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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Today, 04:23 AM
    You said the group wasn’t interested in engaging with the situations. That sounds to me like the group thinks your situations are uninteresting. Just replace “flowery language “ with “quality of form”. Isn’t that what you’re arguing for?
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Today, 03:50 AM
    If the problem is that the situations aren’t interesting, then I think the solution is to use more interesting situations, not more flowery descriptions of uninteresting situations! You need eggs and milk to make cake batter. You don’t need flowery language to play an rpg.
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:08 PM
    All things being equal, there’s nothing wrong with well crafted narration. That’s not the point. The point is rpg groups don’t get together to listen to flowery descriptions of the contents of rooms. That’s what poetry recitals are for. They get together to engage, as their characters, with the situations presented in the game. Any literary quality possessed by that presentation is in service and...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:41 AM
    Because color (dungeon dressing) is content that provides atmosphere when imagined by the participants at the table. The quality of form with which it’s expressed isn’t what’s important but rather whether the odors, noises, furnishings, and items found in an area suggest a torture chamber, a harem, or a wizard’s laboratory. In other words, it’s the actual content that matters, not the particular...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 11:52 AM
    Notice that you've got three different action declarations here. Two of them are contrasting: * Grgur walks down the hallway, be cautious and looking carefully to see if anything is out of place. * Grugr strides down the hallway. And one is less specific: * Grugr moves down the hallway.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 11:47 AM
    Not at all. Imaro is the person who introduced clarity as a desideratum. My point was that clarity is not really connected to literary quality, and pointed to instructions as an example. If you agree that instructions don't typically display literary quality, then I think you should agree that - to the extent that clarity matters in RPGing - then that doesn't really bear on the issues...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 11:24 AM
    Thanks for the heads up - I've deleted the stray material in that post. As per the OP, it came from multiple recent threads. One was the boxed text thread. Another was the action declaration thread ("DC to know a NPC is telling the truth"). In that second thread, there were some posters who seemed to equate describing a PC's action as a component of action declaration with a florid or literary...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 12:46 AM
    People spend millions of dollars painting buildings, too. That doesn't show that painting buildings is per se an artistic endeavour - maybe it is (if we're painting St Peters), maybe it's not (if we're painting a block of flats to protect the exterior against the weather). I'm a published author in a natural language based but technical discipline. (Or in fact two such disciplines: law and...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 12:41 AM
    A complication for me in responding to Lanefan's question is what is the story which is not progressing?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 12:36 AM
    Yes. This is my point, so I'm not sure why you frame this as disagreeing with me. But this is exactly what I'm talking about. As I posted I think in my last reply to you, I don't understand what role you think action declaration and the distinctive player role in a RPG are doing. As you describe it, it would make no difference if everyone was working through a rough script but improving the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 12:30 AM
    That's actually not what the OP says. Colour, obviously, is fundamental to heaps of RPGing. (Maybe not some classic dungeoncrawling.) I don't think the word "colour" appears in the OP. The OP does say RPGing requires narration: GMs describe situations - that narration and description will involve colour. My claim is about the focus of, and foundation of, emotional engagement in RPGing. As...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 02:42 PM
    I think that Choose Your Own Adventure books and boardgames are not very satisfactory vehicles for participating in a situation. Their structured natures make them relatively poor vehicles for protagonism. Video games I can't comment on. And I'm not denying that there are people who enjoy RPGs because they are entertained by performances or give entertaining performances. I'm denying that...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 02:39 PM
    Really? That's a surprise to me. When I read a letter from a family member I'm not really worried about the spelling or puncutation, let alone it's literary merit.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 02:30 PM
    It's not my distinction, actually. I never used the word content. That's Hussar's word. Hussar has suggested that I am eschewing description, but here's the OP: My point in this thread has been consistent: that what is distinctive about RPGing is that it engages by way of participation in situation, not performance to an audience. I don't think it's that hard to understand, whether...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 02:21 PM
    The point is simple: a novel probably won't move you if it's poorly written. A letter from a family member is likely to move you regardless of how it's written. RPGing is more like the latter than the former. It's about moving people through shared engagement with an imagined situation, not entertaining people by performing for them.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 02:15 PM
    This is important. You are right about fluidity: actual play doesn't manifest discrete types or moments of the neat types we use in analysis and criticism. Some of what I had in mind in my post that you responded to is elaborated in my posts to Hussar just upthread. Here's a passage from Christopher Kubasik that also captures what I had in mind: The tales of a story entertainment are...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 12:16 PM
    I have no idea what the bolded bit has to do with the topic of this thread. What players contribute to the game is protagonism. Which in a RPG primarily takes the form of action declaration (though I think I have a thicker notion of action declaration than some other posters on these boards). Perhaps I've misunderstood something - but I've repeatedly posted about the centrality of action...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 12:08 PM
    I don't know what you have in mind by never references anything. We're playing a RPG. So there is a lot of talking. Exchanges between participants are the main currency of play. Action declarations are spoken. The player describes what his character is doing. I would hope it's obvious that, in denying that RPGing is a literary endeavour characterised by performance, I am not asserting that it...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 05:57 PM
    Well, that seems pretty much normal for any game in which I've ever played, and yet we never bothered with weapon maintenance. This all seems to confuse fictional processes with the way fiction is established at the table, which seems to be a recurring theme in this thread. I think I may have missed some of your earlier posts on this, but in the one to which I first replied you...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 05:22 PM
    Isn't this just another way of saying it's the DM's job to keep track of this stuff? What judgement is required over whether the rope is in the backpack or not? If the DM has secret knowledge about it, then it's the DM's job to keep track of that until it's revealed through play, sure. But if it's shared knowledge by both player and DM that the rope is in the backpack, I don't see how the DM is...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 04:06 PM
    Right. Which is not consistent with the suggestion that the player has total authority over what the character thinks and feels. But they're not free to come up with the answer because he is smelly. That is, they're not free to make their perceptions non-delusional. Again, the GM - by declaring that the chamberlain doesn't stink - is able to exercise control over what beliefs and sensations...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 03:34 PM
    This is a more expansive interpretation of "the rules serve the DM" than I would subscribe to (e.g. I would rather change the player's background feature beforehand than override it during play), but I can accept that the social contract of many if not the majority of groups contains such an understanding and that their games are no worse for it.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 03:33 PM
    I agree with all this. Darkvision and poison resistance seem like elements in action declaration and action resolution rather than performance/presentation, so I'll put them to one side. In most FRPGing, grooming one's beard, choosing one's food, not liking boat,s is all just colour. If my familiarity with the underground, or the distinctive histories or politics of my people, actually...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 03:20 PM
    Forgive me, but this interpretation seems like a lawyerly effort to screw over the players. I think it's pretty clear that hazardous assistance refers to assistance that would be hazardous to the priests themselves, not hazardous to anyone in general. What's wrong with sticking to only the conditions of the spell or feature, and not imposing additional restrictions that the DM deems...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 11:37 AM
    This post is a follow-up to some of Manbearcat's posts in this thread, and to the idea - mentioned in the OP and taken up a bit since - that consequences can be implicit rather than express. I'm not sure how coherent it is, but it is trying to convey a thought I have. So, here's something from John Harper about making hard moves in Apocalypse World; I've bolded one sentence for emphasis: ...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 11:03 AM
    The religious teachings could be TN, or not - from what's said we can't tell. But at least we have a canonical grounding for the need to fight a combat to gain an upper-level title! Would Chariot of Eratsus have the same ring to it?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 09:45 AM
    Well tell me what you mean by performance, then. What do you mean by the performance of a character revealing the character to be (say) a dwarf? Who do you have conversations with? In the conversations I have, only rarely is the purpose to convey information (in the way that eg a newspaper or an encyclopedia does that). Typically the purpose is to generate emotional responses - to...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 09:29 AM
    You seem to be projecting.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 01:08 AM
    I have used the words "literary" and "performance" in what I hope are reasonably clear senses. Theatre (typically) involves both. Salon repartee with Oscar Wilde or Dorothy Parker involves both. Conversation with friends typically invovles neither. I've also said - repeatedly, although lowkey13 may not have read those posts - that everything else being equal a mellifluous GM can be a good...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 12:53 AM
    If a character's race or background or motivations or capacities figure so little in the action of play, then to me the problem at that table is not one of an absence of performance! Conversely, if the only way I would know a player was playing a dwarf was because of his/her Scottish accent (or whatever) but it doesn't make any difference to what that character actually does in play, then why...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 07:53 PM
    The social contract encompasses things like expectations and the rules of the game the group has agreed to play. I think an expectation that your character's capabilities work the way your character sheet says they do could fall under that for some groups, although admittedly not for others. Those are all good reasons, and I don't think a player would have any reason to expect their...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 05:47 PM
    Right, but assuming you have the material components in your possession and faithfully perform the other components of the spell, and assuming you have ties to a temple that you are close to and have good standing with, and that the assistance you request is not hazardous to the priests, shouldn't the character's capabilities be somewhat reliable and operate in the game as they are described on...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 05:31 PM
    Yes, that's true. But it reminds me of the example up-thread of the player declaring s/he pulls a length of rope out of his/her backpack when the player believed that item was in his/her inventory. The DM has the authority to declare an outcome other than what the player expects, but, without a good reason, it seems like a breach of the social contract.
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 05:07 PM
    I think the same is true of the attack roll against AC. It assumes active resistance to being struck on the part of the defender. Willingly receiving a hit without active resistance not only circumvents AC, IMO, but may also circumvent hit points, or at least auto-crit. To me, this seems fundamental to understanding how the mechanics relate to the fiction.
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 04:48 PM
    The player controls the fiction as it concerns how the PC thinks, acts, and talks. To me, it follows that automatic outcomes of PC actions are also examples of the player controlling the fiction. For example, if I decide my PC casts fireball and I have that spell listed on my character sheet, I have a spell slot available, etc., then I have controlled the fiction to the extent that the effects of...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 04:12 PM
    There's a parallel here to saving throws. From the fact that, in mechanical terms, getting a save against a fireball is automatic, it doesn't follow that PCs don't have to try to save themselves. Rather, the mechanics take for granted that this is what PCs do. If a player describes his/her PC as standing unperturbed in the fireball making no effort to avoid or mitigate its effects, then...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 04:06 PM
    I don't know what you're talking about. This exchange isn't about whether players have control over the thoughts of their PCs. It's about whether certain background features turn certain NPCs into "extensions of the character" in the way a spell like dominate person does, unless you're making a connection that I've missed.
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 03:40 PM
    Okay, but what I'm talking about is that background features that give reliable access to (and outcomes from) NPCs are as much a part of the character sheet as the character's ability scores, equipment list, and (if the character is a spellcaster) spell list. Of course the DM can rule that your spell doesn't work for circumstantial reasons, but that doesn't mean that the ability to cast that...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 03:21 PM
    Were you always able to maintain your weapons in those games, or did you incur penalties because you were somehow prevented? If you could always care for your weapons, then that doesn't fit the scenario we were discussing. If you couldn't, then why didn't you bring extras, unless it was a gotcha for which you were unprepared? But you also aren't including it, which is the precondition for...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 11:55 PM
    It would be interesting to see what you and others think of "the smelly chamberlain". Suppose that the players play their PCs as keeping their distance from the chamberlain, opening windows when he enters the room, etc - because the players have decided that their PCs think the chamberlain smells - while the GM, exercising his/her power to describe the environment, insists that the chamberlain...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 01:32 PM
    You seem to be setting up a contrast - performance intended to creata a mental image of who the PC is vs dice bot with a heart beat - that doesn't correspond to my own RPGing experiences. Central to player-side RPGing is action declaration. That's how the player reveals who his/her PC is. Whereas being a dicebot suggests that someone else (perhaps the GM?) is deciding what the actions are. ...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 08:33 AM
    Yes. The action declaration is premised on some other elements of the shared ficiton established by the players - something along the lines of that such-and-such a character believes such-and-such a thing, and has shared that belief with other PCs. If the GM is intending to introduce fiction that reveals the PC belief to be false, and it is established or implicit in the fiction that the PC is...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 06:41 AM
    Small point of order - I didn't. But as we all know, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet! (Ie, in less literary terms, what matters isn't labels but phenomena.) Obviously there's a lot of room between is equally important and doesn't matter at all. Upthread I said that, everything else being equal, a mellifluous GM is a good thing - though I also agree with Bedrockgames that,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 06:32 AM
    Clear enough, but it doesn't capture what I'm talking about, because - for instance - it renders ordinary conversation a species of performance. That usage is fine enough for a certain sort of cultural studies or communication theory seminar, but doesn't map onto what I'm saying in this thread. Correct. Evard's tower is in the game because there is a character - Aramina - who wants spell...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 03:52 AM
    So, tihs is dead on-topic. And, to me, is strange. I'll relate it to something you've posted recently in another thread - not as "gotcha", but because I'm trying to work out where you're coming from. In that other thread, you were discussing approaches to adjudication, and expressed a preference for swift adjudication rather than (what you saw as) a lot of needless narration. But...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 03:43 AM
    This is all consistent with what I was trying to say in the OP. Further unexpected agreement!
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 03:40 AM
    I can't answer for Chaosmancer, although I get the sense that he (? I think) and I have some similar views here. The things the player characters believe, the things they say to one another, etc are a part of the gameworld as much as anything else. If a character is telling another character something about earth elemental, then that belief and conversation is part of the fiction. Now when...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 11th May, 2019, 05:31 AM
    Not always, in my experience. But in any event, what is the advantage in having the guard by my old friend Frances? Does the GM have no challeng to put before the players (and their characters) except that of getting past the gate? Huh? I don't think that the main purpose of RPG rules is to curb, or manage, dysfunction. They're to guide the play of the game. I don't think my table is...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 11th May, 2019, 04:12 AM
    I've made no assertion about your experience, or anyone else's but my own. I've said nothing about whether or not what you are doing is RPGing. As for your analogies: some unpunctuated writing is interesting avant gardism; most is just bad writing. Mutatis mutandis for film and theatre. I'm not making a claim about what can be done in avant garde RPGing. I have expressed an opinion about...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 11th May, 2019, 04:00 AM
    I don't understand where this "monotone" red herring is coming from. I have compared RPGing to a certain sort of structured conversation. Maybe I just hang out with unusual people, but I can't think of anyone I know who converses in a monotone. People talk more loudly, and/or more quickly, when they are excited. They snap when they are angry or frustated. In short, they manifest emotions and...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 11th May, 2019, 02:56 AM
    I think we are broadly agreed on this. Perhaps a first! This, too, is very much in the neighbourhood of what I'm saying.
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 06:05 PM
    Right, and I think a rule that incentivizes a style of play that looks like a corner case is undesirable for obvious reasons. That isn't including the mechanic though. In fact, that's explicitly excluding it. You acknowledge that the passage I quoted is inconsistent with your position that weapon degradation isn't an element of D&D 5E, yet you persist in saying it's "a fact" that...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 04:09 PM
    Right, but by putting the outcomes of such declarations into the realm of auto-success, these background features constrain the DM's narration of the outcome to align with the desires of the player. For example, if the player of an acolyte declares an action to ask a priest of the acolyte's temple to help in a non-hazardous way, I think it's reasonable for the player to expect the DM to say yes,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 03:30 PM
    You seem fairly outraged by my posts in this thread, but I didn't compare anyone's game to movies with terrible actors or unpunctuated writing. Which appears to be what you're doing here. What makes a movie with terrible acting suck is that a movie is, to a significant extent, constituted by its acting. But what about RPGing demands thespianism? I'm playing my character. I'm exploring...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 10:01 AM
    This seems to point towards dysfunctionality at the table. Also, what does trusting the DM to tell a good story have to do with anything? When did D&D referees become storytellers?! Also also, there's this undercurrent in the thread that the player, by establishing that the guard is his/her PC's friend Frances, is somehow "cheating" or unfairly/improperly subverting a challenge. As if the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 12:39 AM
    I think your GM was meant to say "He seems to be truthful"! Whether that's mere semantic sleight of hand, or a substantive compliance with a principle for allocating narrative authority, I'm not sure. Well, quite. There's always been some ambiguity in how D&D presents its equipment rules: is the starting gp total a resource pool for equippage-by-way-of-points-buy (which is how I've...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 06:53 PM
    I agree that there are NPCs that the game suggests are "extensions of the PC" and thus under the control of the player. This is nowhere more apparent than in the background features. From the acolyte's "Shelter of the Faithful": While near your temple, you can call upon the priests for assistance, provided the assistance you ask for is not hazardous and you remain in good standing with your...
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  • Hriston's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 05:22 PM
    Then they'll bring carts full of duplicate weapons, and donkeys to pull them, which isn't a problem for some games. The point is this would narrow the range of playstyles the game supports. As it is, it's in the players' hands to make weapon maintenance a focus of play if that's the sort of game in which they're interested. If not, the game doesn't force it on them. I don't think this is...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 03:21 PM
    I haven't kept secret my reasons for talking about this stuff. I think that the rules the GM controls the environment, the GM narrates the consequencdes of action, the player decides what his/her PC thinks don't settle all questions of authority. There are aspects of the environment - stuff (equipment) and people (friends and family) - which are (apt to be conceived of as) extensions of the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 02:42 PM
    I agree that RPGs are games. But it would be a cold day in hell before I'd trade in my RPG time for euchre! I'm not sure that content quite captures what I'm talking about, although it's clearly in the neighbourhood. It's the participatory creation, which - on the player side - is about response as protagonist. It would be a sad thing if the best pitch we could make for RPGing is Would you...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 02:40 PM
    Your memory is correct - I've never played BitD. The only PbtA game I've played is a bit (not a lot) of Dungeon World.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 02:32 PM
    Nor does rolling a certain result on a die cause weapons to break down. We're talking about systems for deciding what happens in the fiction. Having a deadly result somewhere in the middle of the charts doesn't affect the odds of rolling an unmodified deadly result, but does change the odds of getting a deadly result if Ambush skill is used to modify a crit.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 08:52 AM
    I've snipped the middle because I think the top and tail are closely connected. I want to build on the idea of a live performance. I don't know if you play any music yourself - I'm a (very) amateur guitarist, who plays for his own pleasure, sometimes for friends and family, occasionally for students. These are all contexts where who I am, who it is who's making the music, matters as much or...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 12:36 AM
    Because Rolemaster players feel that being lectured by a D&D player about what realism in RPGing means is like an Australian lecturing a Canadian about what cold and snow are all about. Or to put it another way: I've done 100s and 100s of hours of process sim RPGing - far more than Maxperson has. Maxperson has, as far as I know, never played RM, never played RQ, never played C&S, and maybe has...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 03:49 PM
    You are wrong. I don't know what you're defending. As I already posted, I GMed Rolemaster continuously for about 19 years. As you may know, the slogan for RM is "Get Real, Get Rolemaster". I own and have read dozens of RM rulebooks, containing dozens and dozens of mechanical subsystems. I'm familiar with the concept of "realism" in RPGing. But I can't make sense of what you're arguing for....
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 08:45 AM
    I'm not "smearing" anything - I'm enquiring about a particular aspect of the environment (namely, equipment) and who has principal authority over it. I don't think that having rope is a usurpation of GM authority. Because I think it's a clear exception to the GM's authority over establishing the environment. As for how play is going to involve friends and family consistently with the player...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 08:02 AM
    I suspect they're reviewing the recent Kickstarted version rather than the 4-page PDF that I downloaded 5 or so years ago. The stuff that you have quoted reminds me of Kenneth Hite's old book Nightmares of Mine.
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    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 07:57 AM
    You said "If the DM presents nothing but bare bones facts without any exposition, no oratory, no actual theatricalism (if I could coin a term), then that DM is going to lose his players to other forms of media which ARE far more entertaining." That seems to rest on a premise, which I think is plausible, that leisure time is finite and hence RPGing has to offer something worthwhile to its...
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    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 07:54 AM
    Like I said, maybe the idea is that players play PCs who fit with the mood, and the GM picks up and manages (perhaps manages away) all the potential adverse consequences. I haven't got REH's The Scalet Citadel in front of me, but as I recall it there are two main traps/hazards: there's a pit, which Conan avoids falling into in the dark due to his uncanny senses (in game terms, this could be...
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    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 07:50 AM
    There are rulebooks that recommend that, in such circumstances, the GM should make the check. Two I can think of off the top of my head are Classic Traveller (1977) and the 4e D&D DMG (2008). The 5e Basic PDF (pp 59, 69) appears to suggest the use of Passive Perception in lieu of the player or the GM actually rolling a die. To me that seems like a fairly simple variant on the GM rolls...
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    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 07:33 AM
    I don't really know what you mean by this. Hriston has a system - whetstones on equipment lists - for "representing" (in some tenable sense of that word) something that occurs in real life, namely, warriors sharpening their blades. But you say that that is not an element of realism. Declaring that a PC comes down with a disease every time the clock strikes during the course of play...
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    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 07:24 AM
    These two posts were made within a span of less than 2 hours. How am I meant to reconcile them?
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    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 07:21 AM
    No. EDIT: I was talking about the ways in which empirical claims can be justified. Thinking really hard isn't one of those ways.
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    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 11:04 AM
    I didn't realise that you were referring to equipment in that passage. I'm surprised that you think equipment - which is a central feature of D&D RPGing - is some sort of marginal or "twlight" example of game play. Well, I wasn't asking you to argue! But I was wondering if you agree with me that - clearly, it seems to me - the player gets to narrate taing stuff out of his/her (which is to say,...
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    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 10:44 AM
    The bit of that rabbit hole that I ignored was the completely unsubstantiated assertion that the meaning of "realism" in RPGing has changed in the past 40 years. Obviously I missed that memo (despite playing Rolemaster continuously from early 1990 to late 2008!). Are you suggesting that if I open a book about weapon-inflicted wounds, or fighting styles, it won't catalogue weapons by die size?
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    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 06:42 AM
    I dunno - I don't play games in which "establishing mood" is an important part of play. But there are a number of posters for whom this seems very important, perhaps even the principal goal of play. Maybe they don't declare searches every 5 feet because (i) that would spoil the mood, and (ii) they rely on the GM to regulate the number and effect of traps. But really, you'd have to ask them.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 04:40 AM
    I know that I don't understand where you draw the boundaries of "gaming the GM". In my 4e game, the sorcerer PC has the Dominant Winds power: as a move action fly one target (self or ally) a certain number of squares: for the sake of the example, let's say that this was 40'. On one occasion the character was at the bottom of a chasm - let's say 200'. The player tells me (as GM) that his PC...
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    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 04:31 AM
    This is more-or-less a repost of what I said: it seems to me quite hard to (i) allow that PCs have friends and family like Frances, and (ii) have those friends and family be part of the ingame situation, and (iii) maintain a strong player/GM divide over narration of the environment, yet (iv) never have the GM tell the players what their PC's think and feel. In the case of equipment, the exact...
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    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 04:19 AM
    Is that the sound of my joke going over your head? I saw your joke and raised it. Hussar got it.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 04:15 AM
    Would you agree that equipment is on the player side of the table? So that a player who declares I look in my backcpack and take out my rope isn't usurping the GM's role, even though that player has narrated the environment.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 04:10 AM
    No it's not. It's a version of it. Last week I gave a lecture on social science methodology to non-social scientists. The most important point I made in the lecture was that a lot of work is produced that makes empirical claims about social institutions, social causation, etc, in which those claims are simply unsubstantiated. The people who write that work don't think that they're making it up...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 04:04 AM
    Why? There's no mechanic in most versions of D&D (some 2nd ed AD&D variants may be exceptions, I think) by which an orc can maim a PC with a sword. But presumably some people sometimes get maimed in sword fights. So all those people must be NPCs! I've never played a D&D game in which my PCs had fleas or lice. But presumably they abound. They must be on the NPCs! Etc. So far from being...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 03:59 AM
    Again, all I can really say is that this is not my experience. My group has been meeting every fortnight or so for 20-odd years. If we were young and free like we once were, it would probably be more often! (As it was back in the 90s.) I've been the GM for most of that time. I'm not notorious for my modesty, but I've also got a reasonable sense of my limitations. I'm not a great performer. The...
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    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 03:53 AM
    I think there's another possibility. To me, it seems to lie behind some of the posts in this thread (eg Chaosmancer, maybe Oofta) although of course I could be drawing mistaken inferences from what they've said. 5) The presence from time-to-time of "random"/"untelegraphed" traps - some of which are triggered, some of which are narrated in advance by the GM to those players playing PCs with...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 12:36 AM
    I've posted more than once, in reply to you, about some recent play of horror RPGs. You haven't responded.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 12:33 AM
    Well, you did assert that they're equally important, and that's what I was responding to. What you describe here doesn't really fit with my own experience of RPGing. If RPGing was primarily about "painting a picture" (upthread, I used the term "recitation" which I think covers much the same conceptual terrain) then you would be correct. But that's what I'm disagreeing with in my OP.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 12:27 AM
    Comparing RPG rules to flight simulators is (in my view) largely unhelpful and unilluminating. I'll let AbdulAlhazred repeat his account of why, should he care to. All I'll say is that people desigining simulations of that sort don't just make stuff up. Whereas that is precisely what most game design involves.
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Wednesday, 8th May, 2019

  • 07:33 AM - pemerton mentioned Hriston in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    All it takes for the level of realism I seek is for me to have a system that generally works towards representing something in real life. I don't really know what you mean by this. Hriston has a system - whetstones on equipment lists - for "representing" (in some tenable sense of that word) something that occurs in real life, namely, warriors sharpening their blades. But you say that that is not an element of realism. Declaring that a PC comes down with a disease every time the clock strikes during the course of play would be a system for introducing disease - an element of real life - into gameplay. But upthread you seemed to assert that a system of that sort does not increase realism - I think (though am not sure) on the basis that the decision-making process doesn't model the ingame infection process. But when some of us express doubt that the AD&D DMG disease rules work towards representing something like real life, because the "model"/"simulation" (if one wants to call it that) seems to have little basis in reality, and furthermore is apt to produce inconsistencies in game play that don't mirror corresponding facets of real life, you say that we're missing ...

Monday, 6th May, 2019

  • 10:52 AM - pemerton mentioned Hriston in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...and so plays his/her PC as having a cold) or as part of the narration of failure (as per my examples above, or as per the suggestion that AbdulAlhazred and I made way upthread that a missed attack might be narrated as the weapon having become dulled) or even as mattering to resolution (maybe after falling in the mud, the GM imposes disadvantage on CHA checks to befriend strangers until the PC gets clean clothes). The 5e Basic PDF has whetstones on its equipment list. It also has price lists for different qualities of clothing, food, drink and accommodation, even though there are no mechanics governing social class and status. There is an abacus on the list, although no rule that forbids a player using a calculator or pen-and-paper to do maths for his/her PC. All these things are clearly there to help establish these various elements of the fiction. The fact that there is no mechanic that necessarily invokes them is entirely beside the point. EDIT: A lot of this was ninja-ed by Hriston earlier today (my time), using the example of grass growing.

Tuesday, 30th April, 2019

  • 03:57 AM - pemerton mentioned Hriston in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    So a whetstone is neither a rule, nor proof that weapons degrade in D&D.Upthread, when I suggested that pork is not a part of the D&D rules unless a GM adds it in, you cited the presence of boar in the MM animal listing as a counter-point. But when Hriston points to the presence of whetstones on the equipment list, and in some WotC-published character inventories, as a counterexample to your claim about weapoin degradation, you scoff. Why the difference in the two cases?

Tuesday, 23rd April, 2019

  • 01:21 PM - pemerton mentioned Hriston in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    ...ing a game (particularly a game like My Life With Master where you're running through a pre-conceived, but not pre-rendered, thematic arc with a diversity of ultimate outcomes). How do you think the 3 above intersect (or not) with your premise?I think (1) and (2) are - at their core - about extrapolating from established to new fiction by reference to theme/interest. That fits well with my description, in my post not far upthread of your post, of the GM's narration inviting the players to engage as a protagonist. What stirs the player, what rouses emotion, is not the fluency of the GM's narration but the power of that invitation. I think a GM can do this although s/he has no great skill as a writer (in the sense of writing beautiful prose). My belief here is grounded firmly in my experience! I think your (3) puts more pressure on my contention - I would describe the source of this being that it puts pressure on the contrast between form and content - this is the contrast that Hriston has helpfully articulated upthread, and that I also tried to capture (via some examples, and comments around them) in my post not too far upthread from yours. This is because dramatic pacing (probably) can't be completely divorced from the words - the form - whereby the content is conveyed. In the context of a RPG, though, where the pacing concerns - at least the sort that you refer to - are more at the "scene" level than the line-by-line level, I think the dependence of pacing on words becomes pretty lose. A GM who can't control his/her words at all is going to have troube wrapping up a scene, or cutting to the next situation, in a smooth way; but I think the threshold of skill to be able to do this falls well short of being able to write an evocative opening or closing line. I'll finish this post by saying that, in denying that RPGing is a *literary* endeavour I'm not denying that it has an important aesthetic component. But I think that the aesthetic component is much more ...

Monday, 22nd April, 2019

  • 02:44 AM - pemerton mentioned Hriston in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    I think RPGing is not a literary endeavor when examined in this light, because the focus is not on the quality of form of the content of the fiction being generated through play, but rather on the content itself and its potential to engender participation.I think that enough people play with various elements that they might focus upon that the best you should say is, "RPG play is *usually* not a literary endeavor, because the quality of form is not a common focus." Going beyond that is making claims on the community that nobody really has the power to do, hey what?I've bolded a part of Hriston's post that you (Umbran) perhaps did not notice. The "light" by which Hriston is examining RPGing is the same light as I deployed in the OP. The OP is making a claim about the aesthetics of RPGing: that the strength of RPGing is engaged participation, not artistic performance and narration. I appreciate that this will not be a universal view: that's why the thread title takes the form of a question, and why the OP offers my answer. I don't even know if Hriston agrees with me - I took his post to be an attempt to restate my position, which he did very well, but not necessarily an endorsement of it.

Saturday, 20th April, 2019

  • 04:10 PM - pemerton mentioned Hriston in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Hriston - I'm glad at least one poster found my OP clear enough! To elaborate - and I see what I'm saying in this post as consistent with the OP, and hopefully you will also - I don't see RPGing as primarily performance (in the artistic sense). Not for the GM - of course a melifluous GM can provide entertainment, but I don't see that as core. And likewise on the player side - thespianism is (in my view) secondary, whereas engaging the fiction from the position/perspective of the character is absolutely central. And here's one way I would make this more concrete in terms of advice: if a new(-ish) GM asked me what is the one thing to do to make his/her game better, I would recommend working on managing framing and consequences to maintain player engagement, rather than (say) working on the portrayal/characterisation of NPCs.

Saturday, 9th March, 2019

  • 12:53 AM - epithet mentioned Hriston in post Sage Advice Compendium Update 1/30/2019
    That's not what the Sage Advice Compendium says, though. The weapon attack isn't granting you advantage on the attack roll of the cantrip, which is why this answer says that nothing would be broken if the DM let the attack come first. However, it's still confirming that the "if you X, you can Y" wording means X has to come before Y in strict RAW, just like the Shield Master answer says. Oh, I know. This is another example of how Jeremy chose semantics over gameplay and reversed an earlier answer regarding the 5e rules. As Hriston pointed out upthread, Crawford's initial take on the matter was quite different. The intent is that the bonus attack can come before or after the cantrip. You choose when to take a bonus action during your turn, unless the bonus action specifies when it must take place (PH, 189). The question wasn't about how Jeremy wants to interpret the rules in 2019, but rather how the rule would have been written when the Player's Handbook was published if the intent were to allow a bonus action to come before or after the triggering event, enabling the default timing of bonus actions. Since we have here a statement of that exact intent for a bonus action written into the Player's Handbook, it appears we have our answer, no?

Saturday, 23rd February, 2019


Thursday, 21st February, 2019

  • 07:36 PM - FrogReaver mentioned Hriston in post Sage Advice Compendium Update 1/30/2019
    Hriston I can abjucate that a level 1 fighter makes 4 attacks when using his attack action. However doing so is objectively not following the attack action and extra attack rules. The same thing with shield master (although there are much better reasons to abjucate it the way you do than a DM abjucate first a level 1 fighter gets 4 attacks). It’s still an abjucate on that is objectively not following the shield master and other bonus action rules. If you want to argue it is then for the love of god stop bringing abjucation into it. Whether or not you abjucate however you do has no relevance on whether you are objectively following the rules as they are written.

Tuesday, 12th February, 2019

  • 10:39 PM - epithet mentioned Hriston in post Sage Advice Compendium Update 1/30/2019
    ...terpreting houserule < RAW. "Houserule" is not an insult and anyone trying to use it that way overtly or subtly may have need for a little introspection. At the end of the day, the DM's job is interpreting the RAW anyway. As RL humans, we're all going to bring our own biases to the table, so to speak, in how we interpret and apply the rules. The end goal for our table is to have fun, not debate the rules and hold up the flow of the game. ... You are completely right, but I think it is worthwhile to note an important distinction. You can interpret the published rule in a way different than Crawford does, and it is still the published rule. Only when you change it (like you have by removing the Attack Action requirement like I did, too) have you made a "house rule." When you interpret the rule as it is written, that is a ruling, and every DM's ruling is exactly as valid and applicable in his game as Jeremy Crawford's is on his tabletop. A number of people in this thread, like Hriston a page or two back, have provided very reasonable interpretations and rulings of the rule (as it is written) that do not change it at all, but are not the same as the new and revised Crawford advice.

Thursday, 22nd November, 2018

  • 12:38 AM - pemerton mentioned Hriston in post Keep on the Borderlands shenanigans
    Hriston, thanks for replying to my old thread! Your last paragraph caught me a bit by surprise - I hadn't guessed from the earlier passages that the betrayal played out so contentiously at the table. I've always felt that NPC treachery is treacherous terrain for a GM, and it seems that your experience confirmed that. The parleying you decribe I also found interesting - though I was a bit disappointed that the heroes failed to follow through on their ransom promise to the hobgoblins! But that to one side, I think ransom, imprisonment, etc is really very underused in FRPGing (I think maybe the D&D hp system of find-until-dead-at-zero helps contribute to this). I also think a change might have taken place in the early-to-mid 80s, from relying on the reaction dice to determine the outcomes of encounters, to a greater degree of evil NPCs attack on sight or an expectation that good PCs will never negotiate with evil NPCs. I was also intrigued by the role that weather seemed to play in the b...

Monday, 29th October, 2018

  • 12:15 AM - pemerton mentioned Hriston in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    ...ings: (1) Either Hussar's an English teacher, or has been working hard to maintain the online facade of being an English teacher for over a decade. Given that there's little reason for someone to do the latter, and given that his reports about English teaching and challengs of cross-cultural education have always seemed coherent enough to me, I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt. (2) I'm not an English teacher - I'm an academic lawyer and philosopher - and I know that Hussar is 100% correct when he says that Maxperson is 100% wrong to say that " 'On a hit, roll damage' is equal to 'On a miss, don't roll damage.' It's just the way language works." The instruction that, on a hit, one must roll damage, doesn't forbid anyone from rolling damage on a miss. It probably implies that "On a miss, you don't need to roll damage" but the absence of an obligation isn't the same thing as being forbidden - the absence of an obligation is consistent with a permission. Which was Hriston's point. Of course if there is not hit, and damage is rolled, no hit point reduction will take place. But that's a different thing. Hriston's point is that the combat rules don't forbid rolling to hit and damage together (and the absence of doubt about this is simply reinforced by the fact that the DMG advises rolling them together!). Why would a fallacy not be treated as a fallacy? <snip> The fallacy would be if you presented as your only proof that France's capitol is Paris, that an authority said so. If you engaged other arguments, such as maps, news sources, a french citizen you spoke with, and so on, it would not be an Appeal to Authority to also mention that a geography teacher taught that to you.This is hilarious! Why is a map evidence? Because it's a source of authority! Why is a citizen of France's testimony evidence? Because s/he is an authority on his/her own country! The fact that the only sources of evidence that you can think of for the status of Pari...

Saturday, 27th October, 2018

  • 01:10 AM - pemerton mentioned Hriston in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    Right. Targeted by magic missile, not damaged by magic missile. Once damage is narrated like you did in your example up thread, it's too late to use shield.But being targetted by magic missile and being damaged by it are the same thing, in the fiction - because a magic missile automatically strikes damages whomever it targets. So if it's not time travel in one case, it's not time travel in the other either. Whether the GM announces the targetting prior to rolling the damage, or does the two simultanesously, is simply a matter of table practice and what happens at the time - as Hriston has already indicated in relation to weapon attacks.

Friday, 26th October, 2018

  • 02:39 PM - iserith mentioned Hriston in post Passive Perception better than Active Perception?
    ...e. Though I wouldn't be averse to giving disadvantage/-5 or advantage/+5 to reflect distraction, one's ears & nose don't close off while mapping. IRL if I'm asleep and there's a suspicious noise in the flat, I come awake. A few weeks ago my son tried to go to the bathroom at night without waking me, which sneak attempt my sleeping brain interpreted as "Intruder!" and I bolted awake with a massive adrenaline rush. Obviously my Passive Perception was active!! :D The funny thing was that if he hadn't tried to be stealthy, my brain would have registered it as normal activity and I'd have barely stirred. First, I think "IRL" arguments aren't very convincing when talking about the rules of a game set in a fantasy world. Some amount of realism has to take a back seat to the game play. The way the rules have it set up make it clear there's a meaningful choice to be made here. And as I said upthread, the more meaningful choices a player can make in a given session, the better in my view. @Hriston has the key distinction right though and one that I underscore with players new to the rules being used in play: Not every monster is trying to be sneaky. If the monster is trying to be sneaky, the PC who is not alert to danger fails to notice the monster and is surprised if combat breaks out, straight up, no check. If the monster isn't trying to be sneaky, then the PC who is not alert to danger isn't surprised because the rules for surprise require the monster to try to be sneaky. If you're doing a task other than staying alert to danger, it's generally a good idea to not be in the front rank of the marching order. One will want to mitigate risk when trying to gain a benefit. For my part, when I use a random encounter table like in Xanathar's, whether or not a monster is trying to be sneaky is based on whether it has Stealth proficiency or whether its lore suggests that is what it does. If neither of those conditions are true, then it won't try to be sneaky and the character who is n...

Thursday, 25th October, 2018

  • 12:38 AM - pemerton mentioned Hriston in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    It doesn't matter. After the damage has been applied, it's too late.But I was talking about the rolling of the damage. With a blowgun, if I'm hit then I know how much damage is coming in yet can use Shield. So why can't I wait until the damage from a sword blow is rolled - but then use Shield before it is opposed. (There's also Hriston's excellent point about rolling practices.) one can twist and tease the narrative in a plausible way to gain additional meta knowledge to assist in their decision making process. At our table we try as best to limit meta knowledge (player knowledge or otherwise).But how is knowing whether the arrow is coming for my head or my thigh meta-knowledge? And yet the arrow coming for your head can be a glancing blow that does a single point of damage. And the one for your thigh can hit the femoral artery critting you for 16, and put you on the ground making death saves.Then make it a blow to my foot and a blow to my head. Or whatever.

Thursday, 18th October, 2018

  • 09:40 AM - pemerton mentioned Hriston in post Mearls On D&D's Design Premises/Goals
    ...re initiative isn't re-rolled or otherwise redetermined each round or at some other regular interval during the combat.Of course! It's a discussion about the nature of 5e's intitiative rules, and 5e uses turn-by-turn combat resolution very similar to 3E and 4e. The difference in the first round is that someone (or a number of someones) might be able to act before anyone else is aware of it - as in Max's example of suddenly pulling a sword and attacking. Here some other mechanic - be it surprise or flat-footed or whatever else - is required to determine who gets to act right away vs. who is caught off guard. Otherwise what ends up happening all too often is that the dice don't match the intended-by-the-player narrative: Max pulls out a sword and swings, thus triggering initiatives, but somehow ends up near the bottom of the initiative order even though his supposedly acting first is the reason they were rolled at all! Personally, I often find this quite annoying when it happens. Hriston has already discussed this - if Max loses initiative, then (among other things) we learn that he is not very quick on the draw! It's certainly not unheard of in genre fiction for the villains to try and get the drop on the hero, only for the latter to react unexpectedly quickly and turn the tables! In 4e, Max might well get surprise if the others involved don't succeed on an appropriate Insight or Perception check. S'mon has given some suggestions for how 5e would deal with this.

Wednesday, 17th October, 2018

  • 10:53 AM - pemerton mentioned Hriston in post Mearls On D&D's Design Premises/Goals
    Can someone please summarize this for me? I've totally lost track of this.My summary is perhaps biased because I think Hriston is right. The questions are: Is rolling initiative an aspect of combat resolution? Is rolling initiative a type of stat-check contest? Hriston answers yes to both questions, along the following lines: If a player (for a PC) or the GM (for a NPC) declares a combat-ish action (attacking with a weapon, fireballing, etc) then (i) the combat rules are activated, and (ii) two sides (in the typical case, at least) are in opposition in respect of the just-commenced battle. The fact of (i) refers us to the combat rules, which say to do various stuff at the start of combat including determining initiative for each participant. The fact of (ii) helps us understand how and why determining initiative is a type of stat-check contest: we have these opposed entities, each trying (literally) to get and retain the initiative in the battle that has just commenced, and so we use DEX for this (because it's the quickness/reaction time stat) and we compare results to work out who wins ...

Thursday, 4th October, 2018

  • 07:25 AM - pemerton mentioned Hriston in post Mearls On D&D's Design Premises/Goals
    I already acknowledged that it was a part of the combat system. It is just not combat itself.What does that mean? Choosing the target of an attack is also part of the combat system, but not combat itself. Making an attack roll is part of the combat system, but not combat itself. Combat itself is a complex structured mechanical process - which some sort of loosely correlating fiction - which all thse things are elements of. And I'm pretty sure that Hriston has a firm grasp on this point. What he is saying is that combat involves direct opposition - a clash between two sides - and hence that it would be wrong to argue that one of its key constituent elements, namely, determining the sequence in which that clash unfolds by way of the initiative mechanic, cannot be a contest because it does not pertain to direct opposition.

Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018

  • 06:51 AM - pemerton mentioned Hriston in post Mearls On D&D's Design Premises/Goals
    It's much more than 10 outcomes! Say there are 5 people, we need a contest between each, first, and then... the pain begins... Say this is what happens A beats B A beats C A loses to D A loses to E Seems like A is in the middle of the pack, but... D loses to C E loses to B No idea where this is going, but now we need to resolve... everyone against everyone...I think the assumption that billd91 has made is probably the same as the one that Hriston has made explicit: each participant makes only one check, which is compared vs the check of all the other participants. So if A beats B but loses to E, that means that E beats B, which precludes the contradictory situation you are concerned about. The thing I don't get in this discussion is: how do you and Maxperson handle an attempt by three people to be the first to grab the ring? You couldn't do it the way you've described (independent binary checks) because of the risk of contradiction. So presumably you'd do it . . . just the same as initiative is done! (Except for having some differerent approach to handlling ties.)

Saturday, 29th September, 2018

  • 04:07 PM - pemerton mentioned Hriston in post Mearls On D&D's Design Premises/Goals
    You have misstated the rule and thereby applied it incorrectly to initiative. The rule is not that there can only be one winner. The rule is that only one can succeed. Only one person out of 20 racing for the ring can get succeed in getting it. With initiative all 20 succeed in the goal of having the potential to act during the round.But obviously (and as Hriston has pointed out) they can't all succeed in acting before anyone else. Presumably 5e is meant to be able to resolve foot races and similar competitions. And presumably that is meant to be done by extrapolating from the contest rules, in much the same way as initiative does. The goal is not to go first. The goal is simply to have the potential to act in the round, so there is no DC. Initiative is a special kind of ability check that is neither a contest, nor one where you are trying to beat a DC. You will succeed on both a 25 and a 0.Where do the rules say this? If the goal was simply to act in the round, why would a check even be required? What is at stake? I mean, it's not as if the term initiative doesn't have a natural language meaning in this context. And it's impossible for every combatant to have the initiative over the others. It's something that one gains because another has lost it.


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Sunday, 19th May, 2019

  • 04:48 AM - Imaro quoted Hriston in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    You said the group wasn’t interested in engaging with the situations. That sounds to me like the group thinks your situations are uninteresting. ORRR... your presentation of them wasn't done well enough to hook the players... or are you claiming that's not a possibility? Just replace “flowery language “ with “quality of form”. Isn’t that what you’re arguing for? Well which one are you arguing against because they aren't the same thing...
  • 04:02 AM - Imaro quoted Hriston in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    If the problem is that the situations aren’t interesting, then I think the solution is to use more interesting situations, not more flowery descriptions of uninteresting situations! Orrrr... maybe present them better. I never made the assertion that the situation wasn't interesting... You need eggs and milk to make cake batter. You don’t need flowery language to play an rpg. Good thing no ones arguing for "flowery" language as core then.

Saturday, 18th May, 2019

  • 08:48 PM - Imaro quoted Hriston in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    All things being equal, there’s nothing wrong with well crafted narration. That’s not the point. The point is rpg groups don’t get together to listen to flowery descriptions of the contents of rooms. That’s what poetry recitals are for. They get together to engage, as their characters, with the situations presented in the game. Any literary quality possessed by that presentation is in service and subordinate to those situations. This doesn't speak to whether it is a core aspect of the game or not. If the group isn't interested in engaging with the situations presented because your presentation/performance doesn't make it interesting to them... well there's no game. It's an ingredient of the whole just like everything else. Are eggs or milk not a core ingredient for a cake because you aren't eating the cake to experience drinking milk or eating an egg?
  • 05:42 AM - Imaro quoted Hriston in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Because color (dungeon dressing) is content that provides atmosphere when imagined by the participants at the table. The quality of form with which it’s expressed isn’t what’s important but rather whether the odors, noises, furnishings, and items found in an area suggest a torture chamber, a harem, or a wizard’s laboratory. In other words, it’s the actual content that matters, not the particular words that are used and the way they are said. Disagree... otherwise the most bland & basic description of content would engender the same response as a better embellished and constructed description of the same content... and IME most of the time that just isn't the case.

Wednesday, 15th May, 2019

  • 08:59 PM - 5ekyu quoted Hriston in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Forgive me, but this interpretation seems like a lawyerly effort to screw over the players. I think it's pretty clear that hazardous assistance refers to assistance that would be hazardous to the priests themselves, not hazardous to anyone in general. What's wrong with sticking to only the conditions of the spell or feature, and not imposing additional restrictions that the DM deems "compelling" in his/her judgement? This all seems good to me and sounds like it avoids mismatched expectations. If the "why" has already been established though, I wonder why you would ever get to the "no", unless I'm misunderstanding you.On the lawyerly part... well if you mean its lawyerly to point out what was written in contrast to what you claimed, then guilty. But, if one accepts that the actual text is telling you to only consider hazardous to the priest, then on gets the door opened to a lot of very strange results. If it means the priest spends his time casting raise dead instead of using a cantrip...
  • 06:28 PM - Celebrim quoted Hriston in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Isn't this just another way of saying it's the DM's job to keep track of this stuff? Not at all. Or at least, at my tables I certainly don't keep track of the players stuff, and if the player takes something but doesn't write it down on their character sheet, I'm not at all going to overrule and decide that they have it (unless it has a particular sort of curse). All I'm saying is that the DM, in his role as secret keeper, can and usually does have information about the fictional positioning that the player doesn't have. The DM is as it were, omniscient with regards to the imagined world. The player on the other hand, since his knowledge of the game is filtered by the secret keeper according to what he has noticed or can perceive, is acting under "fog of war". This is required to allow for the aesthetic of discovery, as it is sometimes called exploration. What judgement is required over whether the rope is in the backpack or not? Access to the secret knowledge, as you we...
  • 03:17 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted Hriston in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    I think the same is true of the attack roll against AC. It assumes active resistance to being struck on the part of the defender. Willingly receiving a hit without active resistance not only circumvents AC, IMO, but may also circumvent hit points, or at least auto-crit. To me, this seems fundamental to understanding how the mechanics relate to the fiction. While 'classic' D&D never really spelled this out in plain words, it was also the normal expectation there. If an enemy was helpless (note this works in 4e as well) then they wouldn't get a defense, and in 4e and in many GM's determination in earlier editions they would be CDGed. Rationalization for the 1e assassination table was similar, the assassin was basically getting a chance at a completely undefended blow, which would instantly kill the target. I would expect most 'old school' DMs would follow some version of this procedure. It really is never explicitly spelled out though in classic D&D. There are probably a few comments in te...

Tuesday, 14th May, 2019

  • 02:48 AM - Maxperson quoted Hriston in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Were you always able to maintain your weapons in those games, or did you incur penalties because you were somehow prevented? If you could always care for your weapons, then that doesn't fit the scenario we were discussing. If you couldn't, then why didn't you bring extras, unless it was a gotcha for which you were unprepared? I usually carried one extra weapon on me just in case. I pulled those quotes directly from the part of your post that I quoted. Is it not your position that there's absolutely no weapon degradation in 5E? The inconsistency of that position with the rule stating that monsters' weapons generally have no re-sale value because of their poor condition should at least tell you that your position isn't uncontroversial, if not that it's directly contradicted by the rules themselves. It kinda does and doesn't. Monsters have poor quality gear sometimes, but it just kinda poofs in at that quality and hasn't degraded to that point over time. However, the monster equipme...

Monday, 13th May, 2019

  • 08:44 PM - Celebrim quoted Hriston in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    The social contract encompasses things like expectations and the rules of the game the group has agreed to play. I think an expectation that your character's capabilities work the way your character sheet says they do could fall under that for some groups, although admittedly not for others. Those are all good reasons, and I don't think a player would have any reason to expect their character to be able to take a rope out of his/her backpack once the mismatch between what the DM and player are imagining is cleared up. But without a good reason, if the DM is just going to say, "Okay, you find the rope in your backpack and take it out," I don't see how that's the DM controlling the fiction outside of the character. To me, that seems more like the DM agreeing that the player's view of the fiction is what prevails. To me, this isn't so much about a player declaring what happens in the fiction outside of his/her character as it is about the player interacting with the fiction in a way that's...
  • 08:06 PM - iserith quoted Hriston in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    The social contract encompasses things like expectations and the rules of the game the group has agreed to play. I think an expectation that your character's capabilities work the way your character sheet says they do could fall under that for some groups, although admittedly not for others. Those are all good reasons, and I don't think a player would have any reason to expect their character to be able to take a rope out of his/her backpack once the mismatch between what the DM and player are imagining is cleared up. But without a good reason, if the DM is just going to say, "Okay, you find the rope in your backpack and take it out," I don't see how that's the DM controlling the fiction outside of the character. To me, that seems more like the DM agreeing that the player's view of the fiction is what prevails. To me, this isn't so much about a player declaring what happens in the fiction outside of his/her character as it is about the player interacting with the fiction in a way that's...
  • 06:50 PM - 5ekyu quoted Hriston in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Right, but assuming you have the material components in your possession and faithfully perform the other components of the spell, and assuming you have ties to a temple that you are close to and have good standing with, and that the assistance you request is not hazardous to the priests, shouldn't the character's capabilities be somewhat reliable and operate in the game as they are described on the character sheet?Nitpick - "to the priests" did not accompany "hazardous" in the write-up in the PHB. So, for instance, if the priests' spells and efforts are tied up combating a local outbreak, they might consider casting cure spells on your scratches a lower priority than saving other people's lives - the hazard being yo those thry are helping. But, to be clear, given your long list of assumptions, I would boil it down to "unless there is a compelling reason not to... " A referencexwas made above yo sort of "without a good reason" and to me most of my playstyle revolves around "say yes, unless y...
  • 05:42 PM - iserith quoted Hriston in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Yes, that's true. But it reminds me of the example up-thread of the player declaring s/he pulls a length of rope out of his/her backpack when the player believed that item was in his/her inventory. The DM has the authority to declare an outcome other than what the player expects, but, without a good reason, it seems like a breach of the social contract. "Social contract" exists as what the DMG calls "table rules" which are not the rules of the game. These will vary from table to table. I have already given good reasons, based on what the rules describe as the DM's role, why the DM may decide that the player's action declaration to take the rope out of the character's backpack may fail. Those reasons might be that the DM needs to mediate between the rules and the players (e.g. no enough actions left to do it right now) or set limits (e.g. the rope was used in a previous location and not recovered). I don't imagine the rules contemplate a situation where the DM isn't performing his or her...
  • 05:38 PM - 5ekyu quoted Hriston in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    The player controls the fiction as it concerns how the PC thinks, acts, and talks. To me, it follows that automatic outcomes of PC actions are also examples of the player controlling the fiction. For example, if I decide my PC casts fireball and I have that spell listed on my character sheet, I have a spell slot available, etc., then I have controlled the fiction to the extent that the effects of the spell take place in the fiction. I think the same can be said of calling on the priests of my temple for assistance if I have Shelter of the Faithful listed on my character sheet. By doing so, I have controlled the fiction to the extent that the priests offer assistance as long as my request meets the conditions of the feature.I actually dont have much of a problem with this viewpoint except to,point out that *like fireball* but *unlike magic missle* both these features require an external factor not under your control in character and in plsyer - the material components which for the priests mean...
  • 04:57 PM - iserith quoted Hriston in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    The player controls the fiction as it concerns how the PC thinks, acts, and talks. To me, it follows that automatic outcomes of PC actions are also examples of the player controlling the fiction. For example, if I decide my PC casts fireball and I have that spell listed on my character sheet, I have a spell slot available, etc., then I have controlled the fiction to the extent that the effects of the spell take place in the fiction. I think the same can be said of calling on the priests of my temple for assistance if I have Shelter of the Faithful listed on my character sheet. By doing so, I have controlled the fiction to the extent that the priests offer assistance as long as my request meets the conditions of the feature. But who decides that there is an "automatic outcome" to casting a fireball or seeking help from the PC's temple? The DM, always.
  • 04:12 PM - pemerton quoted Hriston in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    the fact that there is no rule for the degradation of weapons belonging to PCs is not an indication that PC weapons can't degrade, but rather that there is an assumption that PCs aren't allowing their weapons to degrade. If a player introduces into the fiction that s/he is allowing his/her character's weapon to degrade, then it's up to the DM to adjudicate.There's a parallel here to saving throws. From the fact that, in mechanical terms, getting a save against a fireball is automatic, it doesn't follow that PCs don't have to try to save themselves. Rather, the mechanics take for granted that this is what PCs do. If a player describes his/her PC as standing unperturbed in the fireball making no effort to avoid or mitigate its effects, then presumably the GM is entitled to adjudicate as appropriate (eg deny the save, or impose disadvantage, or whatver else seems appropriate and consistent with established ficiton and table expectations).
  • 03:47 PM - iserith quoted Hriston in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Okay, but what I'm talking about is that background features that give reliable access to (and outcomes from) NPCs are as much a part of the character sheet as the character's ability scores, equipment list, and (if the character is a spellcaster) spell list. Of course the DM can rule that your spell doesn't work for circumstantial reasons, but that doesn't mean that the ability to cast that spell isn't part of your character's identity, and that the DM isn't overriding the character sheet to some extent by doing so. They may be listed on the character sheet, but as the outcome of all action declarations are decided upon by the DM, I don't think where they are listed says anything about the player controlling the fiction in this regard.
  • 03:44 PM - Ovinomancer quoted Hriston in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Okay, but what I'm talking about is that background features that give reliable access to (and outcomes from) NPCs are as much a part of the character sheet as the character's ability scores, equipment list, and (if the character is a spellcaster) spell list. Of course the DM can rule that your spell doesn't work for circumstantial reasons, but that doesn't mean that the ability to cast that spell isn't part of your character's identity, and that the DM isn't overriding the character sheet to some extent by doing so.When did "control over PC thoughts" turn into "on the character sheet?"

Friday, 10th May, 2019

  • 11:09 PM - Maxperson quoted Hriston in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Right, and I think a rule that incentivizes a style of play that looks like a corner case is undesirable for obvious reasons. It doesn't look like a corner case. Dragging around carts full of weapons IS a corner case. I've played in games where you had to keep up weapons and that wasn't even on the radar. That isn't including the mechanic though. In fact, that's explicitly excluding it. You said, unless I completely misunderstood you, that including a weapon degradation system would limit playstyles. So yes, I took 2.5 seconds to exclude it with a simple sentence to prove that statement wrong. If all it takes is 1 sentence and 2.5 seconds to eliminate the system and use your playstyle, then you are not being limited by it. You acknowledge that the passage I quoted is inconsistent with your position that weapon degradation isn't an element of D&D 5E, yet you persist in saying it's "a fact" that "5e includes no weapon degradation". I never said that quote there. Hell, you e...
  • 04:29 PM - iserith quoted Hriston in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Right, but by putting the outcomes of such declarations into the realm of auto-success, these background features constrain the DM's narration of the outcome to align with the desires of the player. For example, if the player of an acolyte declares an action to ask a priest of the acolyte's temple to help in a non-hazardous way, I think it's reasonable for the player to expect the DM to say yes, and that to say no or ask for a Charisma check would require the DM to essentially ignore that part of the character's background feature. I think they would inform but not constrain the DM's narration of the outcome of the adventurers' outcome. This may seem like splitting hairs, but we have to take any rule into the context of the idea that the rules serve the DM, not the other way around. In this case, it may well be likely that the DM always says the character can (for example) get an audience with a noble or help from his or her temple; however, in the realm of infinite fictional possibilities,...
  • 07:39 AM - Maxperson quoted Hriston in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Then they'll bring carts full of duplicate weapons, and donkeys to pull them, which isn't a problem for some games. In some corner case games, sure. The point is this would narrow the range of playstyles the game supports. This is wrong. It takes literally 2 seconds to say, "Guys, we're not using the degradation rules." And poof, you don't have to worry about it any longer. Inclusion of such mechanics does no limit playstyles in any way. As it is, it's in the players' hands to make weapon maintenance a focus of play if that's the sort of game in which they're interested. If not, the game doesn't force it on them. No it doesn't, as weapon maintenance does not exist. The players can buy a whetstone and have their PCs pretend to fix their weapons, but 5e includes no weapon degradation, so there's nothing to actually maintain. The existence of weapon degradation as an element of the fiction is in no way dependent on the degradation of weapons belonging to the PCs. I think 5E treats ...


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Hriston's Downloads

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Timelord
This PC class is derived but differs substantially from Lewis Pulsipher’s Timelord NPC class published in Dragon #65 in September, 1982. I undertook the conversion for personal use, but am sharing it because I’ve seen some interest on EN World for a ...
368 0 1 Saturday, 5th May, 2018, 11:58 PM Monday, 9th July, 2018, 11:30 PM
Weapon Attack Adjustments Table (Converted from AD&D, First Edition)
This is the revision of the table I posted some time ago. I rethought my approach and rebuilt the table from the ground up. The values are now very close to Gygax's values, modified only in proportion to the AC benefit of particular armor types. The ...
704 0 3 Sunday, 13th December, 2015, 07:11 AM Sunday, 13th December, 2015, 07:11 AM
Chainmail/AD&D First Edition Rate of Fire Rules for D&D Fifth Edition
Here's my homebrew conversion of the rates of fire given for different ranged attacks in Chainmail and AD&D First Edition. I'm posting it here not so much because I expect anyone to want to use it in their games, but because I'd like any feedback any...
195 0 1 Monday, 7th September, 2015, 07:37 AM Saturday, 12th May, 2018, 06:07 AM

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