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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Today, 05:06 AM
    Well, if you can admit that the designers are fallible and there may be unintended consequences, then that's a start toward evaluating every rule as you come across it and re-interpreting as necessary. Beyond that, it's just a matter of individual rulings, which will vary from table to table.
    48 replies | 722 view(s)
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    Today, 02:54 AM
    Dungeons & Dragons has never been an engine that was designed to generate a narrative, any more than the physical laws of the real world are designed to generate a particular narrative. The player characters are nothing like protagonists in some mere story - they don't have plot armor - and if you forget that, then the dice will be happy to remind you otherwise. It honestly sounds to me like...
    111 replies | 2490 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Today, 01:51 AM
    It also eats your concentration slot, and has entirely different timing from the Smite class feature from which it is based. If anything, that's strong evidence for the designers simply not having a unified design mechanic. Maybe they had enough time between those two books coming out for them to realize that the mechanics of the smite line of spells were insufficient. The PHB was a rush job...
    48 replies | 722 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Today, 12:59 AM
    If you successfully corrupt a new player, then they're misled into believing that your method is the correct way, so the conflict comes when they try to play with someone who doesn't cheat.
    111 replies | 2490 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Today, 12:47 AM
    Are there any spells which do have a listed range of whatever you can hit with your melee weapon? If their goal was to get across the idea that you're attacking an enemy with the spell, then listing a range of 5 feet would convey that (if you forget about the existence of reach weapons); in any case, listing the range as 10 feet would have been misleading, since that could be read as to confer...
    48 replies | 722 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Today, 12:07 AM
    It's also entirely possible that the designer of the spell forgot to account for the existence of reach weapons. It would hardly be the first such oversight in this edition. The Sage has a tendency to err on the side of assuming everything is intentional, even when the alternative explanation - that someone goofed - would be far more plausible.
    48 replies | 722 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:36 PM
    You could also just swing a halberd without worrying about Booming Blade, and you'll be fine. Eldritch Knights are starved enough for cantrips as it is. Spending both a cantrip and a feat for a situational benefit with a particular weapon seems like a lot of work. But that's just me. I like gishes as much as anyone else, but I strongly prefer their original incarnation as a multi-class...
    48 replies | 722 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:51 PM
    You're messing with causality. You are creating a causal link between a failure to investigate and the next murder taking place, when there's no in-game reason for them to be related; and - relevant to the topic at hand - there's no reason for any player to assume they're related. If I assume we're using normal game rules, then there's very little risk associated with taking most actions. If...
    69 replies | 1960 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:20 PM
    Saelorn replied to MagicWeapons
    Honestly, that's probably the best way to do it, if you're going to include a system for pricing magic weapons. Don't make the +2 Giant Slayer much more expensive than a regular +2, because the +2 is the part that actually matters and the Giant Slayer is just a fun ribbon. The hard part is when you get to something like a Flametongue or a Frostbrand, where their special power is more than just...
    8 replies | 194 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:47 AM
    There is an older rule, or more like advice to the DM, stretching at least back to Basic; and that rule is, "Be fair". If you cheat, then you're just wasting everyone's time, and nobody will want to play with you. If you go around telling potential players that a good DM should contrive coincidences in the world in the name of telling a story or providing an appropriate challenge, then you are...
    111 replies | 2490 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:06 AM
    Your job isn't to present a believable challenge. Your job is to describe the environment, role-play the NPCs, and adjudicate uncertainty in action resolution. Making decisions for every goblin and/or hobgoblin in the area is part of the second task. If you don't understand that meta-gaming is bad, or why meta-gaming is bad, then you are in no position to offer advice. You must correct your...
    111 replies | 2490 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:25 AM
    The DM is constrained by the rules of role-playing whenever they act in a role-playing capacity, from the perspective of an NPC. Why did this group of goblins, or hobgoblins, decide to move here? How did they make that decision? If the answer is so that they can challenge the PCs, then that's meta-gaming. I'm only critical toward despicable meta-gamers, who are the true enemy of role-players...
    111 replies | 2490 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 11:56 PM
    False. The DM is not a writer, and is not telling a story. If you want to tell a story, then write a novel. Role-playing has some overlap with improvisational acting, so the DM is an actor in the same way that the players are actors. Meta-gaming governs the relationship between in-game reality and out-of-game information. If something exists entirely within the game-world, or entirely outside...
    111 replies | 2490 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 11:03 PM
    I'm not talking about D&D specifically; I'm talking about role-playing. If you don't want to role-play when you play D&D, then that's entirely on you, and role-playing advice would be irrelevant in that case. D&D is a role-playing game, though, so suggestions which forget that fact are not useful suggestions.
    111 replies | 2490 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 10:00 PM
    The first rule of role-playing is, quite literally, "Thou shalt not meta-game." All of your advice violates that rule. If the DM tailors the world to fit the capabilities of the party, then that's meta-gaming, and none of the players' decisions actually matter. You have essentially already decided the outcome, when you take their capabilities into account. If you consider their ability to...
    111 replies | 2490 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 07:33 PM
    A game where the players do not know the rules is not a game in any meaningful sense of the term. Have you ever made a character in a game where you hadn't read the rule book, and the GM wouldn't tell you what anything meant, so you were forced to guess? The situation you describe is a lot like that. If the DM doesn't tell you which resolution mechanic they are using, then any choice you make...
    69 replies | 1960 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 02:16 AM
    That's entirely a matter of perspective. A hundred gold is still a hundred gold, even if you have a hundred thousand. There is more use for money than just rituals and magic items, and a hundred gold can do a lot of good in the world. There's a big difference between rituals that are limited by casting time and rituals that are limited by material costs. It's something that every world-builder...
    34 replies | 807 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 11:32 PM
    It's swingy. Generally speaking, that makes it good for monsters and bad for PCs. In any given encounter, the monsters are very likely to lose regardless, but taking a big risk has a chance of paying off. To contrast, the PCs are probably going to win as long as they don't do anything stupid, and taking an unnecessary risk qualifies for that.
    33 replies | 1417 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Friday, 13th April, 2018, 07:24 PM
    You're assuming that in-game humans and in-game dwarves both follow the same distribution as real-world humans, but there's no basis for that assumption. Human height in the game world follows a 2d10 distribution from a base of 4'8". This isn't a case where rules apply to NPCs but not PCs. The rule is that you can roll randomly, or pick anything within the range. Humans in the real world are...
    25 replies | 759 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Friday, 13th April, 2018, 08:08 AM
    Humans in D&D range from 4'10" to 6'4". Dwarves in D&D range from 3'10" to 4'8". Ask your DM if their setting works differently.
    25 replies | 759 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Friday, 13th April, 2018, 01:22 AM
    It only covers a 90-degree arc. You can get out of it by moving slightly to the side.
    27 replies | 989 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 07:40 PM
    You still have hands. If you're that high of level that you're worrying about rakshasas and tiamats, then you probably have a magic dagger that nobody else needed. Go up there and stab that fool. Bounded Accuracy means you are just as likely to hit as the rogue is. Your 1d4+6 can add up over a few rounds. From the DM side of the table, if you're that worried about some players feeling left...
    27 replies | 989 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 09:17 PM
    That is the most ridiculous thing which has been said on these forums so far this year. There is an underlying reality which is the game world, and the rules are an attempt to model that reality. That is the fundamental premise of a role-playing game. If you aren't going to take this seriously, then there's no point in your posting.
    51 replies | 1459 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 08:28 PM
    Certainty of position is only useful if everything else is equally certain. Sometimes losing five feet due to rounding is preferable to always varying measurements based on arbitrary grid orientation. There's no benefit to counting quickly if the answer you end up with is too far different from the underlying reality. If the answer you get when applying the grid is different from the answer...
    51 replies | 1459 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 08:09 PM
    Instead of trying to add in a bunch of new content, you could alternatively cull about half of each spell list to remove the egregious offenders.
    129 replies | 4344 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 07:48 PM
    Remember that, if you are using the optional rules for playing on a grid, then there is also an optional rule to have diagonals count extra. Using a grid and not counting extra for diagonals would be the worst of both worlds.
    51 replies | 1459 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 06:59 AM
    The grid is an illusion. It doesn't correspond to anything within the game world. The spell templates are guidelines. They are tools, to help you if you are bad at visualizing effects in an imaginary 3D space. If a problem can be solved by re-orienting the reference frame, then it's not a problem. It's also possible that there might be some shenanigans going on. What spell were they...
    51 replies | 1459 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 12:18 AM
    I don't enjoy the part of D&D where wizards fly around and shoot disintegration beams out of their eyes. That sort of thing belongs in the supers genre, and not the dungeon fantasy genre.
    129 replies | 4344 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th April, 2018, 07:42 AM
    You have it backwards. I don't want or expect to play a superhero, but that is exactly the genre which the game invariably delivers for the wizard. There's no way to stop the wizard from turning into Superman, unless you go out of your way to make dumb decisions.
    129 replies | 4344 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th April, 2018, 01:57 AM
    It's entirely possible to re-skin something without damaging the integrity of the model, as I mentioned before with the katana example. You just can't have free reign to re-skin without regards for internal consistency, or else you get the sort of nonsense that 4E fans actually ended up with, like a character wielding a sign post as though it was a maul. I'm just saying, if my PC druid comes...
    89 replies | 2135 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Monday, 9th April, 2018, 11:14 PM
    New rules should be held to the same standards of abstraction and playability. What you are describing is sacrificing that on the altar of balance, which is the big mistake of fourth edition. Balance may be important, but it's not more important than the internal consistency of the model. It doesn't have wildshape, because wildshape adds an inordinate amount of complexity that is unlikely to...
    89 replies | 2135 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Monday, 9th April, 2018, 11:03 PM
    The chance of that happening is minuscule, but it does demonstrate a point. Nowadays, the wizard can only shoot a handful of disintegration beams out of his eyes per day while he's flying around like Superman; and unlike prior editions, he can't shrug off arrows entirely while doing so. The 5E wizard is less like Superman than the 2E wizard was. (Although, as a point of note, it's impossible for...
    129 replies | 4344 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Monday, 9th April, 2018, 10:26 PM
    If we're not already playing a Super game, then why is the wizard flying around like Superman and shooting disintegration beams out of his eyes? At least, that's the argument, as I understand it. Nobody really plays D&D because they want to play Supers; they play D&D because they want to play D&D, but half of the PCs ended up playing Supers anyway due to un-even scaling of character...
    129 replies | 4344 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Monday, 9th April, 2018, 08:39 PM
    Re-skinning uses existing mechanics, instead of trying to generate (and/or balance) new mechanics. The main problem with re-skinning is that it tries to retro-fit new fluff onto existing mechanics, instead of generating new mechanics that would accurately reflect that new fluff; more often than not, this results in disingenuous representation. Imagine that you have Object A which is reflected...
    89 replies | 2135 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Monday, 9th April, 2018, 09:29 AM
    If you want to call those games RPGs, then that's a massive unfounded assumption of your own. An RPG where the mechanics of the game do not reflect the reality of the game world is not an RPG in any meaningful sense of the term. It has merely mis-appropriated that label for the purposes of marketing.
    89 replies | 2135 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Monday, 9th April, 2018, 08:47 AM
    The only valid method of generating mechanics is to look at the reality of the game world and determine how that reality is expressed within the language of the game mechanics. The reason that this is a big deal is because you aren't following the proper order of operations. There's no reason for us to believe that the mechanics of the barbarian rage would be the best or most accurate mechanical...
    89 replies | 2135 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Sunday, 8th April, 2018, 11:46 PM
    I never said that only one reality can have a particular mechanical reflection. I said that any particular mechanic exists because it is a reflection of the reality, and not the other way around. There are more objects within the game reality than there are simple mechanical ways to reflect them within the mechanical language of the game; some of those objects are going to have the same...
    89 replies | 2135 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Sunday, 8th April, 2018, 05:16 AM
    That was, by a wide margin, the absolutely worst part of 4E. Even worse than minions. The quality of an RPG is in its ability to translate narrative concepts into mechanical language for the purpose of adjudication. The reason why a particular barbarian takes on certain aspects of a bear is because that's how totems work, in the codified reality of the game world. Not every game world works...
    89 replies | 2135 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Friday, 6th April, 2018, 09:06 PM
    The parallel argument that you probably would see is instead a question about how the rules were actually intended. But in any case, the reason you don't know anyone like that now is because most people have moved on from that edition. There are barely a handful of really active forums for the current edition. I'm not even certain that I see that level of disagreement here, in this thread,...
    89 replies | 2135 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Friday, 6th April, 2018, 08:09 PM
    Back before 3E, the internet was a much smaller place. I am absolutely certain that those same players would have had strong opinions about AD&D 2E Skills & Powers, if they'd had a convenient forum in which to debate it.
    89 replies | 2135 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Friday, 6th April, 2018, 02:14 AM
    That's a matter of opinion. There are enough weird interactions with taking two levels of a class, and enough character concepts floating around which exploit those interactions, for me to conclude that it's not integrated as well as it could be. I'm sure that they did a final sanity check to make sure that no combination of abilities was particularly game-breaking, but that's not the same as...
    89 replies | 2135 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Thursday, 5th April, 2018, 11:50 PM
    No. Fifth edition was not designed with multi-classing in mind. The one page of optional rules was clearly included as an afterthought. Whenever I've seen a multi-class character under discussion, it looks like it's exploiting the rules rather than working with them. As such, I choose to not multi-class, even if the option is available in that particular campaign.
    89 replies | 2135 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Thursday, 5th April, 2018, 11:06 PM
    A wizard in D&D is a lot like Mew in the first Pokémon game. Its stats aren't that great, but it can learn any move in the game, which means its only real practical use is as an HM mule that can go anywhere while only taking up one spot in the party. A wizard can cast Knock, or Teleport, or Water Breathing; but if you don't have a wizard, then you simply don't get past those obstacles, and you...
    129 replies | 4344 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Thursday, 5th April, 2018, 10:33 PM
    Fighters and wizards are both exponential. Fighters grow by number of attacks per round, and damage per attack, and attack accuracy. Wizards grow by spells per day, and spell damage, and spell accuracy, and versatility. Just saying that they're both exponential is not enough to compare them. Even saying that the wizard grows by a greater number of parameters is not sufficient. You would need...
    129 replies | 4344 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Thursday, 5th April, 2018, 10:00 PM
    Saelorn replied to Blue Rose
    I finally, finally finished reading through this book. It has a lot of pages, and most of it is setting detail rather than charts. Unfortunately, after all that, there's not much that I can add which hasn't already been said. This is a setting which is strongly inspired by Mercedes Lackey's world of Velgarth. Most of the setting elements have one-to-one correlations. Almost any story that...
    3 replies | 1278 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Thursday, 5th April, 2018, 12:20 AM
    I think it was Monte Cook's Arcana Unearthed which had an Akashic class, which accessed the ancestral memory to take on skills and abilities from other classes in a limited form. Third edition also had a prestige class in Complete Scoundrel, called the Master of Masks, which could access other class features by putting on stylized masks (one at a time, of course). There was also a...
    7 replies | 309 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Thursday, 5th April, 2018, 12:00 AM
    I agree. It is unfortunate. Unless you do something significant to address those issues, the XP mechanic falls into exactly the trap you mentioned. It's like, they had all these great ideas to bring back the things that made AD&D so great, but then they made a bunch of changes that directly negated those aspects of the game. They should have picked one way or the other, instead of trying to...
    289 replies | 7617 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th April, 2018, 11:04 PM
    I'm saying that the real mechanical benefit of making an alliance (or engaging in subterfuge, whatever) should be equivalent to the real mechanical benefit of fighting. If fighting gives you 500xp, then the benefit of not-fighting should also be worth ~500xp. But in a system where levels measure how good you are at fighting, and XP is awarded for fighting, the mechanical benefit of not-fighting...
    289 replies | 7617 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th April, 2018, 10:17 PM
    Honestly, that just sounds like the risk/reward model of the game is poorly calibrated. If fighting something gives you free XP at no real cost, but avoiding a fight gives you nothing, then gameplay would logically degenerate into a series of combats. While milestone advancement could help you bypass the worst of that, that's really just an obvious patch that doesn't fix the underlying...
    289 replies | 7617 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd April, 2018, 10:53 PM
    Not if the world actually works that way. If you would get more experience from killing zombies with a sword than you would from trapping them in a hole and dropping rocks on them, then that's simply a truth about how the world works, and the characters should recognize it. Pretending that the world doesn't actually work that way, in spite of evidence to the contrary, would be meta-gaming.
    289 replies | 7617 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd April, 2018, 10:04 PM
    That sounds more like they're in it for the loot, then. I'm not saying that's exactly it, but it's a similar form of risk/reward dynamic. Maybe you want to rescue your brother from the clutches of an evil cult, as an example. You risk your life, and perhaps you save him. If you could save him without risking your life, then you would obviously do that instead. Everyone optimizes. It is what...
    289 replies | 7617 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd April, 2018, 08:38 PM
    Previously, crossbows were the weapon of choice for rogues and ranged clerics, who could use them to their utmost without suffering any penalty from their Loading property. Now they have nothing.
    9 replies | 258 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd April, 2018, 07:50 PM
    Of note, during initial development, this mechanic was presented in the opposite manner. Instead of characters earning rest by not-playing, they accrued fatigue by playing; so instead of characters earning increased XP after not playing, they earned decreased XP after playing too long. From what I recall, the math worked out the same either way, but players were happier with being rewarded for...
    289 replies | 7617 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd April, 2018, 07:39 PM
    You're not losing anything by not showing up. You also don't get anything just for showing up. The XP mechanic represents the in-game reality of your character learning through the process of overcoming challenges; if you don't do anything, then you don't earn anything. That's the way that the world works. If it was possible to gain XP by not doing anything, then the first step of any campaign...
    289 replies | 7617 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd April, 2018, 12:12 AM
    Expertise might become problematic. I mean, it's already problematic, but this might make it worse. There's also an issue with spell save DCs. There's not really a generic item which improves all of those, so this formula would effectively give every caster a +3 to this value over where they are now, while only improving the saving throw bonuses of those who happened to be proficient in that...
    4 replies | 159 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Monday, 2nd April, 2018, 08:45 PM
    That's not a 5E thing. At least, it's not a thing past level 3 or so. In any case, a TPK is also not an interesting outcome. (If everyone dies to some random encounter, then that's going to feel like everything leading up to it was a waste of time.) As a general rule of game design, you don't want there to be a significant chance of TPK in most encounters, or else statistically a TPK will...
    289 replies | 7617 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Monday, 2nd April, 2018, 07:24 PM
    In a game where there is no cost to combat - you're definitely going to win, and any damage you take will be removed after a nap - getting rid of combat XP means that playing through the combat is just a huge waste of time at the table. When there's no positive or negative consequence to combat, fighting is entirely meaningless. I would be much more accepting of milestone-based XP if the...
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Sunday, 1st April, 2018, 10:41 PM
    If spellcasters are not readily identifiable by their appearance, then it's questionable whether you're even in the same genre anymore. Strong class-based systems only work in worlds where class-based distinctions are paramount. The types of disguise that a wizard could effectively pull off would be rather limited, in any case. They can't wear armor or use weapons, and they need their hands...
    54 replies | 1620 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Sunday, 1st April, 2018, 03:29 AM
    If the difference between PC fighters and NPC fighters is that PC fighters have special shenanigans that break the rules and would be horrible if NPC fighters had, then that sets a precedent which goes against everything that Pathfinder has ever stood for.
    54 replies | 1620 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Sunday, 1st April, 2018, 02:25 AM
    Wizards are rare. If the enemy group has a wizard in it, then you can 1) identify them on the spot, so you know to drop them first; and 2) you know to expect crazy shenanigans from them. They're wearing the designated shenanigans hat. If any old fighter could pull out those kinds of shenanigans, then 1) you wouldn't know who to target first, since it's just a guy with a sword; and 2) it would...
    54 replies | 1620 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Sunday, 1st April, 2018, 02:14 AM
    Except we've already had it explained by one of the design people, in a much earlier thread, that damage in Pathfinder always contains a substantial physical component. It's impossible to deal HP damage without making physical contact. And that means this attack is really just a guaranteed hit. Maybe it doesn't have some other special side-effect, and that's why it's still balanced...
    54 replies | 1620 view(s)
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    Friday, 30th March, 2018, 05:21 AM
    Ah. I am sorry to hear that, then. There is nothing in the book which can remotely challenge a level 17 party. Maybe start with the kraken, and work up from there? Give it more attacks, more damage, and a lot more hit points.
    15 replies | 453 view(s)
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    Friday, 30th March, 2018, 03:13 AM
    Actually, I was just being tautological. If someone says that Bounded Accuracy is a good design goal, then what they're really saying is that it's a good design goal, and by repeating this I have added nothing to the conversation. An entire party focusing on one frost giant can probably drop it in 2-3 rounds, if they're level 8 or so, but that's upwards of a dozen successful hits from the...
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    Friday, 30th March, 2018, 02:15 AM
    How high of a level do you need? In general, I would start with the Empyrean as a good baseline for a semi-high-level boss. It already has slam attacks, energy bolts, and legendary actions.
    15 replies | 453 view(s)
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    Friday, 30th March, 2018, 02:02 AM
    Specifically with Eldritch Blast, you could use the special ability that pushes your target to move objects at a distance, and that could get very difficult to adjudicate when you're throwing out three blasts in a round. With that kind of useful at-will magic, I'd be more prone to try and solve obstacles with an impromptu game of Portal than in the usual way, and that's not something that an...
    16 replies | 442 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Friday, 30th March, 2018, 12:43 AM
    The big problem with encounters in 4E had little to do with the math, and much more to do with design assumptions with other parts of the game. In particular, it was problematic for parties to only face enemies that were within three levels of their own, but that was necessary since easy healing meant every combat had to stand on its own and there was very little in the way of attrition. The...
    79 replies | 2096 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th March, 2018, 11:21 PM
    You're thinking of a different one of his many nonsensical rants. I was specifically talking about his views on armor-as-hit-points, and how the ability of armor to absorb a blow (rather than deflect/negate it) was already assumed by the game mechanics, except in that they were already included in the fighter's inherent HP value rather than being a separate pool.
    25 replies | 623 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th March, 2018, 10:52 PM
    For what it's worth, in one of his many ramblings, Gygax once described the vast HP value of a high-level fighter as in-part due to the heavy enchantment on the armor which he is obviously wearing. The only way it makes sense for a level 15 fighter to have over a hundred hit points is if you attribute a good chunk of those to his +3 (or better) plate armor, apparently. I guess it never...
    25 replies | 623 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th March, 2018, 10:17 PM
    Having played at least that many editions, my preference is for the mathematical regularity of 4E. A high-level PC should face minimal threat from a low-level monster, and vice versa. Any sort of accuracy disparity is preferable to bloated HP, though. There's nothing worse than succeeding with an attack, and still having virtually zero effect.
    79 replies | 2096 view(s)
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    Thursday, 29th March, 2018, 09:34 PM
    Anyone who tells you that Bounded Accuracy is a good thing is trying to sell you something. In particular, they're trying to sell you on Bounded Accuracy. Like most game mechanics, Bounded Accuracy is a trade-off. The trade-off for allowing low-level goblins to (almost) hit high-level PCs is that all monsters have wildly inflated Hit Points, such that you need to stab a giant hundreds of times...
    79 replies | 2096 view(s)
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    Thursday, 29th March, 2018, 09:12 PM
    I'm not saying that incredible check results can't allow for incredible feats to be done. I'm just saying that, by doing very well at Task A, you are unlikely to end up performing Task B instead. If your goal is to pick someone's pocket, then rolling well on the check shouldn't have you steal their clothes as well, because you were just trying to pick their pocket and you were never trying to...
    61 replies | 2048 view(s)
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    Thursday, 29th March, 2018, 07:59 PM
    The major thing to remember is that the outcome of the check doesn't necessarily correspond to the degree of success. If someone throws a ball to you, then you can either catch it or not, but catching it with a result of 15 is not necessarily more impressive than catching it with a result of 27. Maybe rolling a 1 or 2 means that you aren't even close, and it's embarrassing because of how...
    61 replies | 2048 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th March, 2018, 07:38 PM
    The obvious solution, then, is to restrict certain feats such that they no longer synergize as well with Extra Attack. That way, you're only meddling with the optional rules which are obviously broken rather than a core class which works well within the core rules.
    323 replies | 13212 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th March, 2018, 07:24 PM
    Bounded Accuracy places a limit on how high AC can go, which is accounted for in the DMG formulas, and restricts the range of possibilities. I don't know that it's even possible for those formulas to create a monster than can be hit often enough by a party of moderate level, but which is not hit unreasonably often by a low-level party. After all, the accuracy of a PC might only change by ~5...
    79 replies | 2096 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th March, 2018, 06:34 AM
    Historically speaking, third edition had the Shugenja class, which was divided by classical elements. You got a bonus when casting spells of your own element, but you could never learn the opposing element, which was unfortunate since all of the blasting spells were in Fire and all of the healing spells were in Water; if you wanted both, it meant you had to specialize in buffs or de-buffs. ...
    23 replies | 593 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th March, 2018, 12:49 AM
    It really depends on the game and the setting. In something like D&D, magic items provide a hook to keep the players interested, since they never know what they'll find next. In some editions, the so-called treadmill of enhancement progression also serves to give the players something to look forward to - if you have a +2 greatsword, then you want to keep playing in the hopes of finding a +3...
    28 replies | 751 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Wednesday, 28th March, 2018, 10:14 PM
    Something that can be very hard for game designers to come to terms with is that some potential players aren't very good at math, and they also get a say in how a game mechanic is received.
    79 replies | 2096 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Wednesday, 28th March, 2018, 08:46 PM
    As the 5E rules are nice enough to point out, this sort of thing is going to vary by DM. Personally, I would narrate those two situations in vastly different ways. Of that much, we are in agreement.
    79 replies | 2096 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Wednesday, 28th March, 2018, 09:21 AM
    Between the two extremes, nearly-always hitting (for trivial damage) is moderately less frustrating than nearly-never hitting (for overwhelming damage). If nothing else, this way allows each combatant to respond to the changes in their status. Honestly, though, a middle road would probably have been preferable. If not for that thrice-cursed Bounded Accuracy, they could have had higher-level...
    79 replies | 2096 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Wednesday, 28th March, 2018, 08:57 AM
    Monsters in 5E primarily scale by Hit Points. The main difference between a level 1 monster and a level 2 monster is that the level 2 monster doesn't die in one round, unless you are way higher level than it is. If a fight has more than one monster that's higher than level 1, then that fight is going to drag on; it's the way the system is designed. If you don't want fights that take forever,...
    79 replies | 2096 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Wednesday, 28th March, 2018, 01:54 AM
    That's not the druid being overpowered. That's just one spell being overpowered, and the DM failing to do their job of weeding it out.
    57 replies | 1864 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Wednesday, 28th March, 2018, 01:17 AM
    You are damaging your credibility. I am not here to deny anyone's lived experiences, but I can say with absolute certainty that some groups go through four combats before a short rest. Even in tier 1. Nobody has to die. There are sufficient resources.
    57 replies | 1864 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Tuesday, 27th March, 2018, 09:46 PM
    Based on the historical class, from the previous edition, you could make an even argument for either Con + Int or Con + Cha, because both sub-classes were represented equally. I went with Con + Cha, in this poll, since the Inspiring aspect of the class seems more iconic than the Tactical aspect (to me).
    52 replies | 1055 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Saturday, 24th March, 2018, 07:26 AM
    Unless you're using "mental" as a euphemism for "skillmonkey", I have no idea where you're going with this.
    21 replies | 892 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Tuesday, 20th March, 2018, 09:14 PM
    The lack of data is, itself, useful data. Not as useful as the data we were looking for, but it's something. Part of me wonders if this is why they didn't bother with things like stat penalties in this edition. I mean, if nobody is ever going to build a halfling with Strength 20, because the Dexterity bonus is enough to ensure that every halfling builds for Dexterity instead of Strength, then...
    240 replies | 7175 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Tuesday, 20th March, 2018, 08:46 PM
    What's the alternative to that assumption? Would you assume something like a 3d6 distribution for both Strength and Dex, such that some elves would have more Strength than Dex, even though they all add +2 to the latter value? Based on actual observations, how many elves have you seen with higher Strength than Dexterity?
    240 replies | 7175 view(s)
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  • Saelorn's Avatar
    Tuesday, 20th March, 2018, 08:41 PM
    In order: Yes, judicious house ruling, and apparently not.
    240 replies | 7175 view(s)
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Thursday, 19th April, 2018


Wednesday, 18th April, 2018


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Wednesday, 18th April, 2018

  • 10:22 AM - Doug McCrae mentioned Saelorn in post DM advice: How do you NOT kill your party?
    Saelorn A purely "world-centric" approach to rpg-ing where nothing is tailored to the PCs is a perfectly valid way to run a rpg. But it's not the only or even the most common way to do it. D&D has always supported the tailored approach to some degree. The early modules all had recommended levels very clearly displayed on the front cover. All the WotC editions of D&D have provided mechanisms for balancing encounters. 3e is clear that both tailored and status quo encounters are reasonable tools for the DM to use. The relevant section is page 48 of the 3.5 DMG.
  • 08:45 AM - Sadras mentioned Saelorn in post Do you use skill challenges?
    ...ut who says they do not know the rules? I narrate something, the players decide how to overcome it using one of their skills. If there are options available on that specific skill check, I let them know before hand. Yes, I might be hiding the fact that they are in a SC but that is it. Have you ever made a character in a game where you hadn't read the rule book, and the GM wouldn't tell you what anything meant, so you were forced to guess? The situation you describe is a lot like that. If the DM doesn't tell you which resolution mechanic they are using, then any choice you make is meaningless, because you lack the necessary information to make a meaningful decision. Any DM who would engage in such chicanery is inherently untrustworthy. The whole reason for playing a game with codified rules in the first place, is so that everyone can be on the same page about how the world works, so the players can make meaningful decisions. I do not believe this fits the scenario's I'm proposing. @Saelorn imagine you and the rest of the party are investigating a murder scene. I as DM have secretly set up a SC. Should you succeed in the SC you catch the perpetrator before he murders someone else, should you fail the SC you are too late in stopping him perform the 2nd murder. I do not see how the PCs' actions in the murder investigation change whether they know they are part of a SC or not. How has their ability to make meaningful decisions been tampered with? I agree but furthermore I would also say that in order for someone to want to adopt the SC over another method (even just letting it play out) that value has to add to or surpass the value of the method they currently use. Good point! Ok but can I pose this question... why does it have to be either or? Why is it either a single roll or a skill challenge. For your example above I would play it out in an abstracted day by day form, with the PC's determining what they do each day and I resolving their actions as well as what...

Monday, 9th April, 2018

  • 10:52 PM - Blue mentioned Saelorn in post Do you multiclass for raw mechanical power or for character reasons?
    Saelorn, if I was designing the game, I wouldn't use a lot of mechanics even for the existing fluff. Why can a barbarian rage a certain amount of times per day, regardless if they are one right after each other or all spread out? These mechanics start with doing imperfect jobs of modelling the narrative already. But what they have going for them is that they are tested against all of the other rules and balanced. So, Assumption #1 is that using existing rules means a lot less work in generating and balancing rules. So, if we are introducing new fluff, and it's a reasonable match for the existing rules, regardless if there might be a slightly better rule out there somewhere that would need to be designed, tested, and balanced against other options, then Assumption #1 say use the pre-tested rules that were playtested and are used at a scope out of the reach of any individual table. In other words: A) Trying to hold new fluff to a higher threshold than existing fluff is a non-start...
  • 04:25 AM - MoonSong mentioned Saelorn in post Do you multiclass for raw mechanical power or for character reasons?
    Let me try to take you at your word, and put out a few examples that I think will show how crazy saying that book-fluff is the only right way to play. I'm not sure how you keep reading absolutes into my posts. (And if you are aware Saelorn and me are different posters) First, please let me know the definitive fluff for the Fighter. You know, the book-fluff that is the only type of fighter you'll allow. Already said fighter is a generic warrior and not likely an IC construct. I'm playing in an official 5e setting, Forgotten Realms. I have a character from Kara-Tur which is oriental themed. Am I playing the game wrong if I describe my character having a wakizashi instead of a short sword? A short sword could be any sword of such size and overall characteristics. So, no? (now if you wanted to refluff a gladius or a claymore...) Of course, it's lucky I'm playing a character from Kara-Tur because I wanted to play the Samurai fighter subclass from XGtE, and I understand you wouldn't allow it without Japanese fluff. Somehow I'm conditioned to consider plain disregard of flavor as a sign of munchkinism, but whatevs your PC, not mine. In my mind I would still keep considering your character as Japan...

Wednesday, 4th April, 2018

  • 08:23 PM - Yaarel mentioned Saelorn in post Do We Still Need "Race" in D&D?
    Saelorn Shadowfell is the realm of the dead. A spirit realm of ghosts. They obviously have no bodies, because the bodies are back in the material decomposing in the ground. The shadowfell is completely devoid of matter. It is spirit only. When your character ‘visits’ the spirit realm of the shadowfell − where physicality is nonexistent − what do you think is happening? No place has matter except the material plane. (And the elemental planes.) The spirit worlds of shadowfell and feywild, the ether, the spirit worlds of the celestial and infernal, the dreaming, and so on, are modes of existence without matter.

Friday, 16th March, 2018

  • 10:29 PM - pming mentioned Saelorn in post How much do your trust the advice of others?
    ... a total of 21 damage. With this system, a weapon that did 4d4 was, overall, superior to a weapon that did 2d10 simply because rolling a 4 is two and a half times as likely as rolling a 10; and you get 4 initial chances over 2. My late wife, Yen Lo Wang bless her soul, had a female half-ogre fighter who was strong (and big) enough to use a Giant Sized Battle Ax did 4d4 damage with it (plus str, which I can't remember). She killed herself. She had a LOT of HP's. She Fumbled (roll of 1 on attack roll), then managed to get the dreaded 'hit self'. She started rolling 4d4 and ended up with multiple dice penetrating multiple times. I can't remember what the total was, but if I had to guess it was well into 60 points! Anyway. Advice is good from experience in time and in variety. Focused experience, I find, is usually a LOT less useful in a RPG context. (and yes, I take the Sage Advice stuff with a grain of salt specifically for these reasons; I trust multiple folks on these boards more, @Saelorn, @Lanefan, @Sacrosanct, to name but a few). ^_^ Paul L. Ming

Saturday, 17th February, 2018

  • 04:22 AM - Harzel mentioned Saelorn in post "I'm no good at that" and Inspiration
    ...ane) Cleric who just can't get the hang of the outdoors and is bad at Survival and Animal Handling, even though they are Wisdom based skills. The bard who's a horrible liar and has disadvantage at Deception. So, what do you think? Would you take advantage of this with your own characters? It's a creative idea and a direction that I think some people would enjoy. However, I'm a little unclear on which choice you are trying to reward. There is the choice to be particularly bad at some skills. Is it enough to make that choice and then only use those skills when forced to? If so, rewarding the use of the skills seems a little bit indirect (not terrible by any means, but just a little bit off). There is the choice to use a skill you are bad at even when you don't have to. In this case, your mechanic doesn't seem entirely necessary, although it does make a disaster more likely than just having a low stat does. This is the one that feels to me unpleasantly gamey in the sense that Saelorn describes. It just reminds me a lot of FATE, and how players are encouraged to make foolish mistakes because it causally benefits them later. Using your example, I don't want anyone to go out of their way to insult the Duke because it will causally help them fight the cult leader. Roleplaying is supposed to be its own reward. You should insult the Duke because that's what your character would do, not because you really want advantage against Circle of Death. But that's just me. No, you have at least some company. :)
  • 02:59 AM - DMMike mentioned Saelorn in post "I'm no good at that" and Inspiration
    But I don't see how your system rewards character growth. . . I see how it rewards doing things your character wouldn't normally attempt...but to what end? They're likely going to fail. And they're likely going to make things worse for the party by trying. It doesn't look like it rewards character growth so much as character exploration. Have you ever met someone who's good at everything? Seems to never fail? Those people suck. This system rewards you for not being one of those people. Failure, then, is exactly the idea! However, "you fail" is a big, fat, dead-end. Something interesting must come from the failure...like making things worse for the party. The tricky part is to change the reward system from "roll a disadvantaged skill check to gain an advantage." Players will gladly roll those left and right. As Saelorn mentioned, it does point to the Fate system of "accept this consequence, and get a reward." I don't like that either, because I don't want the GM and players to haggle with each other over story outcomes. You could try a modified Fate system. The GM picks a failure condition that's worth Inspiration, then the player decides if he wants to attempt it with a (poor) chance of success. Better yet, a player can Lack the Knack at any time, and just know that rolling the Fail is going to be horrible...but worth Inspiration.

Friday, 16th February, 2018

  • 06:20 AM - pemerton mentioned Saelorn in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...hin the fiction. A player attempts an action to change the fiction "I try to hit him with my sword" <-- attempting something inside the fiction."I try to hit him with my sword" is a move in the game. It's a move that is declared in the real world, at the table. Declaring the move also establishes something in the fiction (at a minimum, that the PC desires to hit the opponent with his/her sword; at most tables, probably also that the PC is performing physical movements of a sword-fighting nature). Declaring the move also signals a desire as to the future state of the fiction, namely, the defeat of the opponent by the PC by means of swordfighting. Adjudication of that attempt writes the fiction. "Sir Bargle swings and misses, nearly cutting off his own toes in the attempt" <-- the actual fiction that develops.At most tables, Sir Bargle swings became an element of the fiction when the player made the action declaration, and so didn't depend on eg the roll of any dice. (I think Saelorn is an exception to this, but I'm also pretty confident that his is a minority view.) As I posted not too far upthread, the resolution mechanics mediate between the players' expressed desire as to the future state of the fiction -ie that his/her PC defeat the opponent by use of a sword - and the actual formation of a consensus, at the table, as to whether or not that desired fiction actually becomes part of the shared fiction. This is why it is possible to collectively generate a shared fiction without engaging in collaborative storytelling - because the process can be mediated by way of action declarations and resolution. Also, at the current level of description of these processes, there is nothing that makes "I try to hit him with my sword" any different from "I search the study for the map we've been looking for." while the end consumers (the players) have some control over the story they do not have much if any control over the setting or backdrop against which that st...

Wednesday, 14th February, 2018

  • 09:10 PM - prosfilaes mentioned Saelorn in post So what exactly is the root cause of the D&D rules' staying power?
    This all may be....but in most instances, the line connection people would make would be to D&D. Some of these elements may have existed prior to D&D, in wargaming or what have you....but the assembling of these into a game, and then that game serving as a source of inspiration for many games that followed is more my point. It was as much in response to Saelorn as to you, but I think it is being overblown. Do computer games have numeric attributes for things in the game? Yes. Does it come from D&D? No. Hamurabi (1968) and Space Travel (1969) had things in game (in Space Travel a player avatar) with numeric attributes. Even in more direct cases... GURPS has templates. Are these classes derived from D&D? Certainly the influence of D&D can't be missed, but at the same time, if there were a GURPS without D&D, at some point the idea would have come forward to bundle a bunch of stuff together to make it simpler to make characters. Likely earlier and possibly less flexible (and thus more class-like), because there wouldn't be the big specter of D&D and class-based systems hanging over their head.

Saturday, 10th February, 2018

  • 06:40 PM - monsmord mentioned Saelorn in post How much should Human features differ from Humans from Earth?
    Our variation is driven by evolution and environmental influences. A fantasy world will have any number of other extraordinary factors, including magic and the likelihood of interbreeding with non-humans races. Anything goes, really. I do agree with Saelorn to a point - if the features go too far they wouldn't be human per se (wings, scales, extra limbs, etc.). And Mercule's point about baseline abilities is spot on, at least in D&D and similar games. But odd coloration, facial feature sizes/shapes, height/weight - sure, why not? If you do go the extraordinary route with features we'd classify as bizarre or inhuman here, just blame magic. :)

Thursday, 25th January, 2018

  • 05:24 PM - Blue mentioned Saelorn in post Should time spent on system mechanics be based in interest or importance/risk?
    Discussing with Saelorn made me realize I never said why this difference was so important. When I originally was playing with this idea in design, I was picturing a mechanical risk/reward magnitude rating, which is at partially under player control in that the characters can often escalate or attempt to de-escalate. So that the complexity given also put boundaries on the magnitude of the outcome (either way). So a bar-brawl, archery contest, or selling low-worth (compared to you) items might be low magnitude - just a single or few rolls, but no big deal who wins - you got 20% more or less than expected, or you have bragging rights and a trophy. This also means that I can run "easy" combats quickly (mechanically) and not take up a lot of session time, without inflicting more risk on the characters by "stealing" an opportunity for them to play out every move. But if it should be interest based (which seems to be where more people are talking about, and in line with my own rethinking that spawned this t...
  • 05:24 PM - Blue mentioned Saelorn in post Should time spent on system mechanics be based in interest or importance/risk?
    ...ealt with quickly with some more abstracted rolls, perhaps only from the few characters with combat focus (I'm thinking Elliot from Leverage) while everyone gets involved and spends time on other aspects of the heists. Or most scenes are just a few rolls from the impacted characters (again, thinking Leverage). So, assuming that had different levels of mechanical resolution that could reflect non-system aspects (how well the player gave the speech, tactics during combat, that you knew the password even though the guard didn't recognize you, that you had scouted the area and planned a stealthy entrance), as a player and a DM would you prefer: More important/risky situations involve more system involvement. VS. More interesting to players involve more system involvement. The majority of cases importance and player interest those go hand-in-hand, so this is a question about the times they don't. EDIT: (Also putting this in a comment so the previous readers see it.) Discussing with Saelorn made me realize I never said why this difference was so important. When I originally was playing with this idea in design, I was picturing a mechanical risk/reward magnitude rating, which is at partially under player control in that the characters can often escalate or attempt to de-escalate. So that the complexity given also put boundaries on the magnitude of the outcome (either way). So a bar-brawl, archery contest, or selling low-worth (compared to you) items might be low magnitude - just a single or few rolls, but no big deal who wins - you got 20% more or less than expected, or you have bragging rights and a trophy. This also means that I can run "easy" combats quickly (mechanically) and not take up a lot of session time, without inflicting more risk on the characters by "stealing" an opportunity for them to play out every move. But if it should be interest based (which seems to be where more people are talking about, and in line with my own rethinking that spawned this threa...

Thursday, 18th January, 2018

  • 03:39 PM - lowkey13 mentioned Saelorn in post Are there too darn many spellcasters?
    ...lls and making nearly every class a caster, and giving EVERY class a caster option. Flat out. Total blame. Right on WotC. TBH, I think the blame does go to WoTC. But the blame is there because of the way they chose to design the classes. Which is what I think some people on the thread are missing, when they keep attempting to equate, say, 1e abilities with 5e spells. The class design of 5e is predicated on spell use. Even "abilities" like smite use up spell slots. The design has advantages (in simplicity, making it easier to design classes that are roughly equivalent) and versatility (BUILD UR OWN RANGER!), but is also the reason that people who are more used to older editions notice the vast increase in spell use. Well, that and constant cantrip spamming by almost every class- and that's before you get into the feats that allow the very few non-spell casters to cast spells. Which is why I think some people miss the point; it's not really about counting classes (I think that @Saelorn picked up on this) - it's about the use in the game. A wizard in 5e uses magic every combat, and, more often than not, every single round of every combat. A magic user in OD&D/1e/BECMI didn't. Many combats in the older editions wouldn't have any spellcasting; almost every round of every combat in 5e has spellcasting. Again, this isn't good, or bad, but it is different.

Wednesday, 17th January, 2018

  • 11:09 AM - pemerton mentioned Saelorn in post What Is an Experience Point Worth?
    ...iv) some sensory processes lead to my fellow players, including the GM, knowing my action declaration; (v) further neural processes in my fellow players, including the GM, that then feed into social causal processes - possibly in conjunction with some motor processes (eg rolling dice) and external mechanical processes (dice falling to the table and coming to a stop) and sensory procegsses (ie reading the dice) - generate assent that my PC has, indeed, picked up a cup. The above are of course the barest of sketches, but they illustrate the difference between the activity of picking up a cup, and the activity of contributing to the authorship of a shared ficiton in which an imaginary person picks up a cup. As far as player impact on the game, railroading, etc are concerned, what is key is step (v) in the second of the above two paragraphs - ie how do we, as RPGers, generate assent that the PC has picked up a cup? What are the rules, habits, expectations, etc that guide this? In Saelorn's game, the GM always has a veto at step (v). Hence the player does not have control over whether or not his/her PC picks up a cup - the best that s/he can do is make it true that the PC wants to pick up a cup. To say that the veto is exercised "fairly", or "neutrally", or by reference to the "truth" about the gameworld (eg the GM has secretly determined, at some point or other, that the "cup" the PC can "perceive" is really an illusion) is neither here nor there as far as my point is concerned - that the GM exercises the veto for some reason doesn't stop it being a veto. In other words, outcomes only occur in the fiction if they are consistent with what the GM is prepared to permit the fiction to be. The players don't have control over outcomes in the fiction - at best they can force the GM to choose between alternatives. (Is or isn't the PC going to be allowd to pick up a cup?) The more usual limit IME is that the players can make minor changes to the game world that don't and...

Tuesday, 16th January, 2018

  • 03:20 PM - darkbard mentioned Saelorn in post What Is an Experience Point Worth?
    ...ion, etc.). Inevitably, though, I would run into problems when the goals of the player ran contrary or orthogonal to what I had preplanned, which opened up the can of worms of railroading the PCs back into the story in clever ways or forcing, in hamhanded fashion, their storylines into my own. The posts of pemerton and Manbearcat (and a few others) opened my eyes, though, to a form of gaming where all participants, the GM included, are equal participants in the narrative; where the GM too plays to find out what will happen, not simply reveal his already predetermined narrative to the players; and I haven't looked back since. Again, this is not to say that this way is inherently better than other forms of gaming; clearly others prefer other ways to play. I think it is better, but that's a matter of preference. I also think it's ultimately more democratic, which makes for more appealing interpersonal dynamics, but, again, that too may be a matter of taste. But when Lanefan and Saelorn deny that such gaming is possible (or practical, whatever that means in this context) or that it is even RPGing, I simply say, as pemerton and Manbearcat already have before me, the facts speak otherwise.
  • 12:19 AM - Kobold Boots mentioned Saelorn in post What Is an Experience Point Worth?
    After reading all of this, I'm left with the desire to DM @pemerton, @Saelorn Lanefan, and @Manbearcat via virtual table in at least a one shot. While they're going back and forth with each other, all I'm thinking is that there's a lot of creativity that I'd like to see in one place. I'll be careful what I wish for. KB

Monday, 15th January, 2018

  • 09:42 PM - pemerton mentioned Saelorn in post What Is an Experience Point Worth?
    At session 0 he-as-DM says something like "The basic idea I've got here to start with is the rescue of some Elves - keep that in mind while generating your characters - and we'll see what happens after that." I might say something similar at the start of a campaign. But - and here's the key - as DM I know full well (and I think from his second sentence Saelorn also knows) that once the puck drops and the players get going that I might very quickly find myself in react mode e.g. when by session 3 they've in-character decided the poncy Elves aren't worth bothering with (no reward is worth this!) and are instead headed to the coast to jump on a ship and see where it takes them. When they throw me a curveball I have to react to it. I also come up with the actual adventure modules or homebrews I can string together to make up said plot, again in isolation of player interference, knowing full well I'll be lucky to end up running half of them.So what you describe is one way to run a game - the GM keeps throwing "hooks" at the players until they bite on one. Another way is for the players to generate PCs that have hooks built in (eg the mage with a demon-possessed brother who wants to acquire magic items that will let him confront his brother and end the possession) and the GM bites on those. Saelorn asserts that the first is RPGing and t...
  • 03:56 PM - darkbard mentioned Saelorn in post What Is an Experience Point Worth?
    Neutrally reacting doesn't make the game world any less the DM's. The DM is going to be the one determining - probably by a somewhat random roll in all cases, taking any relevant skills etc. into account - what and how many ships are in port, how long it takes to get passage on one (or buy one outright), what the weather does once they leave harbour, and how good their navigation is. It's even possible the DM has already made notes on what ships are in port...who knows? But it's not the players' place to be determining any of these things, it's the DM's; forced in this case by the unexpected decision of the players/characters. What the players have to do is react, preferably in character, to the world presented to them. And this right here, Lanefan, is why you (and Saelorn too) are likely never to see eye-to-eye with pemerton, Manbearcat, et al. when it comes to gaming philosophy. Your vision of roleplaying is limited to GM control, and you refuse to acknowledge as possible (let alone potentially preferable) any style of gameplay that seeks to limit the privilege of GM control over that of the other players in the game.
  • 10:03 AM - pemerton mentioned Saelorn in post What Is an Experience Point Worth?
    The evils of meta-gaming are over-rated in my opinion.Agreed. But the weird thing about this discussion is that it is not about player metagaming - which has a long tradition of attracting suspicion among RPGer - but GM metagaming, which is objected to by Gygaxian skill-oriented RPGers (see eg Lewis Pulsipher's essays in early White Dwarf), but has never been objected to on the grounds Saelorn advances by anyone but Saelorn, to the best of my knowledge. If the players ignore the beggar on the street, who has a vital clue, there is no sin in getting that clue to the players in another way. Having the story grind to a halt is way worse. And no, this is not railroading, because what the players choose to do is still entirely up to them. What you are describing is very heavy on the simulationist end of the spectrum.Influenced by The Forge, I would regard the sort of RPGing in which there are "vital clues" that the GM has to get to the players as also simulationist - the players explore not a setting or a character but a story written by the GM. Personally I do regard this as a form of railroading, because the outcome - PCs learn vital clue to this important matter - is written by the GM independently of play. the "narrative snobs" might very well accuse you of being not a true role player!I don't know if I count as a "narrative snob", but personally what I prefer in R...


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Thursday, 19th April, 2018

  • 03:35 AM - Arilyn quoted Saelorn in post DM advice: How do you NOT kill your party?
    ...game like any of the ones you mentioned. Lots of DnD players are looking for a narrative. It's the stated goal of the game, especially these days. Just read the introduction. It's all about living out the fantasy of being a hero, and creating exciting stories with your friends. New players come to the table, their minds full of Legolas or Conan and dwarves and wizards. They probably don't want their beloved character to die 15 minutes into the game. And I know you hate it, but those narrative indy techniques are creeping into DnD. Why? They help keep players alive and help with the story telling. You're right about DnD not being my favourite game. I have fun with it, however, and it can be used to tell satisfying tales. And yes, I'm still role playing. The games I mentioned are all role playing games. We are not doing improvisational theatre. I am convinced that what's happening at my table, is in fact, pretty common. If you restrict role playing games to a narrow band of "Saelorn's way", our hobby will be impoverished.
  • 03:05 AM - Dausuul quoted Saelorn in post Thoughts on Eldritch Knight Polearm Build
    Are you honestly arguing that they intended for this spell to work with polearms if you take the Spell Sniper feat? No. I don't think they considered Spell Sniper at all. That's a loophole. But the spell was not supposed to work with a reach weapon. That was a deliberate decision. There is no other conceivable reason for adding the clause "within the spell's range, otherwise the spell fails" to the first sentence. If you strike out all of that text, and set the range to "self," nothing changes except that now you can use the spell with a reach weapon. If the designers did not intend to prevent the use of reach weapons, why is that text there?
  • 02:40 AM - Arilyn quoted Saelorn in post DM advice: How do you NOT kill your party?
    If you successfully corrupt a new player, then they're misled into believing that your method is the correct way, so the conflict comes when they try to play with someone who doesn't cheat. Nope. My players have happily played with a variety of different GMs, no anguish or conflict at all. Cause, guess what? There's lots and lots of different styles of rpging, as I believe you've been reminded of many a time.:) But more seriously, if you want a more narrative style game, even a little, you kind of need to do some adjusting on the fly. I'm not just talking about fudging rolls, but making little adjustments as you go, cause who knew the players were going to go for an hour, rolling nothing higher than a 4, while the monsters can't seem to roll less than a 16. And now the players are wisely heading back to safe territory, so maybe, just maybe, it would be a good idea if I skipped the hobgoblin ambush I was planning. The typical DnD game is full of combat and traps, way more danger than e...
  • 12:55 AM - Dausuul quoted Saelorn in post Thoughts on Eldritch Knight Polearm Build
    Are there any spells which do have a listed range of whatever you can hit with your melee weapon? All of the "smite" spells work that way. The language there is "The next time you hit a creature with a weapon attack before this spell ends, [stuff happens]." The range of the spell is "self." It's much shorter and cleaner than the wording of green-flame blade and booming blade. They really did go out of their way to limit the range to 5 feet. Remember that NPCs and monsters cast the same spells that PCs do, and giants all have reach with their weapons. So that wording is aimed at preventing giants from abusing green-flame blade and booming blade? Seriously? The existing rules simply aren't precise enough to support that argument. If the target is not within the spell's 5-foot range, the spell fails. How much more precise does it need to be?
  • 12:15 AM - Dausuul quoted Saelorn in post Thoughts on Eldritch Knight Polearm Build
    It's also entirely possible that the designer of the spell forgot to account for the existence of reach weapons. It would hardly be the first such oversight in this edition. They went out of their way to specify that the target had to be within the spell's range. If they weren't trying to prevent the use of reach weapons, what would be the point of that language? Other than reach weapons, there are very few ways to make melee attacks against targets more than 5 feet away.
  • 12:13 AM - neogod22 quoted Saelorn in post Thoughts on Eldritch Knight Polearm Build
    It's also entirely possible that the designer of the spell forgot to account for the existence of reach weapons. It would hardly be the first such oversight in this edition. The Sage has a tendency to err on the side of assuming everything is intentional, even when the alternative explanation - that someone goofed - would be far more plausible.I'm pretty sure that's what happened.

Wednesday, 18th April, 2018

  • 09:21 PM - jaelis quoted Saelorn in post Thoughts on Eldritch Knight Polearm Build
    Spending both a cantrip and a feat for a situational benefit with a particular weapon seems like a lot of work. Well, you get a free cantrip if you take the sniper feat. So really it is just one extra feat for the whole BB trick, and fighters do get a decent number of feats.
  • 03:08 PM - Caliban quoted Saelorn in post DM advice: How do you NOT kill your party?
    I'm going to stop there, because I don't want to sound overly critical. Too late.
  • 01:52 PM - Schmoe quoted Saelorn in post DM advice: How do you NOT kill your party?
    I guess you missed the memo, but your actions were in clear violation of the rules. Meta-gaming is explicitly illegal in 5E. LOL! That's both sadly hilarious and preposterous. While I'm sure everyone appreciates your efforts to police their games, I think history has shown it's a losing attempt. D&D players are a notoriously delinquent bunch.
  • 01:44 PM - houser2112 quoted Saelorn in post Do you like Subsubclasses?
    and the only cool new things you might get were unpredictable and placed by the DM (as with old D&D) Yeah, I played the pre-3.x versions of D&D, and I only liked them because I didn't know better. Given the extreme lack of character building options that are in the game as it is, I like them. I agree with Tony Vargas, though, in the sense that I don't like them because they are taking the place of a more modular character building system.
  • 08:45 AM - Sadras quoted Saelorn in post Do you use skill challenges?
    ...ut who says they do not know the rules? I narrate something, the players decide how to overcome it using one of their skills. If there are options available on that specific skill check, I let them know before hand. Yes, I might be hiding the fact that they are in a SC but that is it. Have you ever made a character in a game where you hadn't read the rule book, and the GM wouldn't tell you what anything meant, so you were forced to guess? The situation you describe is a lot like that. If the DM doesn't tell you which resolution mechanic they are using, then any choice you make is meaningless, because you lack the necessary information to make a meaningful decision. Any DM who would engage in such chicanery is inherently untrustworthy. The whole reason for playing a game with codified rules in the first place, is so that everyone can be on the same page about how the world works, so the players can make meaningful decisions. I do not believe this fits the scenario's I'm proposing. @Saelorn imagine you and the rest of the party are investigating a murder scene. I as DM have secretly set up a SC. Should you succeed in the SC you catch the perpetrator before he murders someone else, should you fail the SC you are too late in stopping him perform the 2nd murder. I do not see how the PCs' actions in the murder investigation change whether they know they are part of a SC or not. How has their ability to make meaningful decisions been tampered with? I agree but furthermore I would also say that in order for someone to want to adopt the SC over another method (even just letting it play out) that value has to add to or surpass the value of the method they currently use. Good point! Ok but can I pose this question... why does it have to be either or? Why is it either a single roll or a skill challenge. For your example above I would play it out in an abstracted day by day form, with the PC's determining what they do each day and I resolving their actions as well as what...
  • 07:12 AM - TheSword quoted Saelorn in post DM advice: How do you NOT kill your party?
    Your job isn't to present a believable challenge. Your job is to describe the environment, role-play the NPCs, and adjudicate uncertainty in action resolution. Making decisions for every goblin and/or hobgoblin in the area is part of the second task. If you don't understand that meta-gaming is bad, or why meta-gaming is bad, then you are in no position to offer advice. You must correct your error if you want anyone to take you seriously as anything other than a troll. With all due respect, please moderate your tone. I appreciate your opinion is your own. However you have no right to tell people not to share their opinion, particularly when there are several other posters who agree with them. If you attack me personally again I will flag your post. I’m happy to engage with you in the discussion but I won’t respond to posts that attempt to intimidate a person out of a discussion.
  • 06:48 AM - ccs quoted Saelorn in post DM advice: How do you NOT kill your party?
    The first rule of role-playing is, quite literally, "Thou shalt not meta-game." I don't seem to recall this. I'm sure you won't mind quoting the Edition & page # etc for this rule (unless you're going to point to 4e - -in wich case don't bother) If the DM tailors the world to fit the capabilities of the party, then that's meta-gaming, and none of the players' decisions actually matter. You have essentially already decided the outcome, when you take their capabilities into account. If you consider their ability to handle a troll, before you decide whether or not there's a troll in that room, then their choice of whether or not to prepare for trolls becomes irrelevant - regardless of whether you decide to give them something they can handle, or to exploit a perceived weakness for the sake of drama. The only way for their decisions to mean anything is for you to not meta-game based on it. Please enlighten me as to how I'm supposed to write up the next adventure, making sure that it'...
  • 02:18 AM - Ranthalan quoted Saelorn in post DM advice: How do you NOT kill your party?
    maligning I'm not sure you know what that word means. I guess I'm one of your meta-gamers. (By your definition, Personally, I agree with the definition above where it's the player's use of knowledge unavailable to their character.) The first thing I tell my table at session 0 is, "we are creating a story." And yes, as a DM I change stuff on the fly all the time in the service of making things more exciting or getting a player more involved. I've cherry picked magic items that would be useful to particular characters because it would be more fun for the players. There's nothing wrong with that. Just as there's nothing wrong with your approach. I, and the people I play with, just have a different preference. There are two definitions for Rule 0, but I think they both apply. The older definition, the one I grew up with, is "The DM can override any rule". The newer definition is "Roleplaying games are entertainment; your goal as a group is to make your games as entertaining as poss...
  • 01:42 AM - TheSword quoted Saelorn in post DM advice: How do you NOT kill your party?
    The DM is constrained by the rules of role-playing whenever they act in a role-playing capacity, from the perspective of an NPC. Why did this group of goblins, or hobgoblins, decide to move here? How did they make that decision? If the answer is so that they can challenge the PCs, then that's meta-gaming. The motivation for the hobgoblins is whatever I decide it needs to be to maintain a believable game world for the plays. As the DM. I determine the location, the makeup of foes, the NPCs, their leaders, the local area, why wouldn’t the goblinoids’ motivation be included in that list. It is possible for the hobgoblins to be BOTH a challenge and a believable part of the world. Only I as the DM know why I put them there until I choose to reveal them. I'm only critical toward despicable meta-gamers, who are the true enemy of role-players everywhere. If you aren't one of those villains, then I don't want to fault you for making honest mistakes. If you should know better, but instead you activel...
  • 12:43 AM - TheSword quoted Saelorn in post DM advice: How do you NOT kill your party?
    False. The DM is not a writer, and is not telling a story. If you want to tell a story, then write a novel. Role-playing has some overlap with improvisational acting, so the DM is an actor in the same way that the players are actors. If you plan and design adventures rather than just reading them straight from a book without any modification as in say Pathfinder Society then I’m sorry you are a writer. Whether it is scribbled notes on a pad or detailed descriptions and tactics etc, you are a writer. Meta-gaming governs the relationship between in-game reality and out-of-game information. If something exists entirely within the game-world, or entirely outside of the game-world, then meta-gaming is the wrong term for it. If anyone makes any decision about what happens in-game, based on information that only exists out-of-game, then they are a meta-gamer. The DM is not ‘in game’ they are not a player. Your definition is irrelevent in the context of our discussion so far. If we broadened the...

Tuesday, 17th April, 2018

  • 11:44 PM - Doug McCrae quoted Saelorn in post DM advice: How do you NOT kill your party?
    The first rule of role-playing is, quite literally, "Thou shalt not meta-game."Is it? I'm going to have to ask for a citation on that one. By my understanding of the term, metagaming only applies to players. It means using out of character knowledge to inform your character's actions. Even there I think there's good metagaming - come up with reasons your PC would travel with other PCs - and bad metagaming - using player knowledge of monster stats to determine your PC's combat tactics..
  • 11:31 PM - TheSword quoted Saelorn in post DM advice: How do you NOT kill your party?
    I'm not talking about D&D specifically; I'm talking about role-playing. If you don't want to role-play when you play D&D, then that's entirely on you, and role-playing advice would be irrelevant in that case. D&D is a role-playing game, though, so suggestions which forget that fact are not useful suggestions. The DM is playing multiple characters and has responsibilities to balance and arbitrate the game. Players that act with knowledge that their characters don’t have is poor roleplaying i agree. However, suggesting that a DM designing an adventure that engages and is relevant to their particular group of characters, is somehow bad roleplaying is just plain wrong. It’s not often that I say that. There are lots of way to play the game. Accusing a DM of not ‘roleplaying’ when they adjust the game to match their party is ludicrous. There are new players reading these threads looking for advice. That kind of bad/wrongfun is really unhelpful.
  • 11:25 PM - TheSword quoted Saelorn in post DM advice: How do you NOT kill your party?
    The first rule of role-playing is, quite literally, "Thou shalt not meta-game." All of your advice violates that rule. If the DM tailors the world to fit the capabilities of the party, then that's meta-gaming, and none of the players' decisions actually matter. You have essentially already decided the outcome, when you take their capabilities into account. If you consider their ability to handle a troll, before you decide whether or not there's a troll in that room, then their choice of whether or not to prepare for trolls becomes irrelevant - regardless of whether you decide to give them something they can handle, or to exploit a perceived weakness for the sake of drama. The only way for their decisions to mean anything is for you to not meta-game based on it. The DM isn't a god. The DM is a neutral arbiter. The DM doesn't have opinions, or preferences; or if they do, they don't let those things cloud their judgment. The DM simply tells you what you can perceive, and role-plays the NPCs...
  • 10:58 PM - Ranthalan quoted Saelorn in post DM advice: How do you NOT kill your party?
    The first rule of role-playing is, quite literally, "Thou shalt not meta-game." All of your advice violates that rule. The DM isn't a god. The DM is a neutral arbiter. The DM doesn't have opinions, or preferences; or if they do, they don't let those things cloud their judgment. The DM simply tells you what you can perceive, and role-plays the NPCs, and adjudicates uncertainty in action resolution. There's more that one way to play (and run) D&D. Some tables enjoy metagaming, some don't. (although I'm not sure we have the same exact definition of meta-gaming.) I always thought the first rule was "Have fun".


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