View Profile: MarkB - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Today, 12:44 AM
    They don't handle guns very well if they're bolted on top of existing medieval weapons, and treated as something different and special. But if you just take the stats of standard slings and crossbows and longbows, and change the names to phasers / blasters / whatever, then D&D handles guns just fine.
    45 replies | 939 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:42 PM
    I've run that. There was a sadly-unsuccessful Kickstarter project called Code::2050, and I used their basic SRD to run a 12-session campaign at our club. It worked really well.
    45 replies | 939 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 12:18 AM
    It may be browser dependent, but clicking on the hashtagged post number in the very top right of the post (or right-clicking and copying the URL) should get you a link that jumps straight to the post.
    419 replies | 16523 view(s)
    2 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 11:16 PM
    To be absolutely completely fair, the players' description was in post #242. Post #213 was a reply by Hussar, and post #214 was the original link to John Dodd's blog, and contained no excerpts.
    419 replies | 16523 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 11:07 PM
    Here's what I don't get. You can somehow hold in your head the position that people talking about someone having to stop running public games at conventions is a cruelty that you need to speak out about, while also holding the position that someone straight-up confronting someone with a scenario of being raped is no big deal, and not worth making a public fuss about. Then maybe the situation...
    419 replies | 16523 view(s)
    2 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 09:00 PM
    First, some traumas are a lot more commonplace than others. Second, you don't need to have experienced rape in order to find it highly disturbing when someone describes it happening to a character whose reactions you are portraying. Seriously, is this really something you feel the need to downplay?
    419 replies | 16523 view(s)
    4 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 08:54 PM
    What hallmarks, exactly? For attention seekers, the people who raised the issue have been remarkably reticent - which is partially why it took awhile for the full story to emerge. A couple of posts outlining events from their perspective, and that's it. It would be difficult for them to have sought less attention short of complete silence.
    419 replies | 16523 view(s)
    2 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 08:05 PM
    Sorry, but I just can't parse this reply. It feels like it's missing some words. Can you clarify?
    419 replies | 16523 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 07:26 PM
    Wouldn't it bother you that your "in the moment" solution would leave them free to be just as cruel again, when you're not looking?
    419 replies | 16523 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 07:15 PM
    So, when you have clear evidence of somebody behaving cruelly towards others, how would you proceed in resolving that situation?
    419 replies | 16523 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th June, 2019, 03:01 AM
    It's a start, but it's hardly a reliable indicator of reformed behaviour. And "But he apologised!" would be a poor excuse for the organisers to fall back on if he was allowed into another con and then caused similar issues.
    419 replies | 16523 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th June, 2019, 12:24 AM
    Well, first of all, does it really deny that possibility? We're not talking about banning this individual from DMing, only banning him from doing so during certain periodical public events. He can do as much DMing as he likes outside of those events, and can choose to better himself or not to do so. And second, how could anyone possibly adjudicate whether or not someone has "rehabilitated"...
    419 replies | 16523 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th June, 2019, 10:43 PM
    Here, I've enchanted this friendly mollusc to whisper a reminder to you on a regular basis. Just set him down next to your ear canal and he'll take care of you.
    7 replies | 392 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th June, 2019, 10:12 PM
    Right, because raising a complaint in a crowded room within a few feet of the person you're complaining about wouldn't be socially awkward or uncomfortable at all.
    419 replies | 16523 view(s)
    3 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th June, 2019, 07:08 PM
    There are ways to handle that. The players in Critical Role did so quite neatly in a recent episode, by using Disguise Self to take on the guise of the corpse's former allies before casting the spell. One useful thing about corpses is that they don't do well at Insight checks.
    68 replies | 2415 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th June, 2019, 06:49 PM
    In my experience, interrogations in D&D are far more likely to involve mind-influencing spells than torture. Forcing someone to want to tell you their secrets is more effective than forcing them to tell you their secrets unwillingly.
    68 replies | 2415 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th June, 2019, 12:34 AM
    Hmm, so I could just say "okay" and then never read this thread again... Yeah, that works. Go for it!
    33 replies | 1092 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th June, 2019, 12:29 AM
    If we start setting a minimum bar of social maturity for new tabletop RPG players, the hobby won't last long.
    419 replies | 16523 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th June, 2019, 10:45 PM
    I dislike the concept of the M-Card as it feels like a challenge rather than a safety feature. It's saying "are you edgy and adult enough to play at my table?" And then if a player who wasn't expecting to have difficulties with the content finds that something unexpectedly comes up that does bother him, it's like a commitment. "I promised I'd be mature and edgy enough to be in this game - I...
    419 replies | 16523 view(s)
    5 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th June, 2019, 07:18 PM
    Yep - I love it. For me, it did the whole "urban divinity" thing better than most of its contemporaries. I'll take it over American Gods any day.
    31 replies | 1118 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th June, 2019, 07:05 PM
    That part wasn't on the sign-up sheet. From the description on the sheet, it could just as easily have been "summer camp for monsters", and as mentioned by other posters, a "mature content" warning covers a lot of ground - it could as easily have meant explicit language, graphic violence, consensual sexual content, or any of a number of things. It was only once we got to the table that we were...
    419 replies | 16523 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd June, 2019, 11:44 PM
    But they did also have a good implementation of the ruleset and plenty of character options, and those things made the good story a lot more fun to play through. It's not one or the other - you need both.
    99 replies | 4420 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd June, 2019, 11:09 PM
    I've actually found myself in a game not too far-removed from this at a convention. The scenario was vaguely described on the sign-up sheet as a "monster camp" scenario, though it did specify the inclusion of adult themes. This turned out to be a metaphor for religious "straight camps", with the GM using the scenario of players as classic monsters (vampires, werewolves, etc.) who didn't want to...
    419 replies | 16523 view(s)
    3 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 2nd June, 2019, 05:31 PM
    I was going to ration it out to an episode or two a day, but I've ended up binge-watching it all between last night and today. An excellent adaptation that manages to capture pretty much all the essentials from the novel, and brings the story to the screen very well. If I had any criticisms, it would be that the demon costumes/headgear were a little on the silly side, and that the kids didn't...
    31 replies | 1118 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 2nd June, 2019, 02:28 AM
    Amazon UK are offering a one-week Prime trial subscription for 99p. Should be plenty of time to get through the series.
    31 replies | 1118 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 1st June, 2019, 08:49 PM
    That always carries the inherent risk of making the players more angry at the DM than the BBEG.
    9 replies | 463 view(s)
    2 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 31st May, 2019, 11:29 PM
    Well, Minsc is also back. Here's hoping he's a playable character. And the reward levels in a videogame don't have to conform to the standard tabletop levels. For one thing, they can easily do away with bounded accuracy, and require higher-level weapons and armour to take on higher-level foes.
    99 replies | 4420 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 31st May, 2019, 10:55 PM
    That's fine to some extent, but there's also the factor that people will often play con games in order to try out a new or obscure system and see whether it's for them. If they then buy the system and find out that it's glaringly different than what they experienced, that's not going to be fun for them.
    50 replies | 1619 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Thursday, 30th May, 2019, 07:28 PM
    Kinda sucks to B B4, I guess.
    49 replies | 1308 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Thursday, 30th May, 2019, 07:02 PM
    The more significant issue is that he sacrificed his life during his last on-screen appearance.
    49 replies | 1308 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 29th May, 2019, 11:54 PM
    Or Lore. Or B4.
    49 replies | 1308 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 28th May, 2019, 01:04 PM
    Was that an autocorrect of Tabasco, or is there such a thing as Tobacco Sauce?
    48 replies | 4587 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 28th May, 2019, 08:29 AM
    In terms of checking whether a creature suspects you of being disguised, I'd play it as a Charisma (Deception) check opposed by other peoples' passive Wisdom (Insight) checks. Anyone who doesn't know the person you're disguised as doesn't get a check. If a person has specific reason to doubt you, they may make an active check as an action. As the Intelligence (Investigation) check requires an...
    23 replies | 695 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 27th May, 2019, 11:34 PM
    Lack of any real information? The trailer doesn't really give us much clue what the series is actually going to be like. At this point it could be anything from an action packed retrospective anthology to a slow paced introspective character study.
    49 replies | 1308 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 27th May, 2019, 09:00 PM
    They'll do in a pinch, but ketchup is considered ideal.
    48 replies | 4587 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 27th May, 2019, 10:43 AM
    It was in the movie. In the first movie Spock explains to Scotty that the transporter formula he's using is one that he will invent in the future. He doesn't specify when, but as you pointed out, they weren't using transporters that way during any of the subsequent TV series, so we'd have to assume it was after them. And then, in the second movie, after Khan uses a transporter to beam to the...
    49 replies | 1308 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 26th May, 2019, 09:08 PM
    That is explained in-universe. Scotty eventually manages to create a transporter equation that will allow transporters to be used across vast distances, and in/out of warp drive. This was in the far future, probably after the end of DS9. Spock then takes that knowledge back in time to the Kelvin timeline, and is able to use it to modify a transporter there. It subsequently falls into Khan's...
    49 replies | 1308 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 26th May, 2019, 04:46 PM
    It might be necessary for the "studying magic in isolation" aspect. After all, the side-effect of keeping all of the star's output inside is that you keep everything else out.
    33 replies | 1024 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 26th May, 2019, 03:55 PM
    I like that one. It is, as you say, the simplest and neatest solution. That one doesn't really work. The Spock and Nero in this universe are orphans from the other timeline. Nothing their versions in this timeline do will affect how things played out in the original timeline. Eurgh, the whole "self-correcting history" trope is one I've never been keen on - and there's no indication of...
    49 replies | 1308 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 26th May, 2019, 12:35 PM
    That does seem likely, especially given the echoed "but then, the unthinkable happened" line. The tricky part there is that Star Trek's portrayal of altered timelines has always been that it doesn't create multiple parallel universes - if an event in the past alters the course of history, that new timeline takes over and the existing one goes away. That's consistent through City on the Edge of...
    49 replies | 1308 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 25th May, 2019, 12:55 PM
    They'll probably do a Batman vs Superman, and sub in a bigger, badder threat at the end for them to tag-team.
    6 replies | 568 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 25th May, 2019, 12:53 AM
    Think about how that actually feels in practice - someone grabbing your arm, and you trying to pull away or twist in their grip. You don't only know the sensation of their hand on your arm - you also have a very accurate feeling of the leverage they're exerting upon you, they way they're affecting your balance, the directions in which you have the most or least freedom of movement. That gives you...
    32 replies | 1116 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 25th May, 2019, 12:07 AM
    It's a lot easier to predict a particular technology than it is to consider and explore all the secondary ramifications of that technology. Plus, in many cases, that isn't even the goal. For many science fiction works, the objective is to examine the modern condition through the lens of a different setting, and introducing too many new factors is not merely irrelevant, it's detrimental and...
    12 replies | 496 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 24th May, 2019, 11:58 PM
    Generally, anything that can give you an emotional connection to the character. A bit of geeky humour, so that you know they share some of your interests. A moment of self-deprecation to show that they don't take themselves too seriously. A setback or failure, seeing them fall and then get back up again. A reaction of visceral horror to seeing something truly disturbing.
    10 replies | 521 view(s)
    0 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 24th May, 2019, 06:49 PM
    Wow, this is one persistent thread - Necro'd back from the dead twice over. That's certainly a valid interpretation, but it also makes the spell a bit weird. If it were really the case, wouldn't most casters just leave that part of the spell out, and let it permanently banish a creature instantly? I think the more logical answer would be that the "tether" effect is not a property of the...
    67 replies | 6921 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 24th May, 2019, 12:48 PM
    Robert Heinlein's 1954 novel The Star Beast features a teenager owning a clamshell-design mobile phone with GPS-style location tracking. Not quite a smartphone, but still a remarkably good prediction for the time.
    12 replies | 496 view(s)
    0 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 24th May, 2019, 01:17 AM
    As shown in T3, combining liquid metal with a mechanical body allows you to keep some flexibility while also bringing weapons to the party. And it looks like this new model gets the best of both worlds - plus the force multiplier of being essentially two Terminators in one.
    30 replies | 1425 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 08:38 PM
    And these days people have genre expectations based upon tropes established in Game of Thrones. I wonder whether he considers that a success or an irony. Did he break the wheel, or merely forge some new spokes?
    110 replies | 3595 view(s)
    2 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 12:33 PM
    I voted for mechanical bonus because I want to feel like the item is actually being of use to me, but with that said, I'd far rather have something I can use creatively than something that just changes a number on my character sheet. If it's materially useful, I wouldn't classify it as "flavour", even if its usefulness is situational. Then again, in a recent low-level game I played, the most...
    31 replies | 916 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 01:11 AM
    I don't think I'd want to formalise it too much. There are some dungeons I've run where the place is active and social, and anyone unfriendly to the locals would have a very hard time resting anywhere. And others are ancient ruins whose traps and denizens have been waiting for centuries, and have no problem waiting another day. And while a constant sense of danger can work in some...
    53 replies | 1699 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 11:58 PM
    Better still: Tell them you want to do this. Just because you're not liking the standard combat experience, that doesn't mean your players are bored of it, or eager to try something else.
    20 replies | 745 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 02:12 PM
    MarkB replied to Capturing Souls
    It's a little outside the fairytale realm, but Alhoons (undead Mind Flayers from Volo's Guide To Monsters) grant themselves discount-Lich status through a ritual in which three Mind Flayer arcanists sacrifice three creatures, trapping their souls in a single Periapt of Mind Trapping. The Mind Flayers are transformed into undead whose existence lasts for as long as their sacrificed creature had...
    10 replies | 491 view(s)
    0 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 11:47 PM
    How is it possible to answer that without context? The answer will vary wildly depending upon the character, the setting, the general situation, and their already-chosen spell selections. Are they two spells to be added permanently to their spell list, or is this a short-term deal?
    20 replies | 846 view(s)
    2 XP
  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 11:40 PM
    Hmm.
    179 replies | 4705 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 02:25 PM
    And ascribing real-world consequences to their opinions about fictional people.
    179 replies | 4705 view(s)
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Saturday, 25th May, 2019


Sunday, 21st April, 2019

  • 08:46 PM - pukunui mentioned MarkB in post Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker Trailer
    MarkB: Yes, George likened the dark side to a cancer and balance meant getting rid of it, not making it even with the “light side”. That was an EU concept which, unfortunately, seems to have become the official stance under Disney. The Rebels cartoon hinted at that a number of times. And in the new movies, we got Leia in TFA telling Han she could sense that there was still “light” in their son rather than “good”. That irked me. And then Luke in TLJ tells Rey that the Force was comprised of both light and dark, and Snoke talks about how the light side has raised a champion (Rey) to counter his dark side champion (Kylo). Sigh ...

Monday, 18th March, 2019


Wednesday, 6th March, 2019

  • 02:53 AM - CleverNickName mentioned MarkB in post Critical Role Kickstarter Predition Game: Guess the Funding Outcome (GTFO)
    ...09 chrisrtld: $13,635,019 pogre: $13,500,000 Aebir-Toril: $13,224,376.89 Satyrn: $13,000,000 Yardiff: $12,456,145 -----------Highest-Funded Game Project on Kickstarter (Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5) $12,393,139-------- Radaceus: $12,345,678.91 FarBeyondC: $12,345,678.90 Morrus: $12,000,000 Mistwell: $11,800,000 Mort: $11,620,000 Zardnaar: $11,354,883 <--- The Winner! Sadras: $11,120,000 SkidAce: $11,000,000 Tazawa: $10,700,000 togashi_joe: $10,250,000 DM Dave1: $10,101,010 MichaelSomething: $10,000,000 Lazybones: $9,750,000 PabloM: $9,500,000 akr71: $9,250,000 rczarnec: $9,250,000 Azzy: $9,000,000 Henry: $8,900,000 mortwatcher: $8,666,000 Lidgar: $8,423,976.73 vincegetorix: $8,360,000 SmokeyCriminal: $8,008,135 AriochQ: $7,777,777 robus: $7,750,000 MarkB: $7,500,000 phantomK9: $6,969,696 TarionzCousin: $6,160,000 ClaytonCross: $6,000,000 ---------Highest-Funded Film Project on Kickstarter (MST3K Kickstarter) $5,764,229----------- MaximusArael020: $5,685,000 Prakriti: $1

Wednesday, 19th December, 2018


Saturday, 1st December, 2018

  • 04:30 PM - dragoner mentioned MarkB in post Need idea about player spaceship landing on planets
    You beat me to it! Thanks, I also like the ecological impact of MarkB it could be something like a fusion rocket. Depending upon the setting and the society, you could go for an ecological angle. The shuttle is designed with atmospheric flight in mind, and has a propulsion system that works well for that context. But the ship's engines produce waste products including radioactive particles, dangerous carcinogens etc. ...

Monday, 17th September, 2018

  • 07:35 PM - iserith mentioned MarkB in post Roleplay opportunities in a mine (level 2)
    A social interaction challenge (because combat and exploration are roleplay!) might be the ghost of a miner who died in a cave-in who isn't aware of it. If the PCs can figure out what happened and explain it to the ghost, he or she can move on to the afterlife. If the PCs are successful, the miner shares with them a tunnel that serves as a useful shortcut around a dangerous area (perhaps a cave filled with odorless, explosive gas) and/or leads to a cave that contains a treasure. Edit: Dang! MarkB upstaged me!

Monday, 26th February, 2018

  • 09:06 PM - lowkey13 mentioned MarkB in post Musings on the "Lawful Jerk" Paladin
    ...r less entirely subjective. Mmmmm..... I give you all the points for "Paladin issues marinated[.]" It's like the worst steak ever. "Why does our kobold fillet taste so bad? It has to be the Paladin marinade!" Anyway, a quick point- OD&D- Paladin lost status by chaotic act; could not regain status. EVER, MAN! See Greyhawk supplement. 1e- If they perform a chaotic act, must confess and do penance. If evil act, cannot regain status. EVER. 2e- Same as 1e. Although it helpfully creates a rule because 1e had "knowingly commit" evil act, so 2e includes the whole, "You got charmed, yo, and now you have to atone!" So ... part of the problem, as it is with most things, is that weird translation from OD&D to 1e. "Chaotic" in OD&D meant, um, evil. Moorcockian. But by dragging out the whole different penalties in 1e/2e, it confused a lot of people, and (IME), most people just conflated the rules and made it, "If Evil, must atone." But contra what you are writing, and what MarkB is positing, these weren't the parts of the code that got people in trouble. There might have been some bad DMs out there, but as a general rule, the DM wasn't looking to strip you of your powers. Instead, and again IME, it was the rules about who the Paladin could party with ... um, who could be in the Paladin's party, that led to the whole "Jerky McJerkface telling the party what to do" reputation. That, and the fact that we all know Paladins suck and need to be excised from the game.

Wednesday, 14th February, 2018

  • 09:31 AM - Hussar mentioned MarkB in post Discovery Trailer
    I came to that conclusion maybe ten pages ago. These peeps need this show to be the best, actual show be damned! Sent from my C6603 using EN World mobile app Who says it needs to be best? I like it. I am not seeing the issues that you are pointing to, or, rather, the issues that are being pointed to are very much not issues for me. IOW, MarkB hits it square on the head. Like I said earlier, I get that people don't like the show. And that's groovy. There's stuff I haven't liked too. Fair enough. The difference is, I'm not jumping through hoop after hoop in order to justify my feelings. I'm not misinterpreting tropes in order to "prove" how bad Disco is. I'm not playing silly buggers cherry picking games to "prove" that they don't care about canon. I'm not trying to prove anything. I like the show. That's the end of that conversation.

Sunday, 4th February, 2018

  • 02:34 PM - pemerton mentioned MarkB in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...yle mystery scenario, getting the GM to read you bits of his/her notes is the whole point of play: get the clue from here, find the tome there, find the cultists' ritual headquaters, etc. This is all about learning what is in the GM's notes. It's not (or need not be) the GM reading a story: the sequence may not correspond to any particular pre-planned sequence, and there may not be any particular structure of rising action, complication, climax, etc. You also continually use examples of bad GMing to make your point that option 1 is a bad thing.Well, I make do with the examples I have. I don't believe that you've posted any actual play examples. (If you have, and I've missed them, I apologise - can you point me back to them?) The example of the map came (I think) from Lanefan - at least, it has been established in lengthy back-and-forth with him. The example of the plot on the Duke came from Lanefan. The example of the attempt to find bribeable officials came from MarkB. Are you saying that these are all examples of bad GMing? So what does good GMing look like, in this context? What is a good use of secretly-established fictional positioning being used by a GM to establish that a player's action declaration fails, without regard to the action resolution mechanics? A good GM will not send his players on a wild goose chase through the mansion for a map macguffin.So what would the pre-authorship be used for? Even the fiction that I've "pre-authored" can be impacted (or changed entirely if the situation calls for it) at any time by the players' actions - they are the heroes after all.Can you give an example of what you mean? For instance - and I am going to give an example I am familiar with, as I don't have much to go on from your game - I have a PC in my 4e game whose goal is to reconstruct the Rod of Seven Parts. He got the first part at the start of 2nd level. The campaign is now 30th level and he and his friends are in a fight that will de...

Friday, 2nd February, 2018

  • 12:35 PM - pemerton mentioned MarkB in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...shing a story of an orc. If the person asserts (as I think Emerikol does) that "As a player I only want to add those embellishments that correspond to causal powers exercised by my PC in the gameworld, so I will embellish deaths caused by my PC, but not maps discovered by my PC" that's his/her prerogative. It's a type of aesthetic preference. (As well as Emerikol, Lanefan has advocated it strongly in this thread.) My claims about it are two. (1) It is not more "realistic", or less "Schroedinger-y" than embellishing other parts of the fiction. (2) It means that a reasonable amount of your play experience will involve the GM telling you stuff that s/he made up (either in advance in his/her notes, or stuff that s/he makes up as needed but that is to be treated the same by the game participants as if it were part of his/her pre-authored notes). The reason for (2) I take to be obvious given the extensive discussion of it in this thread, and the example provided by Lanefan, MarkB and others. And the more the game involves "exploration" - that is, the players declaring actions which have, as an outcome, their PCs learning about the gameworld (eg opening doors, finding bribeable officials, searching for maps, etc) rather than their PCs changing the gameworld (eg by killing orcs or befriending strangers) - then the more that (2) will obtain. Furthermore, given that a PC's success in changing the gameworld often depends (in the imaginary causal processes) upon unknown but relevant factors (eg the armour of the orc; the temperament of the stranger) then even changing the gameworld through action declarations can become hostage to a resolution process that does not permit the player to embellish other elements of the shared fiction. For instance, if we go from player action declaration through resolution mechanics through embellishment that reflects outcome, then it is possible to have combat systems like D&D (AC, roll to hit, determine outcome from that) and h...

Thursday, 1st February, 2018

  • 12:38 AM - pemerton mentioned MarkB in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...GM, that's not counterindicative at all of having trust issues about the GM being unfair.The last sentence is not something I intend to reply to. I'm not interested in analysing my own conjectured self-doubts in this thread. As I've said, a more prosaic explanation for my preferences is available - my pleasure in RPGing does not come from telling my friends stuff that I wrote in response to them making moves for their PCs that oblige me to engage in such tellings. As for the first bit, you are correct that I "seem to couch [my] arguments from a position where the DM is uses secret knowledge and fiat in ways that benefit the DM's ideas over the players". The reason it seems like that is because it is like that. (I didn't clarify that in my first reply because I assumed it was obvious.) And the reason I couch my arguments (I would prefer to say "analysis", but that's orthogonal) from that position is because that position is correct. Which is what I said was evident in the post from MarkB: inherent in the use of secret backstory as a factor in adjudication is that the GM's ideas are given priority in establishing the content of the shared fiction. I'll respond to the following bit too, though, if you like, though I think it's repetition: a GM may be fair or unfair in saying (on the basis not of action resolution, but of secretly established fictional content) that the map is not in the study where the players have declared that the PCs are searching the study for it. If every other bit of information points to the map being in the study, it's probably unfair. If the PCs have a potion of map detecing with a range that will encompass the whole house (kitchen as well as study) but are not using it, then what the GM is doing is probably fair. I don't care whether it's fair or not. The reason I don't like it is because I find it uninteresting. When I RPG, I don't want to engage in an activity in which my friends are spending most of their time trying to establish - by ...

Monday, 29th January, 2018

  • 02:15 AM - pemerton mentioned MarkB in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...layer agency in a GM setting-driven game, as it was completely orthogonal from the GM's setting. (Eg we had fragments of a prophecy, and we spent a lot of time debating them, imagining how we could read various PCs into various roles outlined in the prophecy, etc. I assume that the GM had some conception, in his mind, of what the prophecy meant and how the events of play related to it, but they were absolutely irrelevant to what we players were talking about. We could have done our stuff just as easily if the GM had simply handed us three random prophecies downloaded from a Google search.) Clearly, you don't trust that players have any form of agency in any game that has substantive GM backstory and adjudication. You're denying that they do all over the place here and in your response to Lanefan. And you don't really seem to trust us when we say that player do have agency in the games we're running in which we do make use of substantial backstory and adjudication. Your response to MarkB here is fairly dripping with it. "you think it is" makes it very clear that you don't believe him or think it's true. It's like you're calling him out but acknowledge he's not technically lying because he seems to believe it's true.We're doing analysis here. Trying to dig down into the processes of play is not "calling someone out". I don't think MarkB is lying. I do think that the suggestion that I don't trust GMs is (i) false, and (ii) irrelevant - as if the only reason someone would play DungeonWorld rather than 2nd ed AD&D is because they don't trust GMs! But anyway, on to the issue of agency: Here is one of my assertions - if the GM is entitled, at any point in the process of resolution to (i) secretly author backstory, or (ii) secrety rewrite backstory, and (iii) to use that secret backstory as if it was part of the fictional positioning so as to (iv) automatically declare an action declaration unsuccessful ("No, the map's not in the study") - then I assert that every acti...

Saturday, 20th January, 2018

  • 05:00 AM - pemerton mentioned MarkB in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    In many ways, they do the same thing, it’s just the puzzle is a little different, less constrictive, and possibly more complex. Instead of a relatively simple puzzle of doping out the best way to maximize treasure within a single dungeon, they might be working on visiting all of the adventuring sites in the region, foiling the impending invasion of the orcsish legion, stopping the predation of a wicked dragon, or just visiting interesting places.The last of these doesn't sound like a puzzle at all. As for the others, as I posted not far upthread (in response to Sadras and MarkB), I'm curious about how the puzzle-solving works, when there are so many (imaginary) elements in play which can introduce parameters to the puzzle to which the players have no access (in practical terms). I don’t see those as unsolvable, but then I don’t really buy into describing RPG gaming, even limited to dungeon crawls, as puzzles to solve. Unless the puzzle is figuring out how to have fun pretending to be a halfling Paladin or half-orc summoner.Right. As the OP said, I think puzzle-solving play is not so common in contemporary RPGing. Given that it's not, then, what is worldbuilding for?

Thursday, 18th January, 2018

  • 11:39 PM - Lanefan mentioned MarkB in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...e notes on any of it. Having it pre-designed even if just in broad strokes makes the describing so much easier. Particularly at the start of the campaign when the players in theory know much less about the game world than their PCs do (canon lawyers for pre-fab settings notwithstanding) the DM has a lot of describing to do and as a side effect of that description is going to drop the PCs into a particular setting be it a steamy jungle, a city based on ancient Athens, a snowy Viking camp, or a pleasant sunny farm village. You'd probably call this railroading, but how else can it work? Of course, that's just the start; if the PCs in the Viking camp immediately decide to go someplace warmer then the DM has to react to that. (one hopes she has a broad-strokes regional or continental map showing areas beyond a short radius around the camp!) Are you able to say more about how you see the GM's work on the setting in advance of play feeding through to give the players that sense? MarkB might see it differently, but for my part it's much easier to figure out a character's motivations, beliefs, goals, etc. when there's a culture (or cultures) and common history to fit into. If, say, the setting history shows that our starting town was devastated by a war ten years ago and since rebuilt, that's going to influence my character and what she thinks; and probably influence other characters as well. But if the starting history shows no such war it's not our place as players to just add it in. We have no right to, as world design is not in our purview. And if there's no pre-designed history then what's the point? What happened before our PCs became PCs? What major events shaped their lives? (it should be obvious but I'd better mention: the DM sets the event but the player chooses what influence it had on her character, if any). Lanefan

Thursday, 28th December, 2017

  • 04:08 AM - ArchfiendBobbie mentioned MarkB in post Han Solo movie incoming....
    MarkB I thought Force Awakens: Incredible Cross Sections was canon due to being written and published after Disney acquired Star Wars?
  • 03:31 AM - ArchfiendBobbie mentioned MarkB in post Han Solo movie incoming....
    MarkB Maybe. But if so, that's a retcon of the Falcon's history. It was originally a freight pusher for orbit; that's why it had the cockpit to the side instead of the YT-standard central cockpit.

Saturday, 23rd December, 2017

  • 02:05 AM - Hussar mentioned MarkB in post Tension, Threats And Progression In RPGs
    Yeah, I gotta go with MarkB on this one. What's the point of trying to draw boxes around whether something is a "game" or not. Like any genre discussion, it's ultimately a deep, deep dive down a dark rabbit hole. And, I would also point out that I don't think anyone has advocated completely taking death off the table either. Just making it a bit more rare.

Friday, 8th December, 2017

  • 03:27 PM - redrick mentioned MarkB in post Losing HP as you level up
    I usually forget that one even can roll for hit points on leveling up. I doubt it's something the designers give much thought to as well. Agree with MarkB, incentivizing rolling for hp would be counterproductive — average hp should be the preferred option. Easier to keep track of, doesn't lead to pointless power differential between characters, takes nothing away from the RP. If rolling for hp, on average, gave you better results, we'd have players groaning and complaining when I said, "and we'll all just take average hp on level up." With the average being statistically better, nobody even notices that rolling for it is gone after a level or two. (If they ever noticed at all.) Roll dice for PC actions. Live with the consequences. But why randomize the squishiness of a character?

Sunday, 17th April, 2016

  • 11:54 PM - Quickleaf mentioned MarkB in post Hard sci-fi question: rotational artificial gravity space station
    ...the questions I'm trying to determine. How high up do you have to climb a building for there to be noticeable change in gravity. I think it would affect how high-rise type buildings were constructed, since the shearing forces (might be using the wrong term) between regular G and lower-G would require stronger building materials. Plus it might suggest activities happening at the upper levels of high-rise buildings would be substantially different...for example moving construction activities to the lower-G zones for increased efficiency. RangerWickett Really helpful on how to visualize entering at the zero-G "fixed" axis and seeing the entire station spin around you. I suspected some kind of shuttle or elevator would be necessary, but hadn't conceived of exactly why... I plugged a 500 m radius in and got a Tangential Velocity (or "rim speed") of 156 mph, which would be "splat your dead" for anyone moving or falling from the zero-G axis to the ground...in scientific terms :) MarkB That's another one of my questions. I mean, nothing we throw on Earth actually travels straight, technically. But in the rotational artificial G environment I'm wondering if it would be more obvious...or would it basically be a case of "throwing a baseball while in a moving car"? In other words, if everything/everyone is rotating at the same rate in relation to each other, there doesn't appear to be any change from Earth-standard gravity (assuming 1 g centripetal acceleration). But what happens if I punt a football down a field or fire a railgun at the elevator/shuttle tube along the central axis when the station is rotating at 1.3 rpms and the rim is spinning at 156 mph?


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Sunday, 16th June, 2019

  • 01:56 AM - Tony Vargas quoted MarkB in post If you could put D&D into any other non middle ages genre, what would it be?
    if you just take the stats of standard slings and crossbows and longbows, and change the names to phasers / blasters / whatever, then D&D handles guns just fine. I've seen that work well enough, but it doesn't capture the tropes you see in fiction around guns. There's not nearly so much dodging and seeking cover and just, well, missing - unless you really whole-heartedly embrace the 1e/4e psuedo-hit - not to mention the tense stand-off of characters held at gunpoint.
  • 12:54 AM - Immortal Sun quoted MarkB in post If you could put D&D into any other non middle ages genre, what would it be?
    They don't handle guns very well if they're bolted on top of existing medieval weapons, and treated as something different and special. But if you just take the stats of standard slings and crossbows and longbows, and change the names to phasers / blasters / whatever, then D&D handles guns just fine. No. That's precisely what it doesn't handle well. When you have one or two "shots" per turn at say 5th level that deal 1d6 or 1d8 you're not simulating guns. I don't know what you're simulating, but it isn't bullets. Even a "crit" with a gun is so minimal damage as to make a mockery out of the lethality of firearms.

Friday, 14th June, 2019

  • 07:37 PM - Staffan quoted MarkB in post Baldur's Gate III Announced; Powered by D&D 5E
    There's also the fact that it's coming out 19 years after Baldur's Gate 2. Making it a direct sequel that relied heavily upon familiarity with the previous installments would make it pretty inaccessible to those who've never played them. A new story in a similar vein, with some nods and easter-eggs to the originals, seems like a far better option. It's not like we haven't seen other game series where the constituent games only had some thematic things in common.

Wednesday, 12th June, 2019

  • 01:07 AM - Bedrockgames quoted MarkB in post Players 'distressed' by gang-rape role-playing game
    First, some traumas are a lot more commonplace than others. Second, you don't need to have experienced rape in order to find it highly disturbing when someone describes it happening to a character whose reactions you are portraying. People get mugged and violently assaulted all the time too. People are murdered, people have relatives who are close to them murdered. These things feature into games all the time. Someone who was violently robbed is probably going to have strong reactions to imagery that trigger that memory. But in games we routinely have bandits attempt to rob the party or have monsters or NPCs attack the party. No one would say this is because people are being insensitive to victims of violent theft. I am not saying people should be raping their characters. I don't like that kind of stuff in my games. I once had a player try to have their character remove an NPCs clothing by force, and I told them I didn't want that kind of stuff in my game. But I can definitely see how i...
  • 12:38 AM - Riley37 quoted MarkB in post Players 'distressed' by gang-rape role-playing game
    It may be browser dependent, but clicking on the hashtagged post number in the very top right of the post (or right-clicking and copying the URL) should get you a link that jumps straight to the post. Like this? https://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?659737-Players-distressed-by-gang-rape-role-playing-game/page37#post7618947

Tuesday, 11th June, 2019

  • 11:38 PM - Bedrockgames quoted MarkB in post Players 'distressed' by gang-rape role-playing game
    Here's what I don't get. You can somehow hold in your head the position that people talking about someone having to stop running public games at conventions is a cruelty that you need to speak out about, while also holding the position that someone straight-up confronting someone with a scenario of being raped is no big deal, and not worth making a public fuss about. I have to head out but I want to respond to this before I do. It can be very difficult in a thread like this to clearly lay out my position. I am fielding a lot of very negative and hostile responses where I am being forced to answer difficult questions, often framed in a way I would normally object to. First off, I don't think people talking about this guy is cruelty. I think the cruelty comes in when people have zero hesitancy or remorse when talking about dishing out harsh punishments (like global bans from conventions or publicly shaming the guy). Keep in mind this isn't limited to this thread, but what I've seen on social...
  • 11:35 PM - Riley37 quoted MarkB in post Players 'distressed' by gang-rape role-playing game
    To be absolutely completely fair, the players' description was in post #242. Post #213 was a reply by Hussar, and post #214 was the original link to John Dodd's blog, and contained no excerpts. That is indeed a valid point. I don't see all posts, because of blocking; so the numbering in MY browser view, is not the same as the numbering in yours. The full, unblocked count is the more universal and appropriate reference for directing a participant back to a previous post. I cannot blame BRG for confusion on that particular point. I don't think it would make a difference, in eventual outcome; but thank you for bringing up the point, and making me aware of my miscommunication. I'd rather be held to rigorous standards, than participate in a conversation which didn't practice rigorous standards of honesty and process, on this sort of topic. I tried to get a URL specific to the post with the excerpt. I only got a URL which included that post on the same page; and even that might not be universal...
  • 08:08 PM - Bedrockgames quoted MarkB in post Players 'distressed' by gang-rape role-playing game
    Sorry, but I just can't parse this reply. It feels like it's missing some words. Can you clarify? Yes, what I meant was, I am not worried about it. Look there are plenty of real world examples of what happens when you use permanent punishments in order to make sure someone doesn't make the world unsafe again. And obviously some actions might require that (if we were talking about murder rather than a person running a game session) things might be different. I am happy to address cruelty when I see it. But I don't think there is anything I should be doing to make sure there is 0 chance that cruelty arises again. The best I can do is try to help steer someone away from that kind of behavior.
  • 07:51 PM - Bedrockgames quoted MarkB in post Players 'distressed' by gang-rape role-playing game
    Wouldn't it bother you that your "in the moment" solution would leave them free to be just as cruel again, when you're not looking? No. Especially in the case we are discussing because it was game content real world actions. That is a risk that happens when you don't hand out some kind of permanent punishment
  • 07:23 PM - Bedrockgames quoted MarkB in post Players 'distressed' by gang-rape role-playing game
    So, when you have clear evidence of somebody behaving cruelly towards others, how would you proceed in resolving that situation? I would not publicly shame them or try to push them out if the hobby. I would probably something in the moment. Again it isn’t so black and white.

Saturday, 8th June, 2019

  • 12:56 AM - FaerieGodfather quoted MarkB in post Players 'distressed' by gang-rape role-playing game
    And second, how could anyone possibly adjudicate whether or not someone has "rehabilitated" their DMing style? What do you do, sit him down with an Appeal Committee, and have him run a game for them? I think I mentioned upthread that I think a simple apology should suffice, if it is of the "I am sorry that I hurt people" variety rather than "I am sorry people got hurt."

Friday, 7th June, 2019

  • 11:38 AM - FaerieGodfather quoted MarkB in post Players 'distressed' by gang-rape role-playing game
    Right, because raising a complaint in a crowded room within a few feet of the person you're complaining about wouldn't be socially awkward or uncomfortable at all. Some people will bend over backwards to blame the victims of any form of sexual misconduct rather than holding offenders accountable. I can think of a few more productive things I wish they might do from that position, instead.

Wednesday, 5th June, 2019

  • 12:55 AM - quoted MarkB in post Players 'distressed' by gang-rape role-playing game
    Pretty bold statement. I feel perhaps someone should be reasonably able to go and play some RPGs with some strangers without being made to feel like trash. Maybe thats just me? Personally I'm not finding anything reasonable in all this matter, not sure why a supposed (contradictory reports) rape in a roleplaying game for ages of 18+ escalates to news because someone was distressed and why people instead of talking to the GM prefers twitter. Perhaps I'm very rare, in any case I don't think this will help the hobby and would have preferred if those people only played their safe games in their sanitized environment. Another thing is that different people can find for example the same thing fun or boring, RPGs as tailored experiences for each player take a lot of work and you can't expect that when playing with random people. If you can end feeling like trash because of something while roleplaying you should know that it is your personal problem, learn about the experience and how to avoid it. ...
  • 12:44 AM - Gradine quoted MarkB in post Players 'distressed' by gang-rape role-playing game
    If we start setting a minimum bar of social maturity for new tabletop RPG players, the hobby won't last long. Especially when we have people who still consider "implications of gang rape" (or, being more charitable that has been earned at this moment, "drugging, stripping, beating, and ending up covered in their own crap") to be "mature".

Tuesday, 4th June, 2019

  • 11:17 PM - Bagpuss quoted MarkB in post Players 'distressed' by gang-rape role-playing game
    I dislike the concept of the M-Card as it feels like a challenge rather than a safety feature. It's saying "are you edgy and adult enough to play at my table?" So you consider content warnings are a challenge? And then if a player who wasn't expecting to have difficulties with the content finds that something unexpectedly comes up that does bother him, it's like a commitment. "I promised I'd be mature and edgy enough to be in this game - I can't back out now, they won't respect me!" Nope, it's very clear there is no commitment to remain in a situation you are uncomfortable with, in fact there is a very clear indication that you should remove yourself from such situations. How you can read "You are accepting that if you have an issue with anything in the game it’s on you to excuse yourself from the scene or game with minimal disruption to everyone else at the table." as a commitment to remain at the table?
  • 10:24 PM - Bagpuss quoted MarkB in post Players 'distressed' by gang-rape role-playing game
    Are five peoples' interest really worth one person's emotional turmoil? Is sticking a big M on your table really any excuse for putting absolutely any conceivable topic, no matter how distateful, on the table? The point is the person is free to leave it's not forcing them to stay and suffer emotional turmoil. With X-Card the person is still going to experience enough to be triggered or else they won't feel the need to touch the X-Card. The X-Card isn't going to prevent emotional turmoil, if anything the M-Card is more likely to as a person if forewarned.
  • 09:07 AM - Bagpuss quoted MarkB in post Players 'distressed' by gang-rape role-playing game
    I've actually found myself in a game not too far-removed from this at a convention. The scenario was vaguely described on the sign-up sheet as a "monster camp" scenario, though it did specify the inclusion of adult themes. This turned out to be a metaphor for religious "straight camps", with the GM using the scenario of players as classic monsters (vampires, werewolves, etc.) who didn't want to be monstrous, and were being sent to a camp run by monsters to "normalise" them into their stereotypical roles, as a way of exploring the ramifications of societal rejection of non-standard sexualities. Just a guess but this sounds like Monsterhearts to me, or at least that would be a great system to try out that game concept. And, as bizarre as that sounds, for the first half of the game it was mostly light-hearted and comedic. But by the end of the scenario it got seriously messed up, to the point of including sexual assault against some of the player characters - including my own. I didn'...

Saturday, 1st June, 2019

  • 10:31 PM - jayoungr quoted MarkB in post Start with Tragedy
    That always carries the inherent risk of making the players more angry at the DM than the BBEG. Yep. As I said in my first post above, I think this article advocates taking a decent idea just a bit too far.

Thursday, 30th May, 2019

  • 08:01 PM - lowkey13 quoted MarkB in post STAR TREK: PICARD Official Trailer
    The more significant issue is that he sacrificed his life during his last on-screen appearance. "Yes. His future appearance after an on-screen death would be ... illogical." Spock, probably.
  • 07:42 PM - ART! quoted MarkB in post STAR TREK: PICARD Official Trailer
    The more significant issue is that he sacrificed his life during his last on-screen appearance. Nah, the novel or comics and the game already have found ways for Data to return. He basically takes over B4 thanks to B4 having gotten his... data transfer. Yeah, there was some David Mack trilogy that I couldn't finish but I hear winds up with Data back in some form or other.


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