View Profile: J.L. Duncan - D&D, Pathfinder, and RPGs at Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • Steve Conan Trustrum's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:23 PM
    Enlarge Your Game with the Megamorph Archetype for Savage Worlds Buy it now This Super-Powered Savage Worlds RPG release brings you The Megamorph Archetype. This ready-to-go character build provides a foundation for you to develop a hero of your own that is able to grow to enormous heights, increasing their mass as they do so. Gamemasters can also use the archetype as the basis for...
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  • Steve Conan Trustrum's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 04:51 PM
    NEWS! RPGObjects and Misfit Studios Team Up to Bring Back Darwin's World for the Savage Worlds RPG http://www.misfit-studios.com/darwin...lds-returning/
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  • Steve Conan Trustrum's Avatar
    Monday, 9th July, 2018, 08:51 PM
    Buy it now This Super-Powered Savage Worlds RPG release brings you The Speedster Archetype. This ready-to-go character build provides a foundation for you to develop a hero of your own that moves around at incredible speeds. Gamemasters can also use the archetype as the basis for quickly building NPC heroes or villains off-the-cuff. Each Super Archetype presents the basic build, plus ideas...
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    Friday, 29th June, 2018, 07:16 PM
    Help us provide proper legal representation and assistance to families and children being mishandled and abused along the US southern border. Get over $400 in various RPG products for $29.99 with proceeds going to RAICES http://www.rpgnow.com/product/245720/Reuniting-Families-Charity-Bundle-BUNDLE
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    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 11:10 PM
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    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 02:02 AM
    Get Super Savings in the latest Bundle of Holding! Misfit Studios and other top third-party M&M3e publishers bring you as much as $116.50 USD value for as little as $12.95 and up. Don't miss out -- get it NOW!
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 10:20 PM
    I never suggested it was the only way.
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 08:07 PM
    You can spin any playstyle negatively if you want. And every play style has an extreme mode that isn't fun under the wrong GM. But there is nothing wrong with having death on the table, even allowing it to come in suddenly without warning. Doesn't mean it is omnipresent. It means it is a possibility in the game. If you don't like it, don't play that way. I am talking about what I enjoy. ...
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 07:23 PM
    We are kind of going in circles here. I am not knocking 5E, nor am I knocking newer games that give different experiences. And I am glad they incorporated a lot of these classic ideas into the new edition. But I think people are much better off judging for themselves where older editions stand in all this and whether or not 5E offers the same epiphanies. My advice is anyone reading is to read the...
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 07:06 PM
    I would say let people find out for themselves. I don't think my experience was related to 'going back'. It was because there was a specific feel of play that I wanted and couldn't get in my 3E and 4E sessions. That feel was quite clear when I used 2E. I've tried very hard to replicate that feel when I run my own games. Much of it has to do with how I approach skills. And I've seen new players...
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 06:57 PM
    The present form of D&D is essentially pathfinder and 5E. AD&D is played in the OSR but the OSR isnít dominating the market. For me it isnít about underdogs or any of that. My feeling is what matters is people finding games that resonate with them and work for them in practice. I wouldnít say for me it is about going backwards. I think innovation is great. It is about realizing sometimes we throw...
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 06:20 PM
    I realize this. I started playing in the 80s, so I've seen things develop over time. But even I forgot how NWPs felt in practice. When I went back to them, I was half doing so intending to do it as a laugh. But more importantly, a lot of people didn't start playing until recently (1995 was over 20 years ago). And plenty of people haven't tried 1E, let alone 2E. By the way, I play lots of...
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 02:28 PM
    based on your posts, I would definitely say posters who share your preferences probably won't find much value in NWPs. On the other hand, if you found skills in 3E a bit frustrating, if skill challenges are not your thing, NWPs and Secondary Skills, might be worth checking out. What you regard as weak descriptors, I regard as non-intrusive. They are more flavoring than build. And they don't feel...
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 01:17 PM
    I think if you are in a campaign where death traps are known to exist, it can be incredibly suspenseful going into virtually any corridor. If you know for sure this place has traps, it is also going to be a suspenseful time getting through that gauntlet. Obviously if you don't like characters dying without forewarning, this approach isn't for you. As both a player and GM, I enjoy this sort of...
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 04:27 AM
    It is an entirely subjective thing, and frankly I am not 100% sure why I preferred NWPs (I am just trying to offer the best explanation I can think of). But I know they worked better for the game I wanted to run. I found this to be the case with a lot of 2E, and I think much of it had to do with the approach to play and the assumptions behind many fo the rules. You frame that somewhat negatively...
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 04:16 AM
    The reason I like that 2E NWPS don't scale up like 3E skills is that chances roughly stay consistent. In 3E you end up with tasks that are impossible unless you have an enormous bonus. That scale can really make things thorny in my view. Whereas with NWPs, the chance doesn't have this wide range of probability. I don't think most of them break down to 50/50. I haven't crunched the numbers...
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 01:39 AM
    Again, I am not too worried about every beat being from a story here. You might have anti-climax, dead heroes and the like, but you'll also generate suspense that is meaningful. If I know my character can really die, or easily die, the suspense of that die roll when I trigger a blade trap is palpable. I also find this a much more exciting mode of play. Obviously I don't want my character to die,...
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  • ddaley's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 01:38 AM
    ddaley started a thread Kickstarter: Harvestors
    Not sure if this has been posted on enworld... as I haven't been able to check in as much as I would like lately. But, Troll Lord Games has a new kickstarter for Harvesters. It looks great and I am backing it to play with my kids. Only 26 hours remain though: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/676918054/harvesters-the-role-playing-game
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 01:16 AM
    The suspension is resolved by the die roll, and much of the suspense is set by the stakes involved. But you are going to have things leading up to it naturally in play. It isn't like you are just rolling a series of dice and saying what happened. People are explaining what they want to do, asking what they see, NPCs are responding. There is a lot that will be going on prompting the die roll in...
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 12:10 AM
    All suspense eventually gets closure. If the players are at a casino, you'll have building suspense as they win, until they place that final bet. If it is a single hand or something, well, sure, but the suspense also ends in a James Bond movie when the cards are laid on the table. There is plenty of room in an RPG for the suspense to build prior to that (particularly if players and/or NPCs are...
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st June, 2018, 11:43 PM
    True. But in all these cases I think stakes and not knowing the outcomes matters a great deal. A roll of dice at a gambling table or card game, are suspenseful if the players stand to lose a lot. But that suspense hinges on them actually being able to lose whatever is at stake. Again, this is where the 'game' side of RPGs, and the inherent lack of predictability in RPGs can be a strength.
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st June, 2018, 10:27 PM
    That is a very good example too because (spoilers) arguably the main character of the series leaves by the second season. I was told he also built in escape hatches for each of the characters in case the characters left (giving them alternate plotlines if they had to go).
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st June, 2018, 10:25 PM
    I probably have a slightly different take on what story means in a game than some folks. I tend not to worry about it lining up with a platonic ideal of 'story' and just tend to view it as what we talk about in hindsight. If Tamlin dies by getting crushed by a rock that is where his story ends. On the other hand, I think of stories in games as individual threads for each character, and those can...
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st June, 2018, 07:37 PM
    My view is it is better to lean into the random nature of RPGs than fight it. I also think the surprise that creates, both for the GM and the players, is one of the most entertaining aspects of gaming. So I am all for allowing death to come with a die roll.
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st June, 2018, 07:05 PM
    I think this is less true than it used to be (in part because some of the suspense got lost as people became more familiar with these patterns). Even if the character is narrating, it doesn't mean he survives now. Just look at a film like Casino. Clearly not a war movie, but still one where that narrator survives lulls you into a false sense of security. I find when I watch movies these days, I...
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st June, 2018, 03:06 PM
    I don't know what you want me to say Pemerton. I didn't realize he was talking about NWPs that function differently. And I don't see why they would be relevant to the point I was making. That was a response to me saying 2E NWPs worked well in my campaign. When I responded to his quote, I assumed he brought up OA NWPs because they functioned the same (it has been ages since I've even read the OA...
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st June, 2018, 02:37 PM
    Well, I wasnít talking about OA NWPs. I was talking about the ones from the first 2E players handbook. The OA NWPs are a whole other conversation.
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st June, 2018, 01:57 PM
    I use it all the time. I think it can be a great deal of fun.
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st June, 2018, 01:56 PM
    For me, the real threat of character death is a source of suspense or trepidation. There are other places for suspense in the game as well (it can occur around drama or just not knowing what is unfolding). But I quite like the classic experience of walking down hall, hoping a blade trap doesn't cut me in half or something.
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st June, 2018, 01:45 PM
    I tended to use them as last resort measures. Here is what I noticed when I shifted back to 2E, instantly. I should say, I had also recently re-read the 1E DMG, so that might have been an influence. I was asking for rolls that much as players interacted with the world. Because there wasn't a big list of buttons on the character sheet, they just said what they wanted to do, and I usually allowed...
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st June, 2018, 01:34 PM
    Honestly, this is part of the appeal I think. They are not central to the game. This is why I keep describing the 3E skills as intrusive. Things like NWPs only bothered us as much as we allowed them to. It was a lot harder not to be bothered by Skills in 3E you didn't like. I think we just have a fundamental disagreement on what RPGs are about and for. I am not particularly interested in an RPG...
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st June, 2018, 01:30 PM
    This is so dependent on which NWPs you choose to take though. Obviously if your taking a NWP tied to an ability score of 9 or something, your chances will be poor. In my experience, players tended to take NWPs that connected well with their abilities. And you can still increase your ranks in them. If you have a NWP for a skill that is 13 or higher for example, your chances are not that bad. Also,...
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th June, 2018, 07:38 PM
    I haven't played it, but will make a point of checking it out.
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th June, 2018, 07:34 PM
    I still use a full list of skills, but it is more in how I approach them, than in the skills themselves. The most recent version of my game is Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate. Most of what I talk about is in the advice on using skills section. For me the key is not having skills feel like buttons in play. But the game is skill-based, so there are skills in it. I've also been experimenting with...
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th June, 2018, 04:09 PM
    Mostly I play my own system now (and it does have skills, though I use them somewhat different than most people). I think I just like lighter skill systems and I find I prefer skill systems that interfere the least with RP or environmental interaction. That said, skills are popular with most players I game with, and I've learned to adapt how I use them to get the best result for my campaigns....
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  • Bedrockgames's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th June, 2018, 02:16 PM
    I think if you feel this way, you should at least give NWPs a try again and see how they play. Folks should draw their own conclusions as well, rather than take anyone's word for it. I went back to 2E around 2007-2008 for a while and in all honesty, expected to laugh at many of the mechanics in action. To my surprise things like NWPs worked a heck of a lot better for my style of play, than the...
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About J.L. Duncan

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Date of Birth
August 7, 1978 (39)
About J.L. Duncan
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Chillicothe, MO
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I love RPGs! All Kinds, and writing reviews, helps me supplement my RPG habit.

My reviews are published here on EN World. I'm honored and think it's pretty awesome, that EN World is paying for site content.

I also write reviews, the occasional magic item, and dungeon trap for Knights of the Dinner Table (KoDT) magazine, as well as maintain a RPG review and news blog...

I'm involved in two RPG groups that run bi-weekly; D&D Basic & Savage Rifts.
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Reload The Savage World Of Deadlands Thursday, 19th April, 2018 07:59 AM

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USA
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I love RPGs! All Kinds, and writing reviews, helps me supplement my RPG habit.

My reviews are published here on EN World. I'm honored and think it's pretty awesome, that EN World is paying for site content.

I also write reviews, the occasional magic item, and dungeon trap for Knights of the Dinner Table (KoDT) magazine, as well as maintain a RPG review and news blog...

I'm involved in two RPG groups that run bi-weekly; D&D Basic & Savage Rifts.
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Thursday, 19th April, 2018

  • 11:06 PM - TheSalemLord quoted J.L. Duncan in post Reload The Savage World Of Deadlands
    Nope I meant what I said... As in it didn't excite anyone in my group to play it. They weren't confused (or nonplussed) about what the game was... Just not enthused to play it. Been there...Still there. My groups are still sticking to D&D. Not that is wrong, but it saddens me that they didn't want to try something different or new :yawn:... So, we keep playing D&D. I really want to try Deadlands, the setting is awesome. I've tried with the 3.0 D20 Edition version of Deadlands with other group for the familiarity with the D20 rules...worked..fine, but wasn't good at all. I really want to try SW rules set.

Monday, 16th April, 2018

  • 04:21 PM - choam10191 quoted J.L. Duncan in post Reload The Savage World Of Deadlands
    Nope I meant what I said... As in it didn't excite anyone in my group to play it. They weren't confused (or nonplussed) about what the game was... Just not enthused to play it. Non-pulsed isn't actually a word. And if you were to construct a neologism meaning what you claim to have meant, it would be more like "low-pulsed" or "min-pulsed"; the only logical interpretation of "non-pulsed" is DEAD, as in "not living". Wraith Form was giving you the benefit of the doubt in assuming you inadvertently used a malapropism. And, yes, the North American usage of "nonplussed" meaning "unimpressed" would've been closer to your intention: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/nonplussed

Friday, 2nd March, 2018

  • 04:08 AM - Steve Conan Trustrum quoted J.L. Duncan in post Palladium Announces Collapse of Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter
    Yes, backers can contact the AG of Michigan, but unless those backers reside in Michigan that AG won't listen to them. Each backer will be encouraged to contact the AG of whichever state they live in.Not true. Look up what's going on with Ken Whitman, perhaps the most notorious gaming industry crowdfunding fraudster there is. Out-of-state complaints are being accepted by the AG of the state where Ken lives. IIRC, they are looking at him for possible wire fraud charges.

Thursday, 1st March, 2018

  • 04:32 PM - kenmarable quoted J.L. Duncan in post Palladium Announces Collapse of Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter
    The lawsuit will not go anywhere if things continue as is over on that Facebook page. Apparently, the lawyer (a sister of one of the backers) that was contacted wrote up a threat of legal action and sent that letter to Palladium siting KS ToS; which a judge wouldn't move a finger on and has no legal standing. i didn't understand this (than to suspect it wasn't a real lawyer) as anyone putting forth a letter should be directly siting Law (and how it was violated) not KS' ToS. The only thing which is relevant, which is what you note, is whether Palladium can account for everything and can prove they've not committed fraud. If there is a question on that and it's brought to court a judge might order them to open and account for their books. Will this happen? Who knows. It might, if those backers get a real lawyer. And most likely have a backer who is in the state of Michigan head the effort... Otherwise they should all be contacting the FTC... I mean I feel for those folks but if they want to...

Friday, 27th October, 2017


Saturday, 21st October, 2017

  • 03:11 AM - Egg Embry quoted J.L. Duncan in post Gaming At The Kid's Table With The Pip System
    Hey Egg, I'm curious, with the modified (simpler) system, are players splitting the difference between the pools? Or perhaps rolling less dice and just tallying results such as: 1-3 as unsuccessful; 4-6 as a success? I haven't had the time to give Eloy's pip system a look, but I did like the original Mermaid Adventures. RPG's THE Jeff Duncan - Excellent question! The simplified system has two major changes: 1) Replace the skills system with straight attributes. 2) Qualities are no longer purchased using Build Points, instead each player should write down the qualities that they want and add +1 white d6 for each one that applies. Simple and well thought out streamlines for a streamlined system. Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer

Saturday, 22nd July, 2017

  • 01:30 PM - VengerSatanis quoted J.L. Duncan in post Win $500 - adventure writing contest
    Hello Venger, How many entries do you anticipate... And are you judging them yourself or are you considering a panel? I'm not sure how many to anticipate, anywhere from 5 to 25... possibly. I'll be judging them myself, though if I do this again maybe a panel of judges would be easier on me. Thanks for the questions. VS

Sunday, 25th June, 2017

  • 10:06 PM - Egg Embry quoted J.L. Duncan in post Gaming At The Kid's Table: Mouse Tails
    +Egg Embry I'm just happy that given the choice (of an internet troll, or a wanna-lancer) you've made the right choice. Just a word of advice: quoting Boromir is easy to do but it is hard to live... And prepare yourself. Hobbylancing takes a level of commitment not common of mortal men. Me? I'm 3/4 elf, 1/16 dwarf & 2/3 halfling so I get by (and all that)... And you needn't worry about conquering the world. All you have to do is write and self-publish an RPG, which you will automatically be the master of (ah, ya-know cause you wrote it!)... You've taken all the right steps... But remember, "only you can prevent forest fires." And if that was a bit vague (or off topic)... What I mean to say is, you're on the right track. :p J.L. Duncan- In-game, I rarely prevent forest fires. On the contrary, 99.9% of fires in RPGs can be traced back to Egg (and a few other players). ;-) Seriously, thanks for the kind words and advice. It's been helpful. ;) Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer Check out EN World Gaming at the Kidsí Table posts to read reviews of The FirstFable RPG and Monster Slayers

Saturday, 24th June, 2017

  • 08:13 PM - Egg Embry quoted J.L. Duncan in post Gaming At The Kid's Table: Mouse Tails
    Egg... At what point does a Wanna-Lancer become an Actual-Lancer? Nice review. And it seems your rackin' up the creds! J.L. Duncan - There is a much-studied progression from wanna-lancer to actual-lancer. As Boromir stated, "One does not simply ." The progress starts as fan, moves to armchair game designer, and either deviates to internet troll or to a wanna-lancer. Following the wanna-lancer wing, you strive to reach hobbylancer status (Ben McFarland has spoken about hobbylancing) before graduating to be a freelancer and a life of leisure. Oh, and conquering the world is in there somewhere... :p Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer Check out EN World Gaming at the Kidsí Table posts to read reviews of The FirstFable RPG and [B]Monster Slayers

Wednesday, 7th June, 2017

  • 08:05 AM - Jhaelen quoted J.L. Duncan in post Playing With Savage Rifts
    Just FYI: For sure, you need the Savage Worlds main book (I have deluxe) to run Savage Rifts. Just wanted to make sure you know that. Ah thanks, I hadn't been aware of that!

Sunday, 2nd October, 2016


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