View Profile: Imaculata - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:48 PM
    I agree with that. But I donít think the mental framework are boundaries. You can think outside the box, so to speak. And since you can do that, it does not necessarily follow that your plots or villains or what-have-yous must necessarily be informed by that framework.
    80 replies | 1429 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:21 AM
    I absolutely think itís possible to completely remove those things and imagine something alien. I suppose that ability to imagine things that are very different is kind of a core component to fantasy. Leaving behind what you know is probably the start: ďif things werenít like this... they might be like THAT.Ē
    80 replies | 1429 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:57 AM
    Out of curiosity, do any of the players (including yourself) take the Lucky feat and then forget to use it?
    71 replies | 1841 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Friday, 19th October, 2018, 11:35 PM
    I think thatís probably too cynical. And I donít know that debate and compromise are necessary political. Rectangles and squares and whatnot.
    80 replies | 1429 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 19th October, 2018, 11:14 PM
    The way I see it is that Inspiration is gained by portraying your character in the ways outlined by the character's Personality Trait, Ideal, Bond, and Flaw. Nothing else is worth Inspiration. And under the approached I linked in my first post in this thread, the players can earn Inspiration four times per session by portraying their characters personality trait, ideal, bond, and flaw. Once a...
    71 replies | 1841 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 19th October, 2018, 08:09 PM
    I'm playing in a game right now that uses Inspiration as a salty re-roll and I have to say I don't think it's as good as declaring it before the roll. It's definitely more efficient to use it as a re-roll and arguably more advantageous, but I just prefer it as it was intended. I think it has something to do with the drama surrounding the declaration: The player either wants to do something or...
    71 replies | 1841 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 19th October, 2018, 08:03 PM
    Agreed. In last night's game, the four PCs (including me) got and spent Inspiration at least a dozen times between us. In the games I run, it's usually 16 to 20 times per session between the five players. So every 10 to 12 minutes, someone is portraying the character according to a specific characteristic due in no small part to how awesome it is to have advantage in your back pocket when you...
    71 replies | 1841 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 19th October, 2018, 06:40 PM
    It's not always +5/-5 on rolls. I'll let one of the math guys or gals explain if they are up for it. Ovinomancer for example.
    71 replies | 1841 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 19th October, 2018, 04:55 PM
    On Inspiration, here's a potential solution for you: The Case for Inspiration. As well, I'm not a math guy but advantage/disadvantage isn't always +5/-5 except on passive checks. The actual bonus it provides varies to my knowledge.
    71 replies | 1841 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Friday, 19th October, 2018, 07:36 AM
    Voluntary cooperation toward a shared goal.
    80 replies | 1429 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th October, 2018, 08:29 PM
    Tempestuous.
    11 replies | 275 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th October, 2018, 04:43 PM
    For in-person games, it's just a power strip and some laptops connected to the wifi.
    8 replies | 314 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th October, 2018, 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 | 140 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th October, 2018, 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 | 134 view(s)
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  • Quickleaf's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 09:20 PM
    Those are the big ones. Cordon of arrows and snare (though you'd probably want to fudge the duration) come to mind if you have a nature-themed dungeon. There's some fun to be had with illusions, walls, Nystul's magic aura, and a few others used non-traditionally.
    6 replies | 199 view(s)
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  • Quickleaf's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, 09:16 PM
    One interesting consequence of your wording is that your guidance would not work with straight ability checks... such as spellcasting ability checks or Constitution checks to endure harsh conditions / Strength checks to lift something heavy. While I understand where wanting to avoid guidance on spellcasting ability checks would come from, I'm not as sure why you'd want to exclude "non-skill"...
    18 replies | 431 view(s)
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  • 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...
    15 replies | 339 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.
    247 replies | 5433 view(s)
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  • Quickleaf's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th October, 2018, 02:41 PM
    Quickleaf replied to Green hag CR
    Take a look at capabilities of 3rd level PCs in 5th edition. Also take a look at the 5e DMG page 274 which gets into the underlying maths behind the challenge rating system for monsters. You'll quickly see that the green hag is appropriately rated CR 3. Generally speaking, monsters in 5e have more hit points than in AD&D or 3e. You can read more about the inflation of monster HP over here:...
    6 replies | 359 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Quickleaf's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th October, 2018, 02:33 PM
    No, it's not a lie. One of the definitions of a lie is an intentionally false statement. Going the route of "ring of universal objective truth detection" lies madness. Then you'd have people lining up to pose questions to you like some kind of an oracle. "My husband has always been faithful to me..." "The kingdom of Sarlonia is true to their word with the new peace treaty..." "The red...
    16 replies | 371 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Quickleaf's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th October, 2018, 07:52 AM
    Great details. OK, looking at the encounter that gave you problems... the one with 1 x Stone Giant Dreamwalker and 2 x Stone Giants... You said the (at the time) 8th level party had just been severely worn down recently... that indicates to me that a change up in pacing was welcomed by the players after the grind they'd just been through. You said they established a perimeter watch and...
    57 replies | 1491 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Monday, 15th October, 2018, 09:22 PM
    Thatís fair. I took them as examples because IMO they are the popular choice of 3rd level spells. But even as I think about it, if you look at how the DMG builds monsters, you find that a certain DPR progression coincides with certain CR and therefore also with XP. And additional abilities like flight or invisibility also come with CR adjustments. So I suppose there is more than one avenue...
    52 replies | 1814 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Monday, 15th October, 2018, 07:47 AM
    I was gonna suggest this. My son started d&d club in H.S. and heís running this scenario.
    14 replies | 456 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Quickleaf's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th October, 2018, 04:55 PM
    Hereís what I meant: During a negotiation challenge, itís easy to see a playerís failure make things worse for the whole group by straining the NPCís patience or even offending them. Thereís a clear sense that their actions have made it worse and a clear feedback the DM can provide to that effect. Back to the exploding dungeon. Failing to leap a collapsing stone bridge and falling sucks, to...
    55 replies | 1584 view(s)
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  • Quickleaf's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th October, 2018, 09:05 AM
    Do you have a specific example? What adventure are you running? Which villain from that adventure? Does it use Monster Manual stats or other stats? What is the listed CR? Have you confirmed that CR is roughly accurate (either by feel or by DMG guidelines)? What were the circumstances of the encounter in terms of objective, numbers, party ďfreshnessĒ, etc?
    57 replies | 1491 view(s)
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  • Quickleaf's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th October, 2018, 07:07 AM
    The basic premise of creating a structured way to handle a non-combat challenge is totally sound. However, the execution is not. The basic maths don't work, as expressed upthread. But more importantly, the premise may be flawed. My basic rules of design for using "skill" challenges in my games are threefold: Understand the situation fully, determine whether a "skill" challenge is the best...
    55 replies | 1584 view(s)
    2 XP
  • 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 | 456 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th October, 2018, 12:26 AM
    Yes
    18 replies | 539 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th October, 2018, 12:09 AM
    Yeah, I suppose I assumed players would use their spells effectively and not cast fly underwater or fireball their own codpiece. But letís leave that complete waffle aside for a second. I didnít argue for or against assigning a point value - I merely illustrated it was possible to do so, if you were inclined. So as to your points 1 and 2, I respectfully decline to debate positions I...
    52 replies | 1814 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Friday, 12th October, 2018, 11:36 PM
    Since youíre aware of the playersí MO, look for opportunities your baddies might have to complicate their go-to plans. Multiple goals is a very good idea. Additional obstacles or complications that are in the way of their MO is also good. I canít remember the last video game I played where gaining Access to the BBEG didnít come with 3 or 5 prerequisite goals. Good gravy. 5 keys to 5...
    57 replies | 1491 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Friday, 12th October, 2018, 11:21 PM
    Hereís a proof of concept: The ability to pick a lock of some kind is about equivalent to the 2nd level spell Knock. The 2nd level DPR spells are Cloud of Daggers (4d4 persisting in an area) and Scorching Ray (3 rays that each do 2d6 fire damage). This is roughly 21-22 DPR. So I conclude Knock is worth about 21 DPR and therefore so is picking a lock. What has 21 HP? Well, a zombie...
    52 replies | 1814 view(s)
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  • 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. ...
    57 replies | 1491 view(s)
    6 XP
  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Friday, 12th October, 2018, 11:10 PM
    You do have a metric. Itís DPR - and HP. Letís make a quick comparison. Consider the 3rd level spell Fireball. It does 8d6 damage to an area at range. Assuming that spell hits three enemies, itís 24d6 worth of damage dealt. Now consider the 3rd level spell Fly. For 10 minutes, the target gains a fly speed of 60í. And the 3rd level spell Lightning Bolt also comes in at 8d6 (or 24d6 if you hit...
    52 replies | 1814 view(s)
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  • 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...
    55 replies | 1584 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...
    55 replies | 1584 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....
    55 replies | 1584 view(s)
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  • 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.
    55 replies | 1584 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Friday, 12th October, 2018, 03:03 PM
    In most fantasy fiction, names for characters and locations often don't seem to be that much of a problem. I wonder why a lot of adventure modules seem to struggle with it. Is it just bad writing?
    30 replies | 774 view(s)
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  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Friday, 12th October, 2018, 02:40 PM
    Skywalker is a terrible name as well, only it is meant to be campy. The bad name is intentional with Star Wars. But try saying the name "Glasstaff" to yourself, and now say the name "Sharokina". Which of the two sounds more menacing? Opinions can of course differ on what makes a good name (and thats fine), but for me, it is definitely the latter that sounds better. Then there's a name like...
    30 replies | 774 view(s)
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  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Friday, 12th October, 2018, 10:42 AM
    I feel the same way. I find it hard to make the world my own. It feels like I'm playing someone elses world, and I get annoyed easily by badly named characters and locations. It is also hard to play the role of an npc when his backstory seems cookiecutter/dime a dozen. It makes it feel like I'm holding up a cardboard cutout of an npc and making sounds that some what resemble speech. Heck, I...
    30 replies | 774 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Friday, 12th October, 2018, 08:38 AM
    I don't mind all the backstory so much when it is my homebrew setting though, and I made things easier on myself by creating a timeline of historical events. What truly makes a difference though, is that with my homebrew campaign, all of the history matters, and is woven into the adventures of the players. It isn't just fluff, which tends to be the case with a lot of modules. A lot of modules...
    30 replies | 774 view(s)
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  • 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 | 539 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 | 539 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 | 539 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 | 1271 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 | 1271 view(s)
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  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th October, 2018, 11:06 AM
    Let us know how it went, and which plot you went with.
    11 replies | 335 view(s)
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  • 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...
    1362 replies | 34886 view(s)
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  • Quickleaf's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th October, 2018, 12:33 AM
    My partyís Druid is starting to conjure panthers. First off, Save Advice clarified that intent is the player just picks # and CR while DM picks specific beasts suiting the terrain/narrative. Personally, since weíre running ToA (mostly jungle) & for ease-of-remembering Iím fine with him choosing panthers. Iíve clarified that Iíd only step in and make a DM choice if it reflected the story or a...
    38 replies | 1271 view(s)
    1 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.
    1362 replies | 34886 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 | 1271 view(s)
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  • 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 | 1271 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Monday, 8th October, 2018, 08:38 AM
    Well, they have a lot of competition towards the end of the year (especially because Dead Pool 2 is getting a rerelease). Maybe they are giving us a much better look at the movie to convince the audience that this is the movie they should be seeing. Surely DC is aware that a lot of their recent movies haven't exactly had a good reception, so they do have some convincing to do. After seeing...
    17 replies | 593 view(s)
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  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th October, 2018, 09:53 AM
    A lot of the action in this trailer looks like watching a videogame. I still don't think this will be a good movie, and maybe the fact that they are releasing such a big trailer is an indication that the studio is insecure as well?
    17 replies | 593 view(s)
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  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th October, 2018, 01:31 AM
    Another way to change their blood would be for the party to enlist the help of a vampire who is knowledgable about such things. Of course this presents some ethical dilemma's, as they would have to trust the word of a blood sucking fiend. The vampire could know of a spell to transfer or change blood, or perhaps the vampire provides a more hands on approach, in the form of some sort of machine...
    11 replies | 335 view(s)
    1 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...
    1362 replies | 34886 view(s)
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  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Saturday, 6th October, 2018, 11:27 AM
    Shalmanezer's Scroll of Subterfuge This single use blank scroll can be placed over any spellbook, to instantly steal one of the highest level spells from the book. The stolen spell is automatically inscribed on the scroll, and vanishes from the spellbook. Once the scroll has stolen a spell, it becomes an ordinary spell scroll. Next: A mystical jeweled chakram.
    354 replies | 22196 view(s)
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  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Saturday, 6th October, 2018, 09:31 AM
    Does this mean that you don't want to play in a campaign that has a plot? Or do you mean that you don't like a campaign that is too 'scripted'? Well, part of the goal of a session 0 to me, is to get everyone at the table to agree what we are going to play, and how we are going to play it. It is basically an agreement between friends, that we will try to work together to make the game fun...
    1362 replies | 34886 view(s)
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  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Saturday, 6th October, 2018, 09:26 AM
    A magic sword just lying there for the taking, but no lake monster? I think our DM is getting lazy. BOOOOO!
    12 replies | 465 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?
    1362 replies | 34886 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 | 1101 view(s)
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  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Saturday, 6th October, 2018, 01:11 AM
    I've left a game where the DM allowed another player to kill my character. It didn't help that the DM allowed my character to miraculously survive the assassination, because how did he expect our two characters to ever work together again? That is not a minor disagreement that you can just sweep under the rug and pretend it never happened. This is why I establish a clear "no-pvp" rule during...
    1362 replies | 34886 view(s)
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  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Saturday, 6th October, 2018, 01:03 AM
    No way. I bet Sony has a whole treasure trove full of bad superhero-movie ideas that they are just aching to lose money on. What about a Black Cat movie? Or a Morbius movie?
    18 replies | 672 view(s)
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  • 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...
    1362 replies | 34886 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...
    1362 replies | 34886 view(s)
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  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Friday, 5th October, 2018, 01:49 PM
    What I usually do, is treat the horde as one creature (as suggested above). But as soon as the horde is on its last hitpoints, I split it up into a few individual zombies.
    32 replies | 1101 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Friday, 5th October, 2018, 09:48 AM
    I can vouch for that. It has greatly improved the gameplay in my 3.5 game, for sure.
    1362 replies | 34886 view(s)
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  • Quickleaf's Avatar
    Friday, 5th October, 2018, 09:28 AM
    Good advice so far on how to handle the stats of the zombie horde. I approach scenarios like this holistically. The PCs are trying to lay claim to this dwarven citadel occupied by hobgoblins. "Kill all zombies" isn't necessarily the only way to solve this challenge. For example, maybe there's a portcullis or similar set of double doors that, if the zombies are lured within, the PCs can trap...
    32 replies | 1101 view(s)
    5 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Friday, 5th October, 2018, 09:11 AM
    So you never describe a room that has furniture in it? Because details about a room that aren't necessarily important for gameplay do occur plenty of times in my experience. Now, I tend to draw attention to the things that are really important, but a room can also contain things that aren't. And nothing is stopping the players from investigating those details. But you can also use other...
    1362 replies | 34886 view(s)
    1 XP
  • 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 | 985 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...
    1362 replies | 34886 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...
    1362 replies | 34886 view(s)
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  • 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?
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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 | 1101 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 | 1808 view(s)
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  • 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.
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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 | 1808 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.
    1362 replies | 34886 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 | 1808 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 | 1808 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...
    1362 replies | 34886 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Thursday, 4th October, 2018, 05:42 PM
    It may just be part of the fluff description of the room, or it may be a decorative element visible on a bunch of dungeon tiles. Whatever the case may be, I think there are plenty of situations in which a room may contain objects that don't lead to riches. Is that really so odd for a DM to include in the room description? I don't think that's relevant at all here. It's only an example...
    1362 replies | 34886 view(s)
    0 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,...
    1362 replies | 34886 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 4th October, 2018, 04:25 PM
    There's that quirky, cagey NPC I was referring to upthread. :)
    1362 replies | 34886 view(s)
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  • 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?
    1362 replies | 34886 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?
    1362 replies | 34886 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).
    1362 replies | 34886 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...
    1362 replies | 34886 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 DMís 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 | 1808 view(s)
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  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Thursday, 4th October, 2018, 01:41 PM
    Thanks for describing my reason for using this approach far better than I could. :D I also want my players to immerse themselves in the situation, rather than constantly falling back on game mechanics. Yes, I know your character has a +10 bonus on any Search check, but what is your character trying to do, and how does he go about doing it? Lets focus on that first, and worry about a dice roll...
    1362 replies | 34886 view(s)
    2 XP
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Thursday, 4th October, 2018

  • 04:40 PM - iserith mentioned Imaculata in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    ...olved until everyone sees the situation the same way and then roll the dice, or donít, as the situation requires. So at least as I read the DW rules, there is no reason why a player who declares I search the rubble shouldn't then pick up his/her 2d6 and roll them. If s/he gets an 11 or 12 (like the 20 in your example) then the GM is obliged to provide a certain sort of information, as specified in the rules (eg What here is not what it appears to be?). The pile of rubble matters (regardless of whether the GM thought it would or wouldn't) because the player has (i) decided to pay attention to it, and (ii) succeeded at a check. As I said, what strikes me in your example is that the player hasn't indicated what s/he is looking for, and so hasn't given the GM very much context to hang a response on. I find it easier to narrate successes (and failures) when I have some sense of what the player thinks is at stake in the situation. 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, maybe there's not (the example scenario suggests there isn't). But at least the DM isn't assuming or establishing what the character is doing. In another context, one where there's something potentially dangerous in the rubble, I'd want to know how the player is having the character go about searching as per my preferred statement. This avoids issues of the DM and player disagreeing about what the character was doing after the danger is revealed. The DM may have imagined the player digging into the rubble with his or her hands; the player may have imagined using a shovel. That's going to be a problem when being stricken with rot grubs or contact poison is on ...

Monday, 27th August, 2018

  • 07:41 PM - Loren Keely mentioned Imaculata in post Katana
    Imaculata This is just what I was thinking. I sent him a breakdown and this was almost exactly the concept I was thinking. Great minds think alike I guess. I will also look for that Dragon magazine issue.

Wednesday, 27th June, 2018

  • 09:39 AM - Jhaelen mentioned Imaculata in post Death and Storytelling
    No fudging or nerfing necessary. Unless your definition of nerfing is "modifying encounters to be something other than suicide-death-pacts." Allow me to first remind you of the original statement I've been responding to: During the early levels, all encounters are fairly balanced, so that deaths are just not going to happen. Also, please note that Imaculata is playing D&D 3.5. Now, to address your points: PCs can choose to run away from fights.Yep, they can do that. As a DM I may even suggest it. But it's not under my control whether they actually do try to flee or not. If a fight is unavoidable, PCs can throw down their weapons and beg for mercy.See above! PCs can enlist help to attain overwhelming odds.See above! GMs can provide level-appropriate encounters.There's a very clear definition how difficult encounters should be in the 3.5 DMG (page 48, I think). Unfortunately, I'm away from my books and failed to find the exact text. I only found the Encounter Calculator that is based on these assumptions. I.e. 10% of all encounters should be 'easy', 50% should be 'Challenging', 15% should be very hard, 5% should be overpowering. IIRC, the remaining encounters should be 'very hard', but there should be a way for the PCs to turn it into a 'challenging' encounter if they approach it in a clever way. GMs can play opponents int...

Sunday, 24th June, 2018

  • 12:54 AM - Maxperson mentioned Imaculata in post Everybody Cheats?
    Yes, exactly. Of course sometimes as a DM there is nothing you can do. We were playing many years ago and the players, of which I was one, could not roll dice for toffee. I have never seen an entire party roll like that in 30+ years of playing. Individuals certainly but not everyone! Poor DM didn't stand a chance. There wasn't even something subtle he could do. Something extreme on the DM's part wouldn't have helped because even if mysteriously the enemy were suddenly replaced by school kids, they still would have kicked sand in our faces. We really were that bad. Of course it has become legendary in the group and still makes us laugh to this day, but it also led to some interesting twists in the overall plot as we then had to work out how to continue to pursue the quest in the light of the abject failure. A silver lining. Yeah. Sometimes there's nothing you can do. I will also address something I missed in Imaculata's post. Solid strategies. If the players come up with a great plan and turn a challenging encounter into an easy, or even trivial one, so be it. I'm not going to negate player effort and planning.

Thursday, 21st June, 2018

  • 03:07 PM - akr71 mentioned Imaculata in post Need input on a ship based mini adventure
    ...here they want to go next, so that I know what to prepare. Once they reach such a location, I sprinkle various interconnected mysteries around, along with some sight seeing / exploration. It is up to them which of the clues they follow up on, but I'll usually also have an npc approach them directly, to provide a quest hook. Sometimes there's even more than one npc that approaches them for a quest, although one quest may lead straight into the next. I'm not sure either. I probably have as many sessions to fill as I want, but I'm not sure how long I can go before they want to get back to civilization and the mainland. The ship is a convenient 'left-over' from the previous DM and I thought I could try some things I never get to do on land. I was planning on sprinkling some things to explore or ignore as they saw fit. None of the characters or players have any sailing experience, so anything on-board the ship other than combat leaves them as bystanders, which I would like to avoid. Imaculata - you posted your hooks while I was writing. Thanks! I'll take a look at those and see what I can work with.
  • 11:38 AM - pemerton mentioned Imaculata in post Everybody Cheats?
    ...nnaturally, for that goes contrary to the major precepts of the game. I'm not saying that Gygax's advice is the only way to do it, but I think it's noteworthy that he draws such a strong contrast between the GM making decisions that regulate the introduction of new challenges into play (eg by ignoring wandering monster dice) and the GM fudging action resolution results. There are lots and lots of games that put Ēdonít cheatĒ explicitly in their game text. They go on to explain why itís a problem and why itís wholly unnecessary for that/those games (because they work without need for application of GM Force).Hm. I wonder if anyone can find me a quote reference of that from a game.Suggesting that certain GMing choices would go contrary to the major precepts of the game, and for that reason should not be done, comes well within cooee of what Manbearcat described. Here's another example, from Burning Wheel (Gold edition, p 30), which is directly relevant to the sort of example Imaculata gave: [W]hat happens after the dice have come to rest and the successes are counted? If the successes equal or exceed the obstacle, the character has succeeded in his goalóhe achieved his intent and completed the task. This is important enough to say again: Characters who are successful complete actions in the manner described by the player. A successful roll is sacrosanct in Burning Wheel and neither GM nor other players can change the fact that the act was successful. The GM may only embellish or reinforce a successful ability test. Slightly less portentously, the Marvel Heroic RP rulebook (p OM8) says: In some games, the person who runs the game rolls the dice in secret - but there are no secrets in the Bullpen. Roll those bones in full view, Watchers!
  • 05:06 AM - Maxperson mentioned Imaculata in post Everybody Cheats?
    So you are making a legal appeal to the rules as written to suggest that "rulings not rules" means that the GM is inherently incapable of cheating? :confused: Since all rules are guidelines and the DM has full power to alter them at will, it's not cheating if he does. He's just using his given ability as DM. Rulings over rules is just a part of that authority. This would make an interesting poll. Officially can a DM cheat? The online definition of cheating: 1. act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage. 2. avoid (something undesirable) by luck or skill. In (1), one might ask what advantage might the DM gain. Well DM's that act as the one described by @Imaculata tend to enjoy a DM-vs-player style and so there is room to say that cheating or fudging (whichever you prefer) provides an advantage to the DM in that roleplaying style. A few things. First, the DM is given an unfair advantage by the rules by virtue of being DM. He has the given ability to drop 10,000 monsters on a first level party if he wants. It's the DM's responsibility, though, to use that power wisely as bad DMs lose players fast. Second, I don't view what Imaculata is describing as a playstyle. Bad DMing is bad DMing, not a style of play. If a game devolves into DM vs. Player, the players lose. In (2), many DM's technically cheat or fudge to avoid undesirable outcomes for the table (whether it be to spare a PC or prolong an epic combat...etc). By that definition, everything you avoid that you don't like is cheating. Avoid eating a cheese sandwich that you dislike while at a party? Cheater!! Intercept a football headed for the end zone? Cheater!! Work hard to avoid...

Wednesday, 20th June, 2018

  • 02:39 PM - Sadras mentioned Imaculata in post Everybody Cheats?
    The DM is not cheating, though. He can't. Instead, he's being an asshat and bad DM. You respond to that by letting him know that you have better things to do and going elsewhere. The fact that the DM is given the authority to add, subtract or alter rules as he sees fit means that he literally cannot cheat. There's no rule for him to break. Rulings over rules and all that. It's messed up, but it's not cheating since he isn't breaking a rule. This would make an interesting poll. Officially can a DM cheat? The online definition of cheating: 1. act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage. 2. avoid (something undesirable) by luck or skill. In (1), one might ask what advantage might the DM gain. Well DM's that act as the one described by @Imaculata tend to enjoy a DM-vs-player style and so there is room to say that cheating or fudging (whichever you prefer) provides an advantage to the DM in that roleplaying style. In (2), many DM's technically cheat or fudge to avoid undesirable outcomes for the table (whether it be to spare a PC or prolong an epic combat...etc). However having said all that, the DM has the power to change/amend any rule of the game AND at any time. So can he really cheat? I'm not really asking you Max, just musing and upping my post count. :) EDIT: Wait, I got it, CAN GOD CHEAT?

Tuesday, 29th May, 2018

  • 02:34 PM - iserith mentioned Imaculata in post Poison needle traps
    It just looks badly worded to me, perhaps an editing error, so it's up to you how it will ultimately function. It seems like the goal here is to set up a challenge of (1) finding the proper key or (2) disabling the trap then picking the lock. Anyone going straight to picking the lock is going to have a nasty surprise. That's how I'd handle it, anyway. I would also be sure to telegraph the existence of the trap in some way so that it isn't a "gotcha." @Imaculata: A passive check does not imply that the character is being passive. "Passive" refers to their being no roll, not that the character isn't performing a task. In fact, the rules state that such checks resolve a character performing a task repeatedly. Whether the DM uses a passive Investigation check to resolve this situation depends on what, specifically, the player described the character as doing.
  • 02:12 PM - Li Shenron mentioned Imaculata in post Poison needle traps
    A poisoned needle is hidden within a treasure chestís lock, or in something else that a creature might open. Opening the chest without the proper key causes the needle to spring out, delivering a dose of poison. When the trap is triggered, the needle extends 3 inches straight out from the lock. A creature within range takes 1 piercing damage and 11 (2d10) poison damage, and must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 hour. A successful DC 20 Intelligence (Investigation) check allows a character to deduce the trapís presence from alterations made to the lock to accommodate the needle. A successful DC 15 Dexterity check using thievesí tools disarms the trap, removing the needle from the lock. Unsuccessfully attempting to pick the lock triggers the trap. Imaculata, how can you say the wording is "pretty clear"? :) It's not even clear whether the description here is for the trap only excluding the lock or if it is for trap and lock together. (CASE 1) If you assume the description is complete for the whole thing, then it sounds like you need only one check with thieves' tools for both disarming the trap and opening the lock, provided you first detect the trap. In this case the last sentence "Unsuccessfully attempting to pick the lock triggers the trap" suggests both checks are merged into one. If you instead don't detect the traps (your Investigation fails or you didn't ever think about it), you automatically trigger the trap, before you finish your lockpicking. After that, since the trap doesn't reset, you can continue without further danger, but you still need to make the DC15 lockpicking check. In this case the last sentence "Unsuccessfully attempting to pick the lock triggers the trap" is irrelevant because the trap is already spr...

Wednesday, 16th May, 2018

  • 01:48 PM - Coroc mentioned Imaculata in post Timelines in your Setting
    Imaculata The Thing with ancient Scenarios in the official Settings (FR Netheril, DL Ishtar, Eberron Giants vs Dragons, Greyhawk Twin Cataclysm, DS everything up till present :) ) is that it gives instant and believable Explanation for a lot of stuff: - Ruins aka dungeons - Unusual (powerful) Magic - Unusual Technology - Rifts (temporal, dimensional) - Forgotten cults - Ancient Villains rising again (not necessarily undead) etc. etc. It is not thought to be a fictionary history lesson in the first place but rather to consturct those bullets

Saturday, 21st April, 2018

  • 06:54 AM - pemerton mentioned Imaculata in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    ...the cabal called Jabal? It was established by way of an action declaration by the same player. How do we know that there are catacombs? Same answer. Why did I, as GM, describe the bazaar in Hardby as including a peddler trying to sell an angel feather? Because the same player had authored a Belief for his PC that said PC wouldn't leave Hardby without an item useful for confronting his balrog-possessed brother. Why did I, as GM, establish the feather as cursed? Because the player declared an attempt by his PC to read its aura, which failed - so the aura he read wasn't what he was hoping for! Why did I, as GM, establish that Jabal lives in a tower? Because the same player had authored an instict for his PC, cast Falconskin if I fall, and so it seemed appropriate to introduce a high place into the action. Etc. I think it is quite obvious that this is a different way of establishing setting, and a different approach to the role of setting in framing and in adjudication, from what Imaculata describes. Whether you want to label it "no myth", or "the standard narrativistic model" or simply "story now" doesn't seem that big a deal. (Strangely, the main poster who seems to want to argue this point has me blocked. Hence my lack of reply to that particular poster.)

Wednesday, 18th April, 2018

  • 12:41 PM - Coroc mentioned Imaculata in post Game of thrones setting
    Imaculata You mean Background in this case? And yes GoT is eventually better suited for roleplaying the politics than for recreating its epic combats, which are btw almost always mass combat Scenarios, there rarely are fights in Group size. Also there are not many nonhuman adversaries aka Monsters. Many combats are also very Environment specific, be it on ships, on the wall, sieges etc. there are few Special rules in 5th Edition so far to cover this..

Tuesday, 17th April, 2018

  • 12:21 PM - Hussar mentioned Imaculata in post Diagonal area of spells
    ...ategies are possible with magic. Sometimes my players come up with really weird ideas. "Can I use the Create Water spell, and then have my ally freeze it in mid air with a cold spell, to create a wall of ice?". "Sure" , I would reply, "What is the size of the area of water that the spell can produce?". I like that my players try to think outside what is literally written in the book, and be more creative. I WANT them to be this creative. And I try to be just as creative as them with my monsters, and how they use magic against the players. For me, it's needlessly mickey mouse. And, again, this is a proud nail thing for me, so, it's not entirely rational. :D But, think about it. You need to hit a point 50 feet away from you that is exactly 20 feet away from point A and 25 feet from point B. And the wizard can do it EVERY time. We don't allow fighters to do that. But, as soon as it's maaaaaaagic, then it's perfectly fine? Bugs me far more than it really should. Thing is, Imaculata, I'd agree with the idea of weird ideas. That's groovy. But, playing silly buggers because the grid creates pixelated circles, or "rotating" the cube so that it becomes a pin point smart spell just rubs me very much the wrong way.

Thursday, 12th April, 2018

  • 05:26 PM - pemerton mentioned Imaculata in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    The problem is in these threads this extreme is presented as why worldbuilding is bad but when presented with extremes on the other side of the spectrum (no worldbuilding) we get posters who then proceed to argue that either it doesn't happen that way in their game or we are arguing against their style in bad faith. This is certainly not accurate in relation to my posts. I've spelled out in some detail (mostly in replies to Imaculata) what I want in a RPG - for instance, that I want stuff like religous doctrine, dispositions of NPCs, details of what might be found where, etc to come out in the play of the game, rather than to be decided in advance of play by meta-level negotiation among the game participants. That's a reason why worldbuilding is "bad" for me (other than the sort of "high level" stuff I've talked about, like giving names to places and setting out some basic history to hang the genre tropes on). And this reason has nothing to do with whether someone is a good or bad GM. I'm talking about techniques for RPGing, not GM skill or good faith.

Tuesday, 16th January, 2018

  • 05:38 PM - Coroc mentioned Imaculata in post Oriental Adventures 5e: How would you do it?
    Yea now i did read Imaculata 's link - People cmon! It is about context!!! I would never call a present person of asian heritage an oriental. But medieval oriental adventures that is a total different thing. In fact if we stay with the official product line they took place in Kara Tur not in Orientalistan. Now that the Name Kara Tur is established you might use it, but still how does someone not familar with that FR sidekick campaign check out that he gets a ninja, samurai and dervish style campaign by the product name?
  • 11:00 AM - Sadras mentioned Imaculata in post The Best Movie About RPGs in 2018 (So Far)
    D&D thrives precisely because we're a part of it, and the meta-narrative of the players (not the characters) makes it so much more fun. For me, Jumanji demonstrated that the concept can definitely work. Agree very much with you and Imaculata on this. A little Stranger Things-type-style maybe needed with kids playing at a table and the audience gets sucked into the shared-fantasy, otherwise it becomes just another fantasy movie.

Friday, 12th January, 2018


Thursday, 11th January, 2018

  • 11:14 AM - delericho mentioned Imaculata in post A simple, system-neutral encumbrance system incorporating weight and bulk
    Yep, I'm afraid I agree with Imaculata - almost every encumbrance system I've seen adds much more complexity than it gives benefit. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that the best system is probably "you can carry ten things", where a 'thing' is a weapon, set of armour, potion, pouch of money, or whatever - basically, anything important enough for you to worry about whether the PC has it or not. And then don't sweat the small stuff, like mundane clothes, scabbards, etc.

Wednesday, 27th December, 2017

  • 04:46 PM - SkidAce mentioned Imaculata in post Need Advice from USA troops working in war zones.
    Depending on his specialty and ops tempo, best bet is as Imaculata said. Bring a bag of dice. And pdfs. Maybe core book if it fits in personal gear. Word of caution, again based on specialty and ops, the focus in a combat zone may preclude that type of gaming. Other times its fine when you have downtime. He really needs to scout the area, ask someone who has been there, and get a feel for it before showing up.


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Friday, 19th October, 2018

  • 07:51 AM - Enevhar Aldarion quoted Imaculata in post Adventures with extensive backstory
    Skywalker is a terrible name as well, only it is meant to be campy. The bad name is intentional with Star Wars. But try saying the name "Glasstaff" to yourself, and now say the name "Sharokina". Which of the two sounds more menacing? Opinions can of course differ on what makes a good name (and thats fine), but for me, it is definitely the latter that sounds better. Then there's a name like Aram Seen the Unseen, which I only had to mention once and my players never forgot it. It has a lyrical quality to it that just makes it work. Phandelver iself is indeed also a terrible name, while a name like Gundigroot kind of rolls off the tongue, and it is funny to say. Furnok of Ferd is an alliteration, and there for by definition easier to remember and say. Good names are really important if I want to enjoy running an adventure. I want my players to be able to remember the names of npc's, and not be calling one of the main npc's "that dwarf guy, what's his face". Eh, to each their own. I grew up w...
  • 05:03 AM - Lanefan quoted Imaculata in post Adventures with extensive backstory
    Heck, I didn't even make it past one of the first blocks of text in Lost Mines of Phandelver before my eyes started to roll over. Phandalin, Cragmaw tribe, Gundren Rockseeker and his escort named Sildar Hallwinter, villains called Glasstaff and The Black Spider, Old Owl Well, the town of Thundertree, Wave Echo Cave... Those names, every single one of them, is TERRIBLE. I'm sure the adventure itself is fine (I've heard positive things about it), but I cannot get past the bad names. For new players, however, I've found the best option to get them in and get them engaged is to do exactly what the writers did here: go stereotypical and then take it just a bit over the top. You can always branch out the the not-so-OTT stuff later. :) But these names, given what they're intended to be doing, are excellent! Lan-"...the town of Shipwreck, on Shipwreck Cove, on the island of Shipwreck..."-efan

Saturday, 13th October, 2018

  • 12:42 AM - Shasarak quoted Imaculata in post Adventures with extensive backstory
    But try saying the name "Glasstaff" to yourself, and now say the name "Sharokina". Which of the two sounds more menacing? Opinions can of course differ on what makes a good name (and thats fine), but for me, it is definitely the latter that sounds better. I agree with you about terrible names and on the other hand the thought of being whacked with a Glass Staff sounds menacing especially getting the glass splinters out!

Friday, 12th October, 2018

  • 02:59 PM - billd91 quoted Imaculata in post Adventures with extensive backstory
    Phandelver iself is indeed also a terrible name, while a name like Gundigroot kind of rolls off the tongue, and it is funny to say. Furnok of Ferd is an alliteration, and there for by definition easier to remember and say. Good names are really important if I want to enjoy running an adventure. I want my players to be able to remember the names of npc's, and not be calling one of the main npc's "that dwarf guy, what's his face". Good names is often in the eye (ear) of the beholder. Many Gygaxian names are memorable because they sound ridiculous. Many don't roll off the tongue at all - if you can even manage to give them a reasonable pronunciation.
  • 11:22 AM - Morrus quoted Imaculata in post Adventures with extensive backstory
    And what kind of name is Glasstaff? That doesn't inspire any mystery or fear. I have villains in my campaign called Sharokina, Karagoz, Lady Mori, Aram Seen the Unseen, Sahastra. A villain-name has to sound kind of cool, right? It may very well be that Glasstaff is a really interesting character, who plays a very cool part in the overal story, but I cannot get beyond that name. I can't run a module with poor names. I personally prefer names like Glasstaff and The Black Spider over Sharokina and Sahastra, as there's no way on earth I'm going to remember the latter. And I don't think Glasstaff is any worse than Skywalker.

Sunday, 7th October, 2018

  • 12:49 PM - Morrus quoted Imaculata in post Aquaman Extended Trailer
    maybe the fact that they are releasing such a big trailer is an indication that the studio is insecure as well? What an odd thing to say.
  • 10:48 AM - Tonguez quoted Imaculata in post Aquaman Extended Trailer
    A lot of the action in this trailer looks like watching a videogame. I still don't think this will be a good movie, and maybe the fact that they are releasing such a big trailer is an indication that the studio is insecure as well? really? If the studio was insecure wouldnt they be more likely to hide it and distract? Thus I'd think the opposite was true. The studio is very confident in the new brighter, technicolor epic that they have crafted and so want to show it off as much as possible so people forget the old dark and gritty criticism of the other movies. Indeed the mix of humour. colour, and sci-fi spectacle seems to be aiming directly at the fanbase who embraced Thor Ragnarok and Black Panther I'm personally excited as a fan of the Romancing the Stone type Adventuring Archeologist genre that seems to be part of this mix.

Saturday, 6th October, 2018

  • 09:51 PM - Herosmith14 quoted Imaculata in post You find a magical _____, it does _____
    Shalmanezer's Scroll of Subterfuge This single use blank scroll can be placed over any spellbook, to instantly steal one of the highest level spells from the book. The stolen spell is automatically inscribed on the scroll, and vanishes from the spellbook. Once the scroll has stolen a spell, it becomes an ordinary spell scroll. Next: A mystical jeweled chakram. Chakram of Etrenal Imprisonment Weapon(chakram), Legendary (requires attunement) This chakram constructed of gold and mythril had two large gems implanted in its handle, which can be removed and replaced. The chakram has two charges. When an attuned creature hits with an attack using it, they may expend a charge to cast the Imprisonment spell (DC 15) upon the target, instead of dealing damage. The spell is automatically set to the crystal prison, using one of the gems in the handle, and dies not require material components beyond the jewels. The chakram regain 1d2 charges every week, and the spell can used as long as it has charges ...
  • 04:47 PM - pemerton quoted Imaculata in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    Does this mean that you don't want to play in a campaign that has a plot? Or do you mean that you don't like a campaign that is too 'scripted'?I'm not 100% sure I'm understanding you right (not because you've been unclear, but just because words like "plot" and "story" get used in different ways by different posters); but I think my answers are "no" and "yes". If you look at any of my actual play posts (I've got a lot, mostly on the 4e and General boards) you'll see that I generally favour protagonist-oriented, conflict-driven RPGing. The stories this generates aren't going to win me or my group any Nobel prizes, but they're fun to play in. What I don't like is GM pre-authored story, where the main contribution of the players is either to follow along the GM's narration (if the story is overt, like in many 80s and 90s TSR modules), or to puzzle their way through a series of mysteries to work out what it is the GM (or module writer) had in mind (this is the standard structure of a CoC modul...
  • 03:54 PM - Jay Verkuilen quoted Imaculata in post Shootout at the D&D Corral
    Well, even back in the pirate era there were multi-shot weapons. I've included 6-shot, 8-shot and 12-shot pepperbox pistols in my campaign as rare loot. I've also included pistols that fire 2 bullets simultaneously, which allows the players to make two attacks. Also, people would carry multiple weapons, such as a bandolier of loaded pistols, or have a shooter and loaders. If you have monsters that are using guns, one way to represent that is to have some servitor monsters doing the loading. For example, if the shooter is a highly trained hobgoblin, there could be some goblin loaders. Part of the tactics would be to kill off the loaders. Clockwork can also make things be much cooler and more effective than Ye Olde gunnes should be. You can also reskin and have spells like Firebolt work with a gun as the focus, potentially making this work with an Eldritch Knight. What I do in my game is have clockwork weapons show up as cool treasure. For example: Ysviden's Rifle (Very Rare, Attunement: Spec...
  • 07:11 AM - Lanefan quoted Imaculata in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    I've left a game where the DM allowed another player to kill my character. It didn't help that the DM allowed my character to miraculously survive the assassination, because how did he expect our two characters to ever work together again? That is not a minor disagreement that you can just sweep under the rug and pretend it never happened. Of course not. One or both of your characters probably has to leave the party at this point, or failing that there's gonna be a showdown at some point. Which to me is all fair game. I've both won and lost these battles, and don't mind fighting more of them. That said, I usually don't initiate them these days but will fully and forcefully engage if provoked. :) This is why I establish a clear "no-pvp" rule during the session 0 of any campaign I run. Any player that objects to that, is welcome to leave my table.I'd be out. If it's true to what the character would do were it an NPC, AFAIC it's all just fine. That said, if it comes out of character a...

Friday, 5th October, 2018

  • 09:44 AM - pemerton quoted Imaculata in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    So you never describe a room that has furniture in it? Because details about a room that aren't necessarily important for gameplay do occur plenty of times in my experience. No. What I'm saying is that if the players decide to pay attention to the furniture, then I'm not going to unilaterally decide that there's nothing interesting there. Also, and referring back to my response upthread to Campbell, I normally wouldn't describe the furniture in any more detail than I would describe the clothes or the crockery or the tablecloth. Classic D&D is obsessed with the details of furnishings (how many wardrobes, and where they are) for a gameplay reason, to do with the particular dynamics of dungeon exploration. GIven that that gameplay reason doesn't apply in my case, I don't have to place that same distinct focus on furniture. What if the players want to interrogate a prisoner who is willing to give them information, and does not need to be intimidated? Auto-success if they press him for informat...

Thursday, 4th October, 2018

  • 06:45 PM - 5ekyu quoted Imaculata in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    Let me illustrate with an example: The players are in a dungeon, and they enter a room with (among other things) a pile of rubble in it. There is nothing in the pile of rubble, it is just dungeon decoration. Tom: I search the pile of rubble! (Starts rolling Search check) 20! DM: You find nothing of interest. Tom: -But I rolled a 20! All of this can be avoided if the DM is the one calling for a check, or in this case not-asking for a check. This also avoids situations where a player makes a skillcheck, when the DM wants him to make a different skillcheck, and cases where an action is going to auto-succeed. This can also help the players focus more on stating an approach to their actions, rather than immediately throwing their dice before an action has been properly stated.Why does it need to be avoided? Just say "yes you rolled a 20 and your character is sure theres nothing there but rubble." The issue you cite is a confusion over whether search is "do i find something interesting" check...
  • 06:04 PM - pemerton quoted Imaculata in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    It may just be part of the fluff description of the room, or it may be a decorative element visible on a bunch of dungeon tiles. Whatever the case may be, I think there are plenty of situations in which a room may contain objects that don't lead to riches. Is that really so odd for a DM to include in the room description?Just in passing, I didn't say anything about "leading to riches". But on the main point, generally if I call something out, I think it's open for it to matter. I mean, maybe it won't because the players won't care about it, but if they do then I'm happy to see what happens. Here's an actual play example from a while ago now: As the PCs continue through the tunnels, I described them coming to a cleft in the floor, and got them to describe how they would cross it. The drow sorcerer indicated that he would first fly over (using 16th level At Will Dominant Winds) and then . . . before he could finish, I launched into my beholder encounter, which I had designed inspired by t...
  • 04:26 PM - pemerton quoted Imaculata in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    Let me illustrate with an example: The players are in a dungeon, and they enter a room with (among other things) a pile of rubble in it. There is nothing in the pile of rubble, it is just dungeon decoration. Tom: I search the pile of rubble! (Starts rolling Search check) 20! DM: You find nothing of interest. Tom: -But I rolled a 20! All of this can be avoided if the DM is the one calling for a check, or in this case not-asking for a check. My first thought in response to this was (1) why is the GM calling out stuff that s/he has already decided won't matter ("dungeon decoration") and (2) the player hasn't specified what s/he is looking for. Like Aldarc I enjoy "fiction first" play, but I think that is a bit orthogonal to your example - because in Dungeon World a player who declares I search the rubble is closely studying a person or situation, which automatically triggers the Discern Realities move (DW p 68). And the Dungeon World rules say (p 18) that When a player descr...
  • 03:51 PM - billd91 quoted Imaculata in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    Let me illustrate with an example: The players are in a dungeon, and they enter a room with (among other things) a pile of rubble in it. There is nothing in the pile of rubble, it is just dungeon decoration. Tom: I search the pile of rubble! (Starts rolling Search check) 20! DM: You find nothing of interest. Tom: -But I rolled a 20! All of this can be avoided if the DM is the one calling for a check, or in this case not-asking for a check. This also avoids situations where a player makes a skillcheck, when the DM wants him to make a different skillcheck, and cases where an action is going to auto-succeed. What's the problem here? So the player made a good skill roll that didn't net him anything. So what?!? And if the player jumped the gun and rolled the wrong check, all the DM has to do is ask for the right one. This can also help the players focus more on stating an approach to their actions, rather than immediately throwing their dice before an action has been proper...
  • 10:49 AM - Hussar quoted Imaculata in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    When you do it, you're setting yourself up for failure. Not all traps require a roll to see, but if you roll for it, I get to set a DC and let you fail if you roll low enough. If you wait for the DM, you won't have failure chances at things that weren't in doubt before you rolled. Why didn't you initially describe that trap when you described the room? If I auto-succeed, why wasn't I told as soon as I could see it? And, note, an auto-success means that no matter what I rolled, I'd succeed anyway, so, again, it shouldn't make any difference whether I rolled or not. It's not a punishment. In 5e there is only ever a roll if the outcome is in doubt. By rolling, the player is letting me know that the outcome for this action is in doubt, so there has to be at least some small chance of failure. But, the player cannot ever determine that. The player never knows if an action is in doubt or not. If it wasn't in doubt, no matter what the roll was, it succeeded. If the climb DC is 5 and ...
  • 04:19 AM - Hussar quoted Imaculata in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    Well, I looked it up, and you may be surprised. The Player Handbook only goes into detail on how skill checks work, but fails to mention anything regarding the DM making the call for one. So going by the PHB alone, I could see why players would think that taking an action == making a roll. But the Dungeon master Guide contradicts itself on the topic of using skills, specifically in an example of play. It shows examples of both the DM asking for a skill check, and players deciding to roll Listen checks for themselves. But it never clarifies which of the two action resolutions is correct. So I guess this is where a lot of the confusion arises. Note that I checked the 3.5 DMG specifically, so they've had every opportunity to correct this in the book, but neglected to do so. As you probably know a player can take 10 or 20 on skill checks when they are not under any threat, and have plenty of time. This means that they don't make a roll, and will auto-succeed at mundane tasks. But the DMG gi...
  • 01:41 AM - iserith quoted Imaculata in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    Well, I looked it up, and you may be surprised. The Player Handbook only goes into detail on how skill checks work, but fails to mention anything regarding the DM making the call for one. So going by the PHB alone, I could see why players would think that taking an action == making a roll. But the Dungeon master Guide contradicts itself on the topic of using skills, specifically in an example of play. It shows examples of both the DM asking for a skill check, and players deciding to roll Listen checks for themselves. But it never clarifies which of the two action resolutions is correct. So I guess this is where a lot of the confusion arises. Note that I checked the 3.5 DMG specifically, so they've had every opportunity to correct this in the book, but neglected to do so. As you probably know a player can take 10 or 20 on skill checks when they are not under any threat, and have plenty of time. This means that they don't make a roll, and will auto-succeed at mundane tasks. But the DMG gives ex...

Wednesday, 3rd October, 2018

  • 09:43 PM - Tonguez quoted Imaculata in post Shootout at the D&D Corral
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_59GYpEVAu0U/TCb5nfjtfOI/AAAAAAAAANo/liUgtAqwIg0/s400/pepper_2.jpg http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_59GYpEVAu0U/TCb84S4_BTI/AAAAAAAAANw/AVbjCqrZ3iM/s1600/24-barrel_pepperbox.jpg Well, even back in the pirate era there were multi-shot weapons. I've included 6-shot, 8-shot and 12-shot pepperbox pistols in my campaign as rare loot. I've also included pistols that fire 2 bullets simultaneously, which allows the players to make two attacks. yes but those multishot pistols were never cheap and in a fantasy campaign would be comparable to wands Theres an issue of Lone Wolf and Cub where he faces the greatest Gun Smith in Japan who has invented a multishot weapon of mass destruction. The story is about craftsmanship, art and death and makes the point that the gun smiths art is rare. Thats what I think would happen in fantasy, gunsmiths should be artists on par with Alchemist and wizards. In that case guns are no more deadly than vials of alchemist fire or magic missile....


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