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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:48 PM
    Do they?
    35 replies | 830 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:54 PM
    Wiki threads.
    1 replies | 66 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:30 PM
    I rather think that depends upon what the focus & intent of the game is. Just this weekend, I played a game which had no combat mechanic. The PCs weren't people addressing their challenges via personally applying physical force, so no system for doing so was included. We didn't miss it. If the intended action in a game is "kill things and take their stuff" then yes, your game needs a combat...
    222 replies | 5860 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:35 PM
    Why do you need rules for one, but not the other? GMs are capable of just saying, "Yes, this social interaction plays out in this manner, with these effects," and do so fairly, but they are somehow incapable of doing so with combat? They can't take a player's description of physical and magical actions, and just run with that like they can social interaction? That, really, is kind of...
    222 replies | 5860 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:35 PM
    Morrus replied to Armour skill?
    Off the top of my head I can't remember page numbers, but small or light = 2, medium = 3, large or heavy = 5.
    7 replies | 178 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:44 PM
    Morrus replied to Hand Bombs
    Two rolls. One to determine where it lands, the other to attack all in the resultant burst.
    4 replies | 136 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:43 PM
    Morrus replied to Armour skill?
    No, thatís the opposite of what I just said. :) It literally just does what it says in that paragraph ó to benefit from higher quality equipment, you need an appropriate skill. You canít benefit from an exceptional quality pistol without enough ranks in pistols. Same with armour.
    7 replies | 178 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:24 PM
    Morrus replied to Armour skill?
    It's used exactly the way you quoted, from page 23. Lets you benefit from higher quality armour.
    7 replies | 178 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:22 PM
    You roll the damage as normal and divide by two. There's no stun charge limit.
    2 replies | 117 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:11 AM
    Morrus replied to Hand Bombs
    See Burst attacks on page 99. Area attacks use a single attack roll (in this case AGI (throwing) or similar) vs VITAL DEFENSE of all targets, and a single damage roll. Otherwise it is resolved just like any other attack roll.
    4 replies | 136 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:11 AM
    The sixth adventure in the War of the Burning Sky adventure path is here! A 5E fantasy adventure for 11th-level characters. In search of the Torch of the Burning Sky, the heroes set out for Sindaire and Castle Korstull, the canyon fortress where Emperor Drakus Coaltongue was slain. Witness the mighty and terrible face of war in a world of magic!A critically acclaimed high fantasy...
    3 replies | 472 view(s)
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 10:56 PM
    The Origins Award winners are in, and Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition takes the roleplaying game award, with WotC's Mordenkainenís Tome of Foes winning the RPG supplement category. The full list of winners: Game of the Year: Root (Leder Games) Board Game: Root (Leder Games)
    2 replies | 1858 view(s)
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 10:18 PM
    DO YOU NEED TO SHOUT?
    19 replies | 489 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 09:58 PM
    The thing about milestone leveling that breaks the association of levels to combat is that it gets applied when you reach the milestone, *however* you reach the milestone. It doesn't have to be "you gain a level when you hit a milestone." It can be, "you gain some number of XP when you hit a milestone." And I think that fixes all the issues with milestone leveling you mention. People who...
    222 replies | 5860 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 08:35 PM
    I think you are missing the point a bit. Folks are asking whether "violent" is the "natural state" for humans. They then have to turn and look for what the "natural state" for humans actually is... and wind up reaching for straws, because they want to find the thing analogous to the feral cat, when no such thing exists. Basically, "natural" human behavior is everything we already see. ...
    222 replies | 5860 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 05:28 PM
    Tough crowd. It was OK.
    8 replies | 534 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 04:56 PM
    You aren't the only one in the thread that has tried to refer to something like the human "natural state". I was speaking to the entire concept with your post as merely a jumping off point, as it was the most recent to use the concept. No. Just as a wild cat is not "without cat influence". Wild is variously, "in a natural environment" or "undomesticated" - which I restated as 'without...
    222 replies | 5860 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 03:34 PM
    Morrus started a thread Secret Faces of Velsburg
    Secret Faces of Velsburg. While traveling through the wilderness the adventurers come across a small hamlet plagued by a recent rash or murders committed by 'The Ghost'. The longer the party stay in Velsburg however, the quicker they realize that the supposedly bloodthirsty spirit preying upon the settlement is not the remote village's only mystery. In this sidequest to save Velsburg the PCs are...
    0 replies | 120 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 03:03 PM
    One option missed in the OP is "Ineffable: The exact nature of the gods is not known, or undetermined. Divine magic happens, but nobody has proof of why or how." This is how most of my games run - unless or until the actual nature of divine magic impact play (so, it becomes mechanically- or plot-relevant), then I don't bother to specify. This allows for more belief systems in the world.
    27 replies | 834 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 02:46 PM
    Sounds like Eric Noah's old April Fools joke from back in 2002. http://www.enworld.org/ericnoah/aprilfools2002/april02.html
    8 replies | 534 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 02:09 PM
    The plan is to upgrade from vBulletin to Xenforo, which is an entirely different software. No, there is no ETA.
    78 replies | 3888 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 01:03 PM
    Really. Both of you. @Riley, ordering people not to reply to you is not how to handle a disagreement. Either politely disagree, or use the block function. @Immortal Sun, calling people names is DEFINITELY NOT how to handle a disagreement. I will also add -- if you report a post, and then immediately respond to it with namecalling or insults, we are *not* going to look favourably on it. ...
    222 replies | 5860 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 12:05 PM
    Yep!
    78 replies | 3888 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 04:34 AM
    The scientific community recognizes "good" and "evil" as human concepts, not natural states of the universe. The question of whether we are born good or evil makes little sense, when we *define* good and evil only after we are born! There's a problem with discussing our "default state". Consider, for a moment, a housecat. There are housecats that have grown up without significant...
    222 replies | 5860 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 11:12 PM
    D&D Beyond has provided yet another of it's data dumps of 12 million characters -- this time telling us character alignments are most popular in D&D. Chaotic Good wins, followed by my least favourite as a DM, Chaotic Neutral. Chaotic Evil is the least popular. The developer does say that this does not count the percentage of characters with no alignment selected. You can see the...
    171 replies | 2324 view(s)
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 09:31 PM
    I can see it.
    78 replies | 3888 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 07:57 PM
    Paizo has just released the landscape GM screen art for its upcoming Pathfinder 2nd Edition GM Screen. "Protect your important notes and die rolls from prying player eyes with the Pathfinder GM Screen! This beautiful 4-panel landscape-style screen features stunning artwork from Ekaterina Burmak on the player's side, and a huge number of charts and tables on the GM side to speed up play...
    7 replies | 3311 view(s)
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 06:57 PM
    You say that as if humans *have* an identifiable "natural state" - we are a tribal, social species and an extremely extended infant period compared to other animals. We, more than any other creature on the planet, are focused on *learned* behavior, not inborn, "natural" behavior. What is natural for us is to try out a large number of different behaviors, and see what works. I will push back...
    222 replies | 5860 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 04:14 PM
    Simple. They aren't in any rush!
    16 replies | 605 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 02:13 PM
    The game's rules are certainly largely about combat. The *could* have rules that were as rich for dealing with social/political action, or other activity, but they don't. If we hand players a hammer, we should expect them to treat problems like nails... There are games that do better. The CORTEX+ based Leverage game, for example, does include combat. But that is only one out of five major...
    222 replies | 5860 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 02:02 PM
    Not as written, no. But itís your game!
    1 replies | 109 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 11:28 AM
    The Swedish 1990's-set sequel to Tales From The Loop is now available from Modiphius. Based on the paintings of Simon StŚlenhag which portray a "retro futuristic suburbia", Things from the Flood takes the 1980s kids and makes them 1990s teens. Somewhere out there beyond the cordons, beyond the fields and marshes, abandoned machines roamed like stray dogs. They wandered about...
    7 replies | 900 view(s)
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 05:51 AM
    Talk about your questionable choices. One reason why we are okay with violence, is that in the real world, some people have issues letting things go, and that tends to escalate.... Gentlemen, be warned - dragging around drama from closed threads is an astoundingly good way to get yourself a vacation from the site. Both of you drop it, now, please and thank you. I would, in fact, take this...
    222 replies | 5860 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 05:41 AM
    There's "questionable choice" and "end up on the wrong side of the moral argument". Splitting the party to chase down goblins in the woods is a questionable choice, and when they did that, they handled the consequences. Becoming villains is what happens when you are on the wrong side of the moral argument. I think, on their first go ever at RPGs, having them hunted down and either executed...
    222 replies | 5860 view(s)
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  • Kid Charlemagne's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 09:15 PM
    I don't want the Plane of Fire to be quite that deadly; portions may be, but overall I want it to be difficult and challenging but survivable for mid-level PC's. I've also got a variant Planar set up going: The elemental planes are located inside the (otherwise) hollow Earth. The inside of the mantle (facing in towards the center of the globe) is where the Planes of Earth and Water are -...
    7 replies | 301 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Kid Charlemagne's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 07:45 PM
    The next big arc of my campaign (5E, players are 6th level) is likely to involve the Plane of Fire and the City of Brass, and I'm curious what other people have done with those. My plan is to make the Plane of Fire a vast desert wasteland with Egyptian motifs; sometimes places swallowed up by the desert end up transported to here. The City of Brass itself I'm kind of wishy-washy on; past D&D...
    7 replies | 301 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 07:06 PM
    Um, be careful there. You started with simulated violence, but then use *real* physical conflicts (minor ones, as toddlers) as your example. Apples and oranges. De-sensitization to violence *does* happen. If you are 11 years old, and you regularly see real violence in your home, in your school, and in your community, yes, you get de-sensitized (meaning - you have a decreased emotional...
    222 replies | 5860 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 04:01 PM
    For something to currently be in the public domain it needs to have been created somewhere round the 1920s or before. The Black Company wonít be public domain for about 60 years yet.
    25 replies | 1321 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 03:59 PM
    Perhaps. But I would likely *position* it differently. See above - I was not going to run a game in which 13-year-olds end up on the wrong side of the moral argument. If I'm going to present the non-combatants as a challenge to kids, I'd position it clearly as a, "Well, nuts, you have to get around this without hurting anyone." Heck, in games for my adults, if the PCs choose the wrong...
    222 replies | 5860 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 03:18 PM
    So, let me continue from the perspective of my experience - since it was a recent one in which I actively questioned the tolerances for many things in my game and presentation... At the root, we view some violence as okay, because we still live in a world in which violence is occasionally necessary. There are still (entirely human) monsters among us, and sometimes we are not left with...
    222 replies | 5860 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 03:11 PM
    A little while back, I taught my 13-year-old de facto goddaughter how to play D&D. That gave me an entirely new perspective on what "safe" means. There's a little-realized fact that there's no such thing as a no-holds-barred safe space. Safe spaces need boundaries, and the boundaries that are useful and safe for one group may not be for another.
    222 replies | 5860 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 11:55 AM
    It's D&D, Pathfinder, AND WOIN! :D
    1 replies | 204 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 04:09 AM
    Dude. If it was a woman, you don't have to leap, because of the statistics involved. One in five women are raped at some point in their lives. 43% of heterosexual women report experiencing some sexual violence other than rape.* This stuff is so darned common, they don't even have to experience it to have a valid strong reaction, because they live in fear of it throughout their lives. And...
    419 replies | 16701 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 03:57 AM
    That language is inappropriate, and unacceptable. Do not post in this thread again. Anyone else think they want to try to push the limits? This person is getting booted from the thread. The next will probably get a vacation from the site, with no warning or prior discussion. If you cannot figure out that you need to be on your best behavior when having a sensitive discussion, you have no...
    419 replies | 16701 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 01:56 AM
    The question isn't about severity. It is about the logic and form of the argument. Oh, most times it isn't like Snidely Whiplash, twirling his mustache, going, "BWAHAHAHA! Now I will say bad things about people!" It is usually quite casual and seems reasonable until someone puts a spotlight on it. You specifically pointed out how you think their testimony came from a desire to seek...
    419 replies | 16701 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 01:19 AM
    That's fair. And then what we are looking for is a list of things for people to rate a game on. There's an arti and science of that, too, which can get pretty deep. There are a few things that can get hairy when you are taking user ratings. Things like "complexity", where you might wonder if everyone has the same concept fo what you are talking about. But, you can sometimes get at what...
    44 replies | 1215 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 01:11 AM
    Well, there may be some thigns that nearly everyone cares about - some specific questions everyone wants to know the answer to. That's okay. But you should approach it *from the question* rather than from the answer. Well, where I come from, the defining characteristic of a thing we call a "metric" is that it is *measurable*, preferably in as objective a manner as possible. I don't...
    44 replies | 1215 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 09:53 PM
    I work better deadpan.
    166 replies | 5359 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 09:33 PM
    Oh, we are quite accustomed to honesty of opinion. We are also accustomed to rather unsavory rhetorical practices. You are now at the point of leveling insinuations against people in order to bolster your position. People who claim there was crying are attention-seekers. Folks who react to your apparent lack of empathy are not used to honesty. You are resorting to ad hominem tactics. ...
    419 replies | 16701 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 09:04 PM
    But you canít write rules under the assumption that people will ignore them.
    143 replies | 5598 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 08:50 PM
    And now itís my turn! What is an /s?
    166 replies | 5359 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 08:17 PM
    Yep. That was the joke. It was a significant part of lots of peoplesí posts. :)
    166 replies | 5359 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 07:53 PM
    Don't ask, "What would be a good metric?" Ask instead: "What matters to you about a game?" Not just as a thought exercise - Make an actual list of things that matter to you. We can try to separate what of those things are GM/group dependent, and what's rules-dependent, and what measures we could put that could be useful. Metrics should be chosen to answer specific questions.
    44 replies | 1215 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 07:49 PM
    The A TOUCH MORE CLASS Kickstarter is less than a week away -- it launches next Tuesday -- and the amount of content you can pick up is growing! Not only can you also get the original A TOUCH OF CLASS, the new A TOUCH MORE CLASS, but you can also get THE MASTERCLASS CODEX which compiles them both in a beautiful hardcover, along with much more! This Kickstarter allows you to pickup some...
    0 replies | 1738 view(s)
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 07:42 PM
    Okay. But do you not recognize that means the strength of your argument comes only from your personal credibility? Do you even want that? Do you really want anyone to change their behavior based on what you admit is merely a subjective sense? I mean, apply that to basically *any other real problem people face* - do you want people acting on subjective senses, or real, solid information? ...
    419 replies | 16701 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 06:52 PM
    Oh man, thereís loads of them!
    72 replies | 2773 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 05:54 PM
    "...the whole hobby..."? Where are you getting the idea that anything other than a few vocal people here and on social media even give a fetid dingo's kidney about this - or are even aware of it? I mean that sincerely - where are you getting the impression that any significant portion of "the whole hobby" is focused on something other than their own lives and gaming sessions? Remember that...
    419 replies | 16701 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 04:04 PM
    It's not like a car. It's much more subjective and much more of an art. You can directly and objectively measure a car's horsepower or weight, but you can't do that with an RPG. I don't think anything can substitute for actually trying the thing. All the graphs in the world won't give you a sense of how you feel when you play the game.
    44 replies | 1215 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 04:04 PM
    I don't believe any of the victims of the Salem witch trials were running role playing games, so they are perhaps not a great example from which to extrapolate.
    419 replies | 16701 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 03:41 PM
    I think you have a problem in that you are discussing what you see as a general issue, in a thread about an incident that does not support your points well at all. Find a documented incident where public shaming had a major impact on a GM, and it turns out the public was really wrong, and you might have something. But here, what you have are hypothetical, things you *fear* can happen, but for...
    419 replies | 16701 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 12:52 PM
    Heists are always fun to play. Heck, ex-D&D designer Rodney Thompson built a whole game around them. Now, the San Jenaro Co-Op is bringing 25 heists in a hardcover book to Kickstarter! The book is system-neutral, and includes different genres -- sci-fi, fantasy, and so on. You get a detailed map, information on guards and traps, and so on. Here's the fluff text: "Heists are some of the...
    7 replies | 1707 view(s)
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 12:35 PM
    The official Acquisitions Incorporated Dungeon Manual D&D book has snuck up on us, and is releasing in the next week or so. Artist Aviv Or has shown off some of the artwork she did for the book on Twitter. "I started with designing Positions - a character's role in the company on top of their standard D&D class - as iconic characters. Like the Cartographer, who's about discovering places...
    19 replies | 1341 view(s)
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 11:00 AM
    We simply upgraded the sever to https.
    78 replies | 3888 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 01:29 AM
    Completely inappropriate. Iím afraid youíll need to find some other community. Goodbye.
    143 replies | 5598 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 09:06 PM
    It hasnít proved to be a problem in any of my games.
    16 replies | 605 view(s)
    0 XP
  • darjr's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 05:02 PM
    There are still some hard coded non https links. Mostly the likes and smiles icons.
    78 replies | 3888 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 01:02 PM
    Those of you who are fans of Richard A Knaak's Dragonlance novels, The Legend of Huma and Kaz the Minotaur, may already be familiar with his Rex Draconis novel series. Now you can grab a free 15-page D&D NPC collection from this world! "Rex Draconis RPG brings D&D novelist legend Richard A. Knaak's brand new high fantasy series, the Rex Draconis Saga, to the tabletop. Using the D&D 5th...
    7 replies | 1587 view(s)
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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.
  • 10:10 AM - Dannyalcatraz mentioned Umbran in post Completely Blank Posts?
    Morrus Umbran darjr I think I may have discovered the trigger for the posts disappearing: every one I know of that got blacked out was reported.
  • 07:44 AM - Dannyalcatraz mentioned Umbran in post Completely Blank Posts?
    Morrus Umbran darjr As I noted above, Iíve personally encountered two blacked out posts by spammers (whom I subsequently banned). The text wasnít merely color matched to the back, because the reported text didnít show even when I quoted it to check. What had been there was simply gone. Something odd is going on.
  • 06:54 AM - Dannyalcatraz mentioned Umbran in post Hidden

Thursday, 16th May, 2019


Saturday, 11th May, 2019

  • 01:55 AM - Hussar mentioned Umbran in post Avengers: Endgame SPOILER THREAD
    But Darth Vader didnít become a Sith because he was sterile.* I mean, really- imagine if the window into the Vaderís darkness revealed he became what he was and corrupted himself because he was infertile. But somehow, this is OK with Black Widow? * ďDuh!Ē, as his kids might say. Becoming a cold hearted killing machine wasn't because she was sterile. She was forcibly sterilized as part of her transformation into a cold hearted killing machine. Why would anyone even think that her "dark side" moment is because of her forced sterilization? The forced sterilization was a symbol of the horrific things they did to her to turn her into a monster, not the reason she became a monster. And then, when she destroys a family, she begins to try to redeem herself by switching sides - the whole "red ledger" thing. At the end, she balances the ledger by saving a family through her own self sacrifice. As I said, I'm really not seeing the issue here. Umbran, if the only thing you took out of my entire argument was that line, then, sure, there isn't much to talk about here. Talk about cherry picking an argument. Gamora? Maybe, you might be able to make the argument, because the death of Gamora drives Quill. But, even then, that's stretching pretty hard. Not every female character that dies is a fridging. Sometimes, it's actually ok to kill off female characters. Heck, why isn't the death of Vision being touted as fridging? Seems to be the driving force behind Scarlet Witch after all.

Thursday, 9th May, 2019

  • 03:55 PM - SkidAce mentioned Umbran in post GMs are an endangered species!
    Umbran , you are bringing sensibility to the parody of the sky is falling thread. Methinks thou dost protest too much....;)
  • 02:37 AM - DMMike mentioned Umbran in post GMs are an endangered species!
    You too can help the endangered species. Just for pennies a day your can help restore the species. Send $99.99 to Jasper add redacted redacted. That is just 27 cents a day. Oh who are we kidding just send DMMike 1 issue of prophylactics, 3 lipsticks, 3 pair of nylon stockings, Mickey can pay his own way to vegas. You forgot heels. I could work some wonders with heels. Umbran: ask, and ye shall receive: good DMs are non-existent. Spencer Crittenden: not seen since 2017. Wil Wheaton: no Titansgrave since 2015. Looks like everyone's in a bad mood today. I could have called the thread RPG Trends That Undermine the Traditional GM Role, but isn't that a little boring? Seriously, (I know, hardly the thread for it, /and/ out of character for me) GM - and, especially, DM - scarcity is self-correcting. The harder the game is to GM, the scarcer GMs become, the greater the 'reward' for DMing. The easier a game is to run, the more players can hop into the GM role when there aren't enough to go around. The system will tend towards equilibrium, even if the dynamic seems to favor one or the other. This actually is the thread for it. Although I'm not sure I buy it; if a game is hard to GM, doesn't that mean that people just choose a different game to play?

Wednesday, 1st May, 2019

  • 12:29 PM - pemerton mentioned Umbran in post Stakes and consequences in action resolution
    ... failing is bad" is not what I have taken that to mean. <snip> Or reading the next few posts, is knowing the consequences for an action are simply bad, and that failure will have an effect on the game, all you were going for? Because if that is the case, then I see no reason to tell the players this before every single roll, which was what I was arguing against in the original thread.I've honed in on these bits of your post because I think they might be the best place to start. I personally think the issue of telling - if that means explicitly stating as a precursor to the roll - is a bit of a red herring, because in RPG play, especially among participants who are used to playing together, there are many ways to convey information and establish expectations other than explicit telling. But I think reducing what is conveyed to [/I]consequences for an action are simply bad[/i] is not correct. And that's really what I see as the focus of the discussion. It's not irrelevant - Umbran canvassed, upthread, that a consequence of spilling might be good (eg if it stops the BBEG getting the fluid) and that's a possibility that is excluded in the context of my play example - but it's too simplistic. What's the nature of the badness? Who is implicated? What sorts of things might be required to effectively respond to it? I've played games in which the answers to those questions are known only to the GM, and the players can't act on them except by way of either (i) guesswork, or (ii) declaring actions that will get the GM to release the answers, or bits of them (which is the analysis/study I referred to in my OP). Whereas in my example, the player knows the parameters of the answers to those questions without having to guess and without having to engage in further action declarations. The player knows that the badness will pertain to something that the player has put forward as significant in the game (in virtue of his PC build) - the master/servant relationship, the prop...

Tuesday, 30th April, 2019

  • 04:29 AM - Elfcrusher mentioned Umbran in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Yes, my character has no training whatsoever in persuasion and a below average Cha, but, because me the player can do good talky talky, I don't need to spend any resources there because I know that most of the time anyway, I can convince my DM that I don't need to make a check. Play the character you brought to the table or bring a different character. Umbran, did you include this one in the spreadsheet?


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Monday, 17th June, 2019

  • 10:52 PM - Bedrockgames quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    If the intended action in a game is "kill things and take their stuff" then yes, your game needs a combat mechanic. If the intended action in game is... "Kill things, and take their stuff... and then persuade the king to not execute your PCs after you killed many of his subjects," then you really should have a social conflict resolution mechanic. Not if you want people to talk in character and have what they say be the thing that determines whether the king is persuaded. I am not saying social mechanics are not useful, or are bad. But I mean you don't have to have them just because you want social interaction in the game (especially if you want actual social interaction in the game).
  • 10:43 PM - Bedrockgames quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    I rather think that depends upon what the focus & intent of the game is. Just this weekend, I played a game which had no combat mechanic. The PCs weren't people addressing their challenges via personally applying physical force, so no system for doing so was included. We didn't miss it. Sure if there is no combat in a game, then you don't need combat rules really. But I think the key thing here is social interactions are things we can actually play out at the table. I can talk in character to the GM playing an NPC and to other players playing their characters. I can't really do that with combat. We are not going to take out boffer weapons to resolve combat. We need a mechanic. Now that mechanic could just be GM fiat. But the point is you can't play it out naturally the way you can play out a social interaction naturally and I think that is the main reason why so many games have large amounts of combat mechanics. It isn't necessarily a reflection of the game being focused on combat. It is...
  • 10:39 PM - Bedrockgames quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    I will toss out there, for folks to chew on, whether the GM is adjudicating when they are not referring to any rules. A referee or game judge's job is to mediate between the players and the rules. If there aren't rules, are they really acting in that capacity? Sure. I mean the GM adjudicates things all the time that are not covered by the rules, and in those moments the GM is acting as a sort of game mechanic. They are not referees in the same way that a boxing match or soccer match has. They are also there playing a world around the players. I don't need a mechanic to decide something interesting happens, or to decide how a baker responds to a player character's request for an endless supply of bread sticks.
  • 09:02 PM - Flexor the Mighty! quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    I rather think that depends upon what the focus & intent of the game is. Just this weekend, I played a game which had no combat mechanic. The PCs weren't people addressing their challenges via personally applying physical force, so no system for doing so was included. We didn't miss it. If the intended action in a game is "kill things and take their stuff" then yes, your game needs a combat mechanic. If the intended action in game is... "Kill things, and take their stuff... and then persuade the king to not execute your PCs after you killed many of his subjects," then you really should have a social conflict resolution mechanic. I will toss out there, for folks to chew on, whether the GM is adjudicating when they are not referring to any rules. A referee or game judge's job is to mediate between the players and the rules. If there aren't rules, are they really acting in that capacity? I'd say my job as a referee is to adjudicate between the scenario, call it fiction or imaginary wo...
  • 08:49 PM - lowkey13 quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    Why do you need rules for one, but not the other? GMs are capable of just saying, "Yes, this social interaction plays out in this manner, with these effects," and do so fairly, but they are somehow incapable of doing so with combat? They can't take a player's description of physical and magical actions, and just run with that like they can social interaction? That, really, is kind of preposterous. GMs certainly *could* do without rules for combat. I have played in games with entirely narrative combat. They aren't impossible. It isn't that we "need" rules for one or the other. We *choose* rules for one over the other. So, I agree with you re: need. I've played diceless games that allow for narrative combat. And it is certainly possible to have games with social rules (and many do). ...that said, I think the reason for this split is somewhat clear. As originally conceived, D&D had a somewhat ... mixed ... nature. In fact, the best way to think of it is to think of old- school CRPGs,...
  • 08:47 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    I disagree very strongly. It isn't just about the stakes. It is about how difficult it is to adjudicate something as physically unpredictable and dynamic as combat fairly without a resolution system. With social situations, it is much easier to adjudicate based on the NPC personality in question and the reasonableness of what players are proposing. Again, I'd argue they're not necessarily easier, just more familiar, that way. Is it really that difficult to conclude who wins a fight (a fight in an heroic fantasy story, no less - the hero usually wins, unless his loss advances the plot somehow, no?), and narrate how, vs both the DM and player getting deeply enough into the minds & emotions of a character & NPC to accurately simulate a tense or high-stakes negotiation, between those two imaginary individuals, with their knowledge, talents, skills and agendas? I will toss out there, for folks to chew on, whether the GM is adjudicating when they are not referring to any rules. A referee or...
  • 08:47 PM - Celebrim quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    Why do you need rules for one, but not the other? My suspicion is that it is because gamers tend to prefer the least abstract experience of the scenario possible (or at least that is convenient). For combat, the least abstract thing to do would be dress up in armor, take up some sort of sparring weapon, and play out the combat. This is exciting visceral and only slightly abstract and many people do it, yet it is not particularly convenient and leaves open problems of how you simulate giants, dragons, magic, and most of all being someone other than yourself. The combat rules used by most systems, and certainly by the most popular and enduring systems, tend to be as un-abstract as is convenient to run in a table top game. All those fiddly rules help describe a less abstract reality for the combat, where moment by moment decisions can be played out in a way that allows the participants to imagine what is going on. By contrast, the least abstract way to simulate social interacti...
  • 06:26 PM - Bedrockgames quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    Why do you need rules for one, but not the other? GMs are capable of just saying, "Yes, this social interaction plays out in this manner, with these effects," and do so fairly, but they are somehow incapable of doing so with combat? They can't take a player's description of physical and magical actions, and just run with that like they can social interaction? That, really, is kind of preposterous. GMs certainly *could* do without rules for combat. I have played in games with entirely narrative combat. They aren't impossible. It isn't that we "need" rules for one or the other. We *choose* rules for one over the other. Fair enough. You can run without either, but on the whole I think most people want combat rules. It is a lot harder in my opinion to adjudicate a game with zero combat rules than one with zero social rules. I think most social interacts can easily be handled by role-play. Combat screams for a resolution mechanism
  • 05:56 PM - Dannyalcatraz quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    Why do you need rules for one, but not the other? GMs are capable of just saying, "Yes, this social interaction plays out in this manner, with these effects," and do so fairly, but they are somehow incapable of doing so with combat? They can't take a player's description of physical and magical actions, and just run with that like they can social interaction? That, really, is kind of preposterous. GMs certainly *could* do without rules for combat. I have played in games with entirely narrative combat. They aren't impossible. It isn't that we "need" rules for one or the other. We *choose* rules for one over the other. Personally, I like having rules for both. IME, there are just as few masters of social interaction as there are masters of combat in gaming. Having rules for both lets players who arenít play characters who are.

Friday, 14th June, 2019

  • 05:06 PM - GrahamWills quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    I'm basically suggesting that all humans are, for our purposes, domesticated I guess that if you define "humans living with other humans" as not in a natural state, then, yes, you come to the conclusion that humans do not have a natural state. It seems a bit extreme to me, honestly, but OK.
  • 04:37 PM - Kaodi quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    The scientific community recognizes "good" and "evil" as human concepts, not natural states of the universe. The question of whether we are born good or evil makes little sense, when we *define* good and evil only after we are born! Ethics: What is good and bad? Meta-Ethics: What are good and bad?
  • 04:02 PM - GrahamWills quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    The scientific community recognizes "good" and "evil" as human concepts, not natural states of the universe Absolutely; but the theological community tends to believe they are natural states. I was drawing a parallel between the theological community's age-old search for an answer to the theological question "is humanity naturally good/evil?" with the scientific question posed by this thread. In general using theology to inform science works poorly, so I definitely wasn't suggesting that! There's a problem with discussing our "default state" ... There are no humans in the "wild" state - where "wild" is "without human influence". We are social animals, so our natural state is *with* human influence. Our "default" is "adapted to live within a community of other humans". I am not sure why you conclude that there is a problem -- in fact, on the face if it, you seem to be supporting my conjecture. I stated that research indicates that humanity is innately social -- and you confirm that "Our ...
  • 10:18 AM - Samloyal23 quoted Umbran in post Setting Idea: Arcane Dyson Sphere
    I admit I am coming at this from the direction of a physicist, so accept that bias... But you can't go using a tool to make a structure *on the scale of a solar system* without knowing why that tool works. That sounds implausible, to me. I mean, the structure itself is implausible to start with. The idea that the makers don't know why the tools they used to make it work? That stretched credulity. For me, anyway. It would only make sense if they had found the tools left behind by a more advanced civilisation and just fiddled around with them until they figured out where the ON switch was...

Thursday, 13th June, 2019

  • 08:09 PM - Bedrockgames quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    I will push back on the idea that, since very young kids can be observed being rough with each other, that violence is the human "natural state". Human children are not born with a full suite of natural behaviors that they get conditioned out of. Human children are more blank slates - they *experiment* with behaviors, and they observe the behaviors of others, and they learn and develop. . I am no scientist but this seems quite wrong as well. I mean I did at least minor in philosophy and even there blank slate theory wasn't taken particularly seriously. I don't think celebrims conclusions seem accurate either, but there is at least some amount of truth to people having a natural state (like any other animal) and part of that natural state probably includes a certain amount of violence. My understanding is we have a natural resistance to killing each other, but we also have a natural need to defend ourselves against predators and rough play is pretty common in not just human children but a...
  • 11:48 AM - Bedrockgames quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    Talk about your questionable choices. One reason why we are okay with violence, is that in the real world, some people have issues letting things go, and that tends to escalate.... Gentlemen, be warned - dragging around drama from closed threads is an astoundingly good way to get yourself a vacation from the site. Both of you drop it, now, please and thank you. I would, in fact, take this exchange as an indication that neither one of you should be responding to each other in this thread. It does not seem that either of you has cooled off well enough to resist the temptation to take pot-shots. Why am I getting warned, I didn't bring the other thread up. I was talking about this thread.

Wednesday, 12th June, 2019

  • 10:27 PM - Bagpuss quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    Perhaps. But I would likely *position* it differently. See above - I was not going to run a game in which 13-year-olds end up on the wrong side of the moral argument. If I'm going to present the non-combatants as a challenge to kids, I'd position it clearly as a, "Well, nuts, you have to get around this without hurting anyone." Heck, in games for my adults, if the PCs choose the wrong side of the moral argument, they are apt to be treated by the world like the monsters they have become - meaning that they have made it moral and ethical for others to kill the PCs and take their stuff! I think kids could also handle consequences to their actions, if they make a questionable choice.
  • 07:25 PM - Gradine quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    Um, be careful there. You started with simulated violence, but then use *real* physical conflicts (minor ones, as toddlers) as your example. Apples and oranges. De-sensitization to violence *does* happen. If you are 11 years old, and you regularly see real violence in your home, in your school, and in your community, yes, you get de-sensitized (meaning - you have a decreased emotional response to it). And yes, it seems that de-sensitization correlates with violent behavior as a young adult. But this isn't about kids pulling hair when they are two. This is about seeing people getting threatened, beaten, or shot. What is much less clear is whether realistically simulated violence in a specific context (like videogames, or movies) has anything like the the same impact on a person's behavior as the multi-context exposure to real people getting hurt around you I described above. And, to be clear - the current rollback on the idea of video games having an impact is based mostly on noting h...
  • 03:28 PM - Bagpuss quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    There's a little-realized fact that there's no such thing as a no-holds-barred safe space. Safe spaces need boundaries, and the boundaries that are useful and safe for one group may not be for another. Hence my footnote. Of course you aren't going to throw the same situations and dilemma's at a 13 year old kid as you might to at a University student or an middle-aged bloke like myself, or if you did they wouldn't react the same way. I still think you could probably throw the hobgoblin women and children at all of them.
  • 03:12 PM - lowkey13 quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    A little while back, I taught my 13-year-old de facto goddaughter how to play D&D. That gave me an entirely new perspective on what "safe" means. There's a little-realized fact that there's no such thing as a no-holds-barred safe space. Safe spaces need boundaries, and the boundaries that are useful and safe for one group may not be for another. Yeah, as I wrote originally, this nagging idea re: violence first started when I was reading through B2 and preparing it for kids.
  • 08:52 AM - Dannyalcatraz quoted Umbran in post What would be some good metics to evaluate RPG rules/systems?
    Don't ask, "What would be a good metric?" Ask instead: "What matters to you about a game?" Not just as a thought exercise - Make an actual list of things that matter to you. It may just be me, but what matters to me depends on all kinds of things. Worse yet, those things can change depending on other things. ...which is why Iíve invested so much $$$ in so many different RPG systems. ...and why- even though HERO is my favorite system, and I feel I can model whatever I want with it- I prefer other systems for other kinds of games. I mean I have actually done Fantasy HERO campaigns that simultaneously modeled playable versions of character classes from multiple editions of D&D and it ran just fine. But Iíd rather play a D&D campaign in a D&D system. And I wouldnít even dream of trying to run a Fantasy Trip/In the Labyrinth game In Fantasy HERO because that would kind of miss the point of playing TFT/ITL in the first place.


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