View Profile: Manbearcat - D&D, Pathfinder, and RPGs at Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:44 PM
    I'm sure we can fix that.:angel:
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:15 PM
    As you know, I'm hardly one to blow my own trumpet! Still, I've overcome my modesty to point out that (at the time of posting) that thread is number 6 on the list of hottest threads by XP. (And completeness obliges me to observe that numbers 3 and 12 are also threads that I started.)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:59 PM
    Does the "innate magic" of a dragon mean it can be detected by means of Detect Magic? And does a flying dragon fall to the ground inside an anti-magic zone?
    603 replies | 13117 view(s)
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:28 PM
    Oh, come now, it was a triumph of expostulation...:cool:
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  • Aenghus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:24 PM
    Some people like gambling. Some people avoid gambling. Most are in the middle somewhere. Being far closer to the "avoid" side of the spectrum, IMO gambling isn't the universal sales point you portray above. Over the decades I've been involved with RPGs, it's clear to me that some people love taking risks, while others are risk-adverse and keep looking for the safer, lower-risk path. It's...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:12 PM
    Hriston, I'm somewhat partial to the "hang time" approach if only because it seems to open up some amusing possibilities, but your articulation of your approach to adjudication has been admirably clear. Also, for what it's worth, 4e goes your way (Rules Compendium, p 139): If the creature runs out of movement before landing, it also falls. However, if the jump was part of a move action, the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:41 AM
    Sometimes when talking about RPGs it's helpful to actually talk about RPGs rather than just make stuff up. From Ron Edwards: this isn't what most people are talking about, when we talk about non-railroady Narrativist play. This is kind of a consensual-storytelling, make-it-up-as-we-go, round-robin type thing. Frankly, it's pretty boring in most circumstances and tends to create wandering,...
    164 replies | 5348 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:13 AM
    No one denies that, or is unclear how, hp are used to communicate ideas from DM to PC. And no one denies that, or is unclear how, hp totals communicate a character's closeness to death. But this isn't what causes people to assert that hp are metagame. Here are some things that do cause that assertion (I am reporting from my own experience, both as a RPGer who was one of those who dropped...
    603 replies | 13117 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:47 AM
    What does it refer to? I don't know what you're talking about, but I'm talking about stances, which is a notion that Emerikol brought into the thread, that Aldarc followed up on, and that absolutely is about establishing fiction. From the Ron Edwards essay that Emerikol's blog has copied and pasted: *In Actor stance, a person determines a character's decisions and actions using only knowledge...
    603 replies | 13117 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:31 AM
    Does "loosely approximates real world physics" mean anything more than dropped objects fall, but dragons can fly without magical assistance? Physics, in the real world, isn't just a list of facts. The discipline is a set of interrelated principles stated in mathematical terms; the phenomena those principles describe are things that follow certain regularities in behaviour and causal...
    603 replies | 13117 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 21st July, 2018, 03:30 PM
    What does ".a loose approxiation . . . simulating in a loose manner" mean? You and Lanefan are saying that D&D uses real world physics. But it's measure of terminal velocity is different. So either G is different, or the way friction works is different, or . . . it's not physics at all, just common sense tropes!
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 21st July, 2018, 12:27 PM
    What about flying dragons, giant arthropods, fireball spells that exert no pressure, etc? Nonsense. You don't need to assume that actual physics is true in order to understand the basic physical behaviour of dropped objects, running people, etc. Most human beings have understood the basics of these things for most of human history without access to either real or imagined knowledge of physics....
    603 replies | 13117 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 21st July, 2018, 12:23 PM
    Huh?a That falling is caused by gravity - ie a universal force that all masses exert on all other masses - isn't easy to see at all. No human being knew it as recently as 400 years ago! It's hardly obvious that falling, in the gameworld, is an expression of universal gravitation. And as far as terminal velocity is concerned: a 200' fall inflicts 20d6 damage in AD&D, but few falling persons...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 21st July, 2018, 04:45 AM
    I think that chaochou's point is that the answer could be 20 hp, or 3 hp, or 50 hp. Or 90% of hp remaining, or 10%, or 1%. In other words, there is no correlatoin between hp remaining (either absolutely or proportionately) and any particular state of the fiction. Which means that knowing the state of the fiction (which is what PCs know) doesn't settle any question about hp remaining. Which...
    603 replies | 13117 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 21st July, 2018, 04:37 AM
    I don't understand your point. The fact that certain beings (but not elves? who nevertheless can have children with humans) have to eat and sleep doesn't tell us anything meaningful about the physics of that world, if by "physcsc" we mean that discipline taught in schools and universities. Human being since time immemorial have known that dropped objects fall; likewise those in the gameworld....
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 21st July, 2018, 03:54 AM
    Would you care to elaborate on this? They seem to be synonyms to me, and when I Google a definition of magic I get "the power of apparently influencing events by using mysterious or supernatural forces." I don't know what dictionary that is from, but it is the sort of thing I would have expected. This doesn't seem very simple to me. I mean, I'm told that quantum gravity is quite hard (I...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Saturday, 21st July, 2018, 02:49 AM
    Sounds interesting.
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Saturday, 21st July, 2018, 02:43 AM
    Well, I don't think it is any more hostile to story than the 4e XP system, which is really already not TOO far off from the same thing (IE you adventure, you ALWAYS get a basically fixed amount of XP with little variation, and then you get some stuff along the way and level). This is just making things tighter and more explicit. You DO adventure to get stuff so you will level, or "and then...
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Saturday, 21st July, 2018, 02:14 AM
    I have to admit, I use the 5e morale rules and I find they work great. I'm probably not a real stickler for the details of the rules, but, typically I start rolling when it's obvious that the baddies are going to lose. Which is usually after about 1/3 of the baddies go down/lost HP. Adds a nice tactical element, and it means that it's a very viable tactic to spread the damage rather than focus...
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Saturday, 21st July, 2018, 01:40 AM
    Not sure why it's a "hard line", considering it doesn't affect the game one iota. It's just a semantic discussion, like most of the threads that get long and involved around here.
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Saturday, 21st July, 2018, 01:36 AM
    Of course they are. The fact that they existed in a universe in which it was possible to open a magic portal to another dimension means they existed in a supernatural universe, and everything in a supernatural universe is supernatural. Since I'm using supernatural and magical as synonymous, that makes them magical. You're welcome to use "magic", the term, as some ritualistic subset of...
    603 replies | 13117 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 11:50 PM
    I have a difficulty picturing a universal force that's also localized, but more power to you if it makes your cosmology feel cohesive.
    603 replies | 13117 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 11:41 PM
    Yea, if you're using "magic" to mean a subset of supernatural effects, then we're talking right past each other. It feels more like you're talking about a "mana" or "quintessence" concept.
    603 replies | 13117 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 09:11 PM
    It doesn't make GWM or SS any better, so ultimately you don't have to sweat it much. Honestly, I think you could combine this style with the TWF style with relatively little consequence.
    37 replies | 812 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 08:58 PM
    I'll let it slide, but only because the Shadowcaster in ToM was awesome. :)
    67 replies | 1792 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 08:24 PM
    Holy cow, this is a fantastic necro.
    30 replies | 5035 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 08:20 PM
    I prefer the shield option, so it was my first consideration. Compared to dual-wielding: 2 Short Swords + TWF: 2d6+6, 13 average damage. 2 Daggers + Swift Striker: 3d4+6, 13.5 average damage. Pretty balanced, will stay roughly balanced with Extra Attack. I'd also think through what a Fighter 1/Ranger (or Paladin) 2 could do with this + another fighting style, this style combines well...
    37 replies | 812 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 08:03 PM
    Combat is like pizza, even when it's bad it's still pretty good.
    67 replies | 1792 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 07:55 PM
    Sure. I'm critiquing the math behind the intent, that's all, since I think the intent was pretty obvious and a pretty easy fix with a slight wording change.
    37 replies | 812 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 07:50 PM
    True, it should probably say "wielding only the following weapons".
    37 replies | 812 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 07:46 PM
    Let's see, 1st level fighter: Greatsword + GWF: 2d6+3, reroll 1s and 2s. 11.3 average damage. Longsword + Dueling: 1d8+5. 9.5 average damage. One hand free, so probably +2 AC. 2 Daggers + Swift Striker. 2d4+6, 11 average damage. One hand free, so probably +2 AC. Better than Longsword/Dueling from 1-4th, but falls behind slightly once Extra Attack enters the picture. Still, the...
    37 replies | 812 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 07:32 PM
    If combat is fun and desirable enough that players are prioritizing it over other aspects of the game, that implies to me the game should have more combat, not that combat should become less fun by making it harder.
    67 replies | 1792 view(s)
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  • chaochou's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 07:27 PM
    Yet again you trot out this laughable lie. I've already established that HP are abstract and meta. So I haven't confused anything. You, on the other hand, don't have a single argument. You've established, quite literally, nothing which demonstrates that D&D HP are not a metagame device. You simply assert it, completely without justification, over and over again. Here it is again, so even...
    603 replies | 13117 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 05:09 PM
    It's pretty much the same idea, phrased differently. If magic is possible, it's a magical universe. There's no way for magic to exist as some sort of "plug-and-play" extension that attaches to an otherwise mundane universe in a way that makes sense, despite genre conceits. (I'd allow that exceptions exist if the magic is actually some sort of highly advanced science, like in Mark Lawrence's...
    603 replies | 13117 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 04:26 PM
    Backed. Never got to play it, but the system is awesome.
    2 replies | 127 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 03:27 PM
    But that isn't the point. The point is that if someone became capable of casting even the simplest cantrip in the real world, it means that our materialistic, mechanistic view of the universe is wrong, and our entire universe is actually something different than we think it is. That's the point Aldarc is making.
    603 replies | 13117 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 03:23 PM
    Sorry, I tend to think of "common sense" and "Newtonian mechanics" as pretty much synonymous. :)
    603 replies | 13117 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 03:19 PM
    I wouldn't even go this far. I think that most of the physical events/interactions in a fantasy game happen at a sufficiently high level of abstraction and granularity that common sense tropes are enough to sort them out. But do carts come to a halt because of friction, or because Newton's first law doesn't hold, or because the air impedes the motion of the earth? The D&D rules certainly...
    603 replies | 13117 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 03:06 PM
    It's not Aldarc's position that I don't get! It's the position advocated by Emerikol and others.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 03:05 PM
    As I said, what the hell is "life force", and how is it not magical? It's certainly not a real or mundane thing! Multiple posterson this thread (you as one) have argued that action surge and/or second wind are metagame, because they are decisions taken by a player that do not correlate to decisions taken by that player's character.
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 02:47 PM
    But the idea of a "life essence", that can be transferred by will and symbolism, is inherently a magical one. Magic is a worldview, not an attribute.
    603 replies | 13117 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 02:34 PM
    Basically, I have trouble reconciling the idea that things like atoms and electromagnetic forces exist in the same universe where the building blocks of the universe are air, earth, fire, and water. Either a universe is mechanistic or it's supernatural, it can't be both. We just use Newtonian mechanics to understand basic interactions in a fantasy universe because it's easier for us to...
    603 replies | 13117 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 02:15 PM
    Also, life force - whatever the hell that is - isn't a magical phenomon, but a fighter choosing to draw on his/her reserves so as to push him-/herself hard is? I don't get that either.
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 02:14 PM
    Is 4venger a subclass? Ahead of your time! :)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 02:11 PM
    OK: in D&D can fly, although that would not be possible in the real world. Fighters in 5e can choose when to push themselves extra hard, knowing that if they burn their reserves now they won't get them back without a rest, which is not too different from how people in the real world can do that. But fighters' second wind and action surge in 5e are magical, while dragon flight is not? ...
    603 replies | 13117 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 12:40 PM
    Dragons in D&D can fly, although that would not be possible in the real world. Fighters in 5e can choose when to push themselves extra hard, knowing that if they burn their reserves now they won't get them back without a rest, which is not too different from how people in the real world can do that. But fighters in 5e are magical while dragon flight is not? I don't get it.
    603 replies | 13117 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 10:37 AM
    This has nothing to do with stance. Stance is an attempt to describe the relatoinship between player establishment of fiction and player motivation having regard to the player's special connection to the PC. It's not about talking in first or third person. Whether you prefer first-person or third person narration by players to establish action declarations and shared fiction is a completely...
    603 replies | 13117 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 09:58 AM
    Just for fun: In Rolemaster, the tiredeness and sore back from sleeping on the ground sounds like a -10 penalty or thereabouts; the vivid bruise sounds like -5; and the scraped knuckles are not a penalty. Given that the knuckles are still scraped that means that there has been no recent healing of concussion hits, so the character is probably down 5 or so hits from the knuckles. From the...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 02:24 AM
    I don't actually think that Story Now is necessarily opposed to some elements that are often considered 'world building' to at least a degree. Thus, for example, even fairly staunch advocates of Story Now 'Zero Myth' play would still say that you need a solid idea of the genre, and its good to understand the tone and general sort of content that will go into a game. At a slightly less far out...
    347 replies | 11663 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 20th July, 2018, 02:04 AM
    This blog on "no myth" sets out what is probably the typical way of playing "story now". The emphasis is on characters' dramatic needs, and the framing of situations to speak to those needs and generate drama out of them. I think this is what AbdulAlhazred has in mind as a default or standard approach. Here's a blog by Ron Edwards on the use of setting in "story now" play. It emphasises the...
    347 replies | 11663 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th July, 2018, 05:40 PM
    Considering hit points are a function of level, and level is a function of lived experience, I could certainly see an argument for amnesia depleting your hit points in a D&D setting.
    603 replies | 13117 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th July, 2018, 03:52 PM
    <shrug> You can narrate limited powers via metagame, or as mystical in-narration. Plenty of people hate metagame powers more than they hate mystical fighters, so there we are. But deciding to use a mystical reference to cover up a lack of desire to use metagame mechanics doesn't mean the game has magical fighters, that's all. I guess you've never been to Dragonsfoot. :)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th July, 2018, 03:06 PM
    While I know you've moved on and have no further interest, just for the edification of the audience: E1 - Spinning Sweep - damage and knock prone D1 - Brute Strike - damage U2 - No Opening - Cancel combat advantage against you E3 - Precise Strike - damage D5 - Dizzying Blow - damage and immobilize U6 - Battle Awareness - bonus to initiative E7 - Reckless Strike - damage D9 - Victorious...
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th July, 2018, 02:30 PM
    Eh, I still think you're wildly overstating the case. I guarantee you I could build a heroic-tier fighter, or rogue, or ranger that does nothing but hit people with a sword, occasionally for extra damage or maybe knocking somebody down. Blinding Barrage and Come and Get It don't make the 4e fighter or rogue mystical anymore than Eldritch Knight and Arcane Trickster do for the 5e fighter or...
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  • chaochou's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th July, 2018, 06:50 AM
    No. It's simply illustrative that HP in D&D are metagame information. The OP defined metagame information and asked for games which may or may not use it to a greater or lesser degree. Metagame was defined as making decisions as a character without the information that character would have. I provided the information a player has: You're standing on a bridge leaning on your spear. You're...
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th July, 2018, 05:23 AM
    I suppose it depends on the viewer really. A table that lets you declare hits, for example, isn’t cheating by your definition since the table agrees. But they certainly aren’t playing by the rules either. Are they cheating or not? From their perspective probably not. But from any outside observer? I’d say yes they are.
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th July, 2018, 05:20 AM
    Given the plethora of healing available in 5e, I don’t think it would be unreasonable to think that combat evolves a bit and hacking downed targets becomes a lot more viable of a tactic.
    124 replies | 6158 view(s)
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th July, 2018, 05:18 AM
    I’d say that as far as kitbash stuff goes, either will get the job done. Once you know the syntax that either program uses, it’s likely about equal.
    30 replies | 797 view(s)
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th July, 2018, 03:50 AM
    The GM describes the initial scene. I mean, each system often has a specific way for this to work, but in a sort of generalized Story Now concept the players might express some sort of 'kickers', things that served as a catalyst to making them become PCs (IE heroes or whatnot vs homebodies). The GM could then frame a scene around that. Barring that sort of thing, then a judicious reading of the...
    347 replies | 11663 view(s)
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th July, 2018, 03:03 AM
    Right, the boon system IS a magic item construction system as well. You complete an adventure to find the mystic ingredients/unknown ritual/master smith/whatever and the reward is your new item!
    47 replies | 1492 view(s)
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th July, 2018, 02:29 AM
    Well, the context is a pretty story now kind of a game, so the players SHOULD be doing stuff that is engaging their avowed interests. I mean, the GM could be a stinker and try to foist stuff on them, but its an odd kind of way to burden players, giving their PCs more levels! At least the way I play, the players decide something like "we'll take on a quest to climb the mountain in order to acquire...
    47 replies | 1492 view(s)
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  • chaochou's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th July, 2018, 01:38 AM
    No it's not. You accused someone of confusing meta with abstract. If all things are abstract then this is a worthless observation. The correct observation would be 'All things are abstract. There are subsets of abstract which are meta and not meta.' But you didn't. You drew a distinction between meta and abstract and then proceeded from that distinction to make your wholly unsupported...
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  • chaochou's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th July, 2018, 01:05 AM
    Apologies, I misread your question, or its intent, or both. There certainly isn't a system that I'm aware of that captures all the things I described. But there are certainly systems that have a more convincing model than attrite to zero. Runequest and Rolemaster are good traditional examples of good sim systems. Runequest has hit locations with individual armour and hit points that can...
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  • chaochou's Avatar
    Thursday, 19th July, 2018, 12:09 AM
    Not really. You said that hitpoints are abstract. Which is a pretty worthless statement. Stats, classes, armour class, spell slots, hit points, fate points, stress levels, moves, aspects - they're all abstract. RPG mechanics used for resolution purposes are always abstract. Since all game mechanics used for resolution are abstract, it follows that your argument ('You're confusing abstract with...
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  • chaochou's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th July, 2018, 11:22 PM
    And how does being 'messed up' translate into D&Ds hit points? Well, let's see now: No pain, no shock, no keeling over winded, no fractures or breaks or sprains, punctures, no internal bleeding, no external bleeding, no concussion, no muscles tears or ligament damage, no fatigue, or loss of strength or balance, no change in perception. Get someone to smash you around with a baseball bat...
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  • chaochou's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th July, 2018, 08:39 PM
    I'm not wasting my time. You've already announced your head is firmly in the sand.
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  • chaochou's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th July, 2018, 08:02 PM
    The trouble with D&D hitpoints is that they're such nonsensical rubbish - far beyond 'abstraction' and into the realms of gibberish - that they're not fun.
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th July, 2018, 07:26 PM
    Sorry Lanefan (yes, that is the sort of reply I was looking for) and @ Emerikol . I’ll get back to your guys’ responses as soon as I can. Pretty tied up. Yup, I was referring to Blades (also, I think you may have a different copy than mine because mine is H1 -H4; Lesser, Moderate, Severe, Fatal...no H5!)! Death Spiral is certainly a concern (because it’s not fun and not genre coherent)....
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  • chaochou's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th July, 2018, 05:54 PM
    No it isn't. And none of your = signs amount to an argument. It's just empty gainsaying. Having fun playing a game is part of playing a game. it is not a decision made by a character. It is therefore both part of the game and explicitly metagame. To say hitpoints are designed the way they are because 'it is fun' means they have been designed based on metagame considerations. It's...
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  • chaochou's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th July, 2018, 05:42 PM
    'Fun to play' is a metagame consideration. The characters are not deciding whether they are 'fun to play'. Having fun is metagame.
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th July, 2018, 03:31 PM
    Ahh, to be young.
    162 replies | 4073 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th July, 2018, 03:07 PM
    Are you actually arguing for a playstyle where players can only declare intent in 6 second increments? How do they ritually cast? How do they rest? Dear god, how do they poop?!
    162 replies | 4073 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th July, 2018, 02:29 PM
    Links to four actual play examples.
    347 replies | 11663 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th July, 2018, 02:17 PM
    No. But knowing that you're in a skill challenge does help make decisions about what resources to expend (eg if I have a limited-used Nature buff, I might not use it on the first check if I'm still sussing out the fiction), and it helps you know what the payoff is for succeeding. It also establishes a context for making choices about how to engage the fiction: if its a complexity 5 skill...
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th July, 2018, 01:47 PM
    It's OK, we all make mistakes. Just own it and you'll feel better.
    219 replies | 5964 view(s)
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th July, 2018, 06:08 AM
    Yeah, like PrCs or a bit like level dips in some sense. I don't know PF well at all, so I can't comment on archetypes. Its more powerful in that it subsumes all these different 'languages' (the feat language, the PP language, the ED language, the item language) of 4e, so now things are more general. So, the leveling... I inverted the concept of level advancement. Instead of leveling up to get...
    47 replies | 1492 view(s)
    2 XP
  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th July, 2018, 05:28 AM
    Yeah, that's basically the way Strike! works, but then you're relegated to having powers which are basically either Role Powers (ick, what makes a power a 'defender' power particularly?) or Source based (not so bad, but still hard to do right IMHO). That might be cool, BUT it has the issue of resource models. That is it is hard to see how a Stalwart and a Specialist would both live on the...
    47 replies | 1492 view(s)
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th July, 2018, 03:24 AM
    It won't effect game balance because there's only one resource management paradigm and all classes follow it. In classic D&D its a HUGE advantage to the wizard to have 5 minute workdays. He can expend spells with abandon and then just memorize them all again before the next day's encounter. Whereas the fighter and thief gain basically nothing, they can swing their swords all day and their...
    347 replies | 11663 view(s)
    3 XP
  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th July, 2018, 02:38 AM
    4e seems to be all-in for transparency in combat, though there have been discussions around things like "are minions declared as such or just described and its left to the players to figure it out" or "do you tell the players the monster's hit point totals" etc. The same question of course can be asked about SCs. My opinion is that the players are collaborators and its fruitless to keep things...
    347 replies | 11663 view(s)
    0 XP
  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th July, 2018, 02:34 AM
    But 4e is MUCH less a per-day gated game, and much more a per-encounter gated one than other editions of D&D. 'classic D&D' doesn't really have per-encounter resources at all. The main party resource, spells, are always per-day, as are hit points (essentially). I can't think of a good example of a per-encounter resource in AD&D at all, beyond maybe "thieves can only backstab once per encounter",...
    347 replies | 11663 view(s)
    1 XP
  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Wednesday, 18th July, 2018, 01:57 AM
    Right, I agree with you there. It can work reasonably well for CoC or other very 'tight-genre' type games where you want a specific sort of experience. I mean, CoC is pretty much the poster child since the end result is ALWAYS "you're brain was melted by horrors from beyond" or at best that you narrowly avoided the funny farm THIS time, but now that your SAN is down to 12... (yeah, I had a...
    347 replies | 11663 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 10:10 PM
    I definitely agree. Take Blades in the Dark, for example. It’s has 3 phases of play: Free Play Score Downtime Each of those are effectively “scenes” or multiple scenes. However, only in certain cases (eg the GM deployment of a Clock or Opposing Clocks - very much kindred to 4e) will scene resolution be cemented in mechanically (rather than “organically”).
    347 replies | 11663 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 07:17 PM
    @MwaO I’m not sure what you’re disagreeing with in my post. Can you hone in on the aspect you’re disagreeing with? Are you saying that you don’t believe there are inherent advantages to having closed scene resolution machinery player-facing or there aren’t inherent disadvantages to making the situation only GM facing? If you feel that way, could you maybe talk about other scene-based...
    347 replies | 11663 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 05:03 PM
    Quite the thread! Surprised I didn’t notice it before. Just a few quick thoughts in relation to pemerton ‘s post on player-facing Skill Challenges . I’ve long been an advocate of transparency (including making everything player-facing) in mechanical archetecture of scene-based games. While 4e is a fiction-first RPG like Apocalypse World, it is not a free form RPG like AW. It’s more...
    347 replies | 11663 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 01:54 PM
    If you want to have that discussion, you can necro the thread and respond to the posts there.
    347 replies | 11663 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 01:14 PM
    Those daily abilities don't have to be hoarded/preserved., though. The "adventuring day" might involve one encounter, or a dozen, and it makes no difference to game balance. If the players all nova in the first encounter of the day, this doesn't allow wizards to outshine fighters. It's purely about pacing. Whereas other editions (and 13th Age) depend for balance upon an "adventuring day" that...
    347 replies | 11663 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 12:43 PM
    I think players need to know they're in a skill challenge if they're going to make reasoned choices about what resources to use (eg powers, action points, equipment, etc). In that respect I think the comparison to combat is apt. I don't see resolution as something separate from the "real" game.
    347 replies | 11663 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 11:07 AM
    I'm not explaining myself well enough. It's not that FG is a bad program. It isn't. It does what it says on the tin, by and large. But, for 130 dollars I expect a HELL of a lot more than what it does.
    30 replies | 797 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 10:02 AM
    To be honest I don't remember any of that - it was a while ago now! I know that the paladin did stuff, as his player was the one who initiated the idea of taming rather than killing the bear. The fighter must have done something too, but I don't remember what that was: I have a vague memory of the bear being hostile to him, and him doing something in response (but I can't remember what, or...
    347 replies | 11663 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 09:41 AM
    A follow-on from the previous post: skill challenges, like similar resolution systems in other (mostly indie) RPGs, work on the premises (1) that the GM is responsible for framing scenes, but (2) that the players are responsible for the choices that will determine how those scenes turn out. The significance of (2) is that it makes the scene, or encounter, the focus of play. There is no "the...
    347 replies | 11663 view(s)
    0 XP
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Friday, 6th July, 2018


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Sunday, 22nd July, 2018

  • 04:01 PM - Aldarc mentioned Manbearcat in post The roots of 4e exposed?
    Oh, come now, it was a triumph of expostulation...:cool:Despite how heated many of these threads get, I have increasingly found myself drawn to many such threads in General Roleplaying Games. Because a lot of the insight on game design, game theory, and play approaches provided by you, pemerton, Hussar, Maxperson, Lanefan, Manbearcat, Imaro, Bedrockgames, Tony Vargas, among many others unlisted, has been incredibly engaging for me, as it I can apply those insights and approaches to games outside of D&D.

Thursday, 19th July, 2018

  • 01:05 AM - chaochou mentioned Manbearcat in post A discussion of metagame concepts in game design
    ...artery, take stuns, negatives to your next attack or attacks, defensive penalties, broken weapons, dislocations. I didn't play it that much, but it was also the basis of ICEs Middle Earth game in the 80s so I know it from there. Riddle of Steel is a hard to find Indie game now out of print. It was a poster child for sword combat, authored by a practiced HEMA swordfighter. Characters have fighting styles based on their weapons, and those in turn give them sets of moves. They also have a dice pool which you split between attack and defense and then each side chooses their attacks and defenses and dice off. If you get hit it ranges from the nasty to incapacitated to fatal. No cheap magic healing, neither. The combat system was good for duels, but not polished, difficult, downright impenetrable in places. But still an eye opener for just what a totally different game you get when combat is to be avoided except in the absolute last resort. Others in the thread have talked about Fate. Manbearcat alluded to Blades in the Dark, which gives a small harm clock, plus the opportunity for flexible conditions / descriptors for wounds, impairments or conditions. The original Hero Wars gave you a pool of 'Hit Points' in any contest based on your skill score. So if you were trying to kill someone and they were trying to scare you away and you had a skill of 28 in Vicious Swordplay and they had 24 in Get Back You Cur, you'd start with 'pools' of 28 and 24 respectively. Like D&D what mattered was getting someone to zero. But the stakes shifted depending on what intents and action declarations were made. You can use free descriptors as appropriate to add conditions, wounds, injuries, ailments to characters (they essentially become skills that then act as hindrances when appropriate) as the action unfolds. These are just a handful. I liked the first edition of WHFRP as well, but I've run out of mojo for typing.

Wednesday, 18th July, 2018

  • 04:52 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned Manbearcat in post A discussion of metagame concepts in game design
    ...aracter until treated? Probably not, because fights in DnD have to be meta because of the sheer number of them. It's abstracted out of necessity. And once again, not a problem, but certainly meta. The loss of hp mean very little until they start creeping toward 0, therefore, I'm not in my character's shoes, experiencing the world through her eyes. FATE is criticized for its meta mechanics, but having a fate point slide my way is just as meta, to me, as those vanishing hp, from weapon blows, fire, acid, exploding traps, that don't actually have consequences until I'm dying. But then all rpgs have meta elements. They don't bother me, or break my immersion.I think you're confusing abstract with meta. Hitpoints and damage in D&D is abstracted, yes, but not metagame. As a hane mechanic, death spirals may appeal to a sense of realism, but they aren't fun to play. Abstracting injury to hitpoints may not appeal to realism, but it's much more fun to play. The harm levels in BitD, which Manbearcat was coyly referring to with his posts, work better from a realism stance and fit the narrative intent of those rules, but they quickly act like a death spiral. A L2 harm is seriously imparing in a range of situations while L3 is crippling. L4 harm is pretty much one last desperate effort before being done. L5 is death (mbc fudged the levels a bit). And that's allowing for BitD's mechanics of pushing to ignore or reduce the harm for an action. I love BitD, but I'm always careful with using harm as a consequence because of it's death spiral effects. That's not much fun.

Tuesday, 17th July, 2018

  • 10:02 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post The roots of 4e exposed?
    ...and how did you change the scenario, if at all, as they were going through? Did anything happen after the bear was being soothed and subdued? As I understand it the Ranger can not just keep using his Nature skill and if there are any other PCs in the party do they also have to do something to contribute?To be honest I don't remember any of that - it was a while ago now! I know that the paladin did stuff, as his player was the one who initiated the idea of taming rather than killing the bear. The fighter must have done something too, but I don't remember what that was: I have a vague memory of the bear being hostile to him, and him doing something in response (but I can't remember what, or whether or not it was successful). I do have a memory that, even once tamed, the bear was not friendly to the fighter! Which maybe suggests that whatever the fighter tried failed. As far as successes and failures are concerned, I don't know what I did in that scenario. It was before I learned Manbearcat's technique of using dice, laid out clearly on the table, to represent successes and failures.

Saturday, 14th July, 2018

  • 06:15 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post A discussion of metagame concepts in game design
    ...o involve metagame. For instance, in combat each combatant makes a roll, adjusted appropriately by armour, weapon, etc, and the higher roll wins. Much as one might resolve a game of darts. The fact that D&D resolves combats in rounds, thereby imposing some metagame from the start, is a legacy of wargaming. It's not inherent to RPGing. No, this really isn't something that the character can know. It's nonsensical that you can only ever have one, and as an in-game thing, it defies reason. It's purely a metagame ability that the player uses that the PC doesn't know about. People can't decide, "Hey, I'm now going to get my second wind!!"A characterknowing that s/he has one second wind between rests is no more or less absurd than knowing that s/he has one second level spell slot between rests. It doesn't "defy reason". And deciding that now is the time to try all out is, in fact, something that a person can decide. (This point has already been made upthread by Neonchameleon and Manbearcat.) If the character knows about something, the character making a decision based on the knowledge cannot be metagaming. <snip> The entirely of the system exists with reasonable game world explanations of why it happens that way. Those explanations take away any metagame aspects of the system, because the PC is making all of the choices in character for in character reasons. My point is that to the wizard, fireball might happen at level 2, 6, 12 or 18 for all he knows. All he is aware of are those changes as he gradually grows stronger. In fact, to the wizard there probably are no levels at all. He just gradually gets stronger and more knowledgeable. Think of yourself in your career. If you have been in it for any length of time, you are very much better at it than when you started, but you couldn't truly name me a level that you were at. The levels themselves are metagame.If Vancian slots aren't metagame, then the wizard, in the fiction, knows exactly when s/he has...

Monday, 2nd July, 2018

  • 06:06 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Manbearcat in post Towards a Story Now 4e
    ... a small precipice is arguably still running with a terrain so difficult skill and dex over whelm the value of strength even if it is involved. I look at it this way. Players have a lot of freedom in HoML to decide how they're approaching the fictional challenges, including Inspiration and Practices, plus 'page 42' style improvisation. If a PC has Acrobatics trained, then the player is going to leverage that and describe some sort of narrative where the character overcomes her obstacle using speed and coordination instead of either fitness or strength. There's also still such things as 'secondary checks' and 'aid another' which can factor in as well. I think its EASIER to lean of Athletics, and maybe most characters don't need both skills trained, but I don't really feel like I must 'fix' this. In fact, where in 4e the fact that many skills were relegated to fairly niche uses was a bit problematic, I think it is a lot less so in Story Now kind of play. I wonder what pemerton and Manbearcat, and Lost Soul think about that? How about you Gilladian?

Sunday, 1st July, 2018

  • 09:06 PM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Manbearcat in post What is the essence of 4E?
    Heh, @Manbearcat, that was interesting. I won't quote it just because it was long and I'm lazy! I think the difference between Rogue 1 and Han Solo is just that one was a fun and interesting movie with interesting characters, and the other was boring, shallow, and predictable. All Han Solo did was recapitulate a bunch of action scenes which we've basically seen before. The 'Young Han' is NO different from the 'Old Han' we saw in 1977. He didn't start out differently and evolve, he just sorta was basically the same guy, just younger. There's no surprise when his girlfriend stands him up, nothing shocking about him shooting first, nothing. Its a movie that utterly takes its audience for granted and the writers couldn't even be bothered to give them the respect of a decent plot. It deserved to fail. If it hadn't had 'Star Wars' plastered on it, then it would've lasted a week in the theater and grossed $10 mil. which it richly deserved. My perspective on the whole 'Last Jedi' thing, as a guy who's seen ...

Thursday, 21st June, 2018

  • 11:38 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Everybody Cheats?
    ...uch an otherwise enjoyable time, omit the wandering monsters indicated by the die. No, don’t allow the party to kill them easily or escape unnaturally, for that goes contrary to the major precepts of the game. I'm not saying that Gygax's advice is the only way to do it, but I think it's noteworthy that he draws such a strong contrast between the GM making decisions that regulate the introduction of new challenges into play (eg by ignoring wandering monster dice) and the GM fudging action resolution results. There are lots and lots of games that put ”don’t cheat” explicitly in their game text. They go on to explain why it’s a problem and why it’s wholly unnecessary for that/those games (because they work without need for application of GM Force).Hm. I wonder if anyone can find me a quote reference of that from a game.Suggesting that certain GMing choices would go contrary to the major precepts of the game, and for that reason should not be done, comes well within cooee of what Manbearcat described. Here's another example, from Burning Wheel (Gold edition, p 30), which is directly relevant to the sort of example Imaculata gave: [W]hat happens after the dice have come to rest and the successes are counted? If the successes equal or exceed the obstacle, the character has succeeded in his goal—he achieved his intent and completed the task. This is important enough to say again: Characters who are successful complete actions in the manner described by the player. A successful roll is sacrosanct in Burning Wheel and neither GM nor other players can change the fact that the act was successful. The GM may only embellish or reinforce a successful ability test. Slightly less portentously, the Marvel Heroic RP rulebook (p OM8) says: In some games, the person who runs the game rolls the dice in secret - but there are no secrets in the Bullpen. Roll those bones in full view, Watchers!
  • 01:02 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Suspense in RPGs
    there is a line between a price paid that's modeled in the system (you have so many slots/points/whatever, when do you use them?), and a price paid that's part of emerging story-line (this is the current situation, it could change/might not be what it seems, what do you do?). The former is part of the game, the latter is system-independentI don't think the latter is system-independent at all. Compare Manbearcat's example of DitV, where the system establishes a relationship with the PC's brother; or In a Wicked Age (that's on my mind befause I GMed a short session of it not too long ago) which establishes interlinked and conflicting "best interests" for each character (PC and NPC). For players to be able to 'buy victory' they have to have something to pay with. In the types of games lumpley is talking about, players create characters with multiple dramatic needs and progress towards fulfilling these needs, or not, is how costs are paid and what drives the arc of the story. <snip> The players have the responsibility, before anything else, to create people with relationships, flaws, desperate needs, dangerous passions. They need characters who are part of a society, carrying the burdens that societies create - weighed down with debt, loaded with expectation, over-confident, addicted, at war with their family, haunted by ill-advised lovers. Ie not system-independent. I think it's a ...

Wednesday, 20th June, 2018


Monday, 4th June, 2018

  • 11:29 PM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    Manbearcat, another curious thing about responses to 4e is this idea of "DM-proofing". There's a very strong ethos, I think, among D&D players that the GM's job includes deciding outcomes. Which also underpins at least some of the discussion about TotM vs minis/grids.

Sunday, 3rd June, 2018

  • 03:01 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    ...ment, rather than a possible site of narrative development, 4e may not work for you. From my point of view, 4e is the only version of D&D that comes at all close to supporting free descriptor-style resolution (of the sort found in systems like HeroWars/Quest, Maelstrom Storytelling, and other indie or indie-type RPGs). This might seem an odd thing to say about a mini-&-grid combat system, but here are two links to actual play reports that illustrate what I've got in mind. Part of what lets 4e support this is the same thing that underpins its status as the only version of D&D with systematic non-combat conflict resolution (of the sort found in all sorts of scene-based indie-type RPGs): a consistent and robust scheme of player-side resources and a mathematically reliable system for framing action difficulty. The weakest part of 4e, in my experience, is bridging between combat and non-combat. The 4e players on these boards have talked a lot about ways of managing this. (This is Manbearcat's schtick in particular.)

Tuesday, 22nd May, 2018


Monday, 14th May, 2018

  • 05:18 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned Manbearcat in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    They have to appeal to the widest possible base. The problem with a highly specialized system that caters to thing X, when it is going to be played at a table of 5 people who probably all have varying tastes, is it becomes very niche. 4E was an effective niche product, but a lot of people left the game when it came out. I don't play 5E, but it is pretty obvious they've managed to get a lot of people back in, broaden the base a bit, etc by taking a more compromised approach. It isn't going to satisfy people at the extreme ends of preferences. But it is the kind of approach that is called for in a mainstream product.Huh? Where were either me or Manbearcat taking about popularity? I don't follow the context of your post -- it's not addressing any argument I made that I can tell.
  • 04:10 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned Manbearcat in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...cing encounters would lead to a balanced adventuring day. So is it a question of the more top down approach not being tenable? Could encounter balance be achieved by first seeking adventuring day balance?Day balance is 5e wizard spells -- a pc gets so many, refreshed daily. This is not encounter balanced because that oc can burn them all in one encounter and have none left for future encounters. Encounter balance creators effects that are limited in use to the encounter. 5e warlocks are more encounter balanced - they have resources that mostly refresh pin a per encounter basis and were limited to only a few uses per encounter. These things can coexist, but the recurring discussions on encounter/adventuring day pacing that balances short rest vs long rest recoveries shows that mixing the two has issues that result from different pressures on play. 1 encounter pet day is as balanced as 8 for the warlock (with short rests), but not fir the wizard. This is exactly the point that Manbearcat is making: the different incentives and pressures on the game between encounter balancing and day balancing are often at odds.

Saturday, 12th May, 2018

  • 05:44 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Manbearcat in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    ...." One includes all of what is written and the other doesn't. Right, so both of them are reasonable positions. I don't quite understand what ANYONE here is disagreeing about. These sorts of 'arguments' are silly. 'Hobgoblins as written' imply elves, but you don't have to use them 'as written', you can use PART of what was written, and delete the elves part! I mean, I do this all the time. I am pretty sure MOST GMs do this all the time. I'd be pretty surprised if anyone who's GMed enough to bother to post in this thread has NOT done both of these things at one time or another, taken some lore complete with all that it implies, from some book, and also taken some other lore and lifted some subset of it out. What is even interesting about this? (not that I'm especially asking YOU this Max, I'm pretty sure we agree on this one). I mean, I guess its a rhetorical question. Maybe the whole thread is losing me. I'm feeling like between this thread and the other one, maybe I'm become another Manbearcat....

Wednesday, 9th May, 2018

  • 03:17 PM - Aldarc mentioned Manbearcat in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    Well, what else do you want to point us to?I am self-admittedly at a loss. IME, I have simply found, however, that Ron Edwards, the Forge, and all associated terminology generally engender divisive conversations. These can be, as per Manbearcat's observation, due to differences of core gaming values, but I also think that the terminology itself has accumulated a lot of visceral connotations and negative reactions. (The terms also seem infused with presumed value-judgments of different game approaches.) It would certainly be nice if I was familiar with academic tabletop design game theory who have likely developed their own set of jargon, but I am not. And perhaps this even points to a gap in the conversation. I'm not trying to persaude you that you should change your dislike of The Forge. But if there's a different school that analyses techniques and aesthetics in a useful but different way, you're going to have to point me to it, because I'm working with what I know and, as I've just recounted, it's all ultimately part of the school you don't like.Yeah, but it's just my own vain sentiment. A whim. A want. A desire to go beyond what we have as it seems that we are too attached to these terms and all their associated ...

Thursday, 19th April, 2018

  • 04:32 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned Manbearcat in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    ...terms of interpreting the facing of skills. Excursus: To answer Shakespeare's question - "What's in a name? - I suspect that the answer is "A helluva a lot actually." And in this case, as seems evident throughout our discussions, the names of these skills likely communicate a lot in terms of their use and efficacy. And differences in those names can and do seemingly result in different understandings of the skill's purpose and efficacy as well. Diplomacy, for example, actually does have a more restrictive sense than the more general name of Persuasion. So does part of the problem rest in overly vague sense of a skill named 'Persuasion' over a skill named 'Diplomacy'? Or would the skill represented by 'Diplomacy' and 'Persuasion' (among others) still be just as sweet or sour smelling if it was represented by another name? Here, I am intentionally excluding the possibility that we ditch these skills entirely. Sorry, Lanefan. De nada. Although, a shout out to @Iserth, Campbell, Manbearcat and a host of others should entail for the assistance they've provided me along the way by making excellent, thought provoking arguments and exposing some alternative play frameworks. I wish I could recall all of the excellent posters, but, alas, memory is my dump stat.

Sunday, 15th April, 2018

  • 10:38 PM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Manbearcat in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...er what are the interpretations of some of these questions, and Tuovinen's essay DOES have some relevance! I mean, look, Maxperson's interpretation of Story Now (of standard narrative model) becomes ridiculous when he flat out states that you can have NO agenda or signaling between players and GMs and somehow magically you have a narrative model game or magically you just achieve the same ends. I mean, regardless of how we explicate it (and I'm OK with your "this discussion of backstory is getting ridiculous") Max and Pemerton cannot both be correct!! I know from experience of play in this technique that some of the things Max asserts are simply not tenable. I know it. I don't need Eero Tuovinen to justify that, its simply outright demonstrable in my experience, because I've tried to do what Max claims 'just happens'. It never works! Now, I'm not saying his game "doesn't work" or he's fooling on anyone. I just think that what he does and what pemerton does, and what I do, and what Manbearcat does, etc. are not the same thing. I think if you understand the Tuovinen essay in the light of Pemerton's definition of backstory then you see how things make sense. It DOES cast a light on this distinction. Perhaps the guy wasn't being particularly precise when he wrote it and it isn't perfectly clear and doesn't touch on all the relevant points. Perhaps its even not perfectly consistent. I'd say he's not talking about a specific game, and thus the concepts are covering a lot of different possible game designs. That makes it easy to draw inconsistent conclusions from it, but a careful reading does provide insight! Anyway, I've done more than skim it for statements that support my PoV, and I've got plenty of experience that seems to indicate certain truths about how RPGs work. I don't know what else to say. I don't care about superior or inferior but when I read monkeyshine I generally respond in a way that is intended to explicate where the shine is and where the monkey is.

Tuesday, 13th March, 2018

  • 11:08 PM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Any Dungeon World players here?
    I would have pointed you to Cambelll and Manbearcat, but that already happened. I think Nagol also GMs Dungeon World. And I belive AbdulAlhazred has some experience. chaochou is an Apocalypse World player/GM and so might have something to contribute too. I've played it a little bit, and have a general grasp of its approach and methods, but am far from an expert.


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Thursday, 19th July, 2018

  • 01:20 AM - Lanefan quoted Manbearcat in post A discussion of metagame concepts in game design
    Death Spiral is certainly a concern (because it’s not fun and not genre coherent). However, I think a Harm model could pretty deftly hook into D&D’s mechanics, allowing for these looming threats, but also allowing for interesting decision-points and archetypal realization. Spitballin' here, but could some of the death-spiral concerns (not all, as death spirals can be very suspenseful and tension-filled when they work right) be mitigated by having Harm work like this: 1. Someone gets hit by something hard enough to potentially inflict Harm (of whatever level except the death level) 2. The victim gets a save - success means no Harm done, stop here; failure means Harm is taken (and failing at the death level means you die, stop here) 3. If Harm is taken, a second save is given to determine if this Harm is short-term (on success) or long-term (on failure) 4a. If the Harm turns out to be short-term, the effects are temporary (1-4 rounds? 2-5 rounds? a little longer?) after which you shrug them ...

Wednesday, 18th July, 2018

  • 07:35 PM - Ovinomancer quoted Manbearcat in post A discussion of metagame concepts in game design
    Sorry Lanefan (yes, that is the sort of reply I was looking for) and @ Emerikol . I’ll get back to your guys’ responses as soon as I can. Pretty tied up. Yup, I was referring to Blades (also, I think you may have a different copy than mine because mine is H1 -H4; Lesser, Moderate, Severe, Fatal...no H5!)! Death Spiral is certainly a concern (because it’s not fun and not genre coherent). However, I think a Harm model could pretty deftly hook into D&D’s mechanics, allowing for these looming threats, but also allowing for interesting decision-points and archetypal realization. For instance, with 5e: 1) Imagine a Fighter’s Second Wind allowing them to shrug of H1 outright or turn H2 into H1. 2) Imagine a Cleric’s Cure line being able to grant a new Saving Throw to move (say) H2 to H1, with higher Cures able to mitigate higher Harm levels or provide Advantage to the Saving Throw. 3) Imagine Armor being a limited use active defense in that you can use it at your discretion to mitigate Harm or p...
  • 02:47 PM - MwaO quoted Manbearcat in post The roots of 4e exposed?
    But we’re talking about 4e D&D noncombat conflict resolution whereby mechanical architecture is used (as it is in Cortex+, Fate, Dogs, or Blades when a GM uses Opposing Clocks) to determine (a) the dramatic pacing of a scene (while allowing players considerable agency in the mechanical goings-on of the evolving narrative...thereby considerable agency in that emergent fiction and in the manifestation of their PC archetype) and (b) when finality of resolution occurs (rather than GM discretion or table consensus). Skill Challenges are just a tool and are not mandatory. Even within Skill Challenges, you can have many scenes that don't use die rolls to resolve or have it overarch an entire adventuring day or even longer. They're just a narrative structure designed to get everyone involved and have meaningful, consistent definitions of success. There's no need for die rolls with most NPCs within a skill challenge. You talk to the librarian, she answers your questions. Don't go in the right direct...

Tuesday, 17th July, 2018

  • 09:10 PM - MwaO quoted Manbearcat in post The roots of 4e exposed?
    @MwaO I’m not sure what you’re disagreeing with in my post. Can you hone in on the aspect you’re disagreeing with? 4e...more kindred with Dogs, Fate, Cortex+ in that (a) the resolution of scenes gets cemented in mechanically and (b) an aspect of the mental overhead that players must assimilate is how their action declarations map to the mechanics and how the fiction and the scene’s resolution (both current and the finality) orbit around those declared actions and attendant mechanics. Scenes do not necessarily have to be cemented in mechanically. I wrote in a no-mechanics role-playing encounter into a 4e LFR mod where the PCs talked with various NPCs, there were no relevant skill rolls or powers to use, and the outcome of the player decisions drove the LFR campaign direction for year 5. And players were really invested in their decisions, too.
  • 06:29 PM - MwaO quoted Manbearcat in post The roots of 4e exposed?
    While 4e is a fiction-first RPG like Apocalypse World, it is not a free form RPG like AW. It’s more kindred with Dogs, Fate, Cortex+ in that (a) the resolution of scenes gets cemented in mechanically and (b) an aspect of the mental overhead that players must assimilate is how their action declarations map to the mechanics and how the fiction and the scene’s resolution (both current and the finality) orbit around those declared actions and attendant mechanics. Without all the relevant information that a player would have in scene-based resolution games, they’re not able to manage the game part of the game. That negatively impacts (a) their ability to positively impact the fiction in the way that they wish and (b) it just slows play by increasing table handling time of each action declaration (as more conversation is required to resolve the interface between action:mechanics) and the total cognitive workload for the GM. I’m not a fan of either of those results. That's really dependent on the ...

Monday, 16th July, 2018

  • 07:49 AM - Saelorn quoted Manbearcat in post A discussion of metagame concepts in game design
    I’m looking for a response about the juxtaposition of the above two paradigms that engages with the thread topic.Both scenarios are fine, and neither requires meta-gaming. They just assume different things about how the world works. If the world doesn't actually work as described, and the character doesn't know those things, then the player would be meta-gaming by acting on that knowledge. A 10th level Fighter is challenging a trio of Stone Giants on the edge of their plateau which sits 70 feet above the ground. Situation 1: a) He has 100 HPs and the only chance the fall has to kill him is if he’s been significantly worn down in combat by interaction with the Stone Giants and their clubs (that are as big and weighty as him) and thrown boulders. b) As he waded in he sees a show of strength by the Stone Giant Chieftain; the impact of one of these clubs and/or thrown boulders utterly ruins a rock formation of approximately his size. However, because of his HP pool relative to their attacks, he...

Sunday, 15th July, 2018

  • 11:12 PM - Lanefan quoted Manbearcat in post A discussion of metagame concepts in game design
    Emerikol (and Lanefan and perhaps Saelorn ), you (and Lanefan) answered my question with a response about the implications on the gameplay paradigm; eg “it would make it more lethal.” This thread is about “metagame mechanics” and players making decisions based exclusively on (what you perceive as) observable phenomenon (biological, physical) from the character’s perspective. I’m looking for your response in relation to that. So let me go a bit further and perhaps you can comment on this. A 10th level Fighter is challenging a trio of Stone Giants on the edge of their plateau which sits 70 feet above the ground. Situation 1: a) He has 100 HPs and the only chance the fall has to kill him is if he’s been significantly worn down in combat by interaction with the Stone Giants and their clubs (that are as big and weighty as him) and thrown boulders. b) As he waded in he sees a show of strength by the Stone Giant Cheieftan; the impact of one of these clubs and/or thrown boulders utter...
  • 08:54 PM - Emerikol quoted Manbearcat in post A discussion of metagame concepts in game design
    This thread is about “metagame mechanics” and players making decisions based exclusively on (what you perceive as) observable phenomenon (biological, physical) from the character’s perspective. I’m looking for your response in relation to that. So let me go a bit further and perhaps you can comment on this. A 10th level Fighter is challenging a trio of Stone Giants on the edge of their plateau which sits 70 feet above the ground. Situation 1: <snip: D&D style example> Situation 2: <snip: More deadly system> I’m looking for a response about the juxtaposition of the above two paradigms that engages with the thread topic. I know falling damage is unrealistic and can lead to metagame decisions. It's why everyone coming and going has always houseruled falling. So we can all agree that falling isn't handled well in D&D. But that is a corner case and a houserule can fix it. For the combat example, in a super heroic game the fighter really does believe that the Stone giants w...
  • 01:41 PM - pemerton quoted Manbearcat in post A discussion of metagame concepts in game design
    I’m looking for a response about the juxtaposition of the above two paradigms that engages with the thread topic.It's an interesting juxtaposition. Obviously 4e, BW and Cortex+ Heroic (the three systems I work with at the moment) handle this very differently. 4e is closest to your (1), BW to your (2). Cortex+ Heroic is intermediate.

Saturday, 14th July, 2018

  • 09:50 PM - Emerikol quoted Manbearcat in post A discussion of metagame concepts in game design
    Emerikol, let me pose you a question. I'm not sure you've ever GMed or played under the following paradigm, so let me lay it out. Try to conceive of simply switching out the HP model from your current game for a low overhead system that handles it in fictional terms that also intersect with action resolution (what action declarations might be permissible, what may be penalized). It looks like this. Instead of HP ablation, when you're physically imposed upon by the world, you roll some kind of Saving Throw. If you fail, you receive some kind of Harm. Harm has 5 boxes and comes in 4 stages. Harm 1 has two boxes. Harm 2 has two boxes Harm 3 has one box Harm 4 is death Harm 1 might be Confused, Demoralized, Distracted Harm 2 might be Concussed, Sprained Ankle, Panick-ridden Harm 3 might be Nervous Breakdown, Broken Hand, Impaled Shoulder You could have multiple Harm spanning multiple boxes. But if you fill up Harm 1's two boxes, any further Harm 1 you get automatically become...

Friday, 13th July, 2018

  • 04:31 AM - Lanefan quoted Manbearcat in post A discussion of metagame concepts in game design
    Emerikol, let me pose you a question. I'm not sure you've ever GMed or played under the following paradigm, so let me lay it out. Try to conceive of simply switching out the HP model from your current game for a low overhead system that handles it in fictional terms that also intersect with action resolution (what action declarations might be permissible, what may be penalized). It looks like this. Instead of HP ablation, when you're physically imposed upon by the world, you roll some kind of Saving Throw. If you fail, you receive some kind of Harm. Harm has 5 boxes and comes in 4 stages. Harm 1 has two boxes. Harm 2 has two boxes Harm 3 has one box Harm 4 is death Harm 1 might be Confused, Demoralized, Distracted Harm 2 might be Concussed, Sprained Ankle, Panick-ridden Harm 3 might be Nervous Breakdown, Broken Hand, Impaled Shoulder You could have multiple Harm spanning multiple boxes. But if you fill up Harm 1's two boxes, any further Harm 1 you get automatically become...

Wednesday, 4th July, 2018

  • 02:13 AM - Ted Serious quoted Manbearcat in post What is the essence of 4E?
    @Pauper I’m doing a poor job of communicating. There is clearly a large outcry over TLJ from SW traditionalists/the base. I’m not referring to them. I’m invoking a specific cross-section of folks who: 1) Identify as part of the SW base. 2) Identify as a part of the D&D base. 3) Decried 4e for failure to embrace tradition/history and produce a game that appeals specifically (if not exclusively) to those interests; failure to meet entrenched expectations. 4) Simultaneously lauded TLJ for “subverting expectations.” Hope that communicates more clearly. I see. You're finding some hypocrisy in holding one franchise to a different standard than another. I haven't seen TLJ. But I think 4e corresponds to the extended universe materials that got cut. The current movies to 5e.
  • 12:41 AM - darkbard quoted Manbearcat in post What is the essence of 4E?
    What do you guys think? Anyone else care about that topic? I don't have much invested in TLJ discussion (though I find your analysis enlightening), but I will say that I have bookmarked the Pathfinder/Starfinder/Older D&D Editions subforum with the 4E filter applied, and, almost without fail, discussion on 4E topics has a way of wandering off topic, and most participants seem to have little objection.

Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018

  • 05:52 PM - Ovinomancer quoted Manbearcat in post What is the essence of 4E?
    Ovinomancer , TwoSix , @ anyone else... I feel like digging down really deeply on the TLJ/4E tradition deviation comparison may (a) not be something that anyone else in this thread cares about and (b) while works into 4e’s “essence”, it may push the bounds of threadcrapping (and my next response would be long). What do you guys think? Anyone else care about that topic?I'm afraid I must insist that you continue posting on this topic in this thread. I probably won't, but I can't, in good faith, allow you not to. I am expecting a timely resumption, so hop to!
  • 01:59 PM - Neonchameleon quoted Manbearcat in post What is the essence of 4E?
    Ovinomancer , TwoSix , @ anyone else... I feel like digging down really deeply on the TLJ/4E tradition deviation comparison may (a) not be something that anyone else in this thread cares about and (b) while works into 4e’s “essence”, it may push the bounds of threadcrapping (and my next response would be long). What do you guys think? Anyone else care about that topic? I'd say it might be worth a different thread rather than flooding this one with a tangent.

Sunday, 1st July, 2018

  • 07:07 PM - Ovinomancer quoted Manbearcat in post What is the essence of 4E?
    Sorry for the delay in getting back. Alright, so my thoughts: I definitely agree with TwoSix's first thought above: a) "I imagine there's a decent correlation between those who disliked 4e and those who disliked TLJ for the same reasons; it didn't match their expectations of what "D&D" or "Star Wars" should be." I also saw on the TLJ thread on these boards that there are "people who like TLJ and dislike 4e." I didn't see a breakdown for the reasons for that in that thread (though I invoked it to try to get the reasoning for it). TwoSix provides this: b) "...their explanation is that primarily because Star Wars is a narrative and should evolve, whereas D&D is a process and should stay more fixed." Ovinomancer provides the following two thoughts: c) "I like the shakeup of TLJ, I think 4e solved 3e's problems, and I think 4e almost lost D&D's base by not respecting the traditionalists." d) "Star Wars is a narrative, D&D is a game used to create narratives. The c...
  • 02:52 PM - TwoSix quoted Manbearcat in post What is the essence of 4E?
    This may not the thread for it, but I mentioned it in another thread. There is a very significant overlap in long term Star Wars fans/traditionalists and D&D (no surprise as these were two of the seminal zeitgeists of that era). I would think that one of the takeaways of 4e (essence) is: “Don’t piss off your traditionalist base.” 4e was and has been relentlessly murdered for that. However, curiously, The Last Jedi was championed for just that (interestingly by some of the same crowd that has relentlessly attacked 4e) but put in pleasant terms such as “subverting expectations.” So I’m not sure that the “don’t alienate your base/piss off traditionalists” axiom is universal. It’s apparently not even universal among the significant D&D/Star Wars overlap! If anything, I imagine there's a decent correlation between those who disliked 4e and those who disliked TLJ for the same reasons; it didn't match their expectations of what "D&D" or "Star Wars" should be. Now, I also know s...

Friday, 29th June, 2018

  • 02:11 PM - Ratskinner quoted Manbearcat in post What is the essence of 4E?
    My take is that DMG1 didn’t have nearly a clear enough voice (while DMG2, design articles, and Dungeon articles were all very consistent) . There was an editor problem or a “too many cooks in the kitchen” problem with the writing/handling of various chapters and instruction. While myself and others saw it clearly in various 4e game tech and instruction, there are many others who didn’t see it. If that is the case (and it clearly is given how many times we’ve had this discussion), then there is obviously fault on the side of the 4e DMG1 writers or editor. I don’t think that can be argued.I think this is very true. I tend to personally lean in that direction, but I just do not see it in the 4e ABC1 books. I still recall my shock reading you folks' posts about playing 4e that way.
  • 05:51 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted Manbearcat in post What is the essence of 4E?
    My take is that DMG1 didn’t have nearly a clear enough voice (while DMG2, design articles, and Dungeon articles were all very consistent) . There was an editor problem or a “too many cooks in the kitchen” problem with the writing/handling of various chapters and instruction. While myself and others saw it clearly in various 4e game tech and instruction, there are many others who didn’t see it. If that is the case (and it clearly is given how many times we’ve had this discussion), then there is obviously fault on the side of the 4e DMG1 writers or editor. I don’t think that can be argued. IMHO several things happened. 4e was really pushed by the D&D group, this was Hasbro politics. They brewed up a design, Orcus, and started playtesting it and it just didn't gel. By that point they had apparently already basically committed to a release timeframe, so they went back and hammered out a rehash of the core system, which produced 4e. However, it was now behind, and they simply ran it through the proc...

Thursday, 28th June, 2018

  • 09:22 PM - Lanefan quoted Manbearcat in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    Relevant to the current topic of conversation; below is the entry for Dungeon World’s Fireball Spell: Fireball Level 3 Evocation Description You evoke a mighty ball of flame that envelops your target and everyone nearby, inflicting 2d6 damage which ignores armor. Nothing about setting aflame the target(s). Nothing about collateral damage to “things” (the text only says “everyone”, just like 4e’s “creatures”). Nothing about setting aflame unattended objects. No related keyword tech to cross reference (though DW has plenty of keyword tech). So, presumably every D&D player who has wargaming and/or rules as physics bent would smuggle them into DW and assert that (a) this is evidence that DW is clearly a boardgame which is divorced from a shared fiction and (b) a DW Wizard can’t immolate “things” because the text says “everyone”. I’m sure I’m incorrect, but I’d like someone who asserts that (a) and (b) apply to 4e but don’t apply to DW to explain why that is?As written that's a rather...


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