences as in BiTD, and whether to include HD recovery in this as well. It will probably depend on how much I want to have downtime entanglements be a part of the game. Vices sound like a fun element! A factor I can relay from my own homebrew experience is that when long rests are made longer and/or more conditional, short rest classes can become heavily advantaged. I think if one changes, the other has to be changed in tandem. Otherwise for instance Warlocks get to...

Sunday, 11th November, 2018

  • 11:36 PM - clearstream quoted Ratskinner in post Is Ranged really better than Melee?
    I didn't notice the supposed superiority of Ranged at all, not in comparison to the imbalance caused by the variability of the rest mechanics for Paladins vs Fighters, etc. and that was with most of the campaign being outside rather than dungeons. And that was with a Ranger fully kitted out for ranged. The rest rules are definitely problematic. It seems like they were balanced around a six encounter adventuring day, with two encounters per short rest. Unfortunately, especially in an outdoor campaign, that doesn't really happen. I've switched to 24 hour long rests, 4-8 hour sleep/trance to refresh abilities, and 1 hour breather to spend HD. That's working reasonably well in balancing long rest classes, but has favoured short rest too much, so I'm experimenting with a refresh die roll on each feature - a d20, 10+ refreshes the feature. The idea being that short rests happen twice as often as the system was balanced around, therefore halve the chance of refresh. BTW did you use the outdoor encou...
  • 04:49 AM - Wightbred quoted Ratskinner in post What is your current way to roll stats
    I make a sub-deck of 18 cards from, a normal deck: ... I do something similar for AiME, but slightly more generous and only 9 cards. The players then assign a set of three random cards to each of the three physical attributes (Str, Con, Dex). Then they repeat the process for the three mental attributes (Int, Wis, Cha). This avoids stops the dumb warrior and weak scholar scenarios, but gives some choice within physical and mental.

Monday, 5th November, 2018

  • 08:50 AM - pemerton quoted Ratskinner in post Worlds of Design: Fantasy vs. Sci-Fi Part 1
    I've often thought that a less intrusive system would be to give a penalty for the first third, no modifier for the middle third, and a bonus for the last third of any game session/adventure. No "meta" thinking would be required of the players. (Of course, that's only for players who fret over "meta" mechanics.) I suppose one could even do something like 13th Age does with its escalation die, for a d20 based system. Ratchet the die up when you reach a milestone, ratchet it down if you experience a big setback. (Alternatively, implement an expenditure system like STA does.)When I read your first sentence I thought "escalation die" - the "penalty" starts at zero, and difficulties are just set keeping that in mind; and the "adventure" is this combat. HeroQuest revised goes somewhat the other way: cumulative successes increase the diffculty of subsequent checks (a de facto penalty); failures bring it back down; and there are also different consequence charts for rising action vs climactic conflict...
  • 05:45 AM - Jay Verkuilen quoted Ratskinner in post Worlds of Design: Fantasy vs. Sci-Fi Part 1
    Downloaded and read the quickstart. The basic mechanics don't really impress one way or another (yet another task resolution system...meh). I will say this: It's fast. The amount of arithmetic is pretty minimal. Mostly you are rolling a few D20 and counting when one of a few conditions happen. This is as opposed to, say, doing a bunch of two digit arithmetic. Unlike other die pool mechanics, the numbers are fairly straightforward and they avoid many of the pathologies that afflict die pools. For instance, botches or complications are more likely to emerge when you're rolling a larger die pool, which was a problem in games like Storyteller, leading to pathological issues like the fact that critical failures can be more common for characters with larger die pools. Here, however, you choose to have a larger die pool by spending Momentum, involving another character's help, etc., and thus know that there's an increased risk along with the potential reward. I do like the Threat/Momentum mec...

Saturday, 3rd November, 2018

  • 02:39 PM - Jay Verkuilen quoted Ratskinner in post Worlds of Design: Fantasy vs. Sci-Fi Part 1
    I think its also part of the reason that its hard to make a really good sci-fi (especially Trek) game. The players having an argument in-character about the morals or possibilities of genetic engineering just doesn't benefit as much from rpg-style mechanics as the adventure-y fantasy does. I think Star Trek Adventures by Modiphius does a pretty good job. I'm not really a huge Trek fan but there are several things the game does very well. First of all the PCs are assumed to be quite competent, being experienced Starfleet crew. There is minimal character advancement in terms of power. Second, the adventures I've played are structured in a much more episodic fashion and often end in an ambiguous fashion. For example, one adventure I played we were tasked to check out a neutron star on the edge of Federation space. We found an alien sleeper ship that was having power problems. It wasn't warp-capable so we ended up having to deal with the Prime Directive issues. Eventually we restarted the ship driv...

Monday, 22nd October, 2018


Sunday, 21st October, 2018

  • 12:36 AM - 5ekyu quoted Ratskinner in post 5E's "Missed Opportunities?"
    At least for me, that's been a D&D problem forever (with a break for 4e, depending your view of 4e). My group often plays earlier editions and man that's my gripe all over. Although I will say that I think they backed too far off the potency of unique traits for a lot of 5e monsters in comparison to early editions. It seems to me that a lot of classic monsters have their "unfun" powers (e.g. rust monster) nerfed to the point where they hardly get to pull them off...and thus they become a big bag of HP. my observations on this are that IMO this is partly system presentation and partly player experience. i have often said every Gm should run a diceless game or two for a half-dozen sessions. The reason is that the better diceless systems work on getting the Gm to see how important scenery and situation matters and to look at scenery as "ways to change the tactics and shift the outcomes" as opposed to scenery being mostly "that boxed description we read before initiative is rolled." Even ...

Friday, 28th September, 2018

  • 06:07 AM - pemerton quoted Ratskinner in post Mearls On D&D's Design Premises/Goals
    That might call your metrics into question, more than the mechanics.Maybe. But no one has put an argument that it's a good feature of a RPG that the mechanics pull you away from playing your PC in a "natural" fashion. This post in particular, and this thread in general, are the strongest argument for Fate (or at least Fatelike design) that I have ever read. Well, FATE would satisfy the metric I posited (that good design will align PC motivation and mechanical incentive)!

Monday, 17th September, 2018

  • 01:56 PM - pemerton quoted Ratskinner in post Seeking multigenre rpg system
    I'm looking for a multigenre rpg system with preferably the following characteristics: 1. System can fade to the background to run games (i.e., not too much chart referencing, looking up rules, etc. needed), but with a decent amount of crunch rather than narrative (i.e., not interest in some collaborative style where PCs spend a point to do some large change to a scene). 2. Some sort of "curve" in dice roll results (whether a fuller 3d6 bell curve, a 2d10 not a curve but close enough, etc.), rather than a flat d20 sort of resolution (I find that flatter dice systems tend to use Hero/Fate/Action type points for re-rolls, etc. to help control the wide randomness of systems like d20, I'd rather the dice handle that themselves and minimize such points). 3. System does hide the math or make understanding likelihood of success hard (i.e., d20 is very clear on chances of success, but L5R hides the success and needs a chart to understand what one's chances are to succeed). 4. Point-buy rather t...

Tuesday, 4th September, 2018

  • 06:58 AM - pemerton quoted Ratskinner in post Where Are All the Dungeon Masters?
    I've gotta second this and call out the Apocalypse Engine games for this. You could run most of them without any prep at all (although note taking is must).I'm gradually working my way through games on my "I'd like to play this" list. Dungeon World is on the list but I haven't got to play it face-to-face (only PbP with Manbearcat).

Wednesday, 29th August, 2018

  • 05:03 PM - Garthanos quoted Ratskinner in post Tink-Tink-Boom vs. the Death Spiral: The Damage Mechanic in RPGs
    That's quite possible, since most of the studies come from the age of guns.Shrapnel and guns indeed the 5 percent probably means ballistic accuracy and maybe movement
  • 07:07 AM - aramis erak quoted Ratskinner in post Tink-Tink-Boom vs. the Death Spiral: The Damage Mechanic in RPGs
    That's quite possible, since most of the studies come from the age of guns. People also often don't do proper analysis of the data. For example, the Police shootings data. The 1990 or 1991 report by DoJ (My roommate at the time ordered a copy) was analyzed and found that 1-shot stops are often not 1-shot kills, and a significant fraction of 1-shot kills are not part of a successful stop of a violent offender... (As in, they died from a single shot, but weren't stopped from fleeing and/or continuing to fight. Some died in custody, some died on the run.) It even analyzed for accuracy where the suspect had been hit and returned fire... there was a clear "impairment of accuracy"... as in, suspects who had been shot were less likely to hit police. When the chances of being hit in a firefight drop from around 20% to 15%, that "5% impairment" is pretty valuable. It's worth noting that police engagements are heavily biased towards under 5m; almost all officer involved shootings not being part o...
  • 12:16 AM - Garthanos quoted Ratskinner in post Tink-Tink-Boom vs. the Death Spiral: The Damage Mechanic in RPGs
    *With the exception that TTB systems rarely take into account the "coming down" aspect of adrenaline rushes. Once that adrenaline wears off and the blood pressure drops and the swelling starts to kick in....best not to think of it. Although, if a game did have this in it, that would be cool...allowing for those final moments and last words as the hero bleeds out after the fight. Yes that part is generally ignored for story reasons I think... but it might be a good tool for giving a hero a finale, particularly useful if the player wants to go with a new character and the battle was satisfying.

Thursday, 2nd August, 2018

  • 12:08 AM - ehren37 quoted Ratskinner in post Revised Ranger update
    This is my experience as well. The Paladin on the other hand... The ranger is such a joke compared to the paladin. It's like they come from different editions. The paladin essentially gets more bonus spells prepared than the ranger KNOWS. They have an aura that breaks bounded accuracy... who thought handing out +3 to 5 to saves was remotely OK? Their summoned mount is a better animal companion than the useless lump that is the beastmaster's main subclass feature. I'd almost put a paladin with no oath features over a PHB ranger.

Wednesday, 1st August, 2018

  • 02:26 AM - Maxperson quoted Ratskinner in post A discussion of metagame concepts in game design
    I think we see the same things, but are interpreting them differently. How can science run afoul of them, if it is not addressing moral positions? The thing is, "moral" (as in "moral question") in this case, is not a stable target, and just because a scientifically minded person wouldn't consider something a moral issue doesn't mean it isn't one. Is the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection a completely amoral statement about reality or is it the most evil satanic immoral thing you can ever teach a child? The answer depends on who is asked, not some inherent property of scientific results, AFAICT. I don't think we can excuse something from being a "moral issue", just because it was not intended as such. Nor can we exclude something from scientific examination merely because we view it as a moral issue. We may, in deference to our proclivities, decide not to pursue certain courses of inquiry for what we deem "moral" reasons, but that is a separate question from whether science can address moral...

Tuesday, 31st July, 2018

  • 05:28 PM - Ovinomancer quoted Ratskinner in post A discussion of metagame concepts in game design
    I agree. Fortunately, enough humans can usually agree on the basics to form complex societies and sit around debating this stuff and doing science, etc. Is that subjective? Yup. But we generally agree (enough) on many things that are subjective or matters of taste, this is no different. Yes, ergo the better method for defining moral good is social, not scientific. What you're doing here is reification -- the swapping of one thing for the other and then pretending their the same. Science done on social definitions of moral good aren't actually addressing objective moral good -- you've swapped in a subjective understanding and then pretended that since you've invoked Science! that it's actually science. You've forgotten that the basis of your effort isn't observation of reality, is subjective definition of it. "Prevents" a wild hypothesis? Sure nothing prevents someone from proposing one. But the scientific method is about finding out which ones are false and rejecting them. I mean, hypo...
  • 01:56 PM - Maxperson quoted Ratskinner in post A discussion of metagame concepts in game design
    In some cases (Stem Cell Research) I would agree with you. They have an objection to the methods and procedures that would be used. In others (Gun as Public Health, Global Warming) it is simply that the results would make their subjective moral/political positions less tenable in the face of objective evidence (or they fear that outcome.) I agree that Science is not very good at establishing morality/political positions. That is because all such positions are subjective, and science helps determine objective things. However, humans tend to evaluate their moral and political positions based upon what they perceive as objective reality, science has repeatedly bumped up against this...often getting scientists burned at the stake or put under house arrest, etc. The entirety of your posts supports what I said, though. Stem cell research doesn't care about morality or politics. Neither does research on global warming. Not sure what you mean by gun as public health. They bump against moral an...
  • 10:50 AM - TheCosmicKid quoted Ratskinner in post A discussion of metagame concepts in game design
    I mean, the greatest good to the greatest number can get you surprisingly far. Scientifically define "good." You'll find it's a subjective preference. At this point the moral philosopher in me just wants to crack both your heads together. Ratskinner: "The greatest good to the greatest number" can't even tell you unambiguously how to slice a birthday cake. Ovinomancer: Psychologists, marketers, and pollsters scientifically define and quantify subjective preferences every day.


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