View Profile: Michael Silverbane - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
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About Michael Silverbane

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August 30, 1973 (45)
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GM DESCRIPTION: NARRATION OR CONVERSATION? Today 02:52 PM

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Monday, 24th June, 2019


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Wednesday, 24th April, 2019

  • 02:23 PM - Oofta mentioned Michael Silverbane in post If an NPC is telling the truth, what's the Insight DC to know they're telling the truth?
    I don't consider it rude or a waste of time if someone rolls a die and tells me the result as long as it is clear what their player is doing. I'm with Michael Silverbane, why would it be rude? We're just saving some time and keeping the game flowing. Worst case I ignore the roll and tell them the check they were trying to do doesn't make sense and clarify the scene to eliminate confusion. Then again I also encourage people to roll attack and damage ahead of time in combat; it saves time and as long as the person is consistent and honest it doesn't matter to me.

Wednesday, 3rd April, 2019

  • 05:32 PM - Oofta mentioned Michael Silverbane in post If an NPC is telling the truth, what's the Insight DC to know they're telling the truth?
    That certainly seems like a problem you should work on. Actually I kind of agree with Michael Silverbane. It sure seems like a lot (not all) people who are now claiming "middle of the road" are most likely to have made statements like If an NPC is telling the truth, they exhibit no signs that they are lying, therefore there is no uncertainty if a PC attempts to discern whether or not they are lying by observing their behavior. Which sounds pretty "one true way" to me. Maybe they aren't meant that way. vs In my game... Maybe people aren't as strict/absolutist as their postings make them sound. But I get tired of being accused of misrepresenting what people do when they won't give examples when asked. In addition, telling someone they're not allowed to their opinion is just tacky.

Saturday, 30th March, 2019

  • 09:03 AM - pemerton mentioned Michael Silverbane in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    What if the player is unsure about how to roleplay the situation since nothing has been established in his/her backstory or during roleplay? What if the player just turns to the DM and says "Would my character know about trolls? Do I just make a roll or wouldn't I know?" This is not an action declaration, this is a honest reaction from a player seeking to know how to roleplay his character. And this has happened at my table numerous times. It has nothing to do about a player wanting to beat trolls, this is about roleplay purity.I agree with Michael Silverbane to the extent that, at some tables and in some contexts, it clearly could be an action declaration. If it's not an action declaration, then it looks like a request to the GM to be told the rules. The GM might reply In this game, all starting characters are ignorant, or Is your character trying to remember stuff about trolls? I guess another alternative is that the player is asking the GM What action should I declare for my character in this situation. I've personally seen that sort of thing, but I'm not a big fan personally. Neither of these latter two possibilities involves any stance, as neither of them is making a decision/choice for the character.

Friday, 16th February, 2018

  • 02:23 AM - pemerton mentioned Michael Silverbane in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    On fiction and existence: this is a response to Ovinomancerr, Nagol, Lanefan, Michael Silverbane and chaochou. To begin: reading, listening, imagining etc are real processes that take place. Imagining involves causal processes in the brain. Listening also involves processes in the ears. Reading also involves processes in the eyes. I am taking the above to be uncontenious, so if you disagree you're going to have to let me know explicitly. There is more to these processes, too, which I will get to below. The process in the brain when these things - reading, listening, imagining - occur involve the linguistic capacity of the person to a high degree. I'm not really across the science of this, and am going to describe it in more colloquial terms: the person who is reading, listening or imagining forms and entertains ideas. Assuming that they know what they are reading, listening to or imagining is a fiction, however, then they don't form beliefs (other than prsently irrelevant beliefs, such as "I am now reading Hound of the Baskervilles"). For instance, a person reading...

Wednesday, 11th December, 2013

  • 02:49 PM - DMMike mentioned Michael Silverbane in post Who rolls when?
    I was gonna throw out a blanket, "players should roll every time their characters would be able to see their success," but then I read Michael Silverbane's post. Make the call based on the campaign theme. Me, I keep passive character stats on hand. In D&D3, this is AC, flat footed, touch AC, saves, senses, and sense motive. I roll these when characters wouldn't know the outcome or know that they're making a check, and then I throw random dice anyway just to keep them on their toes.

Monday, 2nd September, 2013

  • 12:02 AM - DMMike mentioned Michael Silverbane in post House Rule Clean Slate
    doghead: I already run my own version of an E6 system: NPCs are generally limited to 6th level. PC levels from 6 and above are all considered "legendary," so regardless of level, PCs get treated the same way in-game no matter how far past 6th level they are. I still have no idea what gestalt is - wanna give me the short version? What I'm trying to achieve is the best of all worlds from D&D 3, 3.5, and 3.75. Which some would say is just Pathfinder, but Pathfinder went too far in some respects, like making classes too bloaty and going a little far on skills simplification. Michael Silverbane: Prestige classes drive me nuts, because they're usually not balanced, and they're always more powerful than core classes. I'd like to go the opposite route for balancing casters: instead of weakening them, I'd rather beef up the non-casters. Spell-like-abilities can go a long way, no? Is your skill simplification a removal of skill points, where the characters simply choose X skills, and those skills are always maxed?

Thursday, 13th June, 2013

  • 12:47 AM - DMMike mentioned Michael Silverbane in post Tweaking the Star Wars Saga Edition Skill System
    ...y 2 levels, totalling at a +20 bonus, while Skill Focus only grants +3, making the total +23. Yes, +3 is something, but compared to 20, it might not be a worthwhile feat anymore. I think you added the normal level-skill advancement into the Training benefit. Training: gain a bonus equal to half your level, rounded down, to one skill. Skill Focus: gain +3 to one skill. So the Training bonus reaches +5, (the normal amount) at level 10. Note that D&D 3.5 limits on skill points are actually 3 greater than your level, so a Trained SWSE character gets a skill bonus equal to his level, with this houserule. Skill focus looks bad at a mere +3, but think about this: At low level, +3 is a significant bonus - equivalent to 6 levels of Training. At high level, +3 pushes you ABOVE the training maximum, which could be just enough to give you a leg up on your very powerful enemies. When combat, or any conflict, is especially important or lethal, that 15% (d20 system, right?) can mean a lot. Michael Silverbane: that's a clear, consistent system. It looks like it dismantles the classes a bit, since Skills, Defenses, and Attacks become the same for each class. Did you notice that some classes lost popularity after that happened?

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Monday, 24th June, 2019

  • 02:55 PM - Bedrockgames quoted Michael Silverbane in post GM DESCRIPTION: NARRATION OR CONVERSATION?
    In addition, the choice of using a conversational style still seems pretty deliberate. So, like in @Bedrockgames 's case, he uses this style for a more authentic, easily accessible feel, and because he and his players prefer it. Similarly @Saelorn uses a neutral, "just the facts" style of narration in an effort not to unduly influence his players. So... Word choice and phrasing are important, even if they are sometimes important for different things. I don't think speaking in natural conversational style is deliberate in the way speaking in a narrator voice is deliberate. This just seems like we are blurring distinctions in order to make them ultimately the same (back to 'everything is literature').

Thursday, 6th June, 2019

  • 03:26 PM - Bitbrain quoted Michael Silverbane in post Torture Should Not Work in Dungeons & Dragons
    I always thought it was most effective to kill them and consult their corpse via speak with dead. Except that according to the player's handbook "the corpse is under no compulsion to offer a truthful answer if you are hostile to it or it recognizes you as an enemy".

Thursday, 30th May, 2019

  • 04:28 PM - Dannyalcatraz quoted Michael Silverbane in post How do you get to GURPS?
    Yeah. The way that M&M II was balanced just really couldn't handle someone being able to attack (a single dude) more than once during a round of combat. Speedsters are very tough to handle in a game with a tightly controlled action economy. Its one place where I think M&M (all versions) really fell down. Judging from the way the players whose designs involved some kind of shtick that involved multiple attacks- the speedster’s superfast punches or striking multiple foes; the guy with the super-gun that could go full auto, etc.- they didn’t care if the math for the actual damage worked out the same, they really hated the way M&M modeled that style of attack. The journey was just as important as the destination. (I agreed, FWIW.)

Friday, 24th May, 2019

  • 05:21 AM - Tony Vargas quoted Michael Silverbane in post How do you handle the "economy killing spells" in your game?
    every able bodied man being conscripted to fight off the trollkin invasion. . Well, we couldn't let the little buggers invade D&D, with their battlemagic and power crystals and percentile skills and level-less progression! I don't care if you just came looking for a better life, /go home to Glorantha!/ you stunted excuse for a troll! Do you even regenerate?!

Friday, 26th April, 2019

  • 10:51 AM - CapnZapp quoted Michael Silverbane in post Is Thread Necromancy Ok?
    As there has been a recent spate of people complaining about thread necromancy, I thought it would be a good idea to raise an old thread about thread necromancy, in order to complain about the people complaining about thread necromancy. This is the good stuff. Though I see the thread was previously resurrected in 2011, which detracts slightly from your achievement [emoji847] Seriously though, SOME forums consider thread necromancy an infractionable offense, so I'm not surprised to see a forumist instinctively complain about the practice. (Notably GITP, another significant D&D site)

Thursday, 25th April, 2019

  • 05:18 PM - Celebrim quoted Michael Silverbane in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    So... If I am presenting an obstacle that can be overcome via the use of game mechanical resources, and the player is playing a pregenerated character, am I challenging the person that is playing the character, or the person who generated the character? Well, you now have a good example of why I can't agree with Monayuris when he proposes its not possible to challenge the character, only the player. Monayuris assumes that character generation is even a thing in which the player has agency. It may well not be. I think before we start dealing with the range of complexity that can be found in a game like 5e, we need to have a solid understanding of the difference between "challenging a player" and "challenging a character". I think my "Choose your Own Adventure" example is simple enough that we can clearly see the two challenges are distinctive in character. One depends entirely on player choice. One involves no player choice. In most situations there will be some mixture of player choice and...
  • 04:31 PM - Elfcrusher quoted Michael Silverbane in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Barbarian should follow up said stabbing with the question, "Is that guy dead?" Yes!!!!

Wednesday, 24th April, 2019

  • 10:17 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Michael Silverbane in post If an NPC is telling the truth, what's the Insight DC to know they're telling the truth?
    I don't agree with that last sentence, here. The DM is not bound to the same rules as the players, because they have different roles. He is still bound to the principles of play. The DM is explicitly free - at least in most eds of D&D - to add to, change, and override the rules as he sees fit. Feels pretty un-bound, to me. Or, in 5e parlance, not 'not bound by the rules' so much as "Empowered!" I'm not sure that I understand what you're saying. Does adjudicate with player experience in mind mean that the DM should fudge? Or that the DM should not fudge? Or something else? Should fudge, definitely, /and/ something else: should engage in "Illusionism" as much as in necessary to deliver a good experience to his players. I'm a little bit dense today, I was up past my bedtime at a game session yesterday. My character got killed *twice* in about fifteen minutes. It was brutal.See? Your DM could've done better! ;) (Unless you /like/ 'brutal,' then, well-done, DM!)
  • 07:55 PM - Satyrn quoted Michael Silverbane in post If an NPC is telling the truth, what's the Insight DC to know they're telling the truth?
    It was not that, exactly. I don't think that you would fudge it, any more than I think that you would set an unattainable DC at a goal and approach that you didn't expect but which might reasonably be thought to succeed (which, to me, is the same as fudging the result after seeing the die roll). I am trying to think of a less jerky way to rephrase, but I am a jerk, so this may be beyond me. But you should think I might fudge it! The very fact that I value a method because it prevents me from fudging tells you that I might very well fudge a DC if given a chance. I have in the past, in a couple different ways. When I kept the DC private from my players, and they rolled close but not quite to it, sometimes I nudged it downward so they'd succeed. Sometimes I wouldn't bother setting a DC, and just let the players succeed if they "rolled high." Why? I was too much of a cheerleader fit the players, maybe, or I was too invested in making sure the plot moved forward. So, yeah, I need a method that curtails...
  • 07:47 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Michael Silverbane in post If an NPC is telling the truth, what's the Insight DC to know they're telling the truth?
    Why would you fudge it? Part of the job of the DM is to adjudicate impartially.Part of the job of a "Judge" at a 70s wargame was to adjudicate impartially, because players were competing. DMing somehow inherited that expectation, but there's no fair competition in traditional RPGs. One side are player characters, the other are made up by the DM for the scenario. One side, the players, are bound by rules, the other, the DM, is not. It goes beyond impartiality, the DM needs to adjudicate with the player experience in mind, because he's almost wholly responsible for that experience being worth repeating.
  • 07:22 PM - Satyrn quoted Michael Silverbane in post If an NPC is telling the truth, what's the Insight DC to know they're telling the truth?
    Why would you fudge it? Part of the job of the DM is to adjudicate impartially. This seems like a rhetorical question, meant to mock me or someone else.
  • 07:02 PM - Satyrn quoted Michael Silverbane in post If an NPC is telling the truth, what's the Insight DC to know they're telling the truth?
    This came up in one of the previous threads about 'allowing players to make rolls' or something like that, and I found it somewhat confusing then, as well as now. When I am a player, I'll often say things like... "I use oral speaking to convince the Troll King to input his dagger of friendship into my player agency slot. If that calls for a check, I got a [rolls dice] result." Depending on what oral speaking (approach) and input his dagger of friendship into my player agency slot (goal) were, the DM is free to ignore the result to narrate success or failure, as they see fit, or to take result into account to narrate success or failure. How is that rude, and how does it waste time? For me, the issue is that I don't get the chance to set the DC. I prefer to do that before the player rolls so I can't fudge it, and I can't be seen to be fudging it.
  • 04:08 PM - Charlaquin quoted Michael Silverbane in post If an NPC is telling the truth, what's the Insight DC to know they're telling the truth?
    Most of the time, it is pretty easy to tell when someone is done talking. I mean, in most conversations, we don't formally acknowledge that we're done talking and that it is someone else's turn to do so, we simply pause and another person takes that as a cue to start. Yeah, I try to end my narrations with “what do you do?” as a reminder to myself to always provide the players with something to respond to (if “what do you do?” sounds awkward at the end of my final sentence, it’s a signal to myself that I’m failing in that goal). But the idea that the players might not recognize that its their turn if you don’t ask “what do you do?” feels a bit like insisting that youmust alwaus end your sentence with “over” when you’re using a walkie-talkie.
  • 02:32 PM - 5ekyu quoted Michael Silverbane in post If an NPC is telling the truth, what's the Insight DC to know they're telling the truth?
    This came up in one of the previous threads about 'allowing players to make rolls' or something like that, and I found it somewhat confusing then, as well as now. When I am a player, I'll often say things like... "I use oral speaking to convince the Troll King to input his dagger of friendship into my player agency slot. If that calls for a check, I got a [rolls dice] result." Depending on what oral speaking (approach) and input his dagger of friendship into my player agency slot (goal) were, the DM is free to ignore the result to narrate success or failure, as they see fit, or to take result into account to narrate success or failure. How is that rude, and how does it waste time?In the latest example, it was the actual interruption mid-sentence that might be seen as rude. Nothing to do with loop sequence, just not interrupting. Although, a lot depends on the table and whether the GM is good st breaking for player input or not.
  • 02:31 PM - DM Dave1 quoted Michael Silverbane in post If an NPC is telling the truth, what's the Insight DC to know they're telling the truth?
    This came up in one of the previous threads about 'allowing players to make rolls' or something like that, and I found it somewhat confusing then, as well as now. When I am a player, I'll often say things like... "I use oral speaking to convince the Troll King to input his dagger of friendship into my player agency slot. If that calls for a check, I got a [rolls dice] result." Depending on what oral speaking (approach) and input his dagger of friendship into my player agency slot (goal) were, the DM is free to ignore the result to narrate success or failure, as they see fit, or to take result into account to narrate success or failure. How is that rude, and how does it waste time? If the DM has finished their description of the scene with “What do you do?” then I’d say it isn’t and doesn’t - if you are playing in a manner where players self-assign ability checks. In a goal and approach style of play, if the DM has finished their description of the scene with “What do you do?” then the player ha...

Wednesday, 10th April, 2019

  • 01:38 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted Michael Silverbane in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    So, it does not seem entirely unreasonable that you could measure the success of an "adventure" like a SC, but using the success or failure of Challenges, and the success of a campaign using the success or failure of "adventures", just sort of abstractly scaling up from one level to the next. The question then being what does a failed adventure look like? How do you significantly change the fiction on the campaign scale without leading to a campaign level death spiral? Further, how does this affect the framing of scenes in a more player driven game style, and how does it affect the development of backstory in a more DM drive game style? Right, this kind of procedure was discussed early on in 4e's life. I recall doing a few experiments with it, but never was entirely satisfied with the results. Now, with HoML, which has ONLY challenge-like mechanics, you could create a hierarchy, each encounter builds a success/failure at the 'adventure' level, and success/failure at that level could feed into 'stor...

Tuesday, 9th April, 2019

  • 07:06 PM - Numidius quoted Michael Silverbane in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    So, it does not seem entirely unreasonable that you could measure the success of an "adventure" like a SC, but using the success or failure of Challenges, and the success of a campaign using the success or failure of "adventures", just sort of abstractly scaling up from one level to the next. The question then being what does a failed adventure look like? How do you significantly change the fiction on the campaign scale without leading to a campaign level death spiral? Further, how does this affect the framing of scenes in a more player driven game style, and how does it affect the development of backstory in a more DM drive game style?Re: Adventure, I see Stakes, something that is wanted by the Party and a couple of Factions/Npcs: a situation that fosters a series of small Conflicts having an immediate Goal, albeit small, that gets Players closer to control the Stake, and, in the process, producing fiction regulated by rules on the Right to describe outcomes. (Sounds like Edward's Trollbabe, again, I...

Monday, 8th April, 2019


Wednesday, 3rd April, 2019

  • 04:54 PM - Bawylie quoted Michael Silverbane in post If an NPC is telling the truth, what's the Insight DC to know they're telling the truth?
    Any time I see the phrase, "middle path" I automatically parse it as, "one true way". The Middle Path, or the via media, is a philosophical and religious concept going back thousands of years. It’s the explicit rejection of dogma (and zealotry) and the embrace of moderation. The idea is to find a workable mode of operation among extremes without yourself becoming compromised by those extremes. So if you read it as “the one true way” you’re actually arriving at the opposite of its aim - that is the rejection of all such “one true ways.” You might say that IS advocating one specific approach over all others. But it’s not. It’s more like recognizing the wide space area between alcoholic and teetotaler and navigating between those extremes. There’s space between All Dice For All Actions and Never Roll Ever. Speaking for myself, I’m only looking to navigate that space in a way that is fair, avoids the appearance of being unfair, enables players’ decisions to influence outcomes more than dice rolls influ...
  • 04:51 PM - Ovinomancer quoted Michael Silverbane in post If an NPC is telling the truth, what's the Insight DC to know they're telling the truth?
    Any time I see the phrase, "middle path" I automatically parse it as, "one true way".That certainly seems like a problem you should work on.


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