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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Today, 05:37 PM
    I used to think this way as well, but the implementation to make that work is more complex than you might think. You think the hard part is working it out for every monster. That's the easy part. Basically this falls into a category of "game should be more realistic" where the cost of implementing that realism is actually high rather than low.
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Today, 05:02 PM
    Oh no. Uh uh.
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Today, 05:02 PM
    A short sword is a very different class of weapon than an arming sword. Short sword refers to a weapon look more like a Cinquedea or a Xiphos than an arming sword. Basically, any over large dagger primarily employed as a stabbing weapon and which has the advantage of being wieldy in very close quarters. I'm not going to really get into the fact that there are several styles of sword that...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Today, 04:40 PM
    Studded armor exists. The system refers to mail as 'chainmail', and plate as 'platemail'. What's called a bastard sword by the system is actually a longsword. What's called a longsword by the system is actually an arming sword. Guns are almost always exotic hard to use weapons rather than simple ones. 3e allowed combatants to leave melee with a 5' step without penalty, which violated the...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Today, 02:22 PM
    No. The problem with an idea that isn't an implementation is that it can hide its complexity behind vagueness. It can make reasonable sounding suggestions which, when you unpack them, have a ton of complexity. "Speak With Animals" is a lesser version of the Tongues spells that just let's you speak in the languages of animals, and you could learn animal languages in a non-magical manner (as...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Today, 03:13 AM
    I got this one. Darkvision works by emitting a ray from the eye, the reflection of which is what is perceived. This is why darkvision doesn't work so well if you are trying to use it in the day, when everything is flooded with light. And it's why, for example, goblins wince and can't see very well in daylight.
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 11:16 PM
    You mean like Martin Rees "Just Six Numbers"? Yes, I've read that. My advice as a game master is never let a physicist assume anything about a fantasy universe works the way that they expect. Which assumes that the imagined universe even has relativity. I mean, I've already asserted that kinetic energy in this universe increases linearly rather than with the square of velocity,...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 05:28 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Nostalgia is the 'n word' of the OSR community. The very mention of it drives them up the wall. The average member of the OSR community hearing the word thinks that you are saying that they have no real reasons for liking OSR games. The average person using the word merely means that they have a lot of fun playing games 'back in the day' and want to recapture that magic. The very...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 12th July, 2019, 08:31 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    If you claim 3.5 isn't broken, then you are clearly not fit to run it. 3.5 is definitely broken, the more so because of its endless ill thought out rules extensions but in some cases right out of the box (CoDZilla, for example). Broken. Broken. Broken. And I wouldn't trust the opinion of anyone that claimed otherwise, and any play in 3.5 that is sort of a wide open any rulebook goes sort...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 12th July, 2019, 06:48 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Much of your post I feel I agree with yet at the same time, much of your post I don't feel like I quite understand and will need clarification on. Like I really don't understand quite what you mean by "things and rules". In any era, players had as much agency as the DM extended to them. Railroads are not a new concept, nor is a new thing to have DMs that are control freaks. If anything,...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 12th July, 2019, 05:52 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    After 35 years of playing, I can sit down at a table and within an hour or two tell if a player is cheating without ever once observing his dice. I just know what normal dice rolls are like and can tell immediately if the players run of luck isn't normal. That player and the other players at the table, even though they are sitting at the table and using the same rules are playing vastly...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 12th July, 2019, 04:01 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    I don't agree, and to extent that I do agree it's relative. Some games have more crap rules than others. Ok, I do agree with that, but that seems to in fact support my argument rather than overturn it. If rules don't bring fun to the table, why do we need to faithfully recreate BECMI in not only its good parts (theater of the mind combat rules) or AD&D, but in its warts and problems as...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 12th July, 2019, 03:46 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    You aren't overturning my stereotype of OSR GM's here. I mean I've already got people up in arms so I'm not going to really delve into this, but there is a school of GMing out there - lets call it the John Wick school - where an RPG is only fun if the players have no agency and as soon as the players start to have some control then its time to ditch the game. I don't really get it, because if...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 12th July, 2019, 03:09 PM
    I think I understand the phrase. I've moved around a bunch, and finding a new group can be difficult. Running D&D either for experienced players or new players is a lot easier of a proposition to sell than running some game they've never heard of with a less consensus aesthetic. And thinking about it, I'd probably be much happier going to play D&D with a strange group than I would most other...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 12th July, 2019, 02:47 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Let me clarify exactly why I find the OSR/OSRIC etc. movement so confusing. 1) It's a movement to recreate a specific set of rules yet the fans of the movement when discussing why they are fond of the game almost never reference actual rules, but instead reference ideas about play, encounter design, campaign design, and so forth that are not aspects of the rules - for example challenge,...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 10:35 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Sorry, did math quickly in my head. Your math is correct. Point still stands however. Many? I mean, you'd probably have to make it to 9th before you even had the option of a raise dead, and by the time you made it to 9th as a fighter you were fairly survivable. But, in so much as they did need a raise dead, then you're making a resurrection survival check in each case so how many...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 09:47 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Ok, that gives me a frame of reference. Leaving aside passive hazards like yellow mold, which we were rightly paranoid about and used all sorts of techniques to avoid exposure... these happened all the time in your games? Because I can give a rant about how badly designed Bodaks are as monsters. Possibly. Mostly I'm really interested in the kinds of challenges you faced.
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 08:48 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Can't say that I agree with either the agent or his uncle. And to the extent that I'll charitably try to imagine that as a deep observation on the nature of love, then I don't think the quote means what you seem to think it means by using it in this context.
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 08:32 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Don't get me wrong, I do love me my random tables and generators. But you certainly don't need old school mechanics to use random tables and generators. What strikes me more is that many OSRIC fans don't seem to understand what makes a random table or generator actually good. They don't seem to realize that a penny for your thoughts is an inflated rate, and that 100 thoughts is in and of...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 08:25 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Ain't it the truth. Sometimes I just wish people would apply that standard to themselves before breaking out analogies about ice cream as if I was arguing preferences.
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 08:23 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    We are definitely on the same page here.
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 08:22 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Well, first of all - and this was still a problem - you weren't the only one. A M-U could after all just cast Invisibility to hide. And secondly, you are looking at this very differently than I ever looked at it. You're looking at this in a rather binary way, of either the thief could do nigh-supernatural things or else he was just ordinary. It's a false contrast I never really...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 08:02 PM
    Which assumes that the strong nuclear force and the speed of light are the same in the hypothetical universe, which they wouldn't necessarily be. (Or for that matter than the material components are fully converted to energy.) We have no theory that requires fundamental constants to be equal. We have no idea why they are what they are in this universe. Maybe the speed of light in the D&D...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 07:35 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    You have no way to imagine how much I loved the 3e Rogue. I nearly cried when I read the rules. So, on one hand, you are right. The baseline difficulty of climbing a nearly sheer wall in 3e is DC 20, and a 1st edition 1st level thief would have probably had a better chance of success at it than a 3e 1st level Rogue. But, neither would have been able to do it reliably at that point, and the...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 07:25 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Well, the debate definitely preexisted the evolution of the idea of skillfulness in D&D. In general, it was mostly climb/find traps/remove traps that I think presented the biggest ideological problems. I've never heard anyone suggest for example that characters were assumed to have skill in picking pockets or picking locks. I think people easily accepted that picking pockets or opening...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 07:08 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    You seem to be continuing some debate I wasn't a part of based on the idea that I am continuing it. But did I say I didn't know such a debate happened? Where do you get that of all things? You aren't saying anything I don't know. I'm just not sure how what you are saying is applicable or why you think it is. If in fact you have the archived words of Gygax where he says something...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 06:27 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    I pretty much agree with this. I don't fully agree with that. My take is that casters hit tier 1 in 3e because a) they made the decision to remove a lot of the fiddly restrictions on when you could cast so that getting casting interrupted became unreasonably hard and b) because when they finally invented difficulty they made the mistake of applying it to the magic system as well as the...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 06:13 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Your assumption that there were many or any tables out there which let you climb a wall after make D20 under dexterity check is what I think is entirely wrong here. I don't think that existed as a consistent methodology more or less anywhere. There may have been some tables doing that before or after the introduction of the thief because anything is possible, but if I had to bet based on the...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 05:22 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Ironically, I don't. OD&D players are fond of saying this, but they are just wrong. OD&D made no effort to suggest anyone could sneak, hide or climb and if it had have done so no one would have been inspired to create the thief class or if they had have done so they would have been inspired to create a very different class. The grognards grumbling about the thief are being very...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 05:05 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Hold that thought. So we always sort of treated the entire party dynamic as the party exists to keep the cleric alive, and in turn the cleric exists to keep the party alive. Only a supremely powerful character could go anywhere without a cleric along and not expect to have a very short lifespan, and even then that was usually a combination of 'cleric in a bottle' in the form of healing...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 02:59 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    I played a thief pretty much at every opportunity. And no, they aren't viable. This wasn't something that was immediately obvious to me at first, and I certainly had lots of enjoyment playing a thief. When you first start playing, especially as a kid, this is all so new and wonderful that literally anything we did was fun, including monotonous hack and slash. But the longer I played, and...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 05:58 AM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    So, your favorite character - the one that got to your highest level - had a 16 in their prime requisite, and thus was entitled to a 10% XP bonus and a +1 bonus to damage. So, yes, just about any character could be fun to play - Ogdin Mudstump, Dwarf Thief, was fun to play for his short career. But it's not surprising at all that your favorite character was one that was at least on the playable...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 12:57 AM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    I agree that Len wasn't a TSR employee and that everything in Dragon was unofficial until republished elsewhere (such as the Unearthed Arcana, though I've heard of groups that never adopted the Unearthed Arcana). However, there are edge cases. For example, in 'Isle of the Ape', Gygax published a very much needed extension of the 'to hit' table for monsters that extended the table up above...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 11:52 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Yeah, but groups may have independently invented the roll-under mechanics, but they are right there in the published materials from TSR. If you read a bunch of TSR AD&D modules closely, one thing that quickly becomes clear is that a ton of different designers all independently found that if they expanded encounters beyond the 20'x30' room, they needed some sort thing we'd now call a...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 11:05 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Picking on you here Quickleaf because I know you are good about it, but this is exactly the sort of statement that doesn't have perspective that I'm mocking in my conversation with Tony. "You'll find its really different here from other places. People around here really like to eat food. We're different that way." This is an attitude of play, and not something that has to do with rules. ...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 10:59 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    I'm inclined to agree that if the rules don't provide a 'move' then you can't directly reference the move, which is interesting and something I'm going to have to think about. But the reverse is not true. Just because the rules provide a 'move' doesn't mean that the table's proposition filter allows you to directly access the move without indicating the specific fictional positioning you are...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 10:07 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Totally on board with that. What I typically find talking to the OSR crowd is the assertion that rules alone create the game, and there is some very tight relationship between the game created by 3e or 5e or OSR and a certain attitude of play. So for example, they'll make an assertion like, "Old games were more challenging than new games." when challenge is obviously a function of encounter...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 09:46 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Maybe... Again, I'm assuming that there is a group of players who are more or less peers, and what the group is usually doing is having adventures, often in dungeons, against foes that at least occasionally challenge them, and that those adventures more or less resemble the sort that were published as examples of play commonly called 'modules'. So yes, that's a lot of assumptions - not solo...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 09:35 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    The problem with the phrase "old-skool games" is that if you were actually back in the old-skool you know that the actual rules in force at a particular table, and the actual styles of the DM varied so much from table to table that I honestly have very little idea what is meant by the term. But, to the extent that the term has any meaning at all, I would assume it means games played as the...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 08:46 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    The rules don't suck because we don't ever use them! More seriously, you seem to be having a side discussion about me with someone that either has me blocked or I have blocked. (I don't remember which, but there are certainly more of the former than the later.) The gist of this side discussion I think you've covered well, as I at no time said we didn't have fun back in the day and have...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 07:29 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Which made a lot of people at the time really upset. Very little that people had been complaining about was addressed. Dragons for example had been a hot topic of contention for a long time, and at least an attempt was made at that. I think it says something that we never officially adopted 2e and continued play in 1e, but that most of the DMs in the group did adopt 2e dragons and did start...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 07:16 PM
    Over the years I've played D&D in various flavors (including Pathfinder), CoC, Star Wars, Boot Hill, GURPS, RIFTS, Paranoia, Amber, Exalted, VtM, Gamma World, Mouse Gaurd, and Chill. I mostly play D&D because that's what people want to play. I've also read and/or own a ton of other rules sets. Maybe it's me but of the above, only Amber, RIFTS, and Mouse Guard really played differently and...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 06:58 PM
    Well, a 'cheat sheet' per se would defeat the purpose. If the player had perfect information about the environment all the time, then the system is just mechanical again. But it would be the idea in the long run that any player running a wizard would now that a divination spell cast at the winter solstice on a mountain top with a clear view of the stars during a night of the full moon...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 06:49 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    This is a very good point. For all the talk about how challenging Dark Soul is when you die you basically just lose a few minutes of work. Indeed, most of the challenge is stealing yourself against the grind of the game so that you suffer the inevitable setbacks gladly. But the loss of a character is more comparable to playing in a game's Hardcore mode all the time, and can mean losing 100's...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 06:29 PM
    I do it occasionally already, and had a concept in place for a very robust system well before this article was written. Were it not for the whole thing about gamabiilty I mentioned which is based on experience, I'd do it far more than I do. The way the system works is that spells have keyed descriptors like 'Fire' or 'Good' or whatever, and locations have descriptors as well that effect the...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 06:02 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Even more so because the nature of OSR rules if they are anything like 1E AD&D is that ability scores are generally more important than level. Without ability scores you can neither achieve the level nor the class you may want to play. And the effectiveness of a character with higher ability scores increases exponentially. A character with 1 18 is generally about twice as effective as a...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 04:59 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    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.
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 04:55 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Which is what you are supposed to do when the rules are silent on something. I'm not criticizing your on the fly ruling or the outcome. I do want to draw attention to the fact that it happened only because you allowed it to happen, and that is not a semantic difference. On things where the rules are silent, neither you nor the player really have an understanding of whether something is...
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  • Mercule's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 01:10 PM
    Maybe I wasn't clear. Obviously, WotC has the legal right to do what they want and they've made many moves to unify the settings. There is definitely some call for multi-verse spanning games within the larger D&D meta-setting and I can see why they'd want to cash in on it. That's why Planescape, for example, doesn't really bother me. It's not my thing and I appreciate that it's easy enough to...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 07:07 AM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Difficulty is always a matter of encounter design. All you have to do to make it easy to die is throw a party up against more than the 'expected' danger. And that's not particularly challenging. If you want to replicate the terror of being first level and maybe going down to a single hit in say 3e, you just throw a Ogre at the party with say a large sized two-handed sword, or throw a...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 07:01 AM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Ok. Here's the thing. There are plenty of people on this board that run 1e AD&D. But my general experience with them is when I bring up specific rule issues, they either agree that it is a problem or they talk about how they've rulesmithed their way around them - often decades ago. What they generally don't do is tell me in very general terms how its not a problem because they got skills, or...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 11:56 PM
    I've read it before, and I agree that it is correct. What I'm skeptical of is that it offers any advice that is gameable. One of the things that I've learned over time is that not every idea is gameable on a table top simply because there are only a certain number of factors that can be tracked by a DM simultaneously. Numinous magic is one of those things like realistic languages and...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 11:42 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    This is what I actually said: "My suspicion is that if you haven't actually owned a classic car that you rebuilt out of the junk yard, you probably shouldn't tell me how great it is to own one." What part of that is incorrect? Are you saying that you haven't owned a classic car, but you should tell me how great it is to own one? Because if you are saying you do own a classic car, then by...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 11:08 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Naked contradiction is fine, but you'd be a lot more convincing if you were willing to tackle any of the issues I'm bringing up. If I started bringing up the problems with a having narrow wheels on an all steel body car with a high center of gravity, and you just told me, "It always worked for me." you wouldn't really convince me you had a lot of experience with the car no how matter how you...
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  • Mercule's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 11:01 PM
    This is actually the point where I start to have an issue with the "secret bible". I'm actually just fine with there being a secret book of lore for FR or Dragonlance or Greyhawk or Eberron, etc. In fact, I think there really should be one for each setting. The problem is when someone thinks any of those books has any bearing on any of the others. One of the really amazing things about AD&D...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 10:48 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    I don't think that they do. How you think about and prepare to play a game is entirely different than the rules you use to adjudicate it. OSR doesn't have a monopoly on style, or challenge, or opened ended games. You don't need to use an OSR rules set to have a proposition filter on your game that validates players making highly improvisational, open ended, and fiction specific propositions. ...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 10:35 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    My first car was a 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang with the Econoglide package. Beautiful car. Also had to fix or repair it daily. There are things I love about that car, but I don't miss having to fix or repair it daily even though I do miss being able to practically crawl under the hood and actually fix or repair a car because it was built to be torn apart and put together easily. My suspicion is...
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 10:31 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Not this crap again. Look, I've done my time. I was a DM in 1e AD&D for nigh 15 years. I know how to run the game. My lack of 'skill' in this is not the issue. You don't need to tell me how to run AD&D, nor can you tell me how to smith rulings. I'm the OG of rule smithing. The little more that they require isn't skill. It's work. And a lack of rules doesn't allow more open ended...
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  • Mercule's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 10:21 PM
    It's possible. My group's issues with 4E were plentiful. We didn't play more than a few months before bailing. I won't say that I have exhaustive knowledge of the edition. Conceptually, I think what I said about the roles is valid. It's entirely possible it didn't play out that way, though, especially in the "revised" edition (actual name escapes me).
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 10:09 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Been there. Done that. Have the RPG for it. Like I said, I kinda understand the fascination with old school play, I just don't understand OSR as it actually is. If we wanted to play CoC in the 1980's, we would have just done so. There is a certain sensibility here that is old school rules, grimdark setting, that strongly suggests content creators that came of age in the 1990's and who...
    175 replies | 5289 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 09:43 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    With respect, if we are talking about a game like 1e AD&D or BECMI that's not playing smart. That's simply entertaining your DM. You weren't outwitted. You just enjoyed the scene and so allowed it. It would only be smart if the game had good rules for grappling and moving a grapple. The PC wasn't relying on their wit in the described action because old school games had little, no, or...
    175 replies | 5289 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 09:27 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Cynically, I've heard DM's on youtube or on blogs speak of OSR as the fun being that the PC's are helpless to avoid their machinations. There is a certain class of DM, and a certain class of content provider, that seems to delight in modules where the PCs have no real agency, the universe is vastly beyond their comprehension, everything is random whim, and they are vastly outclassed by the NPC's...
    175 replies | 5289 view(s)
    6 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 08:32 PM
    Yes. In general, for almost every famous early scientific experiment conducted in our world, if you were to run the experiment in my imagined world you'd get the opposite result. Kinetic energy increases linearly with velocity, not the square of it. Incidentally, this is ultimately the explanation for why PC's can often survive falls from greater heights than we might expect relatively...
    56 replies | 1639 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 08:02 PM
    Depends very much what you mean by 'science'. Science is an investigative tool for figuring out how the world works (make accurate predictions on how it will behave) based on empirical evidence. The success of what we call 'science' depends on the world behaving according to certain rules which science assumes to be true - results are repeatable, the laws of the universe generally don't...
    56 replies | 1639 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 03:57 PM
    Ok, yes. I have a TON of these things in my game. For inspiration in this area, I'd suggest starting out with Green Ronin's 'Shaman's Handbook' book for 3.0. I have 4 tiers of animal spirits for example: least, lesser, greater and Lord. I have elemental spirits that are embodiments of elementals. I have different sorts of spirits that represent ideas. I have different sorts of nature...
    29 replies | 687 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 03:51 PM
    Well, it's your cosmology. What a monster category represents is campaign specific. For example, in my campaign giants are the offspring of the interbreeding of the gods and the jinn. So Storm Giants for example have a divine parent and a Marid parent. So your question is meaningless within my campaign. There are certainly plague spirits that would be a sort of demon in traditional...
    29 replies | 687 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Mercule's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 02:12 PM
    Funny enough, the roles classifications was one of the things about 4E that really turned me off. Especially when you got to, say, fighters. Fighters are the best at straight-up combat. That means both in terms of dealing damage and in soaking it. A rogue may be somewhat better at dealing it -- in a narrow band of cases. A barbarian may be better at soaking it -- in a narrow band of cases, but...
    352 replies | 11934 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 8th July, 2019, 08:48 PM
    Clicked on the thread for the science. Got philosophy instead. Meh.
    29 replies | 687 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 8th July, 2019, 04:00 PM
    I'm assuming you actually mean 'non-metallic armor'. No, they couldn't. And, I don't know, because they never tried. If they did, I would have probably ruled it interfered with their druid-ness and they would have lost all class abilities until they Atoned, similar to a Paladin or Ranger violating their class strictures. In the event no atonement was possible, they are now a bad fighter...
    49 replies | 1820 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019, 10:16 PM
    I agree that DM's shouldn't, but if the players put themselves into a situation where they have no chance of success despite my every attempt to stop them, then ultimately I have to respect their freedom to make their own choices and give them what they want. If I'm going to be an overprotective helicopter parent that stops the player every time they are going to get themselves killed or...
    50 replies | 1841 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019, 10:05 PM
    All of these would be Champions in my conception. I call the particular selection of powers related to what the champion can do that is distinctive from other champions a 'Portfolio', but 'Oath' is a very good term and perhaps in some ways even better.
    352 replies | 11934 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019, 10:02 PM
    For me the standard in a base class is that you could have a group of six players show up for session 0, and each one wants to play a character with the same class, but each player wants to play an obviously distinctive character with their own separate shtick. For some classes it's fairly obvious how you could do that. You could have six wizards for example each of which has their own school...
    352 replies | 11934 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019, 09:39 PM
    I have always treated spells as being chargen and customization resources. If you want to RP a cleric that is defined in part by a particular selection of spells based around a theme, I don't think anything stops you from doing so with the possible exception of a lack of suitable spells providing for that theme. When I give an answer like that, typically I get a response like, "But the...
    25 replies | 1029 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd July, 2019, 02:29 PM
    If you rest somewhere unsecure, expect to be attacked. If you don't keep a watch, there is a good chance this is a "You are all dead.", TPK as enemies with even decent stealth will probably be able to coup de grace several or all party members before anyone's alert enough to do anything about it. Even with a watch, things can go bad really fast because one PC can be incapacitated fairly...
    50 replies | 1841 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 1st July, 2019, 03:44 PM
    I'm not going to quibble with that. Optimizer and Power Gamer are closely related terms, synonyms or near synonyms, with potentially negative connotations. Power Gamer generally just means something like, "A player focused on making his character as powerful as possible.", which pretty much is what Optimizer means. So basically, we'd be arguing over which slang term carries the most negative...
    95 replies | 3718 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 1st July, 2019, 01:41 PM
    The thing is, a rules lawyer as we've defined the term goes hand and hand with cheating. If you don't cheat, and you don't consider arguing with the DM part of the resolution process of the game, then you are not a Rules Lawyer. The term for someone who exploits the rules but is not cheaty about it is an Optimizer. And Optimizers are OK. I mean, they make great play testers, I'll give...
    95 replies | 3718 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Mercule's Avatar
    Sunday, 30th June, 2019, 10:48 PM
    Both of these are true, so I want to clarify that I'm not opposed to class-based games, on principle. After 35 years of playing D&D off-and-on, I've kinda played through or have seen played through most of the "vanilla" implementations of the class archetypes. They're good to have available, but can also feel like a straight-jacket, sometimes. You can multi-class the heck out of things to get...
    352 replies | 11934 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Sunday, 30th June, 2019, 12:02 AM
    Pathfinder 1 had a very aggressive publishing schedule. They put a ton of products out for it in a relatively short amount of time. I think the problem they have is they've saturated the Pathfinder 1 system. There isn't a ton of obvious things to do. So I don't think they're in so much of an evolve or die situation as needing to reboot.
    126 replies | 8722 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Saturday, 29th June, 2019, 06:36 PM
    None of that sounds like it would be particularly effective. $25 doesn't buy a lot of assassin, and certainly not one capable of taking on Paladins. Your research into overturning the laws of physics is likely to be poorly funded if not impossible, something further suggested by the size of your bounties on Paladins. And you seem to fail to realize that it's Charlemange you need to go after,...
    95 replies | 3718 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Saturday, 29th June, 2019, 06:20 PM
    So, speaking as a GM, here is my take on that. Every GM makes a bad call from time to time. Sometimes, you can fix it. Sometimes you can't. As a player, I can certainly sympathize with having been on the receiving end of bad calls. Sometimes they were poor judgment by the GM. Sometimes they were GMs with too much ego. Sometimes they were GMs that wing it too much. Sometimes the...
    95 replies | 3718 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Mark CMG's Avatar
    Saturday, 29th June, 2019, 05:04 PM
    Gamer and designer Lee Garvin passed away. https://www.facebook.com/lee.garvin.3 https://www.patreon.com/LeeGarvin https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/334884471/killing-lee-garvin
    201 replies | 15500 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 28th June, 2019, 07:51 PM
    So, let's make some sort of standard. You've undoubtably removed the class from your games. But, as a practical matter you could still play a honorable, righteous, fighter who had protective healing magic in your game right? But I've not only removed the class from my game, I've altered the rules so that you can't even play the concept.
    95 replies | 3718 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 28th June, 2019, 07:15 PM
    That was a feature IMO. There is certain class which isn't to be mentioned in this thread. Well, as much as that class is hated by the OP, I hate the Monk more. As far as the inconsistencies go, I did make some tweaks to get it doing what I wanted it to do, but I loved the general idea and I loved its effect on gameplay and that it meant that there was no single best weapon (though...
    95 replies | 3718 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 28th June, 2019, 06:50 PM
    What I would tend to do is make picking up a cow have disadvantage on your strength check unless you passed an animal handling skill check. Accomplishes much the same way, but has more verisimilitude and consistency IMO, because it's easy to explain why picking up a moving terrified animal is harder than picking up dead weight. But, I do have a homebrew 3e feat - 'Imposing' - that lets Animal...
    32 replies | 1000 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 28th June, 2019, 06:05 PM
    There is no rule I miss more than Weapon vs. AC adjustments, and it is one of two rules I'm forever tempted to port forward from 1e - the other one being casting times in segments. Sadly, there is only so much granularity you can stuff into a single system before the costs start outweighing the benefits.
    95 replies | 3718 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 28th June, 2019, 06:02 PM
    The "you can lift weight" more efficiently skill in my homebrew game is called "Porter". It belongs to a class of skills that generally aren't tested, but instead directly enhance some sort of static quality of your character - in this case carrying capacity. There is also a "Run" skill that directly increases movement rate. Most martial classes have one or both added to them and additional...
    32 replies | 1000 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 28th June, 2019, 05:09 PM
    lol. 3e D20 is the best and worst of systems. I can sympathize with both those that love and hate it, as I've certainly spent a lot of time hammering the system into shape. So this gets straight to the heart of it. I'm not going to claim a DM that runs a railroad is the exact analogy for a player that is a rules lawyer, but as it is something else that is usually denigrated and with...
    95 replies | 3718 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 28th June, 2019, 04:13 PM
    Anyway, the reason I'm chasing this whole side issue of VAR in soccer and football is I think there is actually a lesson to be learned here that applies to RPGs and to the lawyer/judge relationship between the player and the GM, even in situations where that relationship is healthy and respectful (which, I think we always agree is not usually the case with someone deemed a "rules lawyer"). I'm...
    95 replies | 3718 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Friday, 28th June, 2019, 03:51 PM
    The VAR at the women's world cup has been anything but elegant in application or result, but for me it hasn't really suggested VAR is the problem. Let me compare the soccer VAR to the situation in Sumo which adopted video review I think back in the 1950's after a notorious bad call by the judges on the floor where everyone on TV could see just how ludicrously bad the call was created a...
    95 replies | 3718 view(s)
    1 XP
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Saturday, 13th July, 2019

  • 04:36 PM - Eric V mentioned Celebrim in post OSR Gripes
    It's clear why some might want to go back to a previous version, based on preferences, nostalgia (not a bad thing!), or really, a bunch of reasons. What's not clear to me is how people think games designed in the 70s are designed better than modern ones. I can understand preferring them, but, as Celebrim points out above, one would have to acknowledge the issues. Like anything else involving design, things get better as time passes, whether it's tech, social issues, education techniques, sports, whatever...and that makes sense, because designers today have access to everything that's come before. They have seen what works, what gets in the way, what is worth keeping, what isn't... There are social and other forces that get in the way, sure (weird that we can't get off fossil fuels by now), but the design is still superior. None of that means anything for preferences of course: some miss their NES and find modern games too complex to be worth the effort; some prefer desks in rows and rote learning, etc. We should be able to acknowledge that we sometimes prefer the not-best-designed-thing, though. Example: The NBA today has extremely efficient teams that have employed a lot of analytics to arrive at the conclusion that the shots worth taking are 3s and layups, and that's it. Like a...

Tuesday, 9th July, 2019

  • 02:08 PM - Aebir-Toril mentioned Celebrim in post Science in D&D
    So, having been inspire by a thread mentioning the relationship of monsters with nature as a philosophical concept, as well as Celebrim 's complaint, I've decided to stick something that I've been pondering for a while here, on EN World. How much science do you like in your D&D? For example: 1. Do your monsters have *sigh* Lighting Blood, and are your snakes poisonous, rather than venomous? 2. Is magic a kind of science? Is magic more than just the manipulation of particles through the generation of electric potential within the brain that couples with a force known as the Weave to produce effects on 3d-dimensional structures? 3. Are your worlds planets? Do they exist in solar systems with correct mass to radius, logical core composition, rational positioning, and mathematically accurate orbits? 4. How do the planes exist? Are they separate from normal reality? How is this so? 5. Is your table of elements expanded to include metallic elements like adamantium and mithral? If so, how? If not, have you made metals like beryllium adamantium? Do you not worry about it at all? I'm just sending this into the ether in ...

Tuesday, 2nd July, 2019

  • 11:13 AM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post Why Rules Lawyering Is a Negative Term
    Heh. DM'd today and I made a mistake. I thought that Guidance in 5e was d4+1, not d4. Player piped up and said, "Isn't that d4?" Me: No. It's d4+1 Player: Are you sure? Me: Well, I was until you said that. One sec. Whoops, you're right. D4. To me, that's the job of a rules guru. I had a number wrong, not a MASSIVE mistake, but, a mistake, I fixed it and we moved on. There's no rules lawyering going on there. But, let's be honest here, when we're referring to rules lawyers, it's those gamers who are attempting to twist the wording of the game for their advantage. And, in doing so, make the game a LOT less fun for everyone else. So, yeah, I think Celebrim makes a good point. Rules lawyers are dysfunctional gamers. They actively hurt the enjoyment of the table. it all comes down to the level of impartiality which distinguishes a rules lawyer from a rules guru.

Saturday, 29th June, 2019

  • 08:39 PM - Oofta mentioned Celebrim in post Why Rules Lawyering Is a Negative Term
    I'm going to echo Celebrim on the "challenging the DM" thing. Here's the thing. Let's say I have ... picking a random low level monster ... goblins. Goblins have "Nimble Escape. The goblin can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of its turns." But let's say the rules guru forgets that and asks why they didn't get an opportunity attack. So instead of a dynamic fight scene where small vicious humanoids come running out of the bushes and stabbing the PCs and then ducking back under cover before the PCs can react you have to get into a discussion of rules. It takes people out of the moment and reinforces the rules of the game, not the scene and story. This doesn't rise to the level of rules lawyer unless the player argues about it, but it's still annoying. I customize monsters on a pretty regular basis and maybe my black cloak orcs have a couple of levels of swashbuckler and can engage in similar hit and run tactics. I don't want to stop a scene to reaffirm, once again, that I'm fo...

Tuesday, 25th June, 2019

  • 09:28 PM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post GM DESCRIPTION: NARRATION OR CONVERSATION?
    It might be but I wouldn’t describe that as narration or a scene But, see, at least three other people - dragoner, Michael Silverbane and myself WOULD describe this as bog standard narration and a scene. The fact that you happen to be using an idiosyncratic definition of the word seems to be the major sticking point here. Had you actually posted something like this a long time ago, when asked repeatedly to do so, would have saved a LOT of time. So, fair enough, call it a throat warbler mangrove if that floats your boat. For everyone else, this is just a scene (gambling den in a city) with (very sparse) narration. It requires that the players know the setting very, very well and that the majority of the details have already been established. This generally isn't true for my groups because we tend to change settings very often and rarely spend enough time in any one setting to have that level of familiarity that we can forego more details - as Celebrim has very nicely illustrated. So, no, Bedrockgames, it's not about any sort of semantic trap to show that you aren't playing the way you are. It's that you are playing more or less the same as everyone else, but, you want to call it something different and that's what's confusing the issue.

Monday, 24th June, 2019

  • 12:34 AM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post Chaotic Good Is The Most Popular Alignment!
    Or its a case of a character shifting alignment. would not be the first time in Wheedonverse shows. We won't ever know because the show got cancelled. Good doesnt hold any any sort of monopoly on caring about people. Umm, yes it does? Caring about people is the definition of good? If you actually care about people, that makes you good. Now, caring about this group of people once probably doesn't make you good, but, it makes you a bit leaning in that direction. Repeatedly caring about other people does show a pretty strong leaning towards good. But, yeah, not caring about other people? That's pretty much the heart of what it means to be evil. ----- And, Celebrim, LG being the most good has always been the standard in D&D. I'm surprised you'd argue otherwise. There's a reason paladins were restricted to LG, once upon a time. And, every archetype for LG is among the most good of characters - Superman, King Arthur, Gawain, that sort of thing. Chaotic is selfish it its heart. It's all about the self. You can't be as good as the selfless (Lawful) by definition.

Friday, 21st June, 2019

  • 05:19 AM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    Nice Celebrim. Folks that disagree with you are now delusional. Yeah, that's going to go over well. Of course, it's convenient when you ignore 2/3rds of the examples I posted to fixate on the one that maybe you can argue with. That's pretty much par for the course. Look, it's pretty simple. Early D&D draws very heavily from the pulps. Yes? We can agree on that? Genre pulps of the early 20th century were misogynistic, racist, bigotted and deeply, deeply grounded in colonialist ideology. So, it's not really a shock when early D&D also shows signs of being misogynistic, racist, bigoted and grounded in colonialist ideology. I'm rather surprised that this is even contentious to be honest. I figured that this was pretty much common knowledge. First half of the 20th century genre fiction was racist, bigoted and grounded in colonialist ideology should not be news to anyone. It's shocking how far people will go to rewrite history in order to somehow protect this idealized fiction of...

Thursday, 13th June, 2019

  • 12:22 AM - Blue mentioned Celebrim in post Systems You'd Never Play after Reading Them
    I also love Battletech. The Mechwarrior RPG is a mess. I run the Mechwarrior RPG by replacing the entire system with the ruleset from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG. The character to wargame conversion table for piloting and gunnery skills even matches up nicely with skill levels from BtVS. I'm with both you and Celebrim on MechWarrior. Unfortunately it was nt just on read, but after we started the campaign. It turns out two of the players (myself and one other) made well rounded characters that would have interesting things to do in or out of a mech, and because of the priority system were decent mech pilots in starter mechs. And the other three players built characters to be superb mech pilots with good mechs and not much else. Which ever way the GM ran it, mech heavy or balanced, would have half the table unhappy. EDIT: If I recall, I took a Panther, a light mech with a PPC because then I could snipe at range and not die in such a light mech then most of the group. However, I hadn't read the rules about skills advancement at the time. If I recall, it had to do with rolling a 12 or something. Which means that mechs with lots of tiny weapons like machine guns would find their MW advancing in gunnery a heck of a lot faster than a mech with one big powerful weapon.

Monday, 20th May, 2019

  • 09:37 PM - Fenris-77 mentioned Celebrim in post Firearms
    Hmm, yeah, railroading, or at least extreme versions of it, is bad, but nothing we're talking about here fits the bill. It's a term that tossed around a lot without everyone having a clear idea what it means. @Celebrim - you got a linky for that article? Maybe it'll help everyone get on the same page. I'd love to read it too! As for the console analogy, I'm with Kobold et al - the GM isn't a console at all. Fair arbitration is one of the GM's hats, but that's not the same thing as not having an opinion. As a GM I am doing a lot more work than everyone else involved in a game, so it's absolutely critical that I be enjoying myself. Generally that means that whatever contract and agreements that were set up between myself and the players in session zero are being adhered to, and everyone is on the same page with expectations and results. Even then, should I take steps as a GM to reign in players and get things back on track I'm still not railroading. Anyway, we've moved pretty far astray from firearms, but I do think we've hit upon one of the subterranean reasons why the arguments about firearms are so contentious sometimes. @Imaculata - you're making a category mistake. What is commonly true of mo...

Saturday, 18th May, 2019

  • 01:08 AM - hawkeyefan mentioned Celebrim in post Games That Changed How We Play
    I think that Vampire The Masquerade belongs on a list like this. I was never even really a big fan, but that game certainly impacted the hobby. I also think that Apocalypse World has to be on the list. The PbtA system has had a huge impact on gaming. I’ve played a handful of PbtA games, mostly Blades in the Dark. That game alone has greatly affected my approach to gaming. Can’t recommend it enough. Celebrim Seriously try to play this game at some point because I think you’ve misinterpreted some of the elements of a PbtA game. Blades deviates from PbtA, but still has the same core. It’s an outstanding game. And one that probably doesn’t belong on this list, but which was big for me and my friends, was the TSR Marvel Super Heroes game. So many cool things about that game that were different from D&D. And the chart! All you really needed was the chart on the back of the book and you could play.

Sunday, 12th May, 2019

  • 06:47 PM - iserith mentioned Celebrim in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    ... entire point of the example has been to show that players can take actions with player knowledge beyond just simply attacking something in combat. Maybe they buy items specifically to defeat an enemy they have never researched, maybe they break into the shop to steal a wish scroll they only know about because they read the module, maybe they use knowledge from the books to confront a powerful being in disguise as an old man and use a clue they were supposed to get later down the line to trick it into fighting against their enemies. There are many ways in which players can use the carte blanche to know anything with no restriction to disrupt the game. And the GMs job is more than just adjudicating actions, it is making sure things run smoothly. And, while this is amusingly ironic, you seem to be fine with it on this end of the spectrum, but on determining things about a player's past and the people they know after the game has started, you are not fine with it. I think Celebrim establishes a good line here: The player is free to draw upon hard-won knowledge to inform how he or she has the character act. The limit is when the player is not acting in good faith and has, as you suggest above, read the module and presumably didn't tell anyone. I think a player not being forthcoming about this many people would consider rude or worse. But sometimes my players replay my one-shots to try out a different character or approach with a new party. It can work just fine even with perfect knowledge. But anyway let's say that the player does say "earth elementals are vulnerable to thunder damage" then says he or she wants to go Ye Olde Magick Shoppe to buy some scrolls or thunderwave for the party wizard to use. You know as DM that THESE earth elementals have no particular vulnerabilities to thunder damage. Let's up the ante and say that the characters have never encountered earth elementals before. Let's go one step further and say the character is an Int-8 barbarian. W...

Saturday, 11th May, 2019

  • 03:04 PM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Celebrim. Yup. I’d largely agree with that.
  • 04:04 AM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    ...o the players to do things like this. It is pretty understood at my table that we can all do this, with the understanding that we will try to do this to make the game more interesting for everyone at the table. The player can't introduce a new character to the setting without permission of the GM (because the GM absolutely owns the setting), and the GM can't decide something happened to the player's character in the past without permission from the player (because the player absolute owns the PC). I would add the line, "at my table" to the above to make it true for you. It most certainly isn't true at my table. I don't own my setting and I strongly invite players to fold, spindle and maul my setting to their hearts content. On the other side, the players don't really have a problem with me getting my sticky fingers on their characters because they trust that I won't abuse the situation. ((And, generally, I'll ask first, but, not always)) Not really disagreeing with you Celebrim, just cautioning against making too broad a statement about "the game".

Friday, 10th May, 2019

  • 12:27 AM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Already addressed upthread. And there are approaches that DMs take that simply cannot be derived from the plain English words on the pages of the D&D 5e rules books. Some certainly could if you were reading a rules book from some other game. When that happens, expect me to point it out, especially if the poster is reporting dissatisfaction with the game experience. But, what if the poster is reporting satisfaction with their game experience? Why point out the "rules book from some other game" to those posters? What are you trying to prove? No one who is arguing with you here is saying, "Well, my game sucks, but, I'm not doing it your way." What you've gotten as counter arguments is, "We are running games that work quite well but, we aren't doing what you are advocating, therefore, what you are advocating isn't really universal, regardless of what the rules say". Celebrim, I largely agree with what you've said, with a slight amendment that, as a DM, I tend to fob off a lot more authority at the table onto the players. While I understand the notion that letting players have limited fiat control might be off putting to some, I find that since each player has their own fiat control powers, it becomes more a sense that everyone at the table is contributing towards authoring the game, rather than the DM being so central to the larger campaign. And, just because Bob adds in "Frances is my friend" to use an example, doesn't mean that the scene suddenly becomes a non-issue for the rest of the group. As far as everyone else is concerned, does it really matter if "Frances is Bob's friend" comes from Bob or the DM? Either way, the rest of the group now has more information in the scene to work with. I just don't have a real problem with a player adding in elements like this. And, since 5e does allow for this sort of thing by leveraging backgrounds, nemes...

Sunday, 5th May, 2019

  • 06:07 PM - Oofta mentioned Celebrim in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Celebrim, I think you're seeing things a little black-and-white. Some things (climbing a wall) have little or nothing to do with player capability in my game. It's a straight die roll if the outcome is uncertain. It relies only on your Strength(Athletics) score and the luck of the die. Some things, like figuring out how to disarm a complex trap may be a mix of player skill and PC abilities with the players figuring out what skill to apply where to ensure success. Other things, like resolving a mystery, or deciding whom to support in a political drama are primarily player challenges. At least that's how I see it. You could stretch it and say that if your PC has a high athletics score that makes climbing the wall simple that it was the player who ultimately decided where to put ability scores and proficiencies but that's pretty tenuous connection to me.
  • 08:17 AM - iserith mentioned Celebrim in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Isn't the issue, regardless of how we're playing, that the player is trying to game the DM? I don't think the game imagines that the players or DM are playing in bad faith. That is a social problem, not a problem of adjudication or the rules from which that process is derived. What I find rather ironic though is how folks jumped up and down and yelled at me for not understanding how things are played when I talked about players hunting for the "magic phrase" in the goal:approach method, but, when talking about other ways of playing, we immediately jump to dysfunctional play where the players will ask endless streams of questions in order to hunt for the "magic question". It looks to me that you are conflating different people's positions and even topics again and trying to drag @Celebrim into whatever crusade you appear to be on. Perhaps folks just don't understand what we're talking about when we don't use goal:approach methodology. :D But you said in this very thread that you do.
  • 07:59 AM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Heh. Not a major deal Celebrim. Just pointing out the irony. Not a worry. Interesting points you are making actually and apologies for giving in to a bit of humour.
  • 12:02 AM - Hussar mentioned Celebrim in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Isn't the issue, regardless of how we're playing, that the player is trying to game the DM? I mean, Celebrim talks about a player who asks a stream of questions in order to hit upon the "magic question" that allows the player to overcome the challenge without referring to the rules. I talk about players that try for a stream of action declarations in order to hit the "magic declaration" that allows them to overcome the challenge without referring to the rules. The problem isn't in the strengths or weaknesses of a given approach, the problem is with players playing in bad faith. It's not that goal:approach solves the problems, it just shifts the problem of the player playing in bad faith to the left. What I find rather ironic though is how folks jumped up and down and yelled at me for not understanding how things are played when I talked about players hunting for the "magic phrase" in the goal:approach method, but, when talking about other ways of playing, we immediately jump to dysfunctional play where the players will ask endless streams of questions in order to hunt for the "magic...

Saturday, 4th May, 2019

  • 02:27 AM - Sword of Spirit mentioned Celebrim in post Cleric shenanigans (metaphysical, no right answers)
    Defining faith as different from belief is nonsense in my opinion. As Celebrim noted, the word faith has come to have variable connotations in modern usage, but I don't think there is really any substantial difference between the meanings of the terms that is useful for D&D purposes. All belief is based on some sort of evidence, and we act on our beliefs constantly. We eat because we feel hungry and we believe we will feel less hungry if we eat something. In D&D it's no different. People see divine power exercised, and they act based on that. The less clear those manifestation are, the more disagreement there is over what they mean and how to act upon them. I really feel like we basically get into discussions about nothing when we start talking about faith in the context of D&D religion. 1) What do people think are the results of their actions with regards to the gods? 2) How devoted is a person to their gods? 3) Is there any necessary connection between 1 and 2? Those questions are more relevant.

Thursday, 2nd May, 2019

  • 06:05 PM - Laurefindel mentioned Celebrim in post Cleric shenanigans (metaphysical, no right answers)
    Are there any counter-examples you can find from official published settings or adventures? I think @Paul Farquhar meant that examples given in adventures are not representative of the game world because if they were, the adventure would not happen there. You and @Celebrim are advocating that despite the guidelines restricting character classes to a minority, nothing in the published material seem to support that claim according to the examples we are given. From where I stand, it appears to me that both sides are pointing at some inconsistencies, but are comparing apples to oranges. Both claims are true and coexist simultaneously. To a certain point, I like that the players aren't the only casters around. There needs to be enough of them to make believable adversaries (casters can't be THAT rare if that's the 5th one we battle in the last 5 days...) and to support the described economy of spell material components, spellbook supplies etc that is hinted at in certain settings (mainly Forgotten Realm and Eberron). Due to the wide breath of power level from lvl1 to lvl20 (or even lvl10), D&D struggles at giving believable quests for 1-3 lvl characters. Either they become king of the hill by lvl5, or you wonder why the other lvl5 npcs aren't taking care ...


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Monday, 15th July, 2019

  • 06:03 PM - Hriston quoted Celebrim in post What are your Pedantic Complaints about D&D?
    Oh no. Uh uh. Reason(s)?
  • 04:46 PM - Charlaquin quoted Celebrim in post What are your Pedantic Complaints about D&D?
    The system refers to mail as 'chainmail', and plate as 'platemail'. What's called a bastard sword by the system is actually a longsword. What's called a longsword by the system is actually an arming sword. These have actually been fixed in 5e. Well, it still calls mail “chainmail” but at least the term is just redundant instead of inaccurate. “Platemail” is just plate now, the bastard sword and long sword were appropriately combined into a single weapon called the longsword that can be used in one or two hands. They should call the shortsword an arming sword though.
  • 01:42 PM - BoxCrayonTales quoted Celebrim in post Science in D&D
    I do it occasionally already, and had a concept in place for a very robust system well before this article was written. Were it not for the whole thing about gamabiilty I mentioned which is based on experience, I'd do it far more than I do. The way the system works is that spells have keyed descriptors like 'Fire' or 'Good' or whatever, and locations have descriptors as well that effect the caster level of the spell. So for example, an underwater cave might have Fire -3 and Water +3. A water spell cast in that environment would have +3 caster level, while a fire spell would have -3 caster level. If the caster level of the spell goes below the caster level required to cast the spell, you have to make a caster level check to avoid fizzle. If the caster level goes below 0, then it automatically fizzles. If the caster level of the spell is enhanced, then you can be risking a spell fumble (and I have spell fumble tables) for casting magic more powerful than you are able of controlling. The...

Sunday, 14th July, 2019

  • 06:52 AM - Umbran quoted Celebrim in post Science in D&D
    My advice as a game master is never let a physicist assume anything about a fantasy universe works the way that they expect. Yes. I agree. That's exactly the point. But when you tell them the speed of light, or how gravity scales, you are telling them how the fantasy universe works! They don't have to assume it when you tell them. I meant that a GM shouldn't use the language of real-world physics to express how real-world physics doesn't work. Because when the GM says these things, they are Truth. And players should be able to rely on that truth, and work with it... and as we will see in a bit, that gets ugly. Which assumes that the imagined universe even has relativity. I mean, I've already asserted that kinetic energy in this universe increases linearly rather than with the square of velocity, so not only are the fundamental constants probably different, the equations are likely different as well. Do you know the phrase, "not even wrong"? The thing about the laws of phy...

Saturday, 13th July, 2019

  • 07:04 PM - Umbran quoted Celebrim in post Science in D&D
    Which assumes that the strong nuclear force and the speed of light are the same in the hypothetical universe, which they wouldn't necessarily be. (Or for that matter than the material components are fully converted to energy.) We have no theory that requires fundamental constants to be equal. We have no idea why they are what they are in this universe. Maybe the speed of light in the D&D universe is only 500 km per second. As a physicist, my advice: don't go there. One of the big points we get to when we look at the fundamental constants is not just that "Hey, the physical constants are exactly what they are", but "Hey, if the physical constants change even a small bit, life (and even matter) as we know it ceases to exist." This is one answer to the question of "Why is the Universe exactly the way it is?" called the Anthropic Principle - if the Universe were much different, we couldn't exist in it to see it." What *sound* like small changes usually have large impacts. If you cu...
  • 08:31 AM - DMMike quoted Celebrim in post I only run D&D when I need to establish a player base
    Where did you hear/see that assertion, out of curiosity? From the "Why do you play games other than D&D" thread, I believe. And thinking about it, I'd probably be much happier going to play D&D with a strange group than I would most other systems because you really never know what you are going to get with a group, and D&D is at least some sort of baseline. D&D's new slogan: "At least some sort of baseline." Seriously though, that makes sense. If I'm not going to know the people playing, I might as well know the game.

Friday, 12th July, 2019

  • 07:13 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Celebrim in post OSR Gripes
    Likewise, after 35 years of running a game, when I sit down and play as a player, I can tell almost immediately what is happening on the other side of the DM's screen and what thought processes went into the design and play of the game. ...I admit being able to 'see the strings' being pulled and otherwise always being cognizant of the part of play that is a game harms my emersion and hence harms my ability to enjoy the game somewhat, but after this much experience it's sort of inevitable. I have the same problem with plot holes and dungeons that ignore economic sense. Nod. You /might/ still be able to enjoy that game on a different level. Like a one magician can appreciate the technique or artistry of another, precisely because he does know how the trick is done. As you said, GM illusionism only works if the players can't see the strings attached to them. It's like playing a game where you throw the game to let that person win. Most people are only going to enjoy that if they don't re...
  • 06:20 PM - Lanefan quoted Celebrim in post OSR Gripes
    You aren't overturning my stereotype of OSR GM's here. I mean I've already got people up in arms so I'm not going to really delve into this, but there is a school of GMing out there - lets call it the John Wick school - where an RPG is only fun if the players have no agency and as soon as the players start to have some control then its time to ditch the game. In any era players pretty much always had agency over their own characters - or should have (more on this below) - which is fine. As time has gone on, however, players have slowly been given more agency over and access to things and rules beyond their characters - which is not fine. That said, a part of player agency over their characters is being allowed to play what you-as-player want within the established bounds of the setting. Thus, if a particular setting has no Elves then sorry, you can't play an Elf. But if a particular setting has evil people in it then playing an evil PC should be a valid option - banning them goes against...
  • 05:58 PM - Umbran quoted Celebrim in post OSR Gripes
    You aren't overturning my stereotype of OSR GM's here. I mean I've already got people up in arms so I'm not going to really delve into this, but there is a school of GMing out there - lets call it the John Wick school - where an RPG is only fun if the players have no agency and as soon as the players start to have some control then its time to ditch the game. I don't really get it, because if you want control no matter how much finite agency the players have, as the GM you always have an infinite well to draw on... “You lot {humans} would rather watch someone suffer untold horrors than watch them enjoy so much as a cool drink if you don’t have two of your own, and yours have cherries in them as well as more ice and little paper umbrellas, and even then most of you would still prefer to take theirs and have three. This is not the behavior of a sentient race.” -Space Opera, Catherynne Valente
  • 05:00 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Celebrim in post OSR Gripes
    I guess it's some sort of mutual high illusionism going on. I like to think of Illisionism as being analogous to a magician's "illusions" (tricks) - they're fun to be 'fooled' by and to try to figure out, but once you see the strings, less fun. And, yes, there is a whole school (not sure if it's /the/ old school, but it's not a young one) or style of D&D that relies on that.
  • 03:19 PM - GameOgre quoted Celebrim in post OSR Gripes
    ...hed to a particular context. But then I get in a discussion with OSR people about the rules, and they are all like, "If you don't like the rules, it's because you aren't a capable enough DM/player. Using the old rules requires skill and imagination, you see." and it's all so totally not self-aware. Every rpg has crap rules. OSR-New Modern...it's all crap. You have to overlook that crap to get at the fun. Rules do not bring fun to the table. I love OSR games just as much as I love 5E. More some days,less others. Mostly I run a crapload of 5E but my B/X D&D game is awesome as well. So if you have issues with B/X rules ....so what? I'm sure your right...they suck. So does 5E. I have two pages of house rules designed to make my 5E game sing just the way I like it and to fix the hot mess that is it's many many issues. My B/X D&D House rules are only a single small page...does that mean its less broken? Heck no, just there were less rules to fix! Reading all these posts Celebrim, mostly you come off as a Troll. You bash other people's ideas and game in a almost mocking manner and are very dismissive of others opinions. I'm not sure why you are here after so many pages of aggressive pounding on the OSR. Do you think your opinions or posts are going to change anyone's mind? People play what they want to play. Frankly I have no idea why anyone would EVER want to play 3.5 D&D. I find it baffling and illogical myself. That doesn't mean I would go into a thread about 3.5 and aggressively demand justifications for the fans of it. I'm sure they love it and would have answers that make sense to them on why it's the best game ever. That's cool! More power to em!
  • 03:16 PM - Jer quoted Celebrim in post OSR Gripes
    Let me clarify exactly why I find the OSR/OSRIC etc. movement so confusing. 3) To the extent that OSR champions will talk about rules at all and advocate for rules, typically what you'll hear from them is that what they like about the rules is that they don't use them. That is to say they'll say that the great thing about the old rules is that there are no rules and they can just make things up. And ok, that may be a preference thing, but at the same time it's not a rules thing either. No rules set is comprehensive and regardless of which edition you are playing, if you are doing your job as a DM and if the players are doing theirs, then you'll find yourself outside the rules needing to make rulings. I don't know how prevalent this is, but... I know a DM who is a big OSR booster. When I asked him a question much like this his response was basically that "modern" game engines had rules for everything baked in in one of two ways - either there is an explict rule for it that the pla...
  • 01:19 AM - the Jester quoted Celebrim in post OSR Gripes
    Leaving aside passive hazards like yellow mold, which we were rightly paranoid about and used all sorts of techniques to avoid exposure... these happened all the time in your games? Because I can give a rant about how badly designed Bodaks are as monsters. Fairly often. Most adventures had an instance of something like this in it somewhere, much like early modules did. It wasn't an every session thing, but was far from uncommon. Leveled up henchmen and other NPC associates were a convenient source of PC's should you unfortunately lose a main, and were often converted to PC's once your main got to the point you had invested so much you were sacred to risk them. This gradually developed an aesthetic of a living world we didn't have at first, when if a character died well you just rolled up a replacement and introduced him the next session as "Bob, Jr." or "Bob's younger brother" or whatever. We typically had many different games running concurrently, and would swap pcs in to differen...

Thursday, 11th July, 2019

  • 10:53 PM - Lanefan quoted Celebrim in post OSR Gripes
    Sorry, did math quickly in my head. Your math is correct. Point still stands however. Many? I mean, you'd probably have to make it to 9th before you even had the option of a raise dead, Not necessarily - I've had parties take their dead back to some major temple in town and pay for a raise way way WAY before they were anywhere near 9th level. :) That said, getting access to raise in the field is very much a tipping point for long-term character survivability. and by the time you made it to 9th as a fighter you were fairly survivable. But, in so much as they did need a raise dead, then you're making a resurrection survival check in each case so how many times do you expect to survive getting raised if you start with low CON?Yes, but your example was of someone with Con 17, which is a high-90's resurrection chance.
  • 10:27 PM - Lanefan quoted Celebrim in post OSR Gripes
    However, your favorite character would totally outclassed by one with two 17s or an 18 strength. I'm guessing that didn't happen (or you did actually have another score of 16 or higher). Your 11th level fighter only would have had about 47 hit points, Er...only if it had a penalty due to a very low Con score. An 11th level Fighter in 1e as written would have 9d10+6 h.p. The average on a d10 roll is 5.5; 9 of those gives 49 (rounding down) + 6 for a total of 55 h.p. and that's not really viable for a front line character when you are facing off against level X monsters. If that same fighter had say a 16 Strength and also a 17 Constitution, so that they have say about 74 hit points, now we are talking. And just how many Fighters made it all the way to 11th without dying once or twice? Remember, in 1e every revival ocst you a Con point...
  • 09:31 PM - Umbran quoted Celebrim in post OSR Gripes
    Can't say that I agree with either the agent or his uncle. And to the extent that I'll charitably try to imagine that as a deep observation on the nature of love, then I don't think the quote means what you seem to think it means by using it in this context. We're talking about how we pretend to be elves, Celebrim. Expect depth to match the topic. Consider it less an observation of the nature of love, and more an observation of the nature of people, and it will probably be more functional for you.
  • 09:27 PM - Umbran quoted Celebrim in post OSR Gripes
    I played a thief pretty much at every opportunity. And no, they aren't viable. This wasn't something that was immediately obvious to me at first, and I certainly had lots of enjoyment playing a thief. When you first start playing, especially as a kid, this is all so new and wonderful that literally anything we did was fun, including monotonous hack and slash. ... But the longer I played, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was playing a character that couldn't pull their weight. ... Well, I'm not sure I can put them into words succinctly, but I think I just did a very good job of explaining why the thief in particular wasn't viable. I think we get a sense of it, at least. So, here's the difference - you define viability in terms of "pulling weight", doing damage, and such. And I can accept that as something that can be important enough to a player to be a deal-breaker. Most of the time, I figure even-handedness in spreading around effectiveness ...
  • 09:02 PM - the Jester quoted Celebrim in post OSR Gripes
    Which gets to the idea of how you managed to get a melee fighter to high level without a CON bonus to speak of, and apparently not a lot of clerics. You mentioned early DM fudging, but I'm wondering even more about the mix of challenges involved. You're clearly not trying to face anything like the G series with its loads of giants trying to squish you flat, or anything like DL with its save or die dragon breath weapons. IIRC that particular character played through (on top of many homebrewed adventures) T1, the Slaver series, S3, S4 and WG4, and the GDQ series, probably not in that specific order. The massive giants encounter routed us, but we (mostly) survived and came back for more with better planning, though I can't remember what we did exactly. The real sort of fudging that I think is going on here is more like what I talked about with making a character useful through campaign and encounter design. Maybe- but this was back in the day when you'd play the same pc under mul...
  • 08:36 PM - Umbran quoted Celebrim in post OSR Gripes
    But so much of the OSR seems not devoted to fixing it but celebrating its brokenness. "My uncle used to say that we like people for their qualities, but we love them for their defects." - B.P.R.D. Agent John Myers, Hellboy, 2004
  • 08:25 PM - Ratskinner quoted Celebrim in post OSR Gripes
    But so much of the OSR seems not devoted to fixing it but celebrating its brokenness. QFT You'll either find a method with less randomness or your group will tacitly accept cheating:"Yes I did roll two 18's for my character (on the 18th character that I rolled up)", "Yes I did roll two 18's for my character (after I rerolled the 7 that was ruining the character it luckily was an 18).", "Yes I did roll two 18's for my character (it was a 2 sixes and 2 threes, but I figured close enough)." Absolutely matches my experience. I know players that always seem to roll up an 18% STR Dwarf Fighter...every....single...time. The baffling thing to me is when I hear some of these same guys talk about how "stat-dependent" the later editions are. It's like: "Are you lying to me, or yourself?" Really, I tried running a 1e AD&D game a few years back and it was really shocking just how badly it played compared to a modern rules set or that I put up with it for more than 10 years. Yup. Our group did, ...


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