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About Benji
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I'll try anything once. Except Gurps.
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United Kingdom
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31-40
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Details of games currently playing and games being sought.

Town:
Nottingham
Country:
United Kingdom
Game Details:
Currently running Mutants & Masterminds 3ed reasonably regularly, little bit of D&D here and there, also a few ancient and creaking Old World Of Darkness Campaigns.

I'll pretty much play anything that the dm makes sound worth playing. I've indicated which games I'm most familiar with from the list.

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Burning Questions: What's the Worst Thing a DM Can Do? Friday, 21st September, 2018 10:15 PM

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My Game Details
Town:
Nottingham
Country:
United Kingdom
Game Details:
Currently running Mutants & Masterminds 3ed reasonably regularly, little bit of D&D here and there, also a few ancient and creaking Old World Of Darkness Campaigns.

I'll pretty much play anything that the dm makes sound worth playing. I've indicated which games I'm most familiar with from the list.

Friday, 21st September, 2018


Thursday, 20th September, 2018

  • 04:05 AM - Jay Verkuilen mentioned Benji in post Burning Questions: What's the Worst Thing a DM Can Do?
    I'm not sure I've seen any support for this approach in the D&D 5e rules. When did you first start thinking about it this way out of curiosity? I won't speak for Benji but I have a similar interpretation and have done it for... no clue how long. So long I can't recall. As DM, I'll provide different information to characters with different skills. A wizard with high Arcana will just notice certain things or may be asked for one of those informational checks you don't like, with a higher value providing more information. Same for a ranger with high Nature. etc. In some circumstances I'll ask which of a selection of skills is being checked (e.g., Arcana, Nature, or Religion), with different information being provided depending on which is chosen. Of course, the player could make some other suggestion if that seems relevant, too (as I've said before). The 5E rules don't really deal with degrees of success in a meaningful way but IMO this is a major missed opportunity and one of the glaring weaknesses in the skill system's inability to maintain bounded accuracy well. Notice how massive skill bonuses get at medium to high levels for some characters while...
  • 02:30 AM - Lanefan mentioned Benji in post Burning Questions: What's the Worst Thing a DM Can Do?
    ... few times. Notice it next month and it's a mystery - when were they taken, why were they taken, who took them, and where are they now? Another, perhaps more obvious example. The princess, unhappy with her upcoming forced marriage, takes elaborate steps to hide her departure and make it look like she's still in the palace and elopes a month before her scheduled wedding day. If she's noticed missing tonight she'll be easy to find, she can't have got far. If she's noticed missing tomorrow it'll be a bit harder to find her but still not too bad. If it takes three days before anyone notices she's missing she's got a good head start and tracking her down could be difficult. If it takes five days before anyone notices she's missing she could have made it to the coast and now be on a ship for anywhere. How would you handle this, assuming for these purposes you or a player is trying to determine whether - and, randomly, when - her absence is noticed on a day-by-day basis? And Benji , my concerns aren't so much gamist as they are realist - it's possible in real life to sometimes notice something subtle amongst the obvious but it's not going to happen every time; and pre-emptive perception checks (or equivalent) can nicely reflect this in the mechanics. Lanefan

Thursday, 8th February, 2018


Friday, 18th March, 2016


Thursday, 14th January, 2016

  • 10:14 PM - Morrus mentioned Benji in post Adventurers League Adventures Now Available To All
    I guess, Benji, it's just a case of whether a couple of bucks is worth saving you the effort. Why would you buy any adventure ever? Why would you buy a novel rather than write your own? Just an effort-reward equation. It's different for everyone. You buy it if you think it's worth it, but it's OK if you don't. :)

Tuesday, 8th September, 2015

  • 01:00 PM - pukunui mentioned Benji in post Out of the Abyss in my grubby hands (pic attached)
    Benji: I don't think he meant that they're all linked in a significant way. I think he was talking more along the lines of Easter Eggs, like how each Pixar film supposedly has a hidden clue to the next Pixar film in it.

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Sunday, 23rd September, 2018

  • 03:31 AM - Jay Verkuilen quoted Benji in post Burning Questions: What's the Worst Thing a DM Can Do?
    I guess so, but I'm trying to think about how 'who gets to roll dice' translates to a feeling of agency. I don't know but it really tends to. For instance, players seem to prefer making attacks to forcing enemies to make saves. The only real difference in a lot of cases is that the player rolls the dice on the attack versus the enemy making the save. There's something about the physical action of who rolls the dice (or types in the command to run the macro, I guess) that seems to matter. A lot of things we do in life involve illusions of control.

Saturday, 22nd September, 2018

  • 04:13 AM - pemerton quoted Benji in post Burning Questions: What's the Worst Thing a DM Can Do?
    I guess so, but I'm trying to think about how 'who gets to roll dice' translates to a feeling of agency.I think it often does, but I also think this is something of an illusion - unless the dice-rolling player has deft wrists and quick fingers! Also, the probability of the group spotting in the second example is not only reliant on the GM rolling well, but the players in opposition to that roll. So if the GM rolls badl but the highest player also rolls bdly, maybe it's the poor guy with the low perception that flukely saves the group - that's a cool story dictated by the dice.Maybe, though is perhaps a bit sucky for the person who invested PC build resources in WIS and Perception! In AD&D there is only 1 surprise die rolled for the party, using the best die (eg one ranger means the whole party is surprised only on a 1 in 6) - so 5e in this respect seems consistent with that strand of D&D tradition. You see, I'm still not sure that in Iserith's example that this would grant an active...

Friday, 21st September, 2018

  • 05:56 PM - iserith quoted Benji in post Burning Questions: What's the Worst Thing a DM Can Do?
    As best I can tell, the difference between (b) and (c) is who rolls the dice. So you could easily enough preserve the probabilities while letting the players roll the dice ("Roll to see if my assassin's stealth sucks - on a 15+ it does!"). And of course when the GM told the players "You come to a room with columns" the player of the perceptive PC could have said "I look around because I'm a bit worried about lurkers behind those columns" - which would then allow an active check. Stepping back a bit from 5e rules minutiae, the bigger issue for me in this scenario is the larger context of framing. Thinking of the situation you describe from my perspective as a GM, I can't tell what's "fair" or not until I know how it comes to be that the PCs find themselves in a columned room threatened by a sneaky drow assassin. Right, which is why I engage in liberal amounts of telegraphing so the players can make informed decisions that have some impact on their fate. I guess so, but I'm trying to thin...
  • 04:56 PM - iserith quoted Benji in post Burning Questions: What's the Worst Thing a DM Can Do?
    Right, I have an example. It has numbers and it's quite long but it serves to demonstrate my concerns with this. I'd like to say I think you're right some of this is just taste and framing but here's where I think it can become problematic. SO hang on with me and I think you'll see where I am coming from: A group of five 5th level heroes are sneaking through a dungeon. They have a party member who is maxed out: has a wisdom of 20 and is proficent in perception. They have announced the are keeping watch. They enter a room with several column in it and behind one is an drow assassin - using the assassin statblock, which xanathar's says is 'balanced'. The group announce they are still keeping watch and moving through the room. there are a few ways to handle this - a) The DM is a bit railroady and decides to frame the attack as a surprise without actually using any rules. b) We do things the way I undrrstand iserith's stance - the players use their passive perception when the attack happens. T...
  • 04:18 PM - pemerton quoted Benji in post Burning Questions: What's the Worst Thing a DM Can Do?
    b) We do things the way I undrrstand iserith's stance - the players use their passive perception when the attack happens. The are keeping watch and being alert but the dm isn't going to ask for a perception check c) We do it the way I'd do it - The skill example for perception on PG178 of the players handbooks suggests that you can make a perception roll to detect hidden creatures - we allow a roll <snip> In b) the dm allows passive perception. Given the assassin has a +11 in stealth, the DM will beat the highest perception on a roll of 7. or if the dm just wants to frame it as an 'Average challenge' There's a high chance the assassin does the same functional thing as example a) except the player this time said they were keeping watch but they functionally had no input in the ambush. the dm either rolled a dice or as I understand the way some people play it, eyeballed and average score for the assassin (21) and ruled a successful ambush. Players feel they had no agency. c) players...
  • 01:32 PM - Rya.Reisender quoted Benji in post Burning Questions: What's the Worst Thing a DM Can Do?
    Wait, earlier you were saying it's sage advices way or no way. This is ashifting of that position. No, my position is still the same. The order of priorities is: 1. Rule is clear? Yes -> Use the rule 2. Sage Advice exists? Yes -> Use sage advice 3. Rule not clear and no sage advice? Discuss with your players. 4. Agreement -> Use agreement 5. No agreement -> DM decides
  • 09:00 AM - pemerton quoted Benji in post Burning Questions: What's the Worst Thing a DM Can Do?
    I've found this discussion/debate about the role of Perception and similar checks quite interesting. As I understand it, iserith treats it all as an issue of GM framing - it is the GM's job to establish the scene ("describe the environment" is the term used in the Basic Rules, but I think the GM can reasonably add in other stuff too, even in 5e, eg after a particular bit of action has been resolved the GM might narrate "You've outrun the imperial guards and are back at the castle, panting and sweaty. What's next?") If the GM wants the scene to include the PC's noticing missing gauntlest, then s/he incorporates this in his/her framing. Otherwise s/he doesn't - but if the players want to mention that they look around the castle for strange stuff that might give clues to whatever-it-is-that-matters, then they're free to do so and the GM might tell them some stuff, or call for a check, as seems appropriate depending on the details: how you describe the environment is entirely up to you...

Thursday, 20th September, 2018

  • 05:04 PM - MNblockhead quoted Benji in post Burning Questions: What's the Worst Thing a DM Can Do?
    http://www.enworld.org/forum/images/misc/quote_icon.png Originally Posted by Shasarak http://www.enworld.org/forum/images/buttons/viewpost-right.png In Knights of the Dinner Table, the RPG company Hard 8 Enterprises runs a phone line that you can ring to get official rulings. Knights of the Dinner Table is a parody. This is a parody of a certain type of gamer. Can you guess who falls under that type here? I think this is a reference to how in the early days of D&D players would call Gary Gygax at his home, day or night, and ask for rules clarifications. It is pretty cool that he took those calls, though I suspect it didn't last long. Also, I thought WoTC used to take rules questions on their support hotline. I suspect Twitter has that function now.
  • 12:19 PM - Rya.Reisender quoted Benji in post Burning Questions: What's the Worst Thing a DM Can Do?
    Back in the day you couldn't just contact the writers and ask their opinion - you just compromised. Who writes the rules then? Does that mean all D&D played before twitter didn't count? Back then it was simply harder to figure out how RAI is. That doesn't change much about the situation, though. You should always try to abide by the rules. Plus it's a combined effort of players AND the DM to interpret the rules. The problem for me is only if the DM feels entitled to intentionally change them. Or if he doesn't listen to his players when they try to explain how the rule works.
  • 07:28 AM - iserith quoted Benji in post Burning Questions: What's the Worst Thing a DM Can Do?
    I actually feel that in providing the answers to the examples I have given, you've clarified your playstyle for me: I understand you rpoint of view now and have found it more favourable than I thought. I'm not so sure it has. But this example means that you never use an actual skill check for players who are purposefully keeping watch, meaning that they will only ever stand sentry as if they had rolled a ten - meaning access to those higher rolls aren't happening. Your groups are getting surprised a lot more easily than my groups by the same foes. Becuase, I believe, you are using passive perception wrong. But then I don't necessarily think you are doing it wrong with regard to the rules. I think the rules are badly written and need tobe intereprted. The fact we both get very different ideas about this shows they aren't well defined. I think the misunderstanding here is - correct me if I'm wrong - you see passive checks as resolving the characters acting passively which is not actually ...
  • 04:02 AM - iserith quoted Benji in post Burning Questions: What's the Worst Thing a DM Can Do?
    I tend to find that describing it differently depending on different passive skills tends to stop information required for educated action hiding behind any kind of role or set of prescriptive instruction set. That way I'm heightening agency. In my mind anyway. The rules admonish the DM to present the basic scope of options when describing the environment well before the need for ability checks comes up. So I would argue that if the DM is following that rule, the players will have enough information for "educated action" and sufficient agency to act in the setting. Ability checks, passive or otherwise, may then follow whatever actions the players have their characters take. Sorry, didn't make myself clear. How would this play out to your mind if the characters are setting watch in a wood at night? what stages do they get perception, passive perception and nothing? Is passive in your game 'I'm now keeping watch' or does that count as a proper-full blooded check if enemies approach? What ab...
  • 03:58 AM - Shasarak quoted Benji in post Burning Questions: What's the Worst Thing a DM Can Do?
    Back in the day you couldn't just contact the writers and ask their opinion - you just compromised. Who writes the rules then? Does that mean all D&D played before twitter didn't count? In Knights of the Dinner Table, the RPG company Hard 8 Enterprises runs a phone line that you can ring to get official rulings.
  • 12:04 AM - iserith quoted Benji in post Burning Questions: What's the Worst Thing a DM Can Do?
    Ok, I get what you're saying and it's good advice for dm's to never assume a point of reference. But if the the 'gloves' example, the gloves are instead just a clue the players can gather to make the solving of a mystery easier (they don't need it, but it might help) then it's a slightly different discussion. Then the 'meaningful failure' is 'we don't find clue'. To call for a check, the DM needs three things (again, in D&D 5e): A player to describe something that isn't impossible or trivially easy, an uncertain outcome, and a meaningful consequence of failure. So here, you'd still be missing the player's description. I'll grant you the uncertain outcome. Here's where we differ, I think. I view perception (and other skills) as a fundamentally different player resource than you. You use it to determine if a player has suceeded at and action, which is fine but I also view it (and I'm not saying my way is the only way) as a way to differentiate characters from each other. Players who have h...

Wednesday, 19th September, 2018

  • 11:11 PM - iserith quoted Benji in post Burning Questions: What's the Worst Thing a DM Can Do?
    I'm not sure I follow about holding information behind an ability check though. in previous examples you were saying you don't assume people are going to find anything hidden in a room without first declaring they are searching and then making an ability check. That's hiding information in your description behind both a specific action they describe and then an ability check. Or would you just describe what's hidden in the room to them if they said they were looking? I never assume there will be an ability check. I can't determine whether an ability check is required without the players first describing a reasonably specific goal and approach. I also never assume the players will look for it. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. Maybe they do and I have to call for a check (because their approach to the goal has an uncertain outcome and a meaningful consequence of failure). Maybe they do and I don't have to call for a check (because their approach to the goal succeeds or fails outright, no r...
  • 10:46 PM - iserith quoted Benji in post Burning Questions: What's the Worst Thing a DM Can Do?
    The problem with this Iserith, is that if you play it your way (do not assume players are examining until told), the players always fail to spot the gloves. The DM describes a hall the players have walked down many previous times, perhaps in a castle they've lived in for years. No player would think much of it, let alone think to check all the furnishings again. No player has ever entered the castle of a king they've been in before and made a poin of checking all the furnishings. So they'd NEVER spot it. Unless of course, in the fiction ofthe world, they spot it by accident when moving past. What mechanic exists like that? A Perception check. Or at the very least, a dm examination of passive pereception, maybe giving a different description to a play with a passive score of over 15. Or at least, that's the way I'd do it. How would YOU do deal with this situation without that? As to the PCs never spotting it, to quote Lanefan since this is his example you're talking about, "so what?" If I ...

Wednesday, 17th January, 2018

  • 05:22 PM - BeaniBum quoted Benji in post I NEED HELP ON SOME CAMPAIGN PROBLEMS!!!
    The player who complains there's no threat and no one dies - change your plans. Kill off their character. Then ask them that's what they wanted. Or I guess you could opt to re-think the plot so it's not a problem. It's only set in stone once you let it be. The player who complains about realistic cities. Tell him the next city will be a totally realistic medieval town -you've done some research. Then have all the villagers go screaming away if any of the players are anything outside of medieval europe (elves, dwarves, orcs, mages, anything). The gently remind them that game is not set in a medieval world it's set in a fantasy world. Those things are very different and magic allows a city to support this many people. Or all the halflings and elves eat less and use less water. Or maybe you can have a word and suggest that searching for economic and geopolitical realism in a world with Beholders in it kind of misses the point. I suppose, even better, just show them this reply and th...

Thursday, 21st December, 2017

  • 09:43 PM - Abstruse quoted Benji in post News Digest: Dungeons & Dragons Movie, Magic: The Gathering Values Statement Updated, New Warhammer 40K Releases, and more!
    If you think about it, given the five year clause, the last dungeons and dragons film was released in December of 2012. Five years from then is now. Unless sweetpea make a film in the next week, don't the rights revert anyhow? Too bad they had their money and time tied up in an expensive legal case for almost two years, isn't it? Settlements aren't typically part of the public record so I can't say for sure, but odds are it would've addressed that time limit by either resetting the clock or giving a new deadline. Unless that's what Solomon traded in the settlement because he had the rights to use other D&D IP like Forgotten Realms after the settlement. Before, Wizards of the Coast held the media rights to the IP for the campaign settings still but not for "Dungeons & Dragons". That's why the animated Dragonlance movie from a few years back was just called "Dragonlance" and didn't have any Dungeons & Dragons branding.

Monday, 11th December, 2017

  • 06:36 AM - DMMike quoted Benji in post Two Days Left To Vote For Most Anticipated RPG of 2018!
    Ah, if it is, then don't I look silly. Only a half-joke. When you're owned by a corporation with $11,300,000,000 in market capitalization, your actions mean more than your words. Also, "anticipated" doesn't mean "desired." On the other hand, I hear there are some pretty good indies out there...

Saturday, 9th December, 2017


Saturday, 3rd June, 2017

  • 12:01 AM - JeffB quoted Benji in post The New D&D Adventure Is - Tomb of Annihilation!
    So what was Out Of The Abyss a 're-hash' of? Also, Having re-read Against The Giants recently as a DM, I think I am of the opinion that Storm King's Thunder is better. Curse of Strahd is a pretty solid product with great additions. So if you want they want to re-mix, I'm not gonna dismiss the concept out of hand. You might want to re-read D1-3 and Q1. And then put it on typical FR overload. Throw in some A4 as well. Drow city, dark lakes , Kuo-toa cities/outpost, svirfneblin communities, a labyrinth (the demonweb) and a demon lord at the end. Not that WOTC and 2e era TSR has not harped on those things for ages, OotA is not the first...but it was all done almost 40 years ago.


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