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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:40 PM
    Erm, "single" game mechanics. So I'm changing my answer again. In Trevor's Quest, you don't have to roll to see if you hit Dracula's minions; you just roll damage. If you're using a weapon that allows an extra attack before the minion reaches you (like the whip or boomerang), you can roll that (those) damage at the same time. You can kill off weak minions quickly this way, or leave yourself...
    34 replies | 1161 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 03:25 PM
    Okay, yep, changing my answer. Action Points inspired my version of Hero Points, because what can't you do with action points? Well, extra actions was pushing it a little bit, but still, so much potential there.
    34 replies | 1161 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 04:39 PM
    I was pondering a similar question: are people ready for the dice recognition software that Xaelvaen mentioned? I mean, the founding Dungeon Masters would roll in their graves at the privacy issues involved in the DM's die rolls being known, if only to a computer. But players seem to think it's cool, like they have and never will have anything to hide. :)
    21 replies | 645 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 05:04 AM
    D&D has a rule that prevents dungeon masters from killing Vin Diesel's character, which is pretty badass. And +1 for WOIN's countdowns. I've been wanting to use it for bow ammunition, but haven't got around to it yet.
    34 replies | 1161 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 11:32 PM
    Try Giant in the Playground? Otherwise just post here. Start a Community, and invite those you see posting about homebrewing. Good luck with the beta testers, though.
    2 replies | 272 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 11:23 PM
    Aha. See, now I'm picturing you wearing a green beret somewhere in Africa. The locals are having political problems, and bringing D&D games into their village is how you will lift the oppressive banner of non-role-playing entertainment. De oppresso liber. Just wait 'til Pathfinder 2 hits. Yikes. Running D&D makes sense to me for establishing a base of n00bs, but I bet you can stray...
    19 replies | 679 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 08:42 AM
    So GURPS, or the GM's intended complex game, just needs some training wheels to get new players into it? This is my concern. Is a gateway RPG the solution here, or might that just muddy the waters? A certain other thread is making a good case for D&D as a gateway RPG...But on the other hand, once players are accustomed to armor class and attack bonuses and 5 foot squares, it's hard to...
    71 replies | 3504 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 08:31 AM
    From the "Why do you play games other than D&D" thread, I believe. 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.
    19 replies | 679 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Friday, 12th July, 2019, 02:04 PM
    I found the titular assertion intriguing. The D&D part is obvious - there are 40 million D&D players out there (is what I read, anyway). What's this establishing-a-player-base? Do you, as GM, curate a game group? Do you, as a player, play D&D just long enough to find other players who match or complement your playing style? Have you been told that you're not welcome in a group? Or...
    19 replies | 679 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 07:47 PM
    Was really hoping that "muggle" was a portmanteau of "muppet" and "fraggle." Still, it's a good one to know. First, playing a game other than D&D tells players "this is going to be different from D&D!" If you don't establish that well, someone is going to be pissed that he can't play his usual Dragonborn Paladin. With an ogre-slaying knife. Besides that, my house-rule list probably...
    88 replies | 3077 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 05:55 PM
    Legos? No, wait! Get a red dragon puzzle. Throw the pieces on the table, and tell the PCs they're weaving together a portable hole to the next room.
    8 replies | 1023 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 04:54 PM
    OMG I totally forgot about D&D 3.5... 1) Alignment. A rule that allows you to clearly tell your party members, "hey! Don't pick my pocket! I'm a good guy! Now let's go murder child-goblin-soldiers." 2) Grappling. Want to wrestle that Large, Fiendish, Half-Warforged-Half-Gnome, Rogue 10/Arcane Archer 5/Truenamer 8 to the ground, because it might have something useful to say? There are...
    47 replies | 3257 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 02:30 AM
    Oh, well then I'm with Blue: that's just poor design. The game isn't scaling well when you're spending your time reading dice instead of role-playing. But since that doesn't solve OP's problem... Still: don't. :) Since you have to beat a number of successes (guessing here), divide that number by 10. 4. 2. Whatever gets you closer to a number of dice you're comfortable counting, and...
    21 replies | 645 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 04:54 PM
    +1 for POW. Every game should have that attribute. Does this mean that the DM takes the wheel after the roll has been made? Because I feel much more immersed when I stay in the driver's seat.
    88 replies | 3446 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 04:37 PM
    Yeah: don't. The average result of a d10 is 5.5. That times 40 is 220. I personally guarantee that your rolled results don't vary more than 20 points from that.
    21 replies | 645 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Thursday, 4th July, 2019, 07:23 PM
    DMMike replied to Recycling 5e
    Hmm. Looks like that 6 is still waiting to be recycled. New idea: the DM can recycle that roll for you too, but only for opponents with advantage or disadvantage, that are rolling against you. "Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony." -Morpheus
    4 replies | 393 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019, 05:50 PM
    +1 for Gauntlet reference. And thank you. There may be "no chance of success," but that doesn't mean that there's also no chance of having fun, and it doesn't mean there are no options. But then, there's always that group of players that just ignores all of the GM's clues about how bad the decision is that they're making, and they do something with "no chance of success" anyway. That's...
    50 replies | 1917 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019, 05:29 PM
    DMMike started a thread Recycling 5e
    Fifth edition D&D is probably the greenest D&D yet, being recycled from the rules of 3.5e and 4e, as well as highly available in digital format. How can we make it greener? I thought some roll-recycling would be in order. If you roll 4d6-drop-lowest for your ability scores, keep your first five lowest rolls, and choose three to be your sixth score. Also, stop throwing out your advantage...
    4 replies | 393 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd July, 2019, 02:12 PM
    Give it to Mikey. He reads everything! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYEXzx-TINc I thought I'd add Microlite20 to my list. Not because of the super-elegant monster stat blocks: Not due to the typeface and art, which actually do evoke some "what's this D&D thing?" wonder. Not because it gets rid of the who-wins-on-a-tie ambiguity. And definitely not because of the super-accessible...
    111 replies | 8333 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Monday, 1st July, 2019, 05:55 PM
    Well, in Modos RPG, you wouldn't tell the player that she failed. Success/fail is just as old as Prince Valiant. You'd tell her that she got an unfavorable result (a "Con"), and then the player would "let the other players know what the contest result means." The GM would guide that as needed to keep the story rolling. An old wise man once said: So, is it true that the PC winked? Yes -...
    683 replies | 18665 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Monday, 1st July, 2019, 02:27 AM
    It might not. It's just one way to look at things. But for the exercise, it's pretty easy to wink. Softening hearts sounds a bit more difficult. Especially when your name is, say, Quasimodo. Also, some analysis of the problem might be in order, because I don't see Soften Heart and Wink as the same action. If a player told me "I wink," I'd say "great." If a player said "I soften the...
    683 replies | 18665 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Sunday, 30th June, 2019, 08:45 PM
    Maybe try viewing this through a different lens or two? 1) Player control is based on difficulty. Clutching a sword is easy. Swinging a sword (at least the first few times) is easy. Attacking an orc is more difficult. Killing said orc is (probably) far more difficult. Player agency ends where difficulty begins. 2) Does the game require the players to act -through- their characters? As...
    683 replies | 18665 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Sunday, 30th June, 2019, 08:25 PM
    Just get a speed bag and hang several eye-stalks from it. Give your sparring partner a shirt that says "orc." What would be best, though, is to wear some LARP armor that has actual weight to it, and go jogging, stair climbing, or wading (not swimming). If you can get Evangeline Lilly at your new gym franchise, I'll join.
    14 replies | 569 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Friday, 28th June, 2019, 04:28 PM
    Is non-random a bad thing? Sounds like it has potential. Also, potential. Of a very different kind. I wonder if this would be like D&D, but the players actually believe in Pelor?
    111 replies | 8333 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Friday, 28th June, 2019, 04:12 PM
    20 years of grid-based combat? Are you excited about starting your ninth battle, then? The (un?)interesting thing about grid battles is (I just finished watching several MMA bouts) that they ignore some important aspects of close combat: body position, footwork, reach (scale of inches, not feet/meters). Grids are great for ranged combat, though. It's more dice rolling, but I took a stab...
    9 replies | 736 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Friday, 28th June, 2019, 03:14 PM
    Just one. Feel free to wake him up. Or a small gnome clan, whose only purpose is to create and maintain the numerous traps installed on the property. (Love/hate relationship.)
    16 replies | 574 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th June, 2019, 02:25 PM
    Thanks...for answering for me? Correctly, as it happens (it's more metagamey). I don't believe that I said I'd reject the request "outright" though... If all this boils down to, "hey player, role-play a little," then I would use it to follow my player's effective request: "I'm going to roll a die and you're going to give me what I want." I was going to mention the information...
    63 replies | 2074 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 03:40 PM
    Interesting point: if the player's score is lower than the character's score, asking for a specific approach borders on unfair. While I wouldn't accept "I'm rolling Survival to find out more about the tracks," I would accept "I look at the tracks to get more information." I was thinking that it's clearly an Intelligence check to use tracking training to learn about tracks, and then I saw...
    63 replies | 2074 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 03:30 AM
    The player, until she makes the game less fun for other players. The point was that I didn't refer to player failure, and I didn't say that the game depends on players pretending that they don't know. I'm sure part of the point was that some of these posts use extreme examples, unnecessarily. Although I did enjoy recycling "complete idiot" to more useful ends.
    26 replies | 1054 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 05:38 PM
    There's an important consideration here, at least for the characters who aren't complete idiots: trolls that are capable of speech are probably smart enough to know that fire-prevention is a good idea. Are you defending metagaming? That's not assuming that adventurers are complete idiots. That's assuming that adventurers don't exist. Because, really, what's the life expectancy of...
    26 replies | 1054 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Sunday, 23rd June, 2019, 04:30 PM
    Haven't you ever played Final Fantasy? Once an enemy flees, combat is over. There aren't any bow shots, no magic missiles, no point; the opponent is just gone. Which is really lame from a player's perspective, but it seems like the intent of a designer who writes "flees at 10% original HP." As for a formula, just record all the damage dealt in one or two rounds. You'll need at least that...
    59 replies | 2575 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Sunday, 23rd June, 2019, 04:18 PM
    That was my sentiment. I don't think that vampire-unpopularity is a problem though, because Hollywood can pretty easily pop something out and turn that around. I'd pay to see Gary Oldman in Dracula 2. Just sayin'.
    101 replies | 5103 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 06:14 PM
    Bloodthirsty PCs, much? You'd better help out your excellent adventure module writer by giving the villain a nice failsafe - like only she knows which well a PC's family member is stuck in, or the villain's thrall lights an orphanage on fire somewhere if she dies. Yup. The PCs sure captured the villain. The adventure is won! Now let's finish him off...wait, is he WEARING A MASK!?
    59 replies | 2575 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 05:59 PM
    I can't say that I would complain about a '90s anything. Heck, the closely-related '80s zeitgeist is working nicely for Stranger Things...but anyway. You might scare away other communities by referring to the WoD community as "toxic," but I'm sure you're just making a point. An indie game is no longer stuck in obscurity once you pick it up, so that's not a problem. I do, however, see a...
    101 replies | 5103 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 03:54 AM
    Sure, sure. Infinity makes any other amount look like zero. Or actually zero (not sure). I see Schrodinger's Pie as a finite one. And you don't know how much control pie the GM has until the players have their pieces. BTW, didn't know Schrodinger was so into role-playing! Is that ratio upside down? Also, does it mean that free games have a fun ratio only if they have an upkeep cost?
    62 replies | 2957 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 05:21 PM
    Oh. Then I guess my chart would have a footnote describing player agency as "GM-like control over plot and setting." At 100%, all players share this control, and there is basically no GM. At 0%, players just roll dice and Matt Mercer tells them what happens. I like "guide," personally. :) Which is why narrative control lies at both ends of the spectrum. You can give players all...
    62 replies | 2957 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 04:55 PM
    C'mon. Some players are already afraid of doors and paneled floors. You're going to add graduated hallways to that, too? I like the trapped alcove/recess idea, but I'd go with a simple lever: putting weight on the "floor" of the recess pushes a lever behind the wall, which has a spike on it that pops through the mysterious hole in the recess design...at just about heart level.
    2 replies | 236 view(s)
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  • DMMike's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 04:36 PM
    I feel obligated to defend Truenaming since I mentioned using Tome of Magic earlier... Not sure where you're getting the "additional layers of die rolls," unless you're referring to the requirement to make a Truespeak roll, which isn't any different from a fighter making an attack roll. The tricky part about Truenaming was the DC increasing by twice your opponent's CR. As far as I could...
    111 replies | 8333 view(s)
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About DMMike

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About DMMike
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Writing rules and character concepts.
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I'm an equal-opportunity role-player: both tabletop AND video. I like to write rules and bend them, so I should probably be playing Dungeon World, but instead I'm writing my own games and trying to get into games that don't have alignment or armor classes.

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Saturday, 1st June, 2019

  • 10:22 AM - dbm mentioned DMMike in post How do you get to GURPS?
    As it happens, I am doing this right now. We are about 10 hours into a GURPS campaign, and my group predominantly plays D&D 5e. The real question here is ‘how do you get people to pick up a new, crunchy system’ but I will stick with the specific example DMMike picked. First, GURPS is the proverbial elephant that you don’t eat all in one go. I am sure this is also the case with other complex systems, but for a generic system this is even more so as there are rules you will never need in the campaign you are running. So, as the GM, step one is to pare back the rules to what you will actually need. For GURPS specifically there are series aimed at this: Dungeon Fantasy, Monster Hunters, Action!, After the End and Steam Punk. You can go a bit further with GURPS, too, in that there are a couple of completely stand-alone games ‘Powered by GURPS’. We are using the Dungeon Fantasy box set which both pares down the rules and builds up templates and specific options. So, in the DFRPG box set there are advantages you can buy for your character and you just get the total cost. Traditionally, a GURPS product would give you a breakdown of the components and modifiers the make up the cost. So: initial set up is to decide on the rules and options i...

Friday, 31st May, 2019

  • 04:55 PM - uzirath mentioned DMMike in post GM's Knowing the Rules
    In the How do you get to GURPS? thread, DMMike brought up an issue that intrigues me, but strays enough from the topic to deserve its own thread: There are also the players (like me) who will want to know and use the rules without GM assistance, because there's the possibility that the GM says he knows the rules, but doesn't. As a player, how important is it to you that the GM gets all the rules right? For the purposes of this thread, I'm setting aside edge case horror stories of awful GMs who play favorites, break rules willy nilly for self-serving reasons, apply wildly different rules to their pet NPCs, etc. In my experience, when I play with a beginning GM, mistakes and errors don't usually bother me. I rarely interrupt play to make corrections—typically only if the GM is asking for help. After the game, I'll sometimes point things out, but usually more to let them know that there may be unexpected implications if they keep running things one way. Other than that, I just figure what the GM says goes. If she handle...

Saturday, 22nd December, 2018

  • 10:34 AM - Lanefan mentioned DMMike in post If you were able to design your own version of D&D, how would you do it?
    Excluding what DMMike wrote just above, there isn't anything here so far I'd have the least interest in even looking at, never mind playing. Were the next D&D up to me I'd strip it down to the very basics - six attributes, 10-15 classes, 4-6 races - and not put all that much back. And what did get put back would be very modular - use the best system for the job at hand even if it's unique to that purpose, rather than trying to shoehorn everything into a unified mechanic - such that changes to one internal system don't affect much if anything else. (e.g. turn undead would probably work differently than anything else in the game...thus tweaking the turn-undead system would have limited if any effect elsewhere) Abilities would be entirely class-based. Want an ability? Play the class that has it. Want two abilities that aren't shared by a class? Tough - pick one. Play the other one next time. Feats? Gone. Multiclassing? Gone or very close to gone. Skills, other than some basics like swimming or...

Monday, 5th November, 2018


Saturday, 6th October, 2018

  • 05:37 PM - Oofta mentioned DMMike in post Help me fill in the blanks, please Next session in 4 days.
    Like DMMike, I try to avoid "when this happens and the players do X" thinking and instead think of setting, personalities, groups and motivations. So we have the brother. He's war-weary, but I'm not sure surviving for several years would qualify him for higher office. Depending on the campaign and society, rising through the ranks may not be possible if you aren't high born. You know he loves his sister, but what does he think of the townsfolk? Does he plead with old friends and neighbors, or are they relatively new to the area (perhaps refuges)? Or have they just always been on the outs because of some other reason? The sister. You've got a little bit of personality there, but why does she live on the island? What happened to her, or has she always been this way? The villagers. Are they just ignorant? Is there a specific accuser or some other outside force influencing them such as the priest? Is there any possibility of changing their minds? The priest. Yeah, you have to fi...

Wednesday, 11th July, 2018


Monday, 16th April, 2018

  • 02:21 PM - Blue mentioned DMMike in post Deleted Posts

Friday, 30th March, 2018

  • 04:12 PM - Kobold Boots mentioned DMMike in post AI Creates New D&D Monsters
    It was a matter of time before the ML crowd was going to start doing stuff like this. On the note about game designers by DMMike, Yes, even now it should be entirely possible to code desired "game balance" and prevent designers from doing broken things. Whatever "game balance" is though needs to have some clearly defined rules and the fewer of them, the better. I'm in favor of this as it would completely eliminate fanboy-ism or nostalgia from builds. In my opinion, the root cause of much of what is considered broken. But again, simulationist and math nerd behind this post. Be well KB

Wednesday, 24th January, 2018

  • 07:47 AM - pemerton mentioned DMMike in post Integrating Skill Challenges With Combat
    DMMike, AbdulAlhazred - to me, asking "what happens if one fails but the other succeeds" is like asking "what happens if we beat these 3 people but the other 2 don't get beaten?" From the point of view of the fiction it's a partial win, partial loss; and from the point of view of mechanics you just adjudicate it as the mechanics requre. Eg if monsters keep spawinging until the portal is shut, then they keep spawning. If the world ends if the portal isn't shut, the world ends. If the portal gets shut but then the party is TPKed, well (as AbdulAlhazred says), that was a heroic sacrifice! In other words, I don't see any real difficulties in respect of this. Where I think it can get tricky is in more prosaic aspects of 4e resolution: integrating action economy into the skill challenge, making sure consequences (especially for individual failures as the thing unfolds) are (i) fair and (ii) engaging (just as one hopes is the case in monster design), etc. This is an area where p 42, and wre...

Saturday, 6th January, 2018

  • 10:29 PM - Manbearcat mentioned DMMike in post What Is an Experience Point Worth?
    ...ard? Rewarding good role-playing makes slightly more sense, but I still dislike the practice because some players _are_ good role-players and don't need (and usually don't care about) the extra xp. They're roleplaying because they consider it fun (i.e. see above). It's the players who struggle with role-playing who'd benefit most from a rule granting them extra xp to encourage them to give their best. But if you want to treat all your players fairly, they'll still always fall behind the players who are already good role-players. In other words: granting xp isn't a good choice if you want to encourage good role-playing. What you really want to achieve is that your 'problem' players realize that role-playing is fun! So, what works better, imho, is to give them more opportunities to be in the spotlight and reward their efforts with mostly immaterial things, like better contacts or allies. I agree with Campbell and (at least in part) with Jhaelen here. The issue I have with DMMike 's position above is that it seems to assume that GM-agnostic systemization of XP gain is either not feasible or undesirable. The GM doesn't need to be in any position to hand out XP. In the Powered By the Apocalypse systems that Campbell is bringing up, XP isn't "awarded" via one person's (likely opaque and cognitive bias-laden) adjudication. Its simply gained via transparent, focused triggers; eg did you fail on a move, did you make Desperate Action Roll, did you overcome a tough obstacle/threat via coercion, did your Vice get you into trouble. The GM's role in these things isn't in the awarding. The GM's role is in following the game's premise and the player cues, in framing the action whereby decision-points related to vice temptation, desperate situations, and dangerous NPCs that can be coerced are the central focus of play (and whatever else might part of the game's PCs' portfolio and xp triggers such as themes of heritage, beliefs, aspirations, relationships). I signif...

Thursday, 16th November, 2017

  • 09:24 AM - scottaroberts mentioned DMMike in post Xanathar's, Wizards, and FLGSes Charging For Playspace
    ...posts in one reply is beyond my knowledge with this forum software. I truly appreciate people who support their FLGS via MSRP buying of products in the store. There just aren't enough of them. In fact, I've bought the arguments I hear from those who *don't* pay MSRP while trying to convince people to do so. I find it akin to accepting charity: you know, and I know, that you could get that product 40% cheaper. In essence you're donating money to me. It feels as if I am ripping people off or depending entirely on their goodwill and, well, businesses don't really succeed if they're relying on people to realize they should *not* take the bargain offered elsewhere. shidaku: I don't really expect people who can host at home to pay for space. The frequency of purchase of D&D accessories, and their price points, does not make enough money to keep a space afloat in and of itself (although in a larger store, cross-gaming customers can buy enough regularly to keep up the space). DMMike: The gaming cafe model is an excellent one--but it's also much more expensive to set up, run, etc...and the best use of such a space's appeal is not to draw an RPG crowd at all; if I were to do it, it'd be pretty much all boardgames and directed towards a dating/youth market looking for something different to do. But that's just me. Dire Bare: I love hearing about successful stores, but I'll point a few things out: first, you're in Idaho; rural areas and the midwest (due to a lack of competition for entertainment dollars) tend to do quite a lot better than places in more urban areas from my knowledge. Second, they make their money from CCGs and minis games primarily. Third, you just said they lost your business because the employees screwed up--a problem that Amazon does not have. Lastly, you *have to* "care whether they're freeloaders", though many FLGS don't. With the exception of the minority who strive to buy MSRP, RPGers essentially have a large contingent of folks who do t...

Tuesday, 14th March, 2017

  • 12:15 PM - akr71 mentioned DMMike in post Lingering Wounds Revamped
    In addition to what DMMike said, on page page 292 of the PHB says an unconscious creature "attack rolls against the creature have advantage" and "any attack that hits the creature is a critical hit if the attacker is within 5 feet of the creature." Page 197 states that "if you take any damage while you have 0 hit points, you suffer a death saving throw failure. If the damage is from a critical hit you suffer two failures instead. If the damage equals or exceeds your hit point maximum, you suffer instant death." So that big, stinky orc standing over you only needs to hit you twice, with advantage and you are dead. Now your healers only have 1 minute to get over to you safely and cast Revivify.

Tuesday, 28th February, 2017

  • 05:37 AM - Lanefan mentioned DMMike in post Keepiing Current HP from players...
    Sure, you can go shopping for new clothes the whole game if that is more interesting.I think DMMike is trying to remind us there's two other pillars to the game besides combat; neither of which is nearly as subject to a 5-minute workday as combat is. And I agree with him: a DM whose game is all combat all the time with very little (or virtually none at all, I've seen it) exploration or social interaction is doing his players a disservice by only running 1/3 of a game. It maybe gritty and intense but it is not very DnD. Sounds more Rolemastery to me, maybe CoC if you just want players to be more cautious going up against creatures that can insta-kill you given half a chance.Gritty and intense can be very D&D. Just maybe not very this-century-design D&D, more's the pity. Lanefan

Monday, 6th February, 2017

  • 11:18 AM - Quickleaf mentioned DMMike in post First time making a "serious" dungeon! How do you do it?
    DMMike I always forget about OGRE. Thanks for reminding me! And yes, "dungeon" is often D&D's quirky shorthand for "lair." Jhaelen Maybe that was part of my thinking in the past. I saw plenty of examples I felt were sub-par so I kind of avoided it. Only after years of DMing and writing do I finally feel like I have what it takes to design a big dungeon well. One of the first questions posed in 3e Dungeoncraft is What is the function of your dungeon in your campaign setting? Before you set pencil to paper, you need to decide how the dungeon fits into your campaign setting. Take a moment to consider why the dungeon exists, how it interacts with the rest of the world, and what purpose it (and other dungeons) serve in the grand scheme of things. You could just say that dungeons are the ruins of a forgotten civilization, but many other interesting possibilities exist. Death Trap... Near Frontier... Agent of Evil... Legendary Location... The Bizarre... My hunch is Krak al-Mazhar fits ...

Wednesday, 21st December, 2016

  • 07:43 PM - pdzoch mentioned DMMike in post Walock of the Fiend supported by two Enchanters
    DMMike, that's the approach I've decided to take. Typically, I do not want to over plan any encounter, but generally most creatures only have a few actions they can take anyway. Spell casters add numerous more options, and if you include multiple spellcasters, well ... its a lot of action to account for. I've decided that planning the encounter in more detail is not so much planning as it is managing. I recall reading in several published adventures modules guidance to the DM on how to play particular spellcaster enemies. That guidance usually included order of spells to cast and when to cast other spells. For this particular encounter, I have a Warlock of the Fiend and two Enchanters (both from Volo's Guide to Monsters) in an enchanting room performing a ritual the players are supposed to disrupt. The Warlock of the Fiend has the following spells: Alter self, False life, Levitate, Mage armor, Silent image - which he can cast at will as an innate ability. Feeble mind, Finger of...

Friday, 9th December, 2016

  • 08:11 PM - pdzoch mentioned DMMike in post Rules Transparency - How much do players need to know?
    DMMike, Interesting thread, but I think the discussion is drifting into group dynamics and compatibility over DM game management (which is how I understood your post initially). Group dynamics and compatibility (usually with the concepts of gaming styles of the group) is a challenge affecting every group of people who get together for a game, whether it be card game, board game, or RPG game. Sometimes a group completely falls apart because of the differences within a group. (Someone's play style is just too aggressive, or obnoxious, or too serious or not serious enough for the rest of the group) Some groups might even exclude a member for fear of disrupting group stability. (Poker groups refuse to let a bad poker player join/ Bridge players jealously guard their partners). But many groups know there are differences within the group and they accommodate. (over in the board game circles, many player will play a game they do not prefer or play poorly just to be with the group knowing ...

Tuesday, 6th December, 2016

  • 10:56 PM - pemerton mentioned DMMike in post The importance to "story" of contrivance
    the only way to learn how to create event sequences that lead from A to B to C (where C is a fun/interesting outcome) is by playing the game and seeing what works. What I have learned over the last thirty-plus years at the gaming table is to not rely on a preset sequence of events. This does not mean I don't plot my adventures--of course I do that. <snip> The trick is to keep NPCs/intelligent monsters simple. Sure, write up a long and detailed backstory if you must, but follow the advice in the 5E DMG and boil your NPCs down to a few basic motivations, and then stick to them during play no matter what. Linking this to my reply to DMMike upthread: I don't plot adventures. I come up with a few ideas for possilbe NPCs, and perhaps locations - the latter are more important in D&D than other systems. As far as NPCs are concerned, I'll have a basic idea of the NPC's place in the world, but not detailed motivations - those I work out more-or-less as Paul Czege describes here: I frame the character into the middle of conflicts I think will push and pull in ways that are interesting to me and to the player. I keep NPC personalities somewhat unfixed in my mind, allowing me to retroactively justify their behaviors in support of this.

Wednesday, 27th April, 2016

  • 12:29 PM - Li Shenron mentioned DMMike in post Wound Levels -- an alternative way to deal with HP
    I quite like this Wounds system (I take it that your Healing house rules are separate). I wouldn't go with DMMike suggestion about using "HP thresholds" for wounds because in such case everyone would get wounded all the time. At least for my tastes, I'd like to keep wounds fairly uncommon, so that normally there are 0-2 wounded PCs at any time. So I actually like that Springheel system introduces wounds only when reaching 0hp. This is similar to the idea I have been waiting to use (but haven't need so far) i.e. to replace death with a lingering injury, so in my case I'd even wait until the 3rd failed Death ST. I take your point about the unconsciousness. That isn't realistic, but it's a 5e concession I'm willing to live with. Yeah I was actually thinking about this as I read your system... What if you allow the PC to stay conscious? If I were to develop a similar system, I would probably have a small random table for wounds effects instead of your fixed progression, and "unconsciousness" could be just one of the possible effects in the table. Notice that if the player decides the PC stays ...

Thursday, 23rd July, 2015

  • 11:13 PM - pemerton mentioned DMMike in post Critical Hits - why, and why not?
    If a battle axe hits you right between the eyes and you aren't dead there's something wrong with the damage system. As others have pointed out, in D&D there are no hit location tables. If an attack with a battle axe succeeds, and the target's hit points have not been reduced to zero, and the GM nevertheless narrates the result of the attack as hitting right between the eyes, or decapitation, or whatever, the problem is with the GM, not with the hit point system. (As Gygax wrote in his DMG, I think on p 61, because most hit point damage is bruising, scratches, and wearing down luck/resilience, hit locations are not germane to successful attacks in D&D.) On the issue raised by DMMike, as to whether critical hits are an admission of failure: in D&D they're just a way of imposing a non-linear damage curve. Whether or not that's a desirable thing, it doesn't seem to be an admission of failure.


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Friday, 19th July, 2019


Thursday, 18th July, 2019

  • 08:57 PM - BronzeDragon quoted DMMike in post Check Out The One Ring 2E’s Cover Art!
    There are no dwarf-women. Dwarves just spring out of the ground. You haven't read Appendix A to the Lord of the Rings, have you? There are dwarven women, but they are rare and stay underground. I agree there shouldn't be a dwarven woman adventurer on the cover, since that would constitute a breach of canon to rival the ridiculous elven-dwarven romance in the Hobbit movies.

Wednesday, 17th July, 2019

  • 10:45 AM - Michele quoted DMMike in post How do you get to GURPS?
    So GURPS, or the GM's intended complex game, just needs some training wheels to get new players into it? I don't know if "needs" is the right word. You might use them - say, templates - if you feel the players will feel more comfortable to start with. Or you could do as I did, make the first adventure or two really easy and simple, so that the players get the hang of rolls, combat, character development. Then gradually add the ingredients they desire. If nobody wants a bow, then you can ignore the ranged weapons rules. That is, at least until you feel the players can withstand a curveball and you give a bow to one of the goblins. Then it's likely at least one of the players will want his character to learn a ranged-weapon skill, and so on.

Saturday, 13th July, 2019

  • 03:14 PM - uzirath quoted DMMike in post I only run D&D when I need to establish a player base
    What's this establishing-a-player-base? Do you, as GM, curate a game group? Do you, as a player, play D&D just long enough to find other players who match or complement your playing style? I regularly invite people to play TRPGs, but I don't use D&D as the gateway. The system we use depends on circumstances. I often recruit people who are new to RPGs; teaching them D&D is no easier than DFRPG (for example), so I usually start with what I prefer. They've usually heard of D&D, of course, so it helps somewhat that I'll be using the same heroic fantasy genre. (One of the reasons I dropped D&D as my preferred system was because new players kept asking to play character concepts that didn't exist and were hard to build without a toolbox system like GURPS.) I do run and play D&D games sometimes, but that's usually with established groups (i.e., jumping in to DM a side quest), or because we want to run a published adventure without bothering to convert it. Contrary to what I hear on the forums a l...
  • 09:14 AM - Rory Fansler quoted DMMike in post How do you get to GURPS?
    So GURPS, or the GM's intended complex game, just needs some training wheels to get new players into it? This is my concern. Is a gateway RPG the solution here, or might that just muddy the waters? A certain other thread is making a good case for D&D as a gateway RPG...But on the other hand, once players are accustomed to armor class and attack bonuses and 5 foot squares, it's hard to teach them something new. And dare we say it...better? Templates help, they are kind of training wheels but D&D needs guides and its own training wheels. If you dont know the options and plan carefully youll often find your character cant turn out the way you wanted them to. Both systems have complex character creation, the difference is GURPS is more forgiving of mistakes or poor choices because given enough time you can overcome them. However D&D can be easier in the beginning if your not planning ahead because you have fewer choices and those choices come in small chunks. With a good GM and a player that...

Friday, 12th July, 2019

  • 03:57 PM - Ralif Redhammer quoted DMMike in post I only run D&D when I need to establish a player base
    I generally prefer to run D&D, but our group will occasionally try out different systems. With varying results – the last time I let someone else run a not-D&D game, the gaming group mostly dissolved and I had to recruit new players by the time we went back to D&D. Though I think it more a judgment on the particular game than it not being D&D. After that experience, I’m feeling pretty leery of allowing anything more than a one- or two- session game of other games. My opinion is that if people get together to play D&D, then that’s what they want to play. If they express an interest in trying something else, that’s great, but if not, then playing something else will likely just drive people away. As for the questions below, I’ve honestly been on both sides of it. I’ve quietly “not invited” players back, and I’ve also had people go off and start their own groups without me. I will point out that those splinter gaming groups have since folded while mine is stronger than it has been in years – k...

Tuesday, 9th July, 2019

  • 05:56 PM - Jer quoted DMMike in post Help Reading Dice Pools
    The average result of a d10 is 5.5. That times 40 is 220. I personally guarantee that your rolled results don't vary more than 20 points from that. The problem isn't a dice pool where you compute a total - if that's the case you take the average as you say, or maybe average all but 3-4 of the dice and roll them so that you can have the thrill of getting some randomness in the mix. The problem is with a dice pool where you care about the numbers, not the total. In Exalted, for example, you don't care about the total, you care about the number of dice that roll 7 or higher - each die that is a 7 or higher is a "success". And you care about the number of 10s on top of that because 10s count for 2 successes instead of 1. And you might care about the number of 1s that show up because if you get no successes at all and roll at least one 1, then you botch (though if you somehow manage that on 40 dice then you are having a real bad day). Can't use the average expected value of the total...

Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019

  • 11:08 PM - Tony Vargas quoted DMMike in post Recycling 5e
    Recycling 5e Most communities have recycling programs that readily accept paper & cardboard, so it should be no problem.

Tuesday, 2nd July, 2019

  • 08:00 PM - Bootlebat quoted DMMike in post What would be some good guards/ minions for a dragon's lair?
    Just one. Feel free to wake him up. 107305 Or a small gnome clan, whose only purpose is to create and maintain the numerous traps installed on the property. (Love/hate relationship.) Would the bondage guy be a kyton? Or just a humanoid wearing all leather? (and presumably with a whip and chain for weapons)
  • 02:10 AM - pemerton quoted DMMike in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Amount of uncertainty that can be dictated is the limit of player narrative control. "I wink at the maiden" has a very low uncertainty. Unless you've been paralyzed without knowledge, this is very likely true. "I wink at the maiden attempting to melt her heart is the same" - low uncertainty, just providing more contact so others interpret correctly. Melting their heart though may have a lot of unknowns. She's a recent widow, she's in a true love relationship, she secret hates something about the PC, etc. "I drink everyone else under the table" - an established hard drinking dwarf at a table of halflings could probably make this statement in any game because it has low uncertainty. In some games it would be fine all the time. Other time, like when said by the 8 CON wizard, saying it requires the players to have a strong amount of authorial control, and others may dislike it if there isn't a narrative reason supporting it. "I open the safe and find X" - again, needs very strong...

Monday, 1st July, 2019

  • 09:03 AM - pemerton quoted DMMike in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Only one of those is a description of an action. The second is a description of both an action and the result of that action. The action is a wink, the result is the softening of the heart.Well, this goes back to the quote from Donald Davidson in the OP: A classic article on the analysis of actions (Donald Davidson, "Actions, Reasons, and Causes" (1963)) gives the following example: I flip the switch, turn on the light, and illuminate the room. Unbeknownst to me I also alert a prowler to the fact that I am home. Here I need not have done four things, but only one, of which four descriptions have been given. If the PC winks at the maiden and softens her heart the PC hasn't done two things (wink, and as a separate thing soften her heart) - that way lies madness because it will quickly lead to near-endless multiplication of the number of events that have occurred (eg you'll have each movement of an eyelash through each point of space as a separate and distinct thing that the PC did...
  • 02:52 AM - Ovinomancer quoted DMMike in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    It might not. It's just one way to look at things. But for the exercise, it's pretty easy to wink. Softening hearts sounds a bit more difficult. Especially when your name is, say, Quasimodo. Also, some analysis of the problem might be in order, because I don't see Soften Heart and Wink as the same action. If a player told me "I wink," I'd say "great." If a player said "I soften the maiden's heart," I'd say "so how do you do that?" Sounds like you have half of it down pat. Now, you need to work on grasping how the player determines the outcome of the wink rather than the GM.
  • 01:14 AM - pemerton quoted DMMike in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Player control is based on difficulty. Clutching a sword is easy. Swinging a sword (at least the first few times) is easy. Attacking an orc is more difficult. Killing said orc is (probably) far more difficult. Player agency ends where difficulty begins.I don't quite get this. The player decides I wink at the maiden. Who gets to decide whether it's also true that I soften the heart of the maiden with a wink? They're too different descriptions of the one action, so framing things in terms of difficulty doesn't seem to help.

Friday, 28th June, 2019

  • 10:08 PM - aramis erak quoted DMMike in post Systems You'd Never Play after Reading Them
    Is non-random a bad thing? Sounds like it has potential. Lacking random is, for me, a fatal flaw of a system. It's worse than too much random. Rock-paper-scissors is as non-random as I will tolerate. (That said, I've enjoyed the Vampire LARP rules as a TT game.) Also, potential. Of a very different kind. I wonder if this would be like D&D, but the players actually believe in Pelor? Dragon Raid borrows a bit from Narnia. System isn't horrible as a read, but the magic system requires the player to quote suitable scripture from memory. Given that most of my players are agnostic, pagan, or preachily atheistic...

Wednesday, 26th June, 2019

  • 06:03 PM - Satyrn quoted DMMike in post Abilities....Which check would you use?
    I was going to mention the information problem, but I thought I'd roll with it. Satyrn - good snark, but given the information we have ("some tracks"), the Fool's book had better be pretty dog-gone big! Oh, yeah, um . . . *scrambles for a justification to get the DM on board* . . . it's, uh, very well organized by environment (being a compendium written by rangers on their favored terrains) and then further sub-categorized by number of toes, size of print and CR. And yeah, it's huuuge. The only reason I can lug it around on adventures is because of the bag of holding. And it only just fits inside, leaving room for nothing else but Peterson's Field Guide to Lovecraftian Horrors . . . which I don't remember packing, and have tried to throw away twice.
  • 03:29 PM - iserith quoted DMMike in post Abilities....Which check would you use?
    If all this boils down to, "hey player, role-play a little," then I would use it to follow my player's effective request: "I'm going to roll a die and you're going to give me what I want." I'm not entirely sure what you mean here and I'm taking a stab at it, so please let me know if what I say below doesn't follow and I'll amend. I think that roleplaying is just playing a role by determining what the character does, thinks, and says, as per the rules regarding the same. But in the process of that roleplaying, the player has a responsibility in the game itself to describe what he or she wants to do. If the player does not adequately describe what he or she wants to do, this makes the DM's responsibility of adjudication and narration harder or even impossible (at least without the DM making assumptions about the character and effectively establishing for the player what the character is doing). This appears to be in evidence in the example proposed in this thread: Many people reach different...

Tuesday, 25th June, 2019

  • 06:40 PM - Satyrn quoted DMMike in post Abilities....Which check would you use?
    Interesting point: if the player's score is lower than the character's score, asking for a specific approach borders on unfair. While I wouldn't accept "I'm rolling Survival to find out more about the tracks," I would accept "I look at the tracks to get more information." I was thinking that it's clearly an Intelligence check to use tracking training to learn about tracks, and then I saw the discussion about what actions are involved. So I'm picturing two characters looking at the same tracks: The Genius gathers all the data he can about the tracks, with actions, before making an educated guess - Intelligence. The Wise Woman uses some folk tales to guess what local creatures meet the general appearance of the tracks, more glancing around than acting, and probably notices something not available through induction, due to sheer - Wisdom. While the Fool pulls out the Big Book of Wilde Beasts from his bag of holding and leafs through the pages until he finds an illustration that matches ...
  • 04:09 PM - Charlaquin quoted DMMike in post Abilities....Which check would you use?
    Interesting point: if the player's score is lower than the character's score, asking for a specific approach borders on unfair. This is an age-old disagreement, and not one likely to be settled here and now, but very likely to lead to over a hundred pages of argument if we continue to pursue it. While I wouldn't accept "I'm rolling Survival to find out more about the tracks," I would accept "I look at the tracks to get more information." Agreed. I was thinking that it's clearly an Intelligence check to use tracking training to learn about tracks, and then I saw the discussion about what actions are involved. So I'm picturing two characters looking at the same tracks: The Genius gathers all the data he can about the tracks, with actions, before making an educated guess - Intelligence. The Wise Woman uses some folk tales to guess what local creatures meet the general appearance of the tracks, more glancing around than acting, and probably notices something not available through induc...
  • 04:03 PM - Umbran quoted DMMike in post Abilities....Which check would you use?
    Interesting point: if the player's score is lower than the character's score, asking for a specific approach borders on unfair. Yah. If a 15 year old city kid decides to play a ranger, you shouldn't expect the *player* to know proper approaches to how to acquire food or shelter, or follow tracks. The game very explicitly works to help you play characters who know and do things you, the player, cannot. Expecting player understanding of the character's domains of knowledge is not fair. While I wouldn't accept "I'm rolling Survival to find out more about the tracks," I would accept "I look at the tracks to get more information." People are so... unforgiving. Really. Take that 15 year old kid. How is it *really* different to say, "My sheet says I know about Survival, and I'd like to use that knowledge to acquire shelter in these woods," and "I'd like to roll Survival to find out more about the tracks"? I mean, yeah, asking for a skill check is more metagamey. We can e...
  • 03:53 PM - iserith quoted DMMike in post Abilities....Which check would you use?
    Interesting point: if the player's score is lower than the character's score, asking for a specific approach borders on unfair. While I wouldn't accept "I'm rolling Survival to find out more about the tracks," I would accept "I look at the tracks to get more information." I was thinking that it's clearly an Intelligence check to use tracking training to learn about tracks, and then I saw the discussion about what actions are involved. So I'm picturing two characters looking at the same tracks: The Genius gathers all the data he can about the tracks, with actions, before making an educated guess - Intelligence. The Wise Woman uses some folk tales to guess what local creatures meet the general appearance of the tracks, more glancing around than acting, and probably notices something not available through induction, due to sheer - Wisdom. Right, these are two different approaches to achieve the same goal and both can be described by the players as they say what they want to do which mak...


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DMMike's Downloads

  Filename Total Downloads Rating Files Uploaded Last Updated
Dragonborn Light
Dragonborn Light is a rules module for Modos RPG. Plug it in to start adventuring in Skyrim, the icy northern province of Tamriel.

The new rules convert the base rules to add features like: larger pools for Health, Stamina, and Magicka, scalable ge...
81 0 1 Saturday, 17th February, 2018, 07:10 PM Saturday, 17th February, 2018, 07:10 PM
Modos 2 - free demo
Free, easy, ready-to-mod RPG - includes fast-play-rules appendix.

This is the demo edition. The deluxe edition will include more art, powers, helpful sidebars, and appendices.

Unofficial website: modos-rpg.obsidianportal.com (http://modos-rpg.obsi...
369 0 1 Tuesday, 7th November, 2017, 05:36 AM Friday, 12th October, 2018, 05:44 PM
Modular Exoskeleton Trans-Responsive Outfit, In Detail
EDIT: file removed for overdue overhaul. Your thoughts are welcome in the comments.

"The last creature is in captivity. The galaxy is at peace."

Those words were supposed to mean a new era. But here you are, landing on yet another planetoid, sea...
76 0 0 Friday, 23rd September, 2016, 02:00 AM Saturday, 28th April, 2018, 07:37 PM
Return to Volskygge
Update 11/14/17: this adventure module to receive an update after the release of Skyrim Module for Modos.

It has been years since the Dragonborn destroyed the dragon priest Volsung, yet the residents of Haafingar whisper in dark corners:
"So...
47 0 1 Saturday, 14th February, 2015, 06:47 AM Tuesday, 14th November, 2017, 04:10 PM
Modos RPG: First Playtest
Note: the second playtest is now available. Feedback and questions on the first playtest are very welcome!


Modos Roleplaying Game
- First Playtest -


This is a rules-light, multi-genre, open-source roleplaying game. Abstract features (abilities...
79 0 1 Saturday, 2nd August, 2014, 03:50 PM Saturday, 2nd August, 2014, 03:50 PM

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