View Profile: AbdulAlhazred - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 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
    Today, 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
    Yesterday, 03:27 PM
    Why not CON? Like other stamina-related feats.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:09 AM
    Or, alternatively, and still well within the bounds of HP as explained by Mr. Gygax, this particular giant, while just as tough as other giants, simply lacks the connections to fate and luck needed to avoid a particularly skilled thrust made by a dwarf fighter with his trusty bastard sword on the rd of Crackrock in the Forest of Grin, land of Kinergh. It is really that simple. And when we are...
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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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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 04:40 AM
    'legitimately'? Show me the place where AD&D says DMs have to roll hit dice. AD&D allows for a wide range of values for the hit points of creatures, it is that simple. The minion rules imply nothing. If you want a lot of them, then you have them. But again, these aren't 'weak monsters', they are simply RELATIVELY weak compared to the party, and that weakness is being expressed in terms of...
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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: ...
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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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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 05:32 AM
    Add in powers that don't refer to spells and you've got a lot of what 4e monsters have, except 5e monsters are still lacking really good design in my book. Partly a problem with 5e's combat system... Anyway, you can do a few different minion variants. Giving them a higher than 1 point kill threshold is not bad, say 1 point plus 3/5 levels rounded down, roughly. It tends to make it possible for...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 03:58 AM
    Actually, this is nonsense. In my old 2e campaign I had a setup where the party would almost immediately run into a Hill Giant. How many hit points did this Hill Giant have? 9! Perfectly legal Hill Giant right out of the MM. It was pretty amusing, because here's this monstrous and terrifying creature, but on average a fighter with a bastard sword (2-16 damage vs large IIRC) will kill it in 1-2...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 03:27 AM
    While this is technically true in a very narrow sense, it isn't really a very honest reading of the rules of an RPG. All RPGs are open-ended affairs. They need not spell out how air or gravity or even money work by default. Likewise D&D need not spell out how weapon degradation works. In 4e and 5e monster equipment is deemed basically worthless, which can be fictionalized to 'it is degraded'. In...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 03:17 AM
    While 'classic' D&D never really spelled this out in plain words, it was also the normal expectation there. If an enemy was helpless (note this works in 4e as well) then they wouldn't get a defense, and in 4e and in many GM's determination in earlier editions they would be CDGed. Rationalization for the 1e assassination table was similar, the assassin was basically getting a chance at a...
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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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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 06:08 AM
    It isn't idiotic or absurd at all, it is simply practical, and it makes perfectly good narrative sense. There is, in world terms, no such thing as '1 hit point'. Just like you're trying state below, some characters can, and some cannot, withstand some sort of an attack (you can call it 'unit of kinetic energy' if you want, though I think that kind of thinking is also unsupportable, but one thing...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 09:49 PM
    Again, interesting because we have agreement and disagreement here. I agree that the "simmer" (let's call it) of Game of Thrones has been essential to the cognitive workspace that viewers inhabit as they watch it unfold. But for my part, (more food!) oversteeping something can lead to a bitter, wrong-noted product. When I look at two of the primary character arcs that were just recently...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 09:03 PM
    See, this is interesting to me (and one of the reasons I brought up gaming as a corollary or coincidental reference-point if you'd like). I've enjoyed the ramped-up pacing. If there is one complaint I've had about Game of Thrones and other modern media (Avengers Endgame, The Last Jedi, and Black Panther come to mind), its a combination of pacing and (mostly related) poor cutting (including...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 06:08 PM
    DW and AW work off of the "shared intuitions/understandings of the fiction" model above, very much. However, a couple things work in concert to constrain GMs very much: 1) The explicit, focused, clear Principles, Agenda, and Move structure. 2) The fact that the game will push back against you if you deviate from (1). 3) The fact that if you just follow (1) devoutly, the game works...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 05:38 PM
    Its been far from perfect yes. But I enjoyed it because I enjoy media in a very focused way. Its probably similar to the way I enjoy my gaming. In fact, I would say that the issues that I've seen being put forth by hoards of people on Reddit and by personal nerd friends have great parallel to TTRPG incredulity and disdain. Unsurprisingly, on these boards at least, I'm often on the opposite...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 05:17 PM
    I’ll second that emotion. Loved it. Loved this season (save for perhaps 3-4 scenes and transitions...which is a minor quibble). Clearly I’m just a bad, shallow Game of Thrones’er.
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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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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 12:46 AM
    OK, so how does this not fit with 4e? I don't get it. Not saying I buy this as a viable way to reason about this kind of thing, but if we're going to work with it, then how does 4e not do this the same? OK, then give me the fiction that works for both of them. I'm not interested in being told that something can or cannot be done, SHOW ME. Ah, now we get to the nut of it, you just...
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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...
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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. ...
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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...
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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...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 04:41 AM
    Is it? And if so, doesn't that mean that there's a point at which you cannot say, in 1e in this case, that a fixed amount of damage still represents a specific fiction. Its unavoidable, and what you're saying is just admitting it! Now, I used my 11th level PC with a lot of hit points as an example, but your average 5th level fighter with a 15 CON has an average of 32 hit points. He can already...
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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...
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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!
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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...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Saturday, 11th May, 2019, 11:13 PM
    So, my 96 hit point 11th level 1e Ranger can stand around and let 20 longbow arrows pierce his body and what? He simply doesn't die from having all those arrow shafts impaling him? What sort of realistic is that? This is clearly balderdash. 6 points of damage to a level 1 1e fighter means "skewered through by a clothyard shaft and bleeding out" whereas for Cargorn (the level 11 ranger) it means...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 11th May, 2019, 05:31 AM
    Not always, in my experience. But in any event, what is the advantage in having the guard by my old friend Frances? Does the GM have no challeng to put before the players (and their characters) except that of getting past the gate? Huh? I don't think that the main purpose of RPG rules is to curb, or manage, dysfunction. They're to guide the play of the game. I don't think my table is...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 11th May, 2019, 04:12 AM
    I've made no assertion about your experience, or anyone else's but my own. I've said nothing about whether or not what you are doing is RPGing. As for your analogies: some unpunctuated writing is interesting avant gardism; most is just bad writing. Mutatis mutandis for film and theatre. I'm not making a claim about what can be done in avant garde RPGing. I have expressed an opinion about...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 11th May, 2019, 04:00 AM
    I don't understand where this "monotone" red herring is coming from. I have compared RPGing to a certain sort of structured conversation. Maybe I just hang out with unusual people, but I can't think of anyone I know who converses in a monotone. People talk more loudly, and/or more quickly, when they are excited. They snap when they are angry or frustated. In short, they manifest emotions and...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 11th May, 2019, 02:56 AM
    I think we are broadly agreed on this. Perhaps a first! This, too, is very much in the neighbourhood of what I'm saying.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 03:30 PM
    You seem fairly outraged by my posts in this thread, but I didn't compare anyone's game to movies with terrible actors or unpunctuated writing. Which appears to be what you're doing here. What makes a movie with terrible acting suck is that a movie is, to a significant extent, constituted by its acting. But what about RPGing demands thespianism? I'm playing my character. I'm exploring...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 10:01 AM
    This seems to point towards dysfunctionality at the table. Also, what does trusting the DM to tell a good story have to do with anything? When did D&D referees become storytellers?! Also also, there's this undercurrent in the thread that the player, by establishing that the guard is his/her PC's friend Frances, is somehow "cheating" or unfairly/improperly subverting a challenge. As if the...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 05:09 AM
    ROFLMAO! I do remember that I liked the Yamato (Japanese WWII super-battleship) because the 48,000 yard range of its main battery was pretty much off the edge of most tables, even at the scale we used for Sea Power.
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 05:01 AM
    If I remember correctly, each of those games requires 2 4x8 plywood game tables (we had something like 20 of these in our club/hobby shop). So it took up a very substantial amount of room, and there are various cards and whatnot that have to be laid out as well. TBH my recollection of the actual mechanics of these games is pretty vague. They are effectively not really playable games, more like...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 12:39 AM
    I think your GM was meant to say "He seems to be truthful"! Whether that's mere semantic sleight of hand, or a substantive compliance with a principle for allocating narrative authority, I'm not sure. Well, quite. There's always been some ambiguity in how D&D presents its equipment rules: is the starting gp total a resource pool for equippage-by-way-of-points-buy (which is how I've...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 03:21 PM
    I haven't kept secret my reasons for talking about this stuff. I think that the rules the GM controls the environment, the GM narrates the consequencdes of action, the player decides what his/her PC thinks don't settle all questions of authority. There are aspects of the environment - stuff (equipment) and people (friends and family) - which are (apt to be conceived of as) extensions of the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 02:42 PM
    I agree that RPGs are games. But it would be a cold day in hell before I'd trade in my RPG time for euchre! I'm not sure that content quite captures what I'm talking about, although it's clearly in the neighbourhood. It's the participatory creation, which - on the player side - is about response as protagonist. It would be a sad thing if the best pitch we could make for RPGing is Would you...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 02:40 PM
    Your memory is correct - I've never played BitD. The only PbtA game I've played is a bit (not a lot) of Dungeon World.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 02:32 PM
    Nor does rolling a certain result on a die cause weapons to break down. We're talking about systems for deciding what happens in the fiction. Having a deadly result somewhere in the middle of the charts doesn't affect the odds of rolling an unmodified deadly result, but does change the odds of getting a deadly result if Ambush skill is used to modify a crit.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 08:52 AM
    I've snipped the middle because I think the top and tail are closely connected. I want to build on the idea of a live performance. I don't know if you play any music yourself - I'm a (very) amateur guitarist, who plays for his own pleasure, sometimes for friends and family, occasionally for students. These are all contexts where who I am, who it is who's making the music, matters as much or...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 05:44 AM
    I think Gygax, as most game designers of that time and in some respects to this day, believed that there had to be a certain degree of authenticity. He was creating a fantasy RPG with heroes, swords, dragons, dungeons, wizards, etc. It had to reflect an understanding of the genre, and be relatable to real life in some degree, of course. Just like a fantasy novel must. So it is understood that the...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 03:56 AM
    Just to be amusing, since I have really nothing I want to expand on or disagree with, I actually belonged to a club which played The Campaign for North Africa. They then went on to play a full integrated run of War in the East, War in the West, and War in the Pacific. Ever seen the Earth at 30 miles per hex? She be big. That same group was bursting with D&D and other RPG players. We happily...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 03:42 AM
    Not sure how you are disagreeing with me. D&D is NOT realistic, both Gary and I agree on that!
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 03:38 AM
    Which game are you talking about? I mean, there ARE games where this is arguably the case, BRP-based games like CoC and games like Traveler (which has only 'attribute damage') would be possible contenders. Even Dungeon World could be looked at in that light, though I would think it clashes with other aspects of its 'narrative over mechanics' design. Certainly D&D, any edition, does NOT fall...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 9th May, 2019, 12:36 AM
    Because Rolemaster players feel that being lectured by a D&D player about what realism in RPGing means is like an Australian lecturing a Canadian about what cold and snow are all about. Or to put it another way: I've done 100s and 100s of hours of process sim RPGing - far more than Maxperson has. Maxperson has, as far as I know, never played RM, never played RQ, never played C&S, and maybe has...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 03:49 PM
    You are wrong. I don't know what you're defending. As I already posted, I GMed Rolemaster continuously for about 19 years. As you may know, the slogan for RM is "Get Real, Get Rolemaster". I own and have read dozens of RM rulebooks, containing dozens and dozens of mechanical subsystems. I'm familiar with the concept of "realism" in RPGing. But I can't make sense of what you're arguing for....
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 08:45 AM
    I'm not "smearing" anything - I'm enquiring about a particular aspect of the environment (namely, equipment) and who has principal authority over it. I don't think that having rope is a usurpation of GM authority. Because I think it's a clear exception to the GM's authority over establishing the environment. As for how play is going to involve friends and family consistently with the player...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 08:02 AM
    I suspect they're reviewing the recent Kickstarted version rather than the 4-page PDF that I downloaded 5 or so years ago. The stuff that you have quoted reminds me of Kenneth Hite's old book Nightmares of Mine.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 07:57 AM
    You said "If the DM presents nothing but bare bones facts without any exposition, no oratory, no actual theatricalism (if I could coin a term), then that DM is going to lose his players to other forms of media which ARE far more entertaining." That seems to rest on a premise, which I think is plausible, that leisure time is finite and hence RPGing has to offer something worthwhile to its...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 07:54 AM
    Like I said, maybe the idea is that players play PCs who fit with the mood, and the GM picks up and manages (perhaps manages away) all the potential adverse consequences. I haven't got REH's The Scalet Citadel in front of me, but as I recall it there are two main traps/hazards: there's a pit, which Conan avoids falling into in the dark due to his uncanny senses (in game terms, this could be...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 07:50 AM
    There are rulebooks that recommend that, in such circumstances, the GM should make the check. Two I can think of off the top of my head are Classic Traveller (1977) and the 4e D&D DMG (2008). The 5e Basic PDF (pp 59, 69) appears to suggest the use of Passive Perception in lieu of the player or the GM actually rolling a die. To me that seems like a fairly simple variant on the GM rolls...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 07:33 AM
    I don't really know what you mean by this. Hriston has a system - whetstones on equipment lists - for "representing" (in some tenable sense of that word) something that occurs in real life, namely, warriors sharpening their blades. But you say that that is not an element of realism. Declaring that a PC comes down with a disease every time the clock strikes during the course of play...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 07:24 AM
    These two posts were made within a span of less than 2 hours. How am I meant to reconcile them?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 07:21 AM
    No. EDIT: I was talking about the ways in which empirical claims can be justified. Thinking really hard isn't one of those ways.
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 05:33 AM
    "In those days", come now, the horse potatoes are dropping with great regularity here. I'll accept this statement, sure. That would be expected, though I'd not be surprised if other considerations came into play. And what other definition of 'realism' do you think exists? Apparently you DO think there's some other, because one thing is for sure. The one YOU use ain't nothin' like the...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 03:34 AM
    That is one huge rabbit hole. I think it is more like a dragon's den! Who wants to march into that thing??! I was a wargamer before I was an RPG gamer. I don't think there is a different definition of realistic. There may be some differences in the two genre of game, not surprisingly, but the same considerations faced Gygax in designing D&D as faced Gygax in designing Chain Mail. In either...
    2689 replies | 84854 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 11:04 AM
    I didn't realise that you were referring to equipment in that passage. I'm surprised that you think equipment - which is a central feature of D&D RPGing - is some sort of marginal or "twlight" example of game play. Well, I wasn't asking you to argue! But I was wondering if you agree with me that - clearly, it seems to me - the player gets to narrate taing stuff out of his/her (which is to say,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 10:44 AM
    The bit of that rabbit hole that I ignored was the completely unsubstantiated assertion that the meaning of "realism" in RPGing has changed in the past 40 years. Obviously I missed that memo (despite playing Rolemaster continuously from early 1990 to late 2008!). Are you suggesting that if I open a book about weapon-inflicted wounds, or fighting styles, it won't catalogue weapons by die size?
    2689 replies | 84854 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 06:42 AM
    I dunno - I don't play games in which "establishing mood" is an important part of play. But there are a number of posters for whom this seems very important, perhaps even the principal goal of play. Maybe they don't declare searches every 5 feet because (i) that would spoil the mood, and (ii) they rely on the GM to regulate the number and effect of traps. But really, you'd have to ask them.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 04:40 AM
    I know that I don't understand where you draw the boundaries of "gaming the GM". In my 4e game, the sorcerer PC has the Dominant Winds power: as a move action fly one target (self or ally) a certain number of squares: for the sake of the example, let's say that this was 40'. On one occasion the character was at the bottom of a chasm - let's say 200'. The player tells me (as GM) that his PC...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 04:31 AM
    This is more-or-less a repost of what I said: it seems to me quite hard to (i) allow that PCs have friends and family like Frances, and (ii) have those friends and family be part of the ingame situation, and (iii) maintain a strong player/GM divide over narration of the environment, yet (iv) never have the GM tell the players what their PC's think and feel. In the case of equipment, the exact...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 04:19 AM
    Is that the sound of my joke going over your head? I saw your joke and raised it. Hussar got it.
    573 replies | 19788 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 04:15 AM
    Would you agree that equipment is on the player side of the table? So that a player who declares I look in my backcpack and take out my rope isn't usurping the GM's role, even though that player has narrated the environment.
    573 replies | 19788 view(s)
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About AbdulAlhazred

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Tuesday, 7th May, 2019


Monday, 6th May, 2019

  • 10:44 AM - pemerton mentioned AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...rson, as far as I know there are no rules in 5e for clothes becoming dirty or sweaty. Does that mean you think a GM who narrates a failed physical manoeuvre in a swamp as "You fall into the mud, making your clothes filthy" is breaking the rules? Or a GM who narrates a failed CHA check to influence a NPC, in circumstances where the PC has been in the wilds for a long time without bathing, as the NPC walking away making a comment about These reeking travellers? There are many ways that humans can degrade their clothes, their weapons, their pets, their companions (where are D&D's rules for putting a frog in someone's bed?) that D&D's rules don't model. That doesn't mean those things aren't part of the gameworld. It doesn't stop both players and GM's invoking them when the mood strikes, either as mere colour (like hawkeyefan's player who has a cold and so plays his/her PC as having a cold) or as part of the narration of failure (as per my examples above, or as per the suggestion that AbdulAlhazred and I made way upthread that a missed attack might be narrated as the weapon having become dulled) or even as mattering to resolution (maybe after falling in the mud, the GM imposes disadvantage on CHA checks to befriend strangers until the PC gets clean clothes). The 5e Basic PDF has whetstones on its equipment list. It also has price lists for different qualities of clothing, food, drink and accommodation, even though there are no mechanics governing social class and status. There is an abacus on the list, although no rule that forbids a player using a calculator or pen-and-paper to do maths for his/her PC. All these things are clearly there to help establish these various elements of the fiction. The fact that there is no mechanic that necessarily invokes them is entirely beside the point. EDIT: A lot of this was ninja-ed by Hriston earlier today (my time), using the example of grass growing.

Friday, 26th April, 2019

  • 11:53 AM - pemerton mentioned AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Would you agree though, for the sake of the argument, if we look at D&D solely and said the next edition of D&D will either have an AC mechanic (as it does now) or every attack will be considered successful, no die roll required. If you have to compare those two scenarios - is one more realistic/authentic than the other or do you feel that still comes down to preferences: those that wish to role dice and those that don't.To be clear - are you positing a system in which neither armour nor level/HD makes any difference in combat, and combat is essentially the attrition of damage dice? As AbdulAlhazred already posted, the bit about armour not mattering takes us close to 4e, where armour is mostly a cosmetic thing except for a handful of classes (by default wizards and sorcerers have a bit less than anyone else, while paladins have a bit more). The bit about level/HD not mattering would be a big change for D&D but not inherently unrealistic. This would be a big change in resolution compared to standard D&D, but I'm missing the bit where it's unrealistic. Of course if you write in some fiction heavier armour makes people more robust in combat and then the mechanics contradict that you'll get some weirdness - but (eg) 4e avoids such weirdness by writing into the fiction that there are multiple ways to be robust in combat: armour, quick reflexes, quick thinking, etc.
  • 11:43 AM - Sadras mentioned AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...rsonally I feel at this point it cannot be just preferences and that there is a case for insert preferred buzzword, either wearing armour protects your character in some way, however abstract, or it is just cosmetic. SYNOPSIS My conversation starter was AC vs No AC which is more real. @Aldarc suggested its preferences as you cannot measure what is more real between AC vs Absorption mechanic. Mostly dealt with above. @Ovinomancer said he would measure more realism at the fiction level not via processes and described a 'GM decides' game which inputs realistic results via GM narration. Have to give this more thought. @hawkeyefan is ok with the terminology more realism except when measuring system vs system, a little similar to Aldarc as he follows the line of preferences which I understand, but probably no surprise to him, I disagree with the BitD example he used - it is TOTALLY gamist and we probably won't agree. In this specific instance I would probably side with Max. @AbdulAlhazred returns to the semantic debate and prefers the term more authentic giving his reasons for the use of either term as he views it. I may not agree entirely, but my interest does not lie in the semantic debate. I'm ok with the term more authentic as I've said many times, I was using the more realism term as a shorthand for a great many things. @pemerton reiterates everyone else's point in his first two replies (which is where I am). Where I feel I need to point out, the mechanics giving rise to more realism were always acknowledged as very abstract in design and overly simplistic. i.e. If we fall from a distance in RL we take damage, similarly in the gaming fiction. Are they same or even close in design or outcome, of course not. @Maxperson has made this point numerous times, but posters still feel the need to mention how poorly mechanics imitate RL.

Thursday, 25th April, 2019

  • 02:52 PM - pemerton mentioned AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...ilia, the only mismatches are the few real-world haemophiliacs who get matched to non-haemophiliacs in the gameworld; whereas in the gameworld in which the incidence of haemophilia is unrealistically high, the number of mismatches obviously is greater. Your example is also a situation that no DM above an IQ of 25 is ever going to use.I've seen GMs with IQs much higher than 25 make extremely implausible calls in the name of "realism". One which was particularly frustrating, because it cost my group a convention game, was about the time it takes for the oxygen in a room to be used up. (It was a sci-fi game. The PCs were trapped in a room without external oxygen supplies. The call the GM made was for unrealistically rapid oxygen consumption - even I noticed it, let alone the engineers in our group.) Running out of oxygen is a real thing in the world, but that GM's implementation of that trope made the game less realistic than if he had just ignored it! Which really goes back to AbdulAlhazred's point: matching reality (which is as he said a notion of scale, which you also seem to agree with given your use of the phrase "more closely matching reality") can be hard, because reality can often be quite hard to pin down. You don't increaes your match with reality just be scattering in phenomena that happen also to occur in reality. That's not matching anything.
  • 12:14 PM - Lanefan mentioned AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    A gameworld in which every day sees a tornado or hurrican strike the village isn't more realistic than one in which extreme weather never occurs, just because those sorts of weather events sometimes occur in real life. This exact issue is what did in the original version of my weather table: too many extremes kept coming up. :) Introducing real world elements in acontextual ways, or at a frequency that completely belies reality, doesn't increase realism. Realism means something like "resembles real life", not "contains arbitrary distributions of elements that might occur in real life".True, though I find I'm beginning to prefer the term 'authenticity' (thanks, AbdulAlhazred ) over 'realism'. Realism, in the strictest sense, does base itself on our own real world/universe. Authenticity, on the other hand, bases itself on the reality present in the game world/universe - whatever that may be - and asks it only to be consistent with itself. How closely the game-world reality matches real-world reality is the next issue. My simple rule of thumb there is that it matches as closely as possible until and unless something says it doesn't; where "something" can be anything from magic and its effects to inaccurate combat simulations to hit points to alternate planes to fantastic creatures to whatever.
  • 10:31 AM - pemerton mentioned AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    I don't think that having rules for weapon breaking or maintenance is necessarily about "realism," but, instead, it's about how we choose to frame the fiction. We generally trust that there are things - like the warrior maintaining the quality of their gear - that the fiction does not focus on but nevertheless likely happen. <snip> We don't focus on these things because it's not about realism but, rather, fictional framing. What do we want to spend our (limited) gaming time, attention, and effort experiencing?To me, this goes to AbdulAlhazred's notion of "authenticity" - what will make the experience an authentic one?
  • 05:33 AM - Maxperson mentioned AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Do you have statistics to backup that claim? BTW I was making up those numbers to make a point about not any rule been more realistic than no rule, and not to give any approximation to real numbers. It still fails. If weapon breakage happens in reality once in ten millions then a rule of not breaking at all is more accurate and realistic than a rule of 0.01% The numbers can be off. What's more important is that the system moves towards an aspect of real life, in the case of your example, breaking. Breaking(system) is like breaking(real life). Not breaking(no system) is not like breaking(real life). Sure, having a .00001 is more realistic than .01, but that doesn't stop .01 from being more realistic than 0, because 0 removes all chance at breaking, where in "real life" weapons break. Like AbdulAlhazred, you are too focused on the math, and not focused enough on realism. The math is irrelevant, except to add greater realism if you want to go there.
  • 04:27 AM - pemerton mentioned AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...only be judged at the fiction, not the process. However, all of your arguments so far about adding "realism" have been about adding additional processes. I'm pointing out that process is not required for "realism." Sadras, Ovinomancer here is saying to you much the same things as I said to Maxperson upthread. I didn't mention BitD, as I don't play that game - I mentioned Prince Valiant, Cortex+ Heroic and BW as games that permit these various things through a mixture of processes (especially important in BW) and GM narration of consequences - which is my guess as to how it is handled in BitD. (If that guess is wrong then hawkeyefan or Ovinomancer can correct me.) Isn't the shorthand for this realism. Will you be happy with more authentic? more immersive? more RL illusionary? more dramatic? I mean looking for a better description/buzz-word is just playing silly buggers...It's not just playing silly buggers - the fact that you think it is means that maybe you've missed AbdulAlhazred's point. That point was the following: one effect of the AD&D DMG disease system may be that a PC, on some occasion of play, suffers a disease which debilitates him/her for a little while. And that may increase the player's sense of the authenticity of the fiction, the setting, the play experience. But that doesn't mean that the system is a remotely realistic one, nor even that this episode of disease contraction was realistic. Good RPG design, I think, has to be concscious of the fact that it's systems are not world models but rather devices for producing particular experiences among participants in a game. If you want that experience to include contracting a disease then you may need a quite unrealistic model of disease contraction in order to ensure this has a chance of coming into play. I think some early systems, like classic D&D, RQ and Traveller, are a bit confused about this aspect of design. A fairly obvious D&D example is the City/Town encounter matrix in the AD&D...

Wednesday, 24th April, 2019


Monday, 22nd April, 2019

  • 02:17 PM - Maxperson mentioned AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Well, it does disprove that any addition of real-world elements into the fiction will increase the realism. But the actual point of my example isn't to disprove your claim: it's to show that your claim is underdeveloped, and indeed so underdeveloped as to not be up for evaluation, or even really understanding, by others. Until you explain what you mean by "adding in" real world elements, only you know what you are thinking of. It's self-evident, though. The real world elements are the diseases and other rules in the 1e DMG. I said so. Those don't exist in the 5e rules, so you have to add them in. I mean, AbdulAlhazred and I already gave the example of a D&D GM narrating a miss as due to a dulled blade, which is perfectly possible under the existing D&D rules. And I gaven the parallel Traveller example of explaining a PC's stats as the result of a heart condition. But by "adding in" you seem to have in mind the introduction of some sort of mechanical subsystem (like the AD&D system for disease); which then invites points of the sort that the two of us have made, such as that such systems don't increase realism if they yield unrealistic results in the fiction. It's possible in D&D if the blade was dull when the players found it, the DM let the players know, and incorporated a mechanical penalty which could cause a miss. But if the blade wasn't dull to begin with, such as being a blade owned by a PC, then it's not a possibility as there are no rules for dulling weapons, requirements to maintain weapons, or mechanical penalties to a dull blade that would cause a miss. Making such a ruling in D&D ab...
  • 01:58 PM - pemerton mentioned AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Coming up with a corner case scenario that DMs aren't going to use doesn't disprove what I'm saying.Well, it does disprove that any addition of real-world elements into the fiction will increase the realism. But the actual point of my example isn't to disprove your claim: it's to show that your claim is underdeveloped, and indeed so underdeveloped as to not be up for evaluation, or even really understanding, by others. Until you explain what you mean by "adding in" real world elements, only you know what you are thinking of. I mean, AbdulAlhazred and I already gave the example of a D&D GM narrating a miss as due to a dulled blade, which is perfectly possible under the existing D&D rules. And I gaven the parallel Traveller example of explaining a PC's stats as the result of a heart condition. But by "adding in" you seem to have in mind the introduction of some sort of mechanical subsystem (like the AD&D system for disease); which then invites points of the sort that the two of us have made, such as that such systems don't increase realism if they yield unrealistic results in the fiction. Until you try and explain what you mean by "adding in" real world elements, and why some forms of "adding in" count differently from others, you're not going to get much traction for your assertion. And you're certainly not going to persuade me that my campaigns are "less realistic" than yours or Lanefan's, given that you're both running D&D variants whereas I'm running systems (Burning Wheel, Classic Traveller, heck even Prince Valiant in so...
  • 06:47 AM - pemerton mentioned AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    The 1e disease rules would in fact add more realism to the game as they stand. Would it add MORE realism to the game to make PCs physically weaker if they get beat to the point of unconsciousness? Yes. I don't have to make that change in order for the disease rules to increase the realism of the game, though. Increasing realism is not about mirroring reality, no matter how often you repeat that.One reason you are drawing sceptical responses (at least from me, and I'm pretty sure AbdulAlhazred also has this in mind) is that taken on it's own this claim seems to make no sense. For instance, declaring that every NPC the PCs meet has smallpox would be introducing a real world element into the fiction, but clearly would not make the game more realistic. When we look at the AD&D DMG disease rules, there are a number of questions that come up: is the incidence of serious and fatal diseases realistic in the pseudo-mediaeval context? is it realistic when we include the existence of clerical magic which makes it easy to purify water and not too hard to cure diseases? And then, when we compare how the disease rules work to how the generic injury rules work, we get the further question: is it realistic that any debilitated person suffered the debility from a disease rather than (say) a weapon blow? Your apparent insistence that all these questions are irrelevant, and that any reference in the fiction of a game to some element derived from the real world makes the game more ...

Sunday, 21st April, 2019

  • 06:33 AM - pemerton mentioned AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    I didn't make a general claim that making decisions is more realistic than other methods. I said the DM making a reasonable decision about something weapon breakage, is more realistic than pink bunny dreams resulting in a weapon breaking.Yes, you asserted this. But you gave no reason for it. Or you could use the 1e rules for disease. They're much better and more realistic than the 5e version. Also, you should probably have these illnesses affect all of the classes. If you limit them to only fighters for some reason, you are losing realism in other areas.What is your evidence that the AD&D DMG rules for disease are realistic? EDIT: Before you start going on again about "twisting" etc - as per AbdulAlhazred upthread, I assume you accept that an unrealistic incidence of disease doesn't increase realism any more than an "unrealistic" absence of disease (which needn't be that unrealistic - not everyone in pre-modern times contracted serius diseases).
  • 03:26 AM - pemerton mentioned AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...al world weapon degradation and going with a roll based on those odds?There are so many assumptions built into your rhetorical question that it's hard to unpack them all. But just to focus on one: What are the odds of any given warrrio's sword breaking in any given fight? What are the odds of a GM dreaming of a pink buddy? What is the variation, across time and place and circumstance, in rates of broken swords and in rates of pink bunny dreams? If the GM decides, on the basis of his/her dream, that today is the day when s/he will narrate a NPC's sword breaking at the dramatic moment, what makes the resuting fiction less realistic than any other decision-making process? Because dragons flying has nothing whatsoever to do with falling 100 feet. They are completely different aspects of the game and each aspect has a different spot on the realism spectrum.How can they be compltely different? They both involve the question of how massive bodies do or don't fall to earth. That's why AbdulAlhazred has connected them to one another. The fact that the game treats the differently in mechanical terms is neither here nor there. Realism, to the extent that it's germane at all, is a property of fiction, not game mechanics. This is ultimately another example of you making many many assumptions in your posts about how RPGing works, what an RPG system looks like, how it produces outcomes in the fiction, etc. I can unpack most of these, but the presence of the assumptions is making it very hard for you to engage in a conversation that isn't taking those assumptions for granted. Consider, for instance, AbdulAlhazred's remarks about whether or not it is "realistic" to frame a scene with a 100' drop: whereas D&D leaves that sort of thing entirely in the discretion of the GM, Classic Traveller (as AbdulAlhazred knows) has rules for world generation, which in turn yield details about world atmosphere and hydography and average temperature, which actually create a starting point for ans...

Friday, 19th April, 2019

  • 02:49 AM - pemerton mentioned AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    However the dm just deciding gets much closer to real life than rolling dice. The dm can make informed decisions and include much more into the decision making process than dice ever dreamed of.This is where I disagree. My reasoning is similar to AbdulAlhazred's - that there is more in the heaven and earth of the gameworld than is dreamed of in any GM's philosophy. GM decision-making isn't "informed decision-making", it's just one person's preferences for the fiction trumping another's. Which is exactly what makes it not like real life!

Friday, 12th April, 2019

  • 10:55 AM - Numidius mentioned AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Numidius: in your proto-system, what resource does the GM spend to use Force?Before AbdulAlhazred quoted my post I was not thinking in a 'story arc mode', so it is evolving as we speak. But I did the same question to myself. Basically the Gm uses Setting's local resources, so in the first negotiation, once the Trolls are used, cannot be put forward again in the same confrontation. (Later on, during 'normal play', Trolls would be roaming the lands as per fiction established in the Negot. Phase) But... resources in setting are virtually infinite... so... anyway, the more stuff the Gm brings in, the more fiction and situation is established before 'normal play'. The Gm could also have finite Slots to be filed once spent... But anyway when a Player is done with the Neg. Phase, can ask the Gm to stop where they are and Roll dice. In the following description of outcomes both Player and Gm use whatever fiction has been established to that point: places, factions, npcs etc

Tuesday, 9th April, 2019

  • 07:40 AM - pemerton mentioned AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...e dark elves' gold while the other PCs were still trapped in the bottom levels. The next Act began with those trapped PCs having made their way to the surface and trudged back to civilisation, while the other PC was once again traipsing north having spent down his bag of gold. The second Act evolved into an attempt to rescue villagers from reavers and giants, and when that had been achieved I decided that that Act was finished. The third Act began with the PCs heading up into the high places of the north to try and stop the Ragnarok. It's still ongoing, but will be the final Act of the campaign. The idea that a GM would, or would noeed to, stipoulate that a particular goal is unattainable seems on its face a bit railroad-y. In the orcs-eating-children example, if the PCs are defeatd by the orcs but subsequently end up finding a Ring of Wishes, what (in the standard fiction of a typical D&D game) precludes them wishing that the children had never been captured and eaten? Or there is AbdulAlhazred's example of a bargain with Death itself. This is why I tend to think of the idea of an outcome or goal that is/isn't possible having no meaning outside the context of actual play.

Monday, 8th April, 2019

  • 02:44 PM - pemerton mentioned AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Maxperson, I don't really know what your point is. I quoted the 13th Age rules to provide an example (as I understand them) of what AbdulAlhazred had in mind (as I understood him) in referring to a "terrible price". AbdulAlahzred agreed that I was providing such an example. The fact that you interpret those passages differently from everyone else posting in this thread, including AbdulAlhazred who was a 13th Age playtester, is of no significance to my reason for posting them to explain to Sadras what AbdulAlhazred had in mind. You might consider, as a reason speaking against your interpretation, that (1) it makes the rule silly rather than sensible, and (2) produces a contradiction with the suggestion that "[t]he campaign-loss rule is key to making combat meaningful." And you might consider, as the basis for revising your interpretation, the following description of a "campaign loss": something that the party was trying to do fails in a way that going back and finishing off those enemies later won’t fix. This doesn't imply that the loss can, as such, be fixed in some other way; it's making the point that the loss has an el...
  • 11:29 AM - pemerton mentioned AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...on, the party fails to achieve one of their goals, and they fail in some way that simply defeating the bad guys the next time around with your healed-up party won’t fix. <snip> the situation in the campaign gets noticeably worse for the party. Ideally, the campaign loss can be traced to the decision to take the heal-upA campaign loss is something that can't be fixed by going back and beating the enemies who were retreated from. That can't be fixed simply by defeating the bad guys next time. It is the situation getting noticeably worse for the party. Children being eaten by orcs would be a clear example of such a thing. Whether the children being eaten can be fixed some other way - via a Rod of Resurrection, or a Wish spell, or doing a deal with the gods of death, or any other of the indefinitely many ways that players might decide to have their PCs pursue, should they be so inclined - is something that only play would reveal. Perhaps it can, perhaps it can't. 13th Age, like AbdulAlhazred's HoML, is oriented towards "fail forward" and "play to find out", so does not need any sort of rule for prior determination of whether or not some loss is or isn't reversible.


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Thursday, 16th May, 2019

  • 11:09 PM - Saelorn quoted AbdulAlhazred in post In Defense of 4E - a New Campaign Perspective
    Actually, this is nonsense. In my old 2e campaign I had a setup where the party would almost immediately run into a Hill Giant. How many hit points did this Hill Giant have? 9! Perfectly legal Hill Giant right out of the MM. It was pretty amusing, because here's this monstrous and terrifying creature, but on average a fighter with a bastard sword (2-16 damage vs large IIRC) will kill it in 1-2 blows, tops. Now, the giant was still DANGEROUS, but exactly where is the consistency of fiction?The consistency is that the Hill Giant has 9hp, whether it's facing a level 1 party or a level 20 party, or a band of hobgoblins. Those 9ph represent an objective fact about that creature, which is that it can survive an impact of a given quantifiable force, and falls to anything greater than that. Of course, 9hp is significantly on the low side for a hill giant, but the rules tell us that these do exist. This one is just significantly less tough than its brethren. It probably doesn't get in a lot of fights. Lik...

Wednesday, 15th May, 2019

  • 07:13 PM - Tony Vargas quoted AbdulAlhazred in post In Defense of 4E - a New Campaign Perspective
    Add in powers that don't refer to spells and you've got a lot of what 4e monsters have, except 5e monsters are still lacking really good design in my book. Partly a problem with 5e's combat system... Anyway, you can do a few different minion variants. Giving them a higher than 1 point kill threshold is not bad, say 1 point plus 3/5 levels rounded down, roughly. It tends to make it possible for higher level ones to survive the very most casual types of auto damage, but doesn't really make them tough enough to take a direct hit. The key thing 4e minions had that 5e very-low-level monsters lack is the ability to survive /making/ a save. ;) But for that 5e BA delivers: a much-lower-level monster can still hit occasional, the damage it does may be trivial, and your minimum damage may well kill it when you do hit - so easy to deal with, but its inclusion isn't meaningless. In 4e, minions had a specific rule: a missed attack never damages a minion, since all AEs were still attacks (saves were a du...
  • 12:27 PM - Zardnaar quoted AbdulAlhazred in post In Defense of 4E - a New Campaign Perspective
    Actually, this is nonsense. In my old 2e campaign I had a setup where the party would almost immediately run into a Hill Giant. How many hit points did this Hill Giant have? 9! Perfectly legal Hill Giant right out of the MM. It was pretty amusing, because here's this monstrous and terrifying creature, but on average a fighter with a bastard sword (2-16 damage vs large IIRC) will kill it in 1-2 blows, tops. Now, the giant was still DANGEROUS, but exactly where is the consistency of fiction? There are Hobgoblins with 9 hit points, also perfectly legal. Now, they do a BIT less damage than even this gimpy Hill Giant, but they're still fairly dangerous (admittedly, being an 8HD creature gives the giant a bit of an edge). Now, in 4e, a 16th level minion STILL has level 16 defenses. The goblin is level 1. Truth is, the 16th level minion ogre would still probably defeat several level 1 goblins. I'd note that an AD&D Ogre might well have as few as 5 hit points, basically not much different from the 16th l...
  • 03:39 AM - Maxperson quoted AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    While this is technically true in a very narrow sense, it isn't really a very honest reading of the rules of an RPG. All RPGs are open-ended affairs. They need not spell out how air or gravity or even money work by default. Likewise D&D need not spell out how weapon degradation works. In 4e and 5e monster equipment is deemed basically worthless, which can be fictionalized to 'it is degraded'. I've already talked about how it kinds sorta exists for NPCs/monsters. In 4e at least, PC equipment never fetches better than 40% of its purchase value, and the GM is free to go from there. I can take a mint baseball card into a store and have the same thing happen to me. Getting more than 40-50% of the value when you sell to a store is business. So if the GM in a 4e/5e game says to you "you've never even sharpened your sword, it is now worthless" responding that this "isn't a rule" would, in most places, get you booted from the table unless you're joking. If said sword is worthless, then it w...

Tuesday, 14th May, 2019

  • 08:06 PM - Saelorn quoted AbdulAlhazred in post In Defense of 4E - a New Campaign Perspective
    The ogre minion is weaker than a non-minion ogre. As for the level 1 non-minion goblin, it would be turned to dust by the same attack. First of all its defenses are worthless, and it only has at most about 18 hit points. No level 11 attack is likely to leave it standing. Beyond that THE GOBLIN WOULD ALSO BE REPRESENTED AS A MINION. Why wouldn't it? You'd be playing nonsense with 4e's process to do otherwise. So, as long as you follow that process, you will never have to deal with anything so absurd, and it wouldn't even BE absurd anyway, in all likelihood.Put an ogre and a goblin in the same room. How much force does it take to KO the ogre? Is it more or less than the amount of force carried by a single arrow? How much force to KO the goblin? It should take less force to KO the goblin than it does to KO the ogre, right? That's what I mean by consistency. In every earlier edition, we knew how hard you would have to hit the ogre in order to make it stop moving, and we knew the same in regards to th...

Monday, 13th May, 2019

  • 09:29 PM - Saelorn quoted AbdulAlhazred in post In Defense of 4E - a New Campaign Perspective
    OK, so how does this not fit with 4e? I don't get it. Not saying I buy this as a viable way to reason about this kind of thing, but if we're going to work with it, then how does 4e not do this the same?If we take as a given that HP objectively measure the ability of a creature to withstand a violent impact without falling, the way HP were actually used at many tables throughout every earlier edition, then it means any minion has absolutely zero tolerance for injury. It means a level 11 ogre minion has a much lower tolerance for injury than a level 1 non-minion goblin. If you objectively test their ability to survive a minor nuisance - have a level 1 fighter throw a dagger at each - then the ogre will die from the first hit, every time, while the goblin survives multiple hits. That's setting aside the nonsense about using different stat blocks to represent the same creature, based on party level, which so many 4E-defenders endorse. At least the designers don't come right out and suggest that techn...

Sunday, 12th May, 2019

  • 07:45 PM - Saelorn quoted AbdulAlhazred in post In Defense of 4E - a New Campaign Perspective
    Is it? And if so, doesn't that mean that there's a point at which you cannot say, in 1e in this case, that a fixed amount of damage still represents a specific fiction. Its unavoidable, and what you're saying is just admitting it! Now, I used my 11th level PC with a lot of hit points as an example, but your average 5th level fighter with a 15 CON has an average of 32 hit points. He can already withstand a total of 9 average arrow strikes, or 5 that do max damage. Now, perhaps this isn't utterly beyond the realm of possibility, but it is stretching it a LOT. It certainly is a lot more than the 'three or for arrows sticking out of his back'. Clearly D&D can't simply whitewash this, the fiction changes as you level! I said that you can explain HP and damage consistently by saying that a given amount of damage represents an objectively quantifiable amount of force, which is true. An arrow that imparts 8 units of force, will impart that same amount of force whether it hits someone with 6hp or 600hp. The ...
  • 03:28 AM - Saelorn quoted AbdulAlhazred in post In Defense of 4E - a New Campaign Perspective
    So, my 96 hit point 11th level 1e Ranger can stand around and let 20 longbow arrows pierce his body and what? He simply doesn't die from having all those arrow shafts impaling him? What sort of realistic is that? This is clearly balderdash. Any serious idea can be presented comically, but that's just a matter of presentation, and says nothing about the idea itself. In this case, nobody said anything about longbow arrows piercing a body. And even if they did, there's no reason why that has to be inherently silly. I've seen stories where a sufficiently powerful fighter continues to fight, even with three or four arrows sticking out of his back, and those characters were never presented as the almighty warrior-god that a level 11 ranger might be. (Seriously, you're talking about a level 11 character, in a game where level 6 is already incredibly impressive.) More reasonably, everyone worth talking about is either wearing armor or is magic. (And if they aren't, for whatever reason, then the DM is the...

Friday, 10th May, 2019

  • 02:43 PM - lowkey13 quoted AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ROFLMAO! I do remember that I liked the Yamato (Japanese WWII super-battleship) because the 48,000 yard range of its main battery was pretty much off the edge of most tables, even at the scale we used for Sea Power. Yep! By the way- people who play that REALLY REALLY hate it when you walk by saying, "You sunk my battleship." Um.... not that I would know that.

Thursday, 9th May, 2019

  • 07:49 PM - Tony Vargas quoted AbdulAlhazred in post In Defense of 4E - a New Campaign Perspective
    I guess you could spin ANY non-lethal blow as 'luck and skill', but that seems a bit wrong when you start considering things like falling and poison damage. Falling? You luckily fell through a flock of seagulls and they slowed you down a bit, you skillfully sky-dived into a haystack. Poison? You finely-tuned senses detected the poison just before you would have sipped the wine. The envenomed blade slashed through your armor and gambeson but your rolled away in the split-second before it would have broken your skin. In any case, the situation when striking a PC with 48 hit points is clearly a lot different, as a sword blow in that case is not even close to lethal, and logically represents largely a sort of 'plot armor' being worn down. I have no idea why 4e would be singled out as different here. Given the D&D paradigm, 4e is really quite structured in its approach, though you certainly will explain damage in many different narrative ways. This is not a new 'problem'. Because, like 1e AD&D, i...
  • 07:30 PM - Saelorn quoted AbdulAlhazred in post In Defense of 4E - a New Campaign Perspective
    Which game are you talking about? I mean, there ARE games where this is arguably the case, BRP-based games like CoC and games like Traveler (which has only 'attribute damage') would be possible contenders. Even Dungeon World could be looked at in that light, though I would think it clashes with other aspects of its 'narrative over mechanics' design. Certainly D&D, any edition, does NOT fall into this category at all! A sword blow against a level 1 PC is clearly most likely to represent a solid blow causing serious physical damage, if not outright death. I guess you could spin ANY non-lethal blow as 'luck and skill', but that seems a bit wrong when you start considering things like falling and poison damage. In any case, the situation when striking a PC with 48 hit points is clearly a lot different, as a sword blow in that case is not even close to lethal, and logically represents largely a sort of 'plot armor' being worn down. I have no idea why 4e would be singled out as different here. G...
  • 02:22 PM - lowkey13 quoted AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Just to be amusing, since I have really nothing I want to expand on or disagree with, I actually belonged to a club which played The Campaign for North Africa. They then went on to play a full integrated run of War in the East, War in the West, and War in the Pacific. Ever seen the Earth at 30 miles per hex? She be big. I don't know if I am envious or scared. Terrified or amazed. Scenvious? Terrimazed? Hmmmm.... only portmanteaus will do! I may have mentioned this before, but I remember some grizzled wargamers who preferred naval combat (with a table that was, oh, I want to say 30' on one side with long push sticks for the boats). What I truly remember, though, is that they killed time between turns by calculating artillery distances between various landmarks in town. You know .... as people do. It was a different time. :)
  • 11:37 AM - Lanefan quoted AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Just to be amusing, since I have really nothing I want to expand on or disagree with, I actually belonged to a club which played The Campaign for North Africa. They then went on to play a full integrated run of War in the East, War in the West, and War in the Pacific. Ever seen the Earth at 30 miles per hex? She be big. Dare I ask, how big? Was your map laid out on the floor of an aircraft hangar? :)
  • 11:36 AM - Maxperson quoted AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    I think Gygax, as most game designers of that time and in some respects to this day, believed that there had to be a certain degree of authenticity. He was creating a fantasy RPG with heroes, swords, dragons, dungeons, wizards, etc. It had to reflect an understanding of the genre, and be relatable to real life in some degree, of course. Just like a fantasy novel must. So it is understood that the situations which happen in D&D are 'true to life' in some degree, which does mean realistic. That realism is in the service of play. It makes things comprehensible and relatable. He was uninterested in whether something was realistic per-se. As am I also. I don't see how he could be interested in making the game relatable to real life via realism, and be interested in making things in D&D true to life to some degree via realism, and be uninterested in realism. I can see how he might be uninterested in excessive realism, though.
  • 10:59 AM - Lanefan quoted AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Actually, I think the entirety of D&D is a refutation of this argument. A rather thorough one in fact! The game was instantly, at its initial inception, trapped by the structure of its mechanics, the places where it is abstract, and others where it is concrete, and the way it structures participant roles, etc. All true, yet even there within that framework one can, if one wants, hew closer to or farther from the realistic. It has never escaped ANY of this, and the one time it got close/arguably did, you all utterly rejected the result! If you're referring to 4e (and if not, to what are you referring) and thus trying to imply 4e was less abstract than the other D&Ds, you're off the mark all round. One of the main reasons 4e was rejected was because it was too abstract. I would argue that game designers find it necessary to implement some sorts of mechanics, lest there be no game at all. Yet, to a large degree, the choices they make at the start are unlikely to be overcome later, or increment...
  • 04:44 AM - Maxperson quoted AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Not sure how you are disagreeing with me. D&D is NOT realistic, both Gary and I agree on that! But it does have a good amount of realism, which he was deeply into based on the rules and statements he makes all throughout the editions he wrote.

Wednesday, 8th May, 2019

  • 05:34 PM - lowkey13 quoted AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    That is one huge rabbit hole. I think it is more like a dragon's den! Who wants to march into that thing??! I was a wargamer before I was an RPG gamer. I don't think there is a different definition of realistic. There may be some differences in the two genre of game, not surprisingly, but the same considerations faced Gygax in designing D&D as faced Gygax in designing Chain Mail. In either case you need relatively succinct mechanics which can provide a range of outcomes which would occur in the thing you are simulating. In the case of Chain Mail, the designer probably hoped that the mechanics of combat also produced results which were reasonably true to life. If a Roman cohort in good order stood on an even piece of ground facing off against some Celtic irregular warriors, guess what would happen about 99.9% of the time? You can produce this sort of outcome pretty reasonably in Chain Mail, and it can be run in a fair amount of time. Note, however, that Chain Mail does recommend (I don't ...
  • 05:51 AM - Maxperson quoted AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    And what other definition of 'realism' do you think exists? Apparently you DO think there's some other, because one thing is for sure. The one YOU use ain't nothin' like the one Gygax used! I just showed you with multiple examples pulled from just the first few pages of the PHB that he uses my definition. What's certain is that when he said realism doesn't belong in D&D, is that he meant mirroring reality. The alternative is that he's a hypocrite that said realism doesn't belong in D&D, and then spent page after page after page putting realism into D&D. I don't think he was a hypocrite.
  • 05:05 AM - Maxperson quoted AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    I was a wargamer before I was an RPG gamer. I don't think there is a different definition of realistic. There may be some differences in the two genre of game, not surprisingly, but the same considerations faced Gygax in designing D&D as faced Gygax in designing Chain Mail. In either case you need relatively succinct mechanics which can provide a range of outcomes which would occur in the thing you are simulating. They didn't sit down and write out a definition. It was in how they treated realism. They attempted to mirror reality as closely as possible. That's what realism meant in those days. Note, however, that Chain Mail does recommend (I don't think they demand it as a necessity) that there be a referee, who would likely adjudicate things not explicitly covered in the rules (IE decide what the effects of heavy rain might be on some archers). And that referee would endeavor to figure out the effects of the rain as closely to reality as he could. D&D obviously evolved from this,...

Monday, 6th May, 2019

  • 12:27 AM - Maxperson quoted AbdulAlhazred in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    I think it is also a bit silly for someone to hold as an absolute that in classic D&D editions there is something that will never happen. DMs are pretty close to absolute authorities, and if one says "you know, after bashing that gargoyle with your sword for 10 minutes, you better have a whetstone or else blah blah blah..." that seems to me to be perfectly plausible. Sure, we can expect it might be more likely if there's an actual rule for it, but then who exactly is it that is doing all the tracking needed for said rule? If it is just as simple as "it is understood that the party sharpens their weapons fairly regularly, and if there's absolutely no sharpening equipment around, then maybe they'll start to have problems." then that sounds basically the same as the DM fiat case, it hardly warrants a rule. Suggesting DM fiat is a good thing is close to heresy with many people on this forum. ;)


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