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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 04:03 PM
    Agreed, but I think my post identifies some features of the Saltmarsh text that mark the contrast with conversational language. For instance, I think that conversatinal language - to the extent that, under some sort of regimentation, it has a main clause - is more likely to have the main clause correspond with the main body of information (eg It's a run-down bedroom with rubbish everywhere rather...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Today, 03:16 PM
    Ah ok. (I’m asking this out of a position of ignorance) So when someone refers to “Urban Fantasy” in TTRPGing, are they referring to “a malleable game/system without a tight play premise baked in so it can be drifted to (say) the modern focus of ‘paranormal romance’ or something similar?”
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 08:52 AM
    But isn't that because the guest bedroom will look different from a currently occupied one. How can you tell that it was once a guest bedroom - rather than, say, an abandoned main bedroom? (I'm putting to one side the anachronism of projecting relatively modern architectural conceptions back into a house in the Greyhawk setting.) My first example changes word order and verb constructions and...
    112 replies | 2322 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Today, 02:48 AM
    Something similar to that play anecdote that you're mentioning above happened in my 2nd 4e game that went 1-30. While that was a Bladesinger rather than a Fighter, it was all martial, so its applicable. It was mid-Paragon Tier. While the Druid and Rogue dealt with an endless tide of mooks, the Bladesinger was locked in a duel with the Captain of the Guard (CotG). The player wanted it to...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 12:44 AM
    Its narrative style in my view. I'd focus on phrases like "rubbish is scattered around what was once a fine guest bedroom" rather than, say, it's a run-down bedroom with rubbish scattered about; there is evidence of rodent infestation ratjher than, say, you can see rats or you can see mouse-droppings everywhere; "its woodwork is worm-ridden" rather than, say, there seem to be termites in the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 12:30 AM
    A lot of authors and publishers seem to think so!
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 12:23 AM
    This is also a major stumbling block for me. Of course word choice matters in communication. So does tone. Etc. Someone has given the example of sarcasm in this or some other recent thread, and that is often a matter of tone. That's all part-and-parcel of conversation.
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:34 PM
    Does Blades in the Dark not qualify as Urban Fantasy? Grimdark, cutthroat urban setting (Duskvol) - check Paranormal (overruneth and all kinds) - check Magic - check Factions/tribes embroiled in endless war to ascend hierarchy - check
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 05:27 PM
    S'mon replied to Human Viability
    Human with +1 all stats is ok, but you can have variant hyman races with different stat bonuses and other abilities. Eg in my Wilderlands the Antili can dual wield rapier and dagger. The Skandiks are always proficient in swimming and sailing.
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 04:49 PM
    S'mon replied to Human Viability
    Human with +1 all stats is ok, but you can have variant hyman races with different stat bonuses and other abilities. Eg in my Wilderlands the Antili can dual wield rapier and dagger. The Skandiks are always proficient in swimming and sailing.
    21 replies | 830 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 11:57 AM
    Can you explain what you mean by framing sans narrative? Here's a link to an account of a fairly recent session I played of a humorous RPG (The Dying Earth). There was framing. I don't know whether or not it counts as "sans narrative".
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, 04:49 AM
    B/X - The tight, holistic focus of design around its play paradigm. - The Exploration Turn/Rest > Wandering Monster Clock > Resource Attrition/Risk Reward Cycle Loop. - Monster Reactions/Morale. - Gold for xp. 4e - (Again) The tight, holistic focus of design around its play paradigm.
    51 replies | 1956 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 02:48 AM
    I don't understand what you're trying to achieve. If you're not interested in the topic as it's been framed or discussed, or think the thread is unhelpful, you're very welcome not to post in it. If you think my threads involve code-of-conduct violation, you have the option of reporting them. Are you trying to pick a fight and have this thread shut down? Are you trying to clutter the thread...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 02:40 AM
    Riley37, you didn't answer my question as to what you think it adds to the thread to insist that Hriston said something that he didn't, on the basis of attributing a meaning to his words that they were not intended to bear, and which no reasonable reader of them in the context of their production would impute to them. As to your question about light, light isn't an endeavour of any sort. It's...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 02:19 AM
    It's not a Chrome thing as such. I use Chrome, and when I cut-and-past text into the website editor I don't pick up COLOR tags.
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 02:07 PM
    Ok, so I understand your position. So I guess I just have a few questions/thoughts: 1) Why can’t Aptitude Bias run the other direction (as so many do); overestimating the importance of a honed Skill-set or natural affinity? 2) In the last several years on these boards, we’ve seen a LOT of instances of people who are articulate, well-read, tenured GMs struggle significantly in one or both...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 05:38 AM
    I've mostly played RQ III, although I don't think we've ever used the Sorcery rules. Characters have a lot of colour. Resolution is generally straightforward enough. The system is set up to make combat an important aspect of play, but it also tends to produce fairly brutal results. That's probably the biggest weakness of the system.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 05:26 AM
    If someone says "All the cheese is gone" before the dinner party, and then the next day you and a friend are debating whether or not anyone has ever thought that there's no cheese left in the world, the person who said "All the cheese is gone" doesn't count as an example of such. It's not that they said as much but didn't mean it. It's that anyone who thinks that's what they said doesn't...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 05:21 AM
    Seriously? Let's put to one side the fact that, contra Imaro, Hriston's post was in reply to Hussar, not to him. Here is the exchange between Hussar and Hriston: Hriston is refuting an express claim that "dungeon dressing" is a literary matter simply because it's non-mechanical, and also an apparent implication that the role and significance of dungeon dressing is a matter of evocative...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 04:55 AM
    This post makes many assumptions about how a game might work. Many games don't require "adding to the game" (eg by way of new subsystems, or new modifiers, or whatever) because they have resolution systems that are relatively straightforward to extrapolate to novel situations. I appreciate that D&D, historically, has not been such a system - it emphasises particular subsystems rather than...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 12:56 AM
    I use the traditional colour scheme (white post text, orange button text, on black background). In the post I mentioned in the "literary endeavour" thread there are two quote blocks. The first I can read. The second is, for me, an empty quote block. When I highlight it the text appears. I assume that the text has COLOR tags around it that are making it black. In the past when posters have...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 10:26 PM
    Citing the above, I want to make sure I've captured your position before I attempt to move the conversation forward. To do so, I'm going to also cite the below from me: Is your position that I (and others) have a blind spot for the gravity of the amplification effect I cite above (or further still, that it is indeed a causal effect) because of natural ability/decades of honing the crafts...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 07:28 PM
    The former. my color scheme is default text on black background of that helps (I’m computer incompetent so that is the best I got).
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 07:21 PM
    YOU ARE CORRECT SIR Invisible text in other thread and linked thread.
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 07:09 PM
    The text in the bottom quote is visible to me.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 11:15 AM
    Having just re-read lowkey13's post, I think I may have misread - by "my last post" perhaps he mean "my previous post" (the next bit of the post itself is not legible for me because of some text formatting issue, but maybe it's a quote of a previous post?). I feel that reinforces my view that meta-comments (ie on the quality and formal properties of poster's posts, as opposed to what they're...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 10:05 AM
    The post you quoted is nearly 400 words, has two footnotes and an edit, and references Hemingway and Henry Miller. I'm not sure there's much profit in critiquing posting styles or trying to diagnose irony. lowkey13 has (by my count) 7 posts since posting "My last post". Is that irony? An atypical use of the word last? (Maybe we should debate the meaning of the word last, or even post - my...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 01:16 AM
    I think that for at least some maths teachers, who have graduated in the first instance with a qualification that emphasises skills other than verbal communication, training to teach and then working as a teacher improves their ability to speak clearly, to convey ideas well, to choose the right word for the task at hand, etc. I don't think this suffices, in and of itself, to show that teaching...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 12:43 AM
    Further: a message board is a written medium. It's not a conversation except in some rather metaphorical sense. Doubly so in my case given that most of the other posters are in a different country and different time zone from me. And further further: I would have thought it's pretty clear my now that the OP is talking about the aims/virtues or RPGing. What it's about as an aesthetic activity....
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 04:36 PM
    I think the fault line here is going to be if you answer “yes” to the below two questions, and pretty much all iterations possible of good/bad/mediocre on either side of the balance. I would have to answer “yes” to all of them because I neither conceive nor have I experienced anything approximating a tight (or even shabby) coupling between the two. I’m like most people; good at some...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 12:53 AM
    Man, Myth & Magic Immortals D&D PF 5e D&D DragonQuest
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 12:44 AM
    I don't quite follow this, and so am not sure what view is being attributed to me. For my answers to Manbearcat's questions, see the post immediately upthread.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 12:40 AM
    Yes. Someone can be good at plotting but poor at scripting. Someone can have good imagination for drama, conflict, story and yet be a bad writer. I would say so, yes.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 12:28 AM
    That's probably a point that generalises to all narration!
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 08:41 PM
    I feel like there is a teeny tiny excluded middle between MAXIMUM TERSENESS (SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY) and exposition economy (while still managing the key components of dramatic device) :)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 08:31 PM
    This is so much more entangled than I ontrmdrf. EDIT - (Lol how about INTENDED. My phone autocorrected to ontrmdrf. Makes sense). Ok, let me pose a simple question. Is it possible to be very good at conflict framing (a) and resolution (b) yet be mediocre in words usage on the journey from a to b? Is the inverse possible (poor at framing and resolution but beautiful prose/oratory)?
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 08:07 PM
    lowkey13 I think you’re more or less saying what I said in my initial post in this thread: Framing and understanding of dramatic device (arc composition and pacing, tropes) are fundamentally tethered. Insofar as they are (and they are), if one wants to fold “understanding and deftness in deployment of dramatic device” into “literary”, then we’re going to have a (self-imposed imo)...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 06:53 PM
    Couple things: 1) In the spirit of this thread, I was trying to demonstrate that the framing of the creature is hierarchically more important than the words used to depict it (though again, they matter...they’re just lower in the hierarchy). 2) If you aren’t thematically framing a “bogeyman” as a bogeyman, then it seems pretty apt to point out that the situation the PCs are confronted with...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 02:00 PM
    I used most of Dungeon Delve IMC. By 'dungeon crawl' I meant exploration of an expansive dungeon environment, not a short set piece encounter series.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 01:41 PM
    When I posted I wasn't thinking of DW, but since starting the thread I was reading the AW rules seriously and I think I posted somewhere upthread the passage from AW where Vincent Baker talks about the game as conversation. It's on pp 11-12: oleplaying is a conversation. You and the other players go back and forth, talking about these fictional characters in their fictional circumstances...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 12:55 PM
    I was thinking more about motivations and gameplay than power level - 4e is good for save-the-world, it isn't good at dungeon crawling for loot & XP.
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 11:38 AM
    To be charitable, I think quite a lot of people were playing 3e in a mode somewhat similar to what the 4e designers designed for, in terms of big heroic save the world questing. If you cut the extraneous fights out of Paizo APs I think most of them would make a reasonable 4e campaign.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 10:47 AM
    Yes. The OP was the result of two threads that were current at the time it was posted - one about boxed text, one about narration of action declarations. In the former thread, some advocated for boxed text argued that it is important for establishing tone/mood. In the latter thread, some critics of the idea that players should narrate their action declarations based their criticisms on an...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 10:18 AM
    I found 4e works well as a game of heroic questing with big set-piece battles and a lot of emphasis on characters. A good way to think of it would be as an Avengers movie with a Lord of the Rings reskin. :) For structural reasons it does not do well at sandboxing, mercenary adventurers, or traditional dungeon crawls - ie it does not do traditional "D&D" well; whereas if you think of it as a...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 10:02 AM
    Re PCs, I would take him through making his own character. Making a level 1 5e PC really shouldn't take long. The main problem would be if you use point buy, so I recommend rolled stats in order, replace any one stat with a 15. Reroll the whole PC if necessary - this should be a lot quicker for him and he'll get to see the character emerge as he rolls it up. Also younger players especially find...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 04:20 AM
    Your threads suck! And you're terrible! And we hate you! More stuff!
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 03:44 AM
    Maybe posters who think the thread is not worthwhile, or is overly cluttered, could cease posting in it?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 03:41 AM
    And if the OP was The Old Man and the Sea then I might have won a Nobel Prize. If you wnnt to start a thread about spotlight-hoggin narration, go for it! It's not something that I've got much experience of, but I'm sure it's a thing. But the OP is about something else - namely, the stuff that I said in the OP and have been discussing with other psters since!
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 03:39 AM
    This isn't something I have strong views on. When I'm trying to adjudicate an action as GM, and I'm GMing a game in which the fiction has a big affect on resolution and consequences (say Buring Wheel or Traveller) then I like to have a fairly clear sense of what the character is doing, and overly complicated narration from the player can sometime hurt that. But if the players want to banter...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 03:18 AM
    In conversation I choose words depending on what I want to say - for instance, if I want to describe a building, I might choose what other building or structure to compare it to. If I want to describe how a person behaved or seemed to feel, I might say they seemed upset and then clarify that to mean (say) angry, not sad. I didn't say I choose words to convey mood or theme. I did say that my...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 07:16 PM
    No worries. If your saying that conversation with some pals while you're at dinner is different than TTRPG conversation, then sure. TTRPG conversation is structured such that it produces an evolving gamestate and the participant experience that goes with that. The former does have structure, but its more etiquette and cue-driven (so different in some ways, similar in others) and its purpose...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 03:55 PM
    I haven't been following this thread. I'm assuming the above contrast or dichotomy you're trying to draw is something essential to this thread? But if you're looking for an answer (insofar as I'm even remotely capable of inferring what you're looking for from this scant bit)...how about... Probably both? It seems to me that if a bogeyman creature of folklore with specific thematic...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 03:22 PM
    So the Qallupilluit is quintessential bogeyman mythology. For bogeyman mythology to be thematically potent, it has to have some way to hook into the PC's childhood or folklore, otherwise, its just another creepy monster. So this is actually the perfect example where a GM's deftness of framing is hierarchically the apex currency in the purchase of a great gaming moment. "Your little...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 01:25 AM
    Why not? This take me, at least, back to some of the points Manbearcat was making fairly early in this thread. If I'm going to use a qallupilluit in my game, I will want to establish a situation which gives it some sort of heft or significance. There are very many ways of doing that (and obviously RPG system will have a significant impact, on top of system-independent techniques). In my...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 12:47 AM
    The thread doesn't ask does, or can, RPGing have a literary aspect? It asks whether it is a literary endeavour. That is: does RPGing aim at possessing the virtues and exhibitng the qualities of literature? (Note that - because in this thread it seems to need to be repeated - something can have an aim that it does not maximally achieve. For instance, when high school students write stories they...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 12:42 AM
    If the village in the Marvel game is a small, remote, sinister mountain village in (say) Latveria, then probably yes. I use the words I need to describe the situation. These will depend on mood, whim, what has previously been said, what seems to matter in the current situation, etc, as well as (obviously) upon what I want to describe. That is to say, the words I use will depend on all the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 02:25 PM
    Popper has a (controversial) theory of what makes a claim, or perhaps a collection of claims, scientific. I'm not making a scientific claim. I'm making an aesthetic claim. So Popperian falsifiability has nothing to do with it. My claim is about the point of RPGing, what makes it a distinctive and worthwhile creative endeavour. Not far upthread Aldarc has given a pretty good account of my...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 02:08 PM
    I don't think there are any Americans among me and my colleagues. A couple of Candians. My play group has a mix of educational levels - Year 12 through to PhDs in literary disciplines - but all can read above a 7th grade level. I have no idea whether the typical American would follow our conversations - it's never come up that I can recall - but that doesn't make them not conversation.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 02:03 PM
    This shows you misunderstand what I'm claiming. And you reiterate your disagreement with me. I've bolded it for you. I don't think the language makes it suck. I think the language as such is neither here nor there; and that working on the language - which is a common practice when aiming for literary quality - may well be an impediment. Here's another example to illustrate my point: I've...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 11:27 AM
    My Primeval Thule campaign is low magic setting/high magic PCs. I think the main thing to realise is that 'low magic' does not mean 'low power'. In my Thule game there are very few Wizard type NPCs, but there are a LOT of 'elite mook' type NPCs with high double digit hit points. In Thule a typical elite soldier is a Legionary per the Campaign Setting book - AC 17, 52 hit points, and two...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 11:18 AM
    I always wonder how people playing D&D with the same characters for many years can avoid out-levelling the game. My longest campaign was 4e Loudwater, 103 sessions over 5.5 years, with the one PC who lasted the whole campaign going from 1 to 30. 3e and 5e seem a fair bit quicker; my long running 5e games reach 20th level after a few years. Back when I ran 1e in the 80s/90s we ended up with god...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 05:41 AM
    I don't agree that there's a consensus: I can't really tell what Maxperson thinks, but Imaro and Hussar have made claims about the need for entertaining/evocative narration that I think clearly contradict the position I asserted in the OP. But one complicating fact pertains to vocabularly: eg I wouldn't regard cadaverous as a word to describe a Githyanki as especially remarkable or...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 05:33 AM
    I would tend to think of "rictus grin" as falling on the literary side of things, as does Hussar. As I've posted, it does no harm if it doesn't impede (what I regard as) the real point of play. It has a face like a skull might do just as well. I personally can't remember how I've described githyanki in the past - I suspect I'm more likely to have shown a picture, such as the one on the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 05:21 AM
    Hussar, I feel the shoe is on the other foot. Why won't you engage with the fact that you disagree with me? Go back to your example of the dwarf, or of the Scarred Land Monster. Why do you think that entertaining descriptions are an important part of RPGing? EDIT: And here is more evidence of disagreement: Here you assert exactly what the OP denies. So instead of quibbling over the way...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th June, 2019, 09:18 AM
    What do you mean by "everyone just comments"? The character sheet records "colourful clothes". I don't think any PC or NPC has ever commented on this as portrayed at the table. (Maybe they've talked about it off-screen - who knows.) It's not surprising that an entertainer should wear colourful clothes - I rewatched The Seventh Seal the other evening, and the actors/acrobats wore colourful...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th June, 2019, 09:02 AM
    That's been done. You're correct. There seems to be an underlying assumption by some posters that any disagreement must be the result of having confused the definition of our terms, and that if only those could be sorted out then everyone would see that what is being said is true or false. Or, to put it differently, there seems to be some sort of reluctance to recognise and talk about...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th June, 2019, 07:54 AM
    As I posted upthread, I don't know what your field is. I don't know how many logic or philosophy seminars you have attended. But the standard word used to describe a fallacious or sophistic argument that superficially appears valid, but in fact is not valid because a key term carries different meanings in different sentences of the argument, is equivocation. And the cognate verb is equivocate....
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th June, 2019, 06:38 AM
    I don't need to point to a line to make the point that "just about anything written" is not the criterion used by any reviewer in deciding what to review. And one can't point to a line: for instance, before the invention of reliable, reproducable type I don't think that layout was one of the formal qulaities by which literature was judged. But clearly, over the past century or so, it has...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th June, 2019, 05:45 AM
    I assume you're not meaning that it's contentious that I think it's not uncontentious. Rather, I take it you're agreeing with me that it's not uncontentious. Boardgames don't call to action at all! There is no protagonism in a board game. To put it at its crudest, boardgames are about mathematics, not passion.
    1473 replies | 42090 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 7th June, 2019, 04:21 PM
    Somewhat contra Lanefan, it often doesn't matter at all if the players think different things about the fiction. Last Sunday I GMed a session of Prince Valiant. One of the PCs is a bard/entertainer who wears "colourful clothes". What colour(s) are they? We've never specified. If I think about it I guess I think red, orange, yellow, maybe blue also. What does the player of that character have...
    1473 replies | 42090 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 7th June, 2019, 02:07 PM
    Clarity is not an element of literary quality. Adequate volume to be audible is not something that goes to the artistic quality of a performance. I don't read as much criticism as I probably should, but when I read a review of a novel or a film or a performance of a play I learn (among other things) what the reviewer thought of the cleverness of the composition, the emotions conveyed, the...
    1473 replies | 42090 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 7th June, 2019, 01:27 PM
    That's why you disagree with me about what is "core" or "primary" or "central" to RPGing as an activity. Because I assert - in the OP, and since - that the call to action is what's central. I didn't, and don't, think that that is uncontentious. That's why I started a discussion about it! No one said you can't. I asserted (i) that they're not essential, and (ii) that working on your prose -...
    1473 replies | 42090 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 7th June, 2019, 12:25 AM
    Here's the way that I'm used to discussion working: Person A makes an assertion, explaining what s/he has in mind as best s/he can, ready to elaborate and defend if necessary. Person B makes a reply - perhaps agreeing, perhaps disagreeing, perhaps distinguishing some point, etc. If person B is unsure about what was said by A, s/he asks for clarification. Etc. I'm not used to the idea...
    1473 replies | 42090 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th June, 2019, 11:56 PM
    Whow know? Tell me what it is. If you think telling me what it is necessarily requires literary effort, then what's your conception of teaching children the language? I think it's possible to describe a situation without "painting a picture" in the literary sense. If I can't engage the players unless I "paint a picture" in the literary sense, then I worry that it's probably not a very good...
    1473 replies | 42090 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th June, 2019, 02:46 PM
    I don't think this is true. I don't intend what follows to be triggering for anyone, and apologise if it is - I couldn't come up with a completely safe example. But, that said, and continuing on: If I relate to you the information that a bomb is about to go off in your building, I don't think you would be a passive audience. I think you would engage with what I'm saying in many quite active...
    1473 replies | 42090 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th June, 2019, 05:44 AM
    You talk about excluding people as if it is a fundamentally bad thing. It's part of basic human socialization to have expectations and boundaries.
    1473 replies | 42090 view(s)
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th June, 2019, 01:12 AM
    Attitudes and expectations matter. I am fine with role playing that aims higher in the literary sense or is more casual. What is fundamental to me is that we are all involved in the process as creative peers and everyone's contributions are valued equally. Also that everyone is expected to contribute. Also that contributions move play forward and demand action from other players (GM included).
    1473 replies | 42090 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th June, 2019, 07:39 PM
    If you're looking for a scene-based, action adventure game with fantastic thematic richness/genre coherency and a Magic the Gathering sort of tactical depth...D&D 4e is quite literally the_best_game in the TTRPG market for that experience. Strike(!), Mouse Guard, Cortex+ are all fantastic scene-based, action-adventure games, but they don't offer the overall tactical depth that 4e has (though...
    245 replies | 10643 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th June, 2019, 01:30 PM
    Well this certainly gets to the heart of it, or to the heart of something at least. I see two related questions. (1) Is worldbuilding done, and context established, for the players? That depends on the system and the table. My experience, going back over 30 years to my early years as a GM, is that players are more invested when the context is something that they have a hand in. This can be...
    1473 replies | 42090 view(s)
    3 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd June, 2019, 11:45 PM
    I would put the contrast slightly differently. I think if the game - its mechanics and resoultion, in the context of its fiction - produces the emotion of fear, or anger, or whaever, in the player, then there is less need to try and produce this by way of evocative narration. For me, this is connected with the idea of inhabitation of the character by the player. I think this depends very...
    1473 replies | 42090 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd June, 2019, 11:33 PM
    One example from Marvel Heroic RP/Cortex+ Heroic: if the Doom Pool has 2d12 in it, then the GM can spend those 2d12 to bring the scene to an end. The game will tolerate the GM "winging it" a bit when it comes to spending Doom Pool dice - for instance, the system has a notion of spending dice to introduce an additional threat into a scene, and the relationship between die size and threat...
    50 replies | 1863 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd June, 2019, 05:40 PM
    I'll always know the rules in the games I run. I'll always know what the rules are attempting to accomplish. And, for the last many years, I'll only be running systems that are holistically designed where all rules are integrated with each other and together integrated with the game's ethos/premise. And I'll only be running games for people who are similarly inclined. We can play boardgames...
    50 replies | 1863 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd June, 2019, 09:47 AM
    I think this is very system-dependent. Some systems wear their genre on their sleeves and deliver genre-consistent outcomes. Examples I can think of that I've GMed recently: Prince Valiant, Cthulhu Dark). And both respond on good GM fiction-oriented responses and mechanically are relatively light (especially the latter). Some don't, though, and outcomes can depend on mechanical features...
    50 replies | 1863 view(s)
    1 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd June, 2019, 08:34 AM
    Sounds to me like you have plenty! :) I think for running Wilderlands (which I do), it's great to have the XGTE encounter tables for when the PCs do the hexploration for which Wilderlands is renowned. I had a level 19 PC fly from the Ghinarian Hills to Viridistan and back recently, and being able to roll on the Tier IV encounter tables for content along with the set hex encounters worked really...
    33 replies | 1283 view(s)
    4 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd June, 2019, 08:23 AM
    I agree. Comparing running Princes of the Apocalypse to my Pathfinder APs, there is not a lot of resemblance. The APs are constructed as series of adventures which may in themselves be linear, site based, sandboxy etc. But you have to go 1-2-3 for the campaign to work. You do book 1 then book 2 then book 3 etc. PoTA is a sandboxy single mega-adventure that reminds me of running Lost City of...
    126 replies | 12444 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 2nd June, 2019, 11:28 PM
    The AW rulebook has examples of "mistakes and corrections" in adjudication. The expectation, as modelled by those examples, is that the GM and players will correct errors in calling for particular moves during play. One of the reasons for that is that calling for the wrong move is likely to produce inconsistent fiction. As an example, if a player has his/her PC "go aggro" then a possible...
    50 replies | 1863 view(s)
    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 2nd June, 2019, 01:07 PM
    I think the best approach is for level 11 fighter with 2wf style to get 2 off hand attacks with the bonus action.
    217 replies | 7296 view(s)
    7 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 2nd June, 2019, 01:05 PM
    A 2 hand axe wielding barbarian applies Rage to all attacks. At level 1 that's 2 more damage than a greatsword. It gets weaker once they have 2 base attacks, depending on item bonuses etc. A couple flaming hand axes would be nice. :)
    217 replies | 7296 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 2nd June, 2019, 02:20 AM
    You missed out! It was my main system for nearly 20 years.
    61 replies | 4504 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 2nd June, 2019, 02:17 AM
    This is mostly a system issue. Eg 4e D&D has no system for resolving PC vs PC social conflict, and its combat system isn't very satisfactory for PC vs PC martial conflict. Whereas Marvel Heroic RP/Cortex+ Heroic handles PC vs PC social or martial quite easily. Sometimes I will interpolate a system into a game that doesn't have one by default. Eg in my Classic Traveller game, on a couple...
    26 replies | 1109 view(s)
    0 XP
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Saturday, 25th May, 2019

  • 07:52 AM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post [4e] OSR Clone
    at time's I've looked up something in OSRIC and it seemed word-for-word identical.Well, some people think that OSRIC is on the margins (or crossing the margins) of copyright infringement. S'mon and I have discussed this before - I'm a bit more doubtful of its legality than S'mon but he's the better IP lawyer of the two of us - so probably it's OK! (If only just.)

Tuesday, 16th April, 2019

  • 01:54 PM - Sadras mentioned S'mon in post Deconstructing 5e: Typical Wealth by Level
    Look, @CapnZapp, I get what you are looking for, but, frankly, it's just not feasible in the 5e ruleset. It really isn't. The fact that no game system or designer has pulled it off or done any better than Gygax kind of indicates it can't be done. How good any magic item is depends on to many intangibles. Despite me not 100% agreeing with @CapnZapp regarding rarity, I don't believe the above statements are quite true. I mean what you need is a base for the cost of magic, it should not be so difficult to tabulate. Then what you need are (1) multipliers for high and low magic campaigns, (2) Consumable or Permanent enchantments, (3) Utility and (4) Rarity (Tiered - perhaps as per @S'mon's post). It just requires some work which I think WotC would rather not invest but I think it would be worthwhile in the long run, but that is just me. @CapnZapp, funny enough despite all the negative feedback you endure on this board for the issues regarding Rests, Feats and Magical Items I certainly appreciate the conversations and sometimes solutions that arise from the community. I'm satisfied with the Rest variant that arose from that mammoth thread and I'm using the amendments to some of the Feats I felt needed sprucing up. The Magical Item creation/cost has always, ALWAYS, been a thorn in my side. I just need to hunker down one full week and fix it into something I'm comfortable with for myself and my table. All this time, I have been evaluating cost of items on what feels good with guidance from the book. Slowly building a list that way. It has worked, but every time I dread the question as to what is available... especially as the PCs reach higher levels and travel to mo...

Monday, 8th April, 2019

  • 04:57 AM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post If an NPC is telling the truth, what's the Insight DC to know they're telling the truth?
    ...RPGs that way because it's my preferred approach (and I avoid RPGs that probably won't work with it) - at the moment I've got active Classic Traveller, Prince Valiant, BW, Cortex+ Heroic, Dying Earth and 4e campaigns that use some or other variant on this general approach. (And yes, too many active campaigns relative to time available!) I think that the way you characterise 5e as being similar might be more contentious (not to say it's wrong, but may be not universal), and I'm curious to see what response you might get. For instance, iserith's approach seems to require the GM establishing key elements of the fiction (like, to stick with the toy example that's been kicked around a bit, the presence o the door knob of the viscous fluid that's a contact poison). I see his approach as, in many ways, quite close to a classic Gygaxian "skilled play" approach. But if I'm in error here I'll await correction! (For full disclosure, I'm not a 5e guy but I saw this thread was started by S'mon, and I'm always interested in S'mon's ideas about RPGing, which is why I dropped into it.) EDIT: After replying to your (Elfcrusher's) post I saw this post which I think relates to my point. Quoting it isn't meant to be combative or trying to drive any wedges, but rather to try and identify some of these differences in approach which give each table it's own "flavour" of RPGing. This is why people are saying you’re mischaracterizing the method. You’re making it sound like if you give any description at all, you can “bypass the check.” When the reality is, a check is called for when the described action would logically have a possibility of success, a possibility of failure, and a consequence for failure. This means checks will commonly be called for in dramatic situations, and rarely be called for otherwise.The idea of an action logically having a chance of success, or failure, seems to me to require that the in-fiction context already be established at least to some significant...

Saturday, 6th April, 2019

  • 02:55 AM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post How to deal with death in RPG?
    The root is not generally about pacing.I didn't suggest any general root. It made a suggestion about a particular issue in a particular context. Nagol provided more information in response (fleshing out the meaning of "slowly") which corrected my misapprehension. The root is that GMs can, with effort, come up with some really cool stuff, but sometimes players don't engage with that stuff, or they choose to disengage once they have already bought in. <snip> You might say, "Well, I never use elements in my games that I can't prep rather quickly, so this is not an issue for me."I would, and did, say that - like S'mon - I don't have disappointing sessions. Some posters appeared to be sceptical of this. I'm not sure what you have in mind by "really cool stuff"; and I'm not sure what your threshold is for disappointment. Just having a look through my 4e prep folder on my computer, there are 60-odd files. There seem to be about 4 that (as best I recall) I never got to use: a fey forest encounter, a haunted fey swamp encounter, an aboleth encounter and an epic-tier shadowdark encounter. Each of these might be an hour or more of work statting up creatures. (I don't think I have any unused maps.) The shadowdark encounter could potentially be stepped up to 30th level and so be mechanically usable given the current state of the campaign, but I'd be surprised if the action were ever to return to the shadowdark. These could have been fun, i'm sure; but the stuff that actually happened was fun too. The sessions weren't disappointing because I didn't get to use this stuff, and (eg) the feywild action that...
  • 02:23 AM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post How to deal with death in RPG?
    It's not the system assuming group play. The scenario framing provided group risk.That second bit is what I was trying to get at with "resolving the stakes for the other players". I think a system that allows that to happen - D&D certainly has this feature, and so does Rolemaster, Traveller, CoC, etc, because they don't have mechanical devices for separating consequences from the extrapolation of in-fiction causation - generates expectations for how the group should work at the table. Either, as S'mon has suggested, intra-group dissent/unravelling is accepted (and the obvious risk here is degeneration of the game) or else there are strong norms about respecting group decision-making. Upthread I said "My players are consscius of the need to manage group tensions, and are sensitive also to whether or not the game depends on 'party' play (see eg 4e D&D, which is, vs Burning Wheel or Cortex+ Heroic Fantasy, which is not)." That's pointing to the same general issue.

Thursday, 4th April, 2019

  • 11:52 PM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post How to deal with death in RPG?
    Okay, so, if you never experience this, you probably want to listen more, and try to advise less. I mean, really - how mansplainy is it to suggest solutions when you have never actually knowingly dealt with the problem?Look, two things: S'mon posted that he doesn't have disappointing sessions, a couple of other posters expressed surprise/incredulity, and I posted that my experience is like S'mon's. And I posted a couple of reasons that I think explain why I and my players enjoy our sessions. Lots of other people post accounts of how they run games and how they think that's good/bad (eg I see dozens of posts thse days about "session zero" - is that now "mansplaining"?). For my part, when I have things I want to improve in my game I read stuff by other people who have achieved in their play what I'm looking for. The other thing: I've seen tables, back in my club days, which have players who do some of what has been described upthread. And I think that the stuff that S'mon and I have posted is relevant to what I've seen ar those tables. In particular, I think framing the GM's role as storyteller in any literal sense puts the burden for a "fun" session on the weakest rather than the strongest part of RPGing as an activity...
  • 03:34 PM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post How to deal with death in RPG?
    There are times when players are trying an approach, and are frustrated, or it rubs them the wrong way. They say "screw this," and do something else. Imagine the party is in a long, boring negotiation with a bad guy, and the barbarian finally gets fed up and says, "Screw this!*" draws his axe, screams and leaps.... That's the kind of thing we are talking about. Radical alteration in party direction, typically due to dissatisfaction on either the player's or the charcter's part.I don't think this makes me depart from my earlier post, where I said my experiences are like what S'mon described. The "long, boring negotiation" that you describe, resulting in player frustration/dissatisfaction, isn't a part of my play experience.

Friday, 29th March, 2019

  • 03:40 AM - Ovinomancer mentioned S'mon in post Unsatisfied with the D&D 5e skill system
    ...fake door. Same result, ever so slightly different style. As I tried to explain to you yesterday, in the other thread, the result is very different on a failure. Failed rolls have consequences, so asking for a roll that then fails means a consequence for failure is applied. Sure, success states look similar, but the failure states for each vary greatly, so, no, it's not the same. I get how people follow this way of running their games and what they do but when it comes to why I'm at a bit of a loss. It's probably just that I keep hearing that "it's the rules". I think the rules are more of a guideline than hard-and-fast rules on this one. Some people just like rolling dice or stating intent by phrasing it as a skill check so I let them. But even if it is the rules, so what? If people want to know what the rules text says, read the book. Ask for advice and I'll let you know what works for me. Well, again, I explained it quite a few times in the other thread. You, like S'mon above, seem to be judging how our style works from how your play. So, for you, you'd introduce the unbreakable door and then have players roll dice to try to break it to find out it's unbreakable. I don't do that at all. I'm going to straight up tell them it looks unbreakable, and, if they try, I'll narrate a failure outright with additional info like 'it doesn't even budge.' But, here's the thing, if I introduce an unbreakable door, finding out it's unbreakable is not the point of the challenge. It'll be part of some other challenge where it's being unbreakable is an obstacle to be overcome through other means. The fact that dice aren't rolled to figure out the door is unbreakable is totally unimportant to my style, because the dice will be rolled on other actions that do matter to the challenge I present. Playing in my style doesn't mean it looks just like your play only with no rolls sometimes you'd ask for rolls, it means we've prioritized the play in a slightly different wa...

Thursday, 28th March, 2019

  • 11:16 PM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Not to be a dink, but as a critical theorist, Ron Edwards was a heckuva biologist. Or, more generally, when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. There is certainly nothing wrong with academic critiques of RPGs (and the accompanying jargon), but it's a bit much to use obscurantist* terms that are certainly not generally accepted, and to continue to refer to those definitions and to an essay that is hardly universally accepted in order to make your points.I'm not the one who introduced Forge terminology into this thread. Sadras introduced discussion of "stance", and Maxperson embraced it. I think S'mon may have been the first poster to use GNS/GDS terminology, but my memory on that is hazier. But if other posters want to use that termnology, I'm happy to engage with it.

Friday, 22nd March, 2019

  • 10:21 AM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post D&D storylines for a movie?
    I'm not familiar with the FR stuff S'mon, Hussar et al have mentioned. To me DragonLance seems obvious and far-and-away better movie-fodder than anything else D&D-ish that I'm familiar with. Another option would be to try for a sci-fantasy vibe that tries to ape some aspects of Dr Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy etc and do Dark Sun - but the relative suckage that was the John Carter movie might put producers off swords-and-planet type stuff. I'd add - the fact that setting purists might get irritated by this or that change is as relevant to a D&D film's commercial prospects as the changes made by Peter Jackson to canonical LotR ie not relevant at all!

Thursday, 21st March, 2019

  • 02:16 PM - TaranTheWanderer mentioned S'mon in post Some combat house rules to peruse or ignore
    ... the gollem's adamantine sword and destroyed it with its own weapon. That was epic. I don't want to ban that kind of thing from my game and, from first hand experience, I know it's not going to turn into a disarm free-for-all. It just won't. And, actually, locked gauntlets was a thing(in 3e, at least. I'm not sure about the real world). People didn't use them much because they had a significant drawback that You just can't draw any other weapons or potions or do anything with your hands (like stabilize a fallen comrade). So, if I were to put in undisarmable magic weapons in my game (which I wouldn't because they'd be totally unnecessary), I'd give them a similar drawback. But as I mentioned above, you don't have to like a rule to help someone make one up for their game. If you think it's not balanced, then that's fair enough. No need to expand any further. It's just not helpful to tell someone "I hate that" when they are looking for feedback for how to do something. S'mon What did you think about using passive attacks as a base DC? I'm wondering if that dc is too low. If you want to make it difficult, and want to use disadvantage, I'd attach a reasoning. Rapiers aren't designed for disarming, so disadvantage but a sai doesn't have disadvantage. I also think there should be a drawback for disarming otherwise it takes away from the uniqueness of the Battlemaster. A battlemaster should be good at disarming and shouldn't have a drawback. Meanwhile the Champion, risks losing his own weapon if he tries it. (or something like that). Despite liking disarming, I have to agree that it shouldn't become so easy that it's commonplace. I think 5ekyu has a valid concern.

Tuesday, 19th March, 2019

  • 10:12 PM - CubicsRube mentioned S'mon in post Some combat house rules to peruse or ignore
    S'mon i have the same issue with ranged weapons in melee. I'd even be tempted to disallow ranged weapons in melee at all. I don't see how a person is to stand still and draw a bow or swing a sling and still defend themselves.

Sunday, 17th March, 2019

  • 10:22 AM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    S'mon, what you say about the forgiving nature of 5e seems consistent with other remarks about the system. I didn't mind the way 4e handled some of these things (though I'm not sure if it was deliberate design or byproduct): the real "trick" is bringing the serious fire attack to bear on the troll. Even for a party of veterans that creates a tactical challenge, in the context of an otherwise well-designed 4e encounter, that requires some figuring out. And sometimes the sequencing won't work out for whatever reason, or the fire attack will miss, and the troll will get its regeneration to work. Also, I think the veteran staying quiet is a bit awkward (and I agree not Gygaxian), but not as bad as having to exercise that "silence" in respect of one's own PC. That's the bit I really can't wrap my head around!

Monday, 11th March, 2019

  • 01:37 PM - Hussar mentioned S'mon in post Do orcs in gaming display parallels to colonialist propaganda?
    I ask white friends/acquaintances who don't appear to be ethnic English where they are from, yes. If someone has eg an Irish accent I may ask which part of Ireland. I asked my player who turned out to be Greek where she was from, a couple weeks ago. I think "Where are you from?" is better than "What's your ethnicity". I understand why the interaction of various cultural elements in Anglo settler countries (USA, Australia, Canada, NZ) has caused the offence-taking to arise. That doesn't make it a good thing. I think I should recuse myself from this thread now. I had a good discussion and learned a fair bit. *Takes a very deep breath.* I'm really sorry S'mon. I value your contribution to the thread and I certainly don't want to chase you away. Again, totally letting my own hang ups get the better of me. You in no way deserved that. This is a really touchy subject for me, and I reacted poorly. /edit - weird multipost stuff corrected. I'd also point out that the video makes it really, really clear that the two people don't know each other. It's one thing to ask a friend/acquaintance - that's kinda just polite conversation. It's very much another when someone does it to a stranger, which is what the video is talking about. The presumption that anyone who looks Asian must be born in another country is, unfortunately, very common and for some reason, being Asian seems to attract this sort of thing far more often than it should. Imagine if, on a reasonably frequent basis, complete strangers accosted you to question whether or not you are a "real" ((insert whatever country you live in)). It gets very tired, very quickly.

Saturday, 9th March, 2019

  • 02:28 PM - Hussar mentioned S'mon in post Do orcs in gaming display parallels to colonialist propaganda?
    But, that's the issue isn't it S'mon? What would be the problem with having Ronnie Chang play Frodo? I mean, Elijah Wood isn't English but there was no problem with having him play Frodo. Does Tolkien even really physically describe hobbits? Other than big hairy feet and usually curly brown hair, I'm actually struggling to remember much physical description. So, what's the problem here? Hassan Minaj as Sam? ((Ok, I've been watching a lot of Netflix lately. :D))
  • 09:22 AM - Hussar mentioned S'mon in post Do orcs in gaming display parallels to colonialist propaganda?
    The US especially has a history of racism towards east-Asians which colours American reactions towards certain tropes. Not really sure I'll buy that one. See Sax Rohmer and Fu Manchu for a pretty clear example. /editted to change to Sax Rohmer, which has led to a rather odd quoting by S'mon. Totally my fault.

Friday, 8th March, 2019

  • 06:35 PM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post Do orcs in gaming display parallels to colonialist propaganda?
    S'mon - I've worked out which adventure I was thinking of. Not The Lichway, and not Halls, but Pool of the Standing Stones. Braken the LE cleric "has had a special suit of plate forged which allows the molestation of females without removal". By default he is in "the fur-draped four poster bed . . . with one of the village maidens". Fully armoured, natch, due to his armourer's ingenious design. Meanwhile in the "Boudoir Area" (cf "Braken's Bedroom") we have Prisilla the LE female MU (her sex is called out expressly; Braken's is left to be inferred from pronouns). She is "[u]sually to be found in [her] bed - sometimes but not always alone". It's almost like there's some sort of recurring patern here . . . maybe even a trope . . .
  • 04:16 PM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    I'm not sure "GM decides" covers the same ground though as "Mother May I". The GM decides a lot of things in general, and so it makes the terminology a bit vague. As I've been using the term GM decides in this thread - which I think is pretty close to what S'mon has in mind - I've been meaning the GM decides what changes occur in the fiction as a result of a player declaring an action for his/her PC. I'm pretty sure that that is what the OP in the progenitor thread of this thread had in mind in using the phrase "Mother may I" - the connection between that latter phrase, and the GM decides method of action resolution, being that if a player wants to produce change X to the shared fiction, s/he has to guess what action declaration might lead the GM to decide to change the fiction in way X. The contrast, then, is with action resolution methods which allow a player to change the fiction in way X without that having to be mediated through GM decision-making about outcomes and consequences - D&D combat is mostly an illustration of such a method, provided X is make it true in the fiction that such-and-such a charcter/creature is dead, and the RPGs that I play tend to use similar action resolution methods for a range of non-combat matters also. ...

Wednesday, 6th March, 2019

  • 01:24 PM - pemerton mentioned S'mon in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Pemertonian Scene framing is a thing because he has people who like his ideas and follow them. I am not suggesting he is a cult leader or anything. but he is a poster who people listen to."Permertonian Scene Framing" is a phrase coined by S'mon who is a poster on these boards with a post-count similar to mine; who (like me) is an academic in an English-language law school; whose politics are different from mine (I think I can say that much without breaking board rules); whose opinions I generally respect and whose commentary on RPGing is almost always worth listening to; who thinks I have interesting things to say about 4e, sometimes accepts I have interesting things to say about OSR/"free kriegsspiel", but who (I believe) thinks I'm wrong in this thread. To characterise S'mon as my "follower" is ridiculous! Without being mawkish and without wanting to exaggerate the intimacy that is possible on a message board (we've never met in person), I would characterise S'mon as a friend.

Friday, 1st March, 2019



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Saturday, 15th June, 2019

  • 06:24 PM - Myrhdraak quoted S'mon in post Interview in "The Atlantic" with a D&D group that has been together for over 30 years
    I always wonder how people playing D&D with the same characters for many years can avoid out-levelling the game. My longest campaign was 4e Loudwater, 103 sessions over 5.5 years, with the one PC who lasted the whole campaign going from 1 to 30. 3e and 5e seem a fair bit quicker; my long running 5e games reach 20th level after a few years. Back when I ran 1e in the 80s/90s we ended up with god PCs, @Upper_Krust's Thrin PC ended up with around 117 levels! Back in 1st and 2nd Edition level progress could be quite slow, at least if you did not follow the 1 GP = 1 XP rules, and only rewarded xp for monsters. I think we spent years just to get to level 5. In 4th edition and later editions, the level progress got very much faster. When we started back in the 80ties the game was much more focused on exploration, travel, discover the world, etc. Combat was something you tried to avoid at low level, just in order to survive. I do not think that kind of gameplay would work today when people are used ...

Tuesday, 11th June, 2019

  • 02:34 PM - Fanaelialae quoted S'mon in post Should I play 4e?
    I used most of Dungeon Delve IMC. By 'dungeon crawl' I meant exploration of an expansive dungeon environment, not a short set piece encounter series. I think I see what you're saying. I would agree that 4e is far more suited to something like Temple of Doom than Tomb of Horrors.
  • 01:30 PM - Fanaelialae quoted S'mon in post Should I play 4e?
    I was thinking more about motivations and gameplay than power level - 4e is good for save-the-world, it isn't good at dungeon crawling for loot & XP. If that was your experience, I'm not contesting it, but it doesn't really match mine. 4e did do save-the-world style play very well. In my opinion, the biggest difference was that it excised the "grim-and-gritty" low-level gameplay of earlier editions, where 1st level characters had a significant chance to die. Arguably, there was less motivation to adventure for loot, since more of your character's power was baked into its class, but IME the motivation to adventure for XP was unchanged (and in some cases improved, since thanks to Epic Destinies even a fairly mundane fighter could look forward to some pretty amazing abilities at high levels). I don't really see it as not doing dungeon crawling well. I recall some fun crawls back when I played. The tactical nature of the combat basically made a dungeon a series of varied puzzles to so...
  • 11:41 AM - Fanaelialae quoted S'mon in post Should I play 4e?
    I found 4e works well as a game of heroic questing with big set-piece battles and a lot of emphasis on characters. A good way to think of it would be as an Avengers movie with a Lord of the Rings reskin. :) For structural reasons it does not do well at sandboxing, mercenary adventurers, or traditional dungeon crawls - ie it does not do traditional "D&D" well; whereas if you think of it as a mid-power superhero game in a fantasy setting it is a great game. I used to get a lot of criticism/abuse back in 4e days for calling it a superhero game, this was regarded as a derogatory term. I think/hope that with the immense success of the Marvel MCU this has changed. It's a perfectly respectable genre and 4e does it very well. While I understand what you're saying, and don't disagree that 4e had a different tone than prior editions (at least at low levels), I think what you're saying basically applies to D&D as a whole. It is and always has been in large part a superhero game reskinned as LotR...
  • 11:18 AM - CapnZapp quoted S'mon in post Should I play 4e?
    I found 4e works well as a game of heroic questing with big set-piece battles and a lot of emphasis on characters. A good way to think of it would be as an Avengers movie with a Lord of the Rings reskin. :) For structural reasons it does not do well at sandboxing, mercenary adventurers, or traditional dungeon crawls - ie it does not do traditional "D&D" well; whereas if you think of it as a mid-power superhero game in a fantasy setting it is a great game. Thank you. Yes, this is the root of all those "it isn't D&D" complaints. Because if you find that you must choose between easy combats and long combats, then the game does fail at the core. Choose easy, and you do have time for story. On the other hand, the game gets this "plastic" feeling, somewhat like a superhero movie, since there is little challenge and few consequences. Choose long, and you are rewarded by very fun and exciting combats where you really must use every little ability and special condition to prevail. But this leave...

Monday, 10th June, 2019

  • 05:04 PM - Upper_Krust quoted S'mon in post Interview in "The Atlantic" with a D&D group that has been together for over 30 years
    I always wonder how people playing D&D with the same characters for many years can avoid out-levelling the game. My longest campaign was 4e Loudwater, 103 sessions over 5.5 years, with the one PC who lasted the whole campaign going from 1 to 30. 3e and 5e seem a fair bit quicker; my long running 5e games reach 20th level after a few years. Back when I ran 1e in the 80s/90s we ended up with god PCs, Upper_Krust's Thrin PC ended up with around 117 levels! Yes I'd be interested to know how they didn't 'max out' their characters myself. The bigger problem I always had with roleplaying a long established character was the extreme amount of tension involved in encounters where you could die (which was basically every combat encounter S'mon ran). When you have put 1000 gaming hours into a specific character that's a lot of personal investment on the line. I suspect its akin to high stakes poker tournaments.
  • 04:01 PM - Sacrosanct quoted S'mon in post Interview in "The Atlantic" with a D&D group that has been together for over 30 years
    I always wonder how people playing D&D with the same characters for many years can avoid out-levelling the game. My longest campaign was 4e Loudwater, 103 sessions over 5.5 years, with the one PC who lasted the whole campaign going from 1 to 30. 3e and 5e seem a fair bit quicker; my long running 5e games reach 20th level after a few years. Back when I ran 1e in the 80s/90s we ended up with god PCs, Upper_Krust's Thrin PC ended up with around 117 levels! Some of the people I game with, we have been gaming together since 1986. Not all of course, as some new players joined, etc. To give context, we played AD&D 1e until 2012 when we started the 5e playtest. To answer your question, we played high level PCs like AD&D designed for them to be played. I.e., when they got high level, they started strongholds, did land management, and the game shifted from a dungeon crawl to more of a resource/land/conquer type of game. They also got retired and just made cameos every once in a while. Not cou...

Monday, 3rd June, 2019

  • 03:11 PM - DM Dave1 quoted S'mon in post What 5th edition books should I be buying?
    I get more use from Kobold Press's Tome of Beasts, which has a lot of distinctive and high-threat monsters that work well as 'specials'. Tome of Beast, as S'mon mentioned, is a great monster resource. More monsters? Tomb of Beasts and Creature Codex add a bunch of variety. I third the recommendation for Tome of Beasts, and its follow-up, Creature Codex, is equally good. Over here for a fifth! Both enormous Kobold Press monster books are chock full of such a great variety of monsters that it is a challenge to not find something to fit your desired CR, environment, monster type, alignment, etc. The artwork in those books is quite nice as well.

Saturday, 25th May, 2019

  • 09:31 AM - mach1.9pants quoted S'mon in post So...keelboats
    I think it's established the Qeng Ho fleet did go all over and at the time Chinese ship technology was advanced. The problem was cultural. we're talking real world not sci fi! ;) Maybe you mean Zheng He, who Qeng Ho was named after, I think And it's certainly not established, very much debated "There is still much debate about issues such as the actual purpose of the voyages, the size of the ships, the magnitude of the fleet, the routes taken, the nautical charts employed, the countries visited, and the cargo carried." But still impressive stuff, even the bits that are not debated

Friday, 24th May, 2019

  • 09:38 PM - Draegn quoted S'mon in post Simulacrum - How strict do you treat the "Can't Learn" clause?
    IMC a Simulacrum is AC 10 hp 10 all stats 10. Useful for putting a fake king on the throne, not for adding to party firepower. Or a queen who needs a heir yet does not have the time to spend producing one in a more traditional manner. Who would the heir love more? Queen mom or Simulamom?

Sunday, 19th May, 2019

  • 11:33 PM - Tony Vargas quoted S'mon in post Favourite D&D edition that’s not 5E
    Interesting how different these results are from what is recorded as being played out in the wild, where BX clones are popular and 2e and 4e are unloved. Consider that this is being asked in 5e forum. The most effusive praise I've heard of 5e has come from 2e fans. 0e/1e/OSR and 3.x/PF fans have their things, so may not drop by here. 4e fans, by definition, were those most willing to give a new ed a chance. So what you're seeing isn't absolute popularity of editions, but a prevalence of 2e & 4e fans within the 5e community. Or, y'know, D&D eds may just be like Star Trek movies.... ;P

Saturday, 18th May, 2019

  • 09:58 PM - Morrus quoted S'mon in post Firearms
    High velocity wounds tear rather than cut, and are much more deadly than knife or arrow wounds. It is a myth that bullets don't do much damage. A small bullet wound is a good bit deadlier than a large knife wound. I dunno. I saw a “large knife wound” on Game of Thrones. It made Ned Stark’s head fall off.
  • 08:18 PM - Tony Vargas quoted S'mon in post Firearms
    High velocity wounds tear rather than cut, and are much more deadly than knife or arrow wounds. It is a myth that bullets don't do much damage. A small bullet wound is a good bit deadlier than a large knife wound. I've heard all sides in such debates way too much to get into it, there's political issues fueling different sides, and it involves autopsy-level detail that'll never be modeled with a hp system. The takeaway is that lots of things can kill you, where guns stand out is in how easy they make it, regardless of size/strength/skill of either party involved. The genre convention is that people who get hit fall over. Very unlike DnD. 'cept for 4e, iff, by 'people' you mean 'minions.'

Thursday, 16th May, 2019

  • 06:45 PM - Dannyalcatraz quoted S'mon in post The economics of Continual flame
    Sorry I was going by the 5e version, like most people I keep forgetting about the merged boards. (edit) Both versions say "Product" though the 5e examples make it clearer.. Yeah, I figured I should include the 5Ed version, just in case. I would suspect- from the examples given- that Fabricate works on more than one material at a time. Clothes are made with more than wool or cotton, for example, because of the dyes and threads. Though it’s possible to build bridges with just wood, usually there is use of metal nails and/or rope.
  • 07:46 AM - Dannyalcatraz quoted S'mon in post The economics of Continual flame
    You don't need rubies for the spell. In a world where fabricate exists, any gemstone will do (as long as it is of reasonable quality). The jadeite mine provides a caster with a barrel of chips of crystal. One casting of fabricate later, there is a ruby 5ft across sitting on the bench. A ruby or diamond is not a manufactured item. They're not things you can fabricate. The spell seems pretty clear what it's capable of. Hmmm...The 3.5Ed version: You convert material of one sort into a product that is of the same material. Creatures or magic items cannot be created or transmuted by the fabricate spell. The quality of items made by this spell is commensurate with the quality of material used as the basis for the new fabrication. If you work with a mineral, the target is reduced to 1 cubic foot per level instead of 10 cubic feet. You must make an appropriate Craft check to fabricate articles requiring a high degree of craftsmanship. The 5Ed version: You convert raw materials i...
  • 05:53 AM - doctorbadwolf quoted S'mon in post How do you handle the "economy killing spells" in your game?
    I suggested to James Jacobs of Paizo that this dire lack of people in the setting (Golarion) was likely due to setting cultural norms - like widespread birth control, Right to Choose, same sex or trans marriages, women in the (adventuring) work force... ...He didn't seem too impressed. :D Cute.
  • 01:14 AM - The Glen quoted S'mon in post How do you handle the "economy killing spells" in your game?
    If I was running Mystara in 5e I'd definitely have Alphatian mage-smiths Fabricating away happily. The Alphatian economy is based off magic. In most settings, possibly not a single Wizard knows the spell Fabricate. It's not something I've ever seen a PC Wizard research. I definitely find that it is Cleric spells that are the issue. Most settings have Priests like the MM level 5 caster be pretty common. If they are like PCs they have access to the full Cleric spell list and can swap out every time they finish a long rest. Major temples may have *lots* of Priests and even a level 9+ high priest. This is where the GM really needs to be careful when it comes to world building, and think about how much magic he wants in his campaign world. Glantri requires its students to create magic items to sell. Most of the nation uses magical devices as appliances and other labor-saving inventions. They don't export much but if you can get there with money and aren't one of the classes or races th...

Wednesday, 15th May, 2019

  • 09:06 AM - Dannyalcatraz quoted S'mon in post YouGov D&D Alignment Survey - how many Britons identify as Chaotic Evil?
    They weren't asked "Are you CE?" per se - they were asked When it comes to defence spending, which comes closer to your view? Britain should increase spending on the armed forces so we can ensure we are protected against threats and remain a global power 43% Britain should not increase spending on the armed forces so the money can be better spent elsewhere on things like education and healthcare 40% and If you had to choose, which of the following sets of values would you say most closely resembles your own: Honour, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability 29% Freedom, adaptability, and flexibility 17% An even split between the two 46% Thinking about the way you live your life, do you think it would be most fair to describe yourself as... Good 63% Neutral 30% Evil 2% C’mon, S’mon! You’ve never been handed a questionnaire that you had no interest in and considered not taking your answers seriously- answering at random- or deciding to mess with the resu...
  • 07:40 AM - Paul Farquhar quoted S'mon in post YouGov D&D Alignment Survey - how many Britons identify as Chaotic Evil?
    This is incredible! https://yougov.co.uk/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2018/09/21/dungeons-and-dragons-one-three-britons-are-neutral Eg on public figures: Among the Lawful Good group the public figure they like most compared to other groups is Theresa May. By contrast, the public figure that Chaotic Goods like most compared to other groups is Jeremy Corbyn. Two further Labour figures top the lists, with Neutral Goods’ most preferred public figure being Labour MP Margaret Hodge and True Neutrals liking former Home Secretary David Blunkett. Among Lawful Neutrals the most relatively favoured figure is Prince William, while Chaotic Neutrals have a thing for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. I would pin pretty much all of those named people (along with most of the population of my country) as Evil.

Monday, 13th May, 2019

  • 04:56 AM - Kobold Stew quoted S'mon in post How do you handle the "economy killing spells" in your game?
    Since I've never seen PCs attempt to do either of these things, it seems to be a non-issue. This to me is the central issue. Have your players' characters tried to do this? If they haven't (the focal characters of the world), then why would anyone else? For me the transformative spell is Lesser Restoration -- curing blindness by third-level clerics. When I've tried to play this, it's been frustrated. But it's prepared every day by my clerics and druids. I would love a party to use the spell to attempt to remove blindness and disease from a kingdom or a continent.


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