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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Today, 10:13 AM
    A subjective feel : Battle Ready makes creating a fighter feel slightly different like a tax on something a fighter should just have has been lifted. It also acknowledges that initiative can involve deciding/thinking and agressing faster which may be more reliable that reacting faster.
    29 replies | 899 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Today, 10:05 AM
    Arguably in 4e a Dex Fighter til Slayer came out was basically a Ranger/Rogue Roleplaying baggage ensued. (although very flexible baggage) with honorable mention to certain builds which have it secondary. I said "justified" dump stat. EVEN if you forego control, abilities that work in one arena are enhancing the other as well. Statistically your attributes are more broadly valuable by...
    29 replies | 899 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 07:06 AM
    The ones in the example are dedicated melee grunts who do just that. All you need is a lure....
    9 replies | 163 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 06:23 AM
    While I think maneuvers are great improvement in some areas... Ok, one area... OK, it's just the name, "exploit" was pretty lame, and cynical jargon-squating... like Tier and Core were, also, and Inspiration, in 5e. But, less cynically: The Battlemaster essentially presents itself as a replacement for the Warlord, every 4e/E fighter but the Slayer (that's the Champion) & EK (it was a...
    6 replies | 128 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 06:10 AM
    IDK, I feel like there'd be a lot more rules for walking around, building fires in the snow, and Expositon, Joel, EX-PO-SITION ... We're Tolkien really a lot more than a cosmetic inspiration. Likewise, Lovecraftean influence would have meant more insanity, less combat. Lieber? You'd need some exhaustive rules for the *ahem* interaction /pillar/...
    225 replies | 5905 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 06:02 AM
    Yep, martial exploits and arcane spells were quite different, and the wiz retained the edge in versatility, while the fighter kept his in durability - reflections of both source and role that give the lie to all the "fighters cast spells" and "samey" talking points. At level 2 the Wizard can... Not nearly the main culprit, no. LFQW is a matter of hard numbers. A 1st level fighter in...
    224 replies | 8886 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Today, 04:49 AM
    B/X - The tight, holistic focus of design around its play paradigm. - The Exploration Turn/Rest > Wandering Monster Clock > Resource Attrition/Risk Reward Cycle Loop. - Monster Reactions/Morale. - Gold for xp. 4e - (Again) The tight, holistic focus of design around its play paradigm.
    20 replies | 469 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Today, 04:48 AM
    The following shows the XML for loading the Battle Ready class feature in to the offline Character Builder. And yup it works ;) it also takes a modification of the base class. <RulesElement name ="Battle Ready" type="Class Feature" internal-id="ID_LAD_CLASS_FEATURE_BR1234" source="Martial Power III" revision-date="6/16/2019" > <Flavor>Most people react to the onset of a fight for you it...
    29 replies | 899 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 02:41 AM
    IDK, couldn't a GM just stay on the ball and consider a combat-bad-ass concept character's bad-ass-ed-ness when adjudication combat? Taking advantage of the system's lethality by killing enemies when the odds are all on your side? It's classic CaW.
    225 replies | 5905 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 01:58 AM
    You'll run into contention with any unfair mechanic or lack there of. It might take different forms. Bang! Your Dead! Am Not. Are too! for lack of combat mechanics, vs moping and not showing up to the next session when your 18 CHA paladin is humiliated in court for the nth time, because the DM doesn't care for the way you RP him, and it's reflected in his success in social situation, for want...
    225 replies | 5905 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 01:54 AM
    You caught me, I left out 'virtually,' that time: vs Next time I'll just quote myself up-front. Yep, LFQW only /virtually/ absent in 4e. The Wizard's spells and the fighter's exploits per encounter & per day were gained at the same rate. So, in a given day, they're at neat parity at all levels. No LFQW, there, at the macro level, over 30 levels. Lightyears ahead, just in basic...
    224 replies | 8886 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 12:39 AM
    Hey! I resembled that remark... ... that's fair.
    14 replies | 466 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 12:32 AM
    … well, it's not easy to kill PCs and PC-level enemies before they close (though, in some eds, certainly quite possible, just not with mere weapons). But it's quite easy to kill under-level enemies (or, in 4e, minions) before they close.
    155 replies | 3111 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 12:25 AM
    There are more fallacies than just /ad populum/ resorted to, certainly. I gave you one example, LFQW, above. It's a fact. It makes D&D a bad game - imbalanced, problematic to play at low & high levels. 4e fixed it. 4e is reviled for fixing it, because it's one of those flaws that people came to love. Now, we've been on this marry-go-round before, so having demanded facts and having...
    224 replies | 8886 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 12:18 AM
    Wait? Edition/s/? plural! Cool. 1e: Weapon v Armor type adjustments! Subdual damage. Attack & Save Matrixes (they were complex, but not complicated, and the save matrixes gave good results that preserved higher level characters, the 'heroes' of the story, in a world of SoDs). The Druid class. The Fighter's 1 attack/level vs less-than-1-HD monsters mechanic. Monsters using different rules...
    20 replies | 469 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:44 PM
    Because people keep pulling out the same tired /ad populum/ fallacies to claim that there was something terribad about it, and it's necessary to point out that something can be qualitatively, even quantitatively, 'better' and genuinely fail in a market, to counter those fallacious, factually false, assertions.
    224 replies | 8886 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:35 PM
    It's not a flaw /in/ the consumer, it's a preference for (familiar) flaws /in the product/. Having a preference isn't a flaw. Heck, I can back up quantitative claims about the various editions (FREX: LFQW is a mathematical fact of D&D class design - it's profound in 1e or 3e, significant in 5e, virtually absent in 4e, resulting in a level-based game that actually remains playable at all...
    224 replies | 8886 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:22 PM
    So, does that mean you probably /do/ want combat mechanics, especially if you don't want actual combat at the table? ;P
    225 replies | 5905 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:48 PM
    ::shrug:: A more accurate claim would be that "4e was not nearly as bad a game as every other edition of D&D." Because, honestly, it still wasn't that good. Scale of 1 to 10? D&D's never risen to 5. I'm not sure any RPG has, TTRPG is a new kind of game, and it's evolved very slowly over a mere 45 years. You can love something for it's virtues, you can love it in spite of it's flaws,...
    224 replies | 8886 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:18 PM
    3e & 4e /certainly/ consolidated a lot of needless complexity. Just the d20 core mechanic was huge (tiny?) that way. Nothing 'mere' about it. Yet, here you are, weighing in. ;P PUll down $50-100 million in a $20 million market, at the brink of the worst recession since the great depression, using as a prime selling point a bit of software developed by one guy, who, to put it very...
    224 replies | 8886 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:47 PM
    Again, I'd argue they're not necessarily easier, just more familiar, that way. Is it really that difficult to conclude who wins a fight (a fight in an heroic fantasy story, no less - the hero usually wins, unless his loss advances the plot somehow, no?), and narrate how, vs both the DM and player getting deeply enough into the minds & emotions of a character & NPC to accurately simulate a tense...
    225 replies | 5905 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:48 PM
    You don't need rules, at all, it's true: the DM can just rule on everything - combat, absolutely, included. If you feel you /do/ need rules for combat - because it's life-or-death, presumably, what about life-or-death exploration challenges or negotiations? D&D grew out of wargames, they were heavily combat-oriented, so D&D rules started out heavily combat-oriented. The game happened to...
    225 replies | 5905 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:23 PM
    I was considering some of this kind of flexibility Modify Eldritch Knight Arcane Weaponmastery at level 3 when you chose this subclass you have begun to integrate you spellcraft with your weapon use for purposes of attack and magic. Choose one mental attribute this attribute as your spell casting attribute. This attribute becomes the basis of your attack roll and a penalty to saving throws...
    21 replies | 534 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:15 PM
    Establishing expectations has a value I suppose even if you have to use the R word.
    31 replies | 857 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:36 PM
    LOL Martial Maneuvers
    62 replies | 1491 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:33 PM
    Very much this
    62 replies | 1491 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:00 PM
    Another ingredient to the mix which I didnt mention because it wasnt important at level 1 the Swordmage class had plenty of teleportation/blink magics Alex had a short range teleport attack once a day at level one but if he makes it to level 20 will have Omnipresent Assault where he blinks around the battlefield as a Ghostblade and launches an attack against every enemy in sight (no range limit...
    21 replies | 534 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:11 AM
    When you put it that way, it's amazing we spent so many hrs playing it! ;) And, typically only one character... I can see how some table take a fair play message from encounter guidelines - and, hey, its not a dysfunctional style of play for the DM to essentially assemble foes for the party like building an army in a wargame, then playing that side intelligently, to win. That's the...
    225 replies | 5905 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:53 AM
    So, yeah, doable, with MCing, by level 6-9, as fully realized as possible by 15th.
    21 replies | 534 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:47 AM
    Okay So far Is this what we have From Eldritch Knight 3 Levels definitely has components which were basically just flavor in 4e - Weapon Bond to be specific. Savant: Smart Defense. 1 Level While you are wearing armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC. In addition, while wearing light armor if you have one hand free, you gain a bonus to AC equal to your Intelligence modifier (up to a maximum no...
    21 replies | 534 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:41 AM
    That doesn't actually look that strange, not if the characters are running around, dodging, seeking cover, breaking Los and trying to get the drop on eachother (and lots of minor characters gunned down in the process)... as sometimes happens in genre - if all that hp-ablation is narrated on accord with genre (near-misses, even actual misses that still inflict damage and/or some other effect),...
    155 replies | 3111 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:54 AM
    That definitely has the magical defender angle in there.
    21 replies | 534 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:53 AM
    Examined this closer and wow.... that is definitely the right direction
    21 replies | 534 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:19 AM
    Ah thanks yes flavor is definitely more important in that regards.
    21 replies | 534 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:17 AM
    I find it kind of weird that mage armor is Dex bound.... The battlemaster certainly has some cool bits to it. Their abilities aren't actually at will either. The white lotus riposte works somewhat better when you do not have so completely awesome armor but I really liked the idea of fire and force and lightning from my previous attacks bursting back at those who managed to hit Alek.
    21 replies | 534 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:03 AM
    It is kind of a work around but for functionality sake and not exactly the right flavor, but Dex it would need to be I like that you gave level recommendations that deserves a thumbs up in itself.. it seems weird to go level 4 without getting that level 5 extra attack though.
    21 replies | 534 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:53 AM
    Or perhaps its is a single arrow that returns to your bow knock or quiver after doing its deed. How common to make these things seem flavor oriented ie game world flavor. It might be very rare to the game world of course but all archer oriented heros have one variant or another ;)
    11 replies | 345 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:47 AM
    I do not see Iron Defender working for this character so much... but its Battle ReadyWhen you reach 3rd level, your combat training and your experiments with magic and have paid off in two ways: You gain proficiency with martial weapons. When you attack with a magic weapon, you can use your Intelligence modifier, instead of Strength or Dexterity, for the attack and damage rolls.
    21 replies | 534 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:10 AM
    Since I really like the flavor of Inspiring Leader how does it stack up in peoples opinions I have heard its borderline broken
    72 replies | 2384 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:40 AM
    The opposite of Green Flame Blade in 4e interestingly and yes it was one of his abilities. Green Flame blade could affect any number of enemies adjacent to the one you hit though I called it splash damage. Swordburst is another one of his favorites for clearing out adjacent minions and the like. I kind of like flavoring that one as more martial like a whirling dervish attack. That part...
    21 replies | 534 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:20 AM
    This speaks to the value of not forcing the choice
    72 replies | 2384 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:17 AM
    Someone called 5e feats more like Themes in 4e it made me blink a bit not mechanically similar at all but in context of what you just said I think is more about their story value, themes had a lot of story value (and somewhat like Paragon paths and Epic Destinies)
    72 replies | 2384 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:11 AM
    Not something I have read but that does count as homebrew to be honest. Though using level dipping style multi-classing is actually almost like the cost in some ways of 4e feats.
    21 replies | 534 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:05 AM
    Bladesinger has some ingredients the bladesong helps gets defense based on intelligence. (but might not be defender class without a fighting style to help maybe) Indeed I think the Paladin Smite ability is something i have heard suggested. I was suspecting a custom feat might be required basically a translation of Intelligent Blademaster - in 4e it was kind of a low impact feat and feats...
    21 replies | 534 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 10:48 PM
    His name is Alek Cor'Daren (Shielding Aegis - an effective Defender - with some good multi-enemy effectiveness) He had a feat which allowed even his basic attacks (opportunity attacks and granted ones and the like to be based on Intelligence). This feat was part of his origin story and part of what made the character feel special so if necessary I can see how it might take a bit of home brew...
    21 replies | 534 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 09:19 PM
    Especially the magic items, sure. But, if you killed the monster to get it's treasure, you also got the XP for that - and, everyone got to play, the "More engaging aspect" as well as greater incentive. Trying to trick or steal treasure was probably going to involve just the theif, just the talkiest player, or just the caster using just the right spells. What's a task it didn't cover? ...
    225 replies | 5905 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 08:45 PM
    A lot of feel and flavor is influenced by rules sometimes however it seems the opposite is true. The explicit sources and roles in 4e were really almost entirely flavor in most ways ... however roles guided class and power design (ie they were a design paradigm not actually rules and they weren't hard fast determinants) and sources once in a blue moon actually acted as prerequisites.(but this...
    52 replies | 1540 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 08:29 PM
    Believe it or not - and I'm gonna assume not - 5e actually jettisoned what narrative mechanisms D&D had accumulated in the hopes of achieving 'fast combat.' Yeah, and here you are complaining that it's not narrative enough /and/ too slow? Seriously, 'reverse'-engineer novels based on a game inspired by novels? Again, for the sake of that fast combat you find too slow... As long as...
    54 replies | 1278 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 07:23 PM
    I see something you need to integrate with powers. You need a method to allow a big cool method to defeat the big bad without it being a fluke of chance -- we have a method already it's the nature of powers. Conversely a power might be useable against an enemy or set of enemies you out class without expending a power slot. @AbdulAlhazred
    37 replies | 3738 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 05:27 PM
    That sounds a reasonable observation. Can't disagree... That hardly seems to follow from the above. Early eds gave exp for combat & treasure, not for non-combat, and had detailed, elaborate rules for combat (many of which were summarily ignored) and far fewer, less consistent, and less engaging rules for other tasks - they also 'niche protected' a lot of exploration abilities in the Thief...
    225 replies | 5905 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 05:15 PM
    Runequest (Stormbringer) was how I figured out no D&D ever was trying for simulating anything but heroic fantasy RQ had vivid combat that made you involved in attacks and defenses the advancement system was very oriented, where any attack might kill or disable in a stroke but your character never felt heroic. Gygax made an argument against critical hits which explains it. He said that Conan...
    255 replies | 23675 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 04:49 PM
    Its not a holdover, in the sense that it had been gone quite while, so more of a callback - which is true of a lot if 5e, really - and, really, so is your observation. Back in the early 80s there was a very earnest, carefully thought out Dragon magazine article that put forth arguments that elves and other above-ground races should have Ultravision instead of Infravision. (Yep, D&D was that...
    205 replies | 7528 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 04:27 PM
    Allow insight checks or similar to figure out what the capability of the adversaries are maybe add that effect into certain utility powers.
    37 replies | 3738 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 04:27 PM
    In D&D we call them hit points.
    155 replies | 3111 view(s)
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 12:11 PM
    So the literary content of the written text (e.g., diction, structure, style, content) was deprecated by the tone and performance? What if the DM had not read the boxed text aloud - a rote performance - but had instead engaged in a more natural style that communicated the message of the boxed text without reading from it? What you say here suggests that something else that has not really been...
    1470 replies | 39316 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 04:33 AM
    No version of D&D has ever worked well as laws of physics - at best you end up with a setting Terry Pratchette might've come up with, at worst, you run a crap campaign, both is not out of the question. But, 3e did come pretty close in a few areas, particularly character generation, which worked about the same for PCs, NPCs, & monsters. But, it wasn't trying to, rather it was leveling the...
    255 replies | 23675 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 04:09 AM
    It generally doesnt in 4e but they didnt lock down out of turn actions
    37 replies | 3738 view(s)
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  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 03:47 AM
    The warlord whose primary context is often for team work is very off turn as well to me the highly limited off turn action basically undermines that. I do like 5e movement system its pretty sweet.
    37 replies | 3738 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 03:46 AM
    Damage shouldn't be a sticking point in modeling firearms - they kill people, so do knives, clubs, knitting needles, slipping in the shower, and swans - they need to do damage, but it needn't be crazy. With older firearms, RoF could actually render them pointless in the context of 6-second rounds, while the RoF of a revolver or semi-automatic weapon could be problematic in the other...
    155 replies | 3111 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 02:49 AM
    I feel it makes the artificiality of turn based combat more obvious to me... in 1e action was planned but simultaneous. (relying on the DM to merge them)
    37 replies | 3738 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 01:56 AM
    I've seen that work well enough, but it doesn't capture the tropes you see in fiction around guns. There's not nearly so much dodging and seeking cover and just, well, missing - unless you really whole-heartedly embrace the 1e/4e psuedo-hit - not to mention the tense stand-off of characters held at gunpoint.
    155 replies | 3111 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 01:02 AM
    Every edition that has succeeded has succeeded on that basis, 5e just more so than any other since the 80s fad, mainly thanks to timing... ...But also because it threaded the needle between enraging vocal fragments of its fan base, and being accessible to new players. 4e erred on the side of being accessible, and touched off a spontaneous grassroots movement determined to burn the line to the...
    99 replies | 4102 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 12:32 AM
    The best game of SR I was ever in was run using M:tA (oWoD Storyteller), so, IDK, a very different dynamic from the native system may not be such a bad thing...
    155 replies | 3111 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 11:09 PM
    I'm sorry, is it not a 5e thread?
    206 replies | 5581 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 10:57 PM
    Something about TWF becoming the best option for a raging barbarian seems off. Not as off as S&B - it's at least given to full offense - but off... ....though, ultimately, worrying about how combat options balance vs eachother and what's optimal doesn't seem that important in the context of 5e.
    206 replies | 5581 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 10:44 PM
    I can't think of a RPG that wouldn't call for either, at times. One game can be clearer and more functional than another, even by a large margin, without actually being perfect. By comparison to most games other than early eds of D&D, I suppose, but the important takeaway isn't relative, it intent: 5e set out to be that way, on purpose, and for a purpose - several, really - for one, it...
    72 replies | 2384 view(s)
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 09:59 PM
    LOL, well this is somewhat true. Honestly I have been kind of in another world the last several months, not doing a lot of work on it. I must say, the whole question of simplified hit points and 'combat modes' in the 'What Sticks' thread could lead to deep reworking of the basic combat engine, assuming I really want to go that far. Already HoML has the issue that, at high levels, you get to...
    37 replies | 3738 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 08:55 PM
    It was a long time coming. I gave variant fighters a % DEX instead of STR back in the day - complete with maximums by race & sex. The 3e Finesse feat essentially taxed DEX fighters, and left them inferior. Not if it was random roll in order - just gets no benefit from it, as a fighter. Really, INT is a triffle lacklustre in 5e - though I feel knowledge skills can still be important.
    29 replies | 899 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 08:45 PM
    Agreed. Passive scores as targets work well. AC is essentially an example. You could start grapples with an attack (though vs a Touch AC would make more sense), and use a STR save to break out. DEX save to avoid and STR to escape might make more sense. Note, though, that 2 saves to work, and two different saves at that, leaves it a pretty low-percentage option.
    13 replies | 425 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 08:33 PM
    Alternatives to class/level appeared almost immediately. Traveller ditched level - and indeed, advancement beyond accumulating wealth - RQ was skill-based. Champions! was out in '81, with a fully point-buy, effects-based system. Yet, even games that eschew class/level have some sort of advancement, and some sort of archetypes. If you played Champions! Back in the day, you talk of Bricks,...
    99 replies | 4102 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 07:45 PM
    Well, you can, if you want to, it just doesn't have much impact. But, it's funny you should mention Gauntlet: it's a fair analogy to how certain classes played in most editions of D&D: grind damage in melee, heal with found potions (food) or Clerical assistance, when briefly not in melee, grind out damage at range. That's a fighter in TSR D&D, or a barbarian in 3e, or an Essentials Slayer...
    255 replies | 23675 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 07:31 PM
    It is a lot of system, sure - at least as complex as any other ed for the amount of crunch it hss out - but it's a lot of system that relies on the DM to make it work. Try the thought experiment yourself, or just consider carefully the next time you run: how far do you get before you're making an interpretation or ruling that another DM might've done differently?
    72 replies | 2384 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 07:20 PM
    You could also watch the encounter end without getting to act - not just combat encounters, either, many other challenges would also likely be resolved by a single PC, as well. The issue wasn't so much fast v slow or boring v exciting, but spectator v participant. Nod, 5e is that kind of deadly only at the lowest levels, but it establishes, especially in the eyes of a new player "this game...
    224 replies | 8886 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 07:06 PM
    The edition war rarely reached the intellectual level of a discussion or debate, it was characterized by fallacies, especially personal attacks, intellectual dishonesty, questionable agendas, and many persistent factual errors & misrepresentations. Actual discussion of 4e, itself, rather than the straw man effigies of it being attacked, was rare by comparison. The game has been dead & burried...
    224 replies | 8886 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 05:11 PM
    Hey, your 3e character could die instantly. Life & Death not meaningful enough for you?
    224 replies | 8886 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 05:02 PM
    DMs are people, not robots, so, yeah, it has to be a very extreme hypothetical. Even the least experienced, least talented DM is going to exercise judgement when the system punts to him. Sure, but those come in after DM has judged success/failure/uncertainty. Theres the d20 core mechanic, really. The players get 6 stats and various proficiencies, and a (very) few other bonuses. ...
    72 replies | 2384 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 04:00 PM
    They had in my opinion the best flavor text / class descriptions of any edition it's not my favorite edition but I can appreciate things from multiple ones. I think I can say terminology is separate from mechanics but what the hell In 3.5e I remember reading the Book of 9 Swords and finding the terminology was evocative Stances / Strikes and Martial Disciplines / Maneuvers (4e lost a lot...
    52 replies | 1540 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 11:14 AM
    you forgot the quotes "meaningful" .... because who rolled highest initiative is to me not very meaningful
    224 replies | 8886 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 06:19 AM
    The brilliance of 5e is that the system is not the game: the DM is. Thought experiment: try putting 5e on autopilot, resolve to run a quick session with no rulings, just rules. Here's how it goes: The players build some characters, the DM describes the situation, a player declares an action - and the game stops, because there is no resolution without a DM ruling. And that's just effing...
    72 replies | 2384 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 06:07 AM
    It just occurred to me: No one has nominated Calcryx as their favorite white dragon. What an oversight! Meepo must be rolling in his grave...
    41 replies | 1108 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 05:59 AM
    The thing about Fast & Boring is at least it's over quickly. But, yes, Fast can be devestatingly anti-climactic, that's why you have to crank the threat up to rocket tag levels to keep it meaningful.
    224 replies | 8886 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 05:53 AM
    When to rest has always been about spells, more than hp. Sure, in the early game, you'd run out if healing, out of hp and have to rest - 15 min workday. But, then we got WoCLW, and did it give us an 8hr workday? Nope, the 5MWD, because casters wanted their top-level spells back for the next round of rocket tag, the next scry/buff/teleport assault, or the next buff/targetted-dispel contest....
    72 replies | 2384 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 02:48 AM
    I don't understand what you're trying to achieve. If you're not interested in the topic as it's been framed or discussed, or think the thread is unhelpful, you're very welcome not to post in it. If you think my threads involve code-of-conduct violation, you have the option of reporting them. Are you trying to pick a fight and have this thread shut down? Are you trying to clutter the thread...
    1470 replies | 39316 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 02:40 AM
    Riley37, you didn't answer my question as to what you think it adds to the thread to insist that Hriston said something that he didn't, on the basis of attributing a meaning to his words that they were not intended to bear, and which no reasonable reader of them in the context of their production would impute to them. As to your question about light, light isn't an endeavour of any sort. It's...
    1470 replies | 39316 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 02:19 AM
    It's not a Chrome thing as such. I use Chrome, and when I cut-and-past text into the website editor I don't pick up COLOR tags.
    25 replies | 420 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 01:34 AM
    Fast and Anti-climactic do just as much. Fast can also be just boring with mostly bags of hit points Fast is also anti-interesting choices for players.
    224 replies | 8886 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 01:10 AM
    When you have 3,724 feats Still using Trumpish math is not impressive.
    72 replies | 2384 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 11:10 PM
    I think, ultimately, errata comes down to attitude. Is your product something that's supposed to work, and when it doesn't, that's a bad thing? Then you fix it, promptly, and free of charge if at all possible. Is your product not really supposed to work until the customer has kitbashed it into what he was actually looking for when he bought it? Then why worry, trying to change it is just...
    72 replies | 2384 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 11:01 PM
    How many 5e feats would you identify as chaff? If it's less than 100*, I'd say it's an improvement. ;P
    72 replies | 2384 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Garthanos's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 08:21 PM
    Not convinced that it worked.
    72 replies | 2384 view(s)
    0 XP
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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.

Tuesday, 8th January, 2019

  • 04:40 PM - Aldarc mentioned darkbard in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 1 Failure and Story
    ...d rather than the story being bigger than the characters. This one always red-flags to me as a bad (or at least very inexperienced) DM warning, in that if a game or story is built around a certain character then a) that character is inevitably going to be treated with favouritism and-or b) things have real potential to go sideways should that character perma-die or otherwise leave the party.This seems more an indication of personal preference than a "bad DM," an accusation that honestly gets thrown around too liberally on this forum at times. Though it is not my own preference either, I have personally seen this work to great success. 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.


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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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