View Profile: MarkB - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Today, 12:04 AM
    I don't recall if it was ever introduced in the first XCOM, but in XCOM2 you can hold down CTRL to set waypoints for your move action, allowing you to ensure that your soldier chooses to quietly leap through the open window instead of crashing through the adjacent closed one.
    47 replies | 1849 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:30 PM
    That doesn't seem like a downside. With an androgynous robot, people can assign whichever gender to it they feel most comfortable with.
    17 replies | 614 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:17 AM
    I could definitely see some people being more comfortable with a robot that is both recognisably human-like and also not specifically male or female. As an addition to a household or workplace, it could better integrate into social groups without any gender-based expectations or concerns.
    17 replies | 614 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 09:43 PM
    And I've yet to see an example of the non-binary androgynoid.
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 07:11 PM
    XCOM's movement allowance is reasonably comparable to pre-5e D&D, which required separate movement and action phases within a character's turn. In XCOM it's a deliberate tactical choice that enhances the game's tension - the fact that you can't move step-by-step means that you have to balance the benefit of maximising your movement against the risk of over-extending and leaving a soldier...
    47 replies | 1849 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 06:48 PM
    So get rid of the "only one reaction per turn" limitation. Let characters use as many reactions as they have different types of reaction available, but only let each category trigger once. So, your basic Opportunity Attack triggers on the first enemy to leave your threat range. Your Shield spell triggers the first time you're hit by an attack that would have missed with Shield activated. Etc.
    47 replies | 1849 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 10:18 PM
    True, and on closer examination there is at least an implication that D&D vampires leave a corpse. Under its Shape Changer ability, it notes that the vampire reverts to its natural form if it is destroyed.
    149 replies | 3251 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 07:23 PM
    Well, that depends on what happens when a vampire is destroyed (the Monster Manual doesn't really specify). If it's the traditional "turns to dust" then you don't have a body, and you'll have to resort to Reincarnate or True Resurrection.
    149 replies | 3251 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 09:09 AM
    That isn't stuff that they've said, at least so far.
    47 replies | 1849 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 12:40 AM
    Oofta I agree with your interpretation, in particular because of the vampire's "chained to the grave" aspect - they are fundamentally tied to the place where they were buried. No burial, no vampire.
    149 replies | 3251 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 11:57 PM
    What this really comes down to is, how long does your DM want to keep one player's character out of the game? They need to either offer you a solution so that you can work towards bringing the character back in, or let you know that there isn't a solution so that the player can bring in their next character.
    149 replies | 3251 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 10:28 PM
    The Double Scimitar from the Eberron setting seems like a good fit.
    13 replies | 594 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 08:08 PM
    With some DM buy-in you could make some sort of blood-ritual, maybe involving combining Raise Dead and Greater Restoration along with donated blood from other party members, to infuse new blood into the body as it is raised.
    149 replies | 3251 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 01:10 PM
    The Greater Restoration option seems like the most reliable one. It should work on the corpse, or if it doesn't, neither should the vampire's bite effect.
    149 replies | 3251 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 12th July, 2019, 11:19 PM
    And presumably, the reverse applies for cumulative Disadvantage, with higher number of dice rolled tanking your chances of meeting even relatively easy DCs.
    37 replies | 927 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 12th July, 2019, 07:30 PM
    I have considered a less powerful variant rule for Advantage / Disadvantage of "majority wins". I.e. if your number of individual sources of Advantage are higher than the number of individual sources of Disadvantage, you'll still have Advantage - and vice versa. Only when the number of sources balance each other out do they cancel out to a normal roll.
    37 replies | 927 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 12th July, 2019, 12:51 AM
    The same as when someone with real-world experience of any niche subject encounters it in a game or movie - they find themselves getting hyper-critical of the lack of verisimilitude with which DMs who haven't encountered real monsters portray them in game, and having (or failing) to restrain themselves from correcting the more obvious mistakes.
    49 replies | 2031 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 11:43 PM
    I tend to find an existing monster that's mechanically close to what I'm envisioning, and then tweak it to fit. So, for instance, in a cold-themed hags' lair, the party were going to be up against some large animated snowmen. I used the stat block for Shambling Mounds, and changed up some damage and resistance types - the snowmen were vulnerable to Fire damage and healed by Cold damage, and...
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 07:42 PM
    To me, it just seemed like part of Will's all-in effort to draw his friends back into the game. There didn't appear to be any suggestion that he dressed up like that whenever they played.
    49 replies | 2031 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 01:25 AM
    There have been some pretty popular turn-based games in recent years. Aside from traditional RPGs like Larian's existing Divinity Original Sin games, there are tactical combat games like XCOM, and a whole host of successful JRPGs. WotC chose to work with Larian due to their RPG pedigree, and it seems very likely that their successful implementation of turn-based combat was part of that.
    47 replies | 1849 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Sunday, 30th June, 2019, 06:06 PM
    A little specialised, given that the main class capable of casting them doesn't have ritual casting, and has better things to spend its feats on. At that point you may as well just make it a class feature.
    108 replies | 3674 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 29th June, 2019, 12:05 AM
    It's not just fire elementals, though - any of the classic four elementals will be devastating to an enemy ship. Air elementals can shred the sails and funnel the crew into the ocean, water elementals can swamp the ship or smash through the hull from below the waterline, and earth elementals deal double damage against objects, so they can pulverise the hull or masts. Summon a water or air...
    448 replies | 15466 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Thursday, 27th June, 2019, 06:15 PM
    And sometimes, no matter the odds, luck just isn't on your side. Sorry, couldn't resist. :D
    178 replies | 5644 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th June, 2019, 08:58 PM
    So basically, a party could pretty reliably hack 1-2 limbs off the average foe in any one given round. Yep, that qualifies as a go-to tactic. Chop the fighter's legs off and finish him from range, or chop the wizard's arms off and face his mighty arcane headbutts.
    178 replies | 5644 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th June, 2019, 08:39 PM
    But how do you write it so that the same technique can't be used to cut, say, the sword hand (or head) off a humanoid opponent, and do so in such a way that it is neither so impossibly difficult as to be not worth doing instead of just killing the scorpion, nor so easily achieved that it becomes a go-to move in every combat?
    178 replies | 5644 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th June, 2019, 07:39 PM
    One option here is to give computers a set of mental ability scores and skill proficiencies, and then make hacking a series of Persuasion / Deception / Sleight of Hand / Stealth checks as suits the chosen access method and desired result.
    448 replies | 15466 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th June, 2019, 07:27 PM
    To me, the Ranger is the Lord of the Rings standard, but not so much Aragorn, who's been many things in his life - it's Faramir and his soldiers, wilderness scouts who can survive in the wilds for extended periods, track enemies, and if necessary ambush them very effectively. I'd consider them to have more in common with Rogues than Fighters, with a useful skillset centred around stealth and...
    352 replies | 12352 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th June, 2019, 06:59 PM
    Where do you draw the line? And if HP isn't a factor here, what is? Would you make the same ruling for an attack against an unsuspecting ogre? An unsuspecting Glabrezu? An unsuspecting Arch-Druid? An unsuspecting dragon?
    178 replies | 5644 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 11:23 PM
    Please don't tell me what I think or realise. I reference low AC because I've never seen a cowboy wearing plate mail. If I were going to use D&D in a vanilla Western setting I'd find other ways for characters to gain AC, such as an improved cover system, because I don't visualise cowboys as wearing armour. But if I were going to run a campaign in a modern or near-future setting (which I have),...
    448 replies | 15466 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 11:18 PM
    Indeed, it can work very well that way. The Shadowrunesque game I ran made absolutely no changes to the base classes, only introducing some new optional subclasses and backgrounds.
    448 replies | 15466 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 11:14 PM
    As an example of already-existing deadly ranged weapons in 5e that can indeed kill enemies before they even get close? For someone who complains about how much everyone else is missing his point, you certainly have a talent for missing everybody else's point.
    448 replies | 15466 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 11:09 PM
    And those changes will dictate changes in tactics, some of which will address the issues you've been raising.
    448 replies | 15466 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 07:22 PM
    A CR3 Archer from Volo's Guide to Monsters fires twice per round, and deals an average of 8 damage per hit. If the person advancing on them has a low AC, which a character in a Western setting will, they can take down an average-HP character from a 3rd level party in two turns - so, unless their opponent wins initiative and is close enough to close the distance in one turn, yes they can kill them...
    448 replies | 15466 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 06:03 PM
    Well, to me, that something is the change from "guys in plate armour with huge axes fighting big monsters" to "guys in shirts with pistols fighting other guys in shirts with pistols", but clearly your mileage may vary.
    448 replies | 15466 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 12:49 PM
    CapnZapp I still feel that your argument that D&D favours moving to close in to melee rather than using cover feels more like theory crafting than actual gameplay practice. But even conceding that it might occur in standard D&D, I still don't see that it will be a factor in a Western setting. In a Western setting, ranged combat is king. Your primary damage dealers are pistols and rifles and...
    448 replies | 15466 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 06:09 PM
    Makes sense. That way they can still release the original version on Blu-ray / streaming, and then sell the Special Definitive Edition later, with all the deleted scenes added back in.
    182 replies | 7536 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 12:32 PM
    Thanks. XCOM is actually what specifically comes to mind for me. It's been a back-burner project for me for some time to make an XCOM based campaign, but I've never found a nice system to use, with ready-made modern weapons and armour, and a decent tactical combat system. Maybe once the forthcoming Stargate system is released, I'll try adapting that.
    448 replies | 15466 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 01:43 AM
    Now that you mention it, while I've seen injury and death handled differently in a variety of systems, I can't think of any I've played that specifically support and encourage tactical ranged combat - and it's something I've occasionally looked for in a system. Is there a particular system that does it well?
    448 replies | 15466 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Saturday, 22nd June, 2019, 02:58 AM
    I'd probably go with some basic boost to AC for moving, and the standard bonuses for cover, and then have provision for different builds to specialise further in either evasive movement or hunkering down in cover - much the same as the choice between light or heavy armour in the standard rules.
    448 replies | 15466 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 02:12 AM
    Rather than Rangers having a Favoured Terrain, I'd prefer to see some form of terrain attunement - at the start of the day they can attune to the environment they're in, gaining bonuses and insights, and they can do so once more during the day as part of a short rest. The process should function almost as a cut-down version of the Commune With Nature spell, granting some insight into the...
    106 replies | 5065 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 07:10 PM
    MarkB replied to Keanu in the MCU
    Ironically, if they successfully made a Fantastic Four movie that built upon the family dynamics, it would probably feel like an Incredibles knock-off.
    24 replies | 941 view(s)
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  • MarkB's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 01:00 PM
    As borrowing from other classes isn't an issue, I'd look at importing some of the Arcane Archer's features. I was going to play an Arcane Archer in a recent campaign and wound up just going Battlemaster because it worked better, even for a pure ranged build, but there were still a few things in the AA's toolset I'd have liked to try.
    76 replies | 3383 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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Thursday, 18th July, 2019

  • 10:38 PM - WaterRabbit quoted MarkB in post Should Baldur's Gate 3 be turnbased or Real Time With Pause?
    XCOM's movement allowance is reasonably comparable to pre-5e D&D, which required separate movement and action phases within a character's turn. In XCOM it's a deliberate tactical choice that enhances the game's tension - the fact that you can't move step-by-step means that you have to balance the benefit of maximising your movement against the risk of over-extending and leaving a soldier exposed. And the fact that most units can't move after firing enhances the use of cover - basically, you don't get to do the 5e cheese of jumping out of cover, taking a shot, and then retreating back out of sight, so you need to make best use of cover because your units will be in the line of fire on the opposition's turn. You may find it frustrating, but it's what keeps the combats tense and interesting. That sort of thing isn't as big a factor outside of a cover-based combat system, and Larian's most recent offerings do indeed allow fine control over movement during a character's turn, so there...
  • 04:20 PM - Blue quoted MarkB in post What it's like Reading SF from the 50's
    I could definitely see some people being more comfortable with a robot that is both recognisably human-like and also not specifically male or female. As an addition to a household or workplace, it could better integrate into social groups without any gender-based expectations or concerns. People assign genders to all sorts of objects based on perceived qualities. I think that with a human-like robot people would do that even more-so. That human-looking androids will be culturally assigned genders by how it interacts with us (both content and how it does so - tone, body language, forcefulness, etc.) Not that the idea is bad, just probably easier to do in soemthing that looks more android and less human.
  • 01:29 AM - Hussar quoted MarkB in post What it's like Reading SF from the 50's
    I could definitely see some people being more comfortable with a robot that is both recognisably human-like and also not specifically male or female. As an addition to a household or workplace, it could better integrate into social groups without any gender-based expectations or concerns. I suppose it depends on how humanlike you want to get. Are we talking something like what I posted above or something that would fit into Blade Runner? Then again Legion had the Vermillion androids. Definitely androgynous.
  • 12:03 AM - Hussar quoted MarkB in post What it's like Reading SF from the 50's
    And I've yet to see an example of the non-binary androgynoid. To be totally fair, what would be the point? Why would you make a very realistic humanoid robot where you have to give it gender based features, only to then blur those features to remove any gender markers? That seems a lot of expense for very little gain. I suppose the Japanese robot Pepper might qualify. https://static.generation-robots.com/9303-large_default/pepper-follow-me-application-1-robot-perpetual-license.jpg

Wednesday, 17th July, 2019

  • 03:32 PM - WaterRabbit quoted MarkB in post Should Baldur's Gate 3 be turnbased or Real Time With Pause?
    So get rid of the "only one reaction per turn" limitation. Let characters use as many reactions as they have different types of reaction available, but only let each category trigger once. So, your basic Opportunity Attack triggers on the first enemy to leave your threat range. Your Shield spell triggers the first time you're hit by an attack that would have missed with Shield activated. Etc. I would prefer that these are under the player's control. I would also prefer to have square by square movement as well. It is one of the things that bugs me the most with X-Com and other turn-based games is they don't let you use your movement to its fullest. In fact the whole point of having a turn-based game is to allow fine control of movement and reactions. ------------------------- The problem with RTwP is combat is either face-rolling your way through it or pausing so much that it becomes more tedious than turn-based. For example, in Kingmaker one can face-roll though 90% of the...

Monday, 15th July, 2019

  • 09:18 PM - Oofta quoted MarkB in post Death and 0 Max HP
    Well, that depends on what happens when a vampire is destroyed (the Monster Manual doesn't really specify). If it's the traditional "turns to dust" then you don't have a body, and you'll have to resort to Reincarnate or True Resurrection. True, if by traditional you mean "Buffy the Vampire Slayer traditional". The lore is all over the place on this though. Sometimes they poof sometimes they decay to the level that they would have decayed had they not been undead, sometimes they just leave a corpse. Depends on the lore. I always assumed they "poofed" on Buffy for much the same reason Star Trek has transporters; it's a cheap and easy special effect. It also makes it easier for Buffy to fight multiple vamps, no worries about stepping over/around dead bodies.
  • 02:18 PM - not-so-newguy quoted MarkB in post Should Baldur's Gate 3 be turnbased or Real Time With Pause?
    That isn't stuff that they've said, at least so far. My comment was just a small (very small. As in “not worth explaining” small) joke. Carry on and Load “*”,8,1 everyone!

Friday, 12th July, 2019

  • 11:52 PM - Esker quoted MarkB in post Break this House Rule: Advantage(s) can stack
    And presumably, the reverse applies for cumulative Disadvantage, with higher number of dice rolled tanking your chances of meeting even relatively easy DCs. Yeah, you can get the graphs for disadvantage by reversing both the x and y axis: label the targets 20 to 1 going left to right, and success probabilities from 1 to 0 going bottom to top.
  • 09:34 AM - MNblockhead quoted MarkB in post Portrayal of D&D in Stranger Things 3 -some spoilers
    The same as when someone with real-world experience of any niche subject encounters it in a game or movie - they find themselves getting hyper-critical of the lack of verisimilitude with which DMs who haven't encountered real monsters portray them in game, and having (or failing) to restrain themselves from correcting the more obvious mistakes. Yes, though such people can grow out of that, I did. I don't have any experience with the level or horror that, say, someone who has been in a war may have. But I remember getting critical and trying for verisimilitude when it came to wilderness travel and survival after a couple summers with the Student Conservation Association. Also, having some experience with firearms, I have to try hard not to roll my eyes at how certain players depict their character's use of them in games. But as I aged, I realized it is just a game and that I should chill the hell out.

Thursday, 11th July, 2019

  • 07:49 PM - Sacrosanct quoted MarkB in post Portrayal of D&D in Stranger Things 3 -some spoilers
    It is perhaps as much a nod to him being... a tad desperate. Look at the past two seasons, what that kid went through. Consider how much of life (and growing up) he's missed just dealing with all that crud and the repercussions. He, very desperately, wants things to be *NORMAL*. Which, to him, is still hanging out in the game room with his friends playing games. They aren't interested. So, what does he do? Try to up production values! Careful battlemaps, costumes, all the bells and whistles he can, to get their attention and company. What's not true about that? Remember - the show is about the characters first, not about all the things it references first. To me, it just seemed like part of Will's all-in effort to draw his friends back into the game. There didn't appear to be any suggestion that he dressed up like that whenever they played. I don't think it's the desire on Will's part that's in question. Rather, this was 1985. You couldn't exactly just order a wizard co...
  • 04:14 AM - gyor quoted MarkB in post Should Baldur's Gate 3 be turnbased or Real Time With Pause?
    There have been some pretty popular turn-based games in recent years. Aside from traditional RPGs like Larian's existing Divinity Original Sin games, there are tactical combat games like XCOM, and a whole host of successful JRPGs. WotC chose to work with Larian due to their RPG pedigree, and it seems very likely that their successful implementation of turn-based combat was part of that. There is also Subverse, which has tactical JRPG style elements mixed with other sorts of game play like mass effect style exploration and shoot'm ups (not at.the same time of course). And upcoming Age of Wonders Planetfall is primarily a 4x game, but with solid CRPG elements, turned based combat (with environmental interactions).

Tuesday, 9th July, 2019

  • 07:29 PM - gyor quoted MarkB in post Baldur's Gate III Announced; Powered by D&D 5E
    I'm expecting it to most likely be fully turn-based, like the Divinity games, Turn based games have become more popular in recent years, not only in RPGs but also tactical combat games like XCOM. Given that it's a company that makes turn-based RPGs, making a game based upon a turn-based tabletop RPG, turn-based seems to be the way to bet. I think it will be an innovative TB/RTwP hybrid like Fallout3/new Vegas, but with modified 5e rules.

Sunday, 30th June, 2019

  • 06:25 PM - doctorbadwolf quoted MarkB in post What spells should have had the ritual tag, but don't?
    A little specialised, given that the main class capable of casting them doesn't have ritual casting, and has better things to spend its feats on. No one has better things to spend feats on, though. Linguist is great! Keen Mind is the bees knees! Feats don’t matter. But more than that, Paladins should have a ritual casting, and we are here discussing “should”, not “is”. At that point you may as well just make it a class feature. For who? Every class that can get it? Easier to just keep it a spell. Everyone but wizard has to have it Known or Prepared to use it, and Wizards aren’t spending a slot on an AC fix unless they get hit by an anti magic effect. Someone who gets it via Magic Initiate can still only do it once per day, but it boosts Ritual Caster a bit. edit: also, why would a given spell being “specialized” be an issue? So what?

Saturday, 29th June, 2019

  • 12:45 AM - Dannyalcatraz quoted MarkB in post If you could put D&D into any other non middle ages genre, what would it be?
    It's not just fire elementals, though - any of the classic four elementals will be devastating to an enemy ship. Air elementals can shred the sails and funnel the crew into the ocean, water elementals can swamp the ship or smash through the hull from below the waterline, and earth elementals deal double damage against objects, so they can pulverise the hull or masts. Summon a water or air elemental on your ship, and they can easily fly/swim out to your opponent. Yep!
  • 12:27 AM - Tony Vargas quoted MarkB in post If you could put D&D into any other non middle ages genre, what would it be?
    Summon a water or air elemental on your ship, and they can easily fly/swim out to your opponent.Wow. It doesn't explicitly say it has to stay within range to maintain concentration. Otherwise, range would have curtailed the crazy, a little.

Thursday, 27th June, 2019

  • 04:32 PM - robus quoted MarkB in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    Where do you draw the line? And if HP isn't a factor here, what is? Would you make the same ruling for an attack against an unsuspecting ogre? An unsuspecting Glabrezu? An unsuspecting Arch-Druid? An unsuspecting dragon? I'd adjudicate it just like any other action a PC might take. I think iserith and others have summed up my point of view well in that this is really just a case of action resolution. The player wants their character to take out the unsuspecting guard with a single arrow shot. As they have time to take the perfect shot and an arrow to the head seems likely to kill an orc outright I can see that the action is achievable but has a cost (if the ranger misses the camp will be alerted). In my OP I was setting the DC to simply be the AC of the orc (because again the ranger has all the time in the world) - but other factors might complicate the ability check (perhaps there's a strong crosswind, or it's raining, or its dark). In that case I might set a separate DC. As for these ot...

Wednesday, 26th June, 2019

  • 09:39 PM - Tony Vargas quoted MarkB in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    But I don’t think you’re forbidden from bypassing HP simply because HP exists. HP are a mechanism the game presents for resolving uncertainty. Was so-and-so killed by such-and-such? Yes/No: narrate it. Not certain: determine damage and compare to remaining hps. Saying that's "bypassing hps" is doing it out of order. Hit points only come into it if you're not sure they're dead. It's like resolving any other action declaration. Sometimes you just don't call for a check. If a player declares "I waste him with my crossbow." Then the DM narrating "He falls to the floor twitching and bleeding for a few moments, then is still," is as valid as "Roll to hit." How would the player know that? I mean, to begin with, how did you the DM know that a pointed crossbow didn't inhibit or prevent an effective defense?The DM exercised judgement, the player would only know it if he asked took some action to determine if it were true or not (possibly a mental action, like, "in my years of mil...
  • 09:10 PM - Satyrn quoted MarkB in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    So basically, a party could pretty reliably hack 1-2 limbs off the average foe in any one given round. Yep, that qualifies as a go-to tactic. Chop the fighter's legs off and finish him from range, or chop the wizard's arms off and face his mighty arcane headbutts. I'm under the impression that Bawylie was picturing a scenario where the opponent has been pinned down or is otherwise rendered defenseless before the stinger-removal or limb-chopping could take place. That would be my requirement, anyway. I'm not worried about that being the go-to move, though, since I've taken to ignoring the idea that there are high-level NPCs. Like all humans have 2 hit dice no matter what, so chopping limbs off them would take longer than just killing them.
  • 09:08 PM - Bawylie quoted MarkB in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    So basically, a party could pretty reliably hack 1-2 limbs off the average foe in any one given round. Yep, that qualifies as a go-to tactic. Chop the fighter's legs off and finish him from range, or chop the wizard's arms off and face his mighty arcane headbutts. They could. And the same might happen to them too. In practice it isn’t as go-to as it seems. At least not in my games so far. They’ve decapitated some zombies and did cut the sting off a Wyvern, though.
  • 08:51 PM - Bawylie quoted MarkB in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    But how do you write it so that the same technique can't be used to cut, say, the sword hand (or head) off a humanoid opponent, and do so in such a way that it is neither so impossibly difficult as to be not worth doing instead of just killing the scorpion, nor so easily achieved that it becomes a go-to move in every combat? The same way I adjudicate most other actions. You’ve got a fighter or whoever that wants to chop off an opponent’s limb with their weapon. That’s a clear enough goal and approach for me to know what check to ask for and what DC to set. I’ll ask for a weapon attack versus the target’s AC because that most closely approximates what’s happening in the narrative. Now this isn’t just a hit, but a hit to a special place with a potential added effect. So I’ll ask for the attack roll with disadvantage to hit the limb - it’s a hard target to get just right. Then I’ll compare the damage to the target’s constitution score and if the damage is greater than or equal to the consti...


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