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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:11 PM
    Well, at the risk of offending the original author, what I'm suggesting is that the article neither proposes a useful idea nor is actually coherent. Or to put it another way, I do understand exactly what the author is going for, but he doesn't do a great job of explaining or exploring the problem. Consider if we start systematically replacing the word "magic" in the article with "science". ...
    68 replies | 2007 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:14 PM
    Agreed. Having the proper tools and conditions for starting a file makes starting a fire trivially easy. However, this doesn't mean that starting a fire in the wilderness after a rain using only what is at hand is easy. The way I view things is that there are a lot of things that have DC 0 or less. Walking across a broad level surface is for example like DC -5. Normally, if a character...
    88 replies | 3336 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:48 PM
    That's very hard to know. I can only be confident of what I've observed. Most logically, they weren't being dishonest with me as much as they were being unreflective on their own motivations. I can say that there stated beliefs did not seem to conform to my expectations regarding what would logically follow from those beliefs. That is, they didn't seem to play characters I thought were...
    31 replies | 724 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:54 PM
    I'm not sure I understand the terms you've defined here. What do you mean by "pre-modern magic systems"? I feel like that involves a lot of feelings and that feelings are highly subjective things. I don't understand how you go from something feeling interesting to logically requiring something, and I'm still not sure how you define "pre-modern magic". Is that different from "pre-modern...
    68 replies | 2007 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:58 PM
    More or less exactly what I'm trying to convey. My experience with, "Alignment is unrealistic. I can roleplay a more nuanced realistic character without it!" is that the more "realistic" "nuanced" characters where indistinguishable from Pawn Stance, in that the decision making process about "what this character would do" seemed to be basically "what do I need to do to win". Giving your pawn...
    31 replies | 724 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:52 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    I don't know anything about these 5e 2HD orcs, but even back in 1e I would have strongly hesitated to put the PC's up against orcs before 2nd level because although the PC's could probably one shot the orcs, the orcs could also probably one shot the PCs. Particularly prior to playing in groups with max hit points at first level or other innovations to try to extend the 'sweet spot' down to 1st...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:54 PM
    Dwarves are biologically pretty close to humanity, or at least the ways that they are different are usually poorly explored. Despite the apparent ability to crossbreed, elves are further from humanity biologically speaking than dwarves, though again the exact impact of those biological differences is usually poorly explored. One thing for example that struck me when I brainstormed on this...
    31 replies | 724 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:21 PM
    In my homebrew, Orcs (well, goblins) eat elves precisely because the crossbreed mix doesn't work and elves can't be enslaved. They are a very practical people and want to put everything in their environment to work. Food is the best usage an elf can be put to.
    141 replies | 4737 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 08:58 PM
    I'm not even going to go there like I could because I can imagine this would be a touchy subject, but I had a friend from Pakistan that tried to take his American born wife back to the old country - and it was a cultural bridge too far. You are however quite right to point at hygiene as one of those areas were cultural norms have a huge role, and it makes me think that I've never even given much...
    31 replies | 724 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 08:24 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Or if you had a character with a wand of magic missiles and 100 charges back in the day, then you had your at will combat cantrip then. In my experience at will combat cantrips aren't worth worrying about. They conceptually do much the same as starting with a low powered wand, and are basically just flavor dressing on throwing a dart every round. On the other hand, at will noncombat...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 08:00 PM
    The danger of this approach is that you might define away the race, so that the ultimate result is that all races are just humans with different bumps on their foreheads. You'll end up with more homogeneity and not less, and you'll risk banishing the alien from your setting and making everything familiar. At the very least, some thought ought to be given to how a race with lives ten times...
    31 replies | 724 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 06:57 PM
    First, forget touching on elves or dwarves for now. Everything you say about racial homogeneity in fantasy worlds tends to apply to humans first, and humans are a much easier standard. I once thought many of the same things you think here. Before you grumble too much, I suggest you play without nigh universal languages for a few years and the come back and report your experiences. ...
    31 replies | 724 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 04:54 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    I see where that comes from, but by my logic (at the time and since) is a 1st level M-U had never been before a 0th level peasant but had in fact been before a 0th level apprentice M-U. And before that they had been a child, and children did not have 6 h.p. Furthermore, it was never clear to me that 0th level peasants actually rolled hit points, but rather those hit points represented a range...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 04:45 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Well, most of my daily communication is with computers...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 03:39 PM
    This is the tl;dr version of my post. Excellent and succinct (something I could work on) advice.
    13 replies | 547 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 03:38 PM
    Try to avoid doing that, for one thing. One big problem that the D&D system has always had is that if you throw enough save or suck spells at a PC, they'll eventually fail a save. For example, seven 1st level spellcasters each casting 'Charm Person' has a very high chance to charm most PCs. The second thing I would suggest to you is even if you find the situation requires it, don't try...
    13 replies | 547 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 03:23 PM
    I do know what my methodology is, but anything that involves division and multiple steps reads rather ugly. And I do admit to liking tables.
    6 replies | 299 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 03:14 PM
    In my experience, attempting to prop up the social interaction pillar with robust mechanical support counter-intuitively tends to decrease social interaction rather than increase it. The most functional mechanical system for adjudicating RP is simply IMO some sort of fortune test, preferably one that generates a small degree of success but a simple pass/fail will do fine if you have some means...
    88 replies | 3336 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 03:02 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    The one true statement you can make about old school play is, "It varied a lot." Now that's one I haven't encountered before, but that's a very advanced concept we really wouldn't see in an official capacity till like 4e. It does solve a potential ton of problems, but I suspect that I would have hated it on first sight back in the day by pure reflex - "A 10 h.p. 1st level M-U,...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 02:49 PM
    Celebrim started a thread Variant HP per HD
    So, I've been doing randomly rolled hit points basically forever. I've also tended to do max hit points at 1st level to make it easier for me as a GM to create an interesting heroic adventure for the mundane tier while minimizing the chance of random unavoidable death. But I've long been aware that random can go wrong and that of all the rolls at the table my players are most tempted to...
    6 replies | 299 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 02:27 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Yeah, I've encountered that with one group as well. For the purposes of my claim, I don't require a representative sample, since the claim I'm refuting - "Any DM (OSR or not) can see the logic in that request" - is refuted by showing at least one OSR DM that doesn't see the logic of that request.
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 01:52 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    Will they really? We're on like page 9 and you are the first person on the OSR side to suggest that. The first half-dozen all suggested that playing with low hit points where one hit will kill you was the source of the fun, and in some way or the other tacitly endorsed character funnels and the ultimate playability (or viability) of any character whether 2 hit points or not. So while your...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 11:39 PM
    The PC's tried to get entry into a certain large town. One character was a half-elf with a very large bear companion. The customs officer cheerfully told the character that they would be responsible for all damage inflicted by their pets and to not leave it alone in public, but no big deal. One of the PC's was a hobgoblin. Entry positively refused until one of the other PC's told the...
    99 replies | 3074 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 11:21 PM
    Celebrim replied to OSR Gripes
    One of the things about the Monster Encylopedia series of posts by Echohawk is that it allows you to track just how much number inflation has occurred between 1e and 5e, and it's a rare monster whose hit points and expected damage/round doesn't scale with its edition number.
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 11:18 PM
    No, I'm pretty sure it was published by Mongoose in their Encyclopedia Arcane series. But I don't own it and can't tell you how on point it was.
    141 replies | 4737 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 09:28 PM
    He may be right in the sense that any single edged weapon is a backsword, but be as that may, when I picture in my head a falchion I picture something that is tip heavy much like a machete. For a movie example, the 'Green Destiny' is very much a Chinese variation on the same sort of sword design as an arming sword, but Michelle Yu's character prefers a sword that is translated as 'machete'...
    141 replies | 4737 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 08:54 PM
    Well, you are making presumptions. I would never assume that. There are too many settings (more than half are homebrew), too many editions, too styles of campaign. No, I think sanity is finally returning to you. Not every race is in every setting. My preferred homebrew has the following approved PC races: changling, pixie, sidhe, goblin, half-goblin, hobgoblin, elf, human,...
    99 replies | 3074 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 08:25 PM
    I'm pretty sure a third party during the 3e era did publish an entire supplement on who can breed with who and if they do, what happens.
    141 replies | 4737 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 08:24 PM
    Any system not pedantic enough to want to differentiate sword families as separate weapon classes is not pedantic enough for me. I mean, I shudder at the idea of treating a falchion the same as a backsword, or applying the name Falchion to a family of weapons that seems to want to include the Ōdachi.
    141 replies | 4737 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 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.
    141 replies | 4737 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 05:02 PM
    Oh no. Uh uh.
    141 replies | 4737 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 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...
    141 replies | 4737 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 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...
    141 replies | 4737 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 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...
    68 replies | 2007 view(s)
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  • Celebrim's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 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.
    141 replies | 4737 view(s)
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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,...
    68 replies | 2007 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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,...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    19 replies | 660 view(s)
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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,...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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.
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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.
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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.
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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.
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    68 replies | 2007 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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    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. ...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
    1 XP
  • 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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
    1 XP
  • 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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    88 replies | 2928 view(s)
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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...
    68 replies | 2007 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(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...
    68 replies | 2007 view(s)
    1 XP
  • 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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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.
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    38 replies | 2160 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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    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...
    68 replies | 2007 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    38 replies | 2160 view(s)
    3 XP
  • 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. ...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
    2 XP
  • 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).
    352 replies | 12193 view(s)
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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...
    231 replies | 7712 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...
    231 replies | 7712 view(s)
    2 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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Wednesday, 17th July, 2019

  • 10:52 PM - BoxCrayonTales quoted Celebrim in post Science in D&D
    Well, at the risk of offending the original author, what I'm suggesting is that the article neither proposes a useful idea nor is actually coherent. Or to put it another way, I do understand exactly what the author is going for, but he doesn't do a great job of explaining or exploring the problem. Consider if we start systematically replacing the word "magic" in the article with "science". If these two things are really radically different concepts as he suggests, and if his description of magic is coherent then the mangled article where we replace a concept with a supposedly incompatible concept should be nonsense. Section #1: "Science is a known system and thus non-mysterious" In the first section the author tries to explain that magic shouldn't be a known system and thus non-mysterious, because this makes it too scientific. But the problem is that the assertion that science is a known system and thus non-mysterious as an assertion about the nature of the real known universe and how...
  • 09:06 PM - BoxCrayonTales quoted Celebrim in post Science in D&D
    I'm not sure I understand the terms you've defined here. What do you mean by "pre-modern magic systems"? I feel like that involves a lot of feelings and that feelings are highly subjective things. I don't understand how you go from something feeling interesting to logically requiring something, and I'm still not sure how you define "pre-modern magic". Is that different from "pre-modern magic systems"? What are the characteristics of "pre-modern magic"? I have no idea what you mean here. What would a tongues spell that worked like standard language rules look like in your opinion and why is it logical that the tongues spell would work like standard language? In it's background, "Tongues" is like most spells in D&D based off Biblical miracles which Gygax owing it his background was very familiar with. So in this case Tongues in some sense emulates the logic of receiving the ability to speak in and understand tongues which you do not know as a temporary divine revelation...
  • 06:25 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Celebrim in post Homogenized Races?
    More or less exactly what I'm trying to convey. My experience with, "Alignment is unrealistic. I can roleplay a more nuanced realistic character without it!" is that the more "realistic" "nuanced" characters where indistinguishable from Pawn Stance, in that the decision making process about "what this character would do" seemed to be basically "what do I need to do to win". Giving your pawn an alignment implied there were moves which might be practical at the moment, but which the pawn maybe ought not do.So they were being dishonest? Alignment was a rule - you had to choose one - and it had mechanical effects, including things the character /could/ do, items it could use, etc, as well as restrictions on it. So, I'd think, even from a purely "gamist" (not necessarily in the Forge sense) perspective, you'd want to choose the 'best' alignment for your strategy, rather than try to talk the DM out of using the mechanic, at all, since that would remove benefits, as well, and reduce the availa...
  • 05:53 PM - Paul Farquhar quoted Celebrim in post Science in D&D
    Virtually all modern fantasy fiction is in one fashion or the other inspired by D&D. Just to pick you up on that last point, but a certain J. K. Rowling never played D&D or read fantasy fiction...
  • 04:37 PM - Fenris-77 quoted Celebrim in post Doing away with INT/WIS/CHA
    In my experience, attempting to prop up the social interaction pillar with robust mechanical support counter-intuitively tends to decrease social interaction rather than increase it. The most functional mechanical system for adjudicating RP is simply IMO some sort of fortune test, preferably one that generates a small degree of success but a simple pass/fail will do fine if you have some means of robustly adjudicating difficulty. Beyond that, no part of the game works better with the GM just working off rulings and gut feel for the situation than social challenges, because any system that realistically models the dynamics of interaction between people will be vastly more complex than a system that realistically models combat, and the simple mechanical churn will detract from RP. I think the trick is not add too much to the rules for actual interaction. At most I'd add rules for multiple successes necessary to, say, convince an important NPC of something. That isn't adding rules, just a way o...
  • 04:05 PM - BoxCrayonTales quoted Celebrim in post Science in D&D
    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 say Tarzan does) or as a result of magical gifts (as in the fairy tale "The White Snake). Fine, I'm way ahead of that. But I'm also way ahead of that on realistic languages as well and one thing I've discovered is that realistic language is bad for gaming, because realistic languages create communication barriers that limit RP - and ultimately RP is good for an RPG. In the real world you have thousands of languages occurring in a pathwork quilt. In a fantasy world you tend to have a few dozen languages and most people (and most beings) speak some sort of Common tongue. Turns out that the fantas...
  • 08:15 AM - Lanefan quoted Celebrim in post OSR Gripes
    The one true statement you can make about old school play is, "It varied a lot." Now that's one I haven't encountered before, but that's a very advanced concept we really wouldn't see in an official capacity till like 4e. It does solve a potential ton of problems, but I suspect that I would have hated it on first sight back in the day by pure reflex - "A 10 h.p. 1st level M-U, inconceivable?!?!"Our body-fatigue point system (developed in about 1983) ends up working almost the same. Everyone - even peasants - has body points; for humans these are rolled on a d5 with a Con-based minimum (2 unless your Con is truly awful, 3 if it's pretty good; and a lower roll becomes set to the minimum) and are locked in for life unless some tragedy like losing a limb permanently alters them. Your level-based h.p. are your fatigue points and go on top of these. So a really lucky human MU with Con 15 might get 5+4+1=10 h.p. at 1st level but I don't think in 35+ years I've ever seen this done.
  • 12:06 AM - pming quoted Celebrim in post OSR Gripes
    Hiya! Will they really? We're on like page 9 and you are the first person on the OSR side to suggest that. I get what you are saying, but I'm not on the "OSR" side or any particular 'side'. I enjoy all kinds of RPGs, from Rolemaster/HARP, to 5e, to Dungeon World and everything in between. :) Anyone who locks themselves into one particular type of game either has very specific tastes, or they are robbing themselves of getting a wider range of RPG 'tastes'. That said, I *DO* admit that I lean more towards the OSR side of things...I just prefer that overall style of play. :) The first half-dozen all suggested that playing with low hit points where one hit will kill you was the source of the fun, and in some way or the other tacitly endorsed character funnels and the ultimate playability (or viability) of any character whether 2 hit points or not. And I have no problem with that at all. In fact, it is actually quite fun to play a PC with super low HP's. One player had a thief character i...

Tuesday, 16th July, 2019

  • 11:18 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Celebrim in post Homogenized Races?
    As for alignment, I don't really know what you mean. They've never been particularly mechanical. They are I think a bit overly simplistic but they might just be complex enough for the purposes and anything more complicated is likely to be vague to the point of being meaningless, or else actually "mechanical". They've had more or less mechanical impact in some eds (and I'm sure, some places/groups/etc back in the day, when we were a less disunited-by-the-internet, merely more diverse, community). Obvious examples of early alignment mechanics are alignment requirements for classes, damage for touching an artifact that doesn't match your alignment, detect this and know that, etc... 3e peaked, with the "Go Team Alignment" constellation of spells. 4e all but walked away from alignment. 5e has put back relatively few mechanical effects. Of course, that's just me jumping on the /game/ mechanic sense of mechanical. D&D 9-alignment system is also mechanical in the sense of mechanistic, I guess, ...
  • 09:54 PM - uzirath quoted Celebrim in post Homogenized Races?
    Widespread linga franca do exist but often not as mother tongues in the real world. Nonetheless, a very limited number of languages has a nigh invaluable benefit to an RPG because its just not fun having a cool RPG that you can't RP with because of a lack of a common language, nor is it fun to have hints and clues in languages the players have no chance of reading. Simplified language choices help games from D&D to Call of Cthulhu. Yes. For most TFRPG genres, realistic handling of languages is a drag. I've played in a few exploration games where languages were handled realistically, but the pacing of those games was much different. (It was common for PCs to have lots of time to develop skills, including languages, between adventures.) Even then, we often depended on translators, which means more fragile NPCs and whatnot. If the GM takes it seriously, it can work, but only if she's not expecting to run standard D&D-style adventures. For my standard fantasy games these days, I'm considering...
  • 09:42 PM - uzirath quoted Celebrim in post Homogenized Races?
    The danger of this approach is that you might define away the race, so that the ultimate result is that all races are just humans with different bumps on their foreheads. Agreed. Really, in most RPG groups that I've seen, that's all the other races are anyway. You could just as easily replace the dwarf with a gruff human of limited height. Some players and GMs push harder, but ultimately we're all humans, so it's pretty hard to really inhabit an alien character. I tend toward worlds with lots of heterogeneity on as many axes as I can manage. There are lots of sentient species with lots of cultural variation within and between them—more like Star Wars, I suppose, than Lord of the Rings. It doesn't always make sense, but its fun. At the very least, some thought ought to be given to how a race with lives ten times that of humans might shift their view on material possessions a simple practical matter. I was tossing out a random example, but yes, again. (I'm failing at internet forum... ...
  • 09:29 PM - Dannyalcatraz quoted Celebrim in post Homogenized Races?
    I'm not even going to go there like I could because I can imagine this would be a touchy subject, but I had a friend from Pakistan that tried to take his American born wife back to the old country - and it was a cultural bridge too far. You are however quite right to point at hygiene as one of those areas were cultural norms have a huge role, and it makes me think that I've never even given much thought to it in terms of cultural diversity in my fantasy setting, beyond some broad nods that hygienic needs exist (such as having garderobes and toilets in dungeons and public baths in cities). I really ought to give some thought to soap, oils, perfumes, and the like and how different cultures approach the problem, because it is a really strong cultural marker and you don't notice it until it changes on you. When I was a teen, I went back to Europe. The last half of the trip was behind the Iron Curtain- it was still a thing, then- and I ran out of my antiperspirant halfway through the trip. “N...
  • 08:57 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Celebrim in post OSR Gripes
    Or if you had a character with a wand of magic missiles and 100 charges back in the day,Or that, yeah. Actually, now that you mention it, my second 4e character was an "old-school high-elf fighter/magic-user," he was a wand wizard, and he did explain his Scorching Burst as "an old Wand of Fireballs that doesn't work like it used to." (There was, in that campaign, a conceit that magic had historically, or pre-historically, worked as it had in prior eds, so I got to lampshade the differences.) then you had your at will combat cantrip then.I recall you were meant to trade in one 1st-level spell for 4 cantrips. Later, in 2e, there was a cantrip spell that let you cast any cantrip for something like 2hrs/level, which is pretty close to at-will, sure. In my experience at will combat cantrips aren't worth worrying about. They conceptually do much the same as starting with a low powered wand, and are basically just flavor dressing on throwing a dart every round.Three darts. Yes. ;) On...
  • 08:35 PM - Dannyalcatraz quoted Celebrim in post Homogenized Races?
    I can't imagine my elves doing banking at all. Coins in particular owing to their free tradability provoke a very different reaction on the average elf than they do the average human. An elf in my setting is prone to looking at coin, which could have passed through any number of unknown hands, with the same squimishness you might look at a soiled food container or other inherently tainted object. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9aM_dT5VMI American here. Americans actually are loud on average. This is because Americans culturally stand further apart when talking to each other than Europeans do. The result is that Americans naturally project to be heard, while Europeans by cultural inclination tend to want to get very close when talking - so close that it suggests an uncomfortable physical intimacy inappropriate to the setting or relationship. The reverse stereotype which as some basis in fact, is the European friend or relative that is inappropriately affectionate with a lot of hu...
  • 04:37 PM - Rabulias quoted Celebrim in post What are your Pedantic Complaints about D&D?
    No, I'm pretty sure it was published by Mongoose in their Encyclopedia Arcane series. But I don't own it and can't tell you how on point it was. Mongoose had Encyclopedia Arcane: Crossbreeding by Johnathan Richards, which matrixed D&D 3.0 creature types (e.g., a Giant crossbred with an Elemental resulted in an Outsider).
  • 04:34 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Celebrim in post OSR Gripes
    Now that's one I haven't encountered before, but that's a very advanced concept we really wouldn't see in an official capacity till like 4e. It does solve a potential ton of problems, but I suspect that I would have hated it on first sight back in the day by pure reflex - "A 10 h.p. 1st level M-U, inconceivable?!?!"The logic seemed irrefutable to my 15yo self. ;) "So, hey, Tony, it says here that peasants have 1-6 hps and or '0th' level." "Well, yeah, they're not as good as characters with classes, they don't have levels, but they do have some hps." "Right, but before you have a class you don't have a class, right?" "I guess." "So my magic-user, before he became a magic user, he had 1-6 hps." "That follows, sure." "But, if he rolled a '6,' why would his hit points go /down/ for going from 0 to 1st level?" "Oh, I hadn't thought of that." "Yeah, see, so 6 hps + max d4 = 10!" ".... wait, wasn't that '6' hypothetical...?" ;)
  • 04:04 PM - Umbran quoted Celebrim in post OSR Gripes
    For the purposes of my claim, I don't require a representative sample, since the claim I'm refuting - "Any DM (OSR or not) can see the logic in that request" - is refuted by showing at least one OSR DM that doesn't see the logic of that request. Yeah, but I think you're treating the discussion as if folks are choosing their wordign along strict logical lines, when that behavior is not terribly common. "Any DM (OSR or not)..." may not be strictly true. Though, it may be - they may *see* the logic, but reject it. But whatever the case, in spending your time refuting the strict statement, you miss the actual point that perhaps lots and lots of DMs *will* see the logic, which is probably still a major point for the discussion. Don't allow strict adherence to logic get in the way of understanding the practicalities.
  • 02:51 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Celebrim in post OSR Gripes
    So while your answer makes some sense, I don't think it's grounded in reality. Well, or the alternative wasn't. More likely, it was another thing that varied a lot. Further, if your answer does make sense, then it becomes a table rule of some sort the simplest and least time wasting version of which will be something like "max hit points at first level". I recall Max 1st HD (because Rangers) being a very common variant. One group even figured that, at 0 level, everyone, even mere peasants, got 1-6 hps, so your first level HD should add to those. Or, the also not-uncommon "start at 3rd level". The version of that I encountered was the "brevet" - start at 2nd, but 0 exp...
  • 02:19 PM - Umbran quoted Celebrim in post OSR Gripes
    Will they really? We're on like page 9 and you are the first person on the OSR side to suggest that. The first half-dozen all suggested that playing with low hit points where one hit will kill you was the source of the fun, and in some way or the other tacitly endorsed character funnels and the ultimate playability (or viability) of any character whether 2 hit points or not. So while your answer makes some sense, I don't think it's grounded in reality. Further, if your answer does make sense, then it becomes a table rule of some sort the simplest and least time wasting version of which will be something like "max hit points at first level". Or, the also not-uncommon "start at 3rd level". Note that "a half-dozen people before you suggested X" does not actually mean that those half-dozen are representative. Using posts here for that is like using self-selected poll data - it does not represent what portion of people actually feel that way, as much as how strongly this small number of...
  • 06:48 AM - Kurotowa quoted Celebrim in post Does Your Fantasy Race Really Matter In Game? (The Gnome Problem)
    The PC's tried to get entry into a certain large town. One character was a half-elf with a very large bear companion. The customs officer cheerfully told the character that they would be responsible for all damage inflicted by their pets and to not leave it alone in public, but no big deal. One of the PC's was a hobgoblin. Entry positively refused until one of the other PC's told the customs agent that the hobgoblin was his man-servant with very excellent references and name dropped that formerly he had worked for a very prominent wizard. At that point the customs official agreed to allow the hobgoblin entry, but angrily complained about what this thing might do to their lovely town and the consequences that might happen if it did. At which point one of the PC's leaned over to the hobgoblin and whispered, "They consider you lower than the bear." Kudos to you for doing this. What the DM chooses to give narrative attention does so much to determine what's important and what isn't in ...


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