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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Today, 09:31 PM
    The Xanathar's encounter tables are great for sandboxing, I definitely recommend them.
    3 replies | 42 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Today, 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 ďI donít know.Ē I donít understand this modern phenomena of being unwilling to simply recognize that you donít know what you donít know. There are lots of things I donít know...even in the...
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Today, 03:39 PM
    Oh, for sure. With any weapon, a stronger person with equal skill will be able to use it more effectively. This is why conceptually I like the idea of all weapons using Str for damage. Similarly though, proprioception and fine motor control are more important than raw muscle when it comes to winning the bind with pretty much any melee weapon. So conceptually, I think most if not all weapons...
    87 replies | 2735 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 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...
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Today, 11:54 AM
    Ever since I went to 1 week long rests, this sort of 4e problem vanished. The players definitely do care about resource draining encounters when it may mean eg the Barbarians not having a Rage left when they face the BBEG. Really 5e is built around an expectation of 6-8 encounters per Long Rest, with the majority of those only resource drains. Officially only a Deadly encounter has a...
    26 replies | 369 view(s)
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Today, 07:20 AM
    The funny thing is, strength is much less important for using polearms effectively than it is to using swords effectively, and much, MUCH less important than it is for rapiers. Turns out, most two-handed weapons donít require that much strength to use, and polearms in particular are much more about precision, because the length means very small movements at the back end cause the tip to move very...
    87 replies | 2735 view(s)
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:48 PM
    Perfect, this is exactly the sort of thing I was looking for! Thanks. This, although not what I had in mind, is very cool. Very PbtA.
    5 replies | 209 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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...
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:29 PM
    The ghoul problem for me is that in 5e they are underpowered and not nearly scary enough. I think they should have 3 attacks at +3/d6+1 necrotic, each being a DC 10 paralysis save. Save to end, fail 3 saves and you're paralysed for an hour. Still weak compared to 1e-3e but at least has the flavour and the theoretical possibility of being chewed on while still alive.
    73 replies | 13893 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:13 PM
    Forbidden Rules is the supplement that has the most variant rules in it...might be something in there.
    5 replies | 223 view(s)
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:51 PM
    To be fair, itís been like 20 years. During 3e I was a player and a minmaxer and I wanted Dex to damage so I could dump strength. Now I mostly DM and I want Str to damage so players have a reason to want it.
    87 replies | 2735 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:50 PM
    I like 'em once they're printed & bound. :D
    49 replies | 1222 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:15 PM
    So not a fan of Dark Souls, I take it? :)
    38 replies | 1301 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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)....
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:15 PM
    U Weíre 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.
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:03 PM
    Iím not Campbell, but Iíll 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 itís trivially true that cognitive predispositions and mental...
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:16 AM
    Well I agree that the tactile elements of D&D are a big draw for me. Nothing like a pint of warm beer, good company, a nice pub room, a colourful battlemat covered in minis, dozens of dice, pencils and weighty hardback tomes. :)
    49 replies | 1222 view(s)
    3 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:06 AM
    Had a battle yesterday with a bunch of Great Old One Warlocks, 14th level casters. Never played or ran a Warlock before, though I've seen them played a fair bit so I know eg Eldritch Blast is a good fallback. I just looked up the spells that seemed useful during the fight and cast those. I also took advice from a player ("Don't bother with Crown of Madness, it's crap in this edition"). We're...
    21 replies | 752 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:56 AM
    I agree with the analysis. I run a lot of big battles in 5e, I think the main thing for me is use average* damage and have plenty of d20s handy. I do a few things like have squads of mooks all move then all attack, pre-3e style, but otherwise I stick to the regular rules. *While I resent losing .5 average damage per hit, when you have 60+ multi-attacking NPCs on the battlemat the speed...
    1 replies | 219 view(s)
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:56 AM
    So, Iím a huge fan of the Skills With Different Abilities optional rule. I love being able to just ask for ability checks, and have my players chime in with Proficiencies they have that might be appropriate. But it feels like I have to fight the character sheet to do it. Every character sheet - Iíve tried the various official options, tons of fan designs, and they all have the same problem:...
    5 replies | 209 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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...
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:26 AM
    Deja Vu. I think I've made this exact post before. Worth noting though, as per the improvised weapon rules, you can throw any melee weapon for 1d4 damage at 20ft/60ft ranges. And since the dagger's damage die is already 1d4, the thrown property on it doesn't actually change its functionality at all. You could make a martial "Main Gauche" weapon that does 1d4, finesse, light, and has the...
    87 replies | 2735 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:19 AM
    I've long thought that Dex should be used to hit and Str for damage with all weapons. It makes sense - with all weapons, skill, speed, and precision are key to landing your strikes, and stronger people's strikes hit harder (or can use bows with higher draw weights). Although, I think to make this work you'd want a more granular armor table. If martial characters need Dex to hit anyway, heavy...
    87 replies | 2735 view(s)
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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...
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
    5 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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.
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:03 AM

    87 replies | 2735 view(s)
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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...
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
    3 XP
  • 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,...
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
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  • chaochou's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 09:24 PM
    I think some games can, but I don't know if that's a product of the system or the people. My Apocalypse World and Burning Wheel, FATE, Dogs... they all tend to the gritty and streetwise. It's why I want to run The Veil - cyberpunk is a natural genre for my style, and Gibson one of my favourite authors. So my Prince Valiant might be a shade or two darker than yours, your Apocalypse World...
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
    3 XP
  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:19 PM
    TwoSix replied to Double Dash
    If you move at 90 feet per round, precisely how long does it take to get to Flavor Town?
    99 replies | 2448 view(s)
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  • Ratskinner's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 04:45 PM
    My current group is mostly Old-Schoolers....we're (supposedly) playing OSRIC right now (but players keeps crossing the streams with 1e). My experience has been that nostalgia keeps drawing us back in...then we remember all the gaps and frustrations...then we modify the rules heavily...then we play a modern game or two for a while....rinse, repeat. Which is not to say that there are not good...
    74 replies | 2819 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 04:03 PM
    The idea of functioning D&D societies as the default setting is just a 3e trope. IMCs the OD&D Wilderlands or 4e Points of Light/Nerath are more typical - there basically is no functioning society, it's more Fallout than Greyhawk.
    150 replies | 5595 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 04:00 PM
    Ask a Platypus.
    150 replies | 5595 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 03:59 PM
    S'mon replied to Double Dash
    Yes, same as an Action Surging Fighter can Attack Action twice.
    99 replies | 2448 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 03:40 PM
    TwoSix replied to Double Dash
    If there's anything more fun than casting Haste on a Monk so they can triple-Dash at double speed, I don't know what it is.
    99 replies | 2448 view(s)
    2 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:
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
    3 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.
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
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  • 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...
    688 replies | 18938 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...
    688 replies | 18938 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?
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
    3 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...
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
    1 XP
  • chaochou's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 01:23 AM
    You want each player to have created for their character a number of clearly defined relationships, beliefs, allegiances, dependencies and responsibilities. The creation of these should, of itself, create the arena for the game's action. The 'world' is a backdrop, the crucible in which the players' creations spark into life. Then you set the character's individual drives in opposition to each...
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
    5 XP
  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 07:57 PM
    The smart rogue uses dual shortswords in melee rather than a rapier unless they're going Arcane Trickster and need the off-hand for spellcasting components. That's 5d6+4 damage, for around 21.5 damage per round - still not as much as the paladin can dish out, but it's pretty close. The paladin also loses half that damage (for around 12.5) if he misses one attack, whereas the rogue only loses 1d6...
    87 replies | 2735 view(s)
    2 XP
  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 05:45 PM
    It would make them stronger; I don't know if it would make them too strong. Although I'm coming from the standpoint that I don't consider the PHB baseline to be super balanced anyway.
    232 replies | 9980 view(s)
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 05:34 PM
    Right here youíve clearly identified why ďfinesse canít use shieldsĒ isnít a great way to rebalance Dex.
    87 replies | 2735 view(s)
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 05:20 PM
    Casters get exactly as much benefit out of Con as martials do, so it seems a little misleading to say martials need two stats and casters only need one. Also, casters canít boost their AC with the same stat they use for spell attacks/DCs, and only Warlocks can add any stat at all to their spell damage. The point isnít to make anyone MAD, the point is to not have one stat that does everything...
    87 replies | 2735 view(s)
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 04:26 PM
    You say this, and yet you also say the problem is illusory. Just because it isnít a problem at your table, doesnít mean it isnít a problem at anyone elseís, and itís pretty rude to walk into a conversation about how to address a problem many people are experiencing and say ďthis isnít a real problem, you shouldnít bother trying to fix itĒ just because you personally arenít experiencing the...
    87 replies | 2735 view(s)
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 04:22 PM
    Dex characters, unlike Str characters, donít have to dedicate themselves to being melee or ranged only, since they use the same mod to hit and do damage with both. This is more of a reason that finesse is INBA, not less. ...so? Who multiclasses? And in exchange they get significantly higher AC and become competent at range. Thatís well worth 2 measly damage per hit.
    87 replies | 2735 view(s)
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 03:24 PM
    I have no problem believing that lexical purity is important to long-lived elder races in a fantasy world where words in ancient languages are one of the keys to eldritch power. I have a lot more trouble with the idea that all orcs or all gnolls speak the same language. I would assume that most of those humanoid languages, much like Common, are pidgins with a lot of borrowed words from local...
    33 replies | 935 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 11:24 AM
    Hussar, Lanefan - if narrowing of possible resolutions = the GM being bound by the results of checks, than sure, any system other than "GM decides" will have that consequence. But unless the dice are rigged then fails are possible, in which case fail scenarios are possible resolutions, and there is no narrowing of the range of possible resolution.
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 08:11 AM
    Thats if the DM is both bothering to keep track of carry weight and using the variant encumbrance rules, both of which are very big ifs. Also, why are the Dex fighters using defense style and using rapiers and shields? Especially if weíre comparing to a GWM fighter, they ought to be taking Archery and Sharpshooter, and using longbows.
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 08:04 AM
    Dex characters can take Sharpshooter and Crossbow Expert, so 1 and 2 are a wash. Dex-based Barbarians and Paladins are at least as effective as Str-based ones. I have, so itís worth considering a house-rule to make them not an objectively better choice than longswords. Or, to rephrase that, the advantage of Dex is you get to dump Str and wear light armor. For the low price of 1 AC, you...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 07:11 AM
    Your example doesn't show any narrowing of possible results. The scenario you describe is a possible failure narration; and it could be a success narration if that is what the player decides his/her PC searches for.
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 05:27 AM
    XD Its both tho
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 04:21 AM
    I too like to keep my D&D monsters recognizably D&Dish, but with my own personal touch. For a few examples, I keep my dragons color-coded, but my metallic dragons are lead, tin, copper, iron, silver, quicksilver, and gold, and my chromatic dragons are black/negro, white/albino, yellow/citrine, and red/ruby in reference to the alchemical metals and stages of the Magnum Opus. My mind flayers are...
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 03:50 AM
    By 5eís rules as written, any character can climb at half their speed outside of conditions that would make doing so both reasonably likely to fail and dangerous for doing so, and jump up to their strength score feet in length or 3 + their strength mod feet in height (or half as much if they canít get a 10+ foot running start) without a check, so d is not usually a significant concern, though...
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 01:52 AM
    I agree with you about reptiles. But frankly, in a setting where women-at-arms are a common and open thing, armor with breasts makes as much sense as armor with dicks, which are a real historical thing. And gargoyles and warforged? I prefer the breastfeed variety of both, but they are both constructs presumably created by human men, so I wouldnít put it past them.
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 01:39 AM
    Speaking for myself, none of the above. The problem is that Dexterity can do everything Strength can do and more. The only reason for a martial character to invest in strength at all is a. If the DM is actually tracking encumbrance b. If theyíre building for Great Weapon Master and/or Polearm Master c. If they feel like it and donít mind building a suboptimal character. a is very rarely a...
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    1 XP
  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 12:54 AM
    Thatís a common misconception due to the silhouette, particularly of the Elmslie type 1a, but really they donít handle like machetes at all. The blades are extremely thin, and tapered so that the balance, while slightly more tip-heavy than a typical arming sword, is optimized for quick, fluid cutting movements, not hacking like a machete or an axe. Yeah, the blade on Yuís sword looks pretty...
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 12:10 AM
    Both 4e and PF2 (or at least the playtest) have some class description, followed by a lot of rectangular boxes, and those boxes have small blocks of rules text organized by number. I think this is a laughably small issue that will become magnified because aesthetics matter. To my mind, the greatest sin of 4e was presentation; the books were well done as a reference but felt sterile, only...
    38 replies | 1301 view(s)
    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 09:20 PM
    I believe many more people have watched The Avengers than have watched The Seventh Seal. But that doesn't mean that every time I want to talk about the latter I talk about the former instead or as well. If people who only want to talk about D&D, or who have no interest in talking or reading about how other systems do things, don't want to participate in this thread, that's a risk I'm prepared...
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    3 XP
  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 09:16 PM
    Iím a big supporter of Finesse as Dex to hit but not to damage, at least on paper. I havenít tried it in an actual game yet, but in theory I like it a lot.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 09:15 PM
    Reposted:
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 09:10 PM
    Elves absolutely have too many subraces, but at least the base race has a clear and consistent identity. This is why I am a huge proponent of separating race from culture.
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 09:06 PM
    In defense of lumping falchions in with backswords, the guy who literally wrote the book on falchion and messer typology does support the term ďmedieval backswordĒ as an umbrella term for such swords. As well, I definitely wouldnít include Odachi in that category. I might go so far as to put the katana in the same category as the kriegsmesser, which in 5eís weapon system would probably end up...
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 08:11 PM
    The problem is, D&D 5eís weapon system isnít granular enough to cover all the variations on medieval and Renaissance swords as separate weapons. I personally would lump gladii, Cinquedas, rondels, and other close-quarters thrusting sidearms in with daggers and group Viking swords, knightly swords, side swords, and other one-handed double-edged cut and thrust swords into an ďarming swordĒ...
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 04:53 PM
    This is entirely possible with the Ready action.
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 04:46 PM
    These have actually been fixed in 5e. Well, it still calls mail ďchainmailĒ but at least the term is just redundant instead of inaccurate. ďPlatemailĒ is just plate now, the bastard sword and long sword were appropriately combined into a single weapon called the longsword that can be used in one or two hands. They should call the shortsword an arming sword though.
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 04:29 PM
    They secure small overlapping metal plates to the inside of the leather (or more often heavy cloth) garment. ďStudded LeatherĒ is just one among many examples of Victorian scholars misinterpreting depictions of armor in medieval artwork. Studs arenít emo, theyíre punk. Some forms of goth fashion also employ them, unsurprisingly as goth is an offshoot of punk. Emo is also an offshoot of punk,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 01:55 PM
    In your case, you seem to know both BW and D&D, which are the two systems I referenced in the post of mine that you quoted. Do you have any thoughts about this mind flayer and false memories example that might draw on either of the systems? Or if you want to engage it by reference to another system, that would be interesting too!
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 01:48 PM
    Do you have much experience with 4e D&D? It's a bit of an open question exactly what tools 4e provides, because the skill challenge is - as presented - such an open-ended or un-nailed-down framework that (experience suggests) needs users to bring ideas and/or experience from outside to really get the best out of it. I think a skill challenge might be able to handle the scenario you're...
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    3 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 10:22 AM
    I'm not sure about incentives. When I read the Strike(!) I think of "intent and task" and failure narration in BW. Or the example from AW that I posted upthread. If the check fails, the GM is entitled to narrate the failure by imposing a new and unwanted description of the PC's action. But I don't think in any of the systems this could go as far as you've fallen in love with the maiden unless...
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    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 10:16 AM
    This is an interesting question - in general, and about D&D play: To what extent is the GM permitted to rewrite player-authored PC backstory by drawing upon a combination of (i) situation and stakes and (ii) failed checks. In BW (for instance) I think this is fair game. The only version of D&D I can think of able to handle this is 4e. I don't really see how it would be done in AD&D. And from...
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 10:02 AM
    If the player is avoiding expedience by sticking to conceptualisation, how is that conceptualisation going to be challenged? Or changed? If the player is at liberty to change conceptuatlisation in response to choices, what governs those choices? Self-evidently it can't be conceptualisation. You don't want it to be expedience. Is it whim? Do you have actual play examples to post that...
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 09:29 AM
    It's a situation the rules don't cover. I think a vampiric curse would be interesting for roleplay - I didn't say anything about taking away the character.
    154 replies | 3513 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 08:07 AM
    Iím sure thatís the case for some people, but I donít think itís the only reason people struggle to fit them into their worlds. Itís certainly not for me. When I, and Iím sure a lot of others, describe gnomes in those ways, the goal is not to help understand the races. It is to illustrate my (our) dissatisfaction with gnomesí distinguishing characteristics, or lack thereof. You have...
    106 replies | 3720 view(s)
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  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 07:13 AM
    They are in 4e and Pathfinder. 5e is a bit more cagey about their origin. Forest gnomes seem to exist to cover the Fae gnome concept, and rock gnomes to cover the smaller, zanier dwarves concept. I like Fae gnomes, but itís not what I went with for my home brew setting. My feywild was getting a bit crowded with goblins (and by extension orcs, though more distantly) having their origins...
    106 replies | 3720 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 06:30 AM
    So I've skimmed the recent bits of the thread. In a follow-up post, I'm going to relay a recent PC:PC social conflict in Strike (!) and invite folks to chime in on how they perceive this anecdote (a) contrasts with gameplay where social conflict isn't formalized and (b) there are neither mechanical feedbacks nor PC build components involved. But first, I want to post some text from Strike (!)...
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 06:30 AM
    I think itís in the spirit of the thread to point out that a lot of these grievances are nitpicks, not pedantry.
    150 replies | 5595 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 06:15 AM
    Which Gnome race? I have my own version of Gnomes that has a clear, consistent identity, which Iím quite fond of. But until I basically rewrote them myself, I was on the gnome hate train because I couldnít tell what the heck they were supposed to be. Are they shorter dwarves that specialize in engineering? Halflings who live in the woods and do illusion magic? Both? Neither? D&D couldnít seem to...
    106 replies | 3720 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 06:04 AM
    Iím with you all the way. It can feel a little wrong not to offer options that are in the PHB in your home brew setting, but at the same time, having to shoehorn a race into a setting just because theyíre in the PHB is pretty limiting. I strongly believe that when creating a new setting, all elements - races, classes, subclasses, gods, monsters, whatever - should be opt-in, not opt-out.
    106 replies | 3720 view(s)
    6 XP
  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 05:00 AM
    Do we really even need combat rounds to represent a specific, standardized amount of time? Frankly, I think it would be better to leave it abstract - a round could simply represent an exchange of blows, which might be anywhere from a few seconds to half a minute or more, as suits the narrative.
    150 replies | 5595 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Charlaquin's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 12:24 AM
    I have a lot of pedantic gripes with weapon and armor terminology. Slashing and piercing damage should be called cutting and thrusting damage respectively. Shortswords should be called Arming Swords. Scimitars should probably be called Backswords, or maybe Sabres or Long Knives, depending on which generic term you prefer for single-edged one-handed swords. Quarterstaves should just be called...
    150 replies | 5595 view(s)
    3 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 08:15 PM
    Once they're Raised the Gentle Repose would not be in effect. They've been infected with vampirism, a magical disease, so they come back vampirised. I'd have them turn into a vampire later, as happened to my first PC in ES IV: Oblivion. She completed the game without feeding, then after failing to find a cure she walked into the sunlight.
    154 replies | 3513 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 06:27 PM
    I would be more than willing to discuss the merits of Exalted 3e elsewhere. It is a fundamentally different game that I feel delivers on the promise of previous versions of the game. Here I would like to focus on social mechanics, their effects, and implications.
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
    0 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 05:44 PM
    I'd probably have them come back as a Vampire. :D Their hp maximum is 0 so they can't be alive, so if they come back it'll be as undead. Edit: Well really I'd probably let them come back with 1 hp apparently alive, and be able to rest to raise their hp total. The vampire stuff would come later...
    154 replies | 3513 view(s)
    2 XP
  • chaochou's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 05:16 PM
    But you don't know anything. You just blithely assert factless, empty garbage. You even accept, when challenged, total ignorance of the subject matter. As such, the key point in this exhange has been to demonstrate that your opinions are worthless.
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 05:08 PM
    (1) This thread is in general RPG. Not D&D. There's a reason for that. (2) I'm not saying that players should or shouldn't do anything in every system. The OP invites discussion about various ways in which true descriptions of PC actions might be established. The current discussion has moved on a bit from that, to also talk about how true descriptions of PC choices, PC emotional states, etc...
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 05:01 PM
    You posted this not too far upthread: Before you posted that, Campbell already posted on outline of mechanics from Exalted which contradict what you said: the player in Exalted (i) does not sit out of the loop, and (ii) does have input on how his/her PC would react. Further upthread I posted the Apocalypse World mechanics for PvP seduction/maipulation. In that system the player gets to...
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 04:52 PM
    This is missing the point. One may as well ask, What story can't D&D produce? Well, if the players and the GM all get together and agree on it then you can play out Casablanca in D&D, can't you? (That was Campbell's point about consensus.) But the current topic of discussion is how that might be done, and what sort of play experience might be involved. The example of Exalted, for instance,...
    688 replies | 18938 view(s)
    1 XP
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Wednesday, 17th July, 2019

  • 09:24 PM - chaochou mentioned Campbell in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    ...ot sure what the right word is). Both are fun, but the latter is more likely to leave a participant feeling drained than is the former. I think some games can, but I don't know if that's a product of the system or the people. My Apocalypse World and Burning Wheel, FATE, Dogs... they all tend to the gritty and streetwise. It's why I want to run The Veil - cyberpunk is a natural genre for my style, and Gibson one of my favourite authors. So my Prince Valiant might be a shade or two darker than yours, your Apocalypse World lighter than mine. I may push a character real hard at points where you'd ease off, and vice versa. But these are aesthetic choices. Within that spectrum I maintain that it is important for players to feel relaxed, entertained, at ease. A creative experience can be a draining one, but it can just as easily be euphoric or invigorating. Personally, I think these emotional responses are more about the authenticity brought by the players than anything system-specific. Campbell often talks about this quality of play, the integrity of the characterisation. I tend to assume it, but he's right to highlight the importance of it in character-driven play, which is where the challenge to character concept that you asked about is really located.

Sunday, 14th July, 2019

  • 05:08 PM - pemerton mentioned Campbell in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    ...ere's a reason for that. (2) I'm not saying that players should or shouldn't do anything in every system. The OP invites discussion about various ways in which true descriptions of PC actions might be established. The current discussion has moved on a bit from that, to also talk about how true descriptions of PC choices, PC emotional states, etc might be established. (3) If someone's answer to the questions posed in the OP is the way D&D does it, end of story then they're welcome not to participat in the thread. If they're going to make ungrounded assertions that nothing else is really possible, well that's not very helpful either and is fair game for clarification or correction. (4) The most interesting thing for me at the moment - obviously I can't speak for others - is what are the necessary conditions for a genuine challenge to character concept? This is what Ovinomancer and I have disagreed about - I believe without undue acrimony! I would be very interested to hear what Campbell, chaochou and/or Aldarc thinks about it, should they care to weigh in. (Of course it's their prerogatibe not to.) My own views on this are heavily influenced by a certain conception of GM role in terms of framing scenes that put players under pressure by putting things that matter to the PC at stake. I don't know Exalted at all except from Campbell's accounts in this and other threads; and my experience with PbtA games is fairly limited, although I know the rulesets for DW and AW fairly well.
  • 05:01 PM - pemerton mentioned Campbell in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    One example works wonders. If it's that easy to disprove me then provide an example that does so.You posted this not too far upthread: So then what happens when that persuasion is resolved mechanically -The player sits out of the loop and has no input on how their character would react (which also means they have no conflict of interest in how their character is reacting)Before you posted that, Campbell already posted on outline of mechanics from Exalted which contradict what you said: the player in Exalted (i) does not sit out of the loop, and (ii) does have input on how his/her PC would react. Further upthread I posted the Apocalypse World mechanics for PvP seduction/maipulation. In that system the player gets to decide exacty how his/her PC reacts, but is also subject to mechanical effects depending upon the persuading player's degree of success on the check. And I've also mentioned (several times) the MHRP/Cortex+ Heroic mechanics, which allow the placing of a complication, or emotional or mental stress, on a PC - and when the player has his/her PC attempt an action which would be hindered by that stress or complication then the relevant die is added to the opposing pool. (Before you ask, what if it's an unopposed check, all checks in that sysemt are opposed.) The player is never "out of the loop" because s/he builds his/her own pull to resist any attempt to impose such stre...
  • 04:52 PM - pemerton mentioned Campbell in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    I think the best way to address that is to ask, what character from such a system can't be played identically in a D&D type system (assuming same overall setting etc). <snip> Since D&D largely leaves personality free form, then all the personalities allowable in exalted are available in D&D and all the ones not allowable in it are as well.This is missing the point. One may as well ask, What story can't D&D produce? Well, if the players and the GM all get together and agree on it then you can play out Casablanca in D&D, can't you? (That was Campbell's point about consensus.) But the current topic of discussion is how that might be done, and what sort of play experience might be involved. The example of Exalted, for instance, was not about what personalities can be played. It was about how personality might put under pressure, and perhaps change. And the play experience that results from that. Anyways, one potential challenge for the player is determining if that is a persuasive argument to their PC. When the choice is between two opposed goals/personality traits/etc then you are most certainly being confronted with something new or unexpected about your PC. You are learning which goal/personality trait/etc is more defining (or at least more defining in this moment). <snip> If the player is playing in character then the only reason the determination of what his character would do would be difficult for him is if the attempt framed the situation to the PC such that it put two motivations/traits/etc in opposition. Th...
  • 03:05 PM - pemerton mentioned Campbell in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    ...a PC to do something. The DM states the NPC's case with a high level overview. To provide some context for the players into how persuasive the NPC argument was the DM rolls the NPC's persuasion skill just so they players can gauge how convincing said NPC would be to the average person. Then the players take the NPC's specific argument and the persuasion skill roll and filter that through the character they are playing and come to a conclusion of how to have their PC react. In this situation what is gained from actually requiring a persuasion contest with binding results for the PC in order to determine if he was persuaded?Now I haven't yet read Ovinomancer's post not far below, where I am guessing (maybe I'm wrong?) that he is going to press the issue with me about choice vs challenge. But in this post I want to make clear that what I am talking about, in trying to convey my view as to how a character conception can be challenged in the absence of mechanics of the sort that Campbell has described, is - at least to my eyes - nothing like what you (Frogreaver) describe here. I'll put to one side the GM making a Persuasion roll and telling the player that result, as I don't see what that adds to the situation - mechanics work as mechanics, but I don't see what work they are meant to do as guidelines. With that put to one side, what we have is simply the GM telling the player that a NPC wants such-and-such from the PC. I can't see any pressure there. Any tension. Any challenge. The player can weigh pros and cons, try and calculate consequences, even decide non-rationally based on feeling if s/he likes, or a coin toss, what to do. But I can't see how this puts the least bit of pressure on the player's conception of his/her PC's character. Consider a persuasion attempt on a PC. Whether there is risk or not will depend on the thing the PC is being persuaded to do. So for this example, let's assume there is a risk to being persuaded. That would mean we cou...

Saturday, 13th July, 2019

  • 03:34 PM - pemerton mentioned Campbell in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Your example is fun play. I like it, and I enjoy when such things happen in my game. What I don't see, though, is how your example illuminates the discussion about choice not being a challenge or risk to characterization. You player decided that this crisis happened, and, absent a scene or scenes where this crisis is tested in a way that the player risks their characterization, it remains just a choice the player made about their character. I can see why you say this. But for me, this brings us back to Campbell's remarks: Players should play their characters with integrity and want to find out who they really are. They shouldn't try to drive play to some preferred outcome. The absence of choice in the example I provided occurred at the point of the killing. At that point, thie player learns - without having any say over it - that his PC is a killer. At that point, playing the character with integrity generates the crisis. There were subsequent events, too, that played on the crisis. That's part of the GM's job (in my view) - once the pressure point is clear, the GM needs to work it, not relax it, so that the player isn't spared the consequence of what has happened. This isn't quite GM decides, but it's a definite demand on the GM that puts the GM in a very different role from (say) the impartial GMing of Gygaxian D&D, or the most common approach to Classic Traveller. The example of play invovling Nighcrawler that I posted upthread is somewhat similar in these respects. Events unfol...
  • 10:15 AM - pemerton mentioned Campbell in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    "Fidelity" has two connotations. One is "strict adherence" - this is like a "high-fidelity recording". I don't think that's the sense meant here. The sense intended here is probably "faithful". And that's important. Because if we use the first, then fidelity is, "You wrote that your character is Lawful Good, so you cannot take that action." Fidelity, meaning faithfulness, is more about making the character a real person - who can make errors and change over time..Yes, I mean faithfulness to what the unfolding fiction reveals about the character. Not accuracy. I was trying to build on what Campbell had said. What I'm seeing is an argument that a choice can be offered that risks the player's characterization, but this fails at first contact because the player is making the choice about the characterization -- it's still exactly what the player wants. If you, personally, exhibit difficulty in making a choice to change your characterization, this doesn't make the choice special or suddenly a challenge -- you're still the only one exercising your 100% authority, and you cannot lose this or have it reduced (again, taking the initial premise for granted). It's not that a choice can't be part of a challenge. A choice to enter a room full of monsters usually kicks off a challenge and becomes part of it, but that challenge isn't "do I decide to go in or not" it's "do I overcome this room full of monsters" and your choice is many-fold for how you might do this. I think that some mechanic is necessary for an RPG, because we have no other way to resolve uncertainty, and uncertainty...
  • 08:35 AM - Sadras mentioned Campbell in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    I'm eagerly awaiting Campbell's next post which promised some colourful social mechanics so I'd rather not have this thread end abruptly.

Wednesday, 20th March, 2019

  • 01:53 PM - pemerton mentioned Campbell in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    There is a point that may have come up earlier in this thread, or perhaps in another one - I remeber I was responding to Campbell - that I want to come back to: the role of GM sentimentality. In the campaign with the fox and the nobles and so on, the resolution of the campaign saw the PCs acting in defiance of Heaven. In addition to the edict-disobeying fox, there was a paladin whose patron was a dead god trapped in an eternal, timeless, but ultimately corrupting and hence fatal struggle with entities from the outer void. The paladin had cleansed echoes of the dead god of their voidal taint, violating certain karmic principles; and the PCs had befriended an exiled god who had, back in the day, been the best friend of the dead god and had helped him prepare for his eternal struggle. The ultimate failure of the dead god's struggle - due to his corruption by the voidal forces he was opposing - occurred in the course of the campaign, meaning that the voidal beings were able to once again threaten the earth. The PCs - powerful mages and warriors by the end of the campaign (Rolemaster level 27 or so) - were able ...

Sunday, 24th February, 2019

  • 03:46 PM - pemerton mentioned Campbell in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    A first thought: my Google skills are failing me, but I believe a prominent designer (maybe John Harper?) made the point that no one sits down to play poker and starts talking about playing a trump and winning a trick and gathering all the cards up in front of him/her - so why do people approach RPGs like that?I'm salivating to learn the source of this comparison, and if they expanded on what you say here.I've done some trawling through John Harper's old blog (The Mighty Atom) but can't find it. Campbell, can you help?

Saturday, 23rd February, 2019

  • 07:23 AM - pemerton mentioned Campbell in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ... there is no system-level way of flagging them as mere colour). Second, 4e doesn't have a formal notion of a plot-level complication (like Lost in the Dungeon) nor the formal notion of a recovery action, and so a player has to spin a lot more from whole cloth in explaining that his/her PC wants to read the runes so as to learn where the PCs are (eg in a skill chalenge, is this a primary or secondary check?). I've not played Fate, but I'm guessing that for this particular example it would be more like Cortex+ (eg incorproating the Runic Inscription aspect into a check to establish an I Know Where We Are In The Dungeon aspect). In BW it would be different again - BW shares (1) and (2) in common with 4e, but is more overt about mechanics for player-driven backstory introduction. So it might be a Symbols check FoRKing in Rune-wise to establish some knowledge (mostly colour) but also to get an advantage die (a mechanical boost) for downstream dungeoneering checks. On these boards, Campbell is the poster who has pushed me the most to recognise that, while some general comments can be made when comparing the sort of thing I enjoy to stuff that I would see as pretty railroady-y, once we get to the detailed exposition of techniques and principles it's worth important to appreciate system differences.

Wednesday, 13th February, 2019

  • 11:50 PM - hawkeyefan mentioned Campbell in post Blades In The Dark
    Manbearcat, Campbell and I think chaochou all play this system. I saw the thread you cited in your previous post, and read through that one, too. I hope Campbell shares some more....it seems like he had more to say but then kind of dropped from that thread.
  • 11:23 PM - pemerton mentioned Campbell in post Blades In The Dark
    Manbearcat, Campbell and I think chaochou all play this system.

Tuesday, 8th January, 2019

  • 04:40 PM - Aldarc mentioned Campbell in post Worlds of Design: ďOld SchoolĒ in RPGs and other Games Ė Part 1 Failure and Story
    ...tory he planned 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.

Wednesday, 7th November, 2018

  • 05:19 AM - pemerton mentioned Campbell in post Blades In The Dark
    Manbearcat, cthulhu42, I think this might be the thread: Blades in the Dark Actual Play. It was started by Campbell.
  • 02:50 AM - pemerton mentioned Campbell in post Blades In The Dark
    On these boards, I think Manbearcat has played a bit of BitD. Maybe Campbell also. I don't want to beat the comparison between Blades and D&D into the ground. That's not my intention at all. Mainly what I'd like to do is encourage others to give BitD a try. I honestly think it's one of the best gaming experiences I've ever had and I hope to get the word out. It's made me a better GM, that's for sure. It'd be worth it if that's all I got out of it.I think there are a lot of RPG systems that are underappreciated and worth talking more about. That's why I keep posting about my play experiences with Prince Valiant, Classic Traveller, etc! Unfortunately I've not played any BitD and not much DW either, so don't have heaps to offer on this occasion. I am hoping to play some DW, maybe next year.

Saturday, 20th October, 2018

  • 02:04 PM - pemerton mentioned Campbell in post Why does 5E SUCK?
    I am our groupís DM most of the time, but Iím new to the hobby (senior in high school, started playing as an 8th grader, never had the opportunity to play under an experienced DM) and itís been hard to create encounters that are interesting, different, and provide everyone a good opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way. If I play disallowing metagame social skills, the Bards/Sorcs/Warlocks are the only ones who get to do stuff; and if I allow out of game social skills to influence events, the most charismatic player hogs screentime. Iíve looked online for advice on how to make the game more interesting in and out of combat (phb and dmg are kinda worthless at giving DM advice) but the responses that Iíve gotten have been:A lot of those responses seem aimed at a very GM-driven, "follow-the-bread-crumbs" style of play. If you're interested in talking about more player-driven play there are posters on these boards who can talk about that (me, Campbell, Manbearcat and others). The best place to start a thread on that would be in General RPG, as a lot of the relevant techniques are not 5e-specific.

Friday, 19th October, 2018

  • 05:37 AM - pemerton mentioned Campbell in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    ...owledge is already in the audience's consciousness. We're talking about the viewer's first time through, without the benefit of hindsight, as we will always be* in an RPG discussion.A player is not a viewer. A player is a participant in the game, who is helping establish fiction, including especially fiction about his/her PC. If the GM unilaterally decides that I (as my PC) am committing incest because the NPC I'm in love with is secretly my sister; or unilaterally decides that I'm supporting a serial killer because dear dad to whom I'm remitting back some of my hard-won gold pieces is in fact a serial killer; then the GM is unilaterally changing my character concept and the meaning of my action declarations. If someone does play the game purely as viewer rather than participant; or if their participation is confined to purely tactical or puzzle-solving aspects of play; then the response might be different. I'm not such a player. I feel this goes very clearly back to some posts Campbell has made about the role of the players in contributing to the fiction that is the content and focus of play.

Thursday, 18th October, 2018

  • 01:08 AM - pemerton mentioned Campbell in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    Arguably it's more a case of gm as external filter vs player as internal filter - is it the submitter who determines acceptable or not vs is it someone other than them they have to pass? Whether a gm has bad taste or good taste, if they set the filters for the campaign up front, the players can choose to play or not based on those filters. That allows the gm to in essence choose the flavor or type of food (if you will) and draw to it folks who want that food. <snip> If the GM does not filter it, if each individual player does their own filter, you lose that and you have folks joining with much the possibility of conflicting goals and preferences. That seems very similar to the orientation that Campbell descripbed not far upthread.

Wednesday, 17th October, 2018

  • 07:46 AM - pemerton mentioned Campbell in post What DM flaw has caused you to actually leave a game?
    ...in the previous paragraph. And for what it's worth, I think that D&D is far closer to Prince Valiant than Burning Wheel in this respect, and that D&D would have to be drifted very radically to be capable of raising and addressing the sorts of social and political questions that BW might be able to: both the mechanics of D&D (not only classes but also, at least, character advancement) and its fiction (not only of classes but also most of the tropes around monsters and treasures). To give a different and maybe more banal example: in a Marvel Heroic RP game Captain America's shield, the Punisher's Battle Van, Dr Strange's connection to arcane forces and dimensions - more generally, all these character-defining aspects of colour and backstory - are largely if not totally "backgrounded". And to put the same point in positive terms: I think nearly every RPG puts some aspects but not all aspects of a character into play. Some of this is about the individual table - which I think is how Campbell is seeing it - but some of this, in my view, is also about system. Of course if one doesn't want the system to put a limit on what is, or might be, at stake then that would be a reason to avoid eg Prince Valiant and play eg Burning Wheel. Or to make what I think is the same point slightly differently, I think there is a meaningful distinction between light and heavy systems where I'm not talking about mechanical weight but thematic/emotional weight. Burning Wheel has the potential to be, and I think in play almost certainly is going to be, more demanding in these respects than either Prince Valiant or Marvel Heroic RP. there is a certain undercurrent of suspicion towards players who decide to provide feedback on GMing methodology, the content of the fiction or who care how a game is run that I am noticing here and have seen in real life a couple of times. The idea that taking an active interest in the game beyond casually consuming the GM's content is somehow problematic or entit...


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Thursday, 18th July, 2019

  • 06:17 AM - FrogReaver quoted Campbell in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    @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. Incorrect. Next time ask my opinion before broadbrushing me. Game mechanics are great for play. They are great for the game aspect. They may even enhance roleplay in certain ways. But they also detract from it in certain ways as well. If you want to talk about the pros and cons of certain mechanics in those regards I'm game. If you want to act like there are no roleplay drawbacks to mechanics then you need to revisit your foundation. We play these games because we value what they have to say about human nature and how people interact with each other. I play games because they are fun. It doesn't really get any deeper than that. They help us form mental models of who our characters really are and how they think and feel. I assume you mean mechanics he...
  • 04:00 AM - FrogReaver quoted Campbell in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    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. are there never disagreements or difference of opinion about when the rules say to roll?

Wednesday, 17th July, 2019

  • 06:13 AM - pemerton quoted Campbell in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    I prioritize emotional immersion over intellectual immersion.I agree with this. I use the phrase inhabitation of the character to try and convey this idea. I think a genuine challenge to the character is completely seperate from one which challenges the player. That's a red herring, a totally false equivalence. Ideally, the player is comfortable, relaxed and relishing the process of authoring the character as it burns, and the creativity it affords them.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 "heavier"/"deeper" (I'm not sure what the right word is). Both are fun, but the latter is more likely to leave a participant feeling drained than is the former.
  • 05:26 AM - Hussar quoted Campbell in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    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? But, no one is saying that. No one is saying that you can change a success into a failure. What is being talked about is that if the Player defines success, then the GM cannot. Which is a constraint on the game that some of us don't want. OTOH, it appears that Pemerton want's failure to always be some sort of success (fail forward) at all times. Which again, is a restriction on the game that not all of us want. Sometimes a failure is just that - a failure. It's not required that the game forces the GM to always narrate in a certain fashion.
  • 03:26 AM - Ovinomancer quoted Campbell in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    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 vision above the shared narrative. I think it helps to have mechanics that help get us into the right head space for our characters. Here I prioritize emotional immersion over intellectual immersion. It also helps to have mechanics that have something to say because it helps ground us in the right mood and makes it easier for the tension to feel real in the moment. I agree with this. How a player makes a choice for the character can tell us something about that character without a challenge. I've said this before -- choices are still good play, they just aren't challenges. There's lots of tools in the ...

Sunday, 14th July, 2019

  • 04:47 AM - FrogReaver quoted Campbell in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Let me start off by saying I do not like viewing game mechanics through the lens of necessity. No mechanics are actually necessary. Anything can be resolved through consensus. That's what the online freeformers do. However, sometimes consensus is like boring and stuff. I'm going to start with an example of a system that I consider to have the most impact on player agency of the games I like to play, , but also the richest in terms of representing highly dynamic characters. Exalted 3e's social influence system is built off of intimacies that represent a character's beliefs, philosophies, and relationships. They come in 3 strengths - minor, major, and defining. In order to convince a character (PC or NPC) to do something they would not otherwise do you must target one of their intimacies that supports what you are trying to convince them of. The strength of that intimacy determines what you can convince them to do. Regardless you cannot convince them to do something that would cause them to aban...
  • 03:39 AM - Tony Vargas quoted Campbell in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    I'm going to start with an example of a system that I consider to have the most impact on player agency of the games I like to play, , but also the richest in terms of representing highly dynamic characters. Exalted 3e's social influence system is ... I've never glanced at Exalted. All I've heard about, 2nd-hand, is that it was WWGS's ST-like stab at fantasy, the PCs are demigods, and most of all, in a very derogatory way, that it's wild, over-the-top superheroics. "...then you might as well be playing Exalted!" Like it was the RPG equivalent of Godwins Law or something.
  • 03:15 AM - pemerton quoted Campbell in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Sometimes the best person to socially engage in a situation is based on intimacies rather than who is the most socially gifted.I think this is very important when approaching social/emotional conflict in RPGs. Otherwise there is a significant risk of all the characters turning out to be the same ie merely expedient. That's fine for Dying Earth but not desirable in general, in my view. You can be changed through the course of a social encounter even if you ultimately succeed. Like wounds on the battlefield. You risk your beliefs by arguing for them.Can you explain this further in relation to the system you've described? Is this the depletion of Willpower, or something else as well? No mechanics are actually necessary. Anything can be resolved through consensus. That's what the online freeformers do. However, sometimes consensus is like boring and stuff.Between (i) conensus and (ii) mechanics that directly attack PC beliefs/convictions lies (iii) scenes/situations framed with genuine stak...

Saturday, 13th July, 2019

  • 03:34 PM - pemerton quoted Campbell in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Your example is fun play. I like it, and I enjoy when such things happen in my game. What I don't see, though, is how your example illuminates the discussion about choice not being a challenge or risk to characterization. You player decided that this crisis happened, and, absent a scene or scenes where this crisis is tested in a way that the player risks their characterization, it remains just a choice the player made about their character. I can see why you say this. But for me, this brings us back to Campbell's remarks: Players should play their characters with integrity and want to find out who they really are. They shouldn't try to drive play to some preferred outcome. The absence of choice in the example I provided occurred at the point of the killing. At that point, thie player learns - without having any say over it - that his PC is a killer. At that point, playing the character with integrity generates the crisis. There were subsequent events, too, that played on the crisis. That's part of the GM's job (in my view) - once the pressure point is clear, the GM needs to work it, not relax it, so that the player isn't spared the consequence of what has happened. This isn't quite GM decides, but it's a definite demand on the GM that puts the GM in a very different role from (say) the impartial GMing of Gygaxian D&D, or the most common approach to Classic Traveller. The example of play invovling Nighcrawler that I posted upthread is somewhat similar in these respects. Events unfol...
  • 04:27 AM - pemerton quoted Campbell in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    I agree with Ovinomancer and Umbran that making a choice - even a hard choice - isn't a challenge to character and character concept of the sort that has been raised in this thread. Whether you need mechanics (social mechanics, emotional mechanics, whatever they might be) to generate that sort of challenge is a further question. My view is that you don't, although obviously they might help. To expain why I think you don't need such mechanics, I want to quote a recent post: If I am playing or running a game that is supposed to be more character focused I absolutely do make aesthetic judgments of other players and I expect the same in kind. We should all be invested in each others' characters - be fans of them. For that to happen players should play their characters as if they were real people with real passions and real relationships. Players should play their characters with integrity and want to find out who they really are. They shouldn't try to drive play to some preferred outcome. ...

Friday, 12th July, 2019

  • 04:30 AM - Fenris-77 quoted Campbell in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    I'm going to say something I expect will be controversial here. If I am playing or running a game that is supposed to be more character focused I absolutely do make aesthetic judgments of other players and I expect the same in kind. We should all be invested in each others' characters - be fans of them. For that to happen players should play their characters as if they were real people with real passions and real relationships. Players should play their characters with integrity and want to find out who they really are. They shouldn't try to drive play to some preferred outcome. Still ultimately their decisions to make, but they have responsibilities to what we are creating together. That's a great post. Normally i wouldn't quote and post just to say that, but in this case I think it's warranted.

Thursday, 11th July, 2019

  • 05:31 AM - pemerton quoted Campbell in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    They also provide cover to players to play with integrity in situations where common tabletop rpg culture would put pressure on them to be more of a team player.This could really be a topic all its own.
  • 12:27 AM - Tony Vargas quoted Campbell in post Why do you play games other than D&D?
    I disagree that 5e is more flexible.The flexibility comes in giving the DM latitude to go beyond, ignore, override, and, of course, if he wants to, formally change or 'house rule,' the system. That's not really flexibility at all, but it's functionally used the same way. It's like, you can break it, and fix it to be however you want. That's like being flexible - except for the loud snapping sound and the duct tape. I attribute most of its success in being wonderfully tuned to the predominant play pattern first established with Dragonlance and refined by 1990s games like Vampire, Shadowrun, Legend of the 5 Rings, etc.Then why did none of those games take off like 5e is taking off now? (That's rhetorical... I mean, ST did do really well in the 90s, relative to the niche non-D&D RPG market of that decade.) Well, for one thing, there's been a huge renaissance in TT gaming going for like 5 or 6 years now, that wasn't there 20+ years ago. Then there's the magic trick WotC pulled i...

Wednesday, 5th June, 2019

  • 02:57 PM - pemerton quoted Campbell in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Anytime I'm relaying information (regardless of it's literary quality), unless you are constantly interrupting me, you are (at least until I am finished speaking) a passive audience member to whatever I am narrating.I don't think this is true. I don't intend what follows to be triggering for anyone, and apologise if it is - I couldn't come up with a completely safe example. But, that said, and continuing on: If I relate to you the information that a bomb is about to go off in your building, I don't think you would be a passive audience. I think you would engage with what I'm saying in many quite active ways. Including, perhaps, certain sorts of interruptions, but not limited to those. EDIT: I think this post from Campbell, not far upthread, presents an idea of players as something different from a passive audience: What is fundamental to me is that we are all involved in the process as creative peers and everyone's contributions are valued equally. Also that everyone is expected to contribute. Also that contributions move play forward and demand action from other players (GM included). Conversely, a way upthread Hussar talked about a GM "rolling up the plot wagon". To me at least, that suggests a situation in which the players are something of a passive audience.

Sunday, 24th March, 2019


Sunday, 24th February, 2019

  • 10:11 PM - Aldarc quoted Campbell in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    The quote comes from Jesse Burneko's Play Passionately blog. He's a member of The Forge who just really grokked Sorcerer in the same way that John Harper just really got Apocalypse World. His blog just does a much better job of articulating the way I approach role playing games. Here's the post:Thank you! I've seen many ways to play D&D, and pemerton and others have used it for even more of them if you believe their posts here(and I do). That is pretty strong evidence that it's pretty easy to use D&D for virtually any playstyle you want to attempt.I'm not so much talking about how was D&D throughout its entire legacy, but, rather, more about its earliest days of OD&D and 1E. And I believe that Luke Crane even had a Google+ thread where he actually talks about his experiences running 1E Basic (?) as per its design intent, guiding principles, mechanical quirks, etc. That does engender a more particularized style of play.

Friday, 22nd February, 2019

  • 12:43 AM - MNblockhead quoted Campbell in post How Did I Become a Grognard?
    AD&D 2e turns 30 this year. It feels very odd to suggest that someone playing a 30 year old game is insufficiently set in their ways. Oh god. I stopped playing TTRPGs about the time 2e game out, until I started again with 5e. I'm playing 5e and newer kickstarted games and have not wargammed in decades. So I'm not a grognard. Just old.

Thursday, 21st February, 2019

  • 04:49 PM - lowkey13 quoted Campbell in post How Did I Become a Grognard?
    AD&D 2e turns 30 this year. It feels very odd to suggest that someone playing a 30 year old game is insufficiently set in their ways. Suggest? What, was I not clear? Did it seem like I was relying on innuendo? That, perhaps, I was hoping that the reader would infer the gist of my statement? Perhaps I was hiding the gravamen of my point behind a misleading wall of verbiage such that only the most astute could grasp it? I am not sure how I feel about this? It is as if someone came up to me and said, "Hey, Lowkey- so, I've been reading you for a while, and there's this question I've got for you. I mean ... do you like Paladins? Sometimes, I think you might be suggesting that Paladins aren't all that great, or something!"* But yes, seeing someone referring to 2e (somewhat) and 3e (especially!) when referring to Grognards seems ... completely bonkers. Especially for those of us who remember grognards getting annoyed by all of those new-fangled kids with their role-playing getting in the way of...

Monday, 10th December, 2018

  • 05:52 PM - Manbearcat quoted Campbell in post 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain
    I feel like there is a substantive difference between gaming the fiction and gaming the DM. I think just as we can expect and hold players accountable for playing their characters with integrity we can expect and hold GMs accountable for approaching play with curiosity and playing the world with integrity. There is a substantive difference. However, the problem I see is the culture of D&D embracing the early 90s first principle of GMing that "there is no such thing as GM accountability for playing the world with integrity. The GM is only accountable for what they perceive will create the best story and most fun at the table." The problem with that first principle is that it relies upon (a) the GM's ability to correctly calculate a myriad of conflicting inputs (individual play priorities, the fiction, the maths, discreteness, unknowable downstream effects) in the moment to derive a table-coherent output and (b) many times what they (the GM) prioritize (either personally or as a result ...

Friday, 30th November, 2018

  • 03:04 PM - Aldarc quoted Campbell in post Any Dungeon World players here?
    You have summoned me. I like Dungeon World a good deal - not as much as I like Apocalypse World, but still a good deal. Summoning Manbearcat who is more of an expert than me. What were your questions?Raising this dead thread. Is there a reason why you prefer Apocalypse World over Dungeon World? And how would you "improve" Dungeon World so that it would be more to your own preferences?


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