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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 12:23 PM
    I guess I'm assuming that - or wondering whether - there is more that can be said than just It's my preference. That is, that it's possible to articulate why it's good. Upthread, Lanefan asserted that 4e's hp mechanic is flawed because it doesn't conform to his expectations for a hp mechanic. That's a pretty strong claim - that his way of thinking is better. Presumably there's something that...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 11:40 AM
    Action resolution in Burning Wheel (which can be ported to other systems eg Classic Traveller): * Intent and task action declaration; * Say 'yes' or roll the dice; * Success is success on both intent and task; failure is narrated by the GM by reference to intent and/or task as will keep things moving and maintain or increase the pressure; * Let it ride (ie results stand - no rerolls).
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Today, 11:35 AM
    Dredging up arguments do little good to this thread.
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Today, 07:00 AM
    I'm afraid this will sound like damning with faint praise, but it is the result of an honest evaluation that comes from running and playing 5e. Much like Fate, I consider 5e to be a really well designed game that excels at a style of play I have very little interest in. 5e excels at GM led and mediated storytelling where the emphasis is on resolving the adventure that is put in front of the PCs...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Today, 06:10 AM
    Right, there is really very little reason why you would NOT want that bonus. In any case most rangers are only going to have one HQ in play at a time, so they tend to focus fire. There is just not much to be gained by splitting up your attacks unless you're reduced to pinging minions with TS, which is a pretty silly thing to do in most cases (but stuff happens). As I said before Prime Shot is...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Today, 05:48 AM
    Quite honestly it seems like it would be prohibitively difficult to add on like a patch in the first place so I wasn't really expecting to see it. Just adding in the bloodied condition for its fantasy fighting pacing fun might be extensive let alone a broad tactical boost. 5e design paradigm seems to make it an extensive rewrite not a add on.
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Today, 04:40 AM
    Except they needed doorways and extra rows of pikeman to do anything at all apparently AD&D was my first experience and I didnt see in home games or conventions much different sizes of party than I have seen in 3e and in 4e or 5e.
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Today, 04:31 AM
    Row of pikeman... LOL you must have been gaming with entirely different people than me.. never saw once in my gaming career a row of pikeman in the party that sounds so heroic like the fighters are incompetent buffoons oh yeah they were. The infamous doorway let's play bugs bunny and pop one out so we always have one not everyone was only doing tunnel fighting nor thought it really needed to...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 03:41 AM
    Here is some rules text from Apocalypse World (which is one of the games Campbell was referring to), pp 12 and 194. The rule for moves is to do it, do it. In order for it to be a move and for the player to roll dice, the character has to do something that counts as that move; and whenever the character does something that counts as a move, it’s the move and the player rolls dice. Usually...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Today, 01:06 AM
    Not from the DM himself which is what we were discussing... a DM finding themselves now able to cut loose instead of faking it. This meant many 4e DMs were reporting more player kills than they ever had with any edition previously Yeh in a world of D&D caliber magic that isnt the guy standing in front its often the one with the pointy hat
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 12:59 AM
    … see, that's not cynical, at all... (I shouldn't talk, I'm totally cynical.) TBH (not just cynical), denying that system makes a difference strikes me as pointless. Obviously, systems are different, and those differences can't be quite meaningless. Now, to turn around the prior cynicism: The "cost" can include no longer being able to abuse or leverage that lack of systematic...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Today, 12:59 AM
    Too expensive IMHO actually and Fighters have another resource there attacks... spend one of your attacks scanning your enemies for an opening you may use Int/Cha or Wisdom (or appropriate skill such as investigation, insight, deception) and your next attack vs that enemy can be as though you had a superiority die additionally add int/wiz/charisma.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:31 PM
    On the one hand, that's not really much of a perk. Most Combat Styles actually make you better at something than the next guy. If your INT is 16, this makes as good with a Rapier as the guy with DEX 16. ::shrug:: Maybe have the INT bonus add in some other way. Maybe just add it, rather than replace it? With some proviso about the type of weapon & enemy or something? IDK. OTOH...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:18 PM
    Now that I think of it, there were other references to Level /n/ Monsters here and there in 1e. Summoning for instance. And a whole little blurb about how they used the word 'level' for a /lot/ of different things that didn't necessarily correspond. Oh, yeah, but you could be subtle about it. DM's Screen hides a multitude of sins. One of the biggest things was the convention that...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:18 PM
    I added something to the fighter in both 4e and 5e that allows any mental attribute to be used as your initiative stat (call it battle ready). I would like tactical maneuvers for the Battlemaster as the next step similar to how the Battlemaster has Charisma mods
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:08 PM
    You mean the bonus if they are attacking the same monster as you?
    27 replies | 1053 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:03 PM
    Nods there is definitely that... but there is also how tactical you are willing to play the adversaries pulling your punches by having enemies play more than a bit dumb was pretty common back in the day 4e felt fair if that makes any sense.
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:03 PM
    Which is why I regularly encourage people to play more and different types of games. And I also regularly recommend people (at least in my life) be willing to have the self-awareness and humility to say “I don’t know.” I don’t understand this modern phenomena of being unwilling to simply recognize that you don’t know what you don’t know. There are lots of things I don’t know...even in the...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:08 PM
    I think it's important to keep in mind that 5e short rests resources are pretty pointedly /not/ encounter-based, the intended theoretical balance-point for encounters:short:long is 6-8:2-3:1, or about /two/ encounters between rests. And, that's in theory, in practice, it depends on how much time you have between encounters and whether you use a variant, like the 'gritty' variant that makes short...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:03 PM
    Level appropriate is a bad word LOL
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:57 PM
    Sorry to riff off of just a couple sentences but... Seems like "informal practices" could be pretty varied and readily mutable (or set in stone, and violently defended, I suppose). If I'm following, that's an example of 'informal practice,' and - I'm really hoping - neither 'informal practice' nor 'GM stipulation' nor 'consensus roleplaying' have any extra-special...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:27 PM
    You're not wrong about those being similarities, but they're not identical, and the play dynamic they generate can be /very/ different. The short/long rest distinction in 5e, for instance, is 1 vs 8 hrs, often time enough for one is time enough for the other, you just can't take more than one of the latter in a given 24 hr period - the design assumption is 2-3 short rest & 6-8 encounters per...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:50 PM
    So you can get more XP than the next guy, pull ahead of him, and 'win' the game? That's not an entirely unfair characterization - I'd note that in 5e, XP does have an effect, in that the XP requirements to level relative to the XP value of a standard encounter budget, lead to faster leveling in Apprentice Tier, and after 11th level, and slower leveling through the putative 'sweet spot.' So...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:40 PM
    OK, I had noticed you said something about auras, and now that definitely reminds me of an encounter in, IIRC, PoS, with Chillborn Zombies. In 4e, virtually all auras didn't stack when overlapping, but - wonders of exception-based design - a few explicitly did... ...and illustrated why they shouldn't've. ;) I can't recall exactly where, but I heard that 8 encounters was the original...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:11 PM
    I suppose in 5e style false opening and taunt should be distinct one based on str/dex and the other based on cha
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:43 PM
    But on your own account this isn't true. Because the GM can always narrate something else. As you're presenting it, all the players get to do is make suggestions that the GM may or may not follow up on. How is that possiby a success, given the declared action? It's obviously a failure - the PC has not got what s/he wanted (namely, incriminating financial documents). So when do the players...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:42 PM
    There are certainly ways to adjust these things though, if "hitting" becomes too easy. I believe that the Fantasy AGE Companion provides some alternate rules (especially to address the oft-cited problem of HP bloat) and there is the upcoming Fantasy AGE Campaign Builder. That said, the Stunt points are fun. They add both additional chaos and tactical choice to combat. Plus, players in my...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:14 PM
    That would not be the plan for it. I don't think that most campaigns last that long anyway. Nerf the monsters? I read elsewhere that the frighten/corruption/etc. rules were meant to balance higher level parties. If it's too much, in your experience, then maybe take it out? I don't plan on the grmidark insanity stuff anyway. I have a copy of DCC, and I can't say that I was impressed or...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:44 AM
    Yeah, this actually reminded me much more of the 5e Warlock, where you can pick Invocations related to one of your paths (e.g., Blade, Chain, Tome), but most are essentially class features of your choice. Part of the popularity of the warlock, IMHO, is in how it provides players with greater build and customization points.
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:41 AM
    Truthfully, the Beast Master build is NOT at all underpowered in a basic sense. The only issue it has is the lack of access to a certain set of highly potent feats. Beyond that, the lack of the TWF's larger off-hand weapon is trivial (.5 point of damage on a hit, not a big deal). The only other lack being access to a truly world-shaking PP like Battlefield Archer. So, you don't REALLY need to...
    27 replies | 1053 view(s)
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:23 AM
    Well, Xeviat, HoML does mostly group powers by source, though it doesn't really outlaw 'cross sourcing' by gaining boons which provide powers outside your source. In that sense source is a bit more 'thematic' than it is in 4e. Anyway, I think AoE damage IS control, very much so! However, I think wizards could profitably have gone much more in the direction of terrain effects, like walls and...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:21 AM
    Always remember never bother saving the bar maid just the princess because greed is good
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:47 AM
    When you say "always conceptually bugs..." you're possibly even righter than you know: that was a frequent criticism of D&D back in the day. Any number of games used 'more realistic' experience systems, including 2e, and all later eds, as a result. /Just/ gold for XP is an odd variant, usually you could get XP from combat, too, just maybe not the lion's share depending on how good you were...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:43 AM
    It depends on how cunning the invading supernatural forces are, and how slow the modern society is to accept the reality of them. Come in quietly, reconnoiter invisibly, polymorph to infiltrate, and then charm/dominate/replace key people? Apart from some logistical concerns the world is yours, no one even notices. Encircle a major city with your undead horde, and cackle your demands for...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:02 AM
    5e is definitely not bloated like 3e, for just one example. Also, it should be pretty obvious that 5e managed some faults of it's own that 3e didn't suffer from. Do I really need to argue something so obvious? Have tobacco companies gone out of business? Has global peace broken out?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 11:55 PM
    Except magic in the source material /does/ follow patterns, they're just patterns in the unfolding drama of the narrative, not in the (non-existent) underlying reality of the implied 'magic system.' A gnome who can spin straw into gold - but not mind-control people, render himself invulnerable with shields of force, throw balls of fire, etc, etc, etc (so, y'know, not as powerful as a 5th level...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 11:17 PM
    Ha! Blatant Nerd Stereotype! …and true. Thank you, yes.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 11:05 PM
    That's an issue, because we have no guide as to which of the various deadly monsters in TSR eds parties were supposed to face at a given level. We have decades of experience giving us a really good idea, but that's still all subjective, and it would tend to shift the game towards whatever desired level of lethality we were working towards...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 10:35 PM
    If you've never been a grappler, it will be a little bit difficult to attempt to convey things conceptually, but Chess (which I suspect you've played or at least had exposure to) should suffice. Look at grappling (Brazillian Jiu-jitsu in particular) as a series of decision-trees where your opponent is imposing ever-progressing catch-22s upon you as they control you (takedown > deployment of a...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 10:14 PM
    Off topic - why not, after 6 years a topic can drift, right - say you were a ghoul in 4e. And say you were a /vegan/ ghoul. What do you do now, in 5e, that there are no more Wilden?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 10:08 PM
    IDK, I read the article and the original thread and this one, and I feel like a very simple cogent point being made by said article is missed or ignored or bulldozed or something: Magic in traditional TTRPGs like D&D fails to model or evoke magic in the sources of inspiration they nominally draw from.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 09:29 PM
    I should hope so, that's potentially some powerful drama there. (I'm picturing WWI, for some reason, not being too into the DitV setting.) Does the character conceive a death wish and get killed? Find a renewed reason to live and survive - or die tragically, or even heroically, in spite of that? Become a stronger person or descend into an emotional spiral - if the latter, how can he pull out...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 09:11 PM
    Yeah, that's a given. 4e DMing was phone-it-in easy. I felt like I'd almost forgotten how to run after a few years. ;) But it's like falling off a bicycle. (something else it turns out I'm good at) And armed ones using iterative attacks, that got brutal, too. Published adventures varied quite a lot. With modern eds, you can compare how PCs stack up to the encounter guidelines. ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 09:09 PM
    I believe I said that. 5e didn't get rid of the things that were complained about, it put /back/ the things that those stalking-horses were really about. You have no idea. I'm a bitter, cynical, old man on my best day, discussing the most innocuous things. I turn it down to 11 when I'm here. Heh. Depends how you run it. 5e /brought back/ the faults of 3e - and, more importantly, those...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 07:22 PM
    Seems right up FATE's alley, and something that could be touched upon in systems that model the character's psychology in some way (Hero, would be the one I'm most familiar with: psych lims), that can be tested (EGO roll) and change over time (changed around, or exp to 'buy down/off'). Certainly not with the same detail and play dynamics, of course... I didn't follow that, probably because I...
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 07:00 PM
    Sure but dont you figure it actually didn't require as much skill or art because EL delivered..
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 06:39 PM
    It's effing hilarious.
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 06:34 PM
    Any chance your formative play experience with 4e included Keep on the Shadowfell, Thunderspire Labyrinth, and/or Pyramid of Shadows? (Because, while the middle one was actually mostly pretty good, each included at least one example of completely whacked encounter design.) ...or, y'know, alternately, maybe your DM just liked killing you... ;) Vs encounters run closely to guidelines,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 06:26 PM
    That proves what I said. The AD&D fighter's save improved from needing a natural 14, to needing a natural 9 - and that's vs anything trying to petrify or polymorph him, from a cockatrice to a medusa to a 19th level Lich. He got /much/ better. Your 18 CON 3e fighter goes from needing an 8 at 4th level vs a 4th level DC, to needing a natural 10, vs a 10th level DC. He got /worse/. And, that's...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 05:53 PM
    Most of the things people complained loudly about in 4e, 5e retains in at least some measure. Fighters casting spells, wizards being 'nerfed' (relative to 3e), martial healing, overnight 'natural healing,' dissociated mechanics, etc, etc... ...nor was it "presentation" - PF2 need have no worries on that score - Essentials desperately scrambled to give a mussed, fluff-heavy presentation,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 05:24 PM
    Thank you. It'd be awesome if you'd stop saying there weren't, going forward. If what you mean is "at low level, 1e fighters had crap saving throws, and at the highest levels had the best saving throws in the game and could expect enough bonuses from randomly generated magic items to fail only on a natural 1, even before name level, PCs casually drinking poison for the flavor because it was...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 04:00 PM
    My posts on this subject over the years (and in this thread) involve pretty intensive analysis on why resolution procedure/GMing technique/reward cycle/play ethos/PC build setup (a) objectively provides a different experience than(b) in many different areas (from table handling time to distribution of authority to intraparty balance to party: obstacle balance to cognitive workload and on and on)....
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 03:36 PM
    I have heard DMs say in 4th they can go full out.... also a level +4 encounter is an acceptable encounter in 4e. Th DM has so much control over how dangerous things are by RAW the comparisons fail
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 03:22 PM
    I suppose it doesn't, by itself. A TT gaming renaissance, being able to research the game on-line without the top hits being rants about how wrong and evil and not-D&D it is, the name recognition and rep of the "First RPG," these things bring new folks in to try (or at least, don't keep) D&D for the first time. A master DM who has internalized all the DM know-how, is just waiting for them, he...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 03:15 PM
    U We’re complicated animals who live complicated lives. And these games, all of them, are complicated, relatively speaking. Nothing is ever one thing. But I think the line of evidence that I love running something like Dogs, something like 4e, while having many times more experience (and just as much enjoyment) with Moldvay Basic and AD&D1e is a pretty strong one.
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 02:51 PM
    Is that perhaps intentional given the tone of the setting? Recommendations for adjusting that? Or do you know of any alternate rules among his MANY supplements that address this? It seems like this could be fairly easily adjusted so that the save dc equals the casting stat (i.e., Intellect or Will), but I am not sure how that would impact balance since I am not sure how high stats typically...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 02:03 PM
    I’m not Campbell, but I’ll throw some words at this from GMing perspective. Its definitely true that most people almost surely enjoy the experience of games they like, and through their affinity they develop or have a natural aptitude for better play. Humans have pretty extreme neurological diversity, so I would say that it’s trivially true that cognitive predispositions and mental...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 07:56 AM
    And and, monsters could pull the same tricks. 3e had SoDs, and vs bad saves that only got worse relative to rising (let alone optimized) DCs, and negative levels worked a little differently, mechanically, but we're still pretty awful.
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 05:23 AM
    I agree. The GM's primary role in TTRPGing (outside of a few instances) is (a) to know what adversity is relevant to this particular play and (b) bring that adversity to bear against the PCs in the imagined space in the most interesting/compelling/challenging/provocative (and these will be contingent upon the game) way possible. Above I mentioned a Dogs play excerpt. The adversity I...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 04:13 AM
    FrogReaver I think you are starting from a faulty premise. You are assuming that game mechanics cannot meaningfully contribute to play despite having no direct experience of games where the rules are meant to supplement role play. We play these games because we value what they have to say about human nature and how people interact with each other. They help us form mental models of who our...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 03:57 AM
    In some game no one gets to decide if a mechanic is invoked or not. In Apocalypse World if a character attempts to do something in the fiction that triggers a move the mechanics must be applied. One of the things a GM must always say is Always Say What the Rules Demand.
    703 replies | 19546 view(s)
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 01:33 AM
    Venetian? I don't know. But that's what I would suspect just hearing about it.
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 11:59 PM
    Jim McGarva has a perfect catch-phrase for this sprinkled throughout the Strike (!) rulebook, which is basically a riposte to all of the stuff we heard about with genre-incoherent drift in 4e: "DON'T DEMAND NONSENSE!" One such quip is on fictional positioning and permissible action declarations: If I'm running Dogs and the player thinks someone is under the thrall of demonic...
    703 replies | 19546 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 11:30 PM
    What? Really? All of it? ::imagines who forests vanishing with the click of a mouse:: ;)
    183 replies | 12458 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 10:56 PM
    In one of my recent posts I referred to violations of genre, fictional positioning and system logic. In the Burning Wheel rulebooks Luke Crane makes the point by saying (something like) "no roll for beam weaponry in the duke's toilet". But that is all about vetoing or refusing to entertain certain action declarations. Lanefan was positing a successful outcome. As Ovinomancer has posted,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 09:41 PM
    Precisely my point. 3.5 went out of print ("end of life," maybe I mistakenly mixed a tech term into a publishing discussion, there?), and Paizo kept selling PF1 to 3.5 fans for another 10 years. Because 3.5 had just established that kind of loyalty. In another sense than product cycles, 3.5 (in the form of open-source d20) is /immortal/. As long as anyone wants to buy it, it can be...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 09:18 PM
    I always figured it was inspired by Sting, Orcrist and Glamdring in The Hobbit. I mean... ...that fits the MO of Orcrist the Goblin-Cleaver, in reverse, right?
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 08:53 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Yes. Typo. Fixed. Thanks for catching that. I'm not /intentionally/ using any common variants....
    231 replies | 8135 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 08:48 PM
    It is, because there was a very significant event that impacted the hobby in 2000: the release of 3e. In contrast, I'd be more inclined to accept data from '97 applying to 98 & 99, for instance, as not /that/ much changed - alarm over the failure of TSR probably lessened. I'm not arguing the other side. By saying that 1999 data isn't valuable for making one claim about 2002-5, say, I'm...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 08:41 PM
    I agree with Sacrosanct that 2e could be shifted to the left in that ranking of lethality. But, as I said, above, there's some truth to it, in terms of relative PC durability at first level. In general, as the eds progressed, 1st level PCs were made more durable, from 3d6 in order to more liberal stat generation, from random 1st level HD to max, from no healing at 1st to bonus spells from WIS,...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 08:16 PM
    Yeah, I've never known us all to agree. ;) 3e, for instance, was plenty deadly, it went all-in on giving monsters the same options as PCs, so much of the assumed advantages the system quietly gave PCs in prior editions quietly vanished - also 3e retained SoDs, /and/ saves didn't keep up with DCs, in contrast to prior eds where saves genuinely improved with level. I'd tend to agree. 2e...
    108 replies | 2542 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 07:15 PM
    There are melee weapons that can be thrown. So there's a very practical distinction between "attack with a melee weapon" or "melee attack with a weapon," as throwing an axe at someone is ranged attack with a melee weapon, but not a melee attack, at all. Hitting someone with a bowstave is a less common example of the same distinction.
    153 replies | 5956 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 07:02 PM
    Yep, understandable. Storyteller sold a /lot/ of books in the 90s, and they were, especially for rulebooks, pretty good cover-to-cover reads, but good luck finding a specific thing you vaguely remembered reading in one of them. Serious point-build systems, Hero, GURPS, could sometimes go the exact opposite, especially in presenting their core mechanics, very dry stuff. Both more complex and...
    38 replies | 1375 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:52 PM
    I intended layers. ;) I also think it's a perfectly workable variant. Oh yeah, I've seen that in action. Most dramatic example: a one shot Firefly scenario that included a prison break - one of the players was a correctional officer. It was positively comical when I was a kid, 14yo's arguing about 'how stuff really works.'
    88 replies | 3506 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:40 PM
    Tony Vargas replied to OSR Gripes
    Well, I mean, OK. 1e: 1st level fighter, longsword & shield, splint, 16 STR, 14 CON: AC 3, 1-10 (5.5) hps, hits self on natural 17 for 2-9 (5.5) damage (1.1 DPR). 5e: 1st level fighter, longsword, starting package, duelist style, 16 STR, 14 CON: AC 18, 12 hps, hits self on natural 13 for 1d8+5(9.5) damage (3.8 DPR, 4.275 w/crits).
    231 replies | 8135 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:34 PM
    Odd, why would you describe something as the exact opposite of what it was? Powers were very structured in presentation, and the mechanics had fairly clear/exact jargon definitions. Anything but jumbled or messy. Indeed, the aesthetic, if it could even be called that, was more 'technical manual' than anything else - which is great for understanding or looking up what you need, but less than...
    38 replies | 1375 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:25 PM
    So they were being dishonest? Alignment was a rule - you had to choose one - and it had mechanical effects, including things the character /could/ do, items it could use, etc, as well as restrictions on it. So, I'd think, even from a purely "gamist" (not necessarily in the Forge sense) perspective, you'd want to choose the 'best' alignment for your strategy, rather than try to talk the DM out...
    33 replies | 1002 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:13 PM
    Missed that, sorry. Between 1999 and 'early 2000s' 3e was released. I suspect it had an impact. So 2003 GenCon, sounds relevant, FWIW. 1999's survey, while it might be stronger data, just isn't relevant to the 2000s.
    88 replies | 3136 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 04:10 PM
    Some of my favorites: * Aspects (Fate) * Fate Points (Fate): notably saw less cheating with rolls from players and less compulsion to "fudge/cheat" my GM rolls. * Success with a Complication (e.g., Fate, Apocalypse World, Blades in the Dark) * Countdown Clocks (Blades in the Dark)
    41 replies | 1393 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 03:47 PM
    The Indonesian language is basically an artificially standarized variety of Malay, which has been used as a trade language among the archipelago for centuries. The actual most common language of the archipelago is Javanese. So "Indonesian" essentially exists as everyone's shared second language. The Session Tapes, as far as D&D settings are concerned, I would recommend looking at Eberron....
    33 replies | 1002 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 01:24 PM
    Why? In a relatively traditional RPG a GM gets to establish a lot of fiction: much of the setting; many of the NPCs; the framing of many situations; the narration of failures; maybe other stuff too that I'm not thinking of at present. What is the function of successful checks if the GM also gets to establish what happens there too? I was just responding to what you posted:
    703 replies | 19546 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 12:50 PM
    CapnZapp, that's certainly true, which is one reason why many other RPGs out there are more conscientious about time pressure mechanics. E.g., running out of light/torches in Torchbearer, countdown clocks in Blades in the Dark, and randomized countdown rolls in Index Card RPG. The countdown clocks in Blades, in particular, is pretty genius. Everytime the PCs go into downtime mode to recover,...
    38 replies | 1375 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 12:10 PM
    Does anyone have any experiences running or playing Shadow of the Demon Lord? If so, what are your thoughts and feedback? What did you like or dislike? How does it feel? Ease of use? Points of contention? Etc. I have been toying with using SotDL for a homebrew, though gutting its grimdark edgelord flavor for a more standard flair. (Supposedly Robert Schwalb is planning on releasing a version...
    7 replies | 257 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:16 AM
    I have neither said nor implied this. All I said was that Lanefan's example, in which the PC doesn't achieve what the player hoped for, is not a success and hence might be a feasible failure narration.
    703 replies | 19546 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:13 AM
    I agree with this. I use the phrase inhabitation of the character to try and convey this idea. I think, though, that some systems can be more demanding on the players than others, and challenging in that sense. To give examples: Prince Valiant and MHRP tend to be relatively light-hearted in the situations they throw up; whereas Burning Wheel (and I suspect Apocalypse World) can be much...
    703 replies | 19546 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 05:27 AM
    Can you explain more what you mean about not being sure about incentives? Not sure about incentives interfacing with the decision-tree in a moment of thematic choice? Incentives that push back against the impetus to establish a win condition for a scene/arc or create extra obstacles to that win condition in exchange for advancement? Something else? Paragraph 1 Response: That makes...
    703 replies | 19546 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 03:59 AM
    I would hope this would be obvious, but a system which in no way constrains GM narration is offering nothing of value. It says nothing. Provides nothing. It has no teeth. If a die roll does not constrain GM narration what is the point except empty ritual?
    703 replies | 19546 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 03:23 AM
    "Balanced at the Encounter" just means "pacing doesn't matter." Even 4e didn't go there, though the closely-related 7th ed of Gamma World did, and it worked pretty well, actually. Any indication PF2 wants to go there?
    38 replies | 1375 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 02:55 AM
    I personally do not really care. I am not really interested in testing characters. I'm more interested in character exploration. Sometimes that means putting them through the crucible, but sometimes it does not. My own litmus test is if a scene will tell us something meaningful about a character. What's required is for everyone (GM included) to play with integrity and not put their creative...
    703 replies | 19546 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 02:24 AM
    You have a choice of rules to use (or not): Carrying capacity, it's 15 lb/STR, if the fighter's gear & the other character & his gear exceed that, he's pushding/dragging and his move drops to 5' - otherwise fine, this is the simple default for carrying stuff. Encumbrance ("Variant"): Up to 5lb/STR he's fine, but it's unlikely a medium ally is under 100lb, which'd be the limit for 20 STR. ...
    13 replies | 450 view(s)
    0 XP
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Saturday, 6th July, 2019

  • 03:20 AM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    ... "node-based design" or "the three clue rule"). Narrativism (once called Dramatism in some discussion, but Jonathan Tweet had already coined that term for a different purpose in his game Everway and so Ron Edwards out of deference to Tween coined a new term) = RPGing where the goal, in play, is to create story experiences that are recognisably stories in the sense in which novels and films are stories, and an account of what I had for lunch yesterday probably isnt. So sequences of events that exhibit pacing, theme, rising action and climax, etc - where this is not pre-established by a GM or module writer but is done collectively at the table using the classic RPGing devices of players playing characters through the GM's world/situation. An early example is Prince Valiant. The best-known contemporary examples are probably Dogs in the Vineyard and Apocalypse World and many of its offshoots. My favourite version of such a system is Burning Wheel. A group of us on these boards - me, darkbard, Manbearcat and some others - think that of all versions of D&D, 4e is the best suited for narrativist play; and that independently of comparisons to other versions of D&D, it's well-suited to narrativist play. The features of the system that underpin that are the same features that make it poorly-suited for simulationist play, and that therefore make it unpopular with many RPGers. Whatever the commercial fate of Paizo's PF2, I've seen no evidence that PF2 is intended to be, or will be, a good game for narrativist purposes. But I haven't been following that closely; maybe Aldarc has a different view or can shed more light.

Wednesday, 29th May, 2019

  • 01:47 AM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    And the author of the OP?What about me? Do you mean, what did I hope to get out of the thread? One's never sure in advance beyond "interesting conversation". But the discussion about storytelling and various modes, driven mostly by Aldarc and hawkeyefan, has been interesting. Hriston and darkbard have helped refine my framing of my point. That's helpful. And also led it in the direction of "advice to GMs", which led to some fruitful discussions with uzirath whom I've not engaged with very much before as a poster. And Manbearcat has pushed with some challenging posts about pacing that I haven't replied to yet. Ultimately, the reason I post on a discussion board is to have discussions.

Tuesday, 28th May, 2019

  • 05:43 AM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    So let's focus on what the actual lines of dispute are, rather than fight endlessly over the definition of literary.Yeah, I didn't expect this thread to be a debate about the meaning and scope of the term "literary". I thought it might be a discussion about whether or not wordcraft is a principal or essential means of evoking emotional responses in a RPG. The point of my OP is to deny such a claim. On the other hand, I believe that Hussar affirms such a claim, as does Imaro. I'm frankly not sure what Maxperson thinks about it. Everyone agrees with you @pemerton.This isn't true at all. Unless you've changed your mind, upthread you asserted that the use of wordcraft and associated performance is a key means of promoting emotional responses in RPGing. Which is what I am disagreeing with. ************************ On the issue of "playstyle arguments/agendas", which has been flagged by Bedrockgames and darkbard: I think (and hope) it's obvious that my OP is putting forward a view about where the aesthetic merit and aeshetic power of RPGIng lies, and therefore a view about what the point of RPGing ultimately is. I recognise that others will disagree. That's not uncommon in critical discussions. I'm not 100% sure that I agree with Eagleton that these "deep structures" of aesthetic evaluation correlate to, or express, social power relations and any resultant ideologies. That's a further, and harder, question. But as I posted upthread in reply to Aldarc, I do think that these aesthetic preferences can be connected to broader trends in RPG design and RPG play. Some of Hussar's posts (about "plot wagons", and criticising player passivity) seem to me to imply a conception of RPGing where the GM brings the story and the players bring the expressive energy. Now maybe that's wrong, and Hussar is welcome to correct me if it is. But that conception of RPGing that I'm seeing there, even if not Hu...

Friday, 3rd May, 2019

  • 06:52 PM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Just to follow up on what darkbard posted - I've found the discussion around the role of performance in RPGing interesting, as clearly there are different views about that. (Hopefully mine are clear.) But in some ways the most interesting response so far has been uzirath's, because of the connection drawn to teaching RPing/GMing. Part of the motivation for the OP was to respond to a trend in GM advice that I've noticed on-and-off for years (decades), and that seemed to be implicit in one or two recent threads, which emphasises the need for GMs to work on their performance skills. Whereas when I have (recently) been GMed by a new referee, the performances were fine (in the sense that sentences were produced without monotone, words were utterly clearly, etc) but the evident real demand on the GM (which he did a good job of meeting, I felt) was to manage situation and consequence. In fact when it came to consequences, he did a better job (I think) than I have done in GMing Burning Wheel, at least in appreciating the ful...

Saturday, 23rd March, 2019


Sunday, 10th March, 2019

  • 04:55 AM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...ce. There's no notion of "downtime", because there's no notion of the adventure or the dungeon expedition as there is in D&D. There are different things that players might have their PCs do, that take different amounts of ingame time, and are resolved via different ratios of ingame to real-world time. We've already established that breaking interpersonal conflict out into distinct "combat" and "social" categories means that athletics competitions can't be accounted for; in Cortex+ Heroic there is no difference between these things at all, and - for instance - a character can cause another to wilt in shame by besting him/her in swordplay. Similarly, in the example of play for Marvel Heroic RP we see Wolverine using his Adamantium Claws in a dice pool used to inflict Emotional Stress (ie scaring off some enemy NPCs). This sort of thing is omething that D&D doesn't easily allow for. (Hence the recurrent discussions of why it is that bards are more intimidating than barbarians.) As darkbard said not far upthread, why not start trying to think about other RPGs, and the techniques and approaches they involve, on their own terms rather than through this narrow and distorting lens of 80s-style D&D.

Sunday, 24th February, 2019

  • 04:57 PM - Aldarc mentioned darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    I am a little puzzled by this post. This thread wasn't started form a critique of non-puzzle oriented games.How the thread starts is not necessarily how discourse proceeds. And in this case, a new branch of discussion opened from Lanefan expressing vexation that "saying no" has somehow become unpopular, which I don't think that it has. Less popular maybe, particularly among indie games, but certainly not unpopular. What ticks me off a bit, is he can't seem to do that without belittling or refusing to see how other people approach the game. And that mentality is prevalent in so many of these threads on this kind of topic.In my own reading, I don't think that is the case. You may be making too much of too little offense, while also ignoring those with carry similar mentalities who are debating against pemerton. Though I also think that darkbard also has a good take on this situation. Obviously though, if players are there for the puzzles, they probably won't like a game that doesn't engage puzzle solving skill, but rather focuses on drama. The reverse is true as well.Most definitely, which ties back into my point that you quoted. SYORTD is a principle oriented towards a different play emphasis than games focused on player-skill overcoming puzzles. Why not? Not only is this not One True Way, but it's pretty much required if you want to enjoy a game. If I prefer 1e style games, I absolutely should be analyzing every RPG I come across on 1e design principles, play priorities/values, campaigns, etc. To fail to do that will eventually result in my purchasing or playing a game that I won't like, wasting my money in the process. Presumably people want to buy and play in games that they will enjoy, and the way to do that is to evaluate games on what they do that you enjoy vs. what you don't enjoy.I would suggest returni...

Monday, 18th February, 2019

  • 11:45 PM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    darkbard, obviously you know your table and you know your game's fiction, so I can only offer a couple of general thoughts: * The idea of clarifying intent, if it's not entirely clear, seems worthwhile; * In my Traveller game, part of what makes the subsystems for travel able to fit with a broadly "story now" approach to the game is the background setting, which I'll say more about. The background setting for Traveller is an Imperium, with a somewhat nebulously characterised government, a group of interstellar agencies (the Imperial Navy, the Imperial Marines, the Imperial Interstellar Scout Service), and communication between planets dependent on news being carried by starships. In practical terms, this means that more-or-less any planet the PCs travel to can have as much or as little of the prior backstory catching them up as seems appropriate given what is going on in play. That's not to say that there is nothing partiular to particular worlds - Olyx had the bioweapons research base...
  • 09:06 AM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    ...not "will we make it from X to Y?" but "will we rescue our loved ones?" It is perfectly OK to say that failure to arrive at all is in the cards. It simply must be true that whatever scene frame is thus entered serves to advance the story and doesn't thwart it or turn it in a DM-determined direction, at least to too large a degree.If we are talking about the sorts of systems that are the origin of self-conscious application of "fail forward", then whether or not failure to arrive at all is on the cards depends entirely on the details of the fictional situation and how it relates to what anyone at the table cares about. In my Prince Valiant game, most of the time the PCs' travel across Britain is simply narrated as occurring. There is no need for any checks, because everything that any participant cares about is premised on the PCs getting from X to Y. The travel is just a backdrop to the events that actually matter in play. Conversely, if you are going to call for checks - as darkbard is intending to - then you should know why you are doing that. What is at stake? If you don't know that, then you haven't framed your check properly. Once you do know what is at stake, it may or may not turn out to be the case that non-arrival is among those stakes. There's no way to ascertain that possibility in the abstract - it's all about the details of the fiction. (Of course in some RPG systems, travel always requires a check - which is to say that the system itself always puts some stakes forward as part of travel. Interstellar travel in Classic Traveller is an example of this. But 4e doesn't fall under that description - there is no rule of 4e that demands a check because the players declare that their PCs travel from X to Y.)
  • 06:04 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned darkbard in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    As others pointed out : Fail forward = success but is only required when the goal of the endeavor is the singular and obligatory path forward. If the game/story can still continue with a "regular failure", then that shouldn't be taken off the table for [Fail forward] to work - it can work with the goal's failure. Right, and that forms of gist of a reply I would make to pemerton above. It is perfectly OK to say that failure to arrive at all is in the cards. It simply must be true that whatever scene frame is thus entered serves to advance the story and doesn't thwart it or turn it in a DM-determined direction, at least to too large a degree. That may mean that 'in the end' the PCs DO get to the destination. It is just that, really, play should be able to continue in most directions. Really the only thing that shouldn't ever happen is "you fail, you're now still no closer to your goal and nothing has changed." So the consideration of what darkbard should do next, is just advance the story in some direction, giving the players a sense of progress if they succeed and a sense of complication or cost if they don't. And make it genre appropriate and coherent with the rest of the plot and setting.

Thursday, 14th February, 2019

  • 05:53 PM - hawkeyefan mentioned darkbard in post Blades In The Dark
    ... didn't seem to correct the issue. Thanks for the tip. I will keep this in mind for player instruction once I get the opportunity to run the game. Yeah, that's a bit of advice that John Harper attributed to one of his players, and which I've used to encourage my players to take chances. It's a pretty nice way to boil it all down for them. Were they the second series of videos he did? I seem to vaguely recall that his first set did not seem to reflect the published rules. For example, one player using their social status for an extra die on their roll, though I could be misremembering here or confusing a discussion for position rather than dice. The first series can be found on John Harper's youtube channel, and includes Sean Nittner, Stras Acimovic, and Adam Koebel. This was done during the lead up to the final version of the rules, so there are some mechanics or rules that come up that are no longer in place, or that have changed in the final version of the game. But, as @darkbard mentions, it's a minor concern for the most part. The major mechanics are essentially intact. And changes are actually discussed at points throughout the series, which is an interesting view on the design decisions and development of the rules. But yes, here and there something will come up that makes you scratch your head if you're familiar with the rules. The second series you refer to, I believe, is the RollPlay: Blades series. I've watched a good chunk of this series as well, and this one seems to be working solely with the final version of the rules. This series is equally entertaining as the other, although perhaps a bit more serious and dark at times. I haven't watched either series in its entirety, though, so my impression may not apply in the long run. I'll add that I'm not a big one for watching streamed games....I've never been able to sit through an entire episode of Critical Role, for example, and most of my online viewing of streams has been more about seeing a system i...

Sunday, 10th February, 2019

  • 10:52 PM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned darkbard in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    I think you misunderstand me, or perhaps I have misrepresented myself. I have no script in play, as GM, though I am speculating about potential scenarios and their range of outcomes. However, the players have expressed intent which will surely play out as action declarations, and I wish to honor a fail forward mentality in engaging those declarations. Now, certainly, PC actions, successful or not, may change the direction of the current fiction, but there is nothing about player-facing principles that works at odds to a fail forward framework. Story Now, to me, does not indicate a lack of goals or destination; instead, it means destination is determined through player exploration of their characters and that mechanics, rather than GM-scripted plot, determine how and if the PCs achieve those goals. Essentially, what you are suggesting is that "play to see what happens" and fail forward are at odds, and I do not believe that must be so. AbdulAlhazred, darkbard - interesting discussion! If the players declare that their PCs are heading for X by striking out through the wilderness, then we have intent and task. It seems that there are several possible ways this can unfold at the table. (1) The GM simply says "yes" and narrates the arrival, perhaps with a bit of travel drama laid on top. Ipso facto there can't be anything of significant cost here. This is how most travel in my Prince Valiant game, and some of the travel in my 4e and BW games, happens. Cortex+ Vikings is a bit different, because the PCs tend not to have a particular destination in mind, and the travel is punctuated by me dropping in appropriate action scenes (this actually gives it more of an "Arthurian wanderings" feel than Prince Valiant, where we use the map of Britain on the inside cover of the Pendgraon hardback that shipped as part of the PV kickstarter). (2) A version of (1) where the GM "bargains" with the players - you arrive fine, but knock of XYZ, where th...
  • 05:39 PM - Manbearcat mentioned darkbard in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    Doesn't really work in the sense that the concept is that the party DOES eventually arrive. At the very least the consequences of the SC must be other than "don't find their way back". Of course there are a number of possibilities there, too many to enumerate! ... I don't see these as CONFLICT per se. Just going to use these two pieces to bridge into a quick post. I don't agree with either of these positions above. 1) I'm not sure why your thought is that there is a preconcieved endpoint to darkbard 's game here. I don't see anything in the lead post that implies that. 2) If there is a preconceived endpoint (the group will travel from x to y and arrive unscathed in n time), then its pointless to treat the travel as an Action Scene. Just treat it as a Transition Scene, depict the journey cogently, and move the game forward to the destination. But that seems pretty anathema to the conventions of PoL! Further, in a PoL travel scenario, travel conflict would broadly be "does this obstacle or this series of obstacles (a) complicate travel thematically and (b) convey the conventions/tropes of PoL." If the answer is yes to both, then you have conflict that is coherent with the game's premise. Finally, my thoughts on travel in RPGs dovetails perfectly with The Perilous Wilds expansion for Dungeon World (and these are the journey rules I use in that game and the principles I use for pretty much all games): Journey When you travel by a safe route, through safe ...
  • 03:53 AM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    AbdulAlhazred, darkbard - interesting discussion! If the players declare that their PCs are heading for X by striking out through the wilderness, then we have intent and task. It seems that there are several possible ways this can unfold at the table. (1) The GM simply says "yes" and narrates the arrival, perhaps with a bit of travel drama laid on top. Ipso facto there can't be anything of significant cost here. This is how most travel in my Prince Valiant game, and some of the travel in my 4e and BW games, happens. Cortex+ Vikings is a bit different, because the PCs tend not to have a particular destination in mind, and the travel is punctuated by me dropping in appropriate action scenes (this actually gives it more of an "Arthurian wanderings" feel than Prince Valiant, where we use the map of Britain on the inside cover of the Pendgraon hardback that shipped as part of the PV kickstarter). (2) A version of (1) where the GM "bargains" with the players - you arrive fine, but knock of XYZ, where th...

Saturday, 9th February, 2019

  • 11:29 PM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned darkbard in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    ... there is the potential for death spiral but in 4e at least I think that limiting access to resources works better as a type of penalty (if only because it makes the players sweat a bit more while not actually death-spiralling them given their depth of resources, at least above very low levels) than does imposing numerical penalties to actions, which can start to destabilise the maths. Ultimately I think that, in the context of 4e, having the fiction change in some adverse/undesired way is generally better than mechanical penalties or hurdles. (In BW it's different because while penalties can produce a death spiral they can also make it easier to get checks at the difficult needed to improve character abilities - whereas there is no analogue to that in 4e.) Lets think about this in terms of "play to see what happens". In that paradigm, arrival at the destination cannot ever be seen as a given. In fact in a truly 'story now' mode of play there is no destination. Thus, in those terms, darkbard's question becomes literally incoherent; that is, a game built to work that way is incoherent with his stated scenario. I don't want to sidetrack the thread, its clear enough that he's got some sort of 'scripted' play going on in which the GM has already constrained the outcome to arrival at the planned destination. However, it can be interesting to contrast the different techniques and see how their fundamental play architectures lead to different game experiences. So, in my story now HoML campaign, the PCs might strike out towards a remote destination across the 'darkness' of the world. If the player's stated interest is focused strictly on some element which has been narratively constrained in previous play to require the PCs to be at that remote location, then arrival there should be a given and any costs involved should be seen as 'stakes'. It might, thus, be appropriate to challenge the players, "how badly do you really want to do X, are you willing to pay N amount of resource...

Thursday, 7th February, 2019

  • 10:29 PM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    darkbard, looking at your PCs one possibility that occurs to me is this: * Failed checks on the way cause the PCs to be lost/delayed, and the PCs notice that shadow are pooling more heavily/dusk is falling earlier; * Overall failure means that when the PCs arrive at their destination, the shadowfell has already started to encroach on the town/homestead/other civilisational element that the PCs were heading to. Manbearcat - your advocacy of new tricks to this old dog is noted!
  • 10:22 PM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    Some rituals that can warn of enemies, or create safe environment, suddenly have a very high value.Most of my 4e play has been at levels/tiers well above darkbard's, but rituals to allows safe rest - since upper paragon, that's been Hallowed Temple - are valuable to the players/PCs, because as a general rule I take the view that "resting" in the Underdark or the Abyss doesn't enable any sort of resource recovery.

Tuesday, 29th January, 2019

  • 02:37 PM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 1 Failure and Story
    darkbard, I've heard a lot from various posters about BitD, including reading actual play reports from Manbearcat. How would you say the crew relates to the players? Is it envisaged as being driven by a constant set of players, or players coming and going? From your rules quote it almost seems like an element of setting, but I could be way off in suggesting that.
  • 08:23 AM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 1 Failure and Story
    I often get a sense - particularly from the story-now crew* - that the real interest lies in the stories of individual characters, with the story of the party as a whole merely tagging along for the ride. * - though I suppose these could almost be defined as post-NS. It seems like one of the "story-now crew," such as pemerton, Campbell, or darkbard would be better equipped to elucidate clarification on such matters then, if you are so inclined.Assuming that a RPG involves a party which, like the ship of Theseus, has an existence that transcends the relationships of its individual components, is already making a big assumption. I once ran a Rolemaster campaign that lasted 8 years. When the campaign started there were 4 players and hence 4 PCs. When the campaign finished there were 6 or so players, one or two of whom was playing a NPC sidekick resulting in 8 or so PCs. None of the players was the same as at the start. One of the sidekicks was a starting PC. At various points on the way through the composition of the group fluctuated as people travelled, returned from studies abroad, etc, and brought in old PCs or created new ones. There was no enduring "party". There were enduring characters, and enduring relationships between them; and obviously in the real world there was an enduring group most of whose members knew most...

Saturday, 12th January, 2019

  • 11:59 PM - Manbearcat mentioned darkbard in post Building a multi-goal encounter
    Just logged in to xp your play recap darkbard . Awseome! This is a great reference for would-be GMs trying to integrate Skill Challenges with a combat. Great job and thanks for spending the effort to put it in print.


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Thursday, 13th June, 2019

  • 12:47 AM - Imaro quoted darkbard in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    @lowkey13, to a much greater extent than you might imagine, I largely agree with much of your recent postings here, but because of your sarcastic and antagonistic style, I have lost any desire to engage your substance right now. I guess it's not just whether content is good or not... I guess the desire to engage with it or not can actually depend on how it's presented... Who woulda thunk it... :erm:
  • 12:43 AM - pemerton quoted darkbard in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Well, of course, and I agree this is why we will never agree on the argument: because of the definitions. Context matters, especially when it comes to such nebulous concepts as "literary/literature." I'm pretty sure pemerton, Manbearcat, (not sure about Bedrockgames), etc. don't consider these posts literary, though it's clear you do.Further: a message board is a written medium. It's not a conversation except in some rather metaphorical sense. Doubly so in my case given that most of the other posters are in a different country and different time zone from me. And further further: I would have thought it's pretty clear my now that the OP is talking about the aims/virtues or RPGing. What it's about as an aesthetic activity. And yet further again (and to the universe in general rather than darkbard in particular): not all disagreement is the result of confusion over what people mean. Sometimes people just say things that one disagrees with. It happens, in the arts as much as anywhere else.

Wednesday, 12th June, 2019

  • 07:48 PM - Lanefan quoted darkbard in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    As I stated pretty early in this thread, I believe any attempt to define some immutable, univeral definition for "literary/literature" is a fool's errand. Probably true, but as the thread title not only includes the word 'literary' but highlights it, it only follows that some time then has to be spent nailing down a) what the OP specifically meant by the word and b) what the word means to everyone else in general. These two things so far don't appear to be the same, and this difference represents about 500 posts so far. What matters for this thread is not fixing some definition but rather pemerton's argument that what makes TTRPGs unique and distinct from literature is the framing of situations as a call to action on the part of the PC-inhabiting-player over descriptive flourishes as performance for performance's sake. And even this comes down to a) definition and b) preference. The OP has been fairly consistent over the long run in suggesting he prefers to frame situations that almost forc...
  • 06:58 PM - lowkey13 quoted darkbard in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Histrionic much? Look, if you find this so "very tiring," what, then, is the purpose of your reentry into the discussion every few hundred posts? Clearly you must derive something from this discussion beyond the occasional impulse to meet head and keyboard? Yes, it is very tiring to repeat myself. Especially when people talk down to you despite the fact that you have been addressing these points, repeatedly. ...and you clearly knew that with the reference to the "every few hundred posts." So ... yeah, nice trolling- not cool. As I stated pretty early in this thread, I believe any attempt to define some immutable, univeral definition for "literary/literature" is a fool's errand. What matters for this thread is not fixing some definition but rather @pemerton's argument that what makes TTRPGs unique and distinct from literature is the framing of situations as a call to action on the part of the PC-inhabiting-player over descriptive flourishes as performance for performance's sake. As ...
  • 06:01 PM - lowkey13 quoted darkbard in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Aye, but for the context of this discussion, pemerton pretty clearly describes from the beginning (I would argue, though others, like @hawkeyefan, have framed this as almost from the beginning, i.e., with some early supporting posts) the intent behind his use of the term "literary." Rather than people jumping in and obfuscating the discussion with arguments over alternative definitions, why not engage the OP on the terms presented? Or just, y'know, not get bent outta shape by the usage? That's a great point! I mean, it's not like I've ever discussed the history of the thread, ever painstakingly quoted the specific OP and the followup, as well as the predecessor threads, in order to determine exactly what the OP was trying to get at ... Yeah, you're right. I mean ... I never understood the context of this discussion, nor have I ever bothered noting how frustrating it is when people repeatedly say, "C'mon guys, let's just use the OP's definitions!" Oh, wait .... I have done this over and ov...
  • 05:27 PM - lowkey13 quoted darkbard in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Well, of course, and I agree this is why we will never agree on the argument: because of the definitions. Context matters, especially when it comes to such nebulous concepts as "literary/literature." I'm pretty sure pemerton, Manbearcat, (not sure about Bedrockgames), etc. don't consider these posts literary, though it's clear you do. My last post- This doesn't understand the P.O.V. that others have, which is why this whole thing has been bollixed from the beginning ... I'm not saying that anyone is right or wrong, just that this is why there can't be a meeting of the minds. Inherently, one P.O.V. is that we are discussing extraneous flowery language, and the other P.O.V. is that we are discussing narrative technique which is inherent in communication, including framing. Given those definition issues, there can't be agreement. Do you ever feel like you keep saying, over days and weeks, that people are talking past each other, because of definitions, and you keep saying that, and every no...

Thursday, 30th May, 2019

  • 03:48 PM - Elfcrusher quoted darkbard in post Map Printing Help
    Are you familiar with Posterazor? It may take a bit of fiddling to get each map to exactly 1" squares, but it does precisely what you want. This rocks! I haven't printed it yet, but I downloaded it and easily broke my image up into a paginated PDF. It takes some guesswork to get the scaling right, but the final result doesn't have to be exactly 1" squares. Thank you!

Wednesday, 29th May, 2019

  • 01:37 PM - Bedrockgames quoted darkbard in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    I also do think Bedrockgames is on to something when he says, ultimately, this discussion now has become a mask for playstyle arguments. Of course it has. This is inevitable, for aesthetic judgments are inseperable from "our deeper structures of belief," as literary critic Terry Eagleton calls them: For any interested in Eagleton's deep examination of the struggles professional literary critics have gone through in engaging a definition of the term, leading to the above conclusion, I refer you to the excellent prefatory chapter to his Literary Theory: An Introduction, "What Is Literature?" linked here for your convenience. Glad I was able to say something someone found sensible. On this though I feel when it comes to RPGs we lean much too heavily on these kind of subjective judgement calls (to an extent inevitable). I think there needs to be more room for descriptive approaches. Don't get me wrong, I think we also need punditry. We need GMs who advance ideas like "here is why I th...
  • 01:39 AM - pemerton quoted darkbard in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    He does not even make that concession that someone could engage in a literary endeavour for their RPGing. you are both wrong in your characterization of pemerton's position. Many times now he has articulated that all things being equal, literary presentation can improve the quality of a game, but that caveat requires that the core activity of TRPGing be not in the presentation itself but in the invitation to meaningful engagement of the situation on the part of the PCs, that at its heart the issue is not performance but framing situations that invite protagonism.What darkbard says is correct, with one caveat that perhaps gets closer to the heart of Sadras's concern: I think that the invitation to action often requires spontaneity or real-time judgement in tthe back-and-forth; whereas wordcraft tends to benefit from reflection and editing. So I think there can be a degree of tension between the two. So there is a second claim, on top of the claim that literary quality is not core to RPGing. It is that, while everything else being equal literary quality (and the resulting entertainment) can be a good thing, everything else may often not be equal. I have tried to highlight the history of why this thread was created.And as I've already pointed out, you're wrong about this. As the OP says, it was prompted by multiple threads. Not just the boxed text thread; also the action declaration thread, in which Hussar was criticising some other posters for insisting on "talky talky" as key to action declaration, and they were trying to articulate a contrast between...

Tuesday, 28th May, 2019

  • 09:24 PM - Umbran quoted darkbard in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Uncritical advocacy may not add anything at all. But critical analysis and discussion can help sharpen the focus of what separates the activity of RPGing from other endeavors. So, we'd get to more clearly divide Them from Us? I've generally held that RPGs are a genre of games. Genres *don't have* sharp definitions. They have very fuzzy edges, defined by inclusion rather than exclusion. This does not impede critical analysis - it merely means that analysis requires a bit of subtlety and consideration.
  • 03:57 PM - lowkey13 quoted darkbard in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    You are correct that @lowkey13 keeps asserting this. But you are both wrong in your characterization of @pemerton's position. Many times now he has articulated that all things being equal, literary presentation can improve the quality of a game, but that caveat requires that the core activity of TRPGing be not in the presentation itself but in the invitation to meaningful engagement of the situation on the part of the PCs, that at its heart the issue is not performance but framing situations that invite protagonism. I'm sure pemerton will correct me if I have inadvertendly mischaracterized his position. I would love to agree with you, but I have tried to highlight the history of why this thread was created. Then I left for a while, and I see that we are not only no closer to a resolution, but that when @Hussar tried to reach common ground with @pemerton, such attempt was rejected. So ... yeah, it is what it is. Personally, I don't care how permerton plays, or how you play, or how people ...

Sunday, 28th April, 2019

  • 04:23 PM - pemerton quoted darkbard in post Cthulhu Dark - another session
    In the early stages of play, before the two PCs' trajectories coincide, how much of your session was dedicated to each PC's story, and how did you manage splitting this time at the table?I started with the butler, because that player is more adept at answering questions ("What are you doing in London?") and introducing the necessary story elements (like the Earl being "indisposed"). I wan't keeping time, but moved back and forth between them maybe every 10 or so minutes? Basically at appropriate break points in the action - and meanwhile trying to establish parallel/overlapping elements so the intertwining could happen - like making sure that the apartments of Smythe where Appleby was visiting were next door to the apartments of Livingstone where Randal had his evening appointment. And in due course connecting Smythe as well as Livingstone to the East African colonies. And Appleby's player helped here, by presenting the Earl as an adventurer/explorer type and hence a good candidate to have c...

Saturday, 27th April, 2019

  • 03:09 PM - Ovinomancer quoted darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Thanks for the response; I don't find it lacking in details in the least. If I were to summarize your view, I guess it would be something like the sequential narrative mirroring the sequencing of events in real life is a high priority. While I don't share that priority (and disagree that this makes for a "more realistic" game), I certainly understand why you might hold such a priority.Yup. Prefering this kind of sim play is cool, but it doesn't make the fiction any more "realistic". You can do this and still have unrealistic outcomes (the fighter that survives the fireball but none of his gear does, frex). "Realism" doesn't depend on a specific mode of play. This has been the point since the OP.
  • 09:10 AM - Lanefan quoted darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Why? Considering all that has been written here, why do you insist this somehow adds to your sense of realism in the game?I could go on for ages answering this, but it's late so I'll just give the Reader's Digest version. Why does this add to my sense of realism? Simply put, because reality happens sequentially. Time only moves in one* direction. Therefore realism suggests you do things at the table in a sequence based on the time sequence in the fiction: you choose your gear first because that is what happens first, and then you attempt the score. (and before any of that you do your research/casing/etc. to inform your gear choices, among other things) Playing through the score first and then blaming failure post-hoc on choice of gear is unrealistic and inauthentic for two reasons: first, there's no way of knowing what the player/character would actually have chosen (as opposed to whatever the failure result said she didn't have) had she been able to do her own choosing; and second, be...
  • 03:55 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Why? Considering all that has been written here, why do you insist this somehow adds to your sense of realism in the game? I think its just his preference. We can argue about what is possible, and what different kinds of play can and do produce, but I won't argue with anyone's preferences. I will say that BitD's mechanic might be more authentic to the idea of an experienced thief, but that isn't really relevant to the guy who enjoys thinking out his equipment list because the RP he enjoys is doing that thinking. He needn't justify it at all.

Monday, 15th April, 2019

  • 02:25 PM - Von Ether quoted darkbard in post Game Design Like a Boy Scout: Week 2 - Jenga
    Good write up! And I've heard about the above mechanic before but never seen it spelled out. How have you (and others) applied Jenga to resolution mechanics in TTRPGs? I'm intrigued by the mounting tension of the players mirroring the imagined tension of PCs.... Simply put, when something risky is being done the GM tells the player to remove a piece. If the tower falls, they die somehow. The GM has to manage the pacing a bit and you'd hope that players wouldn't fight each other (it did in our one-shot.) And one-shots is pretty much the game's wheelhouse. I can see that without a PC you have opinions about, the game could be more about the player projecting themselves onto their avatar.

Friday, 12th April, 2019

  • 04:22 PM - Numidius quoted darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Ah, I see: this is formalized through rolls rather than freeform narrative building. That is quite different than DW's collaborative campaign building.Formalized thru rolls only when the two sides at the table do not agree anymore on what is established via narrative. Narrative enforced by slots spent/marked on the char sheet (by players; the Gm uses fiat until asked to roll, but Gm resources are limited to the actual setting, and once spent them cannot be used again to force the fiction. Eg: since the trolls have already been used by Gm and dealt with by the ranger, now they cannot be present in the siege as troops of the invading army)
  • 12:53 PM - Numidius quoted darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    In any event, cool stuff to be thinking about! Thanks :)
  • 12:51 PM - Numidius quoted darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Do you see this setting creation as fundamentally different than the Dungeon World method of shared creation at the game's outset, particularly as that outlined in The Perilous Wilds? In any event, cool stuff to be thinking about!I have not read PW. Would elaborate on that? The difference I perceive from DW, is that I'd put in place a procedural frame to be followed as RAW. In which Gm and Players are not pulling their punches, since in any moment one can mandate the other to roll, and then another Frame dictates who narrates Success and who Failures (who rolls narrates Failures... the other Player the Success: so in the above Bard & Princess story arc Negotiation, the Gm would roll for the social stuff regarding the Princess and her promised Cousin: Gm fails and narrates that Yes The Princess now loves the Bard, but he captures her and flee into the dungeon helped by his noble house relatives --- note that The Dungeon was already in the fiction, so who narrates may incorporate anything that...

Saturday, 23rd March, 2019



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