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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Today, 02:03 PM
    I’m not Campbell, but I’ll throw some words at this from GMing perspective. Its definitely true that most people almost surely enjoy the experience of games they like, and through their affinity they develop or have a natural aptitude for better play. Humans have pretty extreme neurological diversity, so I would say that it’s trivially true that cognitive predispositions and mental...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Today, 05:23 AM
    I agree. The GM's primary role in TTRPGing (outside of a few instances) is (a) to know what adversity is relevant to this particular play and (b) bring that adversity to bear against the PCs in the imagined space in the most interesting/compelling/challenging/provocative (and these will be contingent upon the game) way possible. Above I mentioned a Dogs play excerpt. The adversity I...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Today, 04:13 AM
    FrogReaver I think you are starting from a faulty premise. You are assuming that game mechanics cannot meaningfully contribute to play despite having no direct experience of games where the rules are meant to supplement role play. We play these games because we value what they have to say about human nature and how people interact with each other. They help us form mental models of who our...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Today, 03:57 AM
    In some game no one gets to decide if a mechanic is invoked or not. In Apocalypse World if a character attempts to do something in the fiction that triggers a move the mechanics must be applied. One of the things a GM must always say is Always Say What the Rules Demand.
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:59 PM
    Jim McGarva has a perfect catch-phrase for this sprinkled throughout the Strike (!) rulebook, which is basically a riposte to all of the stuff we heard about with genre-incoherent drift in 4e: "DON'T DEMAND NONSENSE!" One such quip is on fictional positioning and permissible action declarations: If I'm running Dogs and the player thinks someone is under the thrall of demonic...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:56 PM
    In one of my recent posts I referred to violations of genre, fictional positioning and system logic. In the Burning Wheel rulebooks Luke Crane makes the point by saying (something like) "no roll for beam weaponry in the duke's toilet". But that is all about vetoing or refusing to entertain certain action declarations. Lanefan was positing a successful outcome. As Ovinomancer has posted,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:24 PM
    Why? In a relatively traditional RPG a GM gets to establish a lot of fiction: much of the setting; many of the NPCs; the framing of many situations; the narration of failures; maybe other stuff too that I'm not thinking of at present. What is the function of successful checks if the GM also gets to establish what happens there too? I was just responding to what you posted:
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:16 AM
    I have neither said nor implied this. All I said was that Lanefan's example, in which the PC doesn't achieve what the player hoped for, is not a success and hence might be a feasible failure narration.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:13 AM
    I agree with this. I use the phrase inhabitation of the character to try and convey this idea. I think, though, that some systems can be more demanding on the players than others, and challenging in that sense. To give examples: Prince Valiant and MHRP tend to be relatively light-hearted in the situations they throw up; whereas Burning Wheel (and I suspect Apocalypse World) can be much...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:27 AM
    Can you explain more what you mean about not being sure about incentives? Not sure about incentives interfacing with the decision-tree in a moment of thematic choice? Incentives that push back against the impetus to establish a win condition for a scene/arc or create extra obstacles to that win condition in exchange for advancement? Something else? Paragraph 1 Response: That makes...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:59 AM
    I would hope this would be obvious, but a system which in no way constrains GM narration is offering nothing of value. It says nothing. Provides nothing. It has no teeth. If a die roll does not constrain GM narration what is the point except empty ritual?
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:55 AM
    I personally do not really care. I am not really interested in testing characters. I'm more interested in character exploration. Sometimes that means putting them through the crucible, but sometimes it does not. My own litmus test is if a scene will tell us something meaningful about a character. What's required is for everyone (GM included) to play with integrity and not put their creative...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 11:24 AM
    Hussar, Lanefan - if narrowing of possible resolutions = the GM being bound by the results of checks, than sure, any system other than "GM decides" will have that consequence. But unless the dice are rigged then fails are possible, in which case fail scenarios are possible resolutions, and there is no narrowing of the range of possible resolution.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 07:11 AM
    Your example doesn't show any narrowing of possible results. The scenario you describe is a possible failure narration; and it could be a success narration if that is what the player decides his/her PC searches for.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 09:20 PM
    I believe many more people have watched The Avengers than have watched The Seventh Seal. But that doesn't mean that every time I want to talk about the latter I talk about the former instead or as well. If people who only want to talk about D&D, or who have no interest in talking or reading about how other systems do things, don't want to participate in this thread, that's a risk I'm prepared...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 09:15 PM
    Reposted:
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 01:55 PM
    In your case, you seem to know both BW and D&D, which are the two systems I referenced in the post of mine that you quoted. Do you have any thoughts about this mind flayer and false memories example that might draw on either of the systems? Or if you want to engage it by reference to another system, that would be interesting too!
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 01:48 PM
    Do you have much experience with 4e D&D? It's a bit of an open question exactly what tools 4e provides, because the skill challenge is - as presented - such an open-ended or un-nailed-down framework that (experience suggests) needs users to bring ideas and/or experience from outside to really get the best out of it. I think a skill challenge might be able to handle the scenario you're...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 10:22 AM
    I'm not sure about incentives. When I read the Strike(!) I think of "intent and task" and failure narration in BW. Or the example from AW that I posted upthread. If the check fails, the GM is entitled to narrate the failure by imposing a new and unwanted description of the PC's action. But I don't think in any of the systems this could go as far as you've fallen in love with the maiden unless...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 10:16 AM
    This is an interesting question - in general, and about D&D play: To what extent is the GM permitted to rewrite player-authored PC backstory by drawing upon a combination of (i) situation and stakes and (ii) failed checks. In BW (for instance) I think this is fair game. The only version of D&D I can think of able to handle this is 4e. I don't really see how it would be done in AD&D. And from...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 10:02 AM
    If the player is avoiding expedience by sticking to conceptualisation, how is that conceptualisation going to be challenged? Or changed? If the player is at liberty to change conceptuatlisation in response to choices, what governs those choices? Self-evidently it can't be conceptualisation. You don't want it to be expedience. Is it whim? Do you have actual play examples to post that...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 06:30 AM
    So I've skimmed the recent bits of the thread. In a follow-up post, I'm going to relay a recent PC:PC social conflict in Strike (!) and invite folks to chime in on how they perceive this anecdote (a) contrasts with gameplay where social conflict isn't formalized and (b) there are neither mechanical feedbacks nor PC build components involved. But first, I want to post some text from Strike (!)...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 06:27 PM
    I would be more than willing to discuss the merits of Exalted 3e elsewhere. It is a fundamentally different game that I feel delivers on the promise of previous versions of the game. Here I would like to focus on social mechanics, their effects, and implications.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 05:08 PM
    (1) This thread is in general RPG. Not D&D. There's a reason for that. (2) I'm not saying that players should or shouldn't do anything in every system. The OP invites discussion about various ways in which true descriptions of PC actions might be established. The current discussion has moved on a bit from that, to also talk about how true descriptions of PC choices, PC emotional states, etc...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 05:01 PM
    You posted this not too far upthread: Before you posted that, Campbell already posted on outline of mechanics from Exalted which contradict what you said: the player in Exalted (i) does not sit out of the loop, and (ii) does have input on how his/her PC would react. Further upthread I posted the Apocalypse World mechanics for PvP seduction/maipulation. In that system the player gets to...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 04:52 PM
    This is missing the point. One may as well ask, What story can't D&D produce? Well, if the players and the GM all get together and agree on it then you can play out Casablanca in D&D, can't you? (That was Campbell's point about consensus.) But the current topic of discussion is how that might be done, and what sort of play experience might be involved. The example of Exalted, for instance,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 04:34 PM
    I guess you can assert things in ignorance, yet avoid error, if you get lucky. On this occasion though, your luck has failed you. The claims you make aren't plausible even within the compass of D&D, which includes the 4e skill challenge mechanic. They are completely wrong when it comes to other systems such as the ones that chaochou has mentioned.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 03:41 PM
    This completely misunderstands chaochou's point. As I posted upthread, "cheating" or acting on out-of-game motivations has nothing to do with what anyone is talking about in this thread. The basic point is that, in the scenarios you keep putting forward, nothing happens to the PC's inner being or self-conception that the player did not choose. So the player choose that which s/he prefers....
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 03:35 PM
    Duel of Wits from Burning Wheel has been mentioned. It's an interesting example, because it permits PCs to be persuaded (by other PCs, or by NPCs) but doesn't change their underlying motivations/orientations. In the context of (say) a maiden trying to persuade a PC to help her, it can certainly permit that. And if the maiden is charming or flirty that can factor into her checks (eg FoRK...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 03:05 PM
    I'll leave the fidelity claim to one side. But the second claim is an empirical one. I'd be curious to see if it's true. Personally I doubt it - I don't have experience with Exalted, but in my experience with other systems that provide various sorts of systematic support for engagement with PC motivations and emotions the range of characters played - when considered in proportion to the overall...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 03:15 AM
    I think this is very important when approaching social/emotional conflict in RPGs. Otherwise there is a significant risk of all the characters turning out to be the same ie merely expedient. That's fine for Dying Earth but not desirable in general, in my view. Can you explain this further in relation to the system you've described? Is this the depletion of Willpower, or something else as well?...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 06:29 PM
    Let me start off by saying I do not like viewing game mechanics through the lens of necessity. No mechanics are actually necessary. Anything can be resolved through consensus. That's what the online freeformers do. However, sometimes consensus is like boring and stuff. I'm going to start with an example of a system that I consider to have the most impact on player agency of the games I like to...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 03:46 PM
    If your perspective is that playing DitV is the same as playing DL, then I have to ask - have you played DitV, or any system like it? So now it's corrosive for people to talk about their play experiences, and what they found different in different systems? This is why I described you upthread as hostile to analysis. As for the idea that GNS is corrosive - the only anger and hostility I...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 03:34 PM
    I can see why you say this. But for me, this brings us back to Campbell's remarks: The absence of choice in the example I provided occurred at the point of the killing. At that point, thie player learns - without having any say over it - that his PC is a killer. At that point, playing the character with integrity generates the crisis. There were subsequent events, too, that played on the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 10:15 AM
    Yes, I mean faithfulness to what the unfolding fiction reveals about the character. Not accuracy. I was trying to build on what Campbell had said. There's the example that's been given by Umbran. Here's another example, which is based on an actual play experience I had many years ago now. The basic structure of the example is not too different from Umbran's. One of the PCs was a...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 04:53 AM
    I have already spoken on how social mechanics can serve as an immersion tool to help players feel what their characters should be feeling in the moment. Another crucial function can be to deliberately welcome the wholly unwelcome. It introduces outcomes which no one at the table would deliberately choose, but are nonetheless compelling. Vincent Baker calls this the fundamental purpose of RPG...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 04:27 AM
    I agree with Ovinomancer and Umbran that making a choice - even a hard choice - isn't a challenge to character and character concept of the sort that has been raised in this thread. Whether you need mechanics (social mechanics, emotional mechanics, whatever they might be) to generate that sort of challenge is a further question. My view is that you don't, although obviously they might help....
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 03:42 AM
    It means that the RPG can have story arcs comparable to other dramatic mediums. In film, think eg Casblanca. In literature, think eg The Human Factor. In genre fiction, think eg Han Solo (who, in Star Wars, turns out not to be the mercenary he thought he was) or Nameless, Jet Li's character in Hero (who in the end choose not to take the vengeance that he had pursued). Of course many other...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 02:53 AM
    B/X D&D as a wonderfully tuned focused sandbox dungeon crawling game that provides clear guidance on how to play is one of the better designed role playing games ever made. It does what it does very well. It's character options are remarkably well balanced (better than any edition barring 4e). I say this as someone who did not have the joy of playing or running B/X until the 4e era. My opinions...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Friday, 12th July, 2019, 03:56 AM
    I'm going to say something I expect will be controversial here. If I am playing or running a game that is supposed to be more character focused I absolutely do make aesthetic judgments of other players and I expect the same in kind. We should all be invested in each others' characters - be fans of them. For that to happen players should play their characters as if they were real people with...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 11:28 PM
    I run two versions of D&D; 4e and Moldvay Basic. So the answer is while D&D 4e can scratch an itch similar to Mouse Guard, Cortex+ , Dungeon World, and Mouse Guard, it and Moldvay Basic can't reproduce Dogs in the Vineyard, Apocalypse World, Dread, Blades in the Dark, Torchbearer, My Life With Master, Sorcerer, and Star Wars like Strike (!) and Scum and Villainy. Because system matters.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 05:48 AM
    In D&D there is no limit - neither a hard one, nor even a soft one based on principles - as to how many special abilities a GM can use and how many saves s/he might force. This is not a universal truth of RPG design: I quoted the principle from Prince Valiant upthread; Marvel Heroic RP/Cortex+ Heroic uses the Doom Pool to modulate the challenges the GM introduces; other systems have other...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 05:40 AM
    And by that we can reasonably extrapolate that for game purposes a cave troll has lots of hit points and-or a high Con score. <snip> Just as you can't say a creature described as being particularly tough (relative to other creatures) in the fiction doesn't have lots of hit points, you can't say a creature with lots of hit points (relative to other creatures) isn't tough. Put another way,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 05:33 AM
    I don't see how this could be a general truth about RPGing. Maybe it's a truth about a certain sort of approach to D&D, Classic Traveller and maybe RQ. In Marvel Heroic RP, combat - ie fisticuffs between superheroes and supervillains - isn't a result of failing to overcome challenges in some other fashion. It's how heroes defeat villains! In Prince Valiant, a joust can be anything from...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 05:31 AM
    This could really be a topic all its own.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 03:41 AM
    A long post as I catch up on this thread. The second bit here suggest to me that you're not familiar with the play of any of the non-D&D games that Aldarc, Umbran, Ovinomancer and I have referenced - Fate, Pendrgaon, Prince Valiant, MHRP/Cortex+ Heroic, Bunring Wheel, etc. And the first bit is odd, because the way you find out whether a D&D character is tough enough to beat Orcus in a fight...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 03:30 AM
    Lanefan, FrogReaver - you've both made some recent posts which dispute the analysis of action put foward in the OP. Eg you both deny that I melt the maiden's heart with my wink is a true description of a PC's action, and a description of the same action as I wink at the maiden (although obviously a different description). I'm not that interested in turning this thread into an argument in the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 03:29 AM
    This is why I say you don't undertand the 4e combat resolution mechanics. This claim isn't true of 4e; hit points aren't a description of anything. The toughness of a creature is described in the fiction - just as (say) JRRT conveys that the cave troll is tough. The hit points are then a device - together with AC, attack rolls, damage dice etc - that are used to determine the outcomes of fights....
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 03:22 AM
    Well let's turn it around. Why is it so important to you that you have played narrativsit? Are you making a judgement? I don't play many boardgames other than backgammon (which I love). But modern boardgames, with their need for clever and calculated play, are things I'm not very good at. My personal discount curve is too steep (probably in all areas of my life, and certainly in these games)....
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 11:48 PM
    I disagree that 5e is more flexible. I attribute most of its success in being wonderfully tuned to the predominant play pattern first established with Dragonlance and refined by 1990s games like Vampire, Shadowrun, Legend of the 5 Rings, etc. GM creates an elaborate plot for players to play through. Along the way they get to express their predefined awesomeness at controlled points, but never...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 11:30 PM
    Although I fought the label at first I have found that I'm fairly immersion focused as a player. Mechanics that help me feel the pressure of social expectations, emotions, and weight of character beliefs only serve to aid in immersion. I'm not a huge fan of mechanics that dictate behavior, but ones that impact success and failure like strings in Monsterhearts or Conditions and Influence in Masks...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 12:08 AM
    GNS is an analytic framework. It's not a claim about what anyone has or hasn't done, or should or shouldn't have done. It's a claim about a certain sort of goal of play, not about system; but there is a recognition that some systems suit some goals better than other systems do, and better than they suit other goals. There's not reason to think that any given goal must be present in play...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 03:41 PM
    It seems to me that "win condition" here is turning into something like happy with the outcome. Whereas in a scenario like ToH or Ghost Tower of Inverness or The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan or White Plume Mountain or Castle Amber (to fasten on some classics of the genre) when we talk about win conditions we're certainy not talking about (say) being happy with how we reconciled two feuding members...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 11:27 AM
    This seems to miss the whole point of the OP. If person A jums over the Grand Canyon, it follows that A tried to jump over the Grand Canyon. But A didn't perform two different actions - trying to jump the canyon, and then actually jumpiing it. S/he performed a single action which falls under both descriptions. Which descriptions are made true in a RPG, by whom, and how, is what this thread...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 07:15 AM
    There is an assertion by some, or at least a very strong implication, that the PC can fail the test, or even feel its force, only if the player decides. In what sense? What body part moves? What intention is formed? Of course the maiden is acting: she is winking. But the PC whose heart is melted is not. No no more than it is an action on Frodo's part to have his finger bitten off by Gollum.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 07:13 AM
    This still makes no sense. Are you talking about the fiction (in which nothing has hp - hit points are not a part of the gameworld) or about resolution mechanics? Likewise. I don't think you understand how 4e's combat rules work.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 07:11 AM
    Not really. Suppose that the first is stated by the GM, the player makes a Resist Passion roll, and fails, and then the GM state the second. How did this situation suddenly change from "test" to "manipulation"? Or to give a different example. The GM has described the dungeon corridor that the PCs are standing in. The player says I walk down the left-hand path, inspecting the ceiling as I go....
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 03:47 AM
    Scene framing isn't really part of play though. The play exists once a scene has been framed. Framing -> Play -> Framing -> Play. What's important is that player decisions are based on solid ground during the moment of play.
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 8th July, 2019, 06:52 PM
    This is where these conversations get so unwieldy. I mean...how is this question even conceived? OF COURSE THEY DO. If the point of play is (a) competitive integrity and (b) autonomy and expression of agency in decision points (and it is in this case; Gamism)...well, in any_activity where these things are the apex play priority, the legitimacy of (a) and (b) utterly depends upon win/loss...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 8th July, 2019, 08:44 AM
    The issue is framing it, in advance, as a scenario with win conditions. That can very easily butt up against the notion of establishing a story through play as opposed to playing through a pre-established story. I can't ask you to prove a negative, so what would you consider "support?"A serious account of someone who turned up to play Burning Wheel, played through something like DL or...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th July, 2019, 10:04 PM
    Upthread the notion of roleplaying - what it is, what it isn't - was raised. The closest to a consensus position that was put forward was that it involved playing the role of a character in a fictional world. In a RPG, there is an additional element of advocacy for the character on account of it being a game, where the participants therefore in some sense aspire to do well. A number of...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th July, 2019, 09:14 PM
    No. We're asking you what action you think is required on your PC's part. At least I am. (And I'm pretty sure the same is true for hawkeyefan.) My heart being melted isn't an action. It's an emotional state. What action do you think is required/dictated by that state?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th July, 2019, 07:55 PM
    I think you'll find that the answer to these two questions is the same! hawkeyefan and I are wondering what you envisage melting someone's heart as requiring or dictating.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th July, 2019, 07:53 PM
    That second sentence has the potential to be controversial! I'd put it this way: the designers realised that the relationship between a certain sort of mechanical design, and the infiction category magic, is contingent and a matter of aesthetics. So for a brief period D&D design caught up to Greg Stafford c 1989! (I'm referring there to Prince Valiant, of course - the most undeservedly...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th July, 2019, 06:26 PM
    Does D&D encompass non-5e versions? In that case, I already posted the example of the Fang Tyrant Drake's furious roar (which paralyses with fear). In 4e there's no need to conceive of the fear caused by dragons as magical, either (which brings them closer to the Smaug-ish form of dragon terror).
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th July, 2019, 06:23 PM
    The category of "special ability", like the category of "magic", only makes sense in some games or some contexts. Some systems don't really have "special abilities" at all in the D&D sense. And even where a system does feature special abilities, the fact that some statblock includes such a thing doesn't necessarily mean that the relevant infiction capability is gated behind such a mechanic. In...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th July, 2019, 06:14 PM
    I think dictated action, or fiat, or what Ron Edwards calls drama resolution, is interesting in this context. I agree that it's not typical. In adjudicating a skill challenge I once narrated one of the PCs moving across the room - in the fiction, he was influenced by a Pact Hag; mechanically, this was setting up a complication (the Hag was going to pull a rope to open a pit); I can't recall...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th July, 2019, 03:58 PM
    Can you tell us more about exactly what the response is that is dictated?
    674 replies | 17721 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th July, 2019, 03:44 PM
    I'm not sure what monster abilities you've got in mind. In Prince Valiant, for instance, Incite Lust is more likely to be found on a maiden than a monster! Because the NPC maiden melting a PC's heart with a wink is Lanefan's example he'll have to tell you exactly what he had in mind. I've been thinking about the example as a placeholder for stuff in the same general neighbourhood in RPG...
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    Sunday, 7th July, 2019, 11:18 AM
    What mandatory effect are you referring to? Can you describe a concrete example, with reference to a real or conjectured system, that explains what you've got in mind. All I'm seeing so far is a conjecture of a system that, in some circumstances, permits a GM to tell a player The maiden's wink softens your heart. Until you tell me more about what you have in mind, that's not an example of...
    674 replies | 17721 view(s)
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    Sunday, 7th July, 2019, 10:57 AM
    I don't understand what your example has to do with minion rules. Minion rules are a mechanical device in some systems (4e D&D perhaps most famously, but certainly not exclusively) for adjudicating declared actions (in 4e D&D, mostly fight-y actions) by players for their PCs. If your ingame inhabitant sees her doughty working people cut down with little trouble by Conan and friends, where is...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th July, 2019, 10:52 AM
    The example of a NPC maiden softening a PC's heart with a wink came from you. So what system did you have in mind? I don't think the onus is on me to flesh out your example! If you think your example is underspecified then flesh it out yourself! In the OP I put forward, as a description a PC's action, I soften the heart of the maiden with a wink. Systems I can think of where that is a...
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    Sunday, 7th July, 2019, 04:18 AM
    With respect, this makes no sense. From the POV of a character in the ficiton you can't tell the resolution mechanics (including minion mechanics) that resultedin a certain outcome. You just experience the fictional events - eg that Aragorn swung his sword and chopped off the orc's head. Mechanical system - like minion rules, or rules that privilege PCs over NPCs (Apocalypse World has this...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th July, 2019, 04:10 AM
    Why are you assuming that there is no game system? I've posted many such examples in this thread: Prince Valian special effects; Marvel Heroic RP/Cortex+ Heroic emotional stress and complications; the example from AW; etc. And in some systems, maybe the GM can narrate it by fiat if it follows naturally from what has gone before, just as in (say) Moldvay Basic the GM can narrate that the PC...
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    Sunday, 7th July, 2019, 03:51 AM
    What's in doubt? That's not an a priori category. It's a function of genre conceits, table expectations, system design, probably other stuff too. A RPG could be designed where every time I get to decide whether or not the NPC influences me. Or not. It could be designed where every time I get to decide whether or not I dodge the bullets. Or not. Just as D&D has an armour class, and RQ has a...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th July, 2019, 03:44 AM
    I don't even know what this means. I'm talking about events in the fiction. In the fiction, there is no such thing as "overriding the PC". There is just one human affectig another. This is a real thing that happens in the real world all the time, so I have no trouble imagining a fantasy wold in which it happens. Galadriel melts Gimli's heart. Aragorn melts Eomer's heart. Frodo almost melts...
    674 replies | 17721 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th July, 2019, 03:36 AM
    In narrativist play the notion of setting win conditions is complicated at best. The notion of "scenario", as opposed to "situation", can also be problematic. I don't think Ron Edwards et al intended to be "deceptive". Who are they trying to deceive? Every one of the major essays has a glossary appended; the major essays set out in detail what is meant to be conveyed by various terms; the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 6th July, 2019, 05:11 PM
    But having someone wink at you is also an infiction act. I don't understand what distiinction you think you're pointing to here. These are just bare assertions of preference. As Ovinomancer already noted. It's not "out of fiction". The wink occurs in the fiction. The melting of your PC's heart happens in the fiction. No difference from a spell. And the rule that explains how winking...
    674 replies | 17721 view(s)
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  • LostSoul's Avatar
    Saturday, 6th July, 2019, 02:15 PM
    Weapon damage dice is outmoded; it works with 1-minute melee rounds, but not with 6-second ones. Let it be a judgement call.
    3 replies | 307 view(s)
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  • LostSoul's Avatar
    Saturday, 6th July, 2019, 02:10 PM
    G = Try to win. S = Fit in with the game world. N = Show what you'd do in a moral dilemma.
    156 replies | 10796 view(s)
    5 XP
  • LostSoul's Avatar
    Saturday, 6th July, 2019, 01:55 PM
    1. The game must push the PCs so that players have to really wonder if now is the time to spend prowess points. 2. Thus recovery of PP should be a big deal. 3. How do the PCs change? (It should be tied into their decision making, so probably based on how they spend their PP.) You might want to incorporate "losing" oneself into the PP mechanics - when PCs spend PP they risk losing themselves...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 6th July, 2019, 08:43 AM
    Re-read the example. You're interpolating things (eg "day-dreaming") that aren't there. From Apocalypse World, pp 155-56: “I read the situation. What’s my best escape route?” She rolls+sharp and . . . misses. “Oh no,” she says. I can make as hard and direct a move as I like. . . . “You’re looking out your (barred, 4th-story) window as though it were an escape route,” I say, “and they...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 6th July, 2019, 08:41 AM
    double post deleted
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 6th July, 2019, 07:24 AM
    Physicists call the heat given of by a burning match "work". Even though no one is doing any work. Most jargon has an origin that explains where it came from even though the present use of the jargon wouldn't reveal that. Immersion is often used to describe a mental state. A person can play a Paizo AP and be engaged in the world of the story without entering that mental state, I think. It's...
    156 replies | 10796 view(s)
    3 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 6th July, 2019, 03:42 AM
    Sure. I'm not disputing or even commenting on your preferences. I'm commenting on whether or not something is RPGing. Thanks (taking this at face value and not as ironic/sarcasm). But what's happened to your tags?
    674 replies | 17721 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 6th July, 2019, 03:38 AM
    Two things in reply: (1) I reiterate what Ovinomancer says about Bob. Whether or not it can be roleplayed, and counts as roleplaying, has nothing do with the stuff the GM (or other player) is imagining as s/he tells you what has changed about your PC's mental states. (2) You seem to be pre-supposing that the only way that human beings can influence one another's mental states is by way of...
    674 replies | 17721 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 6th July, 2019, 03:27 AM
    This makes sense. In my Burning Wheel game one of the PCs was subjected to Force of Will by a dark naga. I told the player that he had to write a Beilef reflecting this, and the two of us hammered that out over the course of a few minutes. Then the player just went on playing his PC.
    674 replies | 17721 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 6th July, 2019, 03:20 AM
    Gamism = RPGing with win conditions. Gygaxian dungeoneering is an example. Supers-type RPGing where the Hulk has to beat up on the Thing to save the day is probably another. And I susspect a fair bit of Rifts play is like this also. Stuff that matters in design includes GM fairness and, in crunch-heavy systems, broken builds. Simulationism = RPGing in which the players' goals is to "be there"...
    156 replies | 10796 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 4th July, 2019, 09:46 AM
    The reason for the parenthetical is that most posters on ENworld who use the terms GNS don't use them as The Forge does. (Similarly they don't use the term "fail forward" in the way those who coined it did. In both cases its because discussion on ENworld doesn't typically incorporate an appreciation of the approaches to RPGing that underpinned the coinage of these various terms.) In typical...
    156 replies | 10796 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 4th July, 2019, 08:18 AM
    The lack of this for onworld exploration in Classic Traveller is the biggest problem I've had with that system in my recent campaign.
    674 replies | 17721 view(s)
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Saturday, 9th February, 2019

  • 01:35 PM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post Anatomy of a Skill Challenge
    If I'm reading this correctly, you're suggesting that the situation should change, or at least "evolve in a narrative sense", each time a PC achieves an individual success. Is that correct? Could you elaborate? How would you change the situation at least seven times before winning the challenge? I haven't read the main posts yet, sorry, but saw this. In terms of rules/guidelines, that advice - that each check should change the situation - is found in the 4e DMG2. In practical terms, LostSoul was probably the earliest proponent of it on these boards and (like at least some of us) was influenced, I think, by experience with other systems that use similar "closed scene" resolution methods. Managing the fiction so that it can evolve with checks but neither success nor failure is foreclosed until the end is (in my experience, at least) one of the big demands in GMing a skill challenge. Here's a link to one of the ones that I think I did OK with.

Sunday, 7th October, 2018

  • 01:29 PM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post Mearls On D&D's Design Premises/Goals
    ...e don't work out what a PC can do by comparing his/her bonus to the DC that is read off the fiction. We work out what a PC can do by reading that straight off the fiction and the logic of the game's genre - and when a player delcares an action for his/her PC that is consistent with that fiction/genre logic, the difficulty is then established using the relevant mechanical system (chart, table, dice pool, the definitions of the "moves" in DW, etc). In the 4e example of sealing the Abyss, there is no DC for sealing the Abyss, such that a player knows that when his/her PC's bonus gets to a certain level that feat is within the realm of possible accomplishments. Rather, at my table we know that the PC can attempt sealing the Abyss because he is an epic tier chaos sorcerer and emergent primordial. We know that Arcana is the relevant skill because the skill description says that it can be used to manipulate magical phenomena. And I then set the DC by reference to the DC-by-level chart. LostSoul described the contrast nicely (using 3E and 4e as his comparitors) in this old post: How the imagined content in the game changes in 4E as the characters gain levels isn't quite the same as it is in 3E. I am not going to pretend to have a good grasp of how this works in either system, but my gut says: in 4E the group defines the colour of their campaign as they play it; in 3E it's established when the campaign begins. That's kind of confusing... let me see if I can clarify as I work this idea out for myself. In 3E, climbing a hewn rock wall is DC 25. That doesn't change as the game is played (that is, as fiction is created, the game world is explored, and characters grow). Just because it's DC 120 to balance on a cloud doesn't mean that characters can't attempt it at 1st level; they'll just always fail. The relationship between colour and the reward system doesn't change over time: you know that, if you can score a DC 120 balance check, you can balance on clouds; a +1 ...

Monday, 16th July, 2018

  • 01:35 PM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post The roots of 4e exposed?
    ...he acting character's motions, intentions, and experience of the action. * It retains the key role of constraint on in-game events. The dice (or whatever) are collaborators, acting as a springboard for what happens in tandem with the real-people statements. Of course, nobody actually uses those Forgite terms accurately anyway. When people call 4E "gamist", for example, I can't help but laugh and roll my eyes. 4E is probably the version of DnD least suited to a Step On Up creative agenda. Meanwhile it maps to "simulationism" pretty cleanly with its fidelity to heroic fantasy genre emulation. All of which ignores the fact that Forgite creative agendas refer to gameplay table experiences and not to actual game systems. What a joke!I agree re 4e and gamism - though Balesir on these boards articluated a coherent gamist version of 4e which is nothing like Gygaxian "skilled play" but rather is quite "light", and is about showing off your schtick in a given encounter. LostSoul used to argue that 4e is a type of high concept simulationism as you suggest - I tend to agree with AbdulAlhazred, that it is best suited to "story now" instead. Not that it couldn't be done in a high concept fashion, but I think that would tend to make for more tedious play because the "heaviness" of the mechanics would still be there, but they wouldn't be giving as much payoff (with the outcomes pre-settled) as they do with a more "story now" focus. And I think it's pretty obvious how many 4e mechanics exhibit the features of FitM resolution that Edwards calls out in the passage I just quoted. EDIT: Just saw this follow-up post: most of what gets passed off as "story-focused" or "story-oriented" play around these parts, and would probably get labelled as "narrativism" as a result, is pretty much GM-authored railroading plot --- and therefore the complete and polar opposite of Story Now play. So, for example, when the developers of 5E went around claiming it was more a more "...

Friday, 8th June, 2018

  • 05:43 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned LostSoul in post Towards a Story Now 4e
    ...if that is fully desirable, or is a backsliding away from robust scene-framing; but I sometimes find that the absence of checks in a MHRP/Cortex+ Heroic Transition scene can make them a bit tricky to adjudicate. This is an interesting point of discussion for sure. I started out a few years ago writing HoML as just a sort of 'Fixed up 4e', but the more I customized things, the more I moved into a much more Story Now sort of a mindset and approach. So there are actually still a LOT of traces of the sort of informal "make a check to figure it out" sort of design which has existed in D&D since the invention of the NWP way way back in Oriental Adventures. In fact it is necessary to recast virtually all the various elements (except stuff that is strictly used in combat) in a way such to avoid this. So the question is whether that is the best approach. I think that maintaining the discipline of the General Challenge (basically an SC) as THE mechanism of resolution does have merit. I reread LostSoul's "Fiction First" hack and concluded that we're basically doing the same thing. He has a different set of techniques for forcing the story-driven approach, but the goal is almost the same, given we're shooting for different tones in our games. That is to say, when you have to use a challenge to resolve all conflict, then you move to the conflict AUTOMATICALLY. That's because conflict is the only way to play! Now, you could still move to trivial conflicts that only address GM concerns, which wouldn't really be Story Now as I understand it, but nothing is perfect. At least this way you do have conflicts and they're likely to have some heft to them by the time you burn through a dozen die rolls. Of course, the game might play very differently in other people's hands....

Thursday, 7th June, 2018

  • 02:59 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned LostSoul in post Towards a Story Now 4e
    MichaelSomething Yeah, I have looked at what LostSoul did. We have slightly different approaches, but I guess a similar agenda. I have gone a lot further in terms of 'hacking'. There is also a '4e Clone' that is brewing in the D20 forums of rpg.net. I think it is virtually finished now. Its a bit different in concept (full numerical compatibility with 4e but just providing a sort of 'core platform' which you could use to build fully realized games on). HoML is a game, draws a lot of inspiration from 4e, and is close enough rules-wise to be considered a 'd20 variant' (I would publish it using the OGL for instance as most of the terminology and such is drawn from D&D canon). Anyway: Some additional text. Let me know if these chunks are too big or too small, I can go either way with it. Legendary Heroes: Rules for Character Generation and Advancement Introduction Legendary Heroes provides the core rules used by players in HoML to create player characters and the definitions of their powers and other abilities. It also expla...

Thursday, 9th November, 2017

  • 09:03 AM - Hussar mentioned LostSoul in post Why does 5E SUCK?
    Good grief. This is a specific complaint about Sorcerers? Having seen high level Sorcs in play, I really have no idea where LostSoul is coming from. Sorcs can drop multiple spells per round, something no other caster can do. If your Sorc is weak, that's on you.

Sunday, 16th April, 2017

  • 04:09 AM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post Judgement calls vs "railroading"
    you make a point about SCs, that only the players roll, in essence, and go on to talk about weak spots. In some scenarios, I've found the NPCs just being part of the 'framing' of the challenges a weakness, at times I wanted to have an NPC that opposed or monkeywrenched what the players were doing. In one case I actually ended up creating an NPC with specific abilities that could be triggered to mess with the challenge, exception-based design to the rescue yet again (it was almost as facile a 'solution' as DM Empowerment, that way). The Skill Challenge framework is easy to adapt to any game with otherwise straightforward/binary skill checks, but it'd be nice if it had more was of incorporating an opposing side (or interfering 3rd parties, I suppose) into the resolution. Yet, in d20, specifically, I personally find the most obvious mechanism, opposed checks, to be problematic, ie 'too swingy.'Under the influence of LostSoul, who used to post about this stuff in 2008/9, I do this via my handling of the fiction - ie I narrate NPCs doing things, the environment doing things, etc, which will be bad for the PCs unless they take steps to counteract it. It's a sort of "active defence" approach. It doesn't interface all that smoothly with the combat mechanics, but there are workarounds (including the old standby of spending an encounter attack power for a +2 to the check).

Friday, 17th March, 2017

  • 03:49 AM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post Judgement calls vs "railroading"
    ...ndering monster tables that do a similar thing for random encounters. Also, in the classic dungeon there is generally no assumption that creatures encountered are automatically hostile. There are reaction tables, and racial or alignment-based conflict penalises reactions but (with some exceptions for specific creatures) doesn't dictate it. So the general idea is that, in a dungeon, the players will feel the full consequences of their actions, but these will be (more-or-less) level appropriate. And if the 2nd level PCs venture to the 4th dungeon level in pursuit of richer treasures, well then the players have taken onto themselves the risk of stirring up more than they can handle. Once it becomes common to play the game in less contrived settings than those classic dungeons - with populated lands, rulers with armies at their command, etc - then the idea of splitting the setting, and hence the consequences, into level-appropriate chunks becomes trickier. It can be done - eg LostSoul did this in his 4e-based sandbox game. And because there were no dungeon levels to send the signals, he just told his players what level different areas were, so they could choose how much risk they wanted to take with their PCs. But some of the difficulties of combining sandbox precepts with a level-based game set in a non-contrived world help explain why, from the early-to-mid 80s, the mainstream of D&D play shifted from Gygax amd Moldvay-style dungeon/sandbox to more GM-driven Dragonlance "high adventure" style. 2nd ed A&D then cemented this shift, making the Dragonlance-style GM-driven game the clear default. It's also not a coincidence that other late-70s games that are aimed (at least in part) at sandbox play - like RQ and Traveller - aren't level based, and so don't feel the need to send signals about what is or is not a viable opponent quite so clearly as D&D requires. And those games also have other devices - eg world law levels in Traveller; social connections that are...

Wednesday, 8th March, 2017

  • 02:45 AM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post Skill Challenges and Action Points
    ...ombat, which (roughly) doubles damage dealt. Sounds like some of the pure mechanical usages of a Fate Point... though a full reroll when you dislike the results is basically more like a +4 almost 5 to effective skillA player who is only 1 or 2 short will take the +2 to guarantee success; otherwise they take the reroll. I'd be careful about awarding APs in skill challenges unless you plan to have 4 combats in a day and the PCs are not strongly optimized. That then gives 3 APs for 4 combats. If you have less combats than that or the PCs are optimized to gain APs elsewhere, then you can easily end up having APs for every combat. Which is not really an intended result.I think this worry assumes that players won't be using APs during skill challenges. But at least in my game, that's not the case. One thing that is relevant to this, I think, is making sure that each success or failure in the challenge changes something in the fiction (DMG2 stresses this, and before it came out LostSoul on these boards used to make the point very clearly and forcefully). So if, say, the player of the fighter fails a social check in the challenge (not terribly unlikely for a typical fighter build), the reason for spending an AP to try and turn it into a success is not just the overall context of succeeding at the challenge, but that particular context of the player not wanting his/her PC to be ignored or not get his/her way or look like a fool or whatever other consequence, in the fiction, is going to follow from the failure. This is more-or-less what happened in the Yan-C-Bin and Marut SCs I mentioned upthread, which is why 3 (I think - maybe even 4) of the players came into the tarrasque combat without APs.

Saturday, 30th January, 2016

  • 05:02 PM - Imaro mentioned LostSoul in post Failing Forward
    ...ith dispassionate words. By god, when I'm framing scenes, and I'm in the zone, I'm turning a freakin' firehose of adversity and situation on the character. It is not an objective outgrowth of prior events. It's intentional as all get out. We've had a group character session, during which it was my job to find out what the player finds interesting about the character. And I know what I find interesting. I frame the character into the middle of conflicts I think will push and pull in ways that are interesting to me and to the player. I keep NPC personalities somewhat unfixed in my mind, allowing me to retroactively justify their behaviors in support of this. And like Scott's "Point A to Point B" model says, the outcome of the scene is not preconceived. So the DM creates point A... and upon failure controls point B... so the players only control point B in succeeding... is that correct? The introduction of complications is not meant to be independent of the GM's inclinations. As @LostSoul said, you play with someone because you like their ideas, and they way they deploy them. But the GM has no capacity to control outcomes, for the reasons I already stated in this post. (Notice also that Czege contrasts the use of "secret backstory" with scene-framing/story now/"fail forward"-type techniques.) Youu haven't shown at all what (outside of the logic of the surrounding fiction) constrains the DM in forcing the story to go the way he wants to. Even @Manbearcat concedes that there are no rules that totally safeguard against this. As to @LostSoul 's comment... I totally agreed with him. I suggest you might want to go back and se how this tangetn started and what my actual stance is before continuing to argue against the position you think I hold. The phrase I have consistently used is "pre-authorship". I have contrasted play based on pre-authorship - and attendent techniques in play like adjudicating consequences by reference to secret backstory, and the players, by the p...
  • 04:13 AM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post Failing Forward
    ...es in games I've run recently. . . . I'm having trouble capturing in dispassionate words what it's like, so I'm going to have to dispense with dispassionate words. By god, when I'm framing scenes, and I'm in the zone, I'm turning a freakin' firehose of adversity and situation on the character. It is not an objective outgrowth of prior events. It's intentional as all get out. We've had a group character session, during which it was my job to find out what the player finds interesting about the character. And I know what I find interesting. I frame the character into the middle of conflicts I think will push and pull in ways that are interesting to me and to the player. I keep NPC personalities somewhat unfixed in my mind, allowing me to retroactively justify their behaviors in support of this. And like Scott's "Point A to Point B" model says, the outcome of the scene is not preconceived. The introduction of complications is not meant to be independent of the GM's inclinations. As LostSoul said, you play with someone because you like their ideas, and they way they deploy them. But the GM has no capacity to control outcomes, for the reasons I already stated in this post. (Notice also that Czege contrasts the use of "secret backstory" with scene-framing/story now/"fail forward"-type techniques.) 1. You pre-prep all the time. 2. It's not actually about pre-prepping for a campaign it's about how/when you introduce the pre-prepped material. <snip> Ideas aren't fully statted up NPC's... the whole point of improv is that you don't have to do all that non-play, pointless workThe phrase I have consistently used is "pre-authorship". I have contrasted play based on pre-authorship - and attendent techniques in play like adjudicating consequences by reference to secret backstory, and the players, by the play of their PCs, discovering or exploring the fiction that the GM has pre-authored - with play based on authorship in response to player action declarations. Writin...

Friday, 29th January, 2016

  • 07:18 PM - Imaro mentioned LostSoul in post Failing Forward
    It's funny - I get the exact same impression with you with regard to improvisation and narrative styles. I'd like you to give actual game examples of improvised sessions you've run where you felt yourself to be railroading the players so we can see how you managed it, since that is something you've claimed happens. Oh, I understand and even enjoy narrative and improv styles with the right games... 13th Age, FATE (Gods & Monsters, Kerberos Club), Numenera, etc. So please don't assume... However when I see one playstyle (or set of tools) that I also use being blatantly mis-represented by people who have admitted to not liking/using them... well I tend to argue for the other side. Speaking of mis-representing...Where did I claim railroading happens due to improv in sessions? In fact here's my actual stance as I posted it much earlier in the thread while addressing @LostSoul... Hey @LostSoul I think you might be a little confused as to why this tangent sprung up... I'm not saying the bias should be gotten rid of or even that it's a bad thing, but if you can argue that pre-prepping + human nature will make me more likely to "railroad" towards what I have created... I in turn believe having free reign to improv anything within the realm of it fitting the fiction coupled with human nature will lead to one being more likely to "railroad" towards the story I want or envision. If you look back at my previous posts I don't believe either of these to be a result of the particular tools of the respective playstyles but more based in the DM running the game. The reason I am bringing up the biases, preferences, etc. in relation to the story now playstyle is to provide a counterpoint to the assumptions around pre-prep railroading. Which was in response to this tidbit originally posted by @Manbearcat... 3) The lack of temptation to subvert player action declar...

Wednesday, 27th January, 2016

  • 02:44 PM - Imaro mentioned LostSoul in post Failing Forward
    Here's the thing: You play with certain people because you like their ideas. This means that, for a pre-authored game, you like the content that the DM pre-authored. It also means that, for a no-myth game (or whatever - pemertonian-scene-framing, fail-forward, etc.), you like the content the DM authors as the scene plays out. No one wants to get rid of bias. Hey LostSoul I think you might be a little confused as to why this tangent sprung up... I'm not saying the bias should be gotten rid of or even that it's a bad thing, but if you can argue that pre-prepping + human nature will make me more likely to "railroad" towards what I have created... I in turn believe having free reign to improv anything within the realm of it fitting the fiction coupled with human nature will lead to one being more likely to "railroad" towards the story I want or envision. If you look back at my previous posts I don't believe either of these to be a result of the particular tools of the respective playstyles but more based in the DM running the game. The reason I am bringing up the biases, preferences, etc. in relation to the story now playstyle is to provide a counterpoint to the assumptions around pre-prep railroading.

Thursday, 24th September, 2015

  • 05:13 AM - Manbearcat mentioned LostSoul in post For 4vengers: What is your preferred fallback edition?
    This one is tough for me because I have been a huge fan of every single one of these editions (save 0e) and have GMed each of them an absolutely absurd amount. I'm going to do like other folks and cop out a bit, but I'll put a vote in here. When I GM D&D it is for two very different purposes: 1) Heroic/Romantic Fantasy campaigns where genre-coherent story emerges organically over the course of years merely by following the rules and being creative and proactive. 2) A grim expedition into a nasty dungeon/wilderness locale that is meant to test players' skill and nerve as they try to (a) survive at all and (b) come away with as much loot as possible. This is going to be the time investment of a single evening. The only D&D (brand) I will GM for agenda 1 above is 4e. Neck and neck with 4e for 1 is Dungeon World with Cortex + Heroic Fantasy and 13th Age (in that order) a wee bit down the line. I would run Burning Wheel for pemerton and LostSoul, but my normal group wants a lighter rules system (and I tend toward that direction as well). The group that I run 2 for has historically been partial to Basic (by the book) and my house ruled 1e. However, I've gotten them into Torchbearer and the results have been terrific. Consequently, with that buy-in, it will be my new go-to for 2 above. So...to bring it back around to the poll. Sans TB for 2, you're probably looking at Basic. So there is my vote.

Saturday, 6th June, 2015

  • 04:29 AM - Manbearcat mentioned LostSoul in post Let's Talk About Metagaming!
    ... of these things. If you want to ensure the death of your enemy (story), you choose to use your shortsword that does 4d6+10 damage (rules). You use the rules to create the story. Metagaming is one step removed from gaming. When you're metagaming, you're not trying to ensure the death of your enemy (story). You're trying to do as much damage (rules) possible, and using your 4d6+10 weapon (rules) to do it. It's a subtle difference, so I'll boil it down a little bit (a lot?): Gaming is using rules to make a story. Metagaming is using rules to affect other rules. I have to admit, I'm struggling to find the distinction that you're making here between Gaming and Metagaming. I think what you might be aiming to imply is that Metagaming is "using rules to affect other rules with disregard for the (perhaps aberrant) fiction that is created (hence genre/trope-incoherent story emerges)." Is that what you're meaning? If it is then we've completed the circle and we're back to LostSoul's and steenan's well-constructed points above (and pemerton and my own). If the system incentivizes PC build choices that produce genre/trope-incoherency or aberrant fiction, then the blame needs to be placed on the system...not on the players.

Thursday, 4th June, 2015

  • 12:59 PM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post Let's Talk About Metagaming!
    I think you'd be hard-pressed to find game rules that don't correlate to anything in-game. Metagaming, then, isn't about what has an in-game correlation; it's about intent. If your intent is to impale a foe, you're not going to hop off a charging horse with your lance to do it. <snip> Let's not chastise players. But let's hold them accountable when their metagaming causes other players to see the table, dice, and rulebooks, instead of the battlements, sunset, and flaming arrows.I don't really follow; and I see LostSoul's post as making a pretty similar point to mine. If the rules of the game make a PC more likely to impale an enemy by attacking on foot rather than mounted, then what is wrong with the player having his/her PC attack on foot? Conversely, if we want the players to have their PCs act as if attacking on horseback is a better way to impale, why don't we make the game rules reflect this? EDIT: I hadn't read post 16 yet. steenan makes the same point too. A well-designed game shouldn't give rise to conflicts between fiction and mechanics.

Sunday, 19th April, 2015

  • 09:53 AM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post The Best Thing from 4E
    ...nky's fix in a morbid game of chance/tempting fate...rather than not dieing (or he wouldn't be playing Russian Roulette and risking his life!). It is sort of the analogue to an adventurer recklessly risking life and limb for treasure and a player risking their character's death for the thrill of success over challenge and attendant advancement. The GM is the guy who hands them the gun. Presumably, the idea is that the GM's hands are clean with respect to cognitive bias and any perpetuation of "what comes next". The player of the game has agency insofar as they can (a) involve themselves in the first place or not (eg pick their adventure/dungeon level) and (b) they can roughly figure their odds of success (assuming they can perform the necessary maths as rounds compound).I think that (a) and (b) are roughly in place for Gygaxian play (at least til you get to the point where players are ostensibly barred from reading the rulebook). I think they're in play to at least some extent for LostSoul's game, too, but I don't know how much his players are privy to his content-generation tables. But once we are talking about secret backstory, in the form of timelines, or random tables the payers aren't privy to, as well as NPCs of unknown and generally unknowable level (I'm thinking back to the notorious chamberlain and the court magicians protecting him), then I think (b) is out the window and mostly (a) as well. At that point, it seems to me that the GM who protests that s/he has "clean hands" is like the player who writes up and CN or CE PC and then defends his/her disruptive play by saying "I'm just playing my alignment." The player needs to own up to his/her choices; and so, in my view, does the GM.

Saturday, 18th April, 2015

  • 03:58 PM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post The Best Thing from 4E
    I think I'm done with that, as far as you're concerned. Very Delphic. Not very helpful, though. An observation that also pertains to my conversation with LostSoul: The only unequivocal example of railroading that has been provided in this thread (at least recently) is Saelorn's story about the corpse-eating demon, which also seems to have lead to illusionistic backstory manipulation to get the game "back on the rails". I don't see how it would have been any less problematic, in all the ways that it was, if it had come about because the GM rolled on a random table and it happened to be the result that came up. If my example of a PC falling through the Elemental Chaos is supposed to be railroading (which I don't remotely see - what player agency was blocked/negated?), how would it have been less so if it had come about because I rolled it on a random table? And more generally: railroading pertains to the relationship between the GM's introduction of new fictional content, and the past player decisions, PC actions, etc. But random tables, use of freeze-frames etc are all just variations on GM-side techniques for making a decision about...
  • 02:29 AM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post The Best Thing from 4E
    ...to present a pleasing play experience. <snip> Beyond that is the bias objection, which as I stated in my last post, speaks to a more gamist aspect of process-sim, that it is ideally a process in which the DM's judgment is engaged as little as possible, thus insuring not realism, but a lack of bias. Bias in this case being measured as something like "if I ran 100 parties through this adventure their outcomes would distribute around some typical results" and no one of them would be able to say "you made it harder for us!" just perhaps "we got unlucky." <snip> The narrativist points out, quite logically, that his scenes are framed in narratively coherent terms and present elements asked for by the players, so they cannot possibly be 'biased' or 'railroading'. The naturalist points out that the sum total of the plot generated in this fashion is a long series of coincidences. My puzzle is what any of this has to do with railroading or player agency. Which was my question to LostSoul and JamesonCourage and, in a subsequent post, Saelorn. I think it is also the question that Balesir is asking. What you describe above is an aesthetic preference - that the world be "naturalistic", that if 100 adventuring parties arrive at the Garden Gate then the scenes the GM describes occur with roughly the percentage likelihood they would in "real life", etc. As you said, it's about "the world seeming authentic enough to provide a pleasing play experience". As Balesir asked, what do departures from this aesthetic preference - eg direct GM authorship rather than GM-authored random charts whose application is mediated via dice rolls - have to do with railroading? How do the players have more agency if the GM writes a chart and then rolls on it?
  • 01:54 AM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post The Best Thing from 4E
    ...thing under the hay is a bundle of weapons. Hence I describe to the players a scene at the gate as in my scenario 3 upthread. Would that be railroading? If so, the implication seems to be that virtually all content generation is railroading - even the random tables that are the stock-in-trade of classic D&D. If not, why is it different if the same outcome is determined by GM decision at the point of the encounter, rather than by rolling on a table that the GM wrote up a week ago? How was player agency blocked or overridden in one case but not the other? I know you don't.I was hoping that you might explain your reasons. I agree that the description of play (and "freeze-framing" in general) was a railroad.How do the players have more agency if the GM rolls on a random table rather than making a choice? What is the difference, from the point of view of GM influence on play, between the GM writing up a table and then rolling on it, and the GM just choosing? And to both LostSoul and JamesonCourage, who seem to think that rolling on a table makes a difference to whether or not an episode of content-introduction is railroading, would it make any difference if the GM wrote up the encounter table and sub-table on the spot and then rolled on it? Or is the important thing that the GM write up the table in comparitive ignorance of what is likely to matter to those participating in the game at the actual point of content-introduction? If the answer to that last question is "yes", that is an interesting aesthetic preference; but what exactly does it have to do with player agency?


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Saturday, 15th June, 2019

  • 06:33 PM - Riley37 quoted LostSoul in post What would be some good metics to evaluate RPG rules/systems?
    What matters are the choices that the players make. Interesting point. I'd guess that it also matters how many of the choices are front-loaded. In AD&D you have X choices to make, before you have a playable entry-level character and can make your first action declaration to specific events in the scenario. In 5E D&D you have Y choices to make. Which is greater, X or Y? How many choices does it take to make a PC for Pathfinder, Savage Words, GURPS, Call of Cthulhu? There will still be variation by table. Some AD&D players just rolled stats in order; your first roll is your STR. Other DMs allowed players to move stats around, which means more decisions. Perhaps some systems encourage more DM discretion than others, over which choices are in the hands of players. "You'd also have to look at all the spells and abilities." - Only for games which involve spells. Some do, some don't; perhaps that is itself a metric.

Thursday, 30th May, 2019

  • 10:21 PM - Xaelvaen quoted LostSoul in post Keeping control of your game while keeping illusion of liberty
    While I don't like the advice personally, I could see how the DM saying "Sorry, you can't go there" would ruin the game for some people. I don't think the solution is to limit their actions, however. I think the solution lies in two parts: 1. Get the players to tell you, in advance, what their character's goals are. That way you can prep for them. This is the bread and butter of my DMing style, assisted greatly by my players' roleplaying. Regardless of the system in which we're currently playing, I add a place for 'Short Term Goal' and 'Long Term Goal' for the characters. I work with the players to set these up ahead of time, and give me ample opportunity to prepare all manner of random endeavors in which the characters are likely to participate. Moreover, when a short term goal is achieved, I reward the player a little bit, and when the long term goal is achieved, the reward is significantly larger. This helps me avoid the very situation the author is perilously planning against.

Tuesday, 13th November, 2018

  • 12:25 PM - pemerton quoted LostSoul in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    ...ining to Paragon and Epic Tier heroes. Eg from p 29 of the PHB: In the epic tier . . . [y]ou navigate otherworldly realms and explore neverbefore-seen caverns of wonder, where you can expect to battle savage pit fiends . . . Whereas p 28 tells us that, in the heroic tier, The fate of a village might hang on the success or failure of your adventures, to say nothing of the risk to your own life. You navigate dangerous terrain and explore haunted crypts, where you can expect to fight sneaky goblins, savage orcs, ferocious wolves, giant spiders, evil cultists, and bloodthirsty ghouls. Such a person has no hope against a pit fiend. You asked "what would you do in 4e with a 1st level PC attempting to strike a Pit Fiend?" And I answered that I can't imagine it coming up. Therefore I don't need a theory of how to resolve that action declaration. But I don't need such a theory to know that the 1st level fighter would have no hope, as the fiction tells me that. I will repost LostSoul's post that makes this point as clearly as I believe it can be made, about the sequence of fiction and mechanics in 4e compared to other editions (he focuses particularly on 3E, but I think the point generalises): How the imagined content in the game changes in 4E as the characters gain levels isn't quite the same as it is in 3E. I am not going to pretend to have a good grasp of how this works in either system, but my gut says: in 4E the group defines the colour of their campaign as they play it; in 3E it's established when the campaign begins. That's kind of confusing... let me see if I can clarify as I work this idea out for myself. In 3E, climbing a hewn rock wall is DC 25. That doesn't change as the game is played (that is, as fiction is created, the game world is explored, and characters grow). Just because it's DC 120 to balance on a cloud doesn't mean that characters can't attempt it at 1st level; they'll just always fail. The relationship between colour and the ...

Sunday, 11th November, 2018

  • 02:14 AM - pemerton quoted LostSoul in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    I also just noticed that it is literally impossible for any PC to hit a DC 30, until Level 5...that is, until Tier II. So a certain gating is definitely built into the system.Couldn't a 1st level PC roll with +2 for proficiency, +4 for Guidance, +4 for 18 stat? Which would be a 1 in 80 chance to hit DC 30. Lol... I made this point earlier to @pemerton. That there are in fact things that can be accomplished by higher level PC's that can't be by lower level PC's (from a mechanical standpoint). My question is fairly simple - what is there (given bounded accuracy) that is feasible for a 15th level fighter but impossible for a 1st level fighter. DC 25 or 30 doesn't fit that description: a 15th level fighter has +4 or +5 to CON, and even with +2 from Remarkable Athlete has almost no chance of succeeding at that attempt. (Literally no chance against DC 30 without further buffing, and even then the chance is very small.) As I posted upthread, DC Heroes tries to deal with this issue via unbou...

Sunday, 7th October, 2018

  • 01:29 PM - pemerton quoted LostSoul in post Mearls On D&D's Design Premises/Goals
    ...e don't work out what a PC can do by comparing his/her bonus to the DC that is read off the fiction. We work out what a PC can do by reading that straight off the fiction and the logic of the game's genre - and when a player delcares an action for his/her PC that is consistent with that fiction/genre logic, the difficulty is then established using the relevant mechanical system (chart, table, dice pool, the definitions of the "moves" in DW, etc). In the 4e example of sealing the Abyss, there is no DC for sealing the Abyss, such that a player knows that when his/her PC's bonus gets to a certain level that feat is within the realm of possible accomplishments. Rather, at my table we know that the PC can attempt sealing the Abyss because he is an epic tier chaos sorcerer and emergent primordial. We know that Arcana is the relevant skill because the skill description says that it can be used to manipulate magical phenomena. And I then set the DC by reference to the DC-by-level chart. LostSoul described the contrast nicely (using 3E and 4e as his comparitors) in this old post: How the imagined content in the game changes in 4E as the characters gain levels isn't quite the same as it is in 3E. I am not going to pretend to have a good grasp of how this works in either system, but my gut says: in 4E the group defines the colour of their campaign as they play it; in 3E it's established when the campaign begins. That's kind of confusing... let me see if I can clarify as I work this idea out for myself. In 3E, climbing a hewn rock wall is DC 25. That doesn't change as the game is played (that is, as fiction is created, the game world is explored, and characters grow). Just because it's DC 120 to balance on a cloud doesn't mean that characters can't attempt it at 1st level; they'll just always fail. The relationship between colour and the reward system doesn't change over time: you know that, if you can score a DC 120 balance check, you can balance on clouds; a +1 ...

Saturday, 28th July, 2018

  • 03:20 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted LostSoul in post Morale systems
    1. Act as a flag for the DM: the situation has changed, the NPCs need to respond to that. It's easy to forget about changing NPC motivations in response to the situation with everything else that you have to keep track of, and making the check is a way of reminding the DM that this is important. But, since the GM now has to not forget to track morale (which in AD&D is rather complex BTW) I'm not sure the goal is actually achieved. The reason I advocated hit points as the core mechanic for it is that it is ALREADY kept track of, and thus has very low overhead. I think adding new mechanics to 4e is already problematic, and I want them to be very 'cheap'. 2. Act as a way for players to overcome an encounter that's not killing everyone. I've done this as a player, especially when outmatched. This is always desirable and every encounter should have these. Anyway, in 4E I would probably put this in the encounter design space instead of as a global rule. The system would include rules on how...

Monday, 25th June, 2018

  • 12:41 AM - heretic888 quoted LostSoul in post 4E Hack: "Fiction First" Playtest
    The result of the reaction roll sets the number of successes needed in the skill challenge before three failures. "Uncertain, cautious, and wary", the most common result, is 6 and it goes up and down from there. That doesn't necessarily mean there will be any conflict, so there may not be any rolls needed. The PC only rolls when there is conflict and the way I determine that is if I don't know how the NPC will react. That seems to work. I can go into more detail if you'd like. The extra dice are bonus/penalty dice, which I find easier to use instead of adding or subtracting modifiers. There's a little more to it than that, but it's a complex issue about basic resolution - when to roll, what a roll means, etc. Hi LostSoul, any chance you'd be willing to post an updated document for us? :)

Sunday, 17th June, 2018

  • 08:52 PM - vagabundo quoted LostSoul in post 4E Hack: "Fiction First" Playtest
    More than a few years! Still playing the original campaign, though the players have changed over time. Right now Dhalia is headed into the asteroid belt past Mars to find an "Astral Seed", a new pocket universe, guarded by... I forget her name, but a giant centipede exarch of The Jailer (Torog, we've changed the gods somewhat) whose duty it is to protect the seed. This being also has the goddess of the hobbits imprisoned and is in love with her. Dahlia has a small fleet of "rocket ships" - most of them use nuclear power, but the Plutonian (Githzerai) "squid ships" use portals. One of her ships is destroyer- or cruiser-sized, an Epic-tier craft. It's pretty crazy but the basic rules seem to work in space / with laser guns without any changes, though we haven't had a real space combat. (There were some with smaller craft but no massive naval battle.) I built the map in the same way, translating elements into space terms. Space "weather" and "terrain" is rather fanciful but it works a...

Thursday, 31st May, 2018

  • 03:41 PM - vagabundo quoted LostSoul in post 4E Hack: "Fiction First" Playtest
    THREAD NECRO!! An update after many months. The urban experiment didn't work. I need to put more thought into that. While thinking about it, I decided that I didn't really want to play with some of the old group; they were far too reactive for the type of game I wanted. That led to a change in how I handled XP. Most of the XP is now by Quest or Goal, and I divide "regular" XP by 10. Anyway. I got some new players (well, St and her boyfriend, whom I play 3E with), made a new hex map (and started coming up with a new hex map generation system), and started playing. The most satisfying D&D I've played. As we play there are major changes I want to make to 4E - I want to change how damage is calculated, and I'm currently using a different method of generating NPC defences - but so far it's been great. The players have engaged with the settlement system, going so far as to clear some hexes and start up two different settlements. Time is working well as a resource, as are GP...

Wednesday, 8th February, 2017

  • 06:04 PM - Myrhdraak quoted LostSoul in post Changing the Combat Parameters of 4th Edition
    One full day of rest, not just the overnight rest. You can't get back your daily powers either. The real key to this is to make sure that time is part of the game's economy. That's an interesting thought. I might have used time as a factor for travelling to certain destinations, or tied to puzzles or combat events, but never really considered the time for healing and recovery as a time factor you could use in the game. I you are set against the clock for some major game events, and healing takes long time, every damage you take would count.

Tuesday, 7th February, 2017

  • 10:37 PM - Myrhdraak quoted LostSoul in post Changing the Combat Parameters of 4th Edition
    I left spells and prayers tied to a five minute rest*, and you could spend as many healing surges as you'd like during that time, but you'd need to spend a full day of nothing but rest to regain a healing surge. Then I did some other things: NPCs get tougher over time XP isn't tied to killing monsters Gaining levels takes a long time Tied GP to time via "Get a Job" I haven't played a PC in my game much, but it's a bitch to decide when to rest and when to head back out there. * Exploits are different. Correct me if I am wrong, but you only allow the recovery of 1 HS after an extended rest, right? So a Fighter with 12 HS, would have to rest 12 Days to be fully recovered - or am I misinterpreting what you say? It would really slow down the level progress. If I compare to real life I would say it takes 10 years to reach CEO level at a large company (my personal estimate). To reach divinity and godhood in 4th edition will take 2 months (2 extended rests for each new level, times 30 levels). In...
  • 08:33 PM - AbdulAlhazred quoted LostSoul in post Changing the Combat Parameters of 4th Edition
    I left spells and prayers tied to a five minute rest*, and you could spend as many healing surges as you'd like during that time, but you'd need to spend a full day of nothing but rest to regain a healing surge. Then I did some other things: NPCs get tougher over time XP isn't tied to killing monsters Gaining levels takes a long time Tied GP to time via "Get a Job" I haven't played a PC in my game much, but it's a bitch to decide when to rest and when to head back out there. * Exploits are different. Yeah, I got rid of XP totally, though in my system gaining levels is tied to boon acquisition, so in principle a character can advance at any rate the GM wishes to support. GP and such are now 'minor boons' and not explicitly regulated by the game mechanics. A 'job' would be in effect an encounter, or possible a whole adventure, and would probably net you some 'loot'. So, when you say 'NPCs get tougher with time' I'm assuming you mean in an overall strategic sense (IE they tend to 'level up'...
  • 09:41 AM - Mishihari Lord quoted LostSoul in post How important is game balance to you?
    No it's not. If resolution bogs down in some area, whoever's action needs to be resolved is going to sit in the spotlight. If it takes 30 minutes to do a "psi-battle" in some imagined game, where only one PC can act by the rules, that's taking the spotlight away from other characters. You'd think this would be obvious. This is the "decker issue" from games like Shadowrun. Nothing at all to do with spotlight balance.

Thursday, 12th January, 2017

  • 07:37 AM - pemerton quoted LostSoul in post Fairy tale logic vs naturalism in fantasy RPGing
    Can you give an example of how this would play out? From the play example earlier in the thread, I got the impression that if you succeed in the task resolution mechanic, you are given a great deal of narrative control over the result.I'm not 100% sure what the "this" is. But when I talk about using the mechanics, I'm thinking of something like the example of play in Moldvay Basic. The PCs enter a room, the GM rolls for wandering monsters and some hobgoblins come into the room through a secret door. The elf PC, who speaks hobgoblin, says in a friendly way to the hobgoblins "It's OK, Gary sent us" (or words to that effect - I'm relying on memory). The GM rolls a reaction roll (2d6), adding a bonus for the friendly greeting. (I recall the bonus being +1; to give a sense of scale, the bonus for 13+ CHA is also +1, and for 18 CHA is +2.) As it happens, in the example the reaction, despite the bonus, is poor, which the GM narrates as the hobgoblins first being non-plussed by the elf's remark, ...

Friday, 28th October, 2016

  • 01:17 PM - AbdulAlhazred quoted LostSoul in post Simplifying 4E
    The simple answer to making 4E a simple game is to only use page 42. If you want characters to function differently, you'd need to do something. e.g. x PC deals low damage normally but when another character is at bloodied HP, x deals mod damage. y PC can deal high damage 3 times before resting, but typical damage is low. I believe there was an article that showed how status effects related to page 42. Right, that's your basic core system. Feats and powers just kind of layer on top of that. You could forget about those and use basically 5e-like classes with nothing but class features (and whatever sort of magic system). You could build your magic system around "you can do these other special effects that nobody else can", perhaps tie character's 'specials' into plot coupons or an expanded HS system. My own hack uses a much expanded 'Vitality Point' concept where you can pay to recharge powers. They also subsume action points into one resource. It works well, but I have retained powers....
  • 09:20 AM - pemerton quoted LostSoul in post Simplifying 4E
    The simple answer to making 4E a simple game is to only use page 42.Throw a grenade, why don't you!
  • 08:33 AM - Xeviat quoted LostSoul in post Simplifying 4E
    I believe there was an article that showed how status effects related to page 42. Oh man, I'll have to comb through my insider account. I suppose as long as you got 1-4 super 42s and 1-4 mega 42s a day ... Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Tuesday, 29th March, 2016

  • 05:44 AM - pemerton quoted LostSoul in post Thoughts of a 3E/4E powergamer on starting to play 5E
    ...ven fighter/cleric to test whether the PC could stick his hands into a forge to hold an artefact steady as the artificers tried to grasp it with their tongs so as to reforge it. The rulebooks don't set a DC for that: rather, they tell us (in broad terms) what it means to be a mid-paragon tier PC, and I as a GM then extrapolated at my table by reference to those broad terms in conjunction with the details of our play. Is it a permissible check for a 1st level PC to try to persuade a King to hand over crown and kingdom? No - the description of the tiers makes that pretty clear. What about a 21st level PC? Depending on the details, a check may not even be required - the GM might just "say yes" because, in the fiction, it makes no sense that the king would even think about saying no to a demigod. To my mind, that's pretty much the opposite of "codified results", accept for the basic principle that once the check is framed, then if the roll is a success the desired outcome occurs. LostSoul had a good post, a while ago now, on this particular feature of 4e: I think this has to do with the relationship between colour and the reward system in 4E. How the imagined content in the game changes in 4E as the characters gain levels isn't quite the same as it is in 3E. I am not going to pretend to have a good grasp of how this works in either system, but my gut says: in 4E the group defines the colour of their campaign as they play it; in 3E it's established when the campaign begins. That's kind of confusing... let me see if I can clarify as I work this idea out for myself. In 3E, climbing a hewn rock wall is DC 25. That doesn't change as the game is played (that is, as fiction is created, the game world is explored, and characters grow). Just because it's DC 120 to balance on a cloud doesn't mean that characters can't attempt it at 1st level; they'll just always fail. The relationship between colour and the reward system doesn't change over time: you know that, i...

Friday, 29th January, 2016

  • 09:00 AM - pemerton quoted LostSoul in post Failing Forward
    How would you run the 4e module Cairn of the Winter King? I guessing you are familiar with the module as sometime ago you mentioned you were to run a blend of it with another adventure.I haven't run it. I think I might have been going to mix some of it with Heathen, or perhaps G2, but didn't. The only thing I remember adapting from it is the mechanic for having Intimidate checks do hit point damage to the main antagonist - I used a version of that in the concluding combat in Heathen. As to how I would run it - I don't remember it very well now, as I haven't looked at it since I got it (in 2010? whenever Monster Vault came out). But getting rid of the fetch quests would have to be a part of it. A player asks me which kingdoms host training centres for wizards? Which kingdoms are at war? Which is the deity of agriculture? What is a particular deity's emblem?...etc. With pre-authorship I have those details out the way already instead of having to think on the spot. In fact having those det...

Wednesday, 27th January, 2016

  • 03:09 PM - Maxperson quoted LostSoul in post Failing Forward
    The issue is that your pre-authored content may not reflect the themes that the players have focused on in their story. You don't know where the story is going to go, so your pre-authored content may simply fall flat and fail to be emotionally engaging. Like a great Cthulu-ish city in the midst of an Arthurian tale. The reality is that pre-authored content is very, very rarely that far off. Your fear of pre-authorship on those gounds is not very reasonable.


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