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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Today, 12:26 AM
    Patrick Stewart sounds older than he does currently in real life, and Spiner has been de-aged. Interesting! Reports also say Riker is in it. I knew he directed some of it, but apparently he’s actually in it. I hope there isn’t too much focus on the Romulan stuff. With Nemesis, and the Abrahms Trek reboot, I’m kinda bored of what wasn’t a very interesting plot thread in the first place. I’m...
    5 replies | 159 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Today, 12:14 AM
    Except that you do. Oh, god. I can’t say that yet again to another pithy non-sequitur. I really am out this time before my brain freezes.
    46 replies | 723 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Today, 12:01 AM
    I really don't understand what your point is, and it seems to change with each post. My interest in the conversation (such that it was) has expired as it's gong nowhere interesting, but I'll reiterate that if you want to see original movies, there are tons of them every year, and they're awesome and available to you. If your requirement for them is that they have to be blockbusters, then I guess...
    46 replies | 723 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:34 PM
    Again, why does it matter to you that films be blockbusters? There are lots of non-blockbuster films every year. They are great. Go watch 'em. They're still making them, plenty. There's no "fault" to assign. Nothing is wrong. Blockbusters are there, small films are there. Watch either, or both, or whatever.
    46 replies | 723 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:57 PM
    What's with your obsession with blockbusters? Does a film only count if it's a blockbuster? So? Go see them if you think you'll like them. You're not an investor. If your requirement to see a film is (a) it be original, and (b) it must be a blockbuster then you're only hurting yourself. Otherwise -- go see the films. They're there.
    46 replies | 723 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:27 PM
    Zardnaar does. :) In other news, this film comes out on my birthday next year, and I'm gonna go see it, because the first one really is a guilty pleasure for me.
    46 replies | 723 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:23 PM
    Who cares about "big"? What you want is a high gross-to-production ratio. If I gross $122 million on an investment of $9 million, I've gotten a 13x return on my investment! I could make 36 of these small movies for the cost of one Avengers: Endgame, and gross about $4.4 Billion overall. If my Endgame tanks, I lose it all. If half my small budget movies tank, I still walk away with a couple...
    46 replies | 723 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:10 PM
    Small edit and a reskinning of a succubus will probably do the trick.
    2 replies | 120 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:37 PM
    I could have sworn that was in there! But it's a 2 MP effect.
    1 replies | 123 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:55 AM
    Ok, name 10 90’s blockbusters which made a billion dollars.
    46 replies | 723 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 11:26 PM
    It does tons of them every year. You just don't go to see them.
    46 replies | 723 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 08:23 PM
    Venetian and Genoese dialects, yeah. Significant amounts of Catalan and Occitan as well. And then loan words from pretty much everything on the Mediterranean Sea, as you'd expect for a trade pidgin.
    33 replies | 1058 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 08:19 PM
    Call him a "horcrux" and nobody'd blink an eye.
    13 replies | 303 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 07:31 PM
    Consider - the archetype of "magical school" is kind of a Harry Potter thing. Traditionally, wizards have worked like tradesmen - with a Master-apprentice relationship. There is no need for a school. This does not mean you can't ban wizards - just that "there is no school" does not stand up to scrutiny as a justification.
    13 replies | 303 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 06:28 PM
    I'm really not very knowledgeable about modern archery, but generally maybe you could look at the difference between a musket and a modern rifle, and apply a similar 'upgrade'.
    1 replies | 126 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 05:12 PM
    Well then, I have some great news for you! The 1980s have loads of really awesome movies. You have years of pleasure ahead of you!
    46 replies | 723 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 04:10 PM
    The PDF(s) will go out to backers the moment the Kickstarter ends tonight, as we do with all all our Kickstarters. So if by “right away” you mean “today” then back the campaign! Otherwise, yeah, there will be a longer wait before you can get the revised version of ATOC or the new book, ATMC.
    20 replies | 489 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 04:04 PM
    Morrus replied to Welcome Thread
    This place has been around for 20 of those years!
    938 replies | 166756 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 03:59 PM
    I think that's the issue right there. "System" and "numinous" are at cross purposes. I have had RPG moments that have felt numinous, but they have typically had little to do with "system", and more to do with atmosphere and immersion.
    20 replies | 536 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 03:18 PM
    Gale Force Nine has shared some pictures of the new DM Screen geared at nautical adventures, Of Ships & The Sea. The website says "Pre-Order - Mid June", so I'm not sure if it's available yet.
    12 replies | 1729 view(s)
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 02:55 PM
    The real mystery of life is why anyone thought this needed a sequel.
    46 replies | 723 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 02:25 PM
    The revised version is on Kickstarter right now. Ends in 8 hours. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/enworld/a-touch-more-class-9-new-5th-edition-classes
    20 replies | 489 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 09:15 AM
    It looks exactly like the original!
    46 replies | 723 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 09:22 PM
    Ergo, the game of 1e, in practice, was more lethal. You just said it had higher kill rates. Done. You effectively just said, "This analysis gives me result A. Therefore, I must do another analysis that gets me a different result." That's not solid reasoning. Games are not cleanly separable from their playstyles. Trying to level set outside of the playstyle introduces a bias -...
    144 replies | 3314 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 08:53 PM
    I have some issues with Celebrim's analysis, in large part because I disagree with his positions about science - as a physicist, I gotta tell you, quantum tunneling isn't terribly mysterious. It is a basic, and calculable thing. That being said, I have to note that there are actually two forms of magic that are getting conflated: 1) The magic of myth and folklore 2) The day-to-day...
    20 replies | 536 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 08:22 PM
    I think, if you ask "Which edition was most lethal?" that really asks - what percentage of characters did each edition actually kill? It has nothing to do with whether a 2e fighter could beat a 1e fighter, or otherwise comparing their stats to each other. It asks what power level characters were, *with respect to the challenges they were given*. Unfortunately, the real numbers are lost...
    144 replies | 3314 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 08:10 PM
    As many as there are things to like. BBQ Geek? Yep. Beer geek? Sure. Fiber arts geek? You bet!
    3 replies | 165 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 04:30 PM
    I did say it was in jest. But, if you want to be a bit more pedantic about it - not all games give the GM a whole lot of space to choose when/what they can veto. And not all GMs are experienced, and know when to veto. And if the GM thinks they always know all implications of things at the time they are decided, and make a good choice on what to veto every time, they are kidding themselves. ...
    753 replies | 21063 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 04:05 PM
    Cubicle 7 has just revealed the cover art (by Johan Grenier) of the new version of The One Ring roleplaying game.
    34 replies | 3247 view(s)
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 03:56 PM
    Cubicle 7 has just revealed the cover art (by Johan Grenier) of the new version of The One Ring roleplaying game.
    34 replies | 369 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 02:32 PM
    Green Ronin has sent out its Sell Sheets for the new products it will have available at Gen Con -- Mutants & Masterminds Deluxe Gamemaster's Guide and Superteam Handbook, Modern Age Threefold setting, and Fantasy Age Campaign Builder's Guide. (Thanks to Egg Embry for the scoop).
    2 replies | 1490 view(s)
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 12:55 PM
    I think we can decide for ourselves what we find interesting.
    62 replies | 1923 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 11:54 AM
    Back in January I took nominations for the best RPG podcast of 2018, and everybody voted The Adventure Zone (best actual play) and The Good Friends of Jackson Elias (best talk) as the winners. Now I'm doing the same with mobile apps -- what are your favourite RPG mobile apps? Here's how it works: anybody can nominate a mobile app (but you can't nominate your own). Simply post the...
    14 replies | 1769 view(s)
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 11:41 AM
    Back in January I took nominations for the best RPG podcast of 2018, and everybody voted The Adventure Zone (best actual play) and The Good Friends of Jackson Elias (best talk) as the winners. Now I'm doing the same with mobile apps -- what are your favourite RPG mobile apps? Here's how it works: anybody can nominate a mobile app (but you can't nominate your own). Simply post the...
    14 replies | 280 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 11:37 AM
    Lots of people certainly like books. No doubt about that. Lots of people also like PDFs, as evidenced by the DMs Guild (which WotC created); and they also like other digital options, like DDB, FG, and Roll20. It's not a binary choice.
    62 replies | 1923 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 09:38 PM
    I think that while a system in and of itself cannot produce such authenticity, it can certainly get in the way of it. It can also likely encourage it - setting the players up in a good way to have such, to invite it. Bluebeard's Bride (from Magpie Games), and Ten Candles (from Calvalry Games) come to mind in that sense - games designed to enable players to "have all the feels" as the...
    753 replies | 21063 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 09:12 PM
    Not at all (he said, taking the rhetorical bait). Remember the wargame root. In a wargame, you don't have characters, you have *units*. You only care about the survival of a unit in terms of its tactical value in the wargame scenario - you expect units to die, and you just move on. The old rules are not far from that. As time goes on, the game evolves away from that, to having a different...
    144 replies | 3314 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 08:59 PM
    Broadly, that would depend upon what other parts of the fiction have already been determined. Sometimes what the players ask for can become THE solution, and sometimes that would not be consistent with things already set in place. I am often for not determining details unless/until you need them, specifically so you can flex for such things, but even if you only set any given detail at the...
    753 replies | 21063 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 08:33 PM
    I strongly recommend you re-read The Rules. Specifically, the section about keeping things civil. Ridiculing people is a good way to get yourself removed from a conversation. Use of profanity, also, is a good way to get yourself removed from the discussion. In general, we expect you to treat people with a modicum of respect, even if you disagree with them. If you aren't up for that,...
    39 replies | 1345 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 08:21 PM
    There was a trade language at the time that was based in Italian (mostly northern dialects) with a whole lot of loan words from other languages. This pidgin, sometimes otherwise called "Mediterranean Lingua Franca" or Sabir, was what they were referring to, rather than Latin.
    33 replies | 1058 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 07:07 PM
    I think 3e may be the most deadly edition. I mean, in terms of, say, if it fell on you from out of a tree, the sheer mass of the published materials would crush you. 2e had a lot too, but much of it was softcover, which hurts less.
    144 replies | 3314 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 04:01 PM
    I say, slightly in jest, "I search the Duke's desk for a huge ancient red dragon...." Less in jest, I ask - what are we more interested in seeing - the players getting exactly what they ask for, or the players getting what they overall want? Because they are not omniscient, and what they ask for may not actually be what they wanted, needed, or could best use. There is a demonstrable...
    753 replies | 21063 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 03:08 PM
    Neither. But we’ll be moving into the new platform in the next week or two with luck, so it won’t matter.
    1 replies | 109 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 12:38 PM
    I know review copies have been sent out to various people (ours went to Ben, our Pathfinder columnist) but the reviews are embargoed until Aug 1st. And, of course, there’s the 3PPs, but they’re not even allowed to tell you who they are until then! :)
    7 replies | 563 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 12:35 PM
    Well the actual book comes out in 2 weeks; the playtest book is a year out of date. Where did you get it from? Unless you’re a collector, you’re better off waiting for the final rules on Aug 1st.
    6 replies | 270 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 08:41 PM
    Your analysis has too many assumptions to be useful to me, but thank you for trying.
    87 replies | 2861 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 08:18 PM
    Umbran replied to OSR Gripes
    Yes, well, then you really should have paid attention to your better judgement. Let me help you: Don't post again in this thread. Everyone else - treat each other with respect. If you can't, it is time to take a break.
    231 replies | 8227 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 05:55 PM
    The last game I ran, I did have the common problem - the rogue, with better Initiative, similar AC, and high damage from sneak attack, left the party paladin feeling a tad... unimportant in combat. Next D&D game I run, I may simply remove the Dex modifier from damage from Finesse. I am not sure it needs whole fighting styles and such to then make up for it.
    87 replies | 2861 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 04:04 PM
    Umbran replied to OSR Gripes
    Yeah, but I think you're treating the discussion as if folks are choosing their wordign along strict logical lines, when that behavior is not terribly common. "Any DM (OSR or not)..." may not be strictly true. Though, it may be - they may *see* the logic, but reject it. But whatever the case, in spending your time refuting the strict statement, you miss the actual point that perhaps lots...
    231 replies | 8227 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 03:51 PM
    Well, it isn't like the pantheon and cultural structure are cleanly separable. The gods support particular social structures. And, in our fantasy worlds, the gods have a say in things - if a god gives spell power to elvish worshippers/clerics, and does not give power to non-elves, that's going to reinforce religion being a racial characteristic. Um... we have the phrase lingua franca...
    33 replies | 1058 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 02:41 PM
    What part of "particularly on a success" didn't connect for you? Your response to that is to note that the failure case is always infinite, so there's no narrowing at all? Really?
    753 replies | 21063 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 02:19 PM
    Umbran replied to OSR Gripes
    Or, the also not-uncommon "start at 3rd level". Note that "a half-dozen people before you suggested X" does not actually mean that those half-dozen are representative. Using posts here for that is like using self-selected poll data - it does not represent what portion of people actually feel that way, as much as how strongly this small number of people feel about the point.
    231 replies | 8227 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 02:03 PM
    You didn't go with "The Tick"?!? There's a missed opportunity for you.
    107 replies | 3935 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 01:34 PM
    The Diana Jones Awards (named after the remaining piece of the Indiana Jones RPG encased in the trophy) has announced its nominees for 2019. Every year an anonymous group of industry members select a handful of nominees, which are announced at a private event during Gen Con. Last year's winner was the movement of Actual Play. This year's nominees are: Dungeons & Dragons Art &...
    6 replies | 1870 view(s)
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 10:50 PM
    Occasionally a game mechanic jumps out at me, and makes me think "wow!" -- it's not always brand new, and sometimes it builds on something else, or sometimes it's just new to me, but I like it when a simple mechanic catches my eye. Here's a couple of my favourites: D&D's advantage/disadvantage is a really elegant way to replace all those fiddly bonuses. It's one of my favourite things about...
    47 replies | 1681 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 09:28 PM
    Umbran replied to OSR Gripes
    With respect, this doesn't tell us anything until you also do a measure of how fast PCs are expected to *lose* hit points. If AD&D monsters generally did less damage, or an AD&D party dealt with far fewer monsters in a day, yes, it could be moot.
    231 replies | 8227 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 08:58 PM
    I am not sure that this is somehow more true of gnomes than it is of, say, elves, with all the sub-races that have been out there. And, heavens forfend you can't summarize *an entire race of people* in a neat little stereotype! The horror!
    107 replies | 3935 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 05:41 PM
    It matters to my play experience. It probably impacts the choices I make in play. So, by that measure, it makes a difference in the campaign. Also, as a GM, I take the player choices to be indicative of things they want to see. If you play a gnome, we're probably going to see a lot more gnome culture and social role in the game than if nobody chose to play a gnome. That probably means...
    107 replies | 3935 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 04:18 PM
    Modiphius has announced that the Alpha Quadrant Sourcebook for Star Trek Adventures will be out on July 25th. 11 alien species, new starships, and lots of information about the Federation and worlds of the quadrant, available from their web store very soon. “In the end, it comes down to throwing one pitch afteranother, and seeing what happens. With each new consequence, the game begins...
    7 replies | 1327 view(s)
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 11:49 AM
    We did a skit about that in last week's podcast, with a player suggesting more and more outlandish races, starting with deep gnomes and tieflings, through aaracokra and minotaurs, to mind flayers and dragons, to daleks and Borg Queens, to, eventually, V'ger. The idea of somebody playing V'ger as a PC still cracks me up.
    107 replies | 3935 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 04:11 AM
    Both of you decided to continue a personal dispute despite the warning. Time for both of you to take a walk - find another thread where you're not going to engage in personal sniping. Don't post in this one any further. Despite how clear this case is, one or both of you will likely disagree and want to argue with me. Take it to PM, please, and leave the thread alone. Anyone else?
    753 replies | 21063 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 10:43 PM
    I see several signs of people getting snippy, personal, and being far more interested in being right than exploring ideas. Folks are looking dug in, defending positions rather than thinking about whether the other guy has a point. That's a good sign that the thread's about done. Keep it respectful, keep it constructive, or find another topic, folks.
    753 replies | 21063 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 10:35 PM
    The moment when you have to say, "To not understand and agree with me, you are either doing bad thing A, or bad thing B," is the moment you should step back, and consider that this means you must be flawless. Are you flawless? No? Then bad things on the other guy's part are *not* the only option. Maybe, just maybe, there's another basis for the misunderstanding. Until you are more...
    106 replies | 2394 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 08:18 PM
    I’m pretty sure I’ve never once seen you post on-topic. :)
    46 replies | 2482 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 08:17 PM
    abe ray your habit of starting a thread asking a question, and not even acknowledging (let a alone thanking) those who go out of their way to help you is a little rude. It’s been going on for some time. If somebody helps you out, please have the decency to thank them before asking them something for something else. Thanks! :)
    9 replies | 563 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 07:43 PM
    Morrus started a thread PF2 Are you moving from 5E to PF2?
    (A question for those planning to play PF2; if you’re not, this isn’t really for you - don’t threadcrap, please). So you’re planning on playing PF2. While you are probably coming from PF1, is anybody coming from 5E? Obviously, it’s not a permanent thing; you can play more than one game, try out others, all that stuff. But I was curious whether there’s a demographic out here who feel PF2 is...
    29 replies | 1530 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 05:53 PM
    Streaming video. Netflix. Podcasts. Audio/video media, basically. I get through several GB/month, and I'm not as bad as some people I know.
    8 replies | 158 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 04:42 PM
    There are only a few days left to back the A TOUCH MORE CLASS Kickstarter! Join nearly 2,000 backers with these nine new classes for your 5th Edition games. Remember, we delivery Kickstarters immediately they end, so there won't be any opportunity for pledge managers or late pledges! Here's a look at all the stuff you can get in this epic-sized Kickstarter! Play as the brilliant...
    0 replies | 833 view(s)
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 03:41 PM
    Modiphius has announced the official Vampire: The Masquerade 5th edition Organized Play campaign, with a sign-up form to run games at major conventions, receiving the official adventures before release starting with The Fall of London before Christmas. Other upcoming books: The Fall of London campaign
    7 replies | 1699 view(s)
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 06:52 AM
    Umbran replied to Science in D&D
    Yes. I agree. That's exactly the point. But when you tell them the speed of light, or how gravity scales, you are telling them how the fantasy universe works! They don't have to assume it when you tell them. I meant that a GM shouldn't use the language of real-world physics to express how real-world physics doesn't work. Because when the GM says these things, they are Truth. And players...
    69 replies | 2269 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 07:04 PM
    Umbran replied to Science in D&D
    As a physicist, my advice: don't go there. One of the big points we get to when we look at the fundamental constants is not just that "Hey, the physical constants are exactly what they are", but "Hey, if the physical constants change even a small bit, life (and even matter) as we know it ceases to exist." This is one answer to the question of "Why is the Universe exactly the way it is?"...
    69 replies | 2269 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 06:17 AM
    Folks, There comes a time when folks no longer willing to budge or learn from each other butt heads, and can move forward no further. However, humans are built to not give up, so the head-butting can go on for some time. I can make it so neither one of you has to give up. You probably don't want me to do that. But if you do, by all means, continue in this same manner. I will take that...
    753 replies | 21063 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 06:06 AM
    It is late, but let me see if I can construct one... I will use example presented before - the chaste knight is offered Excalibur in exchange for their chastity. We can call this... "The Maiden and the Sword". On the face of this, it is just a hard question - and only hard in the sense of our having put a stake in the ground in claiming the character was chaste, and we often dislike being...
    753 replies | 21063 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 05:48 AM
    I tend to agree. "Need" is an absolute, and there are few absolutes that actually hold for us. Mechanics may make it easier to make such challenges, and/or make them eaiser for players to accept. "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...
    753 replies | 21063 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 04:15 AM
    That's because you are again swapping between different kinds of "challenge" willy-nilly. We typically talk about "challenge the player" and "challenge the character" in a rather game-centered* manner. If I had you a sudoku puzzle to solve, with no reference to the mechanics your character uses, I am challenging you, the player. If I give a strictly constructed skill challenge (make skill...
    753 replies | 21063 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 01:33 AM
    Folks, If you are going to publicly admit that you're intentionally being jerks, you don't leave moderators a lot of wiggle room. Continue down that path, and you are unlikely to enjoy the result. There's this thing, called "being a reasonable, mature person". Try it out.
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Monday, 15th July, 2019

  • 10:02 AM - pemerton mentioned Umbran in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    the playstyle I suggest doesn't lead to that unless a player ignores their character conceptualization.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 illustrate the point you are trying to make? Before the hard decision, I did not know X about my character. Until I made the decision, X was still unknown to me. After the decision, X is now known to me. That's a discovery about the character, which makes it something I learned. How many times over the years after someone ends up in a unique situation and makes a hard decision, have we heard, "So and so really learned something about himself."?As Umbran pointed out way upthread, we are not talking here about actual people living actual lives. We're talking about actual people authoring imagined lives. When an author chooses to have his/her protagonist do X rather than Y, perhaps s/he learns something about him-/herself. (Eg I empathise more with an X-er than a Y-er.) But s/he doesn't learn anything about the protagonist. S/he makes a decision that the protagonist is an X-er rather than a Y-er. The idea that decisions cannot result in discovery is absurd. If decisions prevent discovery, then we shouldn't make any decisions at all. Let the dice randomly determine everything and make tons of discoveries.[/quote]Discovery implies externality. That's why, for instance, philosophers once spoke about our knowledge of the external world, and why one of my teachers once glossed idealist theories of knowledge in this way: you can't get more out of knowledge than you put in. To discover something about my character requires something exter...

Saturday, 13th July, 2019

  • 10:15 AM - pemerton mentioned Umbran in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    ... 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 is necessary for challenge to exist. Just as the chance to fail must exist or there is no challenge. And, again, you cannot fail to exercise your authority over characterization because you make a choice about your characterization. Those 2 sentences appear to contradict each other. Let me elaborate: At first you say a hard choice isn't a challenge. Then you say you believe a challenge can be made without mechanics. What other method could possibly result in a challenge besides either mechanics or a hard choice?There's the example that's been given by Umbran. Here's another example, which is based on an actual play experience I had many years ago now. The basic structure of the example is not too different from Umbran's. One of the PCs was a paladin. He was a member of an order devoted to the relief of suffering and freeing victimes of torture and slavery The system was Rolemaster - for those not familiar with it, RM uses crit rolls as its main mechanic for resolving hurt in combat; and it's very common for foes to be defeated in combat without being killed - they're knocked out, or disabled, or stunned, or whatever. At 5th level the player of the paladin hit an NPC in combat, and then rolled a 00 crit - decapitation. It was the first time he had killed a person. It caused a crisis of faith: can I be the person of faith that I aspire to be, and be a killer? There is no mechanical test that will answer this question. It's been prompted by a mechanical resolution process, but not one that was intended to make this particular que...
  • 04:27 AM - pemerton mentioned Umbran 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. Still ultimately their decisi...
  • 02:06 AM - Maxperson mentioned Umbran in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    I wanted to add, it's not just about challenging the player. Everything I've said also applies to the character. The character is really just a sheet of paper. It's the player inhabiting the idea of the character that gives it life. That's why I don't understand this idea that you can challenge the character socially, without challenging the player. When Umbran said that I was switching the challenge from the character to the player, I had a vision of Leslie Nielson in an interrogation room with a character sheet sitting on a chair, demanding that it confess. After a few minutes he turns to Nordberg and says, "I never thought it would be so hard to challenge a character." You cannot challenge a character without simultaneously challenging the player. A challenge where the DM takes control and informs the player that his PC's heart warms is no less a challenge to the player than what we are describing. It's just a different sort of challenge.

Thursday, 11th July, 2019

  • 03:41 AM - pemerton mentioned Umbran in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    A long post as I catch up on this thread. If it's left to a die roll or the DM's decision, there is no real test of character. <snip> There's a huge difference between me struggling with a decision for my PC, and clack, clack, clack! Oh, look. This time he's an ass, maybe next time he'll be noble. *yawn*The second bit here suggest to me that you're not familiar with the play of any of the non-D&D games that Aldarc, Umbran, Ovinomancer and I have referenced - Fate, Pendrgaon, Prince Valiant, MHRP/Cortex+ Heroic, Bunring Wheel, etc. And the first bit is odd, because the way you find out whether a D&D character is tough enough to beat Orcus in a fight is (among other things) to roll some dice. Of course D&D combat is not nothing but die rolls. But nor is a skill challenge, or a Duel of Wits, or whatever other mechanic a system might use to find out whether or not your PC is steely-hearted enough to resist the maiden's wink. Consulting rules makes zero difference here. It's just a question of whether or not you trust the GM to set up the game to be fun. Adding a veneer of rules on top is just a comfort blanket for gamers who really like rulesI certainly find it interesting that FrogReaver and Maxperson are fine with the maiden melting a PC's heart of the GM has written down (i) that the maiden has such a special ability and (ii) it allows a saving throw. Given that there's no rule in D&D that limi...

Sunday, 7th July, 2019

  • 09:15 PM - hawkeyefan mentioned Umbran in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    I didn't provide a crazy example, but to answer your question, it would be a valid reason and here's why. Sometimes people who have flaws can just overcome those urges. Now, if the player is doing it all the time and/or only at times when it would be detrimental to the PC/party, then he's abusing the system and would need to be talked to after the game. If it's just once in a while, then it's fine. Sorry, the highly specific example of having found out in play that 6 of her 7 husbands had vanished seemed a bit unlikely as a reason why the wink would not affect your character as opposed to something more routine like the character resisting the urge to give in to a pretty face. That’s all I meant. The latter part of your comment is what I’m getting at. This kind of stuff absolutely falls to the group’s shared expectations for the game and the like. And it may go perfectly fine that way. I think it’s more likely with a longstanding hroup of players who’ve established trust, as Umbran mentioned. But, absent a group of players being together for years, such rules can replace that trust. They establish what can happen and when and how, and so in. They can provide a clear process for how such interactions are handled. Again, this all depends on the game and the mechanics, and with 5E D&D it’s left up to the group pretty much entirely. No, it's not flawed. It just requires that the player not play in bad faith. Semantics. It’s a weak point meaning it’s subject to abuse through bad faith play. It’s the same thing. Why? Because you claimed that a Melted Heart dictated exactly what happened. But since the phrase “melted heart” is kind of vague, I figure I’d check the Condition descriptions to see the exact effects.

Saturday, 6th July, 2019


Monday, 1st July, 2019

  • 05:21 PM - Morrus mentioned Umbran in post Hidden
  • 02:33 PM - lowkey13 mentioned Umbran in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    We are living in a golden age of RPGs, where there are options to support many styles of play. Have fun with yours! I agree completely with this (and with the remainder of what you wrote). I also agree with the way Umbran put it- Who does, or should, get to establish the truth of descriptions of PC actions... depends on what game you are playing. It isn't as if we all like the same foods, music, or books. So, we should not expect everyone to like the same games. We should instead, expect a varied collection of games, with different ways of doing things. So when the OP posits the following- What do others think about who does, or should, get to establish the truth of descriptions of PC actions, and how? It sets up an incorrect distinction, because of the varied nature of different RPGs. It would be like someone stating, "What do others think about the best way to tally points for victory in athletic endeavors?" The inherent absurdity of that question becomes manifest in the asking; a debate between different individuals who enjoy basketball, (American) football, cricket, and soccer (futbol/football) would show that different sports cater to different preferences; and this is before getting to ...

Tuesday, 25th June, 2019

  • 04:25 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned Umbran in post Abilities....Which check would you use?
    Yah. If a 15 year old city kid decides to play a ranger, you shouldn't expect the *player* to know proper approaches to how to acquire food or shelter, or follow tracks. The game very explicitly works to help you play characters who know and do things you, the player, cannot. Expecting player understanding of the character's domains of knowledge is not fair. People are so... unforgiving. Really. Take that 15 year old kid. How is it *really* different to say, "My sheet says I know about Survival, and I'd like to use that knowledge to acquire shelter in these woods," and "I'd like to roll Survival to find out more about the tracks"? I mean, yeah, asking for a skill check is more metagamey. We can encourage description of in-game approach, sure. But to outright not accept a basic, relevant request seems... a bit dogmatic, doesn't it?The post wherein Umbran decides to continue to rely on his assumptions rather than what people actually say about hiw they play. I play with people that have no idea how to do many of the things their characters do, and yet we don't have your fears as problems when coming up with approaches. Maybe you should actually think it through trying to see how it could work well rarher than assume you know it sucks?

Monday, 17th June, 2019

  • 10:26 PM - lowkey13 mentioned Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    No, but you said more people would be comfortable with them not existing. So I was addressing that. I think that's mostly due to expectation and tradition, or maybe a feedback loop of both. I'm currently playing a game that treats all the combat and non-combat actions the same....it has a universal mechanic that's resolved the same for all actions. Combat is still a big part of the game. But non-combat is just as important, and is just as engaging. So I think the existence of engaging mechanics for social interaction can actually add to play rather than detract from it. The problem is that the most common social interaction rules aren't really all that engaging. So, w/r/t and what Umbran said earlier, I am reminded about the controversies over the introduction of the original Thief class. One of the issues with introducing the class was that people were worried that if you introduced a Thief with certain defined skills (like Hide in Shadows) that would mean that individuals who were not Thieves could not perform the skill. Moreover, once you start to require these types of skills to do things, people would demand that these sorts of things be done by skill. And two observations I would have are: 1. Most people fought against this line of argument. "Of course people can still do what they want!" 2. That said, my observation (anecdotal only) was that only thieves hid in shadows. If you give someone a hammer, they start to look for nails. Using social resolution mechanics will result in players using those mechanics to solve problems. To put it in old school terms- (1)You can either just RP everything, in which case charisma is a useless dump stat and everything...

Wednesday, 5th June, 2019

  • 07:52 AM - MichaelSomething mentioned Umbran in post Should I play 4e?
    ...te: We haven't had to moderate folks for edition warring for a long time. But if you are going to be a jerk about editions, we will deal with you. Moreover, consider, for a moment, how not-fun all that was for moderators. And how much we will (not) thank you for bringing us back to that again. So - you are allowed to like a thing, or not, and say so. But treat each other with respect. And don't pay the pain of the past forward. Continuing blood feuds over how we pretend to be elves forward is... dumb. Okay? Any questions - take them to PM or e-mail, please and thank you. This is an example of another feature of 4E; Marking! Marking is an action "Defender" classes (or in this case mods) can do to discourage monsters (or in this case edition warring posters) from attacking the rest of your party (or in this case the rest of the posters in this thread/any edition of D&D). Note that Marking does not stop you from taking an action; it punishes you for it. Like how Umbran can't magically prevent people from edition warring; but instead promises punishment if you do. The idea is the threat of punishment prevents edition warriors from, well, warring.

Tuesday, 4th June, 2019


Saturday, 1st June, 2019

  • 05:47 AM - innerdude mentioned Umbran in post The MAYA Design Principle, or Why D&D's Future is Probably Going to Look Mostly Like Its Past
    Using @Umbran's evolution analogy, it feels like the RPG landscape is somewhat solidifying around five or six fairly distinct "genetic pools" in terms of rules systems. These are the ones where when we compare them to games we'll be playing 25 years from now, we'll look back and be able to trace their heritage to a common starting point. 1. D&D 5e is obviously far and away (85%+) the largest genetic pool. If individual players are "species members," at this point I don't think it's hyperbolic in any way to say that D&D 5e is the largest tabletop RPG "gene pool" / ecosystem in the hobby's history. And despite it now being a full 5 years following its release, it still doesn't feel like it's peaked in terms of popularity and economic viability. 5e isn't just a home run, it's a bases-loaded grand slam, followed by a triple, two walks, and another grand slam. Clearly there's going to be some "genus" of the 5e genetic pool in the hobby for 20 years or more. It hasn't fully killed off 1e/OSR, or 3e/Pa...

Wednesday, 29th May, 2019

  • 09:05 PM - hawkeyefan mentioned Umbran in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    ...nent than the content. here is my reasoning: That's a great example, and I can understand why it was so compelling for you. Would you say that it was the prose itself that made it so deep for you? You say that the content and the mechanics of the game itself were not to your taste, so that's how I read it....but I don't want to assume that I get all the nuance. Would you say that this was a compelling experience as a game? Or more like experiencing a work of art? Were you invested in the play? An aligned thought: It occurs to me that the games where I most value presentation over content are games focused on personal drama (as opposed to resolving procedural action). It may be that people who only play procedural games don't feel the need for presentation as much. Certainly when I play D&D it's nowhere near as big a draw for me as when I play Fiasco, DramaSystem, Indie one-shots, Bluebeard's Bride or the like. Yeah, I think this has a huge impact on the discussion for sure. Umbran mentioned LARP, and that obviously has some significant differences from most other RPGs, despite also having similarities. I've played Microscope on a few occasions, and I've found that to be fun, and I think that the effort the group put forth was interesting and evocative....a literary endeavor....but I didn't really feel like I was playing a game as much as I do with most other RPGs.

Tuesday, 28th May, 2019

  • 07:27 PM - LordEntrails mentioned Umbran in post How do you get to GURPS?
    I agree with Umbran and others. You seem to be under the premise that complexity is good. Not all of us agree. For me, it was it was about personal development and growth. Different phases of my life I wanted different things. Decades ago I like crunchy and complex systems. I liked learning all the complex interactions and how things might go together. Then I learned how to "optimize" and as part of that I learned how to "break" these complex systems. And that was fun for awhile. But now, nope. I'm not interested in breaking systems or optimizing. So, I prefer simpler systems where we can role-play and use any character theme etc and not worry about balance or not accounting for some esoteric or obscure situational rule. Fun to me is now not about what I know or how lever I am, but rather the interactions I have with the other players.

Friday, 24th May, 2019


Thursday, 23rd May, 2019


Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019

  • 06:10 PM - acpitz 1 mentioned Umbran in post Completely Blank Posts?
    What is this about, acpitz 1? You appear to be a new member who has decided to start insulting us. Something up? As I said in reply to Umbran I stand corrected. But in these times of shadow banning is a norm it's just very suspicious that posts disappear like that.


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Saturday, 20th July, 2019

  • 10:49 PM - Zardnaar quoted Umbran in post Top Gun: Maverick - Official Trailer
    Who cares about "big"? What you want is a high gross-to-production ratio. If I gross $122 million on an investment of $9 million, I've gotten a 13x return on my investment! I could make 36 of these small movies for the cost of one Avengers: Endgame, and gross about $4.4 Billion overall. If my Endgame tanks, I lose it all. If half my small budget movies tank, I still walk away with a couple billion dollars. The difference is not in the gross ticket sales. The difference is in *merchandising*. Kids are getting videogames and toys for Endgame. Nobody is buying La Llarona funko-pops and sheet sets. Except a lot of small movies also fail to hit 100 million. Even fewer become blockbusters but every now and then you get a Blair Witch. It's also the way movies are funded. If you're an investor you probably want to go with an established franchises. The big box office hitsvalsi make up a stupidly high % of the yearly box office, not a lot of smaller movies. M CU alone is crazy ...
  • 04:27 PM - Morrus quoted Umbran in post Top Gun: Maverick - Official Trailer
    Who cares about "big"? Zardnaar does. :) In other news, this film comes out on my birthday next year, and I'm gonna go see it, because the first one really is a guilty pleasure for me.

Friday, 19th July, 2019

  • 10:58 PM - Zardnaar quoted Umbran in post Top Gun: Maverick - Official Trailer
    The real mystery of life is why anyone thought this needed a sequel. Hollywood doesn't really do new movies and the public mostly doesn't go see them and they don't tend to make much money. Inception was one of the last that made a decent amount. Alot of these reboots are flopping now though so it seems to be a gamble.
  • 09:54 PM - GrahamWills quoted Umbran in post Designing holistic versus gamist magic systems?
    I think that's the issue right there. "System" and "numinous" are at cross purposes I think this really is the heart of it; as soon as there are rules by which something can be understood, it fails the sense-of-wonder check. In fact, this has been demonstrated in the thread; those of us who have physics training see nothing numinous in the slit experiment or collapse of probabilities. It's math, it's predictable and explicable and we don't feel a sense fo the divine behind it happening. The fact that we cannot exactly tell something's position and velocity is likewise just a consequence of the known rules which we understand and use naturally. For those who have passing's acquaintance with the rules of physics, or even no knowledge of them, it's much more magical. Magic in D&D is likewise predictable and rule-driven. It's designed that way and it's fun to play the rules to best effect. Dave has fire-resistance up, so I can throw a fireball into the pool knowing that 6d6 will average 21 poi...
  • 03:06 PM - CapnZapp quoted Umbran in post Top Gun: Maverick - Official Trailer
    The real mystery of life is why anyone thought this needed a sequel.Those investors who think they saw a business opportunity?

Thursday, 18th July, 2019

  • 11:03 PM - Zardnaar quoted Umbran in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    Ergo, the game of 1e, in practice, was more lethal. You just said it had higher kill rates. Done. You effectively just said, "This analysis gives me result A. Therefore, I must do another analysis that gets me a different result." That's not solid reasoning. Games are not cleanly separable from their playstyles. Trying to level set outside of the playstyle introduces a bias - because whatever method you introduce will implicitly represent a playstyle! This was part of my original comment, actually - the only *really* fair way to see which game is more lethal is to see which one will kill more people when you drop it on them from out of a tree. Yes, this wasn't how the rules were intended to be used. But, you're analysis is also not about how each edition was to be used - why is your arbitrary choice better than mine? 2E was designed to be backwards compatible. 2,E characters in 1E adventures will die slightly more often. 2E had killer dungeons and well but they're n...
  • 11:03 PM - Nagol quoted Umbran in post Designing holistic versus gamist magic systems?
    I have some issues with Celebrim's analysis, in large part because I disagree with his positions about science - as a physicist, I gotta tell you, quantum tunneling isn't terribly mysterious. It is a basic, and calculable thing. So tell me exactly where and at what velocity this particular free proton will be ten seconds from now. Not a probability function. The exact position and exact velocity. Something that can't be known seems pretty mysterious to me. That being said, I have to note that there are actually two forms of magic that are getting conflated: 1) The magic of myth and folklore 2) The day-to-day beliefs of people of pre-scientific cultures. These are not, when we dig into them, the same thing. Thor had a belt that made him super-strong, even for a god of Asgard. But pretty much nobody in the real Norse culture thought someone in their villages could produce such a thing. Circe turned men into pigs. Real practitioners of ancient Greek magical-philosophie...
  • 09:43 PM - Sacrosanct quoted Umbran in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    Ergo, the game of 1e, in practice, was more lethal. You just said it had higher kill rates. Done. You effectively just said, "This analysis gives me result A. Therefore, I must do another analysis that gets me a different result." That's not solid reasoning. I did not say that. I said we need to look at how the rules were built, RAW, without subjectivity. Some of the 1e modules were designed for tournament play with the specific goal of killing the PCs as quickly as possible (since you were scored on how far you got before dying). ToH is the most famous example of that. But 1e rules themselves were not designed that way. That was specific for tournaments. How people used those modules later is the subjective part, because not everyone did. I'm only evaluating the actual core rules themselves. If you look at how many PCs died per edition, that's flawed analysis because it's not looking at how the rules were designed, but how some instances throw the sample size of...
  • 09:33 PM - Celebrim quoted Umbran in post Designing holistic versus gamist magic systems?
    I have some issues with Celebrim's analysis, in large part because I disagree with his positions about science - as a physicist, I gotta tell you, quantum tunneling isn't terribly mysterious. It is a basic, and calculable thing. Calculable and understood are far from the same thing. If you prefer, I will cite myself as proof. I passed Physics 155, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics and Relativity and the associated lab with an 'A'. So I've definitely calculated the things, but the double slit experiment still leaves me grasping, the fact that a laser lost resolution as focused was demonstrated to me by the math before I actually observed it, but it's still the most amazing and mysterious thing I've ever seen, and I have no idea why the wave function collapses as soon as you try to measure it, and couldn't clearly explain to you how or why at small scales things seem to jump without passing through the intervening space. So clearly, I can do at least some of the math, but that makes the...
  • 09:27 PM - Erekose quoted Umbran in post Designing holistic versus gamist magic systems?
    Just an observation based on what’s been said so far. I can appreciate why people might want magic to be mysterious, unknown and unknowable because in many ways describing something and explaining an underlying system diminishes the wonder. However, for me it’s akin to what Umbran said: I have some issues with Celebrim's analysis, in large part because I disagree with his positions about science - as a physicist, I gotta tell you, quantum tunneling isn't terribly mysterious. It is a basic, and calculable thing. But I’d take it one step further ... speaking as a health economist I can tell you that non-specialists can see complex mathematical models as unknown and unknowable - the “black box” - but specialists see them for what they are “basic calculable thing(s)” to slightly modify Umbran’s quote. If magic were real, why would we expect it to be any different? That is, mysterious and wondrous to the uninformed but following a predictable pattern by expert users. The only time I’ve come across a d20 system that has attempted a free form magic system with limited guideline is Monte Cook’s World of Darkness and it is a nightmare to run unless you have players that overlay their own “system” by inventing commonly used spells ... which of course is j...
  • 09:20 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Umbran in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    Sure but dont you figure it actually didn't require as much skill or art because EL delivered..Yeah, that's a given. 4e DMing was phone-it-in easy. I felt like I'd almost forgotten how to run after a few years. ;) But it's like falling off a bicycle. (something else it turns out I'm good at) Giants are a particularly odd case for the transition between 2e and 3e. Up close, thanks to the weapon bonus damage, crits, lots of hit points and Con bonuses, giants are generally more dangerous.And armed ones using iterative attacks, that got brutal, too. I think, if you ask "Which edition was most lethal?" that really asks - what percentage of characters did each edition actually kill? It has nothing to do with whether a 2e fighter could beat a 1e fighter, or otherwise comparing their stats to each other. It asks what power level characters were, *with respect to the challenges they were given*. Unfortunately, the real numbers are lost to us. Your best bet for a real fair anal...
  • 08:30 PM - Sacrosanct quoted Umbran in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    I think, if you ask "Which edition was most lethal?" that really asks - what percentage of characters did each edition actually kill? I don't think that's an accurate way to measure, because 1e had modules designed to kill PCs as fast as possible because they were designed for tournament play. White Plume Mountain full of deadly traps, Ghost Tower of Inverness, all the way up to the infamous Tomb of Horrors. So you're gonna see kill rates in 1e much higher than any other edition. Ergo, the only fair way is to look at how each of them were designed from a rules perspective, with everything else being equal (DM style, adventure design style, etc). It has nothing to do with whether a 2e fighter could beat a 1e fighter, or otherwise comparing their stats to each other. It asks what power level characters were, *with respect to the challenges they were given*. Unfortunately, the real numbers are lost to us. Your best bet for a real fair analysis may be to compare characters o...
  • 01:33 AM - Aldarc quoted Umbran in post Homogenized Races?
    There was a trade language at the time that was based in Italian (mostly northern dialects) with a whole lot of loan words from other languages. This pidgin, sometimes otherwise called "Mediterranean Lingua Franca" or Sabir, was what they were referring to, rather than Latin.Venetian? I don't know. But that's what I would suspect just hearing about it.

Wednesday, 17th July, 2019

  • 11:59 PM - Ovinomancer quoted Umbran in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Broadly, that would depend upon what other parts of the fiction have already been determined. Sometimes what the players ask for can become THE solution, and sometimes that would not be consistent with things already set in place. I am often for not determining details unless/until you need them, specifically so you can flex for such things, but even if you only set any given detail at the moment it comes up, you eventually have a canon in which the past restricts what will plausibly reach the player's desired end. So, like, you want to incriminate the Duke. You look for evidence of crooked finances. You have forgotten that we have already determined that the Exchequer is in the Duke's pocket. You can find the evidence of crooked finances, but they will not effectively incriminate the Duke! That's a success on a very specific task, but a failure on the general intent. Well, yes, if you move the goalposts then the declaration violates established fiction. Upthread it was cle...
  • 10:56 PM - pemerton quoted Umbran in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    I say, slightly in jest, "I search the Duke's desk for a huge ancient red dragon...." 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. what are we more interested in seeing - the players getting exactly what they ask for, or the players getting what they overall want? Because they are not omniscient, and what they ask for may not actually be what they wanted, needed, or could best use.As Ovinomancer has posted, this seems to assume that the fiction has a content that is independent of the players. But why would, or should, that be so? There is a demonstrable effect in the software industry which generalizes - when you ask someone what their problem is, what they are more ...
  • 09:15 PM - lowkey13 quoted Umbran in post 2e, the most lethal edition?
    Not at all. Remember the wargame root. In a wargame, you don't have characters, you have *units*. You only care about the survival of a unit in terms of its tactical value in the wargame scenario - you expect units to die, and you just move on. The old rules are not far from that. As time goes on, the game evolves away from that, to having a different concept of what the character is, and thus a different conception of when it is fun to have them die. I was being ironic with the "weird" comment. It is not at all surprising to me that lethality in D&D has declined over time through the editions. :)
  • 05:06 PM - Ovinomancer quoted Umbran in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    I say, slightly in jest, "I search the Duke's desk for a huge ancient red dragon...." Less in jest, I ask - what are we more interested in seeing - the players getting exactly what they ask for, or the players getting what they overall want? Because they are not omniscient, and what they ask for may not actually be what they wanted, needed, or could best use. There is a demonstrable effect in the software industry which generalizes - when you ask someone what their problem is, what they are more likely to tell you is not the problem, but their preferred solution. That solution is generally either 1) the most common solution to similar problems or 2) the first solution that came to them when they had the problem, that's been rattling around in their head, so that their thinking is in a bit of a rut. Neither case is innovative, nor necessarily a *good* solution to the problem at hand. This is an important part about asking for the player's intent. It isn't usually about asking fo...
  • 04:33 PM - Paul Farquhar quoted Umbran in post Science in D&D
    As a physicist, my advice: don't go there. One of the big points we get to when we look at the fundamental constants is not just that "Hey, the physical constants are exactly what they are", but "Hey, if the physical constants change even a small bit, life (and even matter) as we know it ceases to exist." This is one answer to the question of "Why is the Universe exactly the way it is?" called the Anthropic Principle - if the Universe were much different, we couldn't exist in it to see it." What *sound* like small changes usually have large impacts. If you cut the speed of light down to, say, 500 km/sec, is that relativistic effects become much, much stronger, to the point of likely being noticeable to normal people. When some player raises that point, you're forced to shuck and jive, and if they know physics better than you, you end up with your player quickly proving your world cannot exist as stated, as matter likely collapses in on itself or fails to become matter at all. It is bet...
  • 02:59 AM - Flamestrike quoted Umbran in post Finesse rebalance
    Your analysis has too many assumptions to be useful to me, but thank you for trying. Alright, can you give a breakdown of the two PCs (Rogue and Paladin) for me, so I can see why this Rogue was leaving the Paladin feeling second rate?

Tuesday, 16th July, 2019

  • 08:52 PM - Xeviat quoted Umbran in post Finesse rebalance
    Your analysis has too many assumptions to be useful to me, but thank you for trying. What assumptions? That a character will start with a 16 primary stat and increase it to 18 at 4th level?


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