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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 08:18 AM
    I think I'm missing the illusion. Who is being deceived about what? With a level tolerance of (say) +/-3, I'm not sure it's a ton. But I think it's clear that 4e - as set out in the "tiers of play" in the PHB and DMG - assumes that the content of the fiction will steadily be changing as the game progresses. So it absolutely takes for granted that, at epic tier, we're done with keeping count...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 08:14 AM
    Adopting a liberal interpretation of "PH" and "two words", I came up with the following: Fighting Man. Magic-User. Wu Jen. Thief-Acrobat.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 04:59 AM
    Multi-classing doesn't mean particularly serious level limits eg 7/11 for an elf F/MU, or 8/8 for a half-elf F/MU, assuming decent stats. You can also build by researching spells, by pooling items, by choosing which items to keep and which to sell, etc. As you say, the rules aren't that clear. And you can always use wands, which tend to have good casting times.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 04:37 AM
    I'll agree on the easier arithmetic. I'm not sure about what you mean by "swingy" - if it's really an attack/defence treadmill then the "swinginess" is preserved just the same. This just leads back to the discussion about minions and swarms. In 4e I had more combats, and more interesting combats, involving giant hordes of weaker enemies than I ever did in AD&D or Rolemaster.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 04:28 AM
    If you build for it, sure. Which you can do in AD&D as a F/MU, or using powerful Bracers of Defence, or . . . But the wizard/invoker in my 4e game didn't strike me as particularly atypical - and has always had Thunderwave ready to hand - but gets absolutely pasted in melee. That the precise consistency of the paste might differ from its AD&D analogue seems a secondary point.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 04:21 AM
    Hence battle captain!
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:37 AM
    The concept of "protagonism" in RPGing is (I believe) relatively well known. If it's unclear what I have in mind, here's the relevant remarks from the OP: If (to further self-quote) "the game rolls off the GM's 'plot wagon' much as it would if you were performing an elf instead" of a dwarf, then the things I've described aren't happening - the player's narration clearly is not engaging...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:57 AM
    For warlord I would suggest the Tolkienesque battle captain. But anyway I agree it's not a problem if you're not using WotC's IP (ie neither their text nor their trade dress).
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:52 AM
    Well, some people think that OSRIC is on the margins (or crossing the margins) of copyright infringement. S'mon and I have discussed this before - I'm a bit more doubtful of its legality than S'mon but he's the better IP lawyer of the two of us - so probably it's OK! (If only just.)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:21 AM
    Yes, in that context. I'll explain the qualification by way of an example from a specific system. Each PC in Marvel Heroic RP/Cortex+ Heroic has two Milestones. Here are two example milestones - one is from Captain America in the core rulebook, the other is one that I made up in collaboration with the player for the berserker in my Cortex+ Fantasy Hack Vikings game: MENTOR THE HERO 1 XP...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:40 AM
    I've not just heard rumours of, but have played through, counter-examples to this. Mostly in an AD&D 2nd ed context, but also CoC and Rolemaster. That's not my experience. You could perform your dwarf - reciting old bits of lore from the dwarvish halls, complaining about the quality of the local ale, remarking on the state of your beard, swearing oaths "by the Mountains of Moradin", etc -...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:50 AM
    I've got no idea where this comes from. As far as I know I'm the only Prince Valiant player who posts on these boards; am the only Cthulhu Dark player who posts on these boards; have played more Burning Wheel than most posters on these boards; am one of the relatively few posters whose primary point of reference for RPGing is not some version of D&D. I don't think anyone could say that I don't...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:38 AM
    At the risk of further controversy, I'll take up where you left off. One central feature of the D&D-as-wargame experience is that the player plays a single figure. This obviously creates some sort of invitation to performance ("playing out my guy"), protagonism etc. I wasn't playing in the mid-70s, but between reading around a bit and looking at some of the products that get published in the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:25 AM
    Yes. I'm not sure a hit-points/damage "treadmill" is inherently more virtuous than a to-hit/defence "treadmill". And it seems to have some side-effects ("sack of hp" monsters, for instance) that 4e largely avoided. I will concede the following: many D&D players seem to regard a +2 to hit that is (roughly) matched by a comparable +2 to AC on the GM side as an "illusion" of advancement;...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:00 AM
    Yes, I've done that. I get the setting in the sense of genre/colour/tone. Interesting. Maybe my use of "setting" is misleading, or just flat-out wrong? I'll try to explain what I was getting at, and why - for me - it's distinctive compared to what I'm more familiar with. Painting in broad brush strokes, and doing some classification on the run, I would say that I'm familiar with 3 main...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 24th May, 2019, 12:23 PM
    I've been reading Vincent Baker's Apocalypse World rulebook over the past week or so, and noticed this. I didn't have it in mind when I started this thread, and as far as I remember I hadn't yet read it when I started this thread. But I've owned Apocalypse World for a while now and have skimmed the rulebook in the past, so maybe I have seen this and it was lurking somewhere in the back of my...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 24th May, 2019, 10:43 AM
    My point was more narrow, I think, than what you've taken it to be. I was simply saying that the growing numbers on the PC sheet in 4e serve a purpose - namely, in conjunction with the published Monster Manuals they support a very clear "pacing", not at the encounter level or even session level but at the level of the campaign arc. Eliminating the level-bonuses on the PC and NPC/creature...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 24th May, 2019, 10:33 AM
    I'm not thinking so much of establishing setting in play - I've done that quite a bit in my RPGing. What struck me about the AW instructions is that the setting is itself the situation, in virtue of having no status quo.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 24th May, 2019, 10:30 AM
    Well not for me. Just to point to two things that have come out of it: I've learned that your conception of what makes for good RPGing is quite different from mine. And I've discovered a surprising point of overlap between me and Bedrockgames. Given what you prefer, I can see why you want well-written boxed text in modules.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 24th May, 2019, 08:47 AM
    A literary endeavour is one which aims at having the virtues of literature. An artistic endeavour is one which aims at having the virtues of art. An intellectual endeavour is one which aims to contribute to knowledge. Etc. One can interrogate each of these in more detail, obviously, but the basic notion is pretty clear. REH in writing the Conan stories is engaged in a literary endeavour. He's...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 24th May, 2019, 12:38 AM
    That's not what the OP is about. REH isn't high art either, but clearly Tower of the Elephant and The Scarlet Citadel are literary endeavours. Read the recent posts from @hakweyefan or uzirath. Those engage with the theme of the thread. Here a quote from you from a way upthread: Assuming that you haven't changed your mind, then this is something that we disagree about. And it's something...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 02:40 PM
    For what it's worth, my sense is that you don't agree! I think you've appreciated that, in the OP, I said that RPGing requires narration and description. And as I've read your posts, I think you are saying that that narration/description should aim, or be conditioned with an eye towards, formal quality. Even if I've misunderstood you in that respect, I think there are people in the RPG...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 12:36 PM
    I think, here, that you are pointing out that RPGing involves authorship. That's undoubtedly true. But authorship doesn't take us to literary endeavour in the sense intended in the OP, ie quality of wordcraft. Authorship is needed to bring fictions into being (for whatever sense of "being" is apposite for fictions). But bringing fictions into being doesn't depend upon literary quality. When...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 12:15 PM
    Good post. And for what it's worth, I would say that 90% of my efforts as a GM over the past 30 years has been focused on this issue, of coming up with compelling situations. (Although only for about half that time have I had a vocabulary for describing what it is I've been trying to do.) The RPG product that had the biggest initial impact on me, in this respect, was the mid-80s Oriental...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 11:48 AM
    Time deaf, space deaf, maybe just deaf deaf . . . Anyway, here are the two options again: My players aren't too tone deaf. They can tell that the second description paints more of a "word picture" than the first. But is RPGing about enjoying word pictures? On the player side, I think it's about doing - about playing your PC as protagonist in the imagined situation. Which description...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 11:35 AM
    There's an approach to cultural studies and the study of communication which make the point that all communication involves word choice, choice of tone, etc, and hence that - when considered through that lens - there is no distinctive contrast between (say) EM Forster's novels and the instructions you give your kid when sending him/her to the shops. That may be true as far as it goes, but it...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 10:54 AM
    The effect of the numbers in 4e, if you are working from the default Monster books and generally following the advice on encounter building, is that they progress the campaign through "the story of D&D". At the start of the campaign, the PCs will be confronting kobolds, goblins and the like; at the end of the campaign they will be confronting ancient dragons, demon princes and the like. ...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 10:43 AM
    I've been reading the rulebook for Apocalypse World. It's not the first Vincent Baker RPG rulebook I've read, and the punchy style and unequivocal evocation of the spirit of the fiction and the expected feel of play is not surprising. There's one particular bit that I wanted to post about. Discussing how to set up and run the first session of a campaign, and having laid out the process for...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:38 PM
    In principle, I think it offers the same as any genre/setting-focused RPG. Burning Wheel makes it easier to play a pseudo-European game than a pseudo-Asian one. (And the designer even comments on this in the rulebook, noting that some lifepaths will probably have to be changed if the group wants an East Asian flavoured game.) That's a limitation of the game, but it also yields a sense of...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:28 PM
    I'd actually go the other way around - it seems most interesting if the issue is all about escaping from the gnolls. (I'm thinking of Captain Haddock in the boat the first time he meets Tintin, in Crab with the Golden Claws.) If the escape is being adjudicated as some sort of skill challenge or via some comparable structured resolution system (5e has some stuff like this for the exploration...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:21 PM
    Ah, OK - in that case I retract the criticism of your teachers! For the sort of writing that I do and teach, making decisions about paragraphing - as one component of making decisions about structure - is a fundamental skill. A doctrine about minimum or even typical length would be no help at all.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:14 PM
    When I GM I would say that talk similarly to how I would in an enthusiastic hobbyist-type context. Eg if I'd been to a film with a friend and was talking about it afterwards. Or if, at work, I wanted to tell someone what I enjoyed about a seminar I went to. So probably a bit more focused than a supermarket chat. But still conversation.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 02:59 PM
    I know these questions are intended as rhetorical, but if I treat them as literal then the answer is I don't know. The game seems to be 3e D&D (Scarred Lands), but who are the PCs? Who are the players? Do they have any reason to give a toss about the glutton Titan Gaurak?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 02:35 PM
    Then, without being too mean about it, you had crappy English teachers. I'm a published author (of non-fiction). A big part of my job is teaching students (UG and PG) how to write. My partner is a published author (non-fiction, some poetry) and a high school English teacher. Most of her job is teaching students how to write. This thread is the first I've heard of this five-paragraph...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 02:13 PM
    It's pretty tangential to the thread topic, but there is something strange about being schooled on the meaning and connotations of "literary" by someone who asserts such bizarre stuff about the process and structure of wrting.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 02:11 PM
    Huh? Says who? Here are the first three paragraphs of REH's The Scarelt Citadel (which was the first story I Googled, knowing that REH doesn't write in too long-winded a fashion): The roar of battle had died away; the shout of victory mingled with the cries of the dying. Like gay-hued leaves after an autumn storm, the fallen littered the plain; the sinking sun shimmered on burnished...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 06:12 AM
    Well, I did put it the other way round: the players don't find it interesting because, for them, it is not interesting/ Eg maybe the situation is something about kobolds on a hill, and the players (in general; today; because of the PCs they're playing; some combination of factors; etc) simply aren't engaged by that sort of situation. I don't know what a Vengaurak is. I know, therefore, that...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 05:00 AM
    By this you're meaning not just gendered roles/classes/playbooks, but sex-based stat penalties? My guess - from the discussion of Conan in the OP - is that CapnZapp wants the play experience that would result from gendered classes/playbooks, but (1) isn't too familar with a wide range of RPGs beyond a certain sort of D&D, and (2) has a certain sort of "simulationist" sensibility that leads to...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:33 AM
    OK. In that case I think it's fairly clear why two GMs might present the same situation with the same degree of clarity and at one table get buy-in while at the other table it falls flat. Or in other words, the answer to the question you posed here seems fairly straightforward: Those players who don't find it interesting are probably the ones for whom it is not interesting.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:28 AM
    CapnZapp didn't say that's how things are iRL. To the contrary, The phrase this world referst to the imagined world of the RPG, not real life. I doubt I would play the game that CapnZapp posits. I do play RPGs which, as part of their presentation of mediaeval life, note the significance of certain gender distinctions (Burning Wheel has some lifepaths that are women only; Prince Valiant has...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:02 AM
    To elaborate on my question, then: upthread Imaro seemed to assert, or at least very strongly imply, that whether or not a situation is interesting is a player-independent state of affairs. Do you agree? What do you think the GM should have regard to in coming up with situations? Lanefan, in other threads over many years, has posted that the GM should always author scenarios without regard to...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:54 AM
    Can I pick up on your example (bolded by me to call it out) and a possible risk in play? Not to denigrate the example, but to try to connect it into how I'm thinking about things. It seems to me that it is possible that the GM might narrate the koblds' drool and bloodshot eyes, hoping and intending to evoke a particular response and engagement from the players, only instead to trigger...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:22 AM
    I think there is another reason that books impose demands that are different from RPGing. The goal of a book (typically) is to evoke some sort of response in the reader in virtue of having read the book. This depends heavily on the craft of the narration, on its literary quality in the way the OP uses that phrase. Whereas the goal of a GM's narrration - I assert in the OP and reiterate here...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:07 AM
    It is very close to it. The notion of the craft of the narration is as good as any other way of putting it. For my part, the limitaion in what hawkeyefan says is the emphasis on clearly conveying the situation. I think this is important, but not sufficient. As per the OP, What matters to me is that the players feel the significance of the situations the GM describes - that they feel the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 02:15 PM
    I started the thread. Hussar is free to say what he likes about the dependence of much RPGing on the logic of genres (it's something I myself have been posting about for maybe 10+ years on these boards). But those things don't rebut the claim in the OP, which is pretty clear: I don't think Hussar has inadvertantely taken that for a claim that genre plays no role in RPGing. And your...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 11:18 AM
    This is fine if, by literary endeavour, you means an activity that deploys and/or relies upon some devices used in literary composition. But that's not what the OP meant, and I think it is fairly clear what the OP did mean: quality of composition, with particular reference to the narration and descriptions used by the GM. Using genre tropes and policing genre boundaries doesn't really bear...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 03:27 PM
    Why not CON? Like other stamina-related feats.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 03:23 PM
    This is highly contingent on (i) system and (ii) ingame situation. To give one example, based on Burning Wheel: I stride down the hall sounds like a Conspicuous test, while I move cautiously down the hall looking carefully for anything out of place looks like a Perception check, perhaps also Stealth and/or Inconspicuous. In Prince Valiant the first might be a check on Presence, the second on...
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  • DMZ2112's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 09:43 PM
    Thanks for bringing me up to speed. I'll, uh, just be over here in the corner crying quiet tears of joy.
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  • DMZ2112's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 05:24 PM
    I want nothing more than to just shut up and applaud. It is nice to see this sidebar any time it turns up. It is nice to see Greyhawk as the "default" rather than one of the "options." But my question is this: what does the rest of the book say on the topic? Does it actually matter? Does the lore of the sourcebook reflect this choice, or is it all just sandpapered down to generic fantasy?...
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  • DMZ2112's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 04:05 PM
    Daniel Horne -- 18 Keith Parkinson -- 22 Jeff Easley -- 25 Larry Elmore -- 12 Clyde Caldwell -- 19 David Trampier -- 20 "NO MORE CHOCOLATE OR NO MORE HUGS?" "What? I don't know, I--"
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  • DMZ2112's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 03:51 PM
    The thing I find most compelling about D&D5 is the fact that anytime I sit down with the books to do campaign planning, I am reminded in a flood of all the things it does not do that D&D4 did, or that D&D3 did, or that Pathfinder does, or that AD&D2 did... ...but when I sit down at the table with my players and the session begins, none of that matters. What I miss the most is...
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  • DMZ2112's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 03:22 PM
    Gyor necro'd this thread after four years, so I feel justified in re-necroing it after only six months. :) It is apparently still serving its purpose. I feel like, by Planescape's own rules, if the Greek gods did this and were successful, Carceri and Gehenna would flip, or at least Carceri would move to the opposite side of the Grey Wastes. We see this phenomenon initated by mortals --...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 11:52 AM
    Notice that you've got three different action declarations here. Two of them are contrasting: * Grgur walks down the hallway, be cautious and looking carefully to see if anything is out of place. * Grugr strides down the hallway. And one is less specific: * Grugr moves down the hallway.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 11:47 AM
    Not at all. Imaro is the person who introduced clarity as a desideratum. My point was that clarity is not really connected to literary quality, and pointed to instructions as an example. If you agree that instructions don't typically display literary quality, then I think you should agree that - to the extent that clarity matters in RPGing - then that doesn't really bear on the issues...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 11:24 AM
    Thanks for the heads up - I've deleted the stray material in that post. As per the OP, it came from multiple recent threads. One was the boxed text thread. Another was the action declaration thread ("DC to know a NPC is telling the truth"). In that second thread, there were some posters who seemed to equate describing a PC's action as a component of action declaration with a florid or literary...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 12:46 AM
    People spend millions of dollars painting buildings, too. That doesn't show that painting buildings is per se an artistic endeavour - maybe it is (if we're painting St Peters), maybe it's not (if we're painting a block of flats to protect the exterior against the weather). I'm a published author in a natural language based but technical discipline. (Or in fact two such disciplines: law and...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 12:41 AM
    A complication for me in responding to Lanefan's question is what is the story which is not progressing?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 12:36 AM
    Yes. This is my point, so I'm not sure why you frame this as disagreeing with me. But this is exactly what I'm talking about. As I posted I think in my last reply to you, I don't understand what role you think action declaration and the distinctive player role in a RPG are doing. As you describe it, it would make no difference if everyone was working through a rough script but improving the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 12:30 AM
    That's actually not what the OP says. Colour, obviously, is fundamental to heaps of RPGing. (Maybe not some classic dungeoncrawling.) I don't think the word "colour" appears in the OP. The OP does say RPGing requires narration: GMs describe situations - that narration and description will involve colour. My claim is about the focus of, and foundation of, emotional engagement in RPGing. As...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 02:42 PM
    I think that Choose Your Own Adventure books and boardgames are not very satisfactory vehicles for participating in a situation. Their structured natures make them relatively poor vehicles for protagonism. Video games I can't comment on. And I'm not denying that there are people who enjoy RPGs because they are entertained by performances or give entertaining performances. I'm denying that...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 02:39 PM
    Really? That's a surprise to me. When I read a letter from a family member I'm not really worried about the spelling or puncutation, let alone it's literary merit.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 02:30 PM
    It's not my distinction, actually. I never used the word content. That's Hussar's word. Hussar has suggested that I am eschewing description, but here's the OP: My point in this thread has been consistent: that what is distinctive about RPGing is that it engages by way of participation in situation, not performance to an audience. I don't think it's that hard to understand, whether...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 02:21 PM
    The point is simple: a novel probably won't move you if it's poorly written. A letter from a family member is likely to move you regardless of how it's written. RPGing is more like the latter than the former. It's about moving people through shared engagement with an imagined situation, not entertaining people by performing for them.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 02:15 PM
    This is important. You are right about fluidity: actual play doesn't manifest discrete types or moments of the neat types we use in analysis and criticism. Some of what I had in mind in my post that you responded to is elaborated in my posts to Hussar just upthread. Here's a passage from Christopher Kubasik that also captures what I had in mind: The tales of a story entertainment are...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 12:16 PM
    I have no idea what the bolded bit has to do with the topic of this thread. What players contribute to the game is protagonism. Which in a RPG primarily takes the form of action declaration (though I think I have a thicker notion of action declaration than some other posters on these boards). Perhaps I've misunderstood something - but I've repeatedly posted about the centrality of action...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 12:08 PM
    I don't know what you have in mind by never references anything. We're playing a RPG. So there is a lot of talking. Exchanges between participants are the main currency of play. Action declarations are spoken. The player describes what his character is doing. I would hope it's obvious that, in denying that RPGing is a literary endeavour characterised by performance, I am not asserting that it...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 04:06 PM
    Right. Which is not consistent with the suggestion that the player has total authority over what the character thinks and feels. But they're not free to come up with the answer because he is smelly. That is, they're not free to make their perceptions non-delusional. Again, the GM - by declaring that the chamberlain doesn't stink - is able to exercise control over what beliefs and sensations...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 03:33 PM
    I agree with all this. Darkvision and poison resistance seem like elements in action declaration and action resolution rather than performance/presentation, so I'll put them to one side. In most FRPGing, grooming one's beard, choosing one's food, not liking boat,s is all just colour. If my familiarity with the underground, or the distinctive histories or politics of my people, actually...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 11:37 AM
    This post is a follow-up to some of Manbearcat's posts in this thread, and to the idea - mentioned in the OP and taken up a bit since - that consequences can be implicit rather than express. I'm not sure how coherent it is, but it is trying to convey a thought I have. So, here's something from John Harper about making hard moves in Apocalypse World; I've bolded one sentence for emphasis: ...
    43 replies | 1967 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 11:03 AM
    The religious teachings could be TN, or not - from what's said we can't tell. But at least we have a canonical grounding for the need to fight a combat to gain an upper-level title! Would Chariot of Eratsus have the same ring to it?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 09:45 AM
    Well tell me what you mean by performance, then. What do you mean by the performance of a character revealing the character to be (say) a dwarf? Who do you have conversations with? In the conversations I have, only rarely is the purpose to convey information (in the way that eg a newspaper or an encyclopedia does that). Typically the purpose is to generate emotional responses - to...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 09:29 AM
    You seem to be projecting.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 01:08 AM
    I have used the words "literary" and "performance" in what I hope are reasonably clear senses. Theatre (typically) involves both. Salon repartee with Oscar Wilde or Dorothy Parker involves both. Conversation with friends typically invovles neither. I've also said - repeatedly, although lowkey13 may not have read those posts - that everything else being equal a mellifluous GM can be a good...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 12:53 AM
    If a character's race or background or motivations or capacities figure so little in the action of play, then to me the problem at that table is not one of an absence of performance! Conversely, if the only way I would know a player was playing a dwarf was because of his/her Scottish accent (or whatever) but it doesn't make any difference to what that character actually does in play, then why...
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  • MichaelSomething's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 11:19 PM
    If I was a wizard with fabricate, I wouldn't make armor; I'd mass produce books. Public libraries! Higher literacy rates! Easier access to knowledge! Those sound like goals a wizard could get behind. It also has a nice side affect of making the world more like ours, therefore making it easier to relate to.
    137 replies | 5832 view(s)
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  • DMZ2112's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 08:27 PM
    Greyhawk: Gygax's history, your future. It's tough to sum up what makes Greyhawk great in a sound bite. It is prototypical and it is not for everyone. It's flat out a different animal to most other fantasy settings, which generally follow the Forgotten Realms model, because people and events are inherently more interesting than political borders and weather patterns. So the obvious but...
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  • MichaelSomething's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 12:11 AM
    An impromptu musical number?
    15 replies | 463 view(s)
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  • MichaelSomething's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 12:09 AM
    I thought optimal play in older editions was to avoid the rules much as possible and just talk the DM into just saying you win?
    13 replies | 703 view(s)
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  • MichaelSomething's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 11:59 PM
    I don't think Plant Growth would be a big problem. For every nice Druid who help a poor farmer, there's a nasty Druid who would blight the crops. It evens out in the end. Better yet, a Druid could agree to up the food production of an entire kingdom if they agree to turn some land into a nature preserve.
    137 replies | 5832 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 04:12 PM
    There's a parallel here to saving throws. From the fact that, in mechanical terms, getting a save against a fireball is automatic, it doesn't follow that PCs don't have to try to save themselves. Rather, the mechanics take for granted that this is what PCs do. If a player describes his/her PC as standing unperturbed in the fireball making no effort to avoid or mitigate its effects, then...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 11:55 PM
    It would be interesting to see what you and others think of "the smelly chamberlain". Suppose that the players play their PCs as keeping their distance from the chamberlain, opening windows when he enters the room, etc - because the players have decided that their PCs think the chamberlain smells - while the GM, exercising his/her power to describe the environment, insists that the chamberlain...
    580 replies | 20953 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 01:32 PM
    You seem to be setting up a contrast - performance intended to creata a mental image of who the PC is vs dice bot with a heart beat - that doesn't correspond to my own RPGing experiences. Central to player-side RPGing is action declaration. That's how the player reveals who his/her PC is. Whereas being a dicebot suggests that someone else (perhaps the GM?) is deciding what the actions are. ...
    695 replies | 13397 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 08:33 AM
    Yes. The action declaration is premised on some other elements of the shared ficiton established by the players - something along the lines of that such-and-such a character believes such-and-such a thing, and has shared that belief with other PCs. If the GM is intending to introduce fiction that reveals the PC belief to be false, and it is established or implicit in the fiction that the PC is...
    580 replies | 20953 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 06:41 AM
    Small point of order - I didn't. But as we all know, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet! (Ie, in less literary terms, what matters isn't labels but phenomena.) Obviously there's a lot of room between is equally important and doesn't matter at all. Upthread I said that, everything else being equal, a mellifluous GM is a good thing - though I also agree with Bedrockgames that,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 06:32 AM
    Clear enough, but it doesn't capture what I'm talking about, because - for instance - it renders ordinary conversation a species of performance. That usage is fine enough for a certain sort of cultural studies or communication theory seminar, but doesn't map onto what I'm saying in this thread. Correct. Evard's tower is in the game because there is a character - Aramina - who wants spell...
    695 replies | 13397 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 03:52 AM
    So, tihs is dead on-topic. And, to me, is strange. I'll relate it to something you've posted recently in another thread - not as "gotcha", but because I'm trying to work out where you're coming from. In that other thread, you were discussing approaches to adjudication, and expressed a preference for swift adjudication rather than (what you saw as) a lot of needless narration. But...
    695 replies | 13397 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 03:43 AM
    This is all consistent with what I was trying to say in the OP. Further unexpected agreement!
    695 replies | 13397 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 03:40 AM
    I can't answer for Chaosmancer, although I get the sense that he (? I think) and I have some similar views here. The things the player characters believe, the things they say to one another, etc are a part of the gameworld as much as anything else. If a character is telling another character something about earth elemental, then that belief and conversation is part of the fiction. Now when...
    580 replies | 20953 view(s)
    1 XP
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About DMZ2112

Basic Information

Date of Birth
December 21
About DMZ2112
Introduction:
28-yr DM ISO chat, pbp, or pbem playing opportunities and players for weekly short game
About Me:
My name is J, and Iím a male human in my late 30s. Iím True Neutral (dedicated, not unaligned). Iím a career dungeon master -- this will be my 27th year of running campaigns through every edition of D&D since Basic D&D, and Pathfinder -- but Iíve been challenged to play the game more, to broaden my perspective, so Iím trying to get my name out there. As a long-time dungeon master, though, asking someone else to run for me feels self-important. I apologize for my audacity.

Iím looking for a traditional, "old-school" campaign, something that would be called a Ďsandboxí today, but I think we just thought of them as ĎD&D campaignsí back in the í80s. A game where thereís a cohesive, persistent setting with wilderness and plot lines throughout (and plenty of dungeons and dragons), but where the players decide which unknowns to explore, which plots to tackle, and in what order.

Iím looking for a game where itís understood that the rules provide important structure to the story, and things like encumbrance, overland travel speed, and the supply of iron rations are taken seriously as realistic controls on character action. I want to play with players who think of the rules as strengthening the game, not as something to be beaten.

A long-running game with some history seems most likely to meet these requirements, but I would also like the opportunity to begin at 1st level. Iím not picky about how the campaign handles character death; I would like it to involve some kind of level penalty but I also think it should embrace continuity through protťgťs or other NPC relationships.

Fundamentally, I want to earn everything my character has. I want to start with nothing, build a fortress at name level, and fulfill an epic destiny. I want my character to have a life outside the dungeon, and develop relationships with both PCs and NPCs.

If this game were to surface, I would play it in any system or setting. I have a preference for the polish and depth of 5th Edition D&D and Pathfinder, but I would learn or relearn most anything for this opportunity.

I'm fine with text or voice chat, and I'd even consider video for the right group. I prefer a shorter game that meets more often (I find two hours every week to be ideal), but the only thing I really canít do is play for more than four hours out of every two weeks. Evening or late night Eastern time is ideal but I have some flexibility. Play-by-post or play-by-email are also options.

If youíre not running a game like this, but it sounds appealing, let me know. Iíd be willing to share (read: <50%) dungeon mastery responsibilities for the right group.
Location:
SE PA, USA
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Sex:
Male
Age Group:
31-40
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If you can be contacted on social networks, feel free to mention it here.

Google+:
zoshakjm
Twitter:
dmz2112
My Game Details

Details of games currently playing and games being sought.

Town:
Uwchlan
State:
Pennsylvania
Country:
USA
Game Details:
I am the coordinator and primary gamemaster for the Lodge, an online tabletop club based in the Midatlantic US. We are currently looking for three new members. We have six standing members between 30 and 40.

The Lodge has an informal interview process, but all genders, ages, and experience levels are welcome -- our only restriction is that you must be friendly and looking to have a good time around the gaming table.

We meet every week on Monday from 8:00-10:00 Eastern and are generally involved in long single campaigns to enable complete story arcs, detailed setting exploration, and satisfying character development. We are currently playing a 5th Edition D&D campaign set in a homebrew setting.

Games we have played in the past include D6 Space, WH40KRP, Pathfinder, nWoD, Shadowrun, and 2nd Edition AD&D.

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/\/\/\/\/\
The dungeon master is not a god. Gods are NPCs.
----------->
"I think it all began when some sages started talking of the World Tree,
and were allowed to go on doing so. Madness, sheer madness.
Give me the Great Wheel, and I know where I stand."
~Lord Snelgarth, Ed Greenwood's The Herald
\/\/\/\/\/

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My Game Details
Town:
Uwchlan
State:
Pennsylvania
Country:
USA
Game Details:
I am the coordinator and primary gamemaster for the Lodge, an online tabletop club based in the Midatlantic US. We are currently looking for three new members. We have six standing members between 30 and 40.

The Lodge has an informal interview process, but all genders, ages, and experience levels are welcome -- our only restriction is that you must be friendly and looking to have a good time around the gaming table.

We meet every week on Monday from 8:00-10:00 Eastern and are generally involved in long single campaigns to enable complete story arcs, detailed setting exploration, and satisfying character development. We are currently playing a 5th Edition D&D campaign set in a homebrew setting.

Games we have played in the past include D6 Space, WH40KRP, Pathfinder, nWoD, Shadowrun, and 2nd Edition AD&D.
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Thursday, 4th April, 2019

  • 11:44 PM - pemerton mentioned DMZ2112 in post How to deal with death in RPG?
    DMZ2112 I'm posting that I don't have disappointing sessions. You either seem to not believe me, or . . . be angry about it? (I'm not sure.) I'm sure my players have some sessions that they enjoy more than others. I have sessions that I enjoy more than others. For instance, I enjoyed my second-to-last Classic Traveller session more than my last one. But neither was disappointing. I play with my friends - depending exactly how you measure same group it's been the same group for either ten or twenty years. Most of us in the group started playing with Moldvay Basic in the early 80s. One started playing with Rolemaster, in our group, in the late 90s. There are some things you have posted about GMing that don't describe my approach to RPGing. Whether or not they have any bearing on my failure to have disappointing sessions I don't know: I've never for a moment bought the line that the gamemaster is ever not a storyteller. We wear a lot of hats, and some are more ostentatious than ...

Sunday, 9th October, 2016

  • 10:57 PM - ghabrel mentioned DMZ2112 in post 4e to 5e Balhannoth Conversion
    DMZ2112 Thank you again for keeping up the dialog. I do really appreciate it. So here's an updated stat block. I'll respond afterwards. Balhannoth Large Beast Aberration CR 23 (50,000 XP) AC 19 HP 802 (24d20 + 280) Spd. 20’ -----Attributes----- Str 29 (+9) Dex 27 (+8) Con 24 (+7) Int 8 (-1) Wis 20 (+5) Cha 3 (-4) -----Abilities----- Skills Insight +12, Stealth +15 Senses blindsight 60 ft., passive Perception 15 Languages Deepspeech Armor Natural Proficiency +7 -----Special Abilities----- Flailing Tentacles The balhannoth has six tentacles. If attacked directly, they have an AC of 17 and 61 (8d8 + 24) HP. If reduced to 0 HP, the tentacle is severed or otherwise neutralized (damage done to individual tentacles never applies to the balhannoth at any point). A neutralized tentacle takes a full day to regenerate, and cannot be used until then. Tentacles are never affected by area of effect attacks or spells. The...
  • 09:16 PM - ghabrel mentioned DMZ2112 in post 4e to 5e Balhannoth Conversion
    DMZ2112 Thank you very kindly for responding; I was getting antsy. Now let me go in order... I did add some stuns. I can understand how those could be excruciatingly frustrating... Opportunist was actually a direct grab from 4e. I don't remember 4e clearly enough to remember what combat advantage was back then, but I almost didn't include it because I didn't think it would be getting it often. That was before I transferred Reality Shift, and I wasn't even thinking about the advantage from stun until you mentioned it. In all honesty, I completely made up the slam and throw attacks. I may have gotten a little carried away. It made sense to me that getting chucked into a wall by a giant, aberrant slug might knock you out. I'll reconsider that. I never know what to give monsters as reactions. I even made some doppelganger variants with the Reactive feature (may make a reaction every turn), but didn't give them any special reactions. Any pointers you could give me there would be much appreciate...

Tuesday, 20th January, 2015

  • 12:13 AM - Hussar mentioned DMZ2112 in post Dragonlance Reflected in D&D5
    DMZ2112 - the only issue I might have with your KoS progression is that by making the switch at 4th level each time, the character never gains that second attack until 13th (total) character level. That's a pretty bit thing to delay for so long. I'm playing in Raunalyn's Dragonlance campaign using his Knight of Solamnia rules. I was thinking of switching into paladin with my fighter, but, then I realised that if I did that, I lose out on that second attack. It might be better to keep KoS as a single fighter class. Just my 2 cp

Tuesday, 9th December, 2014


Wednesday, 29th October, 2014

  • 08:55 PM - Mercurius mentioned DMZ2112 in post How do you think "Epic" play will work (if at all)?
    DMZ2112, I see you saying two things: 1. You don't like the use of the word "Epic" for high level play (with large numbers), even to the point of calling said usage "disingenuous." 2. You'd prefer that WotC focus on epic-as-adjective rather than Epic as high level, ramped up numbers. Again, I don't disagree with you that Epic shouldn't simply be larger numbers. As I said in my last post, I'd like to see more of a toolbox approach so that DM's can pick and choose what high level elements they want to use. I think you could also include a section on how to make a story more epic, that is, giving it a grand and heroic vibe to it. But whether or not the equation of Epic = high level/big numbers is right or wrong, it is what people associate it with, and how WotC has used the term - both in 3E and 4E. We'll see what they do with 5E, but you might have to accept that for the last 15 years, Epic = high level.

Tuesday, 16th September, 2014

  • 11:43 AM - pemerton mentioned DMZ2112 in post The Multiverse is back....
    ...ecially because you cut some of my text, so what you quote is not a sentence.) Are you asking what I meant when I referred to "the way that the 4e mechanics are put into service to make the setting work"? If you are, then here are some answers: the use of the "leader" mechanics, inspirational/non-magical healing, and power sources to smoothly eliminate PCs who draw power from the gods; the use of inherent bonuses to handle the relative absence of bonuses from magical items; the introduction of themes - in effect, expanding the paragon path and epic destiny mechanic into the heroic tier - to handle background, including psionic wild talents, as something separate from class. Are you asking why I am not sure that I actually want to use Dark Sun for roleplaying? If you are, the answer is the one I gave in the post you quoted: I don't see how Dark Sun easily incorporates the sort of player protagonism that I enjoy in RPGing and that I think 4e's mechanics are oriented towards. As DMZ2112 said, it's about "doom by status quo".

Tuesday, 27th May, 2014

  • 05:46 AM - Tovec mentioned DMZ2112 in post Archsuccubi
    Its not about the Manual of the Planes, its about the MM, which will be out this year, and there will be at least a page, maybe more devoted to the Succubus especially now that she is not just a single creature type, but a whole Catagory. Plus its just a personal guess, but I'm betting Malchanthet will be in the Succubus section as an example of an Archsuccubus. Maybe others as well, or other types of Succubus. Plus fluff on the Succubus' new ecology, and backstory. They are not going to wait to begin exploring the planes for the manual of the planes. I agree with DMZ2112. I think they should definitely keep that kind of thing out of the core books. Succubi are excellent creatures to put in a Monster Manual, they really are. WotC can also probably get away with making them "Any Evil" by whatever system they're using to define this. But it is a storm they don't want to walk into blindly as soon as the put Malcanthet and the word Devil or the word Demon anywhere near each other. And worse if they put neither title to her, I think. No one really cares about the minor other archfiends, they're not the big names that people are going to recognize and adhere to. If you saw.. Levistus as a Demon for some reason that would cause a lot of problems and more than a little bit of pain, but no where near as much as seeing Asmodeus to be the king of all Demon-kind. But this can be avoided to some extent. I've been advocating for such separation for months (years?) now. Have the default succubi, label it as a fiend. Don't specify how it fits in or what type of fiend ...

Thursday, 8th May, 2014

  • 05:51 PM - Scrivener of Doom mentioned DMZ2112 in post Anything new on release dates? (As of May 8)
    DMZ2112: It is strange that we only have conjecture at this point considering we are but three months away from GenCon. But I am sure WotC knows what they are doing.... fjw70: Thanks for solving that mystery: I think it did come out of a vague or even faulty recollection of the Pax East panel. :)

Saturday, 12th April, 2014

  • 03:47 PM - Plaguescarred mentioned DMZ2112 in post Dragonlance Lives
    DMZ2112 - I have the 3.5 Dragonlance Campaign Setting, my players just didn't play much 3rd. And it didn't see print for 4E. So it will be fun to see support again for DL.

Saturday, 29th March, 2014

  • 11:42 AM - Omegaxicor mentioned DMZ2112 in post Help Improving "fetch" quests
    @nomotog wow, I hadn't thought of that, I don't know that hiding the ingredient in the gears of a trap will end up as a success, I imagine my players wandering around looking for it...FOREVER :P @ MichealSomething the second link seems a bit redundant, since it appears in the video, but that is great, I might borrow that quest for the future. @DMZ2112 I like those ideas, particularly being attacked by other people who want the item, I think I need to decide on the ingredients to decide what else I can add around them Thanks everyone, I'll have a think and hopefully come up with a good idea EDIT: I have tried everything to get "MichealSomething" to link but it doesn't

Tuesday, 11th March, 2014


Wednesday, 8th January, 2014

  • 09:58 PM - Grogg of the North mentioned DMZ2112 in post Dungeon crawls = narrow hallway combat & door jam combats, ugh!
    I agree with DMZ2112. Combat is noisy. Have either monsters in the room the PCs are fighting at circle around and attack from behind or have monsters from unexplored rooms come join the fun! Nothing will scare the pants off your wizard than a big nasty undead walking up behind him and draining his life force away. If you can, throw an incorporeal undead into the mix. Have it float through the fighters and go right after the casters. Or if there are intelligent undead, like wights, have them attack and retreat, leading the PCs into an ambush. You can even give them ranged weapons. Lastly, have a door completely barricaded shut from the side your PCs are on. Chances are they'll want to see what's behind it. After they pry of the barricade and open the door, they can find a tentacled eldritch abomination from beyond space and time. It reaches out, grabs someone and drags them off to a time and place unknowable to mere mortals. Your group may or may not appreciate that. :P

Friday, 13th December, 2013


Friday, 22nd November, 2013


Thursday, 17th October, 2013

  • 04:57 PM - I'm A Banana mentioned DMZ2112 in post Wandering Monsters: The Little Guys
    Basically what you're saying here is that YOUR IDEA of a goblin should trump everyone else's. I want a D&D game where everyone's own idea of what a goblin should be trumps everyone else's at their own table. So Pathfinder fans can have fun with funny little sadists. And DMZ2112 can use his own goblins. In fact, if they follow 4e monster design principles in that there is a math gospel (something I'm pretty in favor of), it should be pretty easy to do that: altering statblocks should be no problem.

Monday, 30th September, 2013

  • 05:04 AM - Challenger RPG mentioned DMZ2112 in post 7 Advantages to Retelling your Adventures
    @DMZ2112 : I couldn't agree with you more. I never read that particular interview with Gary Gygax (sounds really interesting) but it's something he would say. Also, it makes a lot of sense. I'm also, first and foremost, a storytelling GM. I really enjoy writing, creating adventures, and the retelling of tales of adventure. I think the embellishment of the game after the fact is just as important as the role-playing going on during the game. In fact, I'm sure many times the game was just played as the players themselves would act naturally, but many things developed afterwards in the retelling. It's interesting you should mention it because I recall one game I ran at a convention where a few people were really 'forcing' themselves to act as their characters and the whole effect was a little bit odd. You almost get better game-play when people don't quite worry so much about properly portraying their characters and let the characters develop naturally as part fictions and part reflections of th...

Tuesday, 24th September, 2013

  • 09:23 PM - Cadence mentioned DMZ2112 in post Kender are a core race?
    ...potential DM had a reasonably strong picture in their head of the basics of the campaign world the story will be set-in? In that case, if the player suggests a race and rationale for them being in the world, and the DM still can't see it, is saying no arrogant on the part of the DM or just part of job they volunteered for? (e.g. a Kitsune ninja in an Egyptian themed game, a Dwarf Cleric in a human only world with a specified pantheon, ... ) These are all D&D creatures, and belong in D&D. There is no such thing as setting-exclusive. If it's a good idea for your games, you crib it. If it's not, it's not hurting you by being there. And since no one is making you play a kender, or use them at your table, it's not hurting you to let someone else play them. In a way, aren't all D&D creatures "setting-exclusive"? If your campaign world doesn't have some race (humans? elves? dwarves?), I wonder if having them integrated throughout the core rule-book would be kind of annoying. As @DMZ2112 notes in post #33, the rule book sets up default expectations in the player's heads. With extra races you are in the position of having to tell them what limitations your world is operating under instead of presenting it from the positive side of all the wonderful opportunities they have. For me, having Tieflings and Dragonborn and whatnot in the 4E PHB's is part of what gave me a bad first impression of that edition... out of the gate it announced "we're not going to line up with traditional-D&D, get over it". I'd like the traditional classic core races presented as being the standard ones that usually pop-up (but check out your DM's campaign notes!). Having one other race from each of several settings presented in the core book as "hey, look at these cool ideas to expand the basic world (and go buy some campaign books!)" would be fine by me too. And having all the extra ones from 4E listed as "other popular races that may be in many campaigns" seems reasonable to me for inter-ed...

Monday, 23rd September, 2013

  • 03:58 AM - Challenger RPG mentioned DMZ2112 in post How to Teach a GM to be a Player?
    ...y kind of embarrassing seeing as I'd begged everyone to play, but I just couldn't keep my focus on the game. Throughout the 5 hour session, I was a 0-level farmer the entire game forced to be a servant to a crazy old wizard. Apart from failing miserably at the basest of tasks, I wasn't really allowed to do much. I guess you could say I was spoiled by playing 1st level heroes all the time, and that it was a great role-playing opportunity. However, there wasn't even a single battle in the entire time I was playing (and I'm still 0-level in that game as far as I know). The other players enjoyed themselves immensely so it must have been just me. Mishihari Lord: Kudos on trying not to be 'that guy'. I think most good GMs try to do the same, but it sounds like you've succeeded. I'm not sure I actually agree with the advice in the column, as most of it has basically been used to try to keep me in line as a player. However, thanks for saying some of it was helpful (if not the premise). @DMZ2112 : Well, I guess I agree and disagree. To some extent I agree that a GM needs to have a tough skin to do his job. Some of my players say they'll never GM me as a player, but that can make it hard for them to GM games. I know I might not be the best player, but if we work together (and not against each other) I think the only way to pull it off is to keep trying. If you just quit, you can never succeed. The part where I disagree is with the points in the article being perfectly valid. I know I'm the one who wrote it, but they were mostly tactics used on me by other GMs. I guess I may have come up with a few of them myself, and it's good to know they can be helpful. Also, it's interesting you should say they can be used against other kinds of player entitlement. I'd never thought of that, but it's quite true. *** Thanks for the great comments, everyone! I'll definitely be passing on this info to some players-turned-GMs. I really like the idea of giving the former GM administrative ...

Saturday, 13th July, 2013

  • 03:24 AM - pemerton mentioned DMZ2112 in post L&L 1/7/2013 The Many Worlds of D&D
    On the issue of "creation" vs "destruction", and "expansion" vs "invalidation". This depends heavily on whether one cares for the tone/theme/resonance of a story element, or what one might call its "procedural" details. For me, fusing the Shadow Plane (as characterised in quotes in my previous post), the Glooms of Hades and the Negative Material Plane does not invalidate anything, but rather validates the theme and tone of these elements, because (to borrow DMZ2112's phrase) I no longer have to come up with ad hoc and unsatisfying reasons why two thematically near-identical things are really two. It's only if I'm focused on procedural matters like which spells work in which plane, or the fact that shadows (from the Plane of Shadow) suck STR whereas wraiths (from the Negative Material Plane) suck levels, that the diference between these elements has any significance. For someone coming from my perspective 4e is validating of the D&D cosmological tradition. That's why I thought when I got it, and still think today, that Worlds & Monsters is one of the best D&D books I own.


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Friday, 24th May, 2019

  • 01:54 PM - Ramaster quoted DMZ2112 in post Another Look at the D&D Essentials Kit
    Fudging die rolls doesn't protect you from having to own your mistakes or design well. If anything, it makes you more accountable for your decisions. Players don't have to trust a dungeon master who doesn't fudge. Maintaining player trust while fudging is dungeon mastery hard mode. If you decide that the players have to climb a very smooth wall with a high climb DC and then they all fail their checks and you fudge it so that they succeed and the adventure can continue, then that's just a badly designed encounter. You are not doing anything "on hard mode", you are just compensating on the spot for a previous mistake. DMing "on hard mode" would be to put the PCs on a situation where they thinking that climbing said wall is hard when it's actually easy or, EVEN BETTER (and what I'm trying for currently), putting them on a situation where failing to climb the wall has negative consequences but the adventure not only continues, it just gets more interesting.
  • 05:43 AM - MNblockhead quoted DMZ2112 in post Another Look at the D&D Essentials Kit
    This makes sense to me. I have been watching the Hasbro game shelves at my local Target for years waiting for first the D&D4 and then the D&D5 starter sets to show up, and they never have. Not super happy about the circumstances, but more exposure is good. Folks who shop at FLGSes are likely to wait anyway. Fudging die rolls doesn't protect you from having to own your mistakes or design well. If anything, it makes you more accountable for your decisions. Players don't have to trust a dungeon master who doesn't fudge. Maintaining player trust while fudging is dungeon mastery hard mode. The D&D Starter set (the original Phandelver one) was sold in my local targets. This is important because it is priced right, and packaged attractively enough, that it will be bought by parents and relatives and also as birthday presents for your kids school friends. Target is probably the best venue in the United States today for broadening the D&D consumer base.

Monday, 20th May, 2019

  • 06:34 PM - Dire Bare quoted DMZ2112 in post The Final Announcement from The Descent Live Stream: Eberron Hardcover
    And yet, until yesterday morning, it was going to be either Planescape or Greyhawk. I even heard some Spelljammer expectations, because of the "clear link" from Saltmarsh's nautical content. I guess I could have been clearer with my criticism, but I thought the tinfoil hat reference was plain enough. What I was trying to say is that despite what a large portion of the community seems to believe, WotC doesn't drop hints. They tell us what they are going to do, and then they do it, while certain employees muddy the water to keep the hype level high. I think you and I live on different planets. WotC most certainly has been dropping all sorts of hints and teases regarding Planescape, Greyhawk, Spelljammer, and Eberron. Some fans have taken those teases and ran into some strange territory with them. It was never "clear" that the 2019 setting book was going to be any setting until the final announcement dropped at the end of the stream Sunday. There were lots of folks making assumption...
  • 05:33 AM - Dire Bare quoted DMZ2112 in post The Final Announcement from The Descent Live Stream: Eberron Hardcover
    . . . and is willing to wholesale mislead their fans at worst. Lesson learned, right everyone? Huh? Where do you get that WotC misleads fans? News to me.
  • 04:52 AM - kenmarable quoted DMZ2112 in post The Final Announcement from The Descent Live Stream: Eberron Hardcover
    WotC doesn't broadcast their intentions at best and is willing to wholesale mislead their fans at worst. Um, what? Releasing a mini version of the setting last year that they even said was the precursor of a hardcover, having Adventure League games based in the setting, and in just the past few months multiple playtest versions of a class deeply tied to the setting isnít really blatantly broadcasting their intentions? Iím not sure any way to be more obvious until they actually announced the product!

Sunday, 19th May, 2019

  • 09:45 PM - (un)reason quoted DMZ2112 in post The Great Wheel: Positioning Gehenna and Tarterus/Carceri
    I feel like, by Planescape's own rules, if the Greek gods did this and were successful, Carceri and Gehenna would flip, or at least Carceri would move to the opposite side of the Grey Wastes. We see this phenomenon initated by mortals -- in Mechanus' Arcadian domains, transplanted accidentally by the Harmonium, and in the succession of Plague-Morts (Plagues-Mort?) on the first level of the Abyss. Surely a concerted effort like this on the part of the Olympians could shift a whole plane in the wheel? This is the sort of neat stuff that I'm nervous about Planescape 5 possibly handwaving away as irrelevant. Get rid of magic weapon plus-loss across planar boundaries, sure. Same with clerics losing levels. You could even make a compelling argument for spell keys requiring too much bookkeeping for the amount of fun they bring to the table. But a Planescape that isn't rooted in 'belief as geography' just doesn't feel like Planescape. It all depends on ratios of prisoners to jailers. As l...

Saturday, 18th May, 2019

  • 09:53 PM - Dannyalcatraz quoted DMZ2112 in post What is missing in 5E that you had in other editions?
    What I miss the most is personalization. D&D5 has good customization, but it doesn't have the breadth of options necessary for real personalization. AD&D2 and D&D3 both excelled at that (and were often waking nightmares as a result). One manís waking nightmare is anotherís paradise.
  • 08:54 PM - Demetrios1453 quoted DMZ2112 in post Greyhawk is the official setting for Ghosts of Saltmarsh
    I want nothing more than to just shut up and applaud. It is nice to see this sidebar any time it turns up. It is nice to see Greyhawk as the "default" rather than one of the "options." But my question is this: what does the rest of the book say on the topic? Does it actually matter? Does the lore of the sourcebook reflect this choice, or is it all just sandpapered down to generic fantasy? Greyhawk isn't just a fancy logo. This sidebar is nice, but no matter which setting is listed at the top, it's just fanservice. Where's the beef? We know from previews that all deities mentioned are Greyhawk ones. There's a location that was a temple of Procan that is now overrun by worshipers of Erythnul, for example.
  • 08:27 AM - briggart quoted DMZ2112 in post The New Dungeons & Dragons Storyline for 2019 Leaked Ahead of Live Stream
    "D&D Essentials," huh? Really, guys? Too soon. In fact, it will never not be too soon. Just remove that word from the branding lexicon now. Maybe set it on fire, maybe pee on the ashes. Better safe than sorry. well, urine+ash is a pretty good fertilizer, so ... :D

Wednesday, 15th May, 2019

  • 05:07 AM - MNblockhead quoted DMZ2112 in post Greyhawk Elevator Pitch?
    Greyhawk: Gygax's history, your future. It's tough to sum up what makes Greyhawk great in a sound bite. It is prototypical and it is not for everyone. It's flat out a different animal to most other fantasy settings, which generally follow the Forgotten Realms model, because people and events are inherently more interesting than political borders and weather patterns. So the obvious but unhelpful answer to the question, "What makes Greyhawk exciting?" is, "nothing," at least, not in that context, and I think a lot of folks stop looking, at that point. Maybe they should. But for me, what makes Greyhawk exciting is the freedom to make it my own while still having a lot of the critical information players need to engage the setting available immediately. <SNIP> Greyhawk is regarded as "low magic," but that's really not what sets it apart. What sets it apart is that it is "low story." This. Greyhawk is not a "good read." I don't know that I've ever sat down and read the old box se...

Wednesday, 10th April, 2019


Tuesday, 9th April, 2019

  • 03:01 PM - Blue quoted DMZ2112 in post How to deal with death in RPG?
    You haven't had a disappointing session as gamemaster in 16 years? :: patronizing smile:: Okay. This isn't what he said. He was referring to your comment "That sometimes the players deal the gamemaster an unwelcome surprise. " What the players do isn't unwelcome - it's the very lifeblood of an RPG. regardless if it's the path the DM envisioned. I can have a disappointing session for a lot of reasons. Because I was expecting options A or B and the players came up with option C isn't one of them.
  • 02:39 PM - Blue quoted DMZ2112 in post How to deal with death in RPG?
    As gamemasters, we are rightly frustrated when a player trivially circumvents an aspect of our game that we put a lot of effort into... No, why would you? Heck I put effort into more plots than I know the PCs can deal with and see which ones they do. I routinely let effort not see the table. Forcing players to focus on what I spend effort on instead of what they want to do leads to railroading, and as a player I really dislike it so I try not to do it as a DM. Like an author, a DM must not be afraid to kill their darlings. So yes, I kill PCs. But /I/ decide when it's a good idea, not my dice. Just like all the other important stuff in my campaign. Random dungeon generators are fun but they make for terrible campaign guides. I would never want to get into an adversarial mode with my players, where they are granted plot armor so they can't die except when I intend to take it away. I plan deadly encounters regularly, but then at the table I'm not just my player's biggest cheerleader,...
  • 04:33 AM - Joseph Nardo quoted DMZ2112 in post New D&D Adventure Reveal On 17th May at 'The Descent'
    They go nuts over video game lockboxes, too, and governments the world over are investigating those marketing practices. Forgive me; I'm developing these thoughts as I write them, so I may not be crystal clear. It's a difficult problem for me to put my finger on. I am deeply, deeply gratified that what Wizards is doing is working to recruit new blood, and it is good to see the game marching toward being mainstream. It's better than some video game, and always has been. It deserves extra attention in today's play-focused culture. But yes, the way WotC has pivoted to sell the sizzle and not the steak, and the way that the community is complicit in that, does make me uncomfortable. There was a time when these books were hotly anticipated (admittedly, by a much smaller audience) based on their content, and not the celebrity endorsements, Twitch streams, and $300 Los Angeles weekend galas. I see what this pivot has done to AAA video games, and no, I don't agree that meaningless hype is har...

Monday, 8th April, 2019

  • 11:00 PM - vecna00 quoted DMZ2112 in post Announcement after The Descent
    http://www.enworld.org/forum/content.php?5773-WotC-s-Nathan-Stewart-Teases-New-D-D-Setting-Book-in-2019 Good pull! I forgot about that one!
  • 07:32 PM - Gradine quoted DMZ2112 in post New D&D Adventure Reveal On 17th May at 'The Descent'
    They go nuts over video game lockboxes, too, and governments the world over are investigating those marketing practices. Don't get me wrong; I'm no fan of exploiting people's enjoyment of surprises/reveals to essentially hook them into gambling. That :):):):) is shady as hell. That said, that enjoyment itself is actually quite legitimate, and a J.J. Abrams-esque "mystery box"-style marketing campaign that plays into that is significantly more harmless than turning kids into gambling addicts. I am deeply, deeply gratified that what Wizards is doing is working to recruit new blood, and it is good to see the game marching toward being mainstream. It's better than some video game, and always has been. It deserves extra attention in today's play-focused culture. But yes, the way WotC has pivoted to sell the sizzle and not the steak, and the way that the community is complicit in that, does make me uncomfortable. You might be speaking for yourself here when you say that WotC is not del...
  • 07:24 PM - Parmandur quoted DMZ2112 in post New D&D Adventure Reveal On 17th May at 'The Descent'
    They go nuts over video game lockboxes, too, and governments the world over are investigating those marketing practices. Forgive me; I'm developing these thoughts as I write them, so I may not be crystal clear. It's a difficult problem for me to put my finger on. I am deeply, deeply gratified that what Wizards is doing is working to recruit new blood, and it is good to see the game marching toward being mainstream. It's better than some video game, and always has been. It deserves extra attention in today's play-focused culture. But yes, the way WotC has pivoted to sell the sizzle and not the steak, and the way that the community is complicit in that, does make me uncomfortable. There was a time when these books were hotly anticipated (admittedly, by a much smaller audience) based on their content, and not the celebrity endorsements, Twitch streams, and $300 Los Angeles weekend galas. I see what this pivot has done to AAA video games, and no, I don't agree that meaningless hype ...
  • 06:11 PM - Parmandur quoted DMZ2112 in post New D&D Adventure Reveal On 17th May at 'The Descent'
    There are only seven arms in the smaller image, which seems like an odd change to make if the picture was numerologically significant. Note that the smaller image is not just a crop, it's a digital recomp. And Tito didn't get 'dodgy' in response to Garrett's tweet, he got rude. I'm as big a fan of speculation as the next geek when it is warranted, but this recent tendency to just create evidence wholesale where there is none makes me uncomfortable. We might be getting a planar setting book. There are certainly fiends and a celestial in this picture. Nathan Stewart says we're getting a setting book in 2019. But he also said WotC had no plans for new settings last year, less than a month before Ravnica was announced. For my part, I'm not holding my breath for a Planescape logo. I was flabbergasted when we "got" Eberron after MToF, and WotC greenlighting Holly Conrad's Trapped in the Birdcage; and Ravnica after the number of times they said there'd be no new settings until the old ...

Thursday, 4th April, 2019

  • 11:44 PM - pemerton quoted DMZ2112 in post How to deal with death in RPG?
    DMZ2112 I'm posting that I don't have disappointing sessions. You either seem to not believe me, or . . . be angry about it? (I'm not sure.) I'm sure my players have some sessions that they enjoy more than others. I have sessions that I enjoy more than others. For instance, I enjoyed my second-to-last Classic Traveller session more than my last one. But neither was disappointing. I play with my friends - depending exactly how you measure same group it's been the same group for either ten or twenty years. Most of us in the group started playing with Moldvay Basic in the early 80s. One started playing with Rolemaster, in our group, in the late 90s. There are some things you have posted about GMing that don't describe my approach to RPGing. Whether or not they have any bearing on my failure to have disappointing sessions I don't know: I've never for a moment bought the line that the gamemaster is ever not a storyteller. We wear a lot of hats, and some are more ostentatious than ...
  • 06:36 PM - S'mon quoted DMZ2112 in post How to deal with death in RPG?
    That, in my opinion, is a failure state. I don't mean to imply that I always avoid it, just that I always try. Well, I want my players to have fun, that adds to my fun, but all I can do is provide the opportunity. I can't guarantee fun. Maybe they just weren't in the mood that night. Maybe their idea of fun is incompatible with that of the other players. It's not happened in many years, but back when I started running 3e in public in 2008 I did have a couple players complain when their PCs died. One guy (who turned up one session with his 4 hp wizard-1 & got chopped up by a bone golem in 'Rahasia') was so traumatised I saw him talking about it on a message board 5-6 years later as a paradigm example of bad DMing! But set against that are many hundreds of very happy players and many campaigns often lasting many years. Anyway I'm a better GM now and I run a better ruleset, so not much of that kind of thing.


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DMZ2112's Downloads

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The Halfling Horde (Levels 7-9; Old Tower]
The Halfling Horde is a Dungeons & Dragons Next adventure for four to six characters of 7th through 9th level. The adventure involves a nomadic horde of halflings coming into conflict with a town, Round River, newly founded in their sacred grounds. ...
14877 0 1 Saturday, 1st March, 2014, 04:14 PM Saturday, 1st March, 2014, 04:14 PM

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