View Profile: MNblockhead - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:28 PM
    The "here" in "insufficient here" - which you just quoted - refers to the method of adjudication under discussion in the context of Bawylie 's post, not to how you are doing things. Twice in as many days you have observed how you've overreacted to my posts, but you're still doing it so far as I can tell. Third time's a charm perhaps?
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:46 PM
    All that means is that the DM you imagine is a person who isn't living up to the standards the DMG sets forth - that the DM be an impartial yet involved referee who acts a mediator between the rules and the players. And who, by following the "middle path" is balancing the use of dice against deciding on success to "encourage players to strike a balance between relying on their bonuses and...
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:40 PM
    I've subscribed to ENWorld EN5ider from almost the beginning and have ever EN5ider article from #1. I'm also a copper subscriber to the boards. I don't subscribe to the general ENWorld Patreon, just felt like an extra subscription to track without providing anything I find compelling. Eventually, I expect that the copper/silver subscriptions to go away and for Patreon to replace that, but...
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:05 PM
    With an increasing number of digital options, I'm not sure that the market for compilation books is that high. If I have D&D Beyond, I don't have to worry about material being spread around multiple books. Also, it would be a difficult sell to digital consumers. Almost nobody would by a spell compilation on D&D Beyond. All the spells from the books they already bought are available in one...
    35 replies | 897 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:01 PM
    I always use the same rival adventurers in my games - the iconic characters from D&D 3.Xe. Tordek, Lidda, Jozan, and Mialee (plus the others like Soveliss, Krusk, etc. as needed). No matter the campaign, if there are rival adventurers, it's them. It's kind of a running gag. They call themselves "The Icons" and they are all the worst sorts of jerks you can imagine. The players love to hate them...
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:14 PM
    Well, we wouldn't want a system that encourages careful attention and skillful play while also incentivizing the player to portray the character faithfully, now would we? That would be daft.
    1128 replies | 30801 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:42 PM
    The characters of my regulars in the Eberron campaign are a pretty uncharismatic lot. I think the highest Cha is 10 and nobody really has those skills trained. (They call themselves Tools Integrated and they're more troubleshooters than talkers.) Still, they find themselves in social interaction challenges with some frequency. So what we'll tend to see is that they will make their case in a...
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:25 PM
    I think there is a misunderstanding here. What Bawylie is saying is that no matter how it is presented by the players, as long as the goal and approach is the same, the DC is the same. So let's say you have the Cha-10 character's player give a first-person in-depth reasoning for why the king would benefit from lending the vanguard to the dance competition. Tears are in the eyes of everyone else...
    1128 replies | 30801 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:03 PM
    As you've mentioned me committing this logical fallacy a couple of times, I should mention I don't think it actually applies here. If I make a claim of what is in the rule books, I'm not appealing to an authority. I'm just making a factual claim. If I said that I'm obviously right because I am Iserith, a High Profile DM, then you'd be right. But I haven't, and I'm not comfortable throwing my...
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:01 AM
    Contrats Zardnaar and contrats Critical Role 88875 backers pledged $11,384,748.05 to help bring this project to life.
    130 replies | 6349 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:42 AM
    If you want something less powerful, you could take inspiration from "death bubbles" in the Rappan Athuk module. The Eye of Bubble has X number of charges (determine based on how powerful you want this), which recharges after 24 hours. When you expend the charge, 1d100 +20 "death bubbles" are created and begin to float out. When a bubble touches any creature or object it bursts,...
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:45 AM
    Right. DMs are famous for creating their own problems, then working hard to come up with solutions to the problems they've created. The game gets all wobbly and complicated and they often turn to the social contract to fix those problems (e.g. "no metagaming" or "play your ability scores"). A better solution, in my view, is to not create those problems in the first place.
    1128 replies | 30801 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:38 AM
    Seemingly small fundamental differences can be magnified greatly in the actual play experience though. My game will look a lot different than others where players are asking to make checks, even if my players make just as many checks on average.
    1128 replies | 30801 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:35 AM
    Just like I don't run Dungeon World like D&D 4e or 5e. Or Life like Monopoly. Or Cards Against Humanity like Dominion.
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:24 AM
    I bet if you set your forum settings to show more posts per page, it will increase my rules-mentions to 6 in one page which will make me look even more like a monster. From my perspective, it looks more like I point to rules to show why I do what I do, not to show why you're "wrong." Because I don't think you're wrong. You just play differently.
    1128 replies | 30801 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:16 AM
    Who needs luck when you have RULES?
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:03 AM
    And this is why examples are bad in partisan discussions. They distract and obfuscate as they get weaponized in the debate.
    1128 replies | 30801 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:53 AM
    A player is welcome to do that if he or she wants. It's none of the DM's concern in my view and, so far as I can tell, nothing that is supported by the rules of the game. What business is that to anyone but the player of that character? If I can't have fun because I have a different idea of what an Int 8 character should be able to do strategically or tactically, perhaps the problem isn't...
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:22 AM
    As an aside, with regard to attack rolls, the DMG has this to say: "Call for an attack roll when a character ties to hit a creature or an object with an attack, especially when the attack could be foiled by the target's armor or shield or by another object providing cover." The implication here is that there's something in the way of your success when you're making an attack roll. If there isn't,...
    1128 replies | 30801 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:09 AM
    I do a recap but it is short. The main point is not so much to remind them of everything that happened in the game so far, but it is a good way to get people into the game. It is the transition from settling in and socializing to "what do you do?"
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:07 AM
    And sometimes the flowery speech (or whatever) might be worth Inspiration, depending on the PC's personal characteristics.
    1128 replies | 30801 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:05 AM
    Honest question. Is this desire born out of playing Adventurer's League games? Every time this conversation or any conversation about wanting more content or a quicker release schedule comes up, I'll note that there are are already many great competing settings for 5e from various third-party publishers. Kobold Press's Midguard setting and Frog God Game's forthcoming Lost Lands setting are both...
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:59 AM
    And THAT is what "pixelbitching" actually is.
    1128 replies | 30801 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:56 AM
    For most campaigns, I usually have more players than seats per session and more than one character per player. So I might have 20 PCs in a given campaign and no clue which players and which characters might be at a given session. So I can't keep track of who has what Charisma score or whatever. And anyway I see nothing in the rules that suggest I should. I don't see anything in the game...
    1128 replies | 30801 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:49 AM
    Hmmm... is this a new skill on everyone's sheet or is this a feat someone can take. If a skill, wouldn't it be associated with a specific attribute, i.e. Intelligence. So you would call for an Intelligence (Commerce) check? Seems to make more sense as a feat. Anyone with this feat can add their proficiency bonus to any commerce-related skill check, such as check called for when appraising...
    17 replies | 513 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:44 AM
    Which is what I'm doing for the most part. Is is the "it take you about an hour" is the important part. Time to gather loot is important in my current campaign due to random encounters and the like. To keep things simple, I think I'll typically look at the nature of the loot and determine if it will take an action, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour. These are the important lengths of time to...
    17 replies | 513 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:35 AM
    For me the main purpose of the short recap is to transition from settling in and socializing to the game. We only meet once per month for an eight-hour game. I don't bother summarizing everything that happened in the last game. But I'll do a short "where we last left the party..." and describe the current situation or scene to get to the "what do you do?" Sometimes someone may have a...
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:14 AM
    Flexor the Mighty - When you sign up for a Rappan Athuk game, you are signing up for a very different style of game than what is typically ran these days. Just look at all the posts hating on Dungeon of the Mad mage and on the concept of mega dungeons in general. I'm enjoying this change of pace.
    107 replies | 3271 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:05 AM
    Thanks everyone for all the great ideas. For now I'll probably continue to donate to the FLGS's public library as I know they'll get a lot of use and be taken care of by the staff. Also, it is really simple to do. But I'll look into some of the other suggestions as well.
    9 replies | 212 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:01 AM
    I suppose it is statistically possible that someone will roll low their entire lives. I'm too uneducated, unintelligent, and unmotivated to do the maths on this. Certainly there are some games where I just feel cursed. I've had several session runs, over 32 hours of game play where I consistently rolled low. Even after switching dice. With and without dice towers. Even when trying...
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th April, 2019, 10:20 PM
    Same goal and approach, same success, failure, or uncertainty.
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th April, 2019, 10:10 PM
    I'm not entirely sure I understand what you're asking. It's not up to the DM to "accept" a goal and approach. The player states the goal and approach. The DM decides if it is successful, a failure, or uncertain as to the outcome and, in the case of the latter, calls for an appropriate check if there is a meaningful consequence for failure. If there is a roll, then the bard will have a greater...
    1128 replies | 30801 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th April, 2019, 07:46 PM
    I would not. I don't have the foggiest idea what the PCs' stats are for one, and no matter how charismatic or well-spoken the player is, everything I'm judging still boils down to a goal and approach. The dump stat will come into play if and when the die is cast and, given how swingy a d20 is, it probably doesn't matter all that much unless the DC is particularly high.
    1128 replies | 30801 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th April, 2019, 05:24 PM
    Thank you. I'm the last person to take the high ground on discussing preferred styles of RPGs turning up in various threads that aren't ostensibly about that, but holy cow, at least I'm talking about D&D.
    99 replies | 2581 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th April, 2019, 05:10 PM
    I ask the players to recall the events of last session and I fill in the blanks with details that may be relevant in the current session. A player tends to add a detail then another builds on that. This is a form of warm-up improvisational exercise ("Yes, and...") that gets the players in the habit of accepting offers from other players and building on them instead of negating or denying. This...
    33 replies | 611 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th April, 2019, 05:00 PM
    The only time I see a player trying to back out of something he or she has described as wanting to do is when the DC or consequences that I laid out are strikingly different than what the player had in mind. In this case, it's a mismatch of expectations and I think it's reasonable for the player to withdraw the action declaration. This is an exceedingly rare circumstance in my experience, given...
    1128 replies | 30801 view(s)
    4 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th April, 2019, 05:55 AM
    The player must replace one eye with this artifact. There should be some ability or skill decrease for doing so. Perhaps lower perception. Once inserted, the implantee can can once per day summon a Bubble of Annihilation. It functions like a sphere of annihilation with the following differences: 1. It appears around the bearer. Through physics completely alien to minds of native to...
    7 replies | 172 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th April, 2019, 05:14 AM
    doctorbadwolf Well, yes, with age reading dice from afar can be a challenge. But I think I've found the answer:
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th April, 2019, 02:41 AM
    I voted "Yes" on the poll. This is a common error people make, especially if they played D&D 3.Xe or D&D 4e or learned from people who come from those traditions. D&D 5e isn't like those games in many ways. You appear to be conflating a task with an ability check. As I stated in my previous posts a few times, a task and an ability check are not the same thing. A player can choose to have...
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th April, 2019, 01:50 AM
    Short of magical compulsion which is an exception to the rule, the player always determines what the character thinks, does, and says. The DM can only describe the environment and narrate the result of the adventurers' actions. That's not the same thing as the DM telling a player, for example, that he or she must have the character act as if the NPC is lying (or telling the truth). ...
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 11:37 PM
    iserith replied to Familiars!
    I think familiars are fine in D&D 5e. Useful scouts, helpful allies for attacking, and fun to cast spells through. I try not to let my experiences with other editions of the game influence how I feel about this edition.
    39 replies | 855 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 11:24 PM
    Well, right, you can buy dice from where ever you choose. But you can not use just any dice at my table. This was actually pushed by my players. We decided that we would all use dice that any of our aging eyes could see from across the table. We are clear about our table rules before a new player joins. I've not yet had someone decide not to play with us because of this rule. On the other hand...
    51 replies | 761 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 09:00 PM
    I find it hard to believe that anyone is backing at this level just to get the plushie, but who knows. Stuffed animals = clutter to me. Personally, I would rather that the 17% cut of the pie needed to support the backer rewards were instead put into the film. But it could be that the rewards help make more money overall. Backer rewards are important in a many Kickstarters, but I'm not sure...
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 08:52 PM
    My favorite way of marking conditions is using Alea Tools magnetic status markers. A cheaper option is making small status markers by cutting small circles from colored paper and using blue tack or poster putty to stick it on the head of a mini. But the small hair-binder idea is definitely the least amount of work. I could have saved myself a lot of money on Alea tools if I would have thought...
    78 replies | 2967 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 08:40 PM
    Well, right now I'm running Rappan Athuk, a meda-dungeon crawl. Losts of trap, arcana, history, religion, athletics, acrobatics, and other checks, not to mention all the saves also involved with all the nasty stuff you run into. Combat varies greatly. Many are only a round or two but it is easy to find yourself in a combat that can last many rounds. I may also have my view skewed by the...
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 06:42 PM
    I think what you're describing is actually a symptom of a failure on the DM's part to telegraph the threats the monster poses (so it becomes a "gotcha") combined with the players engaging in what the DMG calls "metagame thinking." It's not reskinning per se that is the issue. There's an underlying problem of presentation by the DM and bad assumptions made by the players that combine to create an...
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 06:26 PM
    Yeah, those people are silly. But if you shave during hockey season, your team deserves to lose.
    51 replies | 761 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 06:24 PM
    For me it is not about cheating, it is about participation. An example of this is the Acquisition Incorporated games. In the early games they kinda rolled however and announced their rolls and then started displaying the results, then rolling in dice trays, to now having larger dice, in special dice trays with cameras positioned over them. Why the effort? Check out the audience reactions...
    51 replies | 761 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 06:18 PM
    I like the clear, shiny look of Game Science dice, and their sharp edges. I also love Louis Zocchi's sales pitches, which are must-watches for anyone who are interested in dice. But I don't like the pips on them and I don't like having to color my dice. It is more expensive, but I prefer machined dice. There are lots of options out there. At nearly $20 per die, good machined, metal dice are...
    51 replies | 761 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 06:11 PM
    Is your game style heavy on the roll-play and lower on the combat and skill checks? 5-10 rolls seems low to me, even for shorter games. Still, your point is valid. I'm sure the "good" dice and "bad" dice are just good/bad because our brains see patterns in randomness that are not necessarily there. And TBH, while I like having gravity dice to say that I'm being as fair as I possibly can,...
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 06:04 PM
    If you are running Rappan Athuk, the party should be defeated multiple times. You must be talking about the player's finally being defeated and begging you for a new adventure location. :-) My group is only in the first level of the Mouth of Doom. "This is much easier than I was expecting" said one player. Boy are they in for a rude awakening when they get to the Dungeon proper. ...
    12 replies | 345 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 05:45 PM
    And beyond the dead-tree books, they are finding a new avenues to generate revenue from the same content in digital formats: D&D Beyond, Fantasy Grounds, Roll20 (and hopefully in the near future they'll license it to campaign management products/services like RealmWorks, World Anvil, Obsidian Portal, City of Brass, and the like). Good for WotC, good for the hobby.
    5 replies | 316 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 05:28 PM
    It is pogre's fault. :-) Well, okay, it is the fault of miniature painting hobby. As folks became better at miniature painting and they wanted more detailed sculpts. Larger minis are easier to paint and appreciate a good paint job. And Games Workshop seems to be the ones to really push this with their Warhammer line. At least that's what I remember from the 80s when the Warhammer stuff...
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 05:02 PM
    Oh no - the carbs in that pizza will make the group sleepy for the back half of the session! Avoid! Avoid!
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 04:39 PM
    And to honor the idea that the player is the only one who can say what the character does, I think it is far better to frame stakes and narrate outcomes in terms of changes to the environment or NPCs/monsters than what the character does. I don't want to say the fighter stuck his or her foot in his or her mouth - that is not my role as DM and runs the risk of dissatisfaction on the part of the...
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 04:38 PM
    Yes, merchant scales make more sense as there would not be a great deal of standardization, especially in troves with coins from multiple realms and ages. What will matter is the weight of precious metal. But against, role-playing that is kinda boring. I just assume they will do it during rests and downtime. But I make sure to impose a cost in time to gather the loot. Mostly handwave it. I...
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 04:29 PM
    How I think I DM: How my players think I DM: How I actually DM:
    68 replies | 3504 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 03:29 PM
    While not the collector by any means, I do accumulate a lot of games. Not just TTRPG books, but board and card games as well. Many games get a lot of play for a while and then go unused and I realize that I wouldn't miss them. As I said, I'm not a collector and a regularly de-clutter my house. I used to bring games to Half-Priced Books ("HPB", a used-bookstore chain in the USA). I would...
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 03:17 PM
    Agreed. Like most games like this, my kids and I played it and the expansion heavily when we got it, now it just sits on the shelf. But that is fine. I feel like I got my moneys worth. I've gotten pretty good about selling/donating used games. I'll probably donate this.
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 03:15 PM
    Most of us are just supporting it so that it gets made. Priority access is nice. I personally do not care about the swag and am glad they they have not tried to keep adding various physical rewards. I want them focused on making the best show that they can and don't want them distracted by the logistics of baker rewards.
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 03:11 PM
    There are a lot of videos and discussions on the interwebs about dice balance. Which dice are the best made, how to test dice, etc. I don't want to repeat that discussion here. What I'm more interested in is how concerned are you about dice balance? For me? For players not so much. For me as the DM, very much so. At my table I pretty much only have two rules regarding dice: 1....
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 02:51 PM
    *GASP* You don't use dice! "Who let this guy in?" ;-)
    78 replies | 2967 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 02:37 PM
    I got back into TTRPGs with D&D 5e, and over the past few years have spent a lot of money on WotC, Kobold Press, Goodman Games, Frog God Games, and a variety of kickstarters. I've also bought a number of non-D&D systems, mostly from Kickstarter. But now I find myself scrolling through the crowdfunding roll-up posts here on ENWorld and not even bothering to click through to anything. At...
    12 replies | 345 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 02:19 PM
    I would say that D&D 5e is somewhat less "reskinnable" than, say, D&D 4e but in the case of familiars which are magical creations, I see no benefit to being a stickler on this point.
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  • smbakeresq's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 04:08 AM
    Look up Mike Schley to buy his maps from the website, I am glad I did for PoTA.
    207 replies | 8959 view(s)
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  • smbakeresq's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th April, 2019, 12:00 AM
    I love reading print books, I own several over 100+ years old. I donít have a Gutenberg books, I canít afford them. As as standards, the vast majority have the rose oriented towards the top of the page with that being north. If a map covers 2 pages and the book is meant to be turned to view the map then it is oriented that way. The creator of the map and his belief system control...
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th April, 2019, 11:56 PM
    The player always determines what the character thinks, does, and says - those are the rules. They are not bound to the result of an ability check made to resolve whether the task the PC performed was sufficient to notice anything about the NPC's truthfulness. If the NPC is lying (or telling the truth) and my character's task to determine that fails, I can still choose to have the character think...
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th April, 2019, 11:40 PM
    Floating this back up - I'm genuinely curious what are considered the "save or die" effects in D&D 5e? I'm assuming failing a save versus, say, a sacred flame while you're low on hit points doesn't count.
    43 replies | 1123 view(s)
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  • smbakeresq's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th April, 2019, 11:36 PM
    Try this book fellows, The World Through Maps, A History of Cartography: https://www.google.com/search?q=the+world+through+maps&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari&stick=H4sIAAAAAAAAAONgVuLSz9U3MMuuik8xfsToyi3w8sc9YSmbSWtOXmM04-IKzsgvd80rySypFNLgYoOy5Lj4pJC0aTBI8XAh8Xl2MXHkl6UWlWWmli9iFSvJSFUozy_KSVEoySjKL03PUMhNLCgGAHFcoN16AAAA&ictx=1&ved=0ahUKEwj16f2f1tXhAhUJIKwKHcLCAkkQyNoBCJoBKAA
    207 replies | 8959 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th April, 2019, 11:26 PM
    Perhaps I'm misunderstanding you here, but you said "disregarding the rules/physics of the game whenever you dislike the outcome undermines the structure of the game." I'm saying the outcome is up to the DM even when the rules are being used to resolve an outcome (particularly in the case of ability checks), so why would the DM choose outcomes - either success or failure - that aren't fun for...
    193 replies | 5305 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th April, 2019, 10:47 PM
    The DM narrates the results of the adventurers' actions though - not the rules - so why would the DM choose possible outcomes for success or failure that aren't fun for everyone and/or don't contribute to an exciting, memorable story?
    193 replies | 5305 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th April, 2019, 07:50 PM
    Well, in the books, he began as a hedge-wizard's apprentice.
    69 replies | 1982 view(s)
    1 XP
  • smbakeresq's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th April, 2019, 06:32 PM
    You can also order the maps from Schley himself in some cases, they are worth it to increase size and have them separate from text.
    207 replies | 8959 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th April, 2019, 06:31 PM
    I think the easier way to avoid "railroading" is to not run plot-based adventures (or "event-based" as the 5e DMG calls them). Location-based adventures with boxed text is just the initial work of describing the environment (first step in the play loop) done for the DM. To the extent that reduces the DM's prep time, I'd say that provides good value.
    99 replies | 2581 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th April, 2019, 05:42 PM
    Before I answer, I have to ask what specifically are considered "save or die" effects in D&D 5e?
    43 replies | 1123 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th April, 2019, 05:37 PM
    That's what I do, especially since the players' collective memory will almost always be better than mine. Then I can fill in bits that will be relevant to the current session. I also see this as a good warm up improv technique ("Yes, and...") since it gets the players into the groove of offering a thing and someone else building on that thing. Do 5-10 minutes of that and they will tend to...
    68 replies | 3504 view(s)
    3 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th April, 2019, 05:32 PM
    Another aside - I think Rules Compendium was when they finally presented skill challenges correctly. But by then, a ton of people were already turned off of skill challenges. Which I found to be an absolute shame because I love that mechanic (for D&D 4e).
    193 replies | 5305 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th April, 2019, 05:29 PM
    Yeah, up to that point, I was using lines like that to show how D&D 3.Xe and D&D 4e were different and that problems can occur when we run them the same way. (Kind of a familiar argument, eh?)
    193 replies | 5305 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th April, 2019, 03:31 PM
    So one thing I try to do is roll out important information throughout the scene, not just up front. Boxed text gives us the impression (or me at least, at one time) that you get it all out, then the PCs do their thing. When really, we have to look at the play loop: DM describes the environment, players describe what they want to do, DM narrates the results of the adventurers' actions. Then...
    99 replies | 2581 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th April, 2019, 02:38 PM
    Sure, whereas D&D 5e divorces tasks and checks in a way that D&D 4e does not. A player describes tasks rather than "uses skills." This is the issue Charlaquin is having trying to communicate with another poster in the current similar thread. To add to the differences, D&D 4e also says "All DCs assume acting in situations that are far from mundane; the DM should call for checks only in dramatic...
    193 replies | 5305 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th April, 2019, 02:16 PM
    That seems like a better choice in my view.
    1128 replies | 30801 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th April, 2019, 01:59 AM
    I'll have to take your word for it on that. I haven't played D&D 3.Xe in some time and perhaps the game is "backwards compatible" in that way. I wouldn't want to go the other way and bring players asking to make checks to perform tasks into D&D 5e in any case which was certainly a part of the common D&D 3.Xe approach in my experience. I think this is a "systems matter" issue underlying our...
    1128 replies | 30801 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Monday, 15th April, 2019, 11:46 PM
    I actually watched part of the first episode of Colville's "The Chain" and, while I would say it needs a lot of improvement in some areas, I think it's a lot more like an actual gaming session than what we see on Critical Role. (Admittedly, I've only watched that very sporadically as well.)
    68 replies | 3504 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Monday, 15th April, 2019, 11:43 PM
    Check out the indie film Dwarves of Dragon Mountain (http://filmthreat.com/reviews/dragon-mountain/) for an interesting, familiar but more steam-punk, depiction of Dwarves. It is available for streaming from Amazon Prime: https://www.amazon.com/Dwarves-Dragon-Mountain-Robert-Morgan/dp/B07F19R3D5/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=dragon+mountain&qid=1555368134&s=gateway&sr=8-1
    21 replies | 576 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Monday, 15th April, 2019, 11:39 PM
    I'm not surprised. I feel like I'm a much better writer than speaker. Many good writers mull over word choice, edit as much as put words on the page, and are thoughtful. These traits do not always translate to improvisational narration. Similarly, many people who are charismatic, witty, and good with the spoken word, are not necessarily great writers. Mercer hired people do do much of the...
    68 replies | 3504 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Monday, 15th April, 2019, 11:38 PM
    ^ This. Different games, different rules, different approaches that work with those rules. I'll quote the D&D 5e DMG (emphasis mine): "When a player wants to do something, it's often appropriate to let the attempt succeed without a roll or a reference to the character's ability scores... only call for a roll if there is a meaningful consequence for failure." It then goes on add another...
    1128 replies | 30801 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Monday, 15th April, 2019, 11:30 PM
    Thanks! Copied to my someday/maybe list in Evernote. I'd love to have the world map for my homebrew campaign printed on cloth.
    78 replies | 2967 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Monday, 15th April, 2019, 11:28 PM
    Well sure, and that's how I've run my games for the past five years. But my current campaign is an old-school-inspired dungeon crawl that is using 5e with a variant GP=XP rule. Resource and time management are really important. I'm not so much looking for fidelity but rather finding workable rules of thumb that support this tactical approach. I realize that some players would run from this...
    17 replies | 513 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Monday, 15th April, 2019, 11:13 PM
    Pretty much the entire DMs Craft YouTube channel is an example of gridless play and making amazing terrain with relatively cheap materials. But the following video is a good place to start: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94aqO7jQp8E I stopped making terrain (no time) and use a digital battlemap now, but I still still have all the gridless play measuring sticks I made using DM Scotty's...
    68 replies | 3504 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Monday, 15th April, 2019, 02:50 PM
    I like boxed text when it is 3 to 5 sentences that gets the point across. Otherwise, it's too long and the players are likely to forget everything by the time I'm done reading it. I've seen old adventures where the boxed text runs longer than a full page which is just nuts.
    99 replies | 2581 view(s)
    1 XP
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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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Twin Cities, MN, USA
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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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Town:
Twin Cities Area
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USA
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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.
My Character:
I play a Tortle barbarian berserker with the great-weapon master feat.
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Friday, 19th April, 2019



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Friday, 19th April, 2019


Wednesday, 17th April, 2019


Sunday, 14th April, 2019

  • 09:52 PM - robus mentioned MNblockhead in post Your most used accessories?
    @MNblockhead - the cloth printing arrived. I think it's going to work well (and very easy to transport): 105896 Edit: probably could have been 25% smaller... :)

Tuesday, 9th April, 2019

  • 10:32 PM - Hussar mentioned MNblockhead in post Sneak Peek At Ghosts of Saltmarsh Maps
    I wonder if this is related to groups that don't do a lot of mapping during play. Left, right, ahead, (never minding, Top and Bottom) would be incredibly frustrating to the mapper. But, as MNblockhead says, maybe it's just an experience thing. My group also has a fair bit of military background, so it seems pretty natural to put north at the top of the map. Heh. Right as I type this, I'm looking at the weather map for today on TV. Funnily enough, it's oriented north to the top. :D Every time I use Google Maps, it's oriented north to the top. Every single map of Canada I've ever seen, going back centuries, is oriented north to the top. North to the top has been the standard for centuries now. It's pretty ubiquitous. Heck, rolling this back around to Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, the town in the three modules was never mapped. It's not like there's any sort of canon or tradition here. You were instructed by the original module to make your own map. So, why make a map that it automatically harder to use at the table? Player: Where is the general store? DM: It's in the west end of the town, next to the Color Animal Inn. Player: Huh? The Color Animal Inn is ...

Sunday, 7th April, 2019

  • 02:38 PM - robus mentioned MNblockhead in post Your most used accessories?
    Thanks for the detailed list MNblockhead, that Time Tracker looks really cool. Actually it would be perfect on the flip side of my initiative tracker!

Tuesday, 12th March, 2019

  • 05:16 AM - CleverNickName mentioned MNblockhead in post Critical Role Kickstarter Predition Game: Guess the Funding Outcome (GTFO)
    ...ualified. Predictions must be made in this thread before next Monday, March 11th, 11:59 p.m. PST. Predictions made after that time will be ignored. Good luck! The Prize The winner will receive a gift certificate to HeroForge.com, good for one custom 3D-printed character mini (a $25 value), like this one! 105294 I got this digital gift certificate for Christmas, but I already have like a dozen HeroForge minis (I may have a problem). I thought I'd offer it up to a worthy cause. Sound good? OF COURSE it sounds good! Let's see those predictions! ----- PREDICTION ROSTER Stalker0: $100,000,000 Dausuul: $50,000,000 gyor: $30,000,000 Hussar: $25,000,000 aco175: $23,500,000 CubicsRube: $21,000,000 CleverNickName: $20,612,408.57 ---------Highest-Funded Kickstarter in History (Pebble Time smartwatch) $20,338,986----------- Parmandr: $20,000,000 EnochSeven: $16,213,102 TallIan: $15,876,374 MNblockhead: $15,555,555 77IM: $14,980,000.00 jgsugden: $14,520,000 OB1: $14,000,042 The Big BZ: $14,000,000 dregntael: $13,935,109 chrisrtld: $13,635,019 pogre: $13,500,000 Aebir-Toril: $13,224,376.89 Satyrn: $13,000,000 Yardiff: $12,456,145 -----------Highest-Funded Game Project on Kickstarter (Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5) $12,393,139-------- Radaceus: $12,345,678.91 FarBeyondC: $12,345,678.90 Morrus: $12,000,000 Mistwell: $11,800,000 Mort: $11,620,000 Zardnaar: $11,354,883 <--- The Winner! Sadras: $11,120,000 SkidAce: $11,000,000 Tazawa: $10,700,000 togashi_joe: $10,250,000 DM Dave1: $10,101,010 MichaelSomething: $10,000,000 Lazybones: $9,750,000 PabloM: $9,500,000 akr71: $9,250,000 rczarnec: $9,250,000 Azzy: $9,000,000 Henry: $8,900,000 mortwatcher: $8,666,000 ...

Tuesday, 26th February, 2019

  • 07:39 PM - Sword of Spirit mentioned MNblockhead in post Best Campaign Management Product/Site?
    My experiences with RealmWorks are similar to MNblockheadís. I initially was looking for something simpler, but when I gave it a try I was hooked. The auto-linking is huge. There are also a lot of options for how to additionally connect information, and one of the biggest initial difficulties can be recognizing that you donít have to use them all just because you can, and should just use the ones that work best for you. So I donít really need to worry about using the info tag about how each deity (or NPC, or organization, etc) feels about each other, as well as how they publicly act like they feel about them, but using the feature to indicate where different people live is something I do extensively. And I donít use the storyline organizational feature, because my campaign is more exploration-based, but I do use map pins with links that can take me to other maps and topics to allow me explore my world(s) starting from whichever level I want. But you can always start using features you werenít, they arenít something you are locked into and hav...

Wednesday, 13th February, 2019

  • 07:15 PM - OB1 mentioned MNblockhead in post My return to TTRPG w/ 5e, reflections after 5 years
    MNblockhead I fall into a very similar experience as you. I played primarily from 88-96 (mix of 1e and 2e) along with a host of other RPGs (Robotech, Star Wars, Rifts, TMNT, Heroes) and tried out 3e for about six months in 2004 when a workmate invited me into his game, but didnít vibe on it and didnít really have the time. In 2011 or so I began listening to the 4e Critical Hit podcast and that gave me my D&D fix for a while. When the playtest came out, I downloaded it just to read and found it reminded me of the feel of 2e. Started a game with my wife and a couple friends that is still going today (Tier IV near the end). Have bought every official release since and brought a dozen or so new players (including my nieces and nephews) into the game. We put the main campaign on pause to run APs or other home brews from time to time, and there is so much stuff I canít ever imagine needing another system or edition. Not to thread jack, but as for your comments about social media, Iím guessing you ar...

Sunday, 20th January, 2019

  • 11:18 PM - TaranTheWanderer mentioned MNblockhead in post Blow Darts
    So, your suggestions have given me a couple ideas. How about this: With proficiency in poisoner's kit, a blow gun does 1pnt(as listed in PHB) of POISON damage. You need a long rest to re-apply/make the poison. In lieu of poison damage, if you hit, you may elect to have your opponent make a con save = to 8+proficiency in Poisoner's kit+INT. If they fail, they are poisoned for a number of rounds equal to the amount of damage you replace. So, to start, they'd be poisoned for 1rnd. If you take more time and make a more toxic poison that does, say, 1d3 damage, they are poisoned for 1d3 rounds. My idea is to just give the Stout halflings proficiency in poisoner's kit. As far as poisoning yourself, I think that if you are proficient in the kit, you are very unlikely to hurt yourself. I'd only make someone who has no proficiency make a check to poison themselves. MNblockhead In a fantasy game, having poison do a bit of damage could be partially from the dart or creating a localized bit of minor damage. having a very short term 'poisoned' condition could be from hives or itching or intense pain or whatever might distract or cause disadvantage.

Friday, 14th December, 2018

  • 05:11 PM - doctorbadwolf mentioned MNblockhead in post Matt Colvilleís Strongholds and Followers
    MNblockhead thanks for the reply, very informative. Sadly, it is definitely not just his fast spoken delivery. Iím from California, and I consume a lot more YouTube and podcast media than I do traditional video media, so fast talk is where I live. When I have to call the support center st work, and get someone from Vest Virginia, I feel like Iím at the DMV in Zootopia. People talk soooooooo slooooooowwww. He just annoys me. But, I donít think itís his diction, or vocabulary, or anything else that translates directly to print. I think itís just him. I watched his video on the Star Wars sequel movies vs the prequels, and I just couldnít stand the guy. Part of what annoys me about him is what annoys me about so many of my fellow Millenials, and GenX ppl. That is, the rampant deeply emotionally stubborn nostalgia. I...just donít experience nostalgia to anywhere near the same degree that others seem to, so when people seem to base their opinions strongly on it, I find it obnoxious. His line...

Wednesday, 12th December, 2018

  • 12:45 PM - dave2008 mentioned MNblockhead in post How to make an encounter with falling great distances interesting and dangerous, but not deadly?
    I agree with @MNblockhead - thank you for the recap. I think this is an interesting challenge and covers a lot a things that, out of the box, D&D doesn't do well. We really could use a DMG II or similar that covers more complex scenarios like this. One thing that got me thinking... Yeah, I really overlooked this. Twice, when they realized the fall was only 30 feet, the players sort of shrugged. I had further complications up my sleeve, so I was able to added twists when that happened (and I remembered to!), however it definitely dispelled the illusion of threat. This made me think once again about the falling rules. How about in addition to damage: every 30 feet of falling requires you to either take a level of exhaustion (thus 180' = death) or a roll on the lingering injury table. Or possibly a combination of the two. That way falling as some real consequences other than damage (which we all know is not a real consequence in D&D) ;)

Sunday, 2nd December, 2018

  • 05:08 PM - Parmandur mentioned MNblockhead in post Boxed Sets 2018 Style
    The key market for box sets isn't APs, it's settings, which simply aren't being given enough meat. MNblockhead specified Adventures, not other kinds of products. I don't see that a Ravnica box set would have had different contents, but would have cost more?

Tuesday, 30th October, 2018


Saturday, 8th September, 2018

  • 10:05 PM - epithet mentioned MNblockhead in post Curse of Strahd help (lots oí 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 youíre choosing to use the desktop version of the site with your smartphone instead of the mobile site intended for smartphones, youíre creating your own problem and shouldnít 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.


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Friday, 19th April, 2019

  • 04:10 PM - DMMike quoted MNblockhead in post Anyone else finding their TTRPG spending going down for lack of interest/need?
    I subscribe to D&D Beyond and don't see that changing. +1 Hasbro point. Just for kicks, think about switching to the ENWorld Patreon? Anyone else in the same boat? Where are you spending your hobby money? Food and drink for Game of Thrones parties. I've cast a pretty good anti-spending ward on myself. My RPG is super-easy to run and modify, so I don't need rulebooks. And, although I'd like to do some personal world-building, I have a video-game-bible that provides NPCs, maps, treasure, quests, and more. So I don't need adventure modules either. For everything else, I'm a member of a pretty awesome Internet bulletin-board... I am in a similar boatÖ Last year my awesome collection of RPG books was mostly lost due to a terrible flood and it would take years and tons of money to build it back. After that heartbreak I have become much more selective and these days it is hard for me to find products that really catch my attention. . . .The positive side is that I am saving that mone...
  • 12:47 PM - DEFCON 1 quoted MNblockhead in post How to adjudicate coin counting, gathering, and item valuations - how much time taken, what skills used?
    Hmmm... is this a new skill on everyone's sheet or is this a feat someone can take. If a skill, wouldn't it be associated with a specific attribute, i.e. Intelligence. So you would call for an Intelligence (Commerce) check? Seems to make more sense as a feat. Anyone with this feat can add their proficiency bonus to any commerce-related skill check, such as check called for when appraising items or bargaining to buy or sell something. But it seems like most players wouldn't want to spend a feat on it. Instead, I would probably make it a feature of a Background. Someone with a "Merchant" or "Fence" background can use this "Commerce" ability. How, exactly, is it used in your game? What does your skill list look like and how does it operate compared to the standard 5e skill list? I already have and always will use the variant rule that does not assign attribute to skill. So I re-did my skill list for all players that got rid of some skills that are unnecessary for this variant rule us...
  • 02:08 AM - Flexor the Mighty! quoted MNblockhead in post The Washington Post Weighs In On D&D!
    As someone in their mid-40s who started playing TTRPGs in the mid-80s, I have to admit to similar knee-jerk reactions. But I quickly realized that many of us have become the bullies. Some people like to dress up for their games. Who cares? Cosplay has become an impressive hobby. What does it say about us that we worry that how others enjoy the game will make us look silly? It is decades of ridicule and bullying that many in our hobby experienced that, thankfully, is far less prevalent today, which allows folks to enjoy and express themselves openly in ways we could not. Other than the crappy employment opportunities, I'd love to be in my teens and 20s today. Never said I was worried about anything.
  • 12:31 AM - Immortal Sun quoted MNblockhead in post How much do you care about "balanced" dice?
    I suppose it is statistically possible that someone will roll low their entire lives. I'm too uneducated, unintelligent, and unmotivated to do the maths on this. Certainly there are some games where I just feel cursed. I've had several session runs, over 32 hours of game play where I consistently rolled low. Even after switching dice. With and without dice towers. Even when trying computer-generated numbers. It is hard for the human mind to not get superstitious about this. Next time this happens, I'm going to try the Crom prayer that @lowkey13 posted above. May be a bit disconcerting for my players however. Seems a bit improper for the DM to say that prayer. I have a player who cannot roll well....but only when shooting a bow. Considering her character is a Ranger and that's all they do (or at least the main thing hers does)...it's not a pretty sight. I swear there was a whole session where she didn't break a 6, across multiple dice.

Thursday, 18th April, 2019

  • 10:54 PM - billd91 quoted MNblockhead in post How much do you care about "balanced" dice?
    doctorbadwolf Well, yes, with age reading dice from afar can be a challenge. But I think I've found the answer: 105953 I like your solution. She can come roll our dice at any game I participate in!
  • 05:32 PM - doctorbadwolf quoted MNblockhead in post How much do you care about "balanced" dice?
    @doctorbadwolf Well, yes, with age reading dice from afar can be a challenge. But I think I've found the answer: That works too! But yeah, I actually see fine. Iím the only one of my friends who doesnít need glasses at all, so far. We just all roll in our little space on the table, and call out the result. We kinda suspected one of our friends of using (accidentally) loaded dice, because she rolled so high so consistently we let her roll everyoneís stats for one shots, and we had to change gambling and hacking rules to require more successful rolls bc of her die results and their consistency, but it help true even when she rolls other peopleís dice. And before you try it, @Umbran we already tested it with 200 rolls. She legitimately rolls higher, on average. Sometimes things are just weird.:cool:
  • 04:51 PM - Jester David quoted MNblockhead in post Has Paizo ever talked about releasing their adventures in 5E format?
    I wonder whether even if Paizon sold conversions for their materials if they would be a bit too late to the game. If they would have come out with a mature campaign setting with multiple, excellent adventure paths in the first year or two of 5e, they could have done very well for themselves. But, based on my admittedly anecdotal evidence and personal experience, there are already many excellent settings for 5e available now, especially for typical kitchen sink style medieval fantasy settings. Kobold Press has its Midguard setting with all its associated adventures and player-option books. Frog God Games is releasing their Lost Lands setting and already have release a number of large adventures and settings for 5e such as City of Brass and Rappan Athuk. WotC has Forgotten Realms spread through the Sword Coast book and most of its adventure books. It also has Ravnica and Eberron (in PDF form). How many 5e players are looking for another kitchen-sink fantasy setting? This may be true now. ...
  • 03:38 PM - jayoungr quoted MNblockhead in post How to adjudicate coin counting, gathering, and item valuations - how much time taken, what skills used?
    I don't see any specific feats that help, other than skilled and prodigy, which are helpful in that they allow you to take more skills. Don't forget the bard's Jack of All Trades and the rogue's Expertise and Reliable Talent. Both of those can boost a PC's Investigation bonus (or History, Religion, etc.) considerably.
  • 09:17 AM - Hussar quoted MNblockhead in post 5e and Amazon - PHB still in the Top 100
    And beyond the dead-tree books, they are finding a new avenues to generate revenue from the same content in digital formats: D&D Beyond, Fantasy Grounds, Roll20 (and hopefully in the near future they'll license it to campaign management products/services like RealmWorks, World Anvil, Obsidian Portal, City of Brass, and the like). Good for WotC, good for the hobby. Honestly, I believe that may be a good way forward. Sure, there's Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds, but, now that there are other VTT's coming on the market, you'd think that these other guys could license out as well. What was that new one? Astral? Looks gorgeous. And more VTT's on the market is better, IMO. I'm rather hoping that other platforms will start coming online too - Xbox or Playstation, that sort of thing. It's not like those consoles don't have the horsepower to run a VTT. They certainly do. Getting more people in on the VTT action is something I've been wanting to see for years.

Wednesday, 17th April, 2019

  • 11:53 PM - doctorbadwolf quoted MNblockhead in post How much do you care about "balanced" dice?
    Well, right, you can buy dice from where ever you choose. But you can use just any dice at my table. This was actually pushed by my players. We decided that we would all use dice that any of our aging eyes could see from across the table. We are clear about our table rules before a new player joins. I've not yet had someone decide not to play with us because of this rule. On the other hand we've been playing together for five years now. There isn't much churn. A group agreement is totally different from a DM ďruleĒ, to be fair. Still, if seeing other playerís dice rolls is part of the fun for you guys, fair enough. I might feel differently about the idea if it was part of the fun for me, but Iíve never really had a group where I could reliably see anyoneís dice clearly enough to know the result before they announce it, and part of the fun for us seems to be getting to announce to the table what we rolled, good or bad.
  • 11:30 PM - Gradine quoted MNblockhead in post Sneak Peek At Ghosts of Saltmarsh Maps
    Makes me sad that you have to hyperlink "Diplomacy" so folks get the reference... 105949
  • 10:26 PM - Morrus quoted MNblockhead in post Critical Role Kickstarter Predition Game: Guess the Funding Outcome (GTFO)
    I find it hard to believe that anyone is backing at this level just to get the plushie, but who knows. Stuffed animals = clutter to me. Personally, I would rather that the 17% cut of the pie needed to support the backer rewards were instead put into the film. But it could be that the rewards help make more money overall. Backer rewards are important in a many Kickstarters, but I'm not sure how necessary they are in this one. More of an eye opener is the cut that Kickstarter itself and the credit card processors are taking. I have not looked closely at Kickstarter, but is it a flat percentage regardless of amount funded or does the percentage go down with higher funding levels? Almost a million of this is going to just to use Kickstarter and process payments. It works out to about 10% total, pretty consistently. Half of that is fees, the other half is failed pledges. That figure tracks pretty much standard across Kickstarters of all sizes. For example, my Judge Dredd Kickstarter ma...
  • 09:37 PM - uzirath quoted MNblockhead in post Anyone else finding their TTRPG spending going down for lack of interest/need?
    Anyone else in the same boat? Where are you spending your hobby money? Sometimes I wish I were in your boat! I have always been an RPG omnivore. I usually play a single system (D&D for my first 10-15 years, GURPS and variants for the remaining decades), but I love reading just about anything for any system and genre. My players would crack up if they knew where the inspirations for their fantasy adventures come from; I recall basing a tomb layout on the deck plan of a Traveller starship. If I go to a game store, I have a hard time not blowing my budget completely. As a result, I try to limit myself to the monthly Steve Jackson Games releases (which are reasonably priced) and another supplement per month. For the expensive D&D adventure hardbacks, I limit myself to one or two per year. I am eagerly looking forward to Saltmarsh because that was one of my favorite AD&D adventures. I've modified it and used it in every edition thus far, and run a GURPS version for the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying...
  • 07:07 PM - Saelorn quoted MNblockhead in post How much do you care about "balanced" dice?
    What about you? Are you in the dice-need-to-be-balanced camp or the I-could-not-care-less camp?I'm in the camp where too much knowledge is a dangerous thing. The way I see it, any die is effectively balanced for game purposes, as long as I don't know otherwise. You might have a d20 that only rolls 4 (ninety percent of the time) and 11 (ten percent of the time), but if I don't know that, then it's still an effective randomizer, because the likelihood of it being unbalanced in that specific manner is exactly the same as if it only rolled 9s and 12s, or 1s and 3s. Without any specific knowledge to the contrary, the chance of a die being weighted toward any given distribution is balanced against the chance of it being weighted toward any other distribution, such that the probabilities cancel out. Of course, those probabilities change after you've observed the die a few times, so it helps to not pay too much attention.
  • 06:51 PM - Flexor the Mighty! quoted MNblockhead in post Anyone else finding their TTRPG spending going down for lack of interest/need?
    If you are running Rappan Athuk, the party should be defeated multiple times. You must be talking about the player's finally being defeated and begging you for a new adventure location. :-) My group is only in the first level of the Mouth of Doom. "This is much easier than I was expecting" said one player. Boy are they in for a rude awakening when they get to the Dungeon proper. My obituary list is looking to get filled. Yeah, they went in though the main entrance first. Well that party died via TPK later on, after a few early deaths. But they did it out in the graveyard outside via a bunch of ghouls. The new party went in via the mouth of doom. They are mostly done with level 2 at this point with only 3-4 deaths. :lol: If they do throw in the towel and demand less perilous adventure it wouldn't be the first time. I ran this under 3.5 10 years or so ago and they were soundly whipped by level 3 of the dungeon proper and the campaign ended. With all the save or die i...
  • 06:50 PM - Harzel quoted MNblockhead in post Critical Role Kickstarter Predition Game: Guess the Funding Outcome (GTFO)
    ^ yes, all KS backers get priority access to the animated series, but it will be available to all eventually. I pledged $3 to get the priority access - none of the swag was particularly attractive to me, but I do want to see it as soon as possible. I messaged them thru the KS and they responded in the affirmative to that. Most of us are just supporting it so that it gets made. Priority access is nice. I personally do not care about the swag and am glad they they have not tried to keep adding various physical rewards. I want them focused on making the best show that they can and don't want them distracted by the logistics of baker rewards. How can you not want a Trinket plushie????? :confused: :)
  • 06:41 PM - Ralif Redhammer quoted MNblockhead in post How much do you care about "balanced" dice?
    You make a good point. At my open table group, which is seated around a single table, seeing everyone erupt in excitement when a much-needed nat 20 is rolled is a glorious thing. I want people looking at dice rolls and reacting to what other players are doing, instead of using other player's turns to check Facebook or whatever. Rolling in the open helps with that.
  • 06:28 PM - Umbran quoted MNblockhead in post How much do you care about "balanced" dice?
    Is your game style heavy on the roll-play and lower on the combat and skill checks? 5-10 rolls seems low to me, even for shorter games. How many rounds do your fights last? I'm playing a cleric - I get maybe one roll a round, and not even that if I am casting spells that have a save (like ye standard Sacred Flame), rather than a spell attack roll. My dice make me irrationally happy. Ain't nothing wrong with that.
  • 09:50 AM - Riley37 quoted MNblockhead in post Would you invite this player?
    Even better, have him help DM. For example, he can run some of the NPCs or help run combat. Most people are not going to enjoy just setting and watching other people play. If his main goal is to learn from you, then he might learn faster on your side of the DM screen. If you meet with him before the session starts, and go over "here's the foes you will run, here's their motives, here's the stat blocks"... and ALSO go over "here's what I want from the scene, here's my backup plan if the fight is too hard or too easy"... then he will get to see how you make decisions, rather than just seeing what decisions you make.

Tuesday, 16th April, 2019

  • 08:51 PM - pogre quoted MNblockhead in post A Guide to RPG Freelance Rates: Part 2 (Layout, Illustration, and Cartography)
    I realize that this is an indulgent splurge, but for me it was worth it. Given the amount of back and forth I don't think that the amount was unreasonable. I've paid $250 to $500 for logos, which usually involved one phone call and a limit of 3-5 concepts and 2-3 revisions. Some people like to spend a lot of money on Dwarven Forge and other terrain pieces. I keep it cheap with digital battlemaps. Some people spend a lot of money on miniatures. I mostly use 2D paper and plastic standees or tokens. As one of those minis and terrain guys I think you made a great purchase. If I ever had a more static homebrew campaign world I would be tempted to do the same thing. $500 seems quite reasonable.


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