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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Today, 03:56 AM
    I agree with much of what @Manbearcat just posted. The underlying tools 4e GMs have access to accurately reflect the fiction provide a means to properly convey the emotional weight of the battle before them. I view their responsible use as a function of framing. Just like clocks in Blades or GM moves in Apocalypse World they can definitely be misused. I think it's important to leave room for GM...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Today, 02:16 AM
    The present conversation about Monster Roles underpins the "fiction first" nature of 4e. Imagine a scenario where the PCs were just in a sort of "Race Against Time" Skill Challenge where they know that an undead horde are converging on a steading and will overwhelm it without the party's aid. They fail. The field-stone wall has been breached. The Guard is nearly slain and the people of...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:18 PM
    In 4e a minion is also killed by any damage that doesn't require an attack roll to inflcit - eg zone damage. Having GMed a long campaign with a zone-heavy sorcerer I've seen the anti-minion effect of such zones. In the fiction, this is a sign of the power of the fire (or whatever it is) that this sorcerer conjures up. As far as AD&D and 5e save-for-half is concerned, it's always struck me as...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:35 PM
    On the last sentence: I agree that they can be made semi-in-character in the sort of meta "self-talk" that occurs in life as someone is navigating a consequential decision-point. To themselves, people transmit a desire...perhaps to visual the outcome so that it moralizes them toward the will to act. To their nervous system, they issue a command. In the world, the collision of opposing...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:42 PM
    A discussion about the methods that might be used, in a RPG, to establish which descriptions of a PC's actions are true in th shared fiction is almost impossible if discussants are unable to separate their knowledge of how one particular RPG does such things from a consideration of how other (actual and possible) RPGs might do it. I believe that everyone posting in this thread knows that, in...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:29 PM
    What does wrong mean here? These are all examples of not knowing 4e or how its system works. In 4e the AC of a (say) 16th level ogre will be higher than that of an 8th level ogre (eg AC 28 for the Ogre Bludgeoneer 16th level minion compared to AC 19 for the Ogre Savage 8th level standard). AC in 4e doesn't reflect simply the armour that is worn (hide armour in both cases). It is a...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:16 AM
    Of games currently running: My Runelords game has had 2 perma deaths in 3 years, 87 sessions. My Primeval Thule game (no raise dead magic except revivify) has had 2 perma deaths in 7 months, 31 sessions. My Princes of the Apocalypse game has had 0 perma deaths (& 1 temp) in 7 months, 7 sessions. My Stonehell games I can recall two perma deaths in about 18 months of play, games about 1/week....
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:08 AM
    Or, put another way, there is this tendency among a cross-section of the TTRPG culture to try to assume that action resolution mechanics are actually a gamestate unto themselves, rather than an input into a possible new gamestate. This is one of the reasons why the spellcaster vs martial dichotomy has been an issue for so long. In much of D&D, spellcasters spells are actually gamestates...
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    1 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:15 AM
    I think a serious argument could be made for 3e. Giving monsters Strength and Constitution bonuses meant many monsters were tougher in comparison to fighters. Rock Paper Scissors saving throws meant PCs were more vulnerable to spells. 3e starts out fairly deadly and becomes more deadly as levels escalate.
    185 replies | 4931 view(s)
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:10 AM
    Labels from Masks. Shifting stats to reflect a shifting sense of self in teenage superheroes. Absolutely brilliant.
    59 replies | 2300 view(s)
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:51 AM
    Here's my take: Character sheets and game mechanics are representative of the fiction, but they are not the fiction. They are tools we use to create a consistent compelling fiction. I feel it is a grave mistake to confuse the fiction with its representation because it lowers our overall investment in what is actually going on. Some games (even games I am quite fond of) make it all too easy to do...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    5 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:09 AM
    Oh man, we're having this conversation...yet again. It isn't just HP that are the problem for someone trying to model actual world biology and physics/collisions between objects. Its the whole thing. D&D's discrete parts (HP, AC, Attack Rolls) push against that idea as well as the combat round (be it 1 minute, 10 seconds, or 6 seconds). Worse still for the effort, when those 4 intersect? ...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:33 AM
    But it is true to the fiction. The ogre that is tough for mid-heroic PCs is not tough for mid-paragon PCs. That's it. I mean, speaking purely about the fiction, what is inconsistent? This is not a statement about the setting or the gameworld inhabitants. It is a statement about mechanics. Changing the numbers used to resolve declared actions, and find out what happens in the ficiton,...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:24 AM
    There's actually little evidence for this in the history of D&D. Most kobolds, goblins and 0-level humans will be either up or down if hit by a AD&D fighter with weapon specialisationm 18 STR and a magic weapon (damage die +1 for magic +2 for spec +3 for 18/01 STR = minimum 7 damage on a hit and typically quite a bit more). But I've never seen it suggested that this does not make for good play. ...
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    3 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 09:58 PM
    I quite like having a job! :) And not having a 2 hour commute.
    83 replies | 2933 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 07:41 PM
    I assume you understood the rest of the post and these two questions (I'll quote) are what don't make sense? 1) Do you think if those mechanics were in play, would they affect (a) the sensation of play overall, (b) your navigation of your thoughts, (c) your perceptions of what is happening (the gravity, the momentum), (d) your immediate meta reflections (which I don't know about you...but...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 04:57 PM
    I handle it like the OP - I don't 'save' the PCs (unless I think I screwed up my GMing somehow), I run a fairly status quo world, but I like continuing characters with plenty of investment. Of the three campaigns I'm running currently: 1. Princes of the Apocalypse lvl 1-6 had a first session death to stirges which I felt was unfair, so I let the Life Cleric do an emergency blood transfusion....
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 04:47 PM
    The starting wealth by Tier tables in the DMG are good; I recommend the High Magic settings if you are running a 3e-style world like Paizo's Golarion, or Medium Magic for the 5e Forgotten Realms campaigns. Generally I give 5th level PCs one Uncommon item from a list of 12-20.
    26 replies | 657 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 02:21 PM
    Given that there's been some discussion about roleplaying, what it means to play a character, and what it means to find one's character challenged in a certain way, I thought I would post some quotes from Burning Wheel Gold. This spells out how I think about it pretty well. I'm quoting from the Revised edition that came out a few months ago. First, Jake Norwood's Foreword at p 6 (Norwood...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    5 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 11:30 AM
    What system are you talking about? 4e? 4e has no mechanic for turning the PCs into "minions" to fight much higher level antagonists. Rather, it has a mechanic for turning those higher level antagonists into solos and the like. This is because a game in which PCs are toggled either up or down would not make for very good play. I've bolded a few bits which demonstrate that you don't...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 11:17 AM
    Go onto the next thing. Perhaps don't work with such a tight notion of "the adventure" or "that mission". Nothing. That's my whole point. There's not an end to possible RPGing because the PCs made their way easily through a castle. But this is purely external adversity: people used to like you but now they don't. It doesn't involve any sort of reevaluation or reconceptualisation.
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 11:15 AM
    I GM much more than I play a PC. When I play a PC this is what I am looking for - but more below on my personality weakness in this respect! As a GM I like to see what drives the PCs. I also enjoy the big moments of conflict, some of which are internal - or intra-group - and some of which are external. The first time I really played a character in this way was actually in a freeform Cthulhu...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 12:14 AM
    I'm going to start with some personal background. Before I ever touched any dice I got my start role playing in online free form communities associated with various fandoms. I also am a lifelong theater geek with a deep appreciation for the craft of acting. I have a group of friends who gets together every couple months to do read throughs of some of our favorite plays. Right now I'm currently...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    6 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 12:03 AM
    It's a bit hard to express a view on this without more context, but I don't think it is such a thing. I'm not seeing that there is a situation suggesting to the PC (and his/her player) that, in fact, those who fight beside me are not worth dying for. But maybe I've missed something or otherwise misunderstood what you are describing.
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 07:58 PM
    Forget for a minute what you feel about my analysis of your excerpt. Do you not think, for better or for worse, this would have changed the cognitive space you were occupying and the play experience of the other participants who bore witness to your PC's sacrifice? 1) Your character had a feedback loop (lets call it Nature) with 3 descriptors attached to it and both a positive and a...
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    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 11:56 AM
    How is something at stake if you don't know what it is yet?
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    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 08:42 AM
    When I read this, I'm imagining a Texas Hold 'Em tournament where: 1) There was no codified "buy-in" $ figure for the tournament and we don't know what the participant's financial situation is going into the tournament (is this a desperate attempt to get a windfall at zero hour so a debt to the mob can be paid off?). 2) We don't know what their chip stack was when this hand was played. ...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 07:58 AM
    This earned a lot of xp, but the take-home needs to be emphasized. In real life we aren't characterizing ourselves. In real life we don't have nearly the expression of autonomy or internal locus of control that one characterizes their PC with in a game of AD&D, 3.x, and 5e D&D. In real life, our behavioral outputs are a collage of external inputs (from emotional provocateurs to those that...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 06:54 AM
    I don't see any challenge to characterisation. You tell us your character is someone who cares about little but being provided with a meal. And so in exchange for a promise of food you submitted yourself to a process that - as you describe it - you seemed to have no control over. As a result you have no soul - I don't know what that means in mechanical terms in 5e, but it doesn't seem to...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 03:31 AM
    Your PC's actions have put your family at risk. When you decide to do have your PC do X rather than Y, how do you - as a player - know whether your are jeopardiding your relationship with your family? Who decides whether they stick with you or abandon you? And how? Is this is all just GM decides? This seems to rest on a premise that there is a finite amount of "challenge" which, if the PCs...
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    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 03:23 AM
    Let's suppose your claim about human physiology was true, which I don't think it is. In 4e hp are not a model of that physiology. They are part of an action resolution framework. The primary mechanical marker of the power of a 4e creature, including the degree of physical trauma it can endure, is its level. By setting the level of a being, the GM is using a mechanical device to signal its...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 02:57 AM
    To allude back to an earlier post, those are possible transcripts of play, accounts of events that oocur in the fiction. But from the transcript we can't tell what the play experience was. We can't tell who estabished the fiction, or how, or what the actual play experience was of doing that. I don't know what you mean by roleplaying activity or roleplaying experience. Do you mean transcript of...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 02:49 AM
    As I've already posted, I don't think this thread is the place for a serious discussion of philosophy of action. Rather, I'm taking Davidson as a starting point. But if you are correct, then it follows that - in the example - four different actions have been performed. And if there were two prowlers, each alerted, then five different things would have been done. That is obviously absurd. ...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 02:27 AM
    I don't know what you mean by a given instance of RP. I'll set out a practical example to try and illustrate my point: imagine a situation in which the PCs are fighting some NPCs, and are losing - multiple PCs down, hors de combat etc while the NPCs are clearly about to carry the day. In these circumstances in Classic Traveller the players have to make a morale check for their PCs...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 06:50 PM
    Honestly, I don't think the 5e designers were up to the task. Everytime I hear them talk about 4e I'm amazed by how little they get the appeal of 4e.
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    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 04:06 PM
    These two accounts of 5e seem pretty congruent with one another. They remind me of a certain, fairly common, sort of approach to 2nd ed AD&D. I've also edited a post about half-a-dozen upthread having read these posts. EDIT: and I also just read this, which seems equally congruent with the other two posts:
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 03:56 PM
    I don't understand. Are you saying that sometimes the GM has to ignore successful checks and treat them as failures because otherwise the players will win the game unfairly or too easily? That's a strange assertion, if it's the one you're making. I also don't understand what "combats that are unavoidable" has to do with anything. That's just more checks. If the player's dice are "hot" (as you...
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    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 03:41 PM
    An action declaration is a proposal that the fiction should include a certain content. For instance, I climb the wall is a proposal as to the content of the shared fiction, namely, that it includes the PC climbing the wall. I don't know what playing their character means here other than some improv acting. If the GM is deciding everything that happens, what else are the players contributing...
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    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 03:39 PM
    I see. So TTRPG systems and play are not objective things and cannot be analyzed empirically and anyone that attempts to do so is a big jerk? Is that pretty much the gist? Following from that, youíve just wasted my (and others) time with a rhetorical request to evaluate 5e that you obviously had no interest in engaging with. Feels bad. Please donít make such requests, get sincere...
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    2 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 02:52 PM
    * The ďLight ClockĒ in Torchbearer and how all of the other game mechanics are integrated perfectly with it and how, working in concert, they bring home the intended play experience (cognitive space inhabited, mood, theme, pace). * Same thing goes for Blades in the Dark with its holistic integration of all of its system machinery which engenders bold, devil-may-care scoundrels, each uniquely...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 02:10 PM
    I donít know what the point of this response was. It doesnít engage with anything Iíve said. You wonít me to...say that I donít know what Iím talking about? Huh? Further, itís a claim about me that has absolutely no evidence to back it up. What claim from ignorance do you think that Iím making that isnít backed by evidence and wonít stand up under scrutiny? If youíre looking for an example...
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    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 02:04 PM
    I see this as somewhat similar to what I posted upthread - that in AD&D there's no systematic way to put your connection to family on the line.
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    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 12:38 PM
    I've highlighted you use of the word things. I think you're using it to refer to certain sorts of events in the fiction. The sorts of things that might be presented on a messageboard in the form of a transcript. In my post I was talking about experiences had by the players, at the table. The transcript - the in-fiction events - is one component of these. But does not exhaust them. To give...
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    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 12:23 PM
    I guess I'm assuming that - or wondering whether - there is more that can be said than just It's my preference. That is, that it's possible to articulate why it's good. Upthread, Lanefan asserted that 4e's hp mechanic is flawed because it doesn't conform to his expectations for a hp mechanic. That's a pretty strong claim - that his way of thinking is better. Presumably there's something that...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 11:40 AM
    Action resolution in Burning Wheel (which can be ported to other systems eg Classic Traveller): * Intent and task action declaration; * Say 'yes' or roll the dice; * Success is success on both intent and task; failure is narrated by the GM by reference to intent and/or task as will keep things moving and maintain or increase the pressure; * Let it ride (ie results stand - no rerolls).
    59 replies | 2300 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 07:54 AM
    My Princes of the Apocalypse game plays monthly, maybe 4 hours. There is still resource drain - several fights between (1 week) long rests is common - the fights aren't normally trivial since a trivial fight doesn't drain significant resources anyway. 5e expects PCs can do 6-8 medium to hard fights per LR before being tapped out.
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 07:00 AM
    I'm afraid this will sound like damning with faint praise, but it is the result of an honest evaluation that comes from running and playing 5e. Much like Fate, I consider 5e to be a really well designed game that excels at a style of play I have very little interest in. 5e excels at GM led and mediated storytelling where the emphasis is on resolving the adventure that is put in front of the PCs...
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    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 03:41 AM
    Here is some rules text from Apocalypse World (which is one of the games Campbell was referring to), pp 12 and 194. The rule for moves is to do it, do it. In order for it to be a move and for the player to roll dice, the character has to do something that counts as that move; and whenever the character does something that counts as a move, itís the move and the player rolls dice. Usually...
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    3 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 09:31 PM
    The Xanathar's encounter tables are great for sandboxing, I definitely recommend them. I'm currently running a sandbox with the very good Primeval Thule Campaign Setting; previously I used the 3e Wilderlands of High Fantasy, both are on drivethru. Rob Conley's stuff like Blackmarsh (free) also good for smaller sandboxes. I definitely find adding to an existing box is much easier than starting...
    9 replies | 346 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 08:03 PM
    Which is why I regularly encourage people to play more and different types of games. And I also regularly recommend people (at least in my life) be willing to have the self-awareness and humility to say ďI donít know.Ē I donít understand this modern phenomena of being unwilling to simply recognize that you donít know what you donít know. There are lots of things I donít know...even in the...
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    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 12:43 PM
    But on your own account this isn't true. Because the GM can always narrate something else. As you're presenting it, all the players get to do is make suggestions that the GM may or may not follow up on. How is that possiby a success, given the declared action? It's obviously a failure - the PC has not got what s/he wanted (namely, incriminating financial documents). So when do the players...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 11:54 AM
    Ever since I went to 1 week long rests, this sort of 4e problem vanished. The players definitely do care about resource draining encounters when it may mean eg the Barbarians not having a Rage left when they face the BBEG. Really 5e is built around an expectation of 6-8 encounters per Long Rest, with the majority of those only resource drains. Officially only a Deadly encounter has a...
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    2 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 10:35 PM
    If you've never been a grappler, it will be a little bit difficult to attempt to convey things conceptually, but Chess (which I suspect you've played or at least had exposure to) should suffice. Look at grappling (Brazillian Jiu-jitsu in particular) as a series of decision-trees where your opponent is imposing ever-progressing catch-22s upon you as they control you (takedown > deployment of a...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 09:29 PM
    The ghoul problem for me is that in 5e they are underpowered and not nearly scary enough. I think they should have 3 attacks at +3/d6+1 necrotic, each being a DC 10 paralysis save. Save to end, fail 3 saves and you're paralysed for an hour. Still weak compared to 1e-3e but at least has the flavour and the theoretical possibility of being chewed on while still alive.
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 06:50 PM
    I like 'em once they're printed & bound. :D
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 04:00 PM
    My posts on this subject over the years (and in this thread) involve pretty intensive analysis on why resolution procedure/GMing technique/reward cycle/play ethos/PC build setup (a) objectively provides a different experience than(b) in many different areas (from table handling time to distribution of authority to intraparty balance to party: obstacle balance to cognitive workload and on and on)....
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 03:15 PM
    U Weíre complicated animals who live complicated lives. And these games, all of them, are complicated, relatively speaking. Nothing is ever one thing. But I think the line of evidence that I love running something like Dogs, something like 4e, while having many times more experience (and just as much enjoyment) with Moldvay Basic and AD&D1e is a pretty strong one.
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    2 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 02:03 PM
    Iím not Campbell, but Iíll throw some words at this from GMing perspective. Its definitely true that most people almost surely enjoy the experience of games they like, and through their affinity they develop or have a natural aptitude for better play. Humans have pretty extreme neurological diversity, so I would say that itís trivially true that cognitive predispositions and mental...
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    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 10:16 AM
    Well I agree that the tactile elements of D&D are a big draw for me. Nothing like a pint of warm beer, good company, a nice pub room, a colourful battlemat covered in minis, dozens of dice, pencils and weighty hardback tomes. :)
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    4 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 10:06 AM
    Had a battle yesterday with a bunch of Great Old One Warlocks, 14th level casters. Never played or ran a Warlock before, though I've seen them played a fair bit so I know eg Eldritch Blast is a good fallback. I just looked up the spells that seemed useful during the fight and cast those. I also took advice from a player ("Don't bother with Crown of Madness, it's crap in this edition"). We're...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 09:56 AM
    I agree with the analysis. I run a lot of big battles in 5e, I think the main thing for me is use average* damage and have plenty of d20s handy. I do a few things like have squads of mooks all move then all attack, pre-3e style, but otherwise I stick to the regular rules. *While I resent losing .5 average damage per hit, when you have 60+ multi-attacking NPCs on the battlemat the speed...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 05:23 AM
    I agree. The GM's primary role in TTRPGing (outside of a few instances) is (a) to know what adversity is relevant to this particular play and (b) bring that adversity to bear against the PCs in the imagined space in the most interesting/compelling/challenging/provocative (and these will be contingent upon the game) way possible. Above I mentioned a Dogs play excerpt. The adversity I...
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    2 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 04:13 AM
    FrogReaver I think you are starting from a faulty premise. You are assuming that game mechanics cannot meaningfully contribute to play despite having no direct experience of games where the rules are meant to supplement role play. We play these games because we value what they have to say about human nature and how people interact with each other. They help us form mental models of who our...
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    5 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 03:57 AM
    In some game no one gets to decide if a mechanic is invoked or not. In Apocalypse World if a character attempts to do something in the fiction that triggers a move the mechanics must be applied. One of the things a GM must always say is Always Say What the Rules Demand.
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    2 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 11:59 PM
    Jim McGarva has a perfect catch-phrase for this sprinkled throughout the Strike (!) rulebook, which is basically a riposte to all of the stuff we heard about with genre-incoherent drift in 4e: "DON'T DEMAND NONSENSE!" One such quip is on fictional positioning and permissible action declarations: If I'm running Dogs and the player thinks someone is under the thrall of demonic...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    3 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 10:56 PM
    In one of my recent posts I referred to violations of genre, fictional positioning and system logic. In the Burning Wheel rulebooks Luke Crane makes the point by saying (something like) "no roll for beam weaponry in the duke's toilet". But that is all about vetoing or refusing to entertain certain action declarations. Lanefan was positing a successful outcome. As Ovinomancer has posted,...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 04:03 PM
    The idea of functioning D&D societies as the default setting is just a 3e trope. IMCs the OD&D Wilderlands or 4e Points of Light/Nerath are more typical - there basically is no functioning society, it's more Fallout than Greyhawk.
    163 replies | 7227 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 04:00 PM
    Ask a Platypus.
    163 replies | 7227 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 03:59 PM
    S'mon replied to Double Dash
    Yes, same as an Action Surging Fighter can Attack Action twice.
    123 replies | 3789 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 01:24 PM
    Why? In a relatively traditional RPG a GM gets to establish a lot of fiction: much of the setting; many of the NPCs; the framing of many situations; the narration of failures; maybe other stuff too that I'm not thinking of at present. What is the function of successful checks if the GM also gets to establish what happens there too? I was just responding to what you posted:
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:16 AM
    I have neither said nor implied this. All I said was that Lanefan's example, in which the PC doesn't achieve what the player hoped for, is not a success and hence might be a feasible failure narration.
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:13 AM
    I agree with this. I use the phrase inhabitation of the character to try and convey this idea. I think, though, that some systems can be more demanding on the players than others, and challenging in that sense. To give examples: Prince Valiant and MHRP tend to be relatively light-hearted in the situations they throw up; whereas Burning Wheel (and I suspect Apocalypse World) can be much...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 05:27 AM
    Can you explain more what you mean about not being sure about incentives? Not sure about incentives interfacing with the decision-tree in a moment of thematic choice? Incentives that push back against the impetus to establish a win condition for a scene/arc or create extra obstacles to that win condition in exchange for advancement? Something else? Paragraph 1 Response: That makes...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 03:59 AM
    I would hope this would be obvious, but a system which in no way constrains GM narration is offering nothing of value. It says nothing. Provides nothing. It has no teeth. If a die roll does not constrain GM narration what is the point except empty ritual?
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 02:55 AM
    I personally do not really care. I am not really interested in testing characters. I'm more interested in character exploration. Sometimes that means putting them through the crucible, but sometimes it does not. My own litmus test is if a scene will tell us something meaningful about a character. What's required is for everyone (GM included) to play with integrity and not put their creative...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 11:24 AM
    Hussar, Lanefan - if narrowing of possible resolutions = the GM being bound by the results of checks, than sure, any system other than "GM decides" will have that consequence. But unless the dice are rigged then fails are possible, in which case fail scenarios are possible resolutions, and there is no narrowing of the range of possible resolution.
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 07:11 AM
    Your example doesn't show any narrowing of possible results. The scenario you describe is a possible failure narration; and it could be a success narration if that is what the player decides his/her PC searches for.
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 09:20 PM
    I believe many more people have watched The Avengers than have watched The Seventh Seal. But that doesn't mean that every time I want to talk about the latter I talk about the former instead or as well. If people who only want to talk about D&D, or who have no interest in talking or reading about how other systems do things, don't want to participate in this thread, that's a risk I'm prepared...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    3 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 09:15 PM
    Reposted:
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 01:55 PM
    In your case, you seem to know both BW and D&D, which are the two systems I referenced in the post of mine that you quoted. Do you have any thoughts about this mind flayer and false memories example that might draw on either of the systems? Or if you want to engage it by reference to another system, that would be interesting too!
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 01:48 PM
    Do you have much experience with 4e D&D? It's a bit of an open question exactly what tools 4e provides, because the skill challenge is - as presented - such an open-ended or un-nailed-down framework that (experience suggests) needs users to bring ideas and/or experience from outside to really get the best out of it. I think a skill challenge might be able to handle the scenario you're...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    3 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 10:22 AM
    I'm not sure about incentives. When I read the Strike(!) I think of "intent and task" and failure narration in BW. Or the example from AW that I posted upthread. If the check fails, the GM is entitled to narrate the failure by imposing a new and unwanted description of the PC's action. But I don't think in any of the systems this could go as far as you've fallen in love with the maiden unless...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 10:16 AM
    This is an interesting question - in general, and about D&D play: To what extent is the GM permitted to rewrite player-authored PC backstory by drawing upon a combination of (i) situation and stakes and (ii) failed checks. In BW (for instance) I think this is fair game. The only version of D&D I can think of able to handle this is 4e. I don't really see how it would be done in AD&D. And from...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 10:02 AM
    If the player is avoiding expedience by sticking to conceptualisation, how is that conceptualisation going to be challenged? Or changed? If the player is at liberty to change conceptuatlisation in response to choices, what governs those choices? Self-evidently it can't be conceptualisation. You don't want it to be expedience. Is it whim? Do you have actual play examples to post that...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 09:29 AM
    It's a situation the rules don't cover. I think a vampiric curse would be interesting for roleplay - I didn't say anything about taking away the character.
    204 replies | 5850 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 06:30 AM
    So I've skimmed the recent bits of the thread. In a follow-up post, I'm going to relay a recent PC:PC social conflict in Strike (!) and invite folks to chime in on how they perceive this anecdote (a) contrasts with gameplay where social conflict isn't formalized and (b) there are neither mechanical feedbacks nor PC build components involved. But first, I want to post some text from Strike (!)...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    5 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 08:15 PM
    Once they're Raised the Gentle Repose would not be in effect. They've been infected with vampirism, a magical disease, so they come back vampirised. I'd have them turn into a vampire later, as happened to my first PC in ES IV: Oblivion. She completed the game without feeding, then after failing to find a cure she walked into the sunlight.
    204 replies | 5850 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 06:27 PM
    I would be more than willing to discuss the merits of Exalted 3e elsewhere. It is a fundamentally different game that I feel delivers on the promise of previous versions of the game. Here I would like to focus on social mechanics, their effects, and implications.
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 05:44 PM
    I'd probably have them come back as a Vampire. :D Their hp maximum is 0 so they can't be alive, so if they come back it'll be as undead. Edit: Well really I'd probably let them come back with 1 hp apparently alive, and be able to rest to raise their hp total. The vampire stuff would come later...
    204 replies | 5850 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 05:08 PM
    (1) This thread is in general RPG. Not D&D. There's a reason for that. (2) I'm not saying that players should or shouldn't do anything in every system. The OP invites discussion about various ways in which true descriptions of PC actions might be established. The current discussion has moved on a bit from that, to also talk about how true descriptions of PC choices, PC emotional states, etc...
    797 replies | 23852 view(s)
    0 XP
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Friday, 19th July, 2019

  • 12:33 PM - Oofta mentioned S'mon in post High level and trivial encounters
    Like S'mon, I use the alternate long rest rule. If you can get a long rest after every other fight, almost every fight can become trivial depending on your group. But I also think tactics can make a huge difference. Have the goblins set up traps and ambushes. They never show up in fireball formation, they pop out of the woods fire some arrows and disappear into the jungle and show up again from somewhere else. Chase them? They've set up trip lines and snares. Or just adjust the encounters. The random table calls for 5 goblins? Well, the goblins have heard of the group and they send 20. In waves. Add in some environmental hazards. Goblins for example are small and light. Maybe they can cross the quicksand while that half orc breaks through and sinks. I like to think of the encounters from the monster's perspective. I'm picking on goblins a bit here, but they are cowardly and know that there are a lot of creatures out there that can take them out easily. So they only attack when ...

Sunday, 14th July, 2019

  • 06:07 PM - LordEntrails mentioned S'mon in post Death and 0 Max HP
    Seems like the character needs a blood donation! (After all, that to me is what the reduced HP max of a vamp is, a blood drain.) I like S'mon 's idea. Sounds like fun to me :) *EG* To me, Raise Dead alone would not be sufficient, after all, the character only would have 0HP. Maybe they would be alive but in a coma until some means is found to raise their HP max. Does that imply RD is needed before the Greater Restoration? Hmm... Of course, wraith's have similar impacts on 'dead' characters. So maybe instead of the chance of becoming a vampire, maybe some sort of wraith/ghost/specter undead... Seem to me like lots of opportunity for fun and unusual things to happen.

Sunday, 7th July, 2019

  • 01:16 AM - Hussar mentioned S'mon in post Gamer Stats From White Dwarf in the 80s
    Be cool. Hussar's being civil in a discussion on a subject that's often fraught with frustration, obfuscation, recrimination, misdirection, vexation, and ruination often born from an aspiration to cause a truncation of all conversation. Nothing I have seen from Hussar in this or other treads would suggest they are a toxic influence on gaming. S'okay. I believe that S'mon was making a joke. And a good one at that. At least, that's how I take it. Not a worry.

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 youíre mischaracterizing the method. Youíre making it sound like if you give any description at all, you can ďbypass the check.Ē 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 . . .


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Monday, 15th July, 2019

  • 12:23 AM - Oofta quoted S'mon in post Death and 0 Max HP
    Once they're Raised the Gentle Repose would not be in effect. They've been infected with vampirism, a magical disease, so they come back vampirised. I'd have them turn into a vampire later, as happened to my first PC in ES IV: Oblivion. She completed the game without feeding, then after failing to find a cure she walked into the sunlight. Nowhere does it state in the rules that the victim has been infected with a magic disease. Let me quote it again: "The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0. A humanoid slain in this way and then buried in the ground rises the following night as a vampire spawn under the vampire's control" No mention of disease. In addition, they need to be buried in the ground before they come back as a vampire spawn. As long as the PC is not buried they cannot be transformed into a vampire. In addition you can't have it both ways. Either they're dead and the gentle repose is still in effect and they can't become undead or they're alive and ...

Sunday, 14th July, 2019

  • 05:51 PM - Oofta quoted S'mon in post Death and 0 Max HP
    I'd probably have them come back as a Vampire. :D Their hp maximum is 0 so they can't be alive, so if they come back it'll be as undead. I guess the kindest would be to let them return as a Revenant. Why would they come back as undead? If they were undead, raise dead won't work. The vampire power is pretty specific: "A humanoid slain in this way and then buried in the ground rises...". So yes, they died, but unless they're buried they don't come back as a vampire. EDIT: In addition, gentle repose specifically states that while the spell is still in effect the corpse cannot become undead.

Wednesday, 10th July, 2019

  • 04:59 PM - Celebrim quoted S'mon in post OSR Gripes
    I generally prefer 5e, but running OSR helped me be a better 5e GM. How you think about and prepare to play is at least as important to what happens at the table as the rules you use to play. I still run my games as if I was playing 1e AD&D. I just now have rules that don't sputter and fail on me as often as they used to do.

Sunday, 7th July, 2019

  • 12:00 AM - MGibster quoted S'mon in post Gamer Stats From White Dwarf in the 80s
    Yeah, I think we need to accept that toxicity in the D&D roleplaying hobby was primarily Hussar's fault. Be cool. Hussar's being civil in a discussion on a subject that's often fraught with frustration, obfuscation, recrimination, misdirection, vexation, and ruination often born from an aspiration to cause a truncation of all conversation. Nothing I have seen from Hussar in this or other treads would suggest they are a toxic influence on gaming.

Saturday, 6th July, 2019

  • 11:37 PM - the Jester quoted S'mon in post 5e recommended 2.5 sessions/level rate
    What do you think of the 5e DMG's recommended 2.5 sessions/level rate? That's way too fast for my tastes, at least above around 3rd level. Like, I'm down with a character advancing from 1st to 3rd in one or two good sessions, but after that, I prefer a slower advancement rate. So far the highest level PCs have reached level 9 from 1st. It seems to work fine but I'm wondering if maybe it means leveling out of the sweet spot too fast, and how it'll work at level 11+. Advancement speed is one of those things that is strictly a matter of taste. There's nothing wrong with leveling every game. But it wouldn't be to my taste as a player, and I wouldn't generally run a game like that. I'd say if it feels too fast for you, you should slow it down a little. You can also survey your players and see how they feel about it.

Tuesday, 2nd July, 2019

  • 04:38 PM - dave2008 quoted S'mon in post BECMI for 5e?
    I think Mentzer Basic & Expert sold much more than CMI though, and when I ran it we spent nearly all the campaign in the Expert tier. With full rules compatibility for 5e boxes I think it makes good sense to have a Basic 1-5 (which we have) and an Expert 6-10 covering the same classes, more monsters & magic items, maybe add a class or two - certainly Barbarian should be in there IMO - and some new Paths for the existing classes - and an adventure, something like Isle of Dread in the Blue Box would work well. This can be sold at Target and toy stores. I think players sufficiently invested to play beyond 10th will be willing to buy a PHB or D&D Beyond subscription. I would keep Feats & Multiclassing for the PHB. That is probably a better business plan. However, I can't help but ponder what it would like like if there was no PHB, DMG, & MM. What if all we had was the boxed sets?

Monday, 1st July, 2019

  • 01:15 PM - dnd4vr quoted S'mon in post 5e recommended 2.5 sessions/level rate
    Yeah, I was thinking 4 hours per session which seems standard. My weeknight games are more like 3.5 hours actually - my son plays & it's a school night. :) After I thought about it I realized that was probably the case. I think our shortest session was maybe 8 hours. We start around 11 AM or so, and stop usually around 11 PM to 2 AM, every other Saturday. So, like I said, that puts us closer to 5-6 sessions per level.
  • 11:37 AM - Paul Farquhar quoted S'mon in post Gamer Stats From White Dwarf in the 80s
    By other girls, right? Yes.

Sunday, 30th June, 2019

  • 08:05 PM - Tony Vargas quoted S'mon in post 5e recommended 2.5 sessions/level rate
    What do you think of the 5e DMG's recommended 2.5 sessions/level rate? How do you think it compares to using the XP system, which seems designed to keep PCs in the level 5-10 range as long as possible? I missed that memo. The XP progression in 5e is a pretty good idea, IMHO, it speeds your players through the deadly/dull Apprentice Tier, lingers in the Sweet Spot, and gets dysfunctional high-level play over with fairly quickly, but not so quickly you feel like you've been cheated of the accomplishment. So I'd be hesitant to give it up were I running a long campaign. Anyway, even assuming hard encounters, through the sweet spot those'd map to 4-encounter sessions using the XP tables .... hm, actually, that'd be mapping sessions approximately to adventuring 'days' of 6-8 medium/hard encounters. Those'd be long sessions and/or fast combats. Probably what they were thinking?
  • 07:21 PM - Li Shenron quoted S'mon in post 5e recommended 2.5 sessions/level rate
    What do you think of the 5e DMG's recommended 2.5 sessions/level rate? How do you think it compares to using the XP system, which seems designed to keep PCs in the level 5-10 range as long as possible? I have never reached 10th level in 5e, but so far the advancement rate using standard XP has been quite close to 3 sessions / level. For my tastes it's too fast, since I would personally prefer a lower and also decreasing speed, but for example for my children it's just right.
  • 03:39 PM - Garthanos quoted S'mon in post 5e recommended 2.5 sessions/level rate
    What do you think of the 5e DMG's recommended 2.5 sessions/level rate? I think after level 5 you could slow it to 5 sessions per level or do as I have done for a long time advance everybody whenever it feels good in story for the over all scope and theme to change/intensify.

Friday, 28th June, 2019

  • 04:09 PM - doctorbadwolf quoted S'mon in post How do you handle ranged attacks into melee?
    That's the 4e rule. Okay
  • 01:45 PM - Hussar quoted S'mon in post How Many Actual Sessions Do Your Campaigns Last?
    Karameikos Campaign (Classic) 25 months to January 2017, ca level 1-18 at about 4 sessions/level, ca 72 total. You are obviously playing the game entirely wrong dontchaknow? You aren't supposed to level that fast in classic D&D. You should still be second level after a hundred sessions. :D :uhoh: :p
  • 01:36 PM - Elfcrusher quoted S'mon in post Mearls' "Firing" tweet
    One of these is nonsense on stilts, the other is the foundation of language itself! Funny, I couldn't find the phrase "human rights" once in that entire pile of drivel essay. Maybe your'e confusing two different things? Or maybe you're playing a semantic game, suggesting that the basket of protections we refer to as "human rights" are not actually "rights", let alone "natural" ones, and therefore devoid of value? If you're seriously saying that we should feel free to treat other humans like dirt because a clever rhetorical argument undermines the idea that rights can be natural, I take pity on your soul. Human history has been defined by a deep-rooted instinct in the oldest parts of our brains to look for ways to distinguish "us" from "them" to justify killing/robbing/enslaving the thems. What makes some of us better than animals is that the newer parts of our brains (sometimes) override that instinct.

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.


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