View Profile: Ilbranteloth - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Monday, 5th November, 2018, 03:22 PM
    I am disappointed in Mike. I do not see the virtue in continuing to re-spark the flames of the edition war every 3-6 months like this. What's the end game here?
    732 replies | 9546 view(s)
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  • Ilbranteloth's Avatar
    Wednesday, 31st October, 2018, 01:00 PM
    The lair shouldn’t resemble anything that we would consider inhabitable. Other than natural caverns, the only way a beholder could build a lair is that somebody else builds it (charm, taking over something existing, etc) or disintegration. In addition, it has no need for a flat floor or passages. Everything is not just difficult terrain, but requires climbing, flying, or levitation. The...
    25 replies | 707 view(s)
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Friday, 19th October, 2018, 04:15 AM
    For what it's worth I believe in shared ownership of setting, more in terms of taking an active interest in it and responsibility for it's content than the freedom to do whatever we want with it. The GM is mostly responsible for it in the same way that players are mostly responsibility for their characters. Obviously there's some interaction there. No one is an island. This is a game where we...
    1794 replies | 57193 view(s)
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 03:39 PM
    Here's the thing: In any social situation we are always constrained by the expectations and customs of the social group, even if we do not give voice to them. When I am playing a role playing game, despite the insistence of total theoretical freedom of action, I am constrained by what is socially acceptable to do at the table. When I run the game the same is true. This is the natural state of...
    1794 replies | 57193 view(s)
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 06:22 AM
    Anyone else have it? I am still working my way through my copy. Really like most of what I am seeing so far. More thoughts to follow.
    1 replies | 203 view(s)
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 05:45 AM
    I am not really a fan of back-grounding as a formal mechanic - mostly because I think it reinforces playing a character concept rather than a character. I also think it encourages individual creativity over vigorous collaboration. I am not a fan of these walled off gardens we have the tendency to create in this hobby where we decide how exactly everyone else at the table is allowed to engage with...
    1794 replies | 57193 view(s)
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About Ilbranteloth

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DMing in the Forgotten Realms since 1987
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Started playing in 1978ish, and have been DMing ever since. Been running in the Forgotten Realms since it was released.
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Wednesday, 31st October, 2018


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Tuesday, 24th July, 2018

  • 01:45 AM - pemerton mentioned Ilbranteloth in post Everybody Cheats?
    ...ules or campaign standards that vary from the standard rules. You might also want to know what character types the other players are playing so that you can create a character that fits in well with the group. Rule Zero was "check with your dungeon master." It is functionally impossible for the DM to cheat in a game with a Rule 0.Aldarc quoted "rule zero" from the 3E books. I don't see how that rule makes it impossible for the GM to cheat. at some point "skilled play" as a definition went away in favor of "immersive" or "story first" play. In this case XP were given for hours spent playing or hitting milestones instead of killing things. This is a function of political correctness as much as it is changing tastes. This is total nonsense. Pacing character progression to generate a form of story arc - which is how, say, 4e works - is not a political decision of any form. It's an aesthetic decision. Not everyone plays RPGs as wargames. This is probably the only point on which Ilbranteloth and I have something in common in our RPGing. Umm, we played AD&D without XP, at least without using it in the way it was originally designed, with XP for treasure and killing monsters. We leveled up at what we felt were appropriate times. Didn't seem to break the game. I guess you'd say we did reward XP for playing well, but used an entirely different system than what was provided.You seem to have misunderstood my point. You aren't using Gygax's AD&D rules with players who don't care about XP, thereby breaking the game. Because you've got players who don't care about XP, you've changed the rules of the game from those that Gygax published. That was exactly what I said in my post. (Contrast 2nd ed AD&D, which doesn't change the rules - though it does make XP for gp optional - and hence gets tangled up in knots.) I would add: a D&D game that does not use XP has moved a long way from the sort of game Gygax talked about in his AD&D books, even if it still uses the same chart fo...

Sunday, 22nd July, 2018

  • 02:52 PM - pemerton mentioned Ilbranteloth in post Everybody Cheats?
    Have we considered the radical idea that maybe Mr. Gygax wasn't consistent in his writings? Because earlier in this thread, it has been noted (multiple times, I think) that he *also* wrote that GMs can alter dice rolls to get the results they want. I know, I am suggesting a saint may have been fallible... or not. Maybe he wasn't a theoretician hard-case, OneTrueWay kind of guy. Maybe, he actually was a little more pragmatic, and remembered that his game started as massivly house-ruled wargame and maybe being all hoity-toity about exactly how it should be done was not exactly intellectually solid. Who's being hoity-toity? Gygax talks repeatedly about skilled play. The closing words of his PHB say that, if you think AD&D is worth playing, you'll find it doubly so if played well. And the preceding two pages of text tell us what playing well means in this context, as do the passages Ilbranteloth and I have quoted from the DMG: it means preparing sensibly, having a plan of attack in relation to the dungeon, not being distracted by the GM's lures and wandering monsters, etc, in rulebooks that I think don't even use the word "story". Obviously that's not the only metric for RPGing well. It's not a metric that I use in my own RPGing. But it is clear enough, and if that is how one judges skilled play, then certain consequences follow. Which Gygax himself points to when he says that certain GMing practices would be contrary to the major precepts of the game. I don't know why it's so important to you and others in this thread to show that Gygax endorsed the White Wolf "golden rule" way back in 1978-79.

Saturday, 28th April, 2018

  • 08:42 AM - pemerton mentioned Ilbranteloth in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    Yet if the players do want to spend time on it, what then? If a player thinks I've misconceived what's really at stake, they can tell me. To me, this is in the same category as my reply to Ilbranteloth not far upthread - as Ron Edwards says, a GM can take suggestions. And it is also in the same category as my response to you and Maxperson about the trip to the giants' cavern upthread - the players at my table don't need permission to speak, and so if they think something is heading in a weird direction, or think a call about framing seems wrong, they can say so. Then we can talk about it. EDIT: This is basically what darkbard said.

Wednesday, 25th April, 2018

  • 02:24 PM - pemerton mentioned Ilbranteloth in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ... a bare stone wall in a D&D-style dungeon or fortress where it would be illogical for a secret door to appear! In a sense we're only arguing here about the DETAILS of the fiction, because EVERY narrative model game is going to have this character, the players declare actions to advance their agendas. Since it doesn't actually matter MECHANICALLY what those actions are (modulus which skill/power/whatever you get to use due to fictional reasons), the ONLY actual considerations are aesthetic! So it makes no sense for the players to declare dumb things, they are just as well off to declare cool things!What you say here is (in my view) absolutely correct for Cortex+ Heroic, 4e, HeroQuest revised, or any other system in which DCs are "subjective" ie based on pacing and similar considerations. In the context of an "objective" DC system (eg Burning Wheel, Classic Traveller, I think 5e by deffault), the players do have an incentive to identify an approach with a low DC. Relating this to Ilbranteloth's question above, if a secret door seems unlikely in some place, that would increase the DC. A related thing is the continued (seeming) insistence that with a prepared map or notes that it is impossible for the DM to make changes. This is simply not true. There's no reason why, if a player decided to search for a secret door, that I can't decide that one might be present, and even in that moment make the decision that the dice will decide and allow them to make a check.I'm certainly not insisting on this. Many many posts (over 1000) upthread, this was discussed at some length. From my point of view, it doesn't meaningfully change the distribution of agency over the content of the shared fiction for the chance of success to depend on the GM "allowing" the check to have a chance of success. the general thrust of everything is exploration. Exploring the setting. Exploring the characters. Exploring the politics, the dangers, dungeons, and such. Learning what makes these characte...
  • 08:52 AM - Sadras mentioned Ilbranteloth in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ... genre, some plot elements which could be used, selected a mechanics to use, and characters were created with back stories appropriate to the genre and referencing some of the pre-generated 'stuff'. Now, I ended up GMing this, so I added a bunch of added 'things' in the course of scene framing. These included a child, a tower, a battle on a bridge with a black knight, a tournament, a plot to kill an important NPC, a giant, etc. A lot of stuff really. The players also invented a lot of stuff related to their characters. They invented followers, a way to dispatch the giant, a way in and out of the tower, etc. Honestly I'm not as systematic as pemerton in terms of remembering who did what, but we all had a good amount of input. I would call this typical for MY games. GM is important, but the whole game is an outgrowth of what all the participants were interested in doing. I do not play Story Now/No Myth games but you have just described one of my games. That is why I think Ilbranteloth is quite right when he says he plays a variation of both, sometimes switching between the two styles unconsciously and even within a period of just a few minutes. This below quote from Ovinomancer really concludes the railroad discussion for me. (snip)...under Story Now, the example would be a railroad because it's the GM overriding the play procedures to abridge player agency (as allowed by the system) and enforce the GM's preferred outcome... (snip)... the playstyles differ enough in core assumptions that maybe you cannot use the same metrics to analyze them both.
  • 08:32 AM - Lanefan mentioned Ilbranteloth in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...on, right? I mean, why are they here to begin with? What do they WANT? I would make something happen that was related to the story and the characters. Maybe there's a way out, maybe someone can get back out. I mean, what did you do? "OK, TPK, everyone roll up a new character!"? I mean, that's warranted, in a Gygaxian sense, and perfectly OK. It just doesn't serve narrativist ends and wouldn't happen in that sort of game. Nobody would frame a scene with that element in it which would produce that result. So in narrativist play players/PCs are never given the chance to do something TPK-level stupid and-or TPK-level unlucky? Sounds a bit dull... :) Who knows what reasons they might have had for jumping down. At the time it might have made perfect sense...well, other than the forgetting-the-rope part...to escape from something or because it was the only obvious way to proceed or simply because they were all just really thirsty! The fact is, down they went. [later note: then saw Ilbranteloth 's write-up a few posts down from the one I quoted, which explains the scenario] Lanefan

Monday, 16th April, 2018

  • 01:11 PM - pemerton mentioned Ilbranteloth in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ... Poker face: on!” And then I’m like “wait a sec. I want them to figure out what’s wrong in the town. In fact, I want to show them what’s wrong! Otherwise they’ll wander around waiting for me to drop them a clue, I’ll have my dumb poker face on, and we’ll be bored stupid the whole evening.” So instead of having the NPC say “oh no, I meant that things are going just fine, and I shut up now,” I have the NPC launch into his or her tirade. “Things are awful! This person’s sleeping with this other person not with me, they murdered the schoolteacher, blood pours down the meeting house walls every night!” ...Or sometimes, the NPC wants to lie, instead. That’s okay! I have the NPC lie. You’ve watched movies. You always can tell when you’re watching a movie who’s lying and who’s telling the truth. And wouldn’t you know it, most the time the players are looking at me with skeptical looks, and I give them a little sly nod that yep, she’s lying. . . . Then the game goes somewhere. You, Ilbranteloth, are assuming that GM authority over backstory equals secret backstory. But it doesn't. Because, as Vincent Baker shows us in the passage I just quoted, the GM can author the backstory but reveal it to the players. This is how the "standard narrativistic model" works - the GM frames the PCs into situations. The elements of framing are backstory, but - just as DitV illustrates - they're not secret. It's an important part of PbtA also - the GM establishes the fiction by performing narrations in response to player moves (both failed moves - 6 or down - and half-way successful moves - 7 to 9 - and in some cases even fully successful moves where the player's result is 10+). When you sit down at a gaming table and are told that the game is taking place in Europe, 1943, and you can be a French, UK, or US soldier, it doesn't inhibit your agency. It shapes it.That is not secret backstory. It is revealed backstory. It is genre, feeding into framing. If the GM decided at the beginning ...
  • 04:05 AM - pemerton mentioned Ilbranteloth in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ... - not Eero Tuovinen - to illustrate the contrast between resolution with or without GM secet backstory. The only connection they have to Eero's essay is indirect, in the following way: (i) the absence of secret-backtory is more typical in standard narrativistic RPGing, because (ii) the use of secret backstory makes it harder to "go where the action is" if the action involves discovery (as opposed to, say, killing) and makes it more likely that the game will involve a significant degree of the players declaring actions that trigger the GM to reveal hitherto-unrevealed backstory so that the players then know what the necessary fictional positioning is for their PCs to make the desired discoveries. I guess a third connection between the topic of the previous paragraph, and Eero's essay, is that his essay is moslty a criticism of conch-passing (or, as he calls it, narration sharing), and resolving an action declaration in a RPG is obviously not conch-passing. Subsequently, Lanefan, Ilbranteloth and Maxperson asserted that resolving action declaration is, in fact, a form of conch-passing, and hence is the sort of thing that Eero is cautioning against. I think this is obviously not what Eero had in mind, for the reasons that both AbdulAlhazred and I have given: whatever we think about action resolution, it is clearly not preparing something in advance of playing the game, nor a proxy for it.

Thursday, 12th April, 2018

  • 03:42 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Ilbranteloth in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ... I asked him where they come from - player (in which case it's the agendas he claims to reject) or GM (in which case it's the menu he claims to reject). The fact that the player might ignore any given opportunity doesn't actually answer my question. How is that not "informally signalling an agenda"? What do you think "informally signalling an agenda" looks like, if not the sort of thing you describe here? I've come to the conclusion that what Maxperson really needs is to play in a No Myth Story Now mode for a month as a player and see for himself. Complete with GM explication of the reasoning behind framing specific scenes, etc. I think he's going to see that he's already trying to do it, and his issue is really just one of not having been really exposed to the technique in a way that is conducive to his understanding it. He seems to WANT not to understand, and yet at the same time to DO what he claims he doesn't do and doesn't want to do! I really need to make good on my offer to Ilbranteloth to do some kind of a demo game.

Saturday, 7th April, 2018

  • 03:23 PM - Maxperson mentioned Ilbranteloth in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    Obviously, you can use words however you want. But I'm explaining why Ilbranteloth is not making an error in reading Eero Tuovinen. When Eeor Tuovinen refers to "backstory", he is not talking about the outcomes of action resolution. I'm not talking about action resolution, either. Action resolution is different from backstory authority, but can result in changes to backstory as I demonstrated above. The resolution to the action was only to find a secret door or not. Nothing else. The backstory authority comes from a secret door appearing where there was none in the backstory prior to the action resolution. Below is the quote from Tuovinen on backstory. "Backstory authority Backstory is the part of a roleplaying game scenario that “has happened before the game began”. The concept only makes sense when somebody has done preparatory work for the game or is using specific heuristics to simulate such preparation in real-time. For example, if the GM has decided in advance that the butler did it, then that is part of the backstory – it happened before the pl...
  • 02:45 PM - pemerton mentioned Ilbranteloth in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    A character declaring he is searching for a secret door is exercising the authority to declare an action for one's PC. A player creating a secret door via a roll is establishing backstory, as that secret door is now a part of the history of the scene. It now has existed PRIOR to the search for it and is backstory. To me on a success it is, as it's directly adding something to the backstory (in this case, the scene as framed) that wasn't put there by the GM.Obviously, you can use words however you want. But I'm explaining why Ilbranteloth is making an error in reading Eero Tuovinen. When Eero Tuovinen refers to "backstory", he is not talking about the outcomes of action resolution. The backstory was established by the GM in framing the scene.But the GM didn't know there was a secret door there until the player/PC found it, so how could she have already framed it into the scene even in her mind?The GM didn't frame the secret door. It's not part of the backstory. It's presence or absence is being established by way of action resolution. Backstory is not being used by Eero Tuovinen (or me) to denote stuff that, in the fiction, existed. It's being used to denote stuff that, at the table, is already established as part of the shared fiction. In the context of a check for a secret door, the backstory - which is part of the framing - might include that there is a stone wall in an ancient castle built by a people well-known for their cunning engineering. This is another case of being misled by not distinguishing stuf...

Tuesday, 27th March, 2018

  • 10:05 AM - pemerton mentioned Ilbranteloth in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ... one reason why not. Four hours (or whatever) of nothing interesting happening from anything the protagonists do is not a story. It might resemble an Andy Warhol movie, but those are deliberate repudiations of story! (And I'm not sure that anyone actually watches Empire.) And it's these times of frustration that makes times of success all the more rewarding.Failure is not the same things as nothing interesting resulting from what is attempted. If the player's agenda is for her PC to get rich or to accumulate magic items then you're wide open to this sort of thing. Silly, perhaps, but legal by the letter of this narrativistic type of system where success on an action declaration cannot be denied.If everyone at the table knows that the game is not silly, then everyone equally knows that (in the absence of some context, such as searching the home of a fairy) there is no point looking for wands in trees, as there won't be any there. This repeated concern, from you and now Ilbranteloth, that the first things players will do who actually have the power to contribute to the content of the shared fiction will be to find gold and items for their PCs, rests on the same illusion as other concerns you've expressed. The gameworld is not a reality. If you don't want a silly gameworld, it's easy to avoid: just don't author one! If you want PCs who are more than just a Gygaxian id, then build and play them. One of the true appeals of RPGs is that as player you're (in theory) free to try anything, no matter how ridiculous. There shouldn't be any system-based limits on the actions players can declare or have thier PCs attempt.I don't understand what you are claiming here, or what purported contrast you are drawing. What's the DC for your D&D character to flap her arms and fly to the moon? What's the DC for a 1st level character to jump into a volcano and survive? What's the DC for your 1st level fighter PC to try and kill ten orcs in one round? There are all sorts of li...

Monday, 26th March, 2018

  • 10:00 AM - pemerton mentioned Ilbranteloth in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    In the rogue example the player is clearly and strongly letting the DM know what the PCs is doing and why. That qualifies as full agency, even if that particular example isn't showing all aspects of what Eero talks about in that paragraph.That example has zero to do with what Eero Tuovinen is talking about. Ilbranteloth is just wrong to think that declaring a search for a secret door, and looking for scuff marks as part of that, is the sort of thing that Tuovinen has in mind. the rogue's agenda is clearly to get inside unnoticedThat's not an agenda. It's a means, and a very generic one. Why does the rogue want to enter the castle? What would s/he risk to do so? If s/he is entering stealthily, what provocation would make her reveal herself? These are the sorts of things that show us who the character is, what s/he wants, what her goals are, what sort of person s/he is. I as a player establish my character's personality, interests and agendas. Here's the thing. I don't even have to tell the DM what they are in order for me to bring them out in the game. Nothing is required on the part of the DM. Let's say that I'm playing a dour dwarf(I know, it's a stretch ;) ) who is interested in fine wines and with an agenda to get drunk on fine wine in every town he comes to. Without telling the ...
  • 09:50 AM - pemerton mentioned Ilbranteloth in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    What we don't see in this example is all the lead-up showing how the rogue got to this point. The agenda and reasons for being here would very likely have long since been established. What the rogue thinks and feels at that particular moment would of course be up to the player to narrate on the fly, should she so desire; as would the decision of what if anything to sacrifice or trade off in order to achieve her immediate goal of stealthily getting into the castle.My point is that Ilbranteloth doesn't tell us anything about (for instance) any such sacrifice being required. Or anything else that brings character personality or agenda to the fore. The only choice the player of the rogue had to make was do I declare a search, or do I not bother? Nothing was at stake. it's not very often that much characterization comes out of what are in effect largely mechanical action declarations. "This is a logical place for a secret door so I'll search for one" tells us maybe a bit about the character, but mostly that's just a simple Search declaration - not much in it; and it's unfair to point at this as a reason for any lack of characterization or personality.What it tells me is that this is not a game in which advocacy, in Eero Tuovinen's sense, is important. And at least in my games most of what we learn about characters comes out of action declarations. I've posted many actual play links in this thread, and described a number as well. Here are just a handful: * A Travel...
  • 01:28 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Ilbranteloth in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...hat it must be undertaken in a strictly linear fashion, is a FIXED set of scenes. If these scenes address character needs and player agenda it by pure chance. 2) The keep itself is, again, not particularly well-adapted to Story Now. It will work as a backdrop to various scenes, but there's nothing especially compelling about it. The Evil Cleric exists as-is. You can confront him, or not, and he will only address player's interests haphazardly at best. There are other characters who are basically either quest-givers or resource dispensers, or both. These characters are mostly peripheral, they could be co-opted into playing a part in the character's story, but nothing about them is ESPECIALLY compelling in this regard, any collection of similar NPCs would do as well. 3) The general premise, the stronghold on the edge of civilization, may or may not be a suitable setting in which to play out the character's story, but we cannot say unless we know what that story is. In terms of what Ilbranteloth has to say about it specifically: OK, the premise is the keep on the edge of civilization. What does this say about civilization? What does it say about wilderness? About their relationship, and that of people, PCs particularly, to either of those things? Establishment of a Fighter, wizard, cleric, and thief: These are generic characters built to classes which are basic archetypes. What is unique about these guys and what compels them? B/X and 1e both ASSUME fighters want to build keeps, wizards want/need components etc, rogues want riches, and clerics want to build temples. What is actually pushing these guys? Does the fighter wish to establish a keep because his family honor is at stake after they lost their holding somewhere else? Is the wizard attempting to achieve some specific magical effect? Why? What is the basis of the cleric's friendship with the fighter? Are they related, old friends, lovers?! What deity does this cleric even serve? Why is the rogue out here on the edge o...

Saturday, 24th March, 2018

  • 09:15 PM - Lanefan mentioned Ilbranteloth in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...d even in a DM-driven game can sometimes have a function - usually when dealing with off-screen details the DM doesn't want to bother with such as determining each inhabitant of the PC's home village. But that type of agency is not a part of the normal run of play, and thus is meaningless in that context. Here's one way that B2 restricts player agency: if a player declares "I want to meet an alchemist in the keep" then, as the module is written, that action will fail. That doesn't restrict their agency at all! They declared an attempted action (thus exercising their agency) and were told that action failed. Which also shows that the characters can't do whatever they like. They can do whatever the established fiction of the keep might permit them to do. Yep. Just like reality, in that regard - if I go to the mall and look for a hardware store, no matter what I do if the mall doesn't have a hardware store I ain't gonna find one there. Side note: thanks to Maxperson and Ilbranteloth for saving me loads of typing these last few days. :) Lanefan

Thursday, 1st March, 2018

  • 10:14 AM - pemerton mentioned Ilbranteloth in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    I think he means the sort of game where once the DM has set the world up and placed the PCs into an initial setting she from there on acts as nothing more than a glorified CPU whose only purposes are to react to what the PCs do, to narrate those reactions neutrally, and to describe the scenery around the PCs wherever they may be. The parameters for action declaration are set by a combination of the rules system in use (what actions are allowed and-or how are they resolved) and the fictional environment in which the PCs are at the time (as per your example of no boats in mid-desert).I understand what sort of game Ilbranteloth is describing. I'm just saying that it's a mistake to say that the GM doesn't influence the action at all. When one says that the fictional environment establishes a parameter for action declaration , and also note that the GM established the fictional environment, we see that the GM is influencing actions a great deal. In thinking about the significance of this for play, I think it's helpful to think about game conventions or conceits. If I turn up to play a session of Moldvay Basic, or of the sort of D&D that Gygax describes in the "Successful Adventuring" section of his PHB, then of course the fictional situation is going to be a dungeon. That's what the game is about. And it has a lot of system elements - mechanics, methods, implicit understandings - to support play in that context. If I turn up to play a game of AD&D and the GM says, "Right, you're in a desert" that's already very different from the Moldvay Basic case.

Thursday, 2nd November, 2017

  • 02:58 PM - Salamandyr mentioned Ilbranteloth in post Group Rule Deal-Breakers
    I find myself in agreement with the way Ilbranteloth does things. Not every character class has to represent a "job" somebody can have in the D&D universe. We don't need Orders of Paladins to have paladins. We just need one guy (the PC) the gods have chosen to bless with those kinds of powers. We don't need tribes of BearBarians; we just need one guy (the PC) who has made a vision quest to the mountaintop to request the blessing of the Bear spirits. Maybe not every priest is a cleric, but the PC is the once in a lifetime holy scion blessed with the powers of the gods. Yeah...fighters are going to exist, but there might be only one Champion. Do sorcerors need to be common? Gandalf was a wizard and Radagast was a druid but they were both Wizards. One can play the D&D game entirely RAW and still keep control of the world, as long as one reinforces the idea that PC's are exceptions even when they're playing as classic a concept as the paladin or cleric.

Thursday, 21st September, 2017

  • 09:34 PM - DeJoker mentioned Ilbranteloth in post A New Thought About Skills
    @Ilbranteloth you got ahead of me -- please look again at my previous post I think that will help you understand what I was getting at -- if you still do not understand let me know and I make an even more verbose version
  • 05:58 AM - Harzel mentioned Ilbranteloth in post Casting multiple spells with bonus spells and the order they are cast.
    I see I have arrived late and @Ilbranteloth has found a definitive tweet from Crawford. Nevertheless, I will add this, let us say, for completeness. I'll try again. Reactions are not part of your turn, even if they hasten during your turn. We can tell because the rules provide what you can do on your turn and reactions aren't part of it (you get a move, and action, and maybe a bonus action). Reactions are a special action that can happen anytime - during your turn, during someone else's turn, whenever it's trigger happens. So far, so good. Here's the bit that I'm saying. The restriction on casting due to bonus action casting is a specific rule that trumps the general rule of what you do on your turn. That's the extent of the exception: only what you can do with your turn is affected. Therefore, even though your reaction may trigger during your turn and occur on it, outs not part of your turn (it's a special action outside of what you can do on your turn), and so restrictions on what you can do on your turn do not app...


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Monday, 13th August, 2018

  • 06:50 PM - Cendragon quoted Ilbranteloth in post Anyone Using Adventures in Middle Earth Journey/Rest Rules in Regular 5e Game?
    In addition, I'm not entirely clear on the math of this check. Normally your Survival proficiency bonus would include your Wisdom modifier. Does that mean it includes 1 1/2 times your Wisdom bonus? With a maximum Peril Rating of 5, that means that at 1st level you could conceivably have somebody with a +2 proficiency bonus +5 Wisdom bonus (maybe another +2 Wisdom bonus) and a maximum -5 Peril (not likely at first level). So that's a minimum of either a +2 or +4 to your Embarkation Roll, meaning that you cannot roll a 1 or 2 (which have entries on their table). In which case (assuming a 20 Wisdom): I'm not clear about what they mean by Survival proficiency bonus plus 1/2 Wisdom modifier because the Survival skill would normally include one's Wisdom modifier However, in regards to starting with a 20 Wisdom this is not possible under the fairly standard point-buy system which only allows one to buy up to a 15 starting score (17 with some racial modifiers for standard 5e D&D but only 16 with AI...

Thursday, 26th July, 2018

  • 08:36 PM - Lanefan quoted Ilbranteloth in post Everybody Cheats?
    Mechanically, yes. Psychologically no. It would be like making a T-shirt with a d20 on a 20 that says “Crit Happens*” “*when confirmed.” In all prior (and later) editions, a 20 is a critical. Not all. 1e as written didn't have criticals (or fumbles, for that matter), though I'm 99% sure they were proposed in one or three Dragon articles of the era, because we got 'em from somewhere by about 1983 and I don't think we independently came up with the concept. I think it was definitely a change in the rules, and one that makes a certain amount of sense, especially when increasing the critical threat range. I like our solution better, since they usually know after a round or two what is needed to hit, they know before they roll if a 20 will be a crit. But it still takes away a bit of the fun of the natural 20. To be fair, once you’re used to the rule, you know that the confirmation roll is the one that it exciting.We've had criticals (and fumbles) forever but they've always needed some sor...
  • 12:12 AM - Lanefan quoted Ilbranteloth in post Everybody Cheats?
    Because you’ve said that an Inspiration die is cheating. Which is the exact same mechanic as confirming a critical. It’s a critical, wait, not it’s not. In fairness, it's the other way around: "It's not a critical, wait, yes it is!"

Wednesday, 25th July, 2018

  • 02:46 AM - Hussar quoted Ilbranteloth in post Everybody Cheats?
    Because you’ve said that an Inspiration die is cheating. Which is the exact same mechanic as confirming a critical. It’s a critical, wait, not it’s not. It’s a hit, wait no it’s not. Am I missing something? Actually yeah. I think I got ahead of myself. I forgot that inspiration isn’t a reroll. My bad. We tend to use it as a reroll and I got my house rules mixed in. Heck, for a long time we used the fighter defense style as a reroll too. Yup. We cheat. :)
  • 01:26 AM - L R Ballard quoted Ilbranteloth in post How to Convert High-Level 2e Spellcasters to 5e?
    Unless there’s a real compelling need to alter a magic item from 1e/2e, I just use them as is. There are a few minor things, like saving throws and DCs, and I’d probably knock a +5 down to a +3, unless it was against one creature. Even the Rod of Cancellation is fine. If there’s a really powerful magic item that it important to keep, them make a quest to restore it. Actually, I often change a lot of the 5e items back. And I do have out a fair amount of magic items, but most are consumable. And things with charges have a fixed number of charges, most don’t regain them every night. They’ve worked for me for 35+ years, why change them? For this conversion, I make mostly phrasing and formatting changes to 2e magic items. I made a checklist to use when editing and formatting the 2e magic items. It’s a work in progress: please feel free to critique. Please note: I am unable to use small capitals with the forum tools. The example magic item is the Trident of Fish Command (DMG 5e 209). MAGIC I...
  • 12:57 AM - L R Ballard quoted Ilbranteloth in post How to Convert High-Level 2e Spellcasters to 5e?
    But my point is just that 5e will give your wizards substantially more hit points. I don’t dispute the claim. My remark was probably a non sequitur given the context of the discussion. It wasn’t a statement that 2e wizards had greater hit point maximums than wizard builds from subsequent editions. Our group played 2e regularly for five years. We understood the limitations of the wizard class within the context of that system. Only one person in our group played a 2e wizard, and I assigned an NPC to protect her. We always thought the d4 hit die made the wizard class weak. In 2e, any time I could make a rules-based decision to increase hit points for one of my characters, I did. For that reason, I played dual-class characters like fighter-thieves and never played a wizard.
  • 12:23 AM - Kobold Boots quoted Ilbranteloth in post A discussion of metagame concepts in game design
    Yeah, while there may be a few that agree with you, the game and edition is selling better and more popular than pretty much any prior one. From WotC’s perspective it is an incredible success and it would appear that there is a significant portion of the gaming community that agrees. He's referring to 4e, you're referring to 5e.

Tuesday, 24th July, 2018

  • 11:23 PM - pemerton quoted Ilbranteloth in post Hidden
  • 10:48 PM - Aldarc quoted Ilbranteloth in post Everybody Cheats?
    Because you’ve said that an Inspiration die is cheating. Which is the exact same mechanic as confirming a critical. It’s a critical, wait, not it’s not. It’s a hit, wait no it’s not. Am I missing something?Doesn't Inspiration confer Advantage? As in, you roll 2d20 at the same time and take the higher of the two results? That seems like a different dice mechanic from rolling a 20 on a d20 and then getting the option for a critical hit if you make a second successful roll.
  • 10:03 PM - Hussar quoted Ilbranteloth in post Everybody Cheats?
    /snip I also think it’s a decent example of the sort of thing we’re talking about. There’s what I’ll call a soft “cheat” or fudge, in that it’s allowed, but alters the play experience, and the hard “Cheat” which is somebody breaking the rules for their benefit in a way that’s not allowed in the rules, and is in bad faith. If we’re saying that the “common” terminology must rule, even when I believe that it is improper usage of the dictionary defined term, than so be it. I think it’s both insulting and actually makes disgusting the merit of various “legal cheat” rules more difficult to use the term in that manner. I will say that I have no doubt that you, and Hussar don’t mean it an insulting way, but that doesn’t change the fact that use of the term in that manner will offend some. See, you keep saying that you understand my point and then completely miss it. Makes me think that you do not actually understand what I'm saying. Why would I have a problem with confirmation dice or exten...
  • 07:53 PM - LordEntrails quoted Ilbranteloth in post The economics of Continual flame
    So one thing missing in this discussion is that for the most part, people tended to go to bed when it got dark, rather than stay up. In addition, the light of a fire would be sufficient and already present during the seasons or places where the night is longer because it’s also colder. If other light was needed, homemade candles were essentially free. You’re really changing a social matter rather than an economic one. I think no one else has responded to this because you are simple uninformed and the impact of safe, reliable light has been mentioned many times in this thread. If you still don't believe us, go Google something like "economic impact of electrical light". You could do a master's or doctoral thesis on it, the impacts of light on society have been that significant. It also shows the benefit of the setting having its own setting specific rules, like in 2e. But I doubt that’s coming back... Lord I hope not. Or we will end up with utter stupidity like Dragon Lance, where a suit or ar...
  • 07:43 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Ilbranteloth in post Multi classing Objections: Rules vs. Fluff?
    The wizard spellbook is overall a mechanic, with explicit rules for what happens if you lose it or it gets destroyed and how to replace it, and you need it at the very least once each time you level up. It has been that way all the way back to AD&D -or worse, because back then you needed it every single day-. -And I'm talking mostly across the editions- Yes, the spellbook has been a mechanical 'hardwired' part of the wizard since it was the magic-user, and yes, in every edition in some form, be it memorization or preparation, you could re-imagine or re-skin it, but it was class-defining. OTOH, 5e is all about taking a chainsaw to the rules to try to make 'em better, so why not just lop that sucker right off...? Unless we didn't like the concept in the earlier editions, perhaps? Nonsense! Everyone loves the classic game! Up until then, you either started as a 1st level single class, or as a 1st/1st multi-class, or as a 1st/1st/1st multi-class, and stayed that combination of classes tha...
  • 06:45 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Ilbranteloth in post Everybody Cheats?
    And this is something potentially worth considering. If the primary justification GMs make for fudging is for the sake of the players' jollies - to prevent an untimely death, unhappy string of bad luck rolls, etc - why can't some of this "fudging power" become apportioned to players instead such that they can decide when it serves their own jollies when it pertains to their character? Of course, there are plenty of mechanics in games, especially RPGs, to allow just that. Re-rolls, for instance. Or limited-use bonuses you can apply after a roll. They're like 'fudging power,' but part of the rules, and limited in how much you can do them. They don't serve quite the same purpose as fudging, nor have the same foundation in the privileged role of GM. They do let the player override a result in the name of fun (where fun is equated to success, anyway), but they do so within the rules. Fudging is the GM saving the game from itself. When the rules fail, the GM prevails. I also think it’s a ...
  • 06:26 PM - Arial Black quoted Ilbranteloth in post Multi classing Objections: Rules vs. Fluff?
    You bring up some interesting points, and I'd like to address each in turn with a contrasting view:- I don't necessarily dislike multiclassing, and have used it for decades. I'm not a fan of "dipping" or designing 20 levels of character with all of the multi-classing planned out before the character ever sees play either. The mechanical aspects of multiclassing can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. For example, 1st level characters get a bunch of things right away. Thematically, that makes sense. They've been training for several years for their new avocation. But taking it as a second class doesn't provide that. In 3/3.5e for example, you would be older when you gained 1st level in certain classes, since it theoretically took longer to learn them. In 5e (and since 3e), there are no 1st level MC characters. This is because of how the game mechanics work: you get one class level per character level, therefore if you only have one character level you can only have one class. Up until then,...
  • 06:18 PM - Kobold Boots quoted Ilbranteloth in post Everybody Cheats?
    I know what you think. I wasn’t asking you at this point. You obviously believe any mechanic that refills a die is cheating. Okidoki. I will forever disagree with that. At this point I’m trying to get to the finer points that others besides you who believe that some rules allowing rerolling the dice is actually following the rules which is, you know, not cheating. I'm past the point where I think he actually believes what he's saying and well into the territory where he's committed to an argument and supporting it just so he dies on the hill.
  • 04:23 PM - 5ekyu quoted Ilbranteloth in post The economics of Continual flame
    That’s a good distinction, actually. And I agree, in the Realms, the cities will likely have a higher level of magic and things like continual light (and permanent faerie fire). But it’s still limited. Waterdeep has a guild of lamplighters who light the lamps of the city. Despite the Realms being high magic, Greenwood always kept it grounded in the mundane. The nobles of course have coin to melt and would do so freely. And it would be a status symbol. Silverymoon and really any city heavily associated with elves would be more magically inclined. Again, at least in the Realms, this is done in part to differentiate between the mundane normal lives and the wondrous things and adventures that lie in wait. Of course, that approach has largely been lost over the years...I am reminded of Liavek in many ways by the Ebberon intent and goal of not the details. Liavek had common man every day magic combined with more cosmopolitan tone and tech for a rather pulp and exotic flavor. Dont see so many shared wo...
  • 02:35 PM - Hussar quoted Ilbranteloth in post Everybody Cheats?
    /snip If the rule states that a GM has 3 times that they can overrule the dice during a session, or adventure, is that cheating? YES IT IS. Good grief, this is the third time I've answered this question. If you are changing the results of a random generation AFTER THE FACT, then it's cheating. How is it not? This would be called cheating in every single other circumstance. The only reason that it's not called cheating in RPG's is because people get all hot and bothered by the term. So, it's called fudging, or reroll mechanics or whatever other doublethink term people need to use to avoid calling a duck a duck. Embrace it. We started out cheating in RPG's from pretty much day 1. The only thing that's change from the 70s to now is that we've incorporated cheating into the rules and called it something else.
  • 01:52 PM - Aldarc quoted Ilbranteloth in post Everybody Cheats?
    First, I apologize that I screwed up the text formatting. I tried fixing it, but evidently not before you replied. The poker thing is to point out that there are rules that permit deception in games.In poker, the deception and bluffing is a metagame byproduct of the rules as written that has developed. The deception of bluffing is permitted largely in the game's culture because it is regarded as a sign of skilled play (or dumb luck). I’m still wondering about how I’m being deceptive when I roll the dice in the open and everybody knows when I overrule them.I have here in mind the cultural practice in the hobby on the whole rather than your table, though I would still consider this cheating. And I say this as someone who has fudged out in the open in front of their players within the past month as well. There is an awareness that you are breaking with the rules, though it is informally allowed. We can agree to disagree, but I’m still curious if you’re willing to answer.I'm admittedly l...
  • 01:39 PM - Oofta quoted Ilbranteloth in post The economics of Continual flame
    As I clarified in another post, I don’t expect folks to play out their economies in that way. Just that the short cut to make it playable doesn’t scale out to measure the economy of the world over time. I also don’t expect there’s a particularly booming business cutting rubies, since they can’t afford the dust anyway. In which case some of the prove might be because the ones controlling the mining and cutting of rubies are keeping the dust for their own use in continual light spells, as wealthy people and governments might do. Price is a result of supply and demand. If there were no demand for ruby dust, the price would be 0, it may even cost money to dispose of it. The default assumption is that supply and demand have settled on a price of 50 GP for the amount required for a PC to cast the spell. It may be a pinch of dust, it may be a bucket of the stuff. As others have pointed out, most skilled workers could afford the 50 GP based on the scale set by the book. It could be a once in ...
  • 12:51 PM - Aldarc quoted Ilbranteloth in post Everybody Cheats?
    If the rules (even a house rule) states the GM, at their discretion, can alter a roll, then it is just as defined as fate points or the GM Intrusion mechanic. It is very broad, but it defines who (the GM), when (at their discretion), and what (can alter or overrule the dice). These criteria are even in the AD&D DMG.No, it's not. In the cases of Fate and Cypher, the GM engages particular mechanics. You are not breaking a rule, any more than the concept that specific rules overrule general rules. You are engaging a rule that overrides another rule. It is an exception.But this is not engaging a delineated mechanic, which is my point. It is about the GM's ability to ignore delineated mechanics in a way that is detached from the mechanics. These are not equivalent scenarios. Take baseball. When you break down the structure of the rules it works like this: The structure of the rule is the same. This is the result unless one of these other circumstances apply. One of the circumstances happens...


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Ilbranteloth's 5th Ed DM Screen (incorporating house rules)
OK, V3 and I think I'm pretty satisfied with it. If there's anything missing that you'd like to see added, let me know.

The portrait and landscape versions are slightly different in order to fit them on their respective pages. All of the info is the...
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