View Profile: Manbearcat - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Today, 04:41 AM
    Alright, back to the primary topic in the lead post. In 4e, I would probably handle the two Hoverpods as follows: HP 212; Bloodied 106 Initiative +21 AC 37, Fortitude 34, Reflex 35, Will 32 Speed 0, fly 8 (hover) Lasers At-Will Attack: Ranged 10 (one creature); +25 vs. Ref Hit: 2d8 + 7 damage.
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Today, 04:10 AM
    I agree. Although even 1e is a bit vague on exactly how space and movement work once you get 'engaged' in melee, the game very definitely assumes a sort of 'battle space' where everything has a location and you can make measurements (and nominally it has a scale). This is all directly descended from the original D&D rules, which resolved combat using Chainmail, with the exception that indoor...
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Today, 12:48 AM
    That's a bit simplistic though. Because the resource free option is almost always less damaging than the resource. Direct damage 1st level spells outdamage cantrips at all but the very, very highest levels and, even then, it's not like 1st level and 2nd level resources are limited to direct damage. But, even just comparing direct damage, the resource expense nearly always results in dealing...
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  • heretic888's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:14 PM
    I know I'm a little late to the party here, but I wanted to speak on this... I think a lot of people generalize DW to the entire PbtA school of games way, way too much. There are other PbtA games, designed by Vincent Baker even, where the MC rolls dice for NPC declarations (see Freebooting Venus, among others). Also, in Apocalypse World proper (especially 2nd edition) the battle moves are...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:12 PM
    I mean these people have no integrity. They're rotten to the core. They spend their mornings kicking puppies while they twirl their evil mustachios and hatch vile plots for world domination. Ok, seriously. I think two classic examples of not playing the world with integrity would be: a) Post-hoc creating a block of an action declaration (maybe a spell cast or a piece of gear deployed...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:52 PM
    There is a substantive difference. However, the problem I see is the culture of D&D embracing the early 90s first principle of GMing that "there is no such thing as GM accountability for playing the world with integrity. The GM is only accountable for what they perceive will create the best story and most fun at the table." The problem with that first principle is that it relies upon (a)...
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:46 PM
    But, we're not talking about 1d6 are we? A Burning Hands does 9d6 damage pretty easily. Certainly 6d6 virtually guaranteed. Yup, there's save for half, but, fare enough, many cantrips can outright fail. You have to be 17th level before you can deal even remotely equivalent damage. The fact that I've been dealing that kind of damage for the last 16 levels kinda makes up for things. For...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:31 AM
    I feel like there is a substantive difference between gaming the fiction and gaming the DM. I think just as we can expect and hold players accountable for playing their characters with integrity we can expect and hold GMs accountable for approaching play with curiosity and playing the world with integrity.
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:13 AM
    I question the OP's basic premise actually. The basic premise is that cantrips become more damaging than 1st and 2nd level spells. So, in play, we're likely limited to cantrips doing 3d10 for the most part, no? Very high level play doesn't come up all that often, so, for the sake of argument, let's ignore it. 1st level wizard spell damage: Burning Hands 3d6 to multiple targets...
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th December, 2018, 11:48 PM
    That looks like great fun Morrus. Cool beans. Just as a thought though, would it not be easier to make the map mostly the full size of the page and then include the text of the encounters right in the rooms? Would seem like a more efficient use of space. And, just a nitpick, you forgot to label area 1 - the Entrance.
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th December, 2018, 03:51 PM
    I'm going to move the core part of this thread either later tonight or tomorrow, but I was thinking. The Skill Challenge above where the Fighter takes over the ATST vehicle? That would have involved: a) Leaping atop of it b) Ripping the hatch off c) Defeating the crew decisively in short order d) Figuring out/adlibing through the alien tech on the fly to pilot it
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th December, 2018, 03:20 PM
    100 % agree with this. D&D World Causality Chain (so players can successfully infer odds/opportunity cost/outcomes based on some combination of world system mechanics + tropes + D&D's wonky mechanical artifacts + the sum total of their total experience and their personal experience under a specific GM) is absolutely central to skilled play in trad D&D. Its and discussion of this was central to...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th December, 2018, 08:59 AM
    Aren't you already? I consider these discussions to be a significant source of ideas and material for my game ;) Does this mean I have to add credits? Next you'll want royalties! :P
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th December, 2018, 08:41 AM
    Well, there WAS Gygaxian Naturalism, which is something we can't totally ignore. However, I never thought Gygax considered it a technique for generating a 'realistic world' (realistic owlbears, give me a break). Instead it was more of a way of saying "give your scenarios some internal logic that the players can hang their reasoning on." Remember, Gygax was all about testing the player, creating a...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th December, 2018, 08:36 AM
    Perhaps, but you couldn't even do that without an edition roll, because it wouldn't be numerically compatible with 3.x material. So, effectively, they might as well fix all the flaws in it at the same time, which eventually lead to 4e...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 07:09 PM
    Quickleaf If you’re interested in treating it like a Basic Dungeon Crawl with Fail Forward, I suggest the following: 1) Scale the Exploration Turn/Movement Rate to your liking for the climb. I would have 3 rates though (Fast + Disadvantage on a Check/save to deal with an obstacle, Medium with no penalty, Slow and Advantage). This will create an interesting decision-point for the players...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 02:48 PM
    Starting from the bottom: 1) I never thought you were making a claim about the quality of Dragon (nothing I posted engaged with that). The claim you made that I was addressing (which it appeared to me you were making indispute of my “Trad vs 2nd wave” idea) was that there was an overwhelming pervasiveness of “realism sim” culture so embedded in D&D that the power of that signal was there in...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 08:06 AM
    But, if he didn't think system mattered, then why didn't he just write D&D supplements? Of course it mattered and Steve (whom I happen to have had the pleasure of playtesting games for in that time period) was VERY VERY aware of how different systems created different sorts of games, that's the sort of stuff we all talked about endlessly back in the day. Now, they had different ideas and...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 07:43 AM
    Well, exactly... There isn't any such thing as being outside of a challenge! If you aren't in a challenge then there is no conflict, and NO GAME, just people talking! I mean, in HoML you can have an 'interlude' but it is just that, a connector between scenes (IE it might be a montage, or just players hobnobbing, etc.). Now, interludes can be narratively useful and lead to the generation of new...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 06:24 AM
    @Quickleaf Use Exploration Turns and Wandering Monsters/Random Encounter clock. Per the DMG, the Dungeon Scale: 1) 20 sq/min (Slow - Advantage) 2) 30 sq/min (Normal) 3) 40 sq/min (Fast - Disadvantage)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 03:39 AM
    Some thoughts (that don't just pertain to the quoted text above but to other posts): 1) I agree with AA's post directly above. I'll elaborate: a) AD&D 2e moving xp for treasure/gold from the primary way to advance to an option was no small thing. b) AD&D 2e introducing "Roleplaying xp by way of DM fiat" was no small thing. c) AD&D 2e introducing xp awards for using noncombat...
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 01:26 PM
    Why not implement this as a 4E style Skill Challenge? Predetermine the number of successful skill checks before three failures, but don't predetermine which skills can be implemented; let that be determined by the players' declared actions. Consequences for individual failures, i.e., before failing the SC entirely, could be some predetermined range of falling damage for the individual PC, burning...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 06:27 AM
    I think that this statement is clearly not supportable from my experience. As early as the mid-late 1970's there many diverse opinions on different sorts of rules and already much thinking (albeit of a very early sort) had gone on. Certainly Ken St. Andre and the T&T folks engaged in a robust debate with the D&D folks. Anyone who played a game of Boot Hill certainly was well-educated on the HUGE...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 05:28 AM
    My response would be that ONLY 1e out of those 4 is 'traditional' D&D, and even it is on the outer edge of the core traditional phase of D&D as defined by Manbearcat. 1e certainly has the rules and procedures in the forms he talks about such that you CAN play D&D as it was originally conceived. It also allows for something different, epitomized by the OA book, and then finally by 2e, which is to...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 05:00 AM
    This is similar to the questions which drove me to the design of HoML, where there are NO SUCH THINGS as individual checks. If a conflict doesn't exist, then there are no dice, and if one does, then it is a challenge. Thus you can't make checks outside of challenges (which include combat encounters in HoML terminology). Now, there ARE 'general challenges' which follow basically the 4e SC...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 02:37 AM
    Sure, the key element isn't really 'time is imminent' so much as it is 'action is required'. Or maybe even more to the point the success/fail tally is more a measure of how much everyone is actively contributing vs a set of 'prizes' you get which leads to victory. Remember, this was also the version of the system which had a lot more failures at higher complexities (half as many as required...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th December, 2018, 10:08 PM
    @Celebrim I don’t have time to read your response in detail and respond to it, but one thing sticks out at a quick look. You appear to be using “system” as an analog for “rules” and then evaluating my post based on this usage. I don’t agree with that usage. When discussing a game, when I say “system”, I don’t mean discrete parts. I’m talking about the integration of all of play...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th December, 2018, 09:50 PM
    I definitely agree with what you’ve written above (never claimed differently). If I was forced to do 1st, 2nd and 3rd wave categories, I’d probably go: OD&D, Basic, Expert - 1st 1e - mostly 1st with some 2nd 2e - mostly 3rd with some 2nd and a smattering of 1st 3e - mostly 2nd with some 3rd and a smattering of 1st 5e - half 3rd, 1/4 2nd, 1/4 1st
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th December, 2018, 08:47 PM
    Obviously you know I don't agree with this. I outlined upthread (somewhere near the beginning) what I felt are the most fundamental pieces of machinery/feedbacks that creates any singular sequence of play in traditional D&D and the holistic experience: 1) A mapped/keyed/scaled/stocked environment (primarily dungeon but possibly wilderness...where the game's machinery is put under...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th December, 2018, 06:04 AM
    Yeah, there can be a lot to keep track of if you do it that way. I don't disagree that this is sort of the 'ultimate extreme' in terms of making things crazy and 'magical'. Actually if you think about it, this was D&D 1974! I mean, I was there, NOTHING was known. If you found ANY item it might or might not be magical, it might or might not have almost any effect, good or bad. Mostly DM's had, or...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th December, 2018, 05:54 AM
    LOL! HoML treats rituals in a wholly different way, though they NARRATIVELY fulfill the same role as in 4e, they are 'positioning devices'. A given ritual allows the player to substitute a different narrative explanation into the situation, which provides a substitute skill. Thus, for example, 'Detect Magic' allows the character to utilize arcana instead of some other skill check in a...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th December, 2018, 05:22 PM
    With a Secondary Skill and a buff from elsewhere (maybe spending a surge or a use of some kind of power), I suspect the Fighter and Rogue could up their odds of one of the two of them making their check by 50 %, so lets assume one succeeds and one fails and the mother ship deploys defenses (as happened in the 5e game) in the form of an L+1 combat (6050 * 3 = 18150 and change). Remember, in terms...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th December, 2018, 05:15 AM
    HoML's implementation of this is: At-Will powers are as they say, same as 4e. Intermittent powers are free to use once per encounter. You can pay a 1 VP (HS) cost to re-use them if you want, but of course they are less powerful than Vitality powers, usually. Vitality powers ALWAYS cost one VP (HS). There is no free use of these powers. All PCs have 8 HS in this system, and could have up...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th December, 2018, 05:07 AM
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1hDqxN9WDlPUruYUIuDZo1YJcMcEqMSLm This is just a snapshot of whatever I had the last time I did an edit pass. It is definitely not in a 100% consistent state (though I think the rules are probably pretty coherent, but I've been applying some more consistent formatting and fixing terminology issues and such).
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th December, 2018, 04:51 AM
    DMG1's original system didn't talk about actions at all, it just talks about establishing a turn order. Here we see that initiative is used, and each character MUST make a check in their turn (or take some other type of 'action'). So, while the combat system's action economy isn't fully implemented, there is certainly a concept of 'opportunity cost' which might exist if a character...
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th December, 2018, 04:31 AM
    For sure. I was talking about making the suite of actions (standard, move, minor) available to each character within their turn in initiative (or when appropriate to the fiction, if initiative is being dispensed with). Is this what you mean, because I don't remember that in any SC iteration...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th December, 2018, 04:23 AM
    The original pre-errata DMG SC system HAD a turn order, complete with initiative IIRC. It wasn't clearly stated, but seems reasonable to assume, that each PC was obliged to DO something in their turn (though it could be a secondary skill use or AA check). I have talked to a few people who continued to use that system and swear by it.
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th December, 2018, 04:12 AM
    Well, it is FAR better than all other editions "just have the GM call for skill checks (or equivalents) until he 'feels like' its enough." At best 'feels like' becomes "until some narrative condition is fulfilled." As long as 4e DMs are willing to put narrative logic ahead of pure mechanics, then SCs are not worse in regard to being stuck playing out something that has lost logical plot coherency...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th December, 2018, 02:50 AM
    Intruder Detected! Tank will self-destruct in 10, 9, 8...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th December, 2018, 02:47 AM
    Odd, it has come up once or twice in threads we've been in. Strike! has some interesting features. I appreciate the "don't make trivial distinctions" aspect of its design philosophy. This is of course exemplified by replacing the d20 with a d6! If you get a +1, there ain't nothin' trivial about that bonus! lol. Where I found it lost me was on the "roles and classes are just a matrix" and...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th December, 2018, 03:09 PM
    Coming up with applicable, interesting failure outcomes is top 3 on the list of things GMs should constantly be working to improve. Yup. That’s spot on. That is pretty much exactly what Advantages are; player-facing currency to barter (4e’s equivalent of) Position down or Effect up.
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th December, 2018, 06:43 AM
    RC grade SCs certainly have all this down cold, you can burn advantages and the DM can toss obstacles at you as needed to shift things around. They never QUITE explicated like that, but it works fine. Of course you may have to go beyond that level of resources in some cases (IE if someone wants to take a HUGE risk, but you already covered that as "2 successes in one" also).
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th December, 2018, 02:48 AM
    I don't know if I'm a newer player (I've been playing since 1991), but hells to the no. 200+ sessions with the same character? <shudder>
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th December, 2018, 02:10 AM
    HoML could do this. Instead of paying a VP cost for casting a Vitality power, you could instead choose to accept a 'limitation' or a 'curse' for example. This could be a cool way to allow characters to 'push'. I'll have to think about it. Limiting it to 'casters' might be cool, though TBH I am having a hard time seeing either thematic or mechanical reasons for doing that in a 4e-type game. 4e...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th December, 2018, 01:23 AM
    I think what you describe is ONE option, not the only one. Ask anyone who ever played a caster in Dragonquest, it is VERY VERY possible to make a simple, even dull and boring, and incredibly dangerous, magic system. The question is more like "why would anyone run a PC who risks death every time he exercises his ability?" If magic is really hazardous enough to SEEM hazardous, then it is pretty...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd December, 2018, 06:24 PM
    So in the above complication (mothership would detect the incoming and would communicate some kind of request for authentication (looking for a "call sign" equivalent) via the heads-up displays in the two Hoverpods), the odds that one of them succeeds is probably in the vicinity of 33 %. The odds that both succeed is pretty remote. As such, we would be looking at a combat nested in the SC...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd December, 2018, 06:03 PM
    Quoting myself right quick (weird) and I'll answer the immediately above question. 1) Fighters are significantly more capable, and significantly more capable of mythical feats, out of combat than their traditional D&D counterparts. 2) Rogues (in particular, the swashbuckler/duelist archetype) are significantly more capable in combat than their traditional D&D counterparts. 3) Wizard's...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd December, 2018, 03:57 PM
    I see it as closer to something Luke Crane talks about in his Adventure Burner - the stakes are implicit in the situation, and thus - as the situation changes - can themselves change. This depends on a group who are reasonably familiar with one another's approach to play, so that the players can tell (from experience) when I am increasing or stepping back the pressure; and so that I can tell...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd December, 2018, 12:46 PM
    I tend to make it up as I go along!
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd December, 2018, 11:03 AM
    That’s not true. Bacteria as a species, heck most plants as a species are far far more successful than any vertebrate.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd December, 2018, 10:33 AM
    This is why I like the RC version - it's notion of "advantage" is something of a rules bolt-on, but it helps smooth over some mathematical problems. But this is very different from my experience. I focus on the right sort of fiction rather than skills. And then let the players make a call about how they want to tackle the fiction. I don't adhere religiously to the DMG notion of "taking turns",...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd December, 2018, 03:01 AM
    To answer Garthanos original question: I don't know that I have a favorite exactly. The DMG2 has some good advice and RC has a good clear write up. There are a couple other books that touch on the subject tangentially, but nowadays I live with mostly my own advice. I stick to the RC implementation, technically, but I really like being looser most of the time than any of the books suggest. ...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd December, 2018, 02:57 AM
    I like to provide some what to 'up the ante'. So, if you find that you're not being too successful then you can always "change the rules" and try to engage the fiction in a new way. This is one of the reasons I'm not super fond of the concept of 'writing up' skill challenges. I mean, yeah, you want to understand what the general idea is, but I like to focus most on goals and not means. The means...
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Sunday, 2nd December, 2018, 06:56 PM
    On the positive side, perhaps, like with the Compendium last week, this will be but a (relatively) brief interlude. Maybe they are doing some kind of server upgrade or something, implementing it on weekends. Not that that is much consolation to anyone in the meantime. :.-(
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 1st December, 2018, 03:43 PM
    I think the easiest way to use THACO or similar while maintaining the AD&D progression is to overwrite the second 20 and subsequent numbers with a consecutive progression (so 20, 20, 20, 20, 20, 20, 21 becomes 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26) and treat a roll of 20 on the d20 as scoring 25.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 1st December, 2018, 03:26 PM
    You beat me to it!
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Saturday, 1st December, 2018, 03:04 AM
    It seems to, increasingly, be a framework which purports to adhere to OGL and provides the structure under which games LIKE 4e could be built using its rule structures. A D&D made with Forerunner would presumably be very close to 4e, and able to use 4e material effectively. Of course you could also build games based on it that are less like 4e. It is not, in and of itself, a playable game,...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Saturday, 1st December, 2018, 02:53 AM
    Alright, a quick interlude. So we're at the point in this adventuring day where the following is true: * Aliens from the Far Realm are invading the material plane with their weapons, their vehicles, their tech, and their psychic attacks. The PCs are at the endgame and cutting through their forces in a direct assault upon their mother ship. * A Fighter has single-handedly taken down and...
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Friday, 30th November, 2018, 03:29 PM
    The first idea that comes to mind is modeling it on psionic boosts, where AW powers can be boosted to encounter/daily effects/damage via spending surges (instead of power points).
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Friday, 30th November, 2018, 12:56 PM
    I could be mistaken--it's been forever since I tried the app--but I'm pretty sure it's the sameor similiar format/interface as the nondesktop version I decry in my initial post.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 30th November, 2018, 10:00 AM
    Frankly, I think even running a 4e combat then a DW combat would show that players roll the dice isn't the same as only players make mechanical-type moves (I'm bracketing deal damage - I don't think that would change the outcome of the experiment).
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Friday, 30th November, 2018, 07:23 AM
    Oh, well that sucks. Wonder if this is a Disney thing. They're going to bring all the Marvel titles together under the new Disney pay service, maybe?
    26 replies | 893 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Friday, 30th November, 2018, 04:46 AM
    So I'm thinking the next thing we'd see in the above scenario would be the following: * The Wizard is flying up to the mother ship with Wraithform * The Fighter and the Rogue are flying up in Hoverpods Complication? I'm thinking the mothership would detect the incoming and would communicate some kind of request for authentication (looking for a "call sign" equivalent) via the heads-up...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Friday, 30th November, 2018, 04:03 AM
    I think the difference would be most acutely experienced if you performed the following experiment: a) Run a 4e combat. b) Run a follow-on noncombat scene using Dungeon World and Apocalypse World/Blades Clocks (which may be as close as you get to 4th edition noncombat conflict resolution).
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Friday, 30th November, 2018, 03:48 AM
    Hunh. Turns out there is a toggle switch at the bottom of the page that I didn't see previously that switches to desktop mode via the site itself rather than via Chrome's toggle. Problem solved! (Do note, Morrus, that the interface is slightly different depending on how desktop mode is applied.)
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Friday, 30th November, 2018, 03:11 AM
    I'm not sure you can draw the parallel to film though. Film died because digital cameras became ubiquitous. And MUCH higher quality and easier to use. To the point where it's virtually impossible to distinguish a digital picture from a film one. The human eye just isn't good enough. But paper still has HUGE uses. While the push towards paperless offices has been ongoing for a decade or...
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Friday, 30th November, 2018, 02:16 AM
    Furthermore, one can't (at least I can't) display spoiler boxes in the mobile version. But I can in the desktop version.
    7 replies | 174 view(s)
    0 XP
  • darkbard's Avatar
    Friday, 30th November, 2018, 02:12 AM
    I think the "latest news" scroll on the right displays when I switch to desktop now, but it's not there when I go to a bookmarked page? But maybe that's only the case when I'm going to bookmarked Subscriptions page? EDIT: In any event, the page used to autosize to the posts themselves, but now I have to enlarge to exclude the "latest posts" etc.
    7 replies | 174 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 30th November, 2018, 01:20 AM
    I think that upfront stakes when it's something like cross the river or persuade the corpse to talk to you via Speak wtih Dead is fine. But when the challenge is more complex in the fiction - eg a somewhat open-ended negotiation - and is meant to involve many checks (complexity 4 and 5 is probably my "many checks" as opposed to "few check" zone), then I think more capacity for evolution of the...
    19 replies | 580 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Friday, 30th November, 2018, 12:52 AM
    Heh. Oh yeah, it does come down to different experiences. :D I mean, for me, a fighter with an 18 Str and 16 Dex, say, was pretty much par for the course. Wouldn't even bat an eye at seeing that. So, again, that's AC:0 without magic and easily achievable by 2nd or 3rd level. And, as far as modules go, it really depends. Quasqueton did a fantastic analysis of classic modules:...
    24 replies | 996 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Friday, 30th November, 2018, 12:33 AM
    But... but... but... maps are COOL. :D The nice thing about using a map+text is that you can cram a LOT of information into a visual representation. I've always thought that most modules under use their maps quite honestly. Why don't adventure maps put the contents of each area right on the map? Add in a couple of more maps to represent movement and you can create a very dynamic adventure...
    50 replies | 1292 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 30th November, 2018, 12:21 AM
    In 4e combat, players roll all the dice won't give it the same dynamic as a skill challenge, because the GM is still declaring actions for NPCs/monsters that have an action economy, generate mechanical states of affairs that interact with the player-side mechanics, deplete PC hit points, etc. Even if a player rolls a "defence" die, it is the GM who forces "OK, roll a defence die" having...
    145 replies | 4711 view(s)
    2 XP
  • darkbard's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th November, 2018, 11:47 PM
    I hate hate hate the interface of the mobile settings for Android. In the past, I figured out a way to default to the desktop settings but ever since I cleared my cache on my phone recently, I must manually convert to desktop interface each time I visit the site (assuming, as I do, that I don't want to simply use the desktop interface for all my browsing). What's more, the desktop display is...
    7 replies | 174 view(s)
    1 XP
  • darkbard's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th November, 2018, 11:38 PM
    I'm kind of divided on this. On the one hand, I absolutely agree that the Skill Challenge must be dynamic, flexible, malleable; that the fiction (and attendant pressure) must morph to accurately represent the PCs' progress towards their goal. However, on the other hand, I've always tried to adhere to the advice given about SCs (and similar mechanics in other games) to make sure the terms of...
    19 replies | 580 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th November, 2018, 11:00 PM
    I combine these with the clearer mechanical structure of the Rules Compendium. The idea of multi-stage can be adapted/generalised, I think - as the situation unfolds, the fiction changes in such a fashion that certain past states are now guaranteed to be in the past (eg in the negotiations, it's clear that the major NPC is no longer going to believe XYZ about the PCs), and the parameters for...
    19 replies | 580 view(s)
    1 XP
  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th November, 2018, 09:34 PM
    My Little Adventurers: Splitting the Party is Magic.
    157 replies | 5004 view(s)
    0 XP
  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th November, 2018, 09:31 PM
    Aerialbots or GTFO. :)
    157 replies | 5004 view(s)
    0 XP
  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th November, 2018, 09:26 PM
    Not that the She-Ra cartoon isn't great, but I'd rather see something more similar in tone to the recent Castlevania series or the Voltron reboot.
    157 replies | 5004 view(s)
    1 XP
  • heretic888's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th November, 2018, 05:32 PM
    Absolutely yes to all this. As much as we've enjoyed the combat stuff, skill challenges are by far my favorite part of 4E. Their absence in 5E is a major part why I never much bothered with that system. In my opinion, Complexity 5 challenges are best reserved for multi-stage challenges like the river example in DMG2. That way, the fictional parameters and pressures change every 3 or so...
    19 replies | 580 view(s)
    1 XP
  • heretic888's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th November, 2018, 05:24 PM
    The DMG2, by a wide, wide, wide margin.
    19 replies | 580 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th November, 2018, 03:12 PM
    I No worries! This isn’t a derail (and details are fine so long as they’re interesting!). This hooks into some of my comments above about how Skill Challenges work and GM responsibility. Just like in Dungeon World (and PbtA systems), the players are rolling all the dice. However, both GM and players are “making moves” that impact the gamestate. The GM’s moves in a Skill Challenge...
    145 replies | 4711 view(s)
    1 XP
  • darkbard's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th November, 2018, 02:06 PM
    It's certainly not my intention to derail the current focus of this thread from how the framework of 4E's structure makes for a different game than "trad" D&D; your analysis of how these scenes (might) play out is fascinating! Nevertheless, pemerton posted this regarding how combat differs from SCs in another thread, a further difference between mechanics like Strike!, DW, and PbtA engines in...
    145 replies | 4711 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th November, 2018, 10:21 AM
    I've used skill challenges for resolving social tension, interrogation, traversing the Abyss (that one wasn't my best), sneaking through an enemy camp, cleansing corrupted angels, taming a bear and dispelling a water weird, trashing Torog's Soul Abattoir, surviving an audience with Yan-C-Bin and then persuading some maruts that it's not the end times, and other stuff too. It's a versatile...
    19 replies | 580 view(s)
    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th November, 2018, 10:06 AM
    The two RPGs I flagged upthread as rules-light - Prince Valiant and Cthulhu Dark - can be played without significant prep. The rules for Cthulhu Dark fit on a single A4 sheet. I had printed them out years ago, and brought them along to the session. I read them to the table while we ate lunch. We then played with no prep beyond that. The rules for Prince Valiant are longer than that. I had...
    22 replies | 862 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th November, 2018, 08:34 AM
    I'm just starting this. A really cool adventure for embedding the group into a setting. And, it's going to be a springboard for DotMM, so, I'm going to drop all sorts of hints and goodies. So far, haven't gotten much further than planning out renovating Trollskull manor. There's some fantastic stuff over on Reddit on this, so, I'm going to ... erm... use that for inspiration (ie steal...
    92 replies | 10969 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th November, 2018, 08:29 AM
    Funnily enough, back in 1e whenever we got wishes, we just saved them for resurrections. We knew that the DM wouldn't monkey paw a wish like that and it was just a great "get out of jail free" card. I haven't given out wishes in a game in so long it's ridiculous. Kinda like dragons. I haven't dropped one of those into an adventure in FAR too long.
    24 replies | 968 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th November, 2018, 08:01 AM
    Well, there's a boatload of examples at the One Page Dungeon Contest: This was last year's winner.
    50 replies | 1292 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th November, 2018, 07:52 AM
    I dunno. Negative AC's at fairly low levels wasn't all that hard to achieve. Plate, shield and a decent DEX got you to -1 or -2 and you could do that by 2nd or 3rd level pretty easily. +1 plate and +1 shields were pretty common magic items in many modules, so, that gets you to -3 or -4 pretty easily. Tap in some other goodies, like, say, Vault of the Drow or Queen of the Demonweb Pits for...
    24 replies | 996 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th November, 2018, 06:43 AM
    There's another point to remember as well - the growth of the market. We'll have to see what 2018 brings, but, year on year, 5e has been explosively growing the RPG market. Honestly, I'm not sure if D&D has ever seen this degree of sustained growth before. Boom and bust? Sure. But, we're not seeing any evidence of bust yet. Just very strong growth. It's certainly a healthier business cycle...
    157 replies | 5004 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th November, 2018, 05:23 AM
    So through these two encounters, my guess is that we'd see something like: * Rogue down 3 Surges and probably a Daily Attack, a Daily Item, and a Consumable. * Wizard down 2 Surges and probably a Daily Attack, maybe Paragon Path Daily or a Utility (such as Arcane Gate to let the Rogue and Wizard more easily traverse the battlefield in their efforts to handle the Hoverpods and AT-STs) and a...
    145 replies | 4711 view(s)
    2 XP
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Tuesday, 11th December, 2018


Monday, 10th December, 2018


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Saturday, 8th December, 2018


Thursday, 6th December, 2018


Wednesday, 5th December, 2018



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Monday, 10th December, 2018

  • 07:10 PM - Quickleaf mentioned Manbearcat in post How to make an encounter with falling great distances interesting and dangerous, but not deadly?
    I ran this for my group yesterday and it was a lot of fun. There definitely was a looming sense of risking death climbing up so high on an exposed cliff. The 3-hour clock before the hard rains hit was effective at driving them forward, though it only took them 2 hours, so perhaps the window was too large. It took roughly 2 hours real time too. Also, the threat – while real in the players' minds – ended up being an illusion of threat, and the illusion gradually was revealed over the course of the challenge. Definitely could have incorporated more exhaustion to make players debate how long they should rest in Kir Sabal, but disadvantage on all checks would have been extremely punitive for this check-heavy challenge... I didn't find that happy medium I created...well...started to create a d12 table of complications based on the DW advice from Manbearcat which I had a different player roll when a check failed, when they dawdled, or when a golden opportunity presented itself. At one point the lizardfolk rogue PC used his cape of the mountebank to reactively teleport to a fall, teleporting all the way up at the elder's house where he tried to petition the aarakocra saint, but couldn't reach her without a possible fight. Instead he learned that the aarakocra viewed this as a test of character, and so he rushed down through the whole monastery, skittering about like a gecko on all fours causing mayhem (I'd narrated that many aarakocra regarded lizardfolk as "egg thieves"). Much hilarity ensued. The funniest part was when the grung druid PC started conjuring animals in the hopes of gaining giant eagles who could fly the party up. Of course, the way conjure animals works is the player selects the CR and #, then the DM chooses the animals (from those in the current environment). I rolled summons for "cliff" deinonychus and serpopards, n...

Friday, 7th December, 2018

  • 05:28 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Manbearcat in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    Not who this was addressed to but my biggest issue would be that I'm a little confused on why 1e, 2e, 3e and 5e are being lumped together under your definition of trad play. IMO 1e and 5e (or even 3e) play differently enough from each other that I wouldn't lump them all together and some don't necessarily fall neatly under the parameters you've set to define "traditional" D&D. My response would be that ONLY 1e out of those 4 is 'traditional' D&D, and even it is on the outer edge of the core traditional phase of D&D as defined by Manbearcat. 1e certainly has the rules and procedures in the forms he talks about such that you CAN play D&D as it was originally conceived. It also allows for something different, epitomized by the OA book, and then finally by 2e, which is to say a more 'story game' or dramatically driven game. I'm not sure I hold with Manbearcat's idea of the evolution of the game (or devolution according to many). Things like XP for treasure, and a hard focus on things like henchmen, wandering monsters, hex crawling, etc. did fade some with time, but it seems to me it was more in the service of trying to achieve a wider range of narrative experiences than some vain quest to turn D&D into a 'sim'. There were always a few people who played kind of like that, but I don't think it was a vast tension. Not like OSR vs modern RPG play is today. Some people liked rules that they felt produced 'realistic' results, but everyone always recognized that they were playing a game and that some sort of narrative considerati...

Sunday, 25th November, 2018

  • 05:35 AM - Garthanos mentioned Manbearcat in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    I am a more conservative die roller when I have a choice but the Rogue I was describing might actually have a higher roll (because at least 2 of his character defining practices were dependent on it - skill focus and maybe a background that helped.) OK I am thinking of it this way in the first case Loki was only able to discern that the alien really does value the residuum more than was expected... However in the second instance he learns the captain would like to get himself and his men out of a situation where he is forced into suicide missions like confronting superheros on the front porch such as porting them with some transportation to a nearby material plane. @Manbearcat I might even as a player like to up the stakes in a clear fashion which fit the fiction to get the second result...

Saturday, 24th November, 2018

  • 06:20 PM - Nagol mentioned Manbearcat in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    I think I disagree with this part. I don't see why there wouldn't be serial exploration or a keyed map. I have played in several 1e converted to 4e adventures (we have a GM who likes that) who used these resources. I've personally used random encounters/wandering monsters in 4e (as well as been on the receiving end from said GM). It's actually easier to balance, IMO. Even if the PCs manage to get a short rest after every random encounter, they're losing healing surges. (Probably not dailies, as random encounters are rarely that tough.) If this were 3e, this would likely tap healing spells (or wands) and maybe a few offense spells because players don't want to miss out on action. The non-casters aren't losing obvious resources in that scenario. Manbearcat gave a good answer, but I thought I'd chime in a bit. You can use random encounters, but each type of edition (OSR-2e being one type, 3e+5e being a second, and 4e a third) sets up mechanics to incent the players differently. The first type of game, the players are incented to see random encounters as a negative -- such encounters are worth little experience and offer almost no treasure. The players are incented to move through the dangerous environment quickly, confront their target, and retreat to safety. There are few encounter recharging mechanics and any expenditure of resources is hard to replace in the field. Each encounter has a non-trivial chance of consuming some resources (a 6 hp loss is teeth-clenching when your 10th level MU/Thief has a 29 hp maximum). The incentive for clear targets and smooth play became obvious quickly to any group that wanted to succeed. The second type, the players are incented to see the encounters as mixed -- such encounters offer experi...

Thursday, 22nd November, 2018

  • 05:58 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    No 4e combat should ever be at Level + 7. The 4e DMG is explicit about this. Anything above Level + 4 starts breaks the game's assumptions (and math)It doesn't break the maths. Obviously having opponents 7 levels higher will put the maths under pressure, but the way you get an interesing level + 7 encounter is through increasing the number of threats. Obviously an 8th level cmbat encounter will cream a 1st level party; and an 18th level one will be pretty hard for an 11th level party; but Manbearcat is talking about epic tier. Here's an actual play report of a level 37 encounter for a 29th level party. It didn't break the maths. It's one of many experiences that makes me believe that (i) the 4e maths is very solid (without the Expertise feats, which my table doesn't use), and (ii) the game is incredibly robust across a wide range of encounter difficulties. Later on in the same "day" (and having reached 30th level), that group of PCs had a 36th level combat encounter that I don't think I wrote up (with no foe above 29th level), skill challenge-y stuff to escape the collapsing Abyss, a 34th level combat encounter with most of the opponents 28th but one 29th, which stepped up to around 35th when some liches were conjured up. The PCs then did more non-combat stuff before fighting and beating a 29th level solo. I don't know what the designers had in mind - I suspect that epic wasn't super-heavily playtested - but at least as I've experienced it you need this degree of pressure...
  • 05:27 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    ...U said that the burned out shacks must have level approriate doors because you obey the rulebook. No. I said I don't use burned out shacks. That's not a statement about how hard their doors are to open. It does imply a view about how interestng they are for higher level scenarios (ie not very). Just like you said 'There have been on "burned out shacks" in my 4e game since mid-heroic, because I follow the advice on the tiers of play that the default fiction of the game (eg power descriptions, allocation of monsters to levels, etc).'Notice that this says absolutely nothing about the DC of doors of burned out shacks. It is a statement about the fiction appropriate to paragon and epic tier play. I don't really see how you can miss this. As has been demonstrated, page 42 of the DMG states this clearly.Page 42 neither states nor implies that burned out shacks encountered by high level PCs have well made doors. It does imply that DCs should be set in a level appropriate fashion. Manbearcat and MoutonRustique regard that as a special case of the more general proposition that encounters are to be built in a level appropriate fashion. That's probably true but for present purposes a side issue. The key point for present purposes is that p 42 presents a heroic tier example - swinging on a chandelier to knock an ogre into a brazier - and explains how to stat it out. You are, without warrant, inferring that if, contrary to the book's advice, a GM used heroic-tier fiction for an epic-tier encounter, the DC would scale up even though the fiction hasn't. But the book doesn't state or imply that. It doesn't give advice on how hard it is for a demigod to swing on a chandelier and knock an ogre into a brazier because that is not the sort of fiction the game contemplates for demigods. More generally, you are saying but 4e breaks down if the meaningful fiction is held constant across levels. But the game doesn't assume the meaningful fiction is held constant across levels. Ficti...

Tuesday, 20th November, 2018

  • 02:45 PM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Do You Think Encounters Should be Difficult?
    ...ick a favourite by the relative size of the dice pools. The stakes in most of the jousts were no more than honour - defeating an irritating rival NPC knight, and jousting with a French knigh who was expressing doubts about the quality of British chivalry. One PC ended up in the championship joust of the tournament against him and lost, despite having the bigger pool. That was a bit galling to him. The final joust was over an accusation - one of the PCs had (accurately) accused a NPC knight of treachery. But his champion - another PC - lost the joust between the two of them, and had to concede the NPC's innocence (he wasn't willing to fight to the death over the issue). The result was that the treacherous knight was unconstrained, and able to murder his brother and take command of the fortress that had passed down from their father. Fights can be non-deadly let challenging both mechanically/mathematically and emotionally/thematically without having to be deadly. This goes back to Manbearcat's categories of interesting and meaningful.
  • 01:07 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Do You Think Encounters Should be Difficult?
    To build on what Manbearcat said. Difficult can mean different things: Mechanically challenging: you'll have to make good calls on how to use your abilities - 4e powers, AD&D spells, wands and potions, or whatever they might be - and perhaps also get some lucky rolls too. Tactically/operationally chalenging: you'll have tomake clever decisions about how to engage the fiction - my favourite illustration of this remains taking doors of their hinges to "surf" down the frictionless corridor and thereby avoid the super-tetanus pits in S2 White Plume Mountain. This can also include making clever decisions about using equipment; coming up with ways to use terrain to advantage in a combat encounter; etc. Puzzling: this sort of challenge can include having to piece together clues, or it might be somewhat independent of the fiction and mechanics of the game - eg a riddle, a chess puzzle or something similar. These latter sorts of puzzles don't invovle engaging the fiction but test ability at a different sort of i...

Sunday, 18th November, 2018

  • 10:55 PM - Garthanos mentioned Manbearcat in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    ...er of things valuable for that. 1) allowing people to take a short rest by 4e standards simply by making a skill check of one form or another (it might be a survival one) or something else I know some who are not meticulous ;) just use 4e rules for both this and flanking. You are allowing short rest types more in combat pop than those who rely on dailies. If classes who use Dailies actually are balanced in combat at low levels well I am not sure I want to mess with that. But if we make that check somewhat difficult? but fade out most of the time as you level up. 2) Using minions almost exactly like they are in 4e. https://theangrygm.com/more-grist-for-the-mill-minion-groups-in-dd-5e/ Or 2a) ideas about using monster roles https://rumorsofwarcomic.com/2015/09/rescuing-4e-monster-roles/ 3) General competence for heros... it seems skill based resolution is now more uncertain than it was as you advance. I keep feeling bounded accuracy is fighting the flavor. And several like @Manbearcat think the problem of non-combat uber mages has been compounded. Is there a way to break this? 4) Using a healthy amount of magic items to up the zing of martial types in other tiers. (someone mentioned they thought the Adventurers League might have done this? ) might be a tool to address the fade of out of combat zing. 5) Monsters seem boring the Ogre presented looks like it might be an Ogre skirmisher with all the interesting bits torn off and left by the way side ... and yes I have heard a lot about pulling monster abilities forward into 5e too.

Saturday, 17th November, 2018

  • 09:41 PM - Imaro mentioned Manbearcat in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    Not sure how to state it, as it seems fairly intuitive to me: both games, being RPGs, are story using some mathematical systems as a bone. Both put story as a priority, and both are easily modded too desire. Maybe I'm not understanding what fiction first means... if 4e has tiers and those tiers are defined by fiction and said fiction then informs resolution... is that fiction easily disregarded or changed? And if so what is the difference between that and 5e as some posters such as pemerton and Manbearcat discussed earlier in the thread?

Thursday, 15th November, 2018

  • 03:12 AM - Parmandur mentioned Manbearcat in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    ...er edition casters and if you picked a ranger it can be very low tactical element even before essentials other than deciding who do I attack twice with occasional how hard. 5e seems to have less short term emphasis - part of the thing that allowed short term to be more interesting was action points (and milestones) and they were an everyman tool not fighter action surge. Second wind too was an everyman. Encounter powers too were a part of it, much more immediate than the 5e analog. Yeah, most of the action economy elements were the same across Classes. And I can abstractly appreciate the elegance of making it the same...but I tend to think Mearls is right in the original post (if I can remember that far back!) that 4E may have better received if it retained more asymmetrical Class design. (Anti-Edition War disclaimer: I never had a strong or emotionally charged negative reaction to 4E, still don't, and may have had a positive reaction if my DM was pemerton, Garthanos or Manbearcat ; I'm interested in understanding the phenomenon of the "New Coke" reception, in myself and others, not telling people they are pretending to be an Elf Wizard the wrong way. I've found this thread very interesting in uncovering my subconscious disappointment with the purely symmetrical action economy, but still think 5E just has the 4E Skill system with streamlined math)
  • 12:22 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    Don't agree with your summary of what was expressed. the game provides tools to challenge high level spellcasters just like high level martials. If you choose not to employ all of said tools for challenging spellcasters you shouldn't be surprised that they are more powerful because of it. Parmandur was responding to Manbearcat mentioning some particular tools - anti-magic zones and spellbook issues. Here is Manbearcat's post: This is assuming a GM isn’t pulling out all kinds of the classic, shallow, obnoxious Anti-Magic blocks and adversarial, endless army of thieves stealing spellbooks moves. Assuming you aren’t transparently taking away their tools left and right as a kludge to deal with their cosmic power. And here is Parmandur's reply to those words: Your final assumption would be incorrect. That is literally the DMs job. There is only one possible reading of this: Parmandur things that it is literally the GM's job to deploy anti-magic zones and spellbook-stealing thieves and other similar devices that block the use of spells by the player of a high-level wizard. This is bull... ritual caster alone makes casters more effective than martial PC's in 4e.Is this based on your actual play experience? (1) Not all casters in 4e have ritual casting. (2) I have played a fair bit of 4e....
  • 12:07 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    ..., which the Fighter and Rogue are not. Again, plenty of folks have fun without pushing the resource game to the limits, such as Critical Role. And on Critical Role, the martial PCs are major fan favorites. So, while the resource game is how D&D is intended to be played, it can be perfectly fun when played in a relaxed manner without worrying about it. Whether Fighters and Wizards have equal value in the resource economy in games where the resource economy is being ignored is not terribly useful. Yes, Fighters have a lot to contribute outside of combat, and no resource management to be concerned about. And yes, Wizards who are not jealous of their spell slots have options, though their options usually have limits (like lead with the Diviner) that give room for the Martial to shine if used wisely by the DM.What are you inviting me to take away from this? Are you telling me I am wrong in thinking that 4e plays differently from 5e? That I am right? Something else? Are you telling Manbearcat that 5e isn't well suited to running the scenario he described? Or that it is, but that he used th system wrong? Something else?

Wednesday, 14th November, 2018

  • 04:54 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    in all editions casters have - or can have, depending on spells known - the advantage; and I've never claimed otherwise. Other posters (eg Imaro, Parmandur, Sadras) seemed to be disagreeing with me when I said that in this respect 4e differs from 5e (because what you say is not generally the case in 4e, at least as I have experienced it). If in fact they do agree with you that in 5e casters have the advantage in these non-combat, no-time-pressure situations, then most of the discussion is over. Because that's the whole difference I've been talking about with the discussion of DC-by-level, skill challenges and the like. I can't see how this would be any different in 4e than in 5e or 1e or 3e.Then reread some of my posts in this thread, some actual play reports, etc. Manbearcat has already rehearsed the bulk of it in a post not far upthread. It's not rocket science - this is RPG design tech that was pioneered over 20 years ago.

Tuesday, 13th November, 2018

  • 09:27 PM - Lanefan mentioned Manbearcat in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    Hit point loss...traps...opposition that uses spells...monsters/NPC's who lean towards speed and seizing initiative...stealth/ambushes...monsters with resistances to magic...custom monsters...poison...diseases... extending the adventuring day beyond 24 hrs...time pressures...puzzles/riddles...antagonists who prepare for spellcasters...and so on.Most of these, however, relate to casting in combat; and Manbearcat 's example was based on out-of-combat no-pressure casting. And he's right - in no-pressure situations the casters are likely to rule the roost. Fair enough So the question then becomes how to further rein them in in-pressure situations; and to Imaro 's list I'd add: any disruption interrupts the spell...risk of dangerous wild magic surges on interruption...do away with the very notion of 'combat casting'...spell placement not automatic (e.g. need to roll aim for AoE spells and risk hitting allies or even self)...make spells take longer to cast (in 3-4-5e terms e.g. start casting on rolled init. but don't resolve until end of round, and you can be interrupted during this time)...etc. Lan-"wizardslayer weapons are a handy answer too"-efan
  • 07:34 PM - rmcoen mentioned Manbearcat in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    I remember the point I wanted to make, and Manbearcat brought it up. In the game mechanics, the fighter swings 4 times, gets two hits, does 30 damage. He does this six "rounds" in a row, defeating the ogre champion at last. He has been hit by the ogre in return 6 times, suffering a a good 80 damage as well. In the fiction, the fighter dodges and barely deflects powerful man-crushing blows from the Ogre, earning many bruises, perhaps a dislocated shoulder, not to mention general exhaustion from running about in heavy armor like a circus acrobat. Finally the ogre overbalances after a particularly well-parried overhand swing; the fighter dashes in under the club, guts the monster as he rushes past, then whirls and shoves his sword two-handed into the ogre's exposed side! The game had the fighter making 24 attacks, landing 12, while suffering enough damage to kill a dozen to a score of peasants; the fiction had the fighter in a tough battle, always inches from the one-hit-one-kill crushing blow, and then landing a killing blow of his o...

Monday, 12th November, 2018

  • 11:50 PM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    TFrom the 5e DMG... Levels 17-20 Masters of the World "...characters have superheroic capabilities, and their deeds and adventures are stuff of legend. Ordinary people can hardly dream if such heights of of power...or such terrible dangers." It's nearly the same description word for word. Manbearcat has already pointed out that the words are the same. What are the superheroic capabilities of a 17th level fighter in 5e?

Sunday, 11th November, 2018

  • 09:38 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    ...ly be described as contempt after so many posts, with TotM. Let us face it TotM can produce some varied results, not all DMs will have the exact same picture in their mind and certainly players will have different ones. I'm wondering if you are consistent in your contempt for unsurety across the board or if you're just cherry-picking?I find it bizarre that a view of the merits of A over B, maintined against others who disagree, counts as contempt! How would I show non-contempt? By changing my mind? So it's contemptuous to disagree with you (and others)? As Garthanos pointed out, this is a 4e thread in the pre-5e editions sub-forum - I don't see how it's remotely contemptuous for posters to explain why certain features of 4e, which are absent from 5e, appeal to them. I also have no idea why you fasten on "unsurety" as an issue. I am the one who quoted the passage upthread, from LostSoul, about the table-specific manner in which colour is established in 4e. As far as I can tell Manbearcat and I are the only posters in this thread who regularly play non-D&D systems (like MHRP/Cortex+ Heroic, Prince Valiant, and the like) that use conflict resolution mechanics that proceed as a 4e skill challenge does - first, establish feasibility in the fiction, then use the system framework to set a difficulty. As far as theatre of the mind is concerned, whatever floats your boat. In AD&D I don't bother tracking precise distances because they don't matter - there is no tracking of in-melee movement in AD&D, so the only question is whether someone is close enough to shoot or close enough to be engaged in melee. Rolemaster is similar in this respect. In 4e I generally use a map because the system calls for it (it cares a great deal about precise positioning in melee and invovles a great deal of in-melee movement) but not always if it is not in issue or can (in virtue of the situation, eg some chases and some geographic circumsntaces) be tracked just by bands or simple notes. Instea...

Saturday, 10th November, 2018

  • 02:14 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    ...e approach it's modular depending on how the DM chooses to rule it and, as long as the DM is consistent should be fine.Of cousre I'm talking about what I want in the game - if you follow the thread, you'll see that this discussion arose from discussing the adjudication of martial prowess, and how 4e supports that in various ways both combat and non-combat. Of course, 4e is jsut as "modular" as 5e in this respect - nothing stops a GM deciding that the 15th level fighter can't do what I described, and the worst will be a modest bit of friction between the flavour of that decision, and the flavour of some paragon paths etc - but that friction will probably be no greater than in the 5e game where the fighter can survive being enveloped by a fire elemental but has his/her hands burn to a crisp if s/he stick them into a forge. What 4e does offer is a systematic framework for implementing whatever decision is made, via a DC-by-level chart and skill challenge system. FURTHER EDIT: As Manbearcat and Garthanos have pointed out, 5e is not "modular" when it comes to spellcasters - they have a range of quite significant and fairly well-detailed abilities which establish their capabilities pretty straightforwardly. And another point: in my 4e game, an epic-tier chaos sorcerer sealed the Abyss with an appropriate Arcana check, and sacrificing the appropriate resources. I've seen 5e GMs suggest that (i) in 5e Arcana is only about scholarly knowledge, and not manipulating magical phenomena; and (ii) that the appropriate way to handle that would be to undertake research, create a new spell etc. In gameplay terms, undertaking research means playing the game so as to learn more from the GM about what action declarations are required to produce the desired result. It shifts the focus from adjudicating action resolutions to unfolding the GM's conception of the fiction. A further strength of the 4e system structure, in my view, is that it facilitates the former focus of play. (As Parm...

Wednesday, 7th November, 2018

  • 08:39 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Blades in the Dark Actual Play
    ...D outside of this thread and a few other posts about it, so my thinking/question will be framed in (what I take to be) DW-ish terms. And also BW-ish terms. It seems to me that this issue of whether the description is "controlled", "risky" or "desperate" isn't just about the fiction the GM narrates (and whether s/he adds the lullaby, or the approaching hounds, as were flagged upthread); but also about what permissions s/he enjoys to introduce consequences of various degrees of severity. For instance, if the situation is controlled then the consequence of the lantern rolling out into the corridor - hence making things risky - seems permitted. But a consequence of the lantern setting fire to the building, hence riksing the life of the NPC the PCs are there to rescue, would seem excessive. Whereas if the situation is already established as risky, and then a roll is made that directs the GM to escalate, escalating to that sort of situation is more likely permissible. Upthread, Manbearcat posted some back-and-forth from another thread, or a series of PMs, where chaochou mentioned sometimes needing to take time, in AW, to establish the proper consequence; and I talked about having a similar experience from time to time when GMing BW (and I could say now that I've also had it once or twice GMing Prince Valiant, though in that game everything is a bit less gritty than in AW, BW, BitD, etc). I see this demand on the GM resulting from the fact that what is implicit in a situation is not always self-evident, and it can take real interpretive effort to bring out the appropriate thing. And it seems that part of what makes a thing appropriately implicit in the scene is precisely whether, at the table, we agree that the scene is controlled, risky or desperate. The Attune action is the Blades equivalent of Open Your Mind in Apoc World. And in my experience, Opening Your Mind is the most gonzo, unpredictable - and frankly - difficult of the basic moves to interpret on a fail o...


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Tuesday, 11th December, 2018

  • 03:51 AM - Garthanos quoted Manbearcat in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    My opinion of this is it only works when the table is full of passive players who just want to be entertained and roll some dice. My first attempt at GMing Dragon Quest was for a player who never decided to do anything based on dozens of differing cues to participate in the story in different ways I just started forcing him to react and he complained later about the other guys having the initiative all the time. He never took the initiative and never had a goal, passive is the worst.

Monday, 10th December, 2018

  • 07:40 PM - Imaro quoted Manbearcat in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    I mean these people have no integrity. They're rotten to the core. They spend their mornings kicking puppies while they twirl their evil mustachios and hatch vile plots for world domination. Ok, seriously. I think two classic examples of not playing the world with integrity would be: a) Post-hoc creating a block of an action declaration (maybe a spell cast or a piece of gear deployed or something else) because it negatively impacts where you (the GM) want the fiction to go or how you want the dynamics of play/conflict to work out. b) Changing the fiction of an action resolution roll ("what should have happened" to "what has happened"...turning success into failure or vice versa) because of your idea of what creates fun/desirable story; manufacturing fictional outcomes via dice/rules manipulation. Ah ok... this is what I thought you meant but I wanted to make sure before addressing your other post.
  • 06:59 PM - Imaro quoted Manbearcat in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    There is a substantive difference. However, the problem I see is the culture of D&D embracing the early 90s first principle of GMing that "there is no such thing as GM accountability for playing the world with integrity. The GM is only accountable for what they perceive will create the best story and most fun at the table." What exactly do you mean by "integrity" here?

Sunday, 9th December, 2018

  • 08:41 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted Manbearcat in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    Starting from the bottom: 1) I never thought you were making a claim about the quality of Dragon (nothing I posted engaged with that). The claim you made that I was addressing (which it appeared to me you were making indispute of my “Trad vs 2nd wave” idea) was that there was an overwhelming pervasiveness of “realism sim” culture so embedded in D&D that the power of that signal was there in the game texts, in Dragon, and across micro-communities. That is the claim I’m addressing and that I disagree with (which is why I brought up the breadth of Dragon content and spoke about the prose in Gygax’s D&D vs Basic/Expert). My claim is that it was there, but it was factional and unfocused (and incoherent with the game texts...hence why Runequest and Rolemaster had early refugees from D&D), not fundamental. 2) I’m not wounded. These are my thoughts on D&D’s history as I experienced it. I’ve put them on the Internet. Engage them or not. 3) Obviously I disagree about there being substance. May...

Saturday, 8th December, 2018

  • 09:53 PM - Quickleaf quoted Manbearcat in post How to make an encounter with falling great distances interesting and dangerous, but not deadly?
    ... fumes ventilate from the face... * Use up their resources - (this one is difficult because it depends on equipment loadout being a pressure point) Climbing gear, backpack gets snagged and a potion falls to the bottom, shattering in a million pieces...quiver upends and you’re down to just a few arrows...wizardly spell components...coin purse... * Turn their move back on them - What appeared to be a thoughtful web of lines is an easily tangled mess...they’re stuck and have to spend turns getting unstuck (time being a currency here because of the WM/RE clock ticking). * Separate them - Bob the Fighter falls, but catches himself on the face x number of moves (in feet) below. The infrastructure back to the group has collapsed, so he needs to figure out another way up. * Offer an opportunity, with or without cost * Put someone in a spot * Tell them the requirements or consequences and ask Etc etc. Really appreciate you taking the time to write your thoughts up, Manbearcat. Your insights have always been valuable from back in the 4e forum days! :) Using Dungeon World as inspiration is a great idea. May end up jotting those "moves" down and ad libbing a lot of this.
  • 06:13 PM - Quickleaf quoted Manbearcat in post How to make an encounter with falling great distances interesting and dangerous, but not deadly?
    @Quickleaf Use Exploration Turns and Wandering Monsters/Random Encounter clock. Per the DMG, the Dungeon Scale: 1) 20 sq/min (Slow - Advantage) 2) 30 sq/min (Normal) 3) 40 sq/min (Fast - Disadvantage) A turn is one of these units. Every 2 Turns = check the clock; 17-20 and some obstacle/ill omen emerges (wandering avian/cliff/bridge toll monster, framing fails, an important item comes loose/unbuckled, sudden gathering of storm clouds portending a soon deluge of rain, a phrase scrawled into the structure indicates the monks may have a sinister past/duality about them). On failed Saving Throws or Ability Checks Fail Forward (the situation escalates or a new threat emerges). Every 4 Exploration Turns requires 1 turn of Rest (which would tick the clock towards another check) or Save vs Exhaustion. EDIT - In case it isn't clear - this should be player-facing. The players need to understand the mechanical implications of their decision-points and the potential snow-ballin...
  • 06:35 AM - Celebrim quoted Manbearcat in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    I do not agree with Celebrim's encapsulation of what Dragon contained in the early to mid 80s. I don't think you've left me much of substance to reply to. Clearly I've opened up some old wound that still hurts, and as you even admit much of the reply doesn't pertain to my post, I'm going to just let it pass for the most part. But I do want to protest that however you read me, I did not and never claimed to encapsulate all of what Dragon contained in the early to mid 80s. Certainly I know that it contained art work, interviews, original games, supplemental material of all sorts, comics and so forth and I don't see how mentioning these things is a rebuttal. I was never attacking the quality of Dragon.

Thursday, 6th December, 2018

  • 10:20 PM - Celebrim quoted Manbearcat in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    You appear to be using “system” as an analog for “rules” and then evaluating my post based on this usage. I don’t agree with that usage. When discussing a game, when I say “system”, I don’t mean discrete parts. I’m talking about the integration of all of play premise/goals, codified rules + the handling of exceptions, the expectations of each participant, and the broad procedures (including conversation/flow of information/how stuff enters play) of play...working in concert (or working at odds in some cases) to create a play experience. I'm completely OK with adopting that definition, since only that definition can make "System Matters" true in the sense that you want to mean it - albeit I'm not sure that the way "System Matters" was originally defined was as broad as all that. However, the problem with adopting that definition is the bulk of those "not the rules" things can't actually be evaluated in the case of traditional RPGs because there is no artifact to study to establish the truth o...
  • 09:48 PM - Celebrim quoted Manbearcat in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    I outlined upthread (somewhere near the beginning) what I felt are the most fundamental pieces of machinery/feedbacks that creates any singular sequence of play in traditional D&D and the holistic experience: Ok. 1) A mapped/keyed/scaled/stocked environment (primarily dungeon but possibly wilderness...where the game's machinery is put under pressure). That is a procedure of play, not a rule of the system. It has to do with how you prepare to play the game and think about playing the game, but it's not an inherent aspect of the game. You still could be playing traditional D&D and not have any of those things. I know, I was in a game that was largely without them as early as 1990. 2) The exploration turn (and rules that interface with it such as distances, what is feasible in the interval, action resolution, rest requirements, PC build tools, equipment/spell load-out). There could be vastly different procedures of play around exploration, generating different 'bangs' (in the m...
  • 09:41 PM - Imaro quoted Manbearcat in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    Obviously you know I don't agree with this. I outlined upthread (somewhere near the beginning) what I felt are the most fundamental pieces of machinery/feedbacks that creates any singular sequence of play in traditional D&D and the holistic experience: 1) A mapped/keyed/scaled/stocked environment (primarily dungeon but possibly wilderness...where the game's machinery is put under pressure). 2) The exploration turn (and rules that interface with it such as distances, what is feasible in the interval, action resolution, rest requirements, PC build tools, equipment/spell load-out). 3) The Wandering Monster/Random Encounter "Clock" (which pressures 2 and doesn't reward resource-ablating combat). 4) Monster Reaction Rolls. 5) Neutral refereeing. 6) Potential adventuring day dynamics/potential rest availability/opportunity cost resource-based decision-making by players. 7) XP for gold/treasure (which again, doesn't reward getting into unnecessary combats). From many conversations in t...

Wednesday, 5th December, 2018

  • 04:55 PM - Celebrim quoted Manbearcat in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    Alright, a quick interlude. So we're at the point in this adventuring day where the following is true: * Aliens from the Far Realm are invading the material plane with their weapons, their vehicles, their tech, and their psychic attacks. The PCs are at the endgame and cutting through their forces in a direct assault upon their mother ship. * A Fighter has single-handedly taken down and seized control of the lead "tank AT-ST" of the "armored battalion" of the alien force. He's leaped mightily upon it, torn the hatch from it, decimated the crew, and navigated the alien technology to now man the tank. * A swashbuckling duelist Rogue has danced, parried, and riposted his way across the battlefield many times over cut down the enemy vehicle force while the Wizard and Fighter (via the lead tank) has run interference. * A Wizard's regime of flight capabilities is not up to the task of flying the 3 PCs the 1000 feet up to the mother ship. Meanwhile, the Fighter and the Rogue (with a sma...
  • 02:50 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted Manbearcat in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    Potential complications on failure would be: * Countermeasures deployed in the way of electrification of the exterior. * A stray Immediate Action laser attack from on of the hoverpods. * Activation of some kind of countermeasures while inside like a Psychic attack while the helmet is on or maybe activation of a swarm of flying nanobots. Intruder Detected! Tank will self-destruct in 10, 9, 8...

Tuesday, 4th December, 2018

  • 06:43 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted Manbearcat in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    So in Blades in the Dark parlance that would be setting Position and Effect. 4e handles this pretty much the same way, it just doesn't explicate it like that. So the default Position in Blades in the Dark is Risky with Controlled and Desperate being on opposite ends. The default Effect is Standard with Limited and Great being on opposite ends. Trading Position for Effect or vice versa is orthodox Blades. Procedurally, it would be the same sort of deal in 4e. So here, given that the mechanical state would be at 3 Successes and 1 Failure with a High DC Insight effort (as outlined above) in play to possibly cement success (but the 2nd failure would mean things are still in the balance), the barter could be spending a Surge to drop it down to the Medium DC (so turning it into vs accruing 2 Failures and bumping the Encounter Budget up by 2 levels if it fails. The player would have to propose at the table how this might go down. Something like: "I'm taking my time...an extended exchange thr...
  • 02:53 AM - Garthanos quoted Manbearcat in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    If that failure is the final failure in the challenge, I'd change the situation pretty radically. Perhaps the Time Reaper opens a temporal rift briefly sucks the 3 PCs in, putting them in the middle of a conflict at the heart of the Dawn War (maybe a Primordial is being bound deep in the earth, but their sudden presence has thrown the ritual off and the Primordial is suddenly loose with a possible timeline-altering cataclysm in the balance!)? Or maybe I throw them back in time right as Asmodeus is about to betray his god; maybe the PC's stop him or learn the Truename of He Who Was and this somehow affects the future? Something relevant to one (or more) of the PCs' Epic Destinies or Paragon Paths. There is enough meat on the bones of those that something relevant back in time could be conjured that would have impact on their present situation after they deal with the conflict and get sucked back through the rift. Upon return, the mother ship would be gone with evidence left behind that ...

Saturday, 1st December, 2018

  • 04:38 AM - Garthanos quoted Manbearcat in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    I think right there, we should be able to agree that 4e’s basic ethos tenets (“Go to the Action”, “Big Damn Heroes”, “The Heroic Rally”) as well as so much of its system machinery (extremely robust PCs, resource schedules and Milestones, heroic Quests as well as Monsters and Noncombat Encounters for XP, Gold/Treasure as player-facing PC build resource, etc etc) pushes back extremely hard against trying to recreate something like Moldvay Basic or Torchbearer). In order for it to all come together, you need: 1 - Non-robust adventurers 2 - Resource refresh that is a struggle to attain 3 - Gold for XP (no Monster for XP...encounters are to be avoided) 4 - Gear loadout that is essential to success 5 - Clearly defined Exploration Speed in varying units 6 - A Wandering Monster Click that interfaces with the directly above 7 - Deadly (as in insta-gib via mass HP ablation or SoD) Traps 8 - Swingy, short Combat To me the above pretty much put the critter to rest... And the rest is gravy.

Friday, 30th November, 2018

  • 10:00 AM - pemerton quoted Manbearcat in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    I think the difference would be most acutely experienced if you performed the following experiment: a) Run a 4e combat. b) Run a follow-on noncombat scene using Dungeon World and Apocalypse World/Blades Clocks (which may be as close as you get to 4th edition noncombat conflict resolution).Frankly, I think even running a 4e combat then a DW combat would show that players roll the dice isn't the same as only players make mechanical-type moves (I'm bracketing deal damage - I don't think that would change the outcome of the experiment).

Thursday, 29th November, 2018

  • 02:06 PM - darkbard quoted Manbearcat in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    Sure mate. I'll get a post up either tonight or tomorrow about Strike!'s action resolution and how 4e could crib it. It's certainly not my intention to derail the current focus of this thread from how the framework of 4E's structure makes for a different game than "trad" D&D; your analysis of how these scenes (might) play out is fascinating! Nevertheless, pemerton posted this regarding how combat differs from SCs in another thread, a further difference between mechanics like Strike!, DW, and PbtA engines in general versus 4E that was implied in some of the discussion of this matter but rather clearly and explicitly stated thus: "The need for pressure [in Skill Challenges] is fundamental, because only the players are declaring actions and rolling dice (very different eg from 4e combat or HeroWars/Quest extended resolution)." Anyway, do carry on with the regularly scheduled program! :]
  • 12:33 PM - Garthanos quoted Manbearcat in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    and a Wizard in Wraithform. Sort of the Harry Potter/Death eater flavored broomless flight spell but much slower ;), though not thinking they could do anything but fly fast in that state, constant run action Or a velocity gauged for modern sensibilities. Heroes of Shadow had a number of things I find intriguing maybe not as many as HotF but interesting.
  • 02:28 AM - Garthanos quoted Manbearcat in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    An epic level Fighter jumping up and climbing upon an AT-ST, ripping off its hatch, jumping in and killing the crew, navigating the alien technology. That’s all too gonzo. And that's not even wrestling with death... its just Legolas and the Behemoth.

Wednesday, 28th November, 2018

  • 04:29 PM - Garthanos quoted Manbearcat in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    So getting back to the L+5 combat above. It would be a combat where the 3 PCs would have to deploy some daily resources to pull out, for sure. Much like my last group (with no dedicated Leader), I would anticipate each member of this group having multiple ways to trigger their own surges or allies' surges. This is what I would anticipate (riffing off of Garthanos's speculative declaration for the Fighter). Fighter - Working to lock down and take over the Elite Controller (Leader) Tank. I can see this resolving positively for the Fighter within 2-3 rounds with an Action Point (5-7 actions with a couple of Encounter AoE's in the tank and possibly 1 failure involved), where the tank is Dazed after the 1st round (with the Fighter being inside the tank in a melee with the crew) until the Fighter takes the helm. Once taken over, he'll lock down the Skirmisher AT-ST's and/or help keep the Hoverpods earth-bound with the Ranged 10 control. Wizard - The priorities here would be (a) primarily kee...


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