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  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 10:12 PM
    My main irritation was that someone else got to decide if your reasons for disliking something was somehow valid or not.
    43 replies | 1199 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 03:35 AM
    Dont need much to block the sun, a little bit of water vapour or dust can do that. A Dyson sphere type structure would be a different story though you're right about that.
    19 replies | 301 view(s)
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  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 11:23 AM
    That is a good point: Could you even understand what the other people were saying even if you could speak "English"? I have heard some modern day people from England whose accents were such that I could barely understand what they were saying. How much worse would that be in King Arthurs time?
    1309 replies | 46086 view(s)
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  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 06:56 AM
    In my mind there is no doubt that individuals are smarter now if only because of better nutrition, increased light availability and decreased superstition.
    1309 replies | 46086 view(s)
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  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 06:37 AM
    I know what Teflon is but honestly I have absolutely no idea how to produce it. And if I did know the formula of how to make it, if I was bounced back a hundred or a thousand years could I find the ingredients that I would need to make it? Scientists suggest that even something as "simple" as a pencil could be impossible to recreate.
    1309 replies | 46086 view(s)
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  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 05:41 AM
    Considering exactly what Cleric spells can do the answer must be: Confirmed Clerics Can Cure Cancer.
    60 replies | 5520 view(s)
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  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th April, 2018, 07:50 AM
    Kender are pretty iconic just from their looks: Not just from comparing them to humans
    45 replies | 762 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th April, 2018, 07:22 AM
    Now as for the bonus stats, i am not sure about giving Goblins, Gnomes and Halflings all bonuses to Cha. My preference would be Gnomes +Int, Halflings +Wis and Goblins +Con.
    45 replies | 762 view(s)
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  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th April, 2018, 07:06 AM
    It lloks like they are differentiating Gnomes with those funny Gnome hats, so they could use something else. In Dragonlance they used to use Top-knots and Hoopaks for the Kender.
    45 replies | 762 view(s)
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  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th April, 2018, 06:30 AM
    In the Lord of the Rings movies they did not need to have Frodo with a big head to show he was a Hobbit. Most of the time when you are looking at the Hobbit village you can not even tell they are Hobbits because it is built proportionally. Only when Gandalf is in his house can you notice it is a different scale. So why do we need Halflings with monstrously big heads just to show that they...
    45 replies | 762 view(s)
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  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th April, 2018, 06:14 AM
    Interestingly I would have given Lidda as an example of Halflings done correctly. Well except for that nose thing of course.
    45 replies | 762 view(s)
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  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th April, 2018, 02:01 AM
    My first impression is "why do artists always have to make big head Halflings?"
    45 replies | 762 view(s)
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  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th April, 2018, 01:59 AM
    I would follow whatever Philosophy either gave me the best stuff or looked like they were ripe for me to take over and bend to my will.
    28 replies | 459 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Friday, 13th April, 2018, 11:10 AM
    I think that is the strength od DnD in that it can bring everyone together regardless of their status or beliefs.
    20 replies | 1078 view(s)
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  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Friday, 13th April, 2018, 05:24 AM
    I have no problem with adding levels to skills. The main problem I have is artificially inflating DCs so that you are stuck on a treadmill of always needing a 12 to pick a lock because locks always get more complicated as you level up. In fact adding skill ranks makes it even better so that although the 20th level Barbarian may have a +20 to his Spellcraft roll he still does not know as much...
    5 replies | 225 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Friday, 13th April, 2018, 05:12 AM
    Is it because they are both based on the same game?
    43 replies | 1199 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 12:38 AM
    I like the Red Wizards, not just a monolithic entity but an organisation broken down the lines of magic schools competing with each other. The Zhents are quite interesting as well.
    25 replies | 1402 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Friday, 6th April, 2018, 01:07 AM
    In my Starfinder campaign last night the Party got: +400xp for investigating who hired the Downside Kings to kill their Starfinder Society contact, +400xp for managing to finesse their way past a couple of guards to get into the Downside Kings nightclub and +600xp for defeating three gang thugs. They got 3 Laser pistols, 3 Clubs and 450 Credits.
    289 replies | 7617 view(s)
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  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Thursday, 5th April, 2018, 03:26 AM
    So you did not get penalised with no reward, you actually got an Ally as a reward.
    289 replies | 7617 view(s)
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  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Thursday, 5th April, 2018, 12:42 AM
    It will net you 0 XP and a great RP experience for 0 risk. I have no problem with that.
    289 replies | 7617 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Thursday, 5th April, 2018, 12:14 AM
    As far as I am aware, CoC was specifically not a game of "preventing everyone you love and everything you know being destroyed by a hideous ancient cosmic entity", it was "this strange thing is happening in a fishing village and....OMG Deep Ones" or "your Uncle dies leaving you the deed to his old Mansion and...OMG Cthulhu". Where investigating the old Tomb meant being killed by Ghouls and where...
    289 replies | 7617 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th April, 2018, 11:40 PM
    I dont see lack of reward as a penalty. If I have something and you dont that is not a penalty, a penalty would be if I take something from you. I also have no problem with the idea that players who take more risk earning more reward. That just seems logical to me. Which could explain why I never got to games like Call of Cthulhu which penalises players that take risk.
    289 replies | 7617 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th April, 2018, 10:59 PM
    I can not really speak to AL games, the only ones that I am familiar with are Starfinder and from what I have seen they give you XP equivalents for completing missions and you level after completing a certain number of missions. But in any case I really dont see being 75 XP short of leveling as a bug, that is an incentive to go back the next time to get your 75 XP. If the DM just levels up...
    289 replies | 7617 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th April, 2018, 09:40 PM
    I dont really get it. You say you had a really fun RP session but you feel penalized? Is the fun not the whole point of Roleplaying?
    289 replies | 7617 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th April, 2018, 08:47 PM
    Of course you have experienced no problems when you are the DM. DMs are not the point of XP.
    289 replies | 7617 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th April, 2018, 05:32 AM
    I honestly could not tell you enough about those games to give an opinion on their RPGness. I am sure they must use some kind of leveling up mechanic, well except Cthulhu does that game even support recurring PC's? Welcome
    289 replies | 7617 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th April, 2018, 05:12 AM
    Mathy XP adds the Game to RPG. Otherwise its just funny voices and Monthy Python jokes.
    289 replies | 7617 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd April, 2018, 11:14 PM
    I think you hit the nail right on the head.
    289 replies | 7617 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Saturday, 31st March, 2018, 11:42 AM
    That is a good April Fools, almost got me!
    54 replies | 1620 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Wednesday, 28th March, 2018, 12:51 AM
    No worries, I just failed my internet etiquette check is all.
    131 replies | 5263 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Wednesday, 28th March, 2018, 12:40 AM
    Oh, I am sorry. I guess if you are playing in a Minecraft world then punching through Stone with your hands seems reasonable.
    131 replies | 5263 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Wednesday, 28th March, 2018, 12:29 AM
    I guess if you are playing in a Minecraft world then punching through Stone with your hands seems reasonable.
    131 replies | 5263 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Saturday, 24th March, 2018, 02:16 AM
    I would imagine that doing it right just means coming up with an answer that the player also thinks is reasonable in the moment Which essentially means if it does not have a rule then you can not do it, exactly what Celebrim was suggesting. Thats my point. It is not a bad DM, it is just a DM who can not calculate probabilities under pressure. Which is just a normal DM using rules...
    242 replies | 36570 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Saturday, 24th March, 2018, 12:19 AM
    Ironically that would be the people most likely to be called "Old Geezer".
    242 replies | 36570 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Saturday, 24th March, 2018, 12:16 AM
    Personally I have found DMs coming up with rulings off the top of their head to be pretty hit or miss, mostly because people are really bad at determining probability under pressure. I mean take an example of the DM allowing someone to do a whirlwind attack to try and hit three enemies at once with a -5 penalty to their attack. It might seem a reasonable call on the face of it, but in reality...
    242 replies | 36570 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Friday, 23rd March, 2018, 10:27 AM
    I say that I love my Holy Sword but that is not true. I only say that to get it into bed. ;)
    15 replies | 810 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Wednesday, 21st March, 2018, 09:49 AM
    One thing I like about Roman naming conventions is how they get new names from their victories, for example Scipio added Africanus after he defeated Hannibal.
    120 replies | 4623 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Shasarak's Avatar
    Tuesday, 20th March, 2018, 06:43 AM
    Who needs to have Diplomancy when the NPC knows how easily this Roleplaying Encounter can become a Combat Encounter.
    83 replies | 2004 view(s)
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Tuesday, 17th October, 2017

  • 10:22 AM - pemerton mentioned Shasarak in post RPG Combat: Sport or War?
    I'd like to stress that when playing a 'grittier' RPG system, you have less freedom, in a way: Since combat is lethal, it's something that must be avoided at all cost. Players _must_ come up with ways to overcome their opposition by means other than open combat, otherwise your campaign is going to be short-lived.For me, this illustrates the point I've been making upthread, to Saelorn, Shasarak and billd91. In a genuinely grim & gritty RPG, ambushing someone with a sword, or a crossbow, should be (more-or-less) as dangerous as dropping a rock on them. It's purely an artefact of D&D's mechanics, which rates a sword at d8 or d10 but leaves the rating of a boulder to the GM, that results in a fighter being unable to kill someone in a weapon ambush but able- at least at the tables of those GMs mentioned - to kill someone with a boulder ambush. Which once again relates back to Aenghus's point, that the effectiveness of the boulder vs the sword turns primarily on end-running around the damage rules. It's entirely an artefact of mechanics, not of "narrative first". In a "narrative first" game involving people of "flesh and bone" (to quote Saelorn), an ambush with a sword or bow should be capable of lethality. (And in games like RuneQuest, Rolemaster, Burning Wheel, etc - ie with broadly simulationist action resolution mechanics - it is.) But D&D chooses to subordinate letha...

Friday, 7th July, 2017

  • 05:02 AM - hawkeyefan mentioned Shasarak in post Mearls on other settings
    ...terest them. This way, DMs can easily keep unwanted assumptions 100% out of their rulebooks and their games. In my own case, if the Great Wheel of Planescape and all of its polytheism was a separate expansion pack, while the Players Handbook made no mention to it, then I would be at peace and able to enjoy the game better. Different DMs are sensitive to different things, but we can all benefit from compartmentalizing the options. I disagree that it's WotC's responsibility to cater to the sensitivities of DMs and players. I think it's up to the DMs and players themselves to decide what material to use or not. I mean, I get the appeal of rule books written exactly to my personal preference...but it's simply not a realistic expectation. So Ravenloft was never meant to be a living setting in its own.? It's only visited from others? That's where my lack of history trips me up :) I thought it was a fully fledged setting that could host campaigns without needing outside support? As Shasarak said, the many realms that made up the Demiplane of Dread, the setting for the Ravenloft game, were each made for a particular dark lord. These realms were the domain of a dark lord, but also their prison as well. Each of these dark lords was taken from another world...Toril, Oerth, Krynn, or any number of unnamed worlds. Typically, the PCs in Ravenloft adventures are drawn through the misty barriwrs from their world and into the demiplane of dread. So the setting was its own, but it was conmected to the other worlds and interacted with them.

Friday, 23rd June, 2017

  • 05:32 AM - Yaarel mentioned Shasarak in post Why FR Is "Hated"
    @Shasarak and @Azzy You are kinda proving my point about ‘D&D peer pressure’ to pretend to ‘worship’ ‘gods’. If I told you, I hate Kobolds. I imagine your response would be something like. Thats nice. I dont care. But when I say, I hate polytheism. You guys seem as if unable to stop yourself from launching into some kind of reallife culture war about issues that I couldnt care less about. I enjoy D&D without ‘gods’. I watch televisions shows where polytheism is irrelevant. I want to play games where it is irrelevant too.

Monday, 12th June, 2017

  • 02:30 AM - Hussar mentioned Shasarak in post Why FR Is "Hated"
    It's interesting that you bring up Caderly Shasarak. That's one of the few FR books I actually have read. Although, it was a LONG time ago and I don't think I read all of them. Wasn't there something about a killer yo-yo in those books? Anyway, think about what you just said though. Cadderly is the exception. Most of the priests don't adventure, and never did. Yet, funnily enough, there were higher level clerics than Cadderly at his temple. How did they gain levels? They specifically weren't adventurers, so, what did they kill or loot in order to gain several thousand xp points to go from 1st to, say, 3rd level. Just to roll this back to the idea of NPC's using PC rules. Lanefan spells it out pretty well. In AD&D, sure, you could use NPC rules for a humanoid (and only a humanoid - sorry, no class levels for your beholder), or, you could kinda sorta just bolt on some PC abilities onto an NPC, or, as was the much more common case, you could use a unique stat block. 3e changed all that. Not only did you have the option of...

Friday, 19th May, 2017

  • 12:34 AM - robus mentioned Shasarak in post To Post or Not to Post: An Ethics Question
    Something that is being ignored is fair use. I'm not saying that this is a case of that (I'm not a copyright lawyer) but it certainly sounds like the work is transformative (by recontextualizing the works) and there is certainly no impact on the "market" as the works have already been freely shared on the Internet. So the legality and the ethics are not as cut and dried as they may appear. And Shasarak is correct that an awful lot of stuff on the internet would be illegal if including others work was the only criteria.
  • 12:00 AM - LordEntrails mentioned Shasarak in post To Post or Not to Post: An Ethics Question
    Shasarak, I know where you are going with this. And I'm not going to have a debate with you about it. Suffice it to say in your country and mine what you are suggesting is illegal. In almost every ethical system what you are suggesting is unethical.

Saturday, 15th April, 2017

  • 01:41 AM - LordEntrails mentioned Shasarak in post We're Finally Mainstream! Now What?
    Shasarak, I simply can't follow your arguments. It seems like you are taking comments and arguments from anyone that doesn't side with you as being all in one pool, or something. But anyways, it doesn't matter. Labels are only as good as people are willing to agree upon them and use them consistantly. Which isn't happening here.

Tuesday, 14th February, 2017

  • 03:28 PM - Sadras mentioned Shasarak in post Whatever "lore" is, it isn't "rules."
    Simply having an opinion about a call is nothing to apologize for. Here is the thing though Max, doesn't a Onetruewayism zealot also state their opinion? It becomes increasingly messy to differentiate which unfavourable opinion of one's game is tolerable and which one is not. This might all just be a simple matter of etiquette. @Shasarak did the exact same thing with me in the other thread, calling me a lazy DM because I don't allow every character concept under the sun at my table when I DM. It ain't right either way. His style and my style are clearly different, but we shouldn't go around making disparaging remarks of each others preferences. Hiding behind it just an opinion doesn't give it a free pass. Sorry. EDIT: We cross-posted. Just saw your post above. ;)

Sunday, 12th February, 2017

  • 01:04 AM - pemerton mentioned Shasarak in post Whatever "lore" is, it isn't "rules."
    Imaro, Maxperson, Shasarak: Wizards Presents: Worlds & Monsters, p 62: [T]he design for elementals themselves had to change. . . . The elemental archons are a good example of a new creature born of this design approach. THey were created by the primordials to be elite soldiers . . . In the elemental hierarchy, they form the basis of world-scouring armies. The designers know that these are new creatures - they are not a reconcepting of Jeff Grubb's creation. It surprises me that this is even contentious. Again, contrast eladrin: from pp 40-41 of the same book: Some of the existing good-aligned monsters did incorporate neeat designs that we wanted to preserve and improve upon. Most of the eladrins fell into that category. . . . [W]e noted their generally fey appearance, and this led to a natural association with the Feywild. . . . Eladrins were already powerful magical beings in previous editions of the game. Now they have a very similar role, but as mysterious lords and ladies of the Feywild. When they a...

Saturday, 4th February, 2017

  • 04:20 AM - pemerton mentioned Shasarak in post Whatever "lore" is, it isn't "rules."
    what inherent value would you say it has for you to hew as closely as possible to what feels like the structural essence or foundation of the setting? I asked (a version of) this question on the other thread. Shasarak answered - roughly (but I hope not too loose a paraphrase) the answer was that the setting is a work of art, and departure from canon is a type of "affront" to the artwork. ("Affront" is my word, not Shasarak's - it's not quite right, becuase the artwork doesn't itself have feelings, but for present purposes hopefully it conveys the general idea in a comprehensible fashion.) Respect for my players. If I tell them I'm going to run Darksun, I feel obligated to give them Darksun, not some bastardized version.This seems to imply that one of the reasons you think that my decision to include the WoHS in my GH game was that it disrespected my players. If that is correct, it makes it even more odd to me that you haven't made any inquiries about the circumstances of the case. Is it relevant, for instance, that I started GMing that group as the outcome of a "revolt" against a prior GM whom the rest of us all agreed was terrible - and that it was on the basis of an offer to run a game ...
  • 04:04 AM - pemerton mentioned Shasarak in post Whatever "lore" is, it isn't "rules."
    ...s there are? Maybe they liked the extra magic sub system?Well they clearly liked the magic system, given that they engaged with it via PC building when they were under no obligation to do so. They also liked the story. (I think it's a fairly compelling one. That's why I put it into my game!) But some of them were certainly quite familiar with GH. And even those who didn't know it very well would have seen the well-known cover of Unearthed Arcana with its two moons. I think they simply realised that two visible moons doesn't preclude a third invisible one. I'm not saying that the 3rd moon is canon - of course it's not. I'm saying that adding it doesn't make the game cease to be a GH game. Any RPGing will mean that the setting takes on non-canonical features/elements.I think most Greyhawk GMs would agree with you there.Maybe. That said, this thread consists of a significant number of posts - from Maxperson, Imaro and maybe some other posters (eg I'm less clear about Shasarak on this poiint) - stating that my GH game is not really a GH game precisely because of addditional elements - like the 3rd moon, and the WoHS to go with it - that I have introduced. there's a differences between grabbing someone's work whole cloth and dropping it into your setting, slightly modifying someone else's work and using another's idea as inspiration to springboard off of for your own creation.This is not in dispute either. In my case, the WoHS are dropped largely whole-cloth into GH, with only as many changes made (Suel origins, astronomical details, relationships to other sorcerous traditions) as are needed to have them fit into their new home. My claim is that such a whole-cloth drop (with such slight modifications as are needed to make it work) doesn't make the game cease to be a GH one. as more material got published for campaign settings as well as in Dragon Magazine and in novels, there were a lot more players cropping up with passing familiarity in the se...

Tuesday, 31st January, 2017

  • 03:02 AM - Maxperson mentioned Shasarak in post Whatever "lore" is, it isn't "rules."
    But the only reason you have given for it being "alternative GH" rathwr than GH per se is that you, Maxperson, would have certain expectations disappointed. You have expressly eschewed offering any reason that is not individual and particular to you. Pretty much everyone has a line where settings stop being that setting. It varies from person to person, so of course I can't speak to anyone but myself. My line isn't your line. Your line isn't Shasarak's line. His line isn't Imaro's, and so on. The line does exist for everyone, though. How is that a reason for judging whether or not it is really a GH game (as oppposed to, say, a game that you want to play in).I didn't say I wouldn't want to play in it. I said I wouldn't view it as Greyhawk.

Saturday, 28th January, 2017

  • 08:01 AM - Sadras mentioned Shasarak in post Do you care about setting "canon"?
    ... if you're playing canon, the setting of Krynn doesn't cater for those races, however we have a PHB and now Volo's Guide riddled with additional races and classes which do not have a history in that setting. Now If the intention of the DM is to create a game within the parameters of setting are you saying that is not allowable? Similarly, I have my own limitation for my setting, I don't permit monks at my table for whatever reason for my Mystara game. The players know this beforehand. We have been playing within this setting for the last 20 years and they're very much aware of this ruling. It is not as if they are coming every week to my table with a character sheet and I'm going "No, not happening" Not pre-adding everything that a player could possibly want to your campaign setting, and telling a player you won't add in a specific something they like under any circumstance are worlds apart. The former is fine, not at all lazy, and not what was being discussed. The later is what @Shasarak called "lazy". Sorry no you're very much misrepresenting him. @Shasarak has very much outed his intentions by neither responding to my post or @Caliban's. He firmly said that all should be allowed otherwise it's lazy DMing. I'm assuming this is because he still carries the scars of a bad DM or his players have limited (lazy) imaginations and can only play one-trick ponies.
  • 07:49 AM - AaronOfBarbaria mentioned Shasarak in post Do you care about setting "canon"?
    [MENTION=6701872]Apparently Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman were lazy because they did not allow Tieflings, Orcs, Half-Orcs, Drow and Lyncathropes in Krynn.Unless you have anecdotes of those two refusing to work something out with a player wanting to play one of those things, you've created a false equivalence. Not pre-adding everything that a player could possibly want to your campaign setting, and telling a player you won't add in a specific something they like under any circumstance are worlds apart. The former is fine, not at all lazy, and not what was being discussed. The later is what Shasarak called "lazy".
  • 06:58 AM - Sadras mentioned Shasarak in post Do you care about setting "canon"?
    However, I generally do try to work together with the player, but not always. There are some races that simply don't fit, or I'm simply not willing to deal with. That's my prerogative as a DM. AaronOfBarbaria doesn't follow that line of reasoning, neither does his head-scratching friend Shasarak. The former posted his reasoning in the Capricious Home Rules and DM Pet Peeves thread. The latter is so entitled that he casually calls the rest of us lazy. Apparently Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman were lazy because they did not allow Tieflings, Orcs, Half-Orcs, Drow and Lyncathropes in Krynn. Lazy DMs those two. How about all the other world builders who didn't include Kender. Lazy! And now with Volo's Guide, well you just cannot imagine how many Lazy DM's are out there these days. Its an epidemic I tell you!
  • 02:38 AM - AaronOfBarbaria mentioned Shasarak in post Do you care about setting "canon"?
    I also don't like to eat liver. It tastes horrible to me.Using your analogy, and attempting to explain what appears to be Shasarak's view that you just don't seem to be getting: Not eating liver because you don't like the taste makes perfect sense. I don't eat liver either, interestingly enough. But when you say "No dragonborn at my table." it doesn't sound like you are saying "No liver for me, thanks." so much as it sounds like "No liver for anyone eating at the same table as me."

Thursday, 19th January, 2017

  • 09:56 AM - pemerton mentioned Shasarak in post Do you care about setting "canon"?
    ...au trope, and it makes the ancient empire trope carried by the Suel pick up stupid backage. All the Suel and the Scarlet Brotherhood have going for them is that they are workings out of these pulp tropes, so once you dilute them you just get less compelling stuff. *The inclusion of a cult of Chauntea in module OA7 - which introduces needless and distracting FR-isms into an otherwise very good module that, more than any other OA module except perhaps OA3, actually makes tropes around the Celestial Bureaucracy, immortality, peachling children, etc central to play. Look, this thread is 163 pages of people mostly trying to explain to you why canon is important to them. At some point you just need to accept that it is a concept you don't understand. I think you're misunderstanding me, or underestimating me, or both. I can read the posts. I can draw inferences from what is said. I'm inviting posters, though, to actually articulate the value that is moving them to care about canon. Shasarak has done this not too far upthread. But some other posters seem to shy away from it: eg they feel like they need to advance instrumental reasons (eg "players will get confused if canon changes") when it seems transparently clear that their concern is not instrumental; or they try and defend blanket claims about the importance of adherence to canon, yet in doing so put forward examples where canon has changed rather markedly (eg what, if anything, differentiates D&D orcs from JRRT's, or D&D orcs from D&D hobgoblins). I think some notion of "integrity of a body of work" is probably in the right neighbourhood for a number of posters other than just Shasarak, but the criteria by which integrity is judged could probably bear more elaboration. For instance, what sorts of trade-offs between thematic integrity and "factual" integrity are permissible (eg can we get rid of earthbergs to get something that is more fitting to the themes of Norse mythology - ie foster thematic integrity - even t...

Wednesday, 18th January, 2017

  • 09:16 AM - pemerton mentioned Shasarak in post Do you care about setting "canon"?
    ...ively gambling that the people who find the change to be positive will be larger than the people who find the change to be negativeWhat is the nature of the gamble? Clearly, it is a commercial gamble: if people don't like what you write/publish, they won't buy it. But you seem to be implying that the gamble has some other dimension as well. Which relates to "THIS IS IMPORTANT TO PEOPLE". The idea is that it matters to some people that WotC publishes a story (about gnolls, say) that contradicts some other story they once published about gnolls. And this is where I ask Why? Why is the existence of the new stuff, that you don't like and so don't want to buy, a burden on your enjoyment of the old stuff that you do like? And if the only answer is "Because it's hard to change", then I'm just not seeing it. TwoSix has just reiterated the reasons why. I think the answer must be something non-instrumental, but I haven't really seen it articulated in this thread (other than by Shasarak in a recent post). I'm a Banana has talked about "brand identity", but that's something for WotC to care about, not something for a customer to care about. What is the value, to the individual D&D player, of coherence over time of published story elements? The language of "invalidation" almost suggests that people feel that their love of some story is put under some sort of cloud if WotC decides to publish a different, inconsistent story. But that seems very odd to me: why is one person's aesthetic judgement hostage to WotC's commercial (or even artistic) decisions?

Monday, 16th January, 2017

  • 05:06 AM - pemerton mentioned Shasarak in post Do you care about setting "canon"?
    And when, new players come into D&D and hear troll, most are not thinking Poul Anderson's version which is the basis for the D&D troll. They hear the world troll and are probably are thinking of the troll in "Billy Goats Gruff", the war troll from The Lord of the Rings movie, or the trolls The Hobbit movie which are completely different from Poul Anderson's version. So, by the same token, perhaps we should rename the D&D troll to something else. The next version of D&D shouldn't just exercise lore, it should exercise the monster names as well! Remathilis, your post doesn't address Greg K's point. The D&D troll doesn't help new players orient themselves in the gameworld. I remember finding it weird (and not very Billy Goat Gruff) 30 years ago. I don't think Anderson's work is any more familiar today. So my question is - why are you, and billd91, and Shasarak, insisting that the reason you value lore is because of the epistemic function it serves? Whereas examples like this show that in many cases there is no such epistemic function. Likewise, the fact that module writers don't feel beholden to it undermines its supposed epistemic function (eg players of RttToEE can't infer that they won't meet any blue dragons, and hence don't need to memorise lightning resistance spells, simply because they are not entereing into a desert). Despite these cases where lore apparenlty doesn't serve any significant epistemic function, you nevertheless still seem to value it! Why not articulate those reasons, instead of setting out a purely instrumental account of its value which doesn't seem to do justice to your evident passion for it? (A conversation that TwoSix tried to kick off not too far upthread.)

Friday, 9th December, 2016

  • 01:01 AM - pemerton mentioned Shasarak in post Do you care about setting "canon"?
    Imaro, Shasarak, Elderbrain I am utterly baffled. You are now arguing that it is a house rule to play a character with the 4e Good alignment with the same personality and outlook as a 2nd ed AD&D character with the CG alignment, even though the description of Good clearly encompasses the description of CG. Presumably, it follows that you think that no character before AD&D could be played identically with an AD&D character because the prior alignment descriptors were different. Presumably, it follow that you think that every LE monster that, in 4e, was relabelled "Evil" was fundamentally changed. This is just bizarre. Utterly bizarre. Why do you think the label is more important than the actual personality, motivation, moral outlook, etc - which have not changed one iota!


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Thursday, 19th April, 2018

  • 06:28 AM - 5ekyu quoted Shasarak in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    It sounds in some ways like a kind of reverse skill challenge where the NPC is trying to defeat the PCs to me. Is that not a completely different issue? If you are playing though an Adventure Path then sure the Players have agreed to follow the rails but in sandbox play then the Players should be able to choose the hooks they want to follow after.Also, how compelling is the arhument to the wizard who really realky wants to complete the research after he finalky finished the quest for the third and final macguffin? Or the cleric who realky is more interested in getting the needed supplies to the temple? Or how about the really really convincing argument by the expertise persuasion guy to go do the thing but to do the thing means dropping the thing we were after? Sounds like great way to stop those meddlesom kids. I make sure my players know my PCs are not me and their suggestions are therefore not my suggestions. So when an offer paying good money for a long escort goody goody plus orph...
  • 04:33 AM - Hussar quoted Shasarak in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    Well the self destructive bit was just an example to show how people can ignore even helpful advice or requests. But it was to illustrate how an even less extreme example could come up. So a miller making an incredibly persuasive plea to save his daughter, some people simply would not get involved no matter how persuasive his request might be. How do you allow for that? /snip Again, this example suffers from what is likely going to happen in play. When the DM drops that giant honking sign saying "ADVENTURE THIS WAY", most players are going to follow along. And, frankly, if the DM drops these honking big adventure signs and the players frequently ignore it, then, well, that's probably a table issue. But what about other instances of Persuasion or Bluff or other social mechanics? What about something like the PCs confronting a suspected villain, and the villain makes a high Bluff check. Do you require that the PCs believe him? Does it solely depend on the die roll or can one of the P...

Wednesday, 18th April, 2018

  • 09:21 AM - Hussar quoted Shasarak in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    For the sake of the discussion, say we are going for your NPC diplomancy idea. Which way do you suggest that you want to play it out? Is it going to be a DM roll against a DC or would you prefer the PC to make a save against the NPC (either a fixed DC or an opposed roll)? Just a caveat here. The NPC has made a suggestion (save my daughter) and made a persuasive arguement (diplomacy check). Which doesn't mean that you have to jump on a horse right now and ride off. It would mean, though, that you accept that quest, in that example. Right? I just want to be pretty clear here what we're actually talking about. The NPC has made a plausible suggestion (kill your ally is NOT a plausible suggestion) and we're rolling dice. ((I'm being specific here, because obviously in specific circumstances, there might be all sorts of other issues - maybe the princess is a vampire and the PC is a paladin)) So, with that in mind, I'd probably just go with the set DC's from the DMG. It's a pretty ...
  • 08:22 AM - Jhaelen quoted Shasarak in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    So the problem you have with creating realistic characters using DnD rules is alignment?No. My problem with alignment is that it serves no useful purpose; especially regarding the creation of (realistic) characters. Unfortunately, many players apparently don't realize this and assume choosing an alignment is sufficient as a description of their PC's personality. Having an alignment system as it is implemented in D&D is worse than having no system at all. Especially considering that D&D is the first RPG for so many players. They will have to unlearn it. They need to realize it's crap and stop thinking in alignment categories. It's quite clear from this thread alone that having been exposed to the alignment system has poisoned the minds of many RPG players. D&D's alignment system is a cancer. I guess, you should ask me how I really feel about D&D's alignment system, though... ;)

Tuesday, 17th April, 2018

  • 12:30 PM - Aldarc quoted Shasarak in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    I dont know if forcing a Player to react unrealistically just because the DM has rolled high is the heart of roleplaying. It seems to me that choosing to spit in the Kings eye never mind the consequences is a better choice then just blindly following along just because the King has a +20 on his Diplomacy. Maybe the DM should just stick to roleplaying his NPCs and leave the PC roleplaying to the Player. Or maybe a turnip farmer can be just as good at noticing stuff as a morphine addict?As opposed to the Player expectation that NPCs react unrealistically because the Player rolled high? Or the Player feeling that their character is persusasive as part of their character concept but fail to persuade the DM's concept of the NPC without the aid of dice resolution mechanics? Or as opposed to the Player forcing their character to act unrealistically out-of-character because the player does not want their character to be subject to the same governing norms, realities, and fallibilities that exist i...
  • 12:28 PM - Hussar quoted Shasarak in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    I dont know if forcing a Player to react unrealistically just because the DM has rolled high is the heart of roleplaying. It seems to me that choosing to spit in the Kings eye never mind the consequences is a better choice then just blindly following along just because the King has a +20 on his Diplomacy. Maybe the DM should just stick to roleplaying his NPCs and leave the PC roleplaying to the Player. Or maybe a turnip farmer can be just as good at noticing stuff as a morphine addict? Hang on, who said anything about forcing a player to react unrealistically? That would be bad for everyone at the table. But, yeah, the player choosing to spit in the King's eye because "F you, you can't tell me what to do!" is the absolute worst kind of role player. The disruptive player who retreats behind "Well, it's my character and that's what my character would do!" No thanks. I truly believe that the mechanics should guide the player to playing the character they actually created, not ...
  • 11:33 AM - pemerton quoted Shasarak in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    If you think about it logically the only wierd thing is for someone to justify to themselves for example that killing one, two, a hundred people is actually a "good" act. You know they only eat the ugly babies so its all about making the world a more beautiful place.Yet the world is full of such people, most of whom don't regard themselves as evil.
  • 11:15 AM - Hussar quoted Shasarak in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    The DM should just try to persuade and then let the Player decide if their PC is in fact persuaded. If they want to control what the Players do then an RPG is not really a very good medium for that. I disagree, obviously. Framing a character in a situation that the player may not have intentionally placed him or herself into is the heart of roleplaying. It forces the player to actually immerse themselves in a role that they aren't 100% sure of and have to react to a situation in a way that challenges the player's ability to portray that character. I mean, "country bumpkin just off the turnip wagon" is a pretty common background. Or that PC with a dumped Wis/Int score suddenly becomes Sherlock Holmes whenever someone talks them isn't terribly believable. I find it far more plausible that a character be influenced by the NPC when the mechanics call for it.
  • 09:57 AM - pemerton quoted Shasarak in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    Does it really matter what the Character think of themselves? Just because you dont think that you are Evil does not mean that you are not Evil.The issue is the reverse from the one you mention. In classic D&D it is fairly straightforward for any character of note to have Know Alignment cast on him-/herself to confirm his/her alignment; and there is a further argument that one knows one's alignment innately, in virtue of knowing an alignment language. Which means that, in classic D&D, evil protagonists and antagonists know that they are evil. Which is weird. Even when Milton's Satan says, "Evil, be though my good" he is most naturally read as using "evil" ironically, or to refer to that which others judge evil but which is his good. Did I mention recently that D&D's alignment system sucks?I think it sucks if you want to have a campaign where what counts as good or evil is a live question - because the system already answers that. (Respecting rights and fostering wellbeing is good; wanto...
  • 07:04 AM - hawkeyefan quoted Shasarak in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    Does it really matter what the Character think of themselves? Just because you dont think that you are Evil does not mean that you are not Evil. Well, my comment was made in response to another comment about how alignment basically just dictated a character’s decisions ahead of time (something like that, I’m paraphrasing), so I was saying that the reduction in the mechanical importance of alignment means that characters need not be pigeonholed. Because alignment for PCs no longer really matters. Instead, it’s there for the players. I think a world where the characters can actually know that they are an alignment like Lawful Evil is very different from one where they don’t know.
  • 04:46 AM - Lanefan quoted Shasarak in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    How could you define it subjectively? Know Alignment just gets turned into Detect Difference of Opinion.Kind of, yes; though it'd be more Difference in Overall Outlook on Life (macro-scale) than just Difference of Opinion (micro-scale). :)
  • 03:48 AM - Lanefan quoted Shasarak in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    Does it really matter what the Character think of themselves? Just because you dont think that you are Evil does not mean that you are not Evil.Depends whether alignments are defined from an objective or subjective point of view. I have it that a Cleric casting Know Alignment is going to get results tinted by her own alignment e.g. a very Chaotic Cleric might get a somewhat Lawful result while a very Lawful Cleric might get a somewhat Chaotic result from the same objectively-pure-Neutral target. :)
  • 02:38 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted Shasarak in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    That is a good point: Could you even understand what the other people were saying even if you could speak "English"? I have heard some modern day people from England whose accents were such that I could barely understand what they were saying. How much worse would that be in King Arthurs time? I've met AMERICANS whom I couldn't understand (and I am one). My father once bought a parcel of land far up in the Adirondack National Forest in upstate New York, up beyond Old Forge (or family was part of the original colonists of that area back in the early 18th Century). There was a road that ran about half a mile out front of his land, so he went up there (this was the 1950s) to hunt. He ran into a shack out on the road, in which lived a guy and his family. They had no shoes, no electricity or running water, never had, and probably still don't to this day. The place was theirs since the day white men first set foot on that land, they were the original settlers. You could not understand one word. Th...

Monday, 16th April, 2018

  • 05:26 PM - Aldarc quoted Shasarak in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    That is a good point: Could you even understand what the other people were saying even if you could speak "English"? I have heard some modern day people from England whose accents were such that I could barely understand what they were saying. How much worse would that be in King Arthurs time?Supposedly you can learn a language with conversant profiency with three months of full language immersion. But this would also mean that you would potentially be considered an idiot for at least your first three months of time travel. And this does not take into account the possibilities for multiple language proficiencies required for conversing back to any given hypothetical "King Arthurs time": e.g., Brittonic Celtic, Anglo-Saxon dialects, Latin, Frankish, Greek, etc. From personal experience (year 2.5 in Austria), however, that task is far more difficult when you are a native English speaker and everyone around you can speak your language well and most media uses your language as its lingua fran...
  • 01:52 PM - zztong quoted Shasarak in post [PF2] Gnome and Halfling ancestry up on Paizo blog
    Now as for the bonus stats, i am not sure about giving Goblins, Gnomes and Halflings all bonuses to Cha. My preference would be Gnomes +Int, Halflings +Wis and Goblins +Con. Agreed, your Gnome (INT) and Halfling (WIS) matchup makes more sense to me than CHA. I'm not really sure what to give to Goblins. I have trouble getting past that I don't really see them as a PC race. To me, they look like -2 STR, +2 DEX, -2 CON, -2 INT, -2 WIS, -2 CHA.
  • 11:56 AM - Riley37 quoted Shasarak in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    That is a good point: Could you even understand what the other people were saying even if you could speak "English"? I have heard some modern day people from England whose accents were such that I could barely understand what they were saying. How much worse would that be in King Arthurs time? You have found the one flaw in the realism of that novel! On day 1, the Yankee would have only a few useful words in common with the locals; on day 10, the Yankee could hold a simple conversation; day 100, the Yankee would still have an "accent", but communication would bottleneck more often on lack of shared fundamental assumptions, than on lack of shared vocabulary. YMMV, some people learn languages and dialects faster than others.
  • 10:17 AM - Riley37 quoted Shasarak in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    I know what Teflon is but honestly I have absolutely no idea how to produce it. And if I did know the formula of how to make it, if I was bounced back a hundred or a thousand years could I find the ingredients that I would need to make it? There is a story in which a time-traveller has significant successes, at least for a while, "Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" by Mark Twain (aka Samuel Clemens). Follow-up stories include "Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen" by Piper. There is also a reversal of that story, "Dies the Fire" by Stirling, which starts on the day that gunpowder stops exploding, electronics stop working, gasoline and kerosene burn less quickly, and airplanes fall from the sky. Society as we know it collapses, and those who can most effectively mix old technologies which still work - such as bows - with *modern* methods which still work - such as washing hands in hot soapy water before surgery - tend to thrive and prevail. There is also a story in which someone tries, and f...

Sunday, 15th April, 2018

  • 07:40 AM - Charlaquin quoted Shasarak in post [PF2] Gnome and Halfling ancestry up on Paizo blog
    It lloks like they are differentiating Gnomes with those funny Gnome hats, so they could use something else. In Dragonlance they used to use Top-knots and Hoopaks for the Kender. Eh, I’m not a fan of fashion being the visual identifier, because characters can always change clothes or do their hair differently. Golarion gnomes’ long eyebrows work. 4e gnomes’ gold skin, colorful, pupil-less, scalers-less eyes, and distinctive hairlines worked. Weird hats and topknots not so much. Now as for the bonus stats, i am not sure about giving Goblins, Gnomes and Halflings all bonuses to Cha. My preference would be Gnomes +Int, Halflings +Wis and Goblins +Con. Yeah, I think everyone finds that weird. I’d go gnomes + Int, Halflings + Cha, and goblins +Wis.
  • 06:38 AM - Charlaquin quoted Shasarak in post [PF2] Gnome and Halfling ancestry up on Paizo blog
    In the Lord of the Rings movies they did not need to have Frodo with a big head to show he was a Hobbit. Most of the time when you are looking at the Hobbit village you can not even tell they are Hobbits because it is built proportionally. Only when Gandalf is in his house can you notice it is a different scale. So why do we need Halflings with monstrously big heads just to show that they are Halflings/ I would vastly prefer your Hobbit foot idea. I don’t think we need big heads necessarily, we just need something to make them visually distinctive. Proportions are an easy way to do that, whether it be heads, feet, limb length, torso width, whatever. Or it doesn’t have to be proportions, but it should be some physical attribute.
  • 06:25 AM - Charlaquin quoted Shasarak in post [PF2] Gnome and Halfling ancestry up on Paizo blog
    Interestingly I would have given Lidda as an example of Halflings done correctly. Well except for that nose thing of course. But you can’t even tell she’s a halfling most of the time. I agree that the Jose was weird though.


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