View Profile: MNblockhead - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:29 PM
    Tempestuous.
    7 replies | 152 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:43 PM
    For in-person games, it's just a power strip and some laptops connected to the wifi.
    8 replies | 305 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:58 PM
    My general thought with this sort of thing is that if the players are willing to spend a limited resource on it, be generous with whether it works (and consistent with previous rulings). Levitate, teleport, polymorph or wild shape - those all just work in my opinion. Feather fall doesn't make a lot of sense to me, so it would not. I would design it so that the condition applied by the...
    4 replies | 125 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:34 PM
    Here's a Halloween scenario I wrote and posted on enworld: The Laboratory Tomb of Dr. Viktor Vampenstein. I'm currently writing one now called "Terror at Star Lake" which is 1st- and 2nd-level "Friday the 13th" one-shot. The PCs are sent to investigate an abandoned lodge on a lake once used by adventurers only to find that something went horribly wrong there 100 years ago this very night.
    3 replies | 118 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 08:28 PM
    First, the DM determines whether what the players describe as wanting to do is successful, fails, or results in an ability check to resolve uncertainty. If you don't think the aarakocra can fly people around, then it can't, period. That's the rules for How to Play and adjudicating actions in D&D 5e. As well, how any challenges in your game are actually ruined by the aarakocra character doing...
    12 replies | 269 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th October, 2018, 03:14 PM
    I originally ruled that the bonus action followed the attack, then switched it to before or after, now I'm back to after the attack. In the end, it didn't matter because I don't use feats anyway.
    224 replies | 4690 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Monday, 15th October, 2018, 05:48 AM
    Yes, and it shows in their products. Not perfect, but for the most part they do a good job editing their books. Also, CMOS is a good one to stick to. My favorite for general writing.
    73 replies | 2872 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th October, 2018, 07:07 PM
    I'm not sure how well it will fit in your game, but perhaps you can get some ideas from this short-form scenario I wrote that involves a banshee: Quiet Please.
    14 replies | 434 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 12th October, 2018, 11:16 PM
    Don't let the BBEGs be alone. Surround them lieutenants and minions, especially some with Keen Sight or Keen Hearing. Maximize the BBEG's hit points. Place the villain in terrain that makes it harder to reach him or her. Set up situations where multiple goals need to be achieved outside of slaying the villain such as disabling the doomsday device that is counting down from 30 right now. ...
    56 replies | 1431 view(s)
    5 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 12th October, 2018, 09:57 PM
    In practice this was often true. However, the rules for skill challenges in D&D 4e specifically say "A skill challenge should not replace the roleplaying, the puzzling, and the ingenuity that players put into handling those situations." So the DM should be granting auto-successes from time to time. What I often saw 4e DMs do is present the goal and then just say "Have at it." The players...
    53 replies | 1491 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 12th October, 2018, 07:28 PM
    If you're looking for some kind of structure to a non-combat challenge, I would do it this way: Frame the scene and the overarching goal. Hopefully that goal is actually based on what the players described they wanted to do. Talk about what success and failure look like to make sure everyone's on the same page with regard to the stakes. Then present a number of specific complications that...
    53 replies | 1491 view(s)
    3 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 12th October, 2018, 06:17 PM
    In D&D 4e, you'd have Advantages built into a skill challenge of Complexity 3 or higher (8+ successes before 3 failures). Among other benefits, Advantages can negate accrued failures or grant more than one success per successful check. As well, D&D 4e skill challenges will never have had just one fixed DC in a Complexity 4 challenge - it would be 7 moderate DC checks and 3 hard DC checks....
    53 replies | 1491 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 12th October, 2018, 06:08 PM
    I love D&D 4e skill challenges and it's easily my favorite part of that edition. I just don't think they are a great fit for D&D 5e.
    53 replies | 1491 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th October, 2018, 08:49 PM
    Perhaps. We lack the context to say for sure. Note that I said "something about the climb makes it uncertain" which doesn't rule out "swirling melee around the climber." The specific examples I provided are not exhaustive. They are specifically called out in the rules though, for what it's worth.
    18 replies | 532 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th October, 2018, 06:33 PM
    What's making the climb's outcome uncertain though is that something about the climb makes it uncertain (e.g. few handholds or slippery), given an attempt to climb normally. Otherwise, it just costs you half your speed to climb, no roll. A player might remove that uncertainty with a spider climb spell or some other approach.
    18 replies | 532 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th October, 2018, 03:21 PM
    I consider climbing just a subset of movement so a Dash would be fine. Failure means no progress at the cost of the move or the Dash action. Failure by 5 or more means falling. As for progress combined with a setback, you can also have them drop stuff from their inventory or perhaps a weapon or shield.
    18 replies | 532 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th October, 2018, 05:20 PM
    It is a difference in definition. I think from a play experience perspective, how much time a given player "takes up" matters more than the character's fictional spotlight time. The characters are all taking up, more or less, 6 seconds on a given turn. But a player taking more than his or her fair share of table time to resolve that 6 seconds really matters in my view. We may end up with a...
    38 replies | 1263 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th October, 2018, 03:45 PM
    Spotlight time is any time in which you are the focus of the scene in my opinion which necessarily includes however long it takes to resolve your turn. Players have a right to their particular concept within the bounds of agreed upon rules and genre in my view, but that right comes with a corresponding responsibility: Share the spotlight more or less equally with your fellow players over...
    38 replies | 1263 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th October, 2018, 05:18 PM
    The way I handle it is that I ask the players to write a background concept that is no longer than a Tweet. Clear and concise in a way that tells everyone who your character is, just enough to know what to expect more or less. I then ask them to establish ties with two other PCs that speak to some adventure they've been on before. Then, as we play, the players fill in the blanks as they are...
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th October, 2018, 10:15 AM
    Simple, component pouches are magical bags of refrigerated holding! We'll be keeping the requirement for components with a cost associated as per raw. Basically the expensive gems are another specific focus needed to cast the spell, one which will be consumed.
    63 replies | 1496 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th October, 2018, 10:06 AM
    Ah, thanks! Hmmm... $8 seems a bit steep.
    8 replies | 471 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Monday, 8th October, 2018, 10:59 PM
    These days I like a campaign that has an endpoint in real time so we can work towards that as a group and finish on a high note. I don't want it to be like those TV series that go on forever until they just peter out.
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Monday, 8th October, 2018, 04:22 PM
    This may work for some, but I would prefer not to do this as a player. I want to control my character, not someone else's summons.
    38 replies | 1263 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Monday, 8th October, 2018, 03:37 PM
    I view this as an issue of spotlight balance which is, in part, on the player. In our group, it's bad form to hog the spotlight which should be shared more or less equally among all the participants over the course of a session. Conjure animals and other summoning spells (or, for example, animate dead) must therefore be used very judiciously. It's not clear to me from your post how often the...
    38 replies | 1263 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Monday, 8th October, 2018, 08:07 AM
    I like the last paragraph of the Tips to the Players section on page 25: Gygax, Gary. Dungeon Module B2: The Keep on the Borderlands. Random House, 1980. Print.
    13 replies | 535 view(s)
    0 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Monday, 8th October, 2018, 07:46 AM
    Okay, now that it has been decided not to impose any requirement to find or track any physical components whatsoever, why have component pouches at all? If a wizard finds a spell in a dungeon, is it assumed that the material component just happens to be in the wizard's pouch? Does the wizard need to get to civilized area where the material components and fine ink can be found, or can they...
    63 replies | 1496 view(s)
    0 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Monday, 8th October, 2018, 07:18 AM
    Umbran, I'm not sure you read through my posts in the thread. My proposed change was simply that you needed the component to learn the spell, but that after that you could use a focus in lieu of components per raw. You could also use components as a backup. You only lose your ability to cast a spell if (1) it requires a material component, (2) you don't have a focus on hand, and (3) you don't...
    63 replies | 1496 view(s)
    0 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th October, 2018, 08:53 AM
    There is no winning or losing, but rather the value is in the experience of imagining yourself as a character in whatever genre you're involved in, whether it's a fantasy game, the Wild West, secret agents or whatever else. You get to sort of vicariously experience those things." Schiesel, Seth. "Gary Gygax, Game Pioneer, Dies at 69." The New York Times 5 Mar. 2008: C11. Web. 7 Oct. 2018...
    13 replies | 535 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th October, 2018, 08:37 AM
    Yeah, "The Luggage" from Discworld is what first popped in my mind as well.
    96 replies | 1808 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th October, 2018, 08:30 AM
    Interesting to see the quite divided opinions in the Amazon reviews. I doubt any of the free issue #0 copies are left at my FLGS, but if this becomes available on Kindle/Comixology, I'll check it out.
    8 replies | 471 view(s)
    0 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th October, 2018, 08:24 AM
    Read mjsoctober's post above, if you haven't already. I really wish I thought of merging Khazan, the "architect", and Exethanter the same person. If you do that, you have more opportunities to "drop hints" about all three. Perhaps Van Richten has found papers in the Tower he's hiding out at (or the players discover the papers in the tower or in Esmeralda's wagon). Perhaps the model is only the...
    8 replies | 304 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Saturday, 6th October, 2018, 08:01 PM
    In a recent thread on a similar topic, we were discussing your approach and I asserted you're creating the very "metagaming" you claim you don't want in your games in this post. I make a similar comment here. In this post, you respond with how you deal with the "metagaming" I assert you're creating via your approach. You don't deny that you are creating it. You just have a kludge to deal with...
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Saturday, 6th October, 2018, 03:09 AM
    Maybe some do, but I'm not making up that bit about phantom rolls. People who don't like "metagaming" do that. If they all do as you say above, that wouldn't be necessary right?
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Saturday, 6th October, 2018, 01:19 AM
    Ah. I see now why Valmarius was so quick with helpful answers in this thread. My ToA party is fighting Yahtzee zombie hordes spilling out of a misty gate.
    32 replies | 1084 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 5th October, 2018, 10:56 PM
    Something I frequently see with Lanefan's described approaches and with many others that share his or her principles is that they all decry "metagaming" as a sin against nature, but then use all manner of approaches that set the stage for it to occur regularly. Then they come up with kludges in an attempt to mitigate the very thing they're encouraging. (Phantom, meaningless rolls, for example, is...
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 5th October, 2018, 02:48 PM
    And that's how I run D&D 4e; however, I do say players can declare they want to make checks in D&D 4e (I haven't played 3e since 2008) since that is the expectation in that game. I don't do that in D&D 5e because it isn't the expectation set forth in the rules. My position will always be that the player needs to adequately perform his or her role by describing what he or she wants to do. But in...
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 5th October, 2018, 03:56 AM
    Right. The only thing I would add is that you should carefully read the description of the item. Sometimes you can get spell effects without it saying you cast a spell. So it's helpful to read the fine print.
    20 replies | 968 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 5th October, 2018, 03:27 AM
    The weird thing about these discussions is that when the level of detail is actually parsed, we're talking like 4 to 10 words difference between asking to make a check where the DM has to take a guess at what the player wants to do and stating a goal and approach where the DM doesn't have to do that. If that. And those 4 to 10 words are basically transferring from the DM to the player. It's not...
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 5th October, 2018, 02:54 AM
    As I pointed out in a post to you upthread, there's a standard of reasonable specificity in the rules. And with good reason, I would say. It keeps the DM and players on the same page. It makes it easier on the DM to adjudicate fairly. It adds to the conversation which is creating the story, sharing it more equitably between the game's participants. The problem is that when seemingly any...
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 5th October, 2018, 01:24 AM
    So, how many of my posts in this thread did you read where I was saying "gotchas" are bad? There were several. If it read even one such post, then you know my position on that. And if you do, then please explain the above. Because surely anyone who knows my position would not draw such conclusions, right?
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 5th October, 2018, 12:40 AM
    Create zombie "swarms" that represent multiple zombies. Go with several Huge monsters with lots of hit points and the Swarm trait.
    32 replies | 1084 view(s)
    9 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 5th October, 2018, 12:29 AM
    Fifteen times the character's Strength score, yes. Unless you're using the encumbrance variant in which case you lose 10 feet of speed at 5x your Strength score in pounds and suffer significant penalties at 10x your Strength score. I use the variant for dungeon delves because it creates an interesting trade-off in balancing what you bring in versus what you take out. In other games, I use the...
    74 replies | 1792 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 5th October, 2018, 12:22 AM
    I'm not the one assuming anything remember. I'm the one asking players to state a clear goal and approach when describing what they want to do.
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 4th October, 2018, 07:44 PM
    Seems like just another module writer not being specific as to why the outcome of the climb is uncertain. We're left to imagine that the fieldstone (which is finished construction) must either lack handholds or is slippery (or something else). In truth, it applies only to those vertical surfaces the DM says has few handholds.
    74 replies | 1792 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 4th October, 2018, 07:28 PM
    I would almost certainly make a distinction in the results between using a shovel and one's bare hands in searching a poisonous or rot grub infested rubble pile. The approach the player offers matters in my view.
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 4th October, 2018, 07:18 PM
    The rules seem to suggest that it's not the vertical surface that is the problem in and of itself, but one that is "slippery" or "with few handholds" which is when a check might come into play at the DM's option. There is a cost, not a risk, to climb just a vertical surface with no other complicating factors, that cost being a hit to speed and thus time. I surmise that the LMoP writer...
    74 replies | 1792 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 4th October, 2018, 06:57 PM
    My read on it is that the character can climb the cliff, wall, or rope with no ability check and at half speed unless there is a complication e.g. the stone of the cliff is soft and crumbly, the wall has few handholds, or the rope is slick with blood.
    74 replies | 1792 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 4th October, 2018, 05:55 PM
    I'm not sure what you mean by stepping away or towards the dice, but the way Dungeon World works is the players and DM have a conversation about what's going on with the characters in the context of the setting and sometimes that conversation will trigger moves. Those moves are typically resolved with dice. The GM doesn't get a say about whether a move triggers. It triggers when it triggers and...
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
    3 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 4th October, 2018, 04:40 PM
    This isn't Dungeon World though. It's D&D 3.Xe (for Imaculata at least). What is missing from the player's example in a D&D context in my view is an approach to the goal (and to some extent the goal more specifically). I would prefer to hear something like "I want to use my shovel to move the rubble around to see if I find anything useful or valuable." Maybe there's something valuable there,...
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 4th October, 2018, 04:25 PM
    There's that quirky, cagey NPC I was referring to upthread. :)
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 4th October, 2018, 04:13 PM
    And if that check failed? Do you as DM assume the character used his or her hands to search or the shovel?
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 4th October, 2018, 03:56 PM
    Imagine that instead of there being nothing of interest in the rubble it is instead infested with rot grubs or covered with a contact poison. It would be helpful to know as DM whether the character is using a shovel or his or her hands, right?
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 4th October, 2018, 03:48 PM
    My "style" changes based on the game being played. It seems weird to me to run D&D 5e as if it was D&D 4e (for example).
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 4th October, 2018, 03:12 PM
    For me, it's even simpler: In D&D 3.Xe or 4e, the rules explicitly say or give examples of the players asking to make skill checks. In D&D 4e, the DM is outright encouraged to say "yes" when the players ask to make them. So, when I play D&D 3.Xe or 4e, I flat out tell the players they are free to ask to make skill checks. I had to do this when I ran a D&D 4e one-shot for my regular D&D 5e players...
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 4th October, 2018, 02:53 PM
    I wouldn't consider an adventure path definitive. The Basic Rules say: "While climbing or swimming, each foot of movement costs 1 extra foot (2 extra feet in difficult terrain), unless a creature has a climbing or swimming speed. At the DM’s option, climbing a slippery vertical surface or one with few handholds requires a successful Strength (Athletics) check." I believe you are referring to...
    74 replies | 1792 view(s)
    0 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Thursday, 4th October, 2018, 06:27 AM
    Another option I've thought of is giving them these maps: http://www.fraternityofshadows.com/GryphonHill/barovia/castleravenloft.html The maps might not match perfectly because they are from the I6 maps. I don't like secret doors being shown but the Campaign Cartographer files are provided, so I can download and edit them. Another option is to just give them the map for the above ground...
    8 replies | 304 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 4th October, 2018, 01:41 AM
    That's kind of what I remember. It was an expectation that players would "use skills" in that game. It's no wonder why that approach was brought forward into so many D&D 5e groups. Thanks for looking that up!
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 4th October, 2018, 01:37 AM
    Are there people you wouldn't play with? That leaves off the approach. I don't concern myself with how the players make their decisions. I present a game that I think is difficult, but fair for the player. I warn them that verifying their assumptions with in-game actions is smart play. Beyond that, it's on them to do what they will for whatever reason they choose.
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd October, 2018, 06:36 PM
    Also, relying solely on darkvision comes with a -5 penalty to passive Perception when vision matters to noticing hidden threats. That potentially puts a troll without a lit brazier at a passive Perception of 6. The hags or giants that employ it as a mercenary might insist on some mood lighting so it can be a more effective guard.
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd October, 2018, 04:46 PM
    Out of curiosity, how often are you guys asking for Strength (Athletics) checks to climb anyway? That's pretty rare in my games. Only occasionally do I establish that there is a complication that calls for an ability check to climb (slippery, no handholds, etc.). Normally it's just half your speed, no roll.
    74 replies | 1792 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd October, 2018, 04:29 PM
    I just played in a game last night where there was a divide between tier 1 and 2, characters ranging from 3rd level to 7th level. We had no issues at all. Funnily enough, the 3rd- and 4th-level characters were the ones pushing the envelope in terms of the challenges. The rest of the group was extremely cautious. We even took on a CR 10 monster (a Deadly encounter) and defeated it through good...
    22 replies | 613 view(s)
    3 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd October, 2018, 02:18 PM
    I didn't say it was the troll's brazier. As for the description, you only say that because you know trolls have a weakness to fire. Someone else might not. Someone may be able to deduce from the description the troll has some issue with fire (that's the telegraphing at work). But if they can't or they want to confirm their hypothesis, they can try to recall lore or make a deduction. Apply...
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd October, 2018, 02:12 PM
    What do the actual rules for D&D 3.Xe say about this though? I'd be curious to know.
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd October, 2018, 10:05 AM
    Agree wholeheartedly. Unfortunately not. I didn't even know who Dave Arneson was until after years of playing. I started playing in the mid-80s. I met Gary a couple times at Gen Con and Gen Con-Origins when it was in Milwaukee. Got to play with him once. It was a quick game of Cyborg Commando. Great experience...but not enough for me to buy Cyborg Commando.
    12 replies | 429 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd October, 2018, 09:40 AM
    Discussed with my players and it was decided to stick with RAW.
    63 replies | 1496 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd October, 2018, 09:17 AM
    Warning: big spoiler. If you are a player in this adventure, you probably shouldn't be reading this. In the Amber Temple, the Architect's Room (X20) is a twelve-foot-tall model of castle Ravenloft. It is not clear to me whether it is intended that this be a solid sculpture of the castle showing only the outside of the castle (exterior-only model), or whether the inside is depicted as well....
    8 replies | 304 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd October, 2018, 12:24 AM
    I have to assume in these discussions that the players and DM are doing an adequate job at their respective roles. If they aren't, then all bets are off.
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd October, 2018, 12:21 AM
    Yes, I've run games with a level spread of up to 7 levels, including 1st-level PCs with 8th-level PCs tackling a dangerous dungeon environment together. If the party is facing combat challenges appropriate to the highest level characters in the party, the 1st-level characters will level up very fast. Let's say they fight two CR 6 creatures, a Hard encounter for a 7th-level party. The three...
    22 replies | 613 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd October, 2018, 12:05 AM
    No, not usually. Leaving aside that climbing doesn't actually require an ability check except in certain conditions, if a character is not good at a task, then in my view he or she should take that into consideration rather than lobby to apply a skill proficiency that is inappropriate to resolving said task. Either don't perform the task, ask another character to work together with for advantage,...
    74 replies | 1792 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018, 11:43 PM
    Yes, which is why it's a good idea to pay attention when the DM is describing the environment! :)
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018, 11:42 PM
    Nothing. I've performed my role adequately and fairly. What the players do is up to them.
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018, 11:41 PM
    It doesn't need to be enforced if everyone agrees to it and abides by their agreement. I prefer to keep campaigns down to a year or less, preferably less. Six months or about 20 to 25 sessions is ideal in my view. Then I want to move on to something else. I'm not interested in anything open-ended anymore. "From where I'm standing, I want to look for the source of the smoke." That is...
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018, 06:00 PM
    I think you explained it well when you were paraphrasing my approach: The DM gives information sufficient to act. If the players want an edge, they can start applying their noodles to get more information. It's the "need to have" versus the "nice to have." Sometimes those "nice to haves" can really save the PCs some time and resources. To drag out the ol' troll example, I can describe the...
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018, 05:40 PM
    Even for in-person games I use Roll20 with dynamic lighting. You see what your token can see, which can be set to have darkvision. This makes it nice and easy plus I can play with darkness and illumination as a real effect that hinders or helps the monsters or PCs in a way that's easy to manage.
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018, 04:16 PM
    For me, it's less about that experience as it is just keeping things moving forward. I mean, my games are highly comedic and not serious at all in the way that I've seen Critical Role can be serious. (I'm not a fan and don't watch much of it, but occasionally I tune in for a few minutes.) I also see the questions in many cases as a form of cheating. If you can ask the right questions of the...
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018, 03:35 PM
    If I remember correctly, you play D&D 3.Xe and (again, iirc) the expectation is that players "use skills" rather than describe what they want to do, or perhaps in addition to it. (I would have to re-read the corresponding PHB or DMG to be sure on this point.) So if I'm playing D&D 3.Xe or 4e, I would be okay with players asking to make checks. I would still ask them to make sure they include...
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018, 03:30 PM
    Basically we've engineered it so that the players and their characters get on the same page very quickly. If Falstaffe's player puts forward the idea to go after the evil wizard, Grog's and Halfred's players will figure out a way to get Grog and Halfred to go along with that in a way that makes sense for the characters. Next time, Falstaffe will defer to Grog or Halfred instead. As for...
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018, 02:37 PM
    I would say the wandering monster check at the end of every 10-minute "exploration turn" is part of the presentation (how the DM manages exploration challenges). The rest of the presentation is how concisely the environment is described, prompting players to describe what they want to do, resolving and narrating that quickly, resolving the wandering monster check, and looping back around to begin...
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018, 05:02 AM
    Again, this all sounds like presentation issues to me. You must have had some bad experiences. The one-shot being referenced features very little in the way of exploration challenges. It's about Viking-esque characters trying to get into Valhalla, not about exploring an adventure location. More exploration was to be had in The Delve, Sunless Citadel, Ruin of the Gorgon, Secret Party House...
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018, 01:07 AM
    Still sounds like a poor presentation to me which is producing the outcomes you experienced. This is not at all how it plays out in my games. What you describe sounds an awful lot like players trying to avoid gotchas which I don't employ. I would still put the pacing of my game up against anyone else's any day of the week and twice on Saturdays.
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018, 12:00 AM
    I'd say that's all in the presentation. When you're exploring in my adventure locations, you're basically deciding on whether you want to risk a wandering monster happening upon the party in exchange for the chance of finding something useful and/or valuable. As well, almost all treasure in my games is found via exploration challenges, not combat or social interaction challenges (the latter...
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Monday, 1st October, 2018, 07:45 PM
    As long as you're telegraphing the potential destruction of the item ahead of time, then when it actually happens the player can't say he or she wasn't sufficiently warned. So have the giants or whatever verbally threaten to pull the rug right out from under the halfling as it were. Then, a couple turns later, given a chance, do it. The idea here isn't to spring it on the player all of a sudden,...
    29 replies | 929 view(s)
    4 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Monday, 1st October, 2018, 04:34 PM
    I've no issue with ruling in the moment, sans a formal house rule, that an incapacitated creature is dispatched if there's otherwise no pressure on the person doing the dispatching. When it comes to doing that to PCs though, there's a fairness issue and that comes down to telegraphing for me. I'm going to provide a warning e.g. "'Disrupt the operations of the Crimson Pact at your peril,' says the...
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Monday, 1st October, 2018, 03:51 PM
    The poisoned dagger to the heart will probably wake them up. But that's a gotcha unless it's telegraphed. So in this case I would have given the player some kind of warning of this possibility well before it came up so he or she could take steps to avoid a terrible fate. A simple alarm spell will thwart that assassin as might a hireling put on watch (or another PC).
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Monday, 1st October, 2018, 03:45 PM
    I know that D&D 4e framed passive checks as used when a character was not "actively using a skill." It's possible that worked its way into people's thinking and approaches on this matter and they carried it forward into D&D 5e. (If someone didn't play D&D 4e but uses this approach, it's possible he or she just picked it up from some other DM who did.) I can find no support in the D&D 5e rules for...
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Monday, 1st October, 2018, 03:27 PM
    If a character is on guard duty and remaining alert to dangers, passive Perception can be used to resolve whether he or she notices threats. If he or she does anything at least as distracting as foraging, tracking, drawing a map, or navigating, then the character is no longer alert to dangers and passive Perception score does not apply - the character just fails to notice the threat. The...
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Monday, 1st October, 2018, 02:51 PM
    Please let me know if you find that in the rules. I would, too, if the player has established that the character is, say, remaining alert to danger and not performing a task at least as distracting as navigating, tracking, foraging, or drawing a map. There's no such thing as an "active perception" roll. You won't find that in the rules for ability checks.
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Monday, 1st October, 2018, 02:35 PM
    The rules set forth a standard of reasonable specificity. From the rules for Finding a Hidden Object: "In most cases, you need to describe where you are looking in order for the DM to determine your chance of success. For example, a key is hidden beneath a set of folded clothes in the top drawer of a bureau. If you tell the DM that you pace around the room, looking at the walls and furniture...
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
    2 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Monday, 1st October, 2018, 07:26 AM
    PLAYER: "I may a perception check to find a post responsive to the original question among the only going side debate on passive checks." DM sets DC to 25.
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Sunday, 30th September, 2018, 11:33 PM
    That's true in combat and if you're alert to danger, which is not always the case.
    1309 replies | 33411 view(s)
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About MNblockhead

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About MNblockhead
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Back to the table-top after 2.5 decades away
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Gamer that returned to the fold with 5e, after 25 years away from RPGs.
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Monthly 8-hour 5e game. Ended home-brew campaign in January 2018, after two years and am now running Curse of Strahd.
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I play a Tortle barbarian berserker with the great-weapon master feat.

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Monthly 8-hour 5e game. Ended home-brew campaign in January 2018, after two years and am now running Curse of Strahd.
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I play a Tortle barbarian berserker with the great-weapon master feat.
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Thursday, 18th October, 2018


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Saturday, 8th September, 2018

  • 10:05 PM - epithet mentioned MNblockhead in post Curse of Strahd help (lots o’ spoilers)
    I definitely agree that the Master of Ravenloft is a prisoner of the mists. Once you take up that power, your campaign is necessarily limited to consolidating your power in Barovia. I respectfully disagree with @MNblockhead with regard to the dark gift, however. While the dark gift of the Vampyre is currently necessary to rule the cursed land of Barovia, I think it is something that can be taken by charm, guile or force from one who currently possesses it, rather than strictly requiring the recipient to return to the original source. It just fits much better with vampire mythology in my mind. As I consider it, I would also require a special ritual casting of the 1st level cleric spell ceremony for the investiture of the new Master of Ravenloft, involving the shedding of the new Master's blood upon the soil of Barovia (as mentioned in the novel I, Strahd.) One thing I've been wondering is the possibility of freeing Barovia from the curse altogether. It seems that it should be possible to, for example, plane shift each amber vessel and its resident dark power to Carceri, or the astral plane, or somewhere removed from Barovia. If the Amber Temple were then hallowed, that should, in theory, completely brea...

Tuesday, 28th August, 2018

  • 07:35 AM - Coroc mentioned MNblockhead in post Interpreting Barbarian Rage in Non-combat Situations
    MNblockhead "Tell me more about how this would work in your games. First, the RAW does not seem to support this, beyond the DM determining how NPCs and creatures react to someone who is raging. In your example, would you, as the DM, decide that the player attacks the table? That's not really my style. I want the player to play their character and they decide how their character acts. Also, intimiation is a CHA check, so it would be waste to burn a rage to intimidate as it gives no mechanical advantage. " That is depending on the roleplaying of the player. The whole situation is a bit constructed and hypothetic but let us say it goes like this: Conan the thirsty roleplays his character being in absolute need for a drink. DM : The waiter seems to ignore you Player : I get really upset and clench my fist DM ruling you: get enraged and you want to hit something Player either playing along or DM ruling: Make a wis save to see if you control your rage if it fails you hit the table....

Monday, 27th August, 2018


Wednesday, 8th August, 2018

  • 01:15 PM - lowkey13 mentioned MNblockhead in post Forum Suddenly Switched How Named Are Displayed?
    My obvious reply though is going to be... at the point where you’re choosing to use the desktop version of the site with your smartphone instead of the mobile site intended for smartphones, you’re creating your own problem and shouldn’t be listened to specific to that use case. I can't speak for everyone, but I will add my 2 cents to what @Ath-kethin and what @MNblockhead wrote. I find that the mobile appearance is atrocious. Even when I am on my smartphone (or tablet) I use the desktop appearance. Apparently, that is not uncommon. I don't think that is a very rare use case at all. (Also, the new appearance is much worse for those of us who use smartphones and the desktop appearance, at least IMO.)

Wednesday, 25th July, 2018

  • 06:02 PM - Cyber-Dave mentioned MNblockhead in post Why I feel so abysmally let down by the "Ravnica" news...
    That is a fair attitude @MNblockhead. I'm trying to work my way from disappointed towards that. I'll be honest, I think this thread is part of my cathartic process. As I said, I have been looking into Ravnica, and there is a lot to love about the setting. I know I will be buying the product and giving it an honest whirl. I am also very happy about the way Eberron has been released. I think it is a smart distribution model for settings. I hope they release more of them, in the future, using a similar model.

Monday, 23rd July, 2018

  • 10:05 AM - Coroc mentioned MNblockhead in post Curse of Strahd: What is Straud von Zarovich's Title? [SPOILERS ALERT]
    MNblockhead all the van richten guides are a nice read if you/your PC are heavy into roleplaying some sort of gothic monster (Vampire/werewolf etc.) with all of its powers but also all of its tragic curse. Why did i write your PC? Well in classical ravenloft all of the afflictions can get to your Players as well. That means for a start get the red box or black box Basic set and read about power checks, that is a mean mechanic i tell you. Adventures as such, hm several of the hyskosa hexad are quite good, but not all. The first two (levelwise so the second would be touch of death the first is night of the living death or such, i cannot remember right now) are pretty intense. The fifth, the one before roots of evil has one of the best starts (although a railroaded start it is so fantastic if you do this to unaware players) i ever read. I agree on most of the classic modules are pretty good, also for other settings, still i think the ravenloft are much better, on detailing complex personalitie...

Friday, 20th July, 2018


Thursday, 26th April, 2018


Wednesday, 18th April, 2018

  • 02:00 AM - Schmoe mentioned MNblockhead in post Cultures in D&D/roleplaying: damned if you do, damned if you don't
    I agree with MNblockhead, I don't worry about it. In my games, when I look at broad strokes of a culture, I'm much more interested in themes and generalities, and in that case I'm quite comfortable drawing on caricatures and stereotypes because they are effective at conveying the themes; they are quickly and easily understood. If I want to base a culture or race on the Mongols and their aspect of terrifying raids and fearsome campaigns of pillaging, I'll do so. If I want to depict another culture as partaking in ritual sacrifice and draw on Aztec lore for inspiration, I'll do so as well. I've caricatured North American WASP bourgeoisie, and I've caricatured Arabian dervishes because, frankly, the literal interpretation of these cultures is far less important to my game than the themes they represent. I don't do this because I believe those cultures to really be caricatures, but because it is an effective means to convey certain aspects of the cultures in my world that create a more vibrant backdrop for ...

Friday, 30th March, 2018

  • 08:57 PM - Quickleaf mentioned MNblockhead in post Printing maps - how to do this affordably & with minimum headache?
    Thanks for the tip darjr! I always assumed large format printers were in the $1000-$4000 range (like what MNblockhead uses) and too big for the cottage I rent, but I'll have to check out my options on ebay and craigslist more closely if some sell for just $100. While I appreciate how convenient a screen + VTT setup is, I'm not the one hosting games, the place I rent probably isn't well-suited, and that's a larger investment of time and money than I'm looking for right now. Maybe down the road. So I looked over this one map, counting the squares... http://media.wizards.com/2017/dnd/dragon/TOA_Level1UN.jpg ...and *think* printing it at 1-square = 1" scale would meant printing it on a 36" (3 ft) high x 54" (4.5 ft) wide sheet. Unfortunately, exceeding 48" (4 ft) dramatically bumps up the prince on the various online printing shops I'm looking at (www.vivyx.com and www.vistaprint.com) and also gets unwieldy for the table we play at (my largest wet-erase mat is 34.5" x 48", and that *barely* fits). So I'm wondering if I could get away with scaling it down to 88.88% of its original size, whic...

Sunday, 25th March, 2018

  • 08:08 AM - Shiroiken mentioned MNblockhead in post Mending
    As a cantrip, as long as they have all of the pieces, I think it could be done, but as MNblockhead said, requiring an Int check to do it correct would be a good idea. If it's something that could be crafted from a tool, I'd allow that proficiency, but otherwise Investigation seems like the puzzle solving skill.

Thursday, 22nd March, 2018


Sunday, 8th October, 2017


Monday, 31st July, 2017

  • 10:33 PM - Dan Chernozub mentioned MNblockhead in post Back to DnD after 12 years break. DM-ing questions thread.
    MNblockhead I do agree with you mostly, and if you will look at my reply to Tony Vargas, you will notice, that our approach to the game is quite similar. However, DnD being a combat-centric system it is a part of the enjoyment of the game to have interesting and rich and diverse combat encounters. So I'm not saying that I'm trying to have 6-8 combats per day because book says so, I'm saying that with few big combats a day the party can burn everything that they have, which takes out some of interest and of learning process of resource management. Unfortunately, I don't own and AL modules.

Tuesday, 18th July, 2017

  • 03:36 PM - LordEntrails mentioned MNblockhead in post Can Hobby Stores Make Their Saving Throw?
    I think @Coeryartus has said it well. I see the future of hobby gaming stores as a social/community gathering place. Sunsword has already said that store owners need to adapt, so I don't think any product line is going to sustain or doom stores in general. Small business owners need to adapt, and sell what people want. And, that's probably not going to be products in the future. At least not at the level they once were. One thing that hasn't been mentioned, and I know several wargamers who would love it (and pay for it) is storage at their game store. I've never seen it, but these wargamers would pay to rent a locker/drawer rather than have to carry around with them their foam cases to carry all their figures. Oh, and I will agree with MNblockhead too. The way the owner presents himself, and insists that his staff presents themselves, sets the tone of the store. IMO, every owner and employee should be wearing a collared shirt with the store logo on it. It's amazing how such a simple "uniform" sets an environment of clean professionalism.

Monday, 19th June, 2017

  • 11:44 PM - LordEntrails mentioned MNblockhead in post New Dwarven Forge Kickstarter kicked off over the weekend...tempted, but...
    I agree with you MNblockhead. I've been tempted in the past, even created models of a similar system and had them 3D printed. But I just can't do it. The difficulty of transport, the need for variety, and the time required to setup and take-down have taken them from my wishlist. I would rather have a game table with a TV/Monitor built in to the surface where I can display digital battle maps. Yes they are not 3D, but the ease of use, the versatility, and the diversity of settings is just too much to limit myself to something like 3D terrain.

Sunday, 4th June, 2017

  • 05:04 PM - Ninefingers mentioned MNblockhead in post Die Calculator
    MNblockhead Thank you, however a lot of those components are new old stock, and are difficult to find consistently.

Saturday, 27th May, 2017

  • 09:43 PM - Quickleaf mentioned MNblockhead in post Do you prefer TTRPG combat as war or as sport?
    MNblockhead I replied "Mostly War" because I like the creativity and hi-jinx that ensue from thinking outside the box. I also feel that other mediums handle "Combat as Sport" better than TTRPGs, including video games, SCA events, and martial arts. This is probably tied up with my view of RPGs being equally as important as an educational and self-development tool, as they are social entertainment. I very much think RPGs should challenge the players, not just their characters; that's what makes RPGs unique from other forms of gaming IMHO. At my table, I usually have a mix of players who lean toward Sport or toward War. So I keep tabs on the pulse of the group; if the "Combat as Sport" folks are getting restless, then I make sure to include a more involved "staged" action scene as soon as I can. And I usually give some consideration to both action scene framing & NPCs' schemes / lair defenses in advance of each session, so that helps keep my sessions pretty balanced.

Wednesday, 22nd March, 2017

  • 09:32 AM - Azurewraith mentioned MNblockhead in post Dark Fairytale OOC [Closed]
    Ok i couldn't wait any longer Here is your IC thread If @MNblockhead wants to join us he can just jump in when he gets a character up as for the rest of you have at it, a few quick things Use your brains as well as your brawn Think you character should know something just ask Im not out to kill you but i wont hesitate to do so Not all encounters are CR appropriate if this is the case there will be some way you can "win" it just may take some leg work After some umming and ahhing ill be rocking milestone xp Any questions feel free to ask im a nice guy really :P

Wednesday, 22nd February, 2017

  • 04:59 PM - LordEntrails mentioned MNblockhead in post Public Games and Kids
    MNblockhead, I think you've thought this through pretty well. And I think you have it pretty close to my own thoughts. I believe the key is what you said, and what most all of your suggestions come down to; "setting expectations". I do think your time estimates might be too long, based on my experience with kids, but not vastly different than what you layout. The one thing I will disagree with; As a parent, I think it is rude to sign up for a game unless I am 100% sure my kid can handle it. Otherwise, if my kid has a meltdown and I have to leave with him, the table is down two party members. That's not fair to the other players. I don't think 100% is the right level of expectation. As an analytical person, 100% indicates to me that their is no possibility of deviation from the event. I don't have a 100% confidence that my older brother isn't going to have the equivalent of a mature breakdown at some random time. Heck, I might sometime/day/etc. There should be a "high level of confidence" or s...


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Thursday, 18th October, 2018

  • 04:08 AM - SkidAce quoted MNblockhead in post "DnDSports": Competitive Play With Prizes
    Serious, how does who other people enjoy a game ruin how you enjoy it? I'll give you an example of this type of concern. Its just an example, not a bulletproof argument so go easy on me. I don't care for multiplayer shooter video games like Call of Duty very much. I did (as a war buff) however really enjoy the single player campaigns. Due to the money making potential and popularity of the multiplayer shooters, less attention is paid to the single player. In some cases and games, it has become non existent. So Call of Duty is no longer the game I enjoyed because of how other people prefer it to be played. *Not complaining, just recognizing that how other people enjoy things can influence they games I play.* I know, I have my books and can play my way forever, but like single player campaigns, the culture will eventually change and leave me behind.
  • 02:23 AM - pming quoted MNblockhead in post "DnDSports": Competitive Play With Prizes
    Hiya! Serious, how does who other people enjoy a game ruin how you enjoy it? You weren't talking to me, but I see this statement too often to ignore... Answer: It doesn't. Deeper Answer: It doesn't...at the moment. ^_^ Paul L. Ming
  • 01:38 AM - pming quoted MNblockhead in post "DnDSports": Competitive Play With Prizes
    Hiya! Oh please. This will not kill D&D TTRPG any more than D&D movies, D&D comics, D&D video games, and D&D live streaming has. If anything it is another avenue to bring new audiences to not just D&D TTRPG but to TTRPGs *in general*. ...shrug... If and when eD&DSports starts to pick up steam, I hope you're right and I am completely wrong. I really, really do! ^_^ Paul L. Ming

Monday, 15th October, 2018

  • 11:03 PM - Sabathius42 quoted MNblockhead in post Revisiting material components - enforcing in a game focused on resource-management
    If you are going to ignore material components, why not just do away with component bags and Material components all together? I can't think of a time in my games (going back to 2e days) where component pouches were more than just something that can be taken away so that you couldn't cast spells until you got it back. Usually this was when captured and held by the bad guys. It then becomes a plot point to get your book/pouch back to cast spells to escape the castle/camp/dungeon. If you just went whole hog and said "You need YOUR staff or wand or some physical item to cast these spells, some spells require you enchant YOUR staff more (representing one-time-cost components), and a few other spells actually DO require physical components (for consumed costly items)" it really wouldn't change our games at all. Can you imagine how hard you could hose your wizards by having them fall into a stream and then checking for water damage versus all their piled up components? Lesse....the tarts are n...

Thursday, 11th October, 2018

  • 11:45 PM - 5ekyu quoted MNblockhead in post Revisiting material components - enforcing in a game focused on resource-management
    Simple, component pouches are magical bags of refrigerated holding! We'll be keeping the requirement for components with a cost associated as per raw. Basically the expensive gems are another specific focus needed to cast the spell, one which will be consumed.Hey magical bags of refrigerated holding for 25 go, that's super. Now a detect magic can I'd all those mages and so forth. Seems to me an awful fuss to emphasize spell components listed in raw and avoid trying to make sense of it instead. But different strokes for different folks.

Monday, 8th October, 2018

  • 06:06 PM - Dire Bare quoted MNblockhead in post New 5e Magazine - Rolled & Told
    Interesting to see the quite divided opinions in the Amazon reviews. I doubt any of the free issue #0 copies are left at my FLGS, but if this becomes available on Kindle/Comixology, I'll check it out. https://www.comixology.com/Rolled-Told/comics-series/120996?ref=Y29taWMvdmlldy9kZXNrdG9wL2JyZWFkY3J1bWJz
  • 11:30 AM - Chaosmancer quoted MNblockhead in post Revisiting material components - enforcing in a game focused on resource-management
    Okay, now that it has been decided not to impose any requirement to find or track any physical components whatsoever, why have component pouches at all? If a wizard finds a spell in a dungeon, is it assumed that the material component just happens to be in the wizard's pouch? Does the wizard need to get to civilized area where the material components and fine ink can be found, or can they spend two hours holed up in a dungeon or in a wilderness camp and just subtract 50 gp that was somehow spent? If you are going to ignore material components, why not just do away with component bags and Material components all together? I'm tempted to simply change any spell that lists a material component WITHOUT A VALUE as Wand/Staff/Holy Symbol? There should be 4 types of components: verbal, somatic, focus, and material. Material would only be for items with a value. The cost represented by the 50 GP is for the special fine inks needed to record it. A wizard can stock up on the ink and record the...
  • 08:09 AM - 5ekyu quoted MNblockhead in post Revisiting material components - enforcing in a game focused on resource-management
    Okay, now that it has been decided not to impose any requirement to find or track any physical components whatsoever, why have component pouches at all? If a wizard finds a spell in a dungeon, is it assumed that the material component just happens to be in the wizard's pouch? Does the wizard need to get to civilized area where the material components and fine ink can be found, or can they spend two hours holed up in a dungeon or in a wilderness camp and just subtract 50 gp that was somehow spent? If you are going to ignore material components, why not just do away with component bags and Material components all together? I'm tempted to simply change any spell that lists a material component WITHOUT A VALUE as Wand/Staff/Holy Symbol? There should be 4 types of components: verbal, somatic, focus, and material. Material would only be for items with a value. The cost represented by the 50 GP is for the special fine inks needed to record it. A wizard can stock up on the ink and record the spell...

Sunday, 7th October, 2018

  • 06:18 PM - Umbran quoted MNblockhead in post Revisiting material components - enforcing in a game focused on resource-management
    We have some interested components, many of which would require some effort or a side quest to get. But we just handwave them with a focus or component pouch. Yes. And you know why? This is why: I cast a spell. Oops, now I'm out of components. I need to take a side quest (probably binding up the *whole party* just to enable my basic class function). And during the side quest... I have to cast spells! Oops! Now I'm out of other components! Lather, rinse, repeat on the material component hamster wheel. The search for material components is a pain. It is flavorful, but that flavor only applies to one party member - the rest are entirely uninterested with exactly how many ounces of bat guano Fizban has in his pouch. They are probably even less interested in helping Fizzy go dig up more guano. Because... ew. Are you tracking wear and tear on swords? And do you have the fighter go hunt down exotic ores every few adventures for reforging a blade? Do the rouges need to go hunt g...

Thursday, 4th October, 2018

  • 07:02 PM - toucanbuzz quoted MNblockhead in post Curse of Strahd Architects Room Question (SPOILERS!)
    Another option I've thought of is giving them these maps: http://www.fraternityofshadows.com/GryphonHill/barovia/castleravenloft.html. Nice, those are awesome (my players are manually mapping, hard to do). Believe I'm changing my tune on the replica, though the party will have to invent a way to disassemble it without breaking it to get a really nice set of maps. Now I just need to find a way to drop a hint the Architect's Room exists...
  • 04:08 PM - pemerton quoted MNblockhead in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    in many cases, the walk-out worthy behavior is something like "rail-roading", calling for perception checks before asking what the PCs are doing, or not using a DM screen. Really?! So, a more interesting question to me is what real-life behavior has led you or a player you know to *ACTUTALLY* leave a game. I've done three rejections of GMs. (Each against a different GM.) (1) The GM was running some scenario involving kobolds raiding a city. We (the PCs) captured a kobold and tried to interrogate it - how many kobolds, maps of their encampment, etc. The GM played it as absolutely stupid, unable to tell us anything at all. The railroading was palpable. We dumped the GM and started a new game. (2) The GM ran a fairly standard patron-mission scenario. At the end, the patron betrayed us (the PCs). We never initiated second scenario. (3) The GM ran a game that was inspired by a campaign he'd run for an earlier group. The interest of the game was all in the interplay of the PCs (it was five ...

Wednesday, 3rd October, 2018

  • 04:42 PM - havard quoted MNblockhead in post Dave Arneson Game Day 2018 - Coming soon!
    I didn't even know who Dave Arneson was until after years of playing. I started playing in the mid-80s. This is what we are trying to fix. Not just out of a sense of "justice", but also because I believe Dave Arneson and the Minnesota Gamers had a lot of very cool gaming ideas, not all of which were written down in published rulesets. If people are interested in reading what other people have done in gaming to improve their own games, they could do worse than read up a bit on the Blackmoor Campaign :) It was a quick game of Cyborg Commando. Great experience...but not enough for me to buy Cyborg Commando. I managed to get a copy of Cyborg Commando after talking to Frank Mentzer about it. I think Frank said it was one of the games he was least proud of, but I still think there are some cool ideas in it. :) -Havard

Monday, 1st October, 2018

  • 07:53 PM - havard quoted MNblockhead in post Dave Arneson Game Day 2018 - Coming soon!
    As an aging Twin Cities gamer, I'm glad to see our homeboy be honored in this way. While I'm more of an EGG fan, DA provided the spark that started the engine. I think we can all be fans of both D&D creators :) Did you ever play with anyone from Arneson's group up there in the Twin Cities? :) -Havard
  • 07:31 AM - Maxperson quoted MNblockhead in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    PLAYER: "I may a perception check to find a post responsive to the original question among the only going side debate on passive checks." DM sets DC to 25. I came into the discussion in the middle I think. What was the original question? :p

Sunday, 30th September, 2018

  • 11:18 PM - DM Dave1 quoted MNblockhead in post Share examples of return to simplicity and/or return to analog solutions from digital
    Then I read an excellent article by The Angry DM called How to Manage Combat Like a Motherf$&%ing Dolphin, https://theangrygm.com/manage-combat-like-a-dolphin/ The Angry DM slapped my dumb ass back to old school. It was a moment of enlightenment. Initiative is NOT hard. Have blank sheets of "scratch" paper available and just write down the participants in initiative order. You can mark off round on the top if needed for spell effects, etc. You track hit points next to the participants' names. Consider me slapped, too. Such good advice. Ran initiative the Angry Way today and enjoyed a much better session as a direct result. Going to take some more practice to bring it to the next level, but that's part of what we're doing here, right?
  • 02:24 PM - DMMike quoted MNblockhead in post Share examples of return to simplicity and/or return to analog solutions from digital
    And the tools give you incredible tips on how to create a building layout on the fly with a four-sided die. Does this result in a lot of pyramid-like buildings? One thing that helps with simplicity is playing a game that doesn't present (and thus, encourage you to produce) NPCs that have what you might call a "block" of "statistics." That just sounds heavy. And numerical. This goes for die-rollers and character generators too: the simpler the game, the less you want/need flashy digital tools. I think the initiative system you described is the exact thing I use. I'm not currently using paper, though. Trying to be green. I must have a city map, though. Only if it just has districts and a couple landmarks. I can't convey the realism of a settlement to players if I can't even wrap my head around it. Too much detail slows me down if it means that I have to page through notes to be able to describe a certain feature. Protip: Vlookup helps.
  • 07:34 AM - Lord Mhoram quoted MNblockhead in post How Do You Enjoy D&D Away From the Table
    With the free time 5e afforded, I picked up a few more TTRPGs. I'll fill the space created by efficiency and simplicity with more complexity. :-/ lol. D&D is actually a secondary system for me - we play HERO every week - that is complex enough, and our other TTRPG is even lighter / less mechanical than 5E - Genesys (based on the FFG Star Wars system). More than anything it came down to me and the wife not wanting to go to the work to GM each other, and play heavy board games with RPG elements (Shadows of Brimstone, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game) so that we both can just play. :)

Saturday, 29th September, 2018

  • 04:30 PM - Hriston quoted MNblockhead in post Training for Leveling (DMG) too cheap?
    Wow, I forgot how expensive it was back in 1e. It's actually more expensive in a straight gp to gp comparison. In adapting this, I reduced costs to 60% of what they are in AD&D. Also, if I remember correctly, training time could be up to four times as long if the DM judged that you didn't play your character true to his/her class archetype. So potentially costs could be 6 2/3 times what I decided on here, but I think using 60% of the gp values from AD&D 1st Ed. is about right for 5E to get the same effect, which is a pretty hefty drain on the PCs' gold reserves. Notice that training times themselves are mostly lower than the 5E DMG system.

Friday, 28th September, 2018

  • 10:04 PM - Chaosmancer quoted MNblockhead in post Revisiting material components - enforcing in a game focused on resource-management
    That doesn't, IMO, nerf casters. They can hide multiple component pouches on their person if they are worried about losing both their focus and components. They may also want to have some safe house, store room, hidden cache, or laboratory where they store extra components in case they lose the components on their person. This just drips spell casting flavor for me. One other change I am thinking about now is that the spell caster can only be attuned to one focus at a time. But it is a special focus-attunement slot that doesn't count against magic item attunement limits. Otherwise, at higher levels, the caster can just have, say, an extra wand hidden on his person. I like the idea that if your wand/instrument/staff/holy symbol is broken, stolen, lost, you need to get somewhere where you can take the time and money to make or buy a new one. It drips with flavor, but I can also see it being aggravating. Having multiple component pouches means that they have to have multiples of the same compone...
  • 09:30 PM - iserith quoted MNblockhead in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    Wow, I guess we just enjoy very different play styles. I don't want to make assumptions on how you run your games @Gradine, anyone who gives as much thought to the game as you do is likely to be run a good game and I can enjoy all manner of GM styles if the GM is dedicated and cares about everyone having a good time. But I have to say that I love the style of play that @iserith describes. From how he describes his style, it brings me back to how we played 1e but without the annoying prepubescent "gotcha" style that immature DMs have. Yes, and I think that kind of adventure and approach is the best fit for the current rules set. When I learn a new game, I try to forget what I know and run something that fits the best with the rules as I understand them. This is what I have arrived at with D&D 5e. I arrive at a different conclusion with other games. (And to be even clearer, I railed against aspects of 5e's design during the playtest because I wanted it to be more like 4e. But that's not how it en...


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