View Profile: Umbran - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:23 PM
    I have played a lot of Shadowrun in my day. And I'd say.. go either 2nd edition or 5th. Do not bother with 3 or 4. If you want a bit of retro-future - what the past thought future technology would be like, go with 2nd. If you want a game that does a nod to understanding wireless technology, go with 5th, but be ready for people to be so paranoid that they won't use the technology in question,...
    18 replies | 439 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:14 PM
    Blackadder is second only to Fawlty Towers. There is literally nothing even close to being as funny as those two things.
    82 replies | 1240 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:54 PM
    Which would make it two or three times better than the previous FF movies, so... win? We would have the point that it is more a family of siblings/peers, rather than strict parent/child, so it can be a little different.
    10 replies | 179 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:53 PM
    I don't doubt that Kamala Kahn/Ms Marvel and Squirrel Girl will hit the big screen eventually. I am not sure I see what about their dynamic doesn't work. It isn't like the personality types in question are rare today, or anything.
    10 replies | 179 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:30 PM
    This September, Nightfall Games will be launching a Kickstarter for the 2nd Edition of the 1993 British RPG SLA Industries, where the titular corporation rules over a dystopian world. "SLA Industries is a role-playing game of urban horror, set in The World of Progress; a vast world of ruin and decay. At the very heart of this world lies Mort City, a false beacon of hope upon an...
    1 replies | 688 view(s)
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:20 PM
    Well, families are still a thing, right? So, the Fantastic Four still works, today. The problem with FF movies has not been that "they don't work". It has been that Fox does not, at its core, understand superheroes, at least of the Marvel variety. They have fundamentally missed what is most important to the superhero properties they touch. For the Fantastic Four, that is about family. ...
    10 replies | 179 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:01 PM
    Dude. We have only a few rules around here - one of them being that you can't go around blatantly insulting people or questioning their personal character over a difference of opinion about game rules. Or maybe you are trying to be funny? If so... folks can't tell. Either way - you should stick to being respectful.
    102 replies | 1514 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:00 AM
    Probably not in a Dredd campaign. Magic fits in with a bunch of other worlds of 2000ad but Dredd is more sci-fi. Maybe if they were psionic artifacts instead?
    3 replies | 154 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 04:42 PM
    No. I was definitely a geek, and hung around with my geek friends, but there was no bullying. I get that other people have different experiences.
    82 replies | 1240 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 03:52 PM
    Liminal is a new RPG by Paul Mitchener, just launched by Modiphius. It deals with "the boundary between the modern day United Kingdom and the Hidden World- the world of secret societies of magicians, a police division investigating Fortean crimes, fae courts, werewolf gangs, and haunted places where the walls between worlds are thin." UPDATE: The core book appears to have already sold out. ...
    0 replies | 1182 view(s)
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 03:42 PM
    Two new miniature sets are now available from Modiphius, for use with their Star Trek Adventures RPG. These are the Original Series Landing Party, and the Iconic Villains sets. These are 32mm scale, unpainted resin miniatures. This set contains one male officer and one female officer of the Andorian, Denobulan, Tellarite, and Vulcan species, as well as two male humanoid miniatures. ...
    0 replies | 727 view(s)
  • Kid Charlemagne's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 02:41 PM
    One bit of possible inspiration: the recruitment scene from "The Untouchables" where Kevin Costner and Sean Connery are trying to find honest cops in Chicago to add to their team. "that's the future Chief of Police..."
    14 replies | 376 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 02:35 PM
    FrogReaver, let us be clear: EN World does not have a strong concept of thread ownership. It isn't really *your* thread. You don't get editorial power. You don't get to say who posts in it, or what they say. Mistwell, that said, you could do to learn to limit how much you lay a wet blanket on other people's ideas. You made a suggestion for a change in direction. That suggestion was...
    72 replies | 2090 view(s)
    5 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 11:10 AM
    At the moment they’re in PDF but we do have print plans.
    12 replies | 250 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 11:09 AM
    These books are already written. :)
    12 replies | 250 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 12:18 AM
    TBBT is a sitcom. Sitcoms are generally the same, just the characters change. There have been sitcoms featuring wartime medics, upper class toffs, pretty people in New York, and everything in between. The characters are always the butt of the joke. This time it was scientists. The fact that geeks finding scientists in the same mainstream sitcoms as everybody else gets them upset kinda...
    82 replies | 1240 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, 08:42 PM
    Hello poster, all right? I’ve moved this to the promotions forum for you.
    1 replies | 152 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, 07:38 PM
    I don't think there's anything fundamental, here - I'm talking more about categorizing, and setting expectations. I just think about it, and realize there are parts of play where the GM is acting more like a judge/referee, and parts of play where the GM is acting more like an author. The former I'd call adjudication, the latter, not. There's connotations to "adjudication" that I don't think...
    323 replies | 8673 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, 05:58 PM
    Beast-tamers, gunfighters, tinkerers, savants, and more! The Kickstarter for A TOUCH MORE CLASS has now launched! This brand new book includes nine new class for your 5E game, and the Kickstarter also includes the original book, A TOUCH OF CLASS, which contains seven original classes! In 2017 we produced A TOUCH OF CLASS, a softcover book containing seven new classes for your 5th Edition...
    12 replies | 556 view(s)
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, 05:32 PM
    Well, OK then.
    90 replies | 3444 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, 05:11 PM
    They do that for two reasons: 1) it’s more visible on the store shelf 2) you can put your own stuff in it too
    90 replies | 3444 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, 03:57 PM
    Boogeyman: "If I have the mechanics, I don't actually role play - I just use mechanics." FATE, as an example, puts social interaction on the same mechanical footing as physical interaction. In FATE-based games, if you say, "I attack" in physical combat, all you get is a very basic roll of your skill, which in general isn't so high as you'll be able to down anything other than a mook. ...
    323 replies | 8673 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, 03:36 PM
    Beast-tamers, gunfighters, tinkerers, savants, and more! The Kickstarter for A TOUCH MORE CLASS has now launched! This brand new book includes nine new class for your 5E game, and the Kickstarter also includes the original book, A TOUCH OF CLASS, which contains seven original classes! In 2017 we produced A TOUCH OF CLASS, a softcover book containing seven new classes for your 5th Edition...
    12 replies | 250 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, 03:07 PM
    I am suggesting, as someone said upthread, that the GM has several functions, only one of which is adjudicating. When the GM is just deciding a result, for their own reasons unrelated to the rules of the game - that's not adjudicating. That moment when the GM is *authoring* a result, whatever their inspiration for that - that's not the moment they are adjudicating. I don't buy it. I...
    323 replies | 8673 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 09:48 PM
    Do they?
    85 replies | 3047 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 08:54 PM
    Wiki threads.
    1 replies | 96 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 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...
    323 replies | 8673 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 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...
    323 replies | 8673 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 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 | 222 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 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 | 163 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 12:43 PM
    Morrus replied to Armour skill?
    No, that’s the opposite of what I just said. :) It literally just does what it says in that paragraph — to benefit from higher quality equipment, you need an appropriate skill. You can’t benefit from an exceptional quality pistol without enough ranks in pistols. Same with armour.
    7 replies | 222 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 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 | 222 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 12:22 PM
    You roll the damage as normal and divide by two. There's no stun charge limit.
    2 replies | 141 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 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 | 163 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 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 | 637 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 Mordenkainen’s 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 | 2272 view(s)
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 10:18 PM
    DO YOU NEED TO SHOUT?
    24 replies | 778 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...
    323 replies | 8673 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. ...
    323 replies | 8673 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 05:28 PM
    Tough crowd. It was OK.
    8 replies | 599 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...
    323 replies | 8673 view(s)
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  • 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 | 134 view(s)
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  • 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.
    31 replies | 1007 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 | 599 view(s)
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  • 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.
    81 replies | 5170 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. ...
    323 replies | 8673 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 12:05 PM
    Yep!
    81 replies | 5170 view(s)
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  • 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...
    323 replies | 8673 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...
    232 replies | 2575 view(s)
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 09:31 PM
    I can see it.
    81 replies | 5170 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 | 3535 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...
    323 replies | 8673 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 | 653 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...
    323 replies | 8673 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 02:02 PM
    Not as written, no. But it’s your game!
    1 replies | 118 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 Stålenhag 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 | 989 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...
    323 replies | 8673 view(s)
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  • 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...
    323 replies | 8673 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 | 312 view(s)
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  • 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 | 312 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...
    323 replies | 8673 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 won’t be public domain for about 60 years yet.
    25 replies | 1372 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...
    323 replies | 8673 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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...
    323 replies | 8673 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.
    323 replies | 8673 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 11:55 AM
    It's D&D, Pathfinder, AND WOIN! :D
    1 replies | 211 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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 | 17226 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 | 17226 view(s)
    0 XP
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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, I’ve personally encountered two blacked out posts by spammers (whom I subsequently banned). The text wasn’t merely color matched to the back, because the reported text didn’t 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 didn’t become a Sith because he was sterile.* I mean, really- imagine if the window into the Vader’s darkness revealed he became what he was and corrupted himself because he was infertile. But somehow, this is OK with Black Widow? * “Duh!”, 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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Thursday, 20th June, 2019

  • 09:19 PM - lowkey13 quoted Umbran in post Geekdom Takes a Bow
    As I have come to accept that the number of hours I have on this Earth are numbered, I have realized that terrible things - funky cheeses, Insane Clown Posse, the works of Piers Anthony, etc - are equivalent to reducing the number of those hours, to no good purpose. As a result, my consumption of truly bad things is rather low. I keep my perspective based on the fact that the world is all-too-good at providing me with horrible stimuli, despite my best efforts to avoid them. :/ You ever play those old video games? You know, when you score so high, it goes all the way back to 0 again? It's like that. Some things are so bad, it loops all the way around to be being awesome.
  • 08:31 PM - Dannyalcatraz quoted Umbran in post Geekdom Takes a Bow
    The International Standard Unit of mass is the Kilogram. For length, it is the Meter. Let us take, for sake of argument, that the International Standard Unit of Cinematic Badness is the Zardoz. How many Zardozes are we talking here? Zardoz has enjoyable elements. The other two are merely risible. Assuming the more Zardoz ISU a film gets, the worse it is, The Room surpasses the entire output of Ed Wood by orders of magnitude. And give The Creeping Terror am additional Zardoz ISU beyond that.* To pull the curtain back a bit, there was a film called The Disaster Artist released in 2017, which was essentially a dramady about the making of The Room. Tommy Wiseau went to the debut, and when interviewed, he said he liked it, but complained that the cinematography was flawed. It was too dark to see what was going on at times, he said. He had watched the film with his sunglasses on. * It should also be noted that the films Funny Games- both the 1997 original and the filmmak...
  • 08:23 PM - Dannyalcatraz quoted Umbran in post Geekdom Takes a Bow
    I think there's a palpable difference between having some characters be nerds, and having them mostly be nerds. Same thing in Better Off Ted - the nerds are only a part of the cast, and by no means the only ones who get sent up. Never saw it, but your point is congruent with my gut feelings on the comparative show structures.
  • 08:14 PM - Morrus quoted Umbran in post Geekdom Takes a Bow
    Rowan Atkison is brilliant... but I can only take him in small doses before his style begins to wear on me. I definitely get more full-on guffaws and "hit the pause button because I am laughing too hard to pay attention to the show" from these latter programs, I'm afraid. But then again, I'm not British. And sure as heck comedy is context-dependent. I probably don't have the cultural referents to really *get* Blackadder. Blackadder is second only to Fawlty Towers. There is literally nothing even close to being as funny as those two things.
  • 07:53 PM - lowkey13 quoted Umbran in post Geekdom Takes a Bow
    Hear that whizzing sound? That's the reference going clear over my head. :) :) You need to cultivate a better taste for terrible things.
  • 07:16 PM - lowkey13 quoted Umbran in post Geekdom Takes a Bow
    Well, I *was* trying to call out shows that transcended their genres. If I had chosen examples that weren't among the best... well, that'd be weird - "These transcend their genre... but suck!" You're tearing me apart, Umbran! I, too, enjoy The Room. Oh, hi cmad1977 !
  • 04:35 PM - lowkey13 quoted Umbran in post Geekdom Takes a Bow
    I kind of thought that was an unspoken truth that came along with "sitcom". This is kind of, "Well, yeah, it is bad, but it also has these other issues..." :P I can think of a couple sitcoms that transcend their genre: The Good Place. Better Off Ted. Some, but not all, of Community. But TBBT lacks the genius of those shows. Also? Three shows without laughtracks. Coincidence? Nope. PS- Also, not fair to name three of the best sitcoms of the last few years. Throw in Arrested Development & Peep Show and you've got a Murderer's Row of 5.
  • 04:27 PM - lowkey13 quoted Umbran in post Keanu in the MCU
    Well, families are still a thing, right? So, the Fantastic Four still works, today. The problem with FF movies has not been that "they don't work". It has been that Fox does not, at its core, understand superheroes, at least of the Marvel variety. They have fundamentally missed what is most important to the superhero properties they touch. For the Fantastic Four, that is about family. They have focused on "Ooooh! Doctor Doooooom!". They've focused on the team's internal arguments. They haven't focused on what makes a group of such disparate people still stay together, despite the stresses in life, which in this case just happen to be super-powered. It is hard to write a movie about a family, and really capture the dynamics. But, if Jordan Peele can do it in "Us", someone can do it for the FF. Well, I mean, look .... if Marvel can make Guardians of the Galaxy work and be a hit, I wouldn't put anything past them. Why not Squirrel Girl? But the particular dynamics and powers of the...
  • 03:19 PM - lowkey13 quoted Umbran in post Geekdom Takes a Bow
    To loop back, Morrus, you asked, "Why shouldn’t geeks be in the same mainstream sitcoms as everybody else?" So, now we see some reasons. You haven't been subjected to geek-shaming, so no, you wouldn't share the feeling. Shows that lean too hard on sexist or racist tropes are understood to be problematic by folks who are not usually subject to racism or sexism. This show, which leaned on other traditionally negative tropes for its jokes... should also be understood as problematic, no? Maybe not as egregious, but still an issue. I mean, can't we just hate on TBBT because it's ... bad? I don't really have a dog in this fight (apologies to Michael Vick), but the little bits of TBBT I have seen aren't very good. And I'm pretty sure that they are representative of the whole; some of my relatives LOVE this show, and based upon their general taste*, I am reasonably assured that the show must be pretty terrible. *I don't know why they call this stuff hamburger helper. It does just fine by i...

Wednesday, 19th June, 2019

  • 11:57 PM - Henry quoted Umbran in post Geekdom Takes a Bow
    I didn’t say ignorant, I said I didn’t think they gave it a serious look. So... they don't know the show. In other words, they are ignorant of the show. Or, you alternatively allow that they could be being dishonest (to themselves) How is that *NOT* the "you must be ignorant or lying to disagree with me" argument that we generally frown upon? I understand that it is not comfortable to be told that folks find something you like to be problematic. But that rhetorical structure? It isn't appropriate, now is it? .... but bashing it for the sake of bashing because it’s “nerd-baiting” I am noting that there's good reasons for people to find the show to not be all that positive. Somehow, that's bashing, now? Seems a lot more like valid critique, to me.
  • 11:40 PM - Morrus quoted Umbran in post Geekdom Takes a Bow
    To loop back, Morrus, you asked, "Why shouldn’t geeks be in the same mainstream sitcoms as everybody else?" So, now we see some reasons. You haven't been subjected to geek-shaming, so no, you wouldn't share the feeling. Shows that lean too hard on sexist or racist tropes are understood to be problematic by folks who are not usually subject to racism or sexism. This show, which leaned on other traditionally negative tropes for its jokes... should also be understood as problematic, no? Maybe not as egregious, but still an issue. Yes, I fully understood your point.
  • 05:18 PM - billd91 quoted Umbran in post Geekdom Takes a Bow
    So, a possibly relevant question (for anyone, really) that is somewhat personal so you don't need to answer it publicly, but bears consideration: Were you, as a kid, bullied for having some of the personality traits seen in the show's main characters? Did you get (socially) pushed around or demeaned for being a geek/nerd? Sure, but look at the culture around us. The stuff we used to be the only ones admitting to obsessively following? It's freaking everywhere. It's our biggest movies. It's all over the shopping malls in Hot Topic and Box Lunch. It generated one of the most successful sitcoms on television as well as one of the most successful shows on a subscription cable network. If there's a culture clash going on, we're not losing it. We're thriving.
  • 05:17 PM - Dannyalcatraz quoted Umbran in post Geekdom Takes a Bow
    So, a possibly relevant question (for anyone, really) that is somewhat personal so you don't need to answer it publicly, but bears consideration: Were you, as a kid, bullied for having some of the personality traits seen in the show's main characters? Did you get (socially) pushed around or demeaned for being a geek/nerd? Personally, yes. But I was also bullied for being black, for being overweight, for being Catholic and other things, so it all blended together.
  • 05:09 PM - billd91 quoted Umbran in post Geekdom Takes a Bow
    There are differences, though. The issue at hand isn't that they are "scientists". It is that they are people matching geek stereotypes. They aren't the butt of the jokes for being scientists - they are being the butt of jokes because of their stereotypical behaviors - behaviors for which geeks have traditionally already been made fun of for having. You are taking a subculture that has been traditionally marginalized, and making fun of the things for which they were marginalized. So is there similar rage against Knight of the Dinner Table? It clearly focuses on many of the same dynamics and foibles of the gamer subculture. It's no more kind to its targets (maybe even less because the characters are more stereotypical and less generally humanized than BBT). Does it get a pass because its author is more clearly a gamer geek than the writers of BBT? Because it circulates within the gamer subculture rather than among millions of viewers?
  • 04:42 PM - Morrus quoted Umbran in post Geekdom Takes a Bow
    So, a possibly relevant question (for anyone, really) that is somewhat personal so you don't need to answer it publicly, but bears consideration: Were you, as a kid, bullied for having some of the personality traits seen in the show's main characters? Did you get (socially) pushed around or demeaned for being a geek/nerd? No. I was definitely a geek, and hung around with my geek friends, but there was no bullying. I get that other people have different experiences.
  • 04:09 PM - Morrus quoted Umbran in post Geekdom Takes a Bow
    There are differences, though. The issue at hand isn't that they are "scientists". It is that they are people matching geek stereotypes. They aren't the butt of the jokes for being scientists - they are being the butt of jokes because of their stereotypical behaviors - behaviors for which geeks have traditionally already been made fun of for having. You are taking a subculture that has been traditionally marginalized, and making fun of the things for which they were marginalized. I understand that some people feel that way about the show. I don't share that feeling, though. I don't love the show or anything, but I think it's fine. No better or worse than other sitcoms. Plus they mention Batman sometimes.

Tuesday, 18th June, 2019

  • 09:03 PM - ParanoydStyle quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    Well first off, the same reason I'm okay with violence in videogames and on TV: because it isn't real. And that is all I'd feel the need to say if this wasn't a topic I've thought a fair bit about. To go a bit more in depth: Human beings have celebrated and glorified violence--usually but not always with a focus on courage, honor and valor--for our entire history. The need to do violence is biologically wired into us as organisms. Our (Western and then when I speak, I do mean specifically American) culture has lacked for outlets for real violence for a long time because of the state of relative advancement our civilization has reached. Our warrior caste is, compared with that of previous civilizations, nearly invisible. The US population is 327 some odd MILLION people. The US Army has only a hair over 2 million troops, counting the reserves. Overwhelmingly, these troops are professional career volunteer soldiers: the rest are largely made up of youths from lower income brackets joining the ...
  • 07:47 PM - Bedrockgames quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    I don't think there's anything fundamental, here - I'm talking more about categorizing, and setting expectations. I just think about it, and realize there are parts of play where the GM is acting more like a judge/referee, and parts of play where the GM is acting more like an author. The former I'd call adjudication, the latter, not. There's connotations to "adjudication" that I don't think apply to the authoring moments, and failing the expectations is not good for the table (broadly, speaking). Okay but this is subjective. This isn't objective categorization. What you consider authoring, I consider adjudication.
  • 06:27 PM - Bedrockgames quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    I am suggesting, as someone said upthread, that the GM has several functions, only one of which is adjudicating. When the GM is just deciding a result, for their own reasons unrelated to the rules of the game - that's not adjudicating. . We just see things differently then. The GM deciding what happens when the players do something in the world, I file that under adjudication. I think we just have fundamentally different ways of thinking about play Umbran.
  • 05:25 PM - Bedrockgames quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    ...ed games, if you say, "I attack" in physical combat, all you get is a very basic roll of your skill, which in general isn't so high as you'll be able to down anything other than a mook. If you want larger results, you have to engage with the situation more, and interact with the environment, and describe what it is you're doing and trying to achieve, and set up moves and situations that take multiple rounds to achieve results. The same follows for social interaction - folks have to actually engage in the conversation, interact with the situation, and describe what they're doing and trying to achieve. Best way to do that is to do the role-play, for those who want to do that. For those who aren't as comfortable with that, we still get description of their approaches and tactics, and that's okay, too. Broadly speaking, the rules *enable* social interactions, because the players have some clear guidelines about how likely they are to succeed. I never said that. Everyone is different Umbran. Not crapping on social mechanics. But you don’t need them to to play


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