View Profile: Manbearcat - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Today, 03:56 AM
    I agree with much of what @Manbearcat just posted. The underlying tools 4e GMs have access to accurately reflect the fiction provide a means to properly convey the emotional weight of the battle before them. I view their responsible use as a function of framing. Just like clocks in Blades or GM moves in Apocalypse World they can definitely be misused. I think it's important to leave room for GM...
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    1 XP
  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Today, 02:58 AM
    Yep, you nailed it. I think the 5e armor system is actually pretty elegant. Ascending armor proficiency is a class perk; characters will pretty much always wear the armor corresponding to their highest granted proficiency, unless they make a specific decision to focus on Dex for their early ASIs. And if you consider the bonuses to Init and Dex saves as more valuable than a point of max AC,...
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    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Today, 02:16 AM
    The present conversation about Monster Roles underpins the "fiction first" nature of 4e. Imagine a scenario where the PCs were just in a sort of "Race Against Time" Skill Challenge where they know that an undead horde are converging on a steading and will overwhelm it without the party's aid. They fail. The field-stone wall has been breached. The Guard is nearly slain and the people of...
    795 replies | 23565 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:18 PM
    In 4e a minion is also killed by any damage that doesn't require an attack roll to inflcit - eg zone damage. Having GMed a long campaign with a zone-heavy sorcerer I've seen the anti-minion effect of such zones. In the fiction, this is a sign of the power of the fire (or whatever it is) that this sorcerer conjures up. As far as AD&D and 5e save-for-half is concerned, it's always struck me as...
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    3 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:35 PM
    On the last sentence: I agree that they can be made semi-in-character in the sort of meta "self-talk" that occurs in life as someone is navigating a consequential decision-point. To themselves, people transmit a desire...perhaps to visual the outcome so that it moralizes them toward the will to act. To their nervous system, they issue a command. In the world, the collision of opposing...
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    2 XP
  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:07 PM
    Even in 2019, most of my players who played 3e/PF for a long time still look for ways to cash in their movement for some other benefit, usually for some extra item interaction or stunting. The preference for trading in your move definitely seems to be a mindset thing where people prefer one approach or the other.
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:32 PM
    Sounds like a definite pickup.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:42 PM
    A discussion about the methods that might be used, in a RPG, to establish which descriptions of a PC's actions are true in th shared fiction is almost impossible if discussants are unable to separate their knowledge of how one particular RPG does such things from a consideration of how other (actual and possible) RPGs might do it. I believe that everyone posting in this thread knows that, in...
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:35 PM
    Trying to compare the 1990's to now is pretty difficult. It's such a different market that there really isn't any comparison. I mean, good grief, we're to the point now where TV shows have budgets that put 1990's big tent pole movies to shame. Something like Star Trek Discovery, or Game of Thrones has a budget that dwarfs most big screen offerings. I remember a time when it was always a...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:29 PM
    What does wrong mean here? These are all examples of not knowing 4e or how its system works. In 4e the AC of a (say) 16th level ogre will be higher than that of an 8th level ogre (eg AC 28 for the Ogre Bludgeoneer 16th level minion compared to AC 19 for the Ogre Savage 8th level standard). AC in 4e doesn't reflect simply the armour that is worn (hide armour in both cases). It is a...
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    2 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:16 AM
    Of games currently running: My Runelords game has had 2 perma deaths in 3 years, 87 sessions. My Primeval Thule game (no raise dead magic except revivify) has had 2 perma deaths in 7 months, 31 sessions. My Princes of the Apocalypse game has had 0 perma deaths (& 1 temp) in 7 months, 7 sessions. My Stonehell games I can recall two perma deaths in about 18 months of play, games about 1/week....
    31 replies | 711 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:08 AM
    Or, put another way, there is this tendency among a cross-section of the TTRPG culture to try to assume that action resolution mechanics are actually a gamestate unto themselves, rather than an input into a possible new gamestate. This is one of the reasons why the spellcaster vs martial dichotomy has been an issue for so long. In much of D&D, spellcasters spells are actually gamestates...
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    1 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:15 AM
    I think a serious argument could be made for 3e. Giving monsters Strength and Constitution bonuses meant many monsters were tougher in comparison to fighters. Rock Paper Scissors saving throws meant PCs were more vulnerable to spells. 3e starts out fairly deadly and becomes more deadly as levels escalate.
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:10 AM
    Labels from Masks. Shifting stats to reflect a shifting sense of self in teenage superheroes. Absolutely brilliant.
    59 replies | 2275 view(s)
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:51 AM
    Here's my take: Character sheets and game mechanics are representative of the fiction, but they are not the fiction. They are tools we use to create a consistent compelling fiction. I feel it is a grave mistake to confuse the fiction with its representation because it lowers our overall investment in what is actually going on. Some games (even games I am quite fond of) make it all too easy to do...
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    5 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:09 AM
    Oh man, we're having this conversation...yet again. It isn't just HP that are the problem for someone trying to model actual world biology and physics/collisions between objects. Its the whole thing. D&D's discrete parts (HP, AC, Attack Rolls) push against that idea as well as the combat round (be it 1 minute, 10 seconds, or 6 seconds). Worse still for the effort, when those 4 intersect? ...
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    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:33 AM
    But it is true to the fiction. The ogre that is tough for mid-heroic PCs is not tough for mid-paragon PCs. That's it. I mean, speaking purely about the fiction, what is inconsistent? This is not a statement about the setting or the gameworld inhabitants. It is a statement about mechanics. Changing the numbers used to resolve declared actions, and find out what happens in the ficiton,...
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    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:24 AM
    There's actually little evidence for this in the history of D&D. Most kobolds, goblins and 0-level humans will be either up or down if hit by a AD&D fighter with weapon specialisationm 18 STR and a magic weapon (damage die +1 for magic +2 for spec +3 for 18/01 STR = minimum 7 damage on a hit and typically quite a bit more). But I've never seen it suggested that this does not make for good play. ...
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    3 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 09:58 PM
    I quite like having a job! :) And not having a 2 hour commute.
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 07:41 PM
    I assume you understood the rest of the post and these two questions (I'll quote) are what don't make sense? 1) Do you think if those mechanics were in play, would they affect (a) the sensation of play overall, (b) your navigation of your thoughts, (c) your perceptions of what is happening (the gravity, the momentum), (d) your immediate meta reflections (which I don't know about you...but...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 04:57 PM
    I handle it like the OP - I don't 'save' the PCs (unless I think I screwed up my GMing somehow), I run a fairly status quo world, but I like continuing characters with plenty of investment. Of the three campaigns I'm running currently: 1. Princes of the Apocalypse lvl 1-6 had a first session death to stirges which I felt was unfair, so I let the Life Cleric do an emergency blood transfusion....
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 04:47 PM
    The starting wealth by Tier tables in the DMG are good; I recommend the High Magic settings if you are running a 3e-style world like Paizo's Golarion, or Medium Magic for the 5e Forgotten Realms campaigns. Generally I give 5th level PCs one Uncommon item from a list of 12-20.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 02:21 PM
    Given that there's been some discussion about roleplaying, what it means to play a character, and what it means to find one's character challenged in a certain way, I thought I would post some quotes from Burning Wheel Gold. This spells out how I think about it pretty well. I'm quoting from the Revised edition that came out a few months ago. First, Jake Norwood's Foreword at p 6 (Norwood...
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    5 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 11:30 AM
    What system are you talking about? 4e? 4e has no mechanic for turning the PCs into "minions" to fight much higher level antagonists. Rather, it has a mechanic for turning those higher level antagonists into solos and the like. This is because a game in which PCs are toggled either up or down would not make for very good play. I've bolded a few bits which demonstrate that you don't...
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    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 11:17 AM
    Go onto the next thing. Perhaps don't work with such a tight notion of "the adventure" or "that mission". Nothing. That's my whole point. There's not an end to possible RPGing because the PCs made their way easily through a castle. But this is purely external adversity: people used to like you but now they don't. It doesn't involve any sort of reevaluation or reconceptualisation.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 11:15 AM
    I GM much more than I play a PC. When I play a PC this is what I am looking for - but more below on my personality weakness in this respect! As a GM I like to see what drives the PCs. I also enjoy the big moments of conflict, some of which are internal - or intra-group - and some of which are external. The first time I really played a character in this way was actually in a freeform Cthulhu...
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 07:30 AM
    Couple of points. 1. I did actually state 3e, not 3.5, so, great axes were the stat block. 2. You needed to have about 12-14 encounters (at par level) per level to gain a level. Meaning a 3 orc encounter was a CR 1 encounter - standard encounter for a 1st level party. Presume 2 rounds of combat and that's 6 attacks/encounter. Multiply by 12 and that's now 72 attacks per level. ...
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    1 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 12:14 AM
    I'm going to start with some personal background. Before I ever touched any dice I got my start role playing in online free form communities associated with various fandoms. I also am a lifelong theater geek with a deep appreciation for the craft of acting. I have a group of friends who gets together every couple months to do read throughs of some of our favorite plays. Right now I'm currently...
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    6 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 12:03 AM
    It's a bit hard to express a view on this without more context, but I don't think it is such a thing. I'm not seeing that there is a situation suggesting to the PC (and his/her player) that, in fact, those who fight beside me are not worth dying for. But maybe I've missed something or otherwise misunderstood what you are describing.
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    2 XP
  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 09:36 PM
    It's Eberron. I'll buy it anyway. :) Personally, I'd love to see a time jump or some new interpretations of old material, but even if it's just a new presentation of 998 YK Khorvaire, I'll be happy.
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 07:58 PM
    Forget for a minute what you feel about my analysis of your excerpt. Do you not think, for better or for worse, this would have changed the cognitive space you were occupying and the play experience of the other participants who bore witness to your PC's sacrifice? 1) Your character had a feedback loop (lets call it Nature) with 3 descriptors attached to it and both a positive and a...
    795 replies | 23565 view(s)
    4 XP
  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 05:59 PM
    Mage Hand Press has a really nice Warden class that's probably the closest I've seen to fitting the 4e defender paradigm; unfortunately it's still limited to Patreon subscribers.
    83 replies | 2209 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 11:56 AM
    How is something at stake if you don't know what it is yet?
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 08:42 AM
    When I read this, I'm imagining a Texas Hold 'Em tournament where: 1) There was no codified "buy-in" $ figure for the tournament and we don't know what the participant's financial situation is going into the tournament (is this a desperate attempt to get a windfall at zero hour so a debt to the mob can be paid off?). 2) We don't know what their chip stack was when this hand was played. ...
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    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 07:58 AM
    This earned a lot of xp, but the take-home needs to be emphasized. In real life we aren't characterizing ourselves. In real life we don't have nearly the expression of autonomy or internal locus of control that one characterizes their PC with in a game of AD&D, 3.x, and 5e D&D. In real life, our behavioral outputs are a collage of external inputs (from emotional provocateurs to those that...
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    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 06:54 AM
    I don't see any challenge to characterisation. You tell us your character is someone who cares about little but being provided with a meal. And so in exchange for a promise of food you submitted yourself to a process that - as you describe it - you seemed to have no control over. As a result you have no soul - I don't know what that means in mechanical terms in 5e, but it doesn't seem to...
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    1 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 03:36 AM
    Taking another stab at this with another data point. If you go through the 3e monsters, by and large, they deal 10 X CR per round as maximum damage (not counting crits). Very, very few PC's would have 10 HP / level. Therefore, most 3e creatures could drop (if not outright kill) nearly all 3e PC's in a single round where CR=PC level. I'm thinking that the reason that folks don't think 3e...
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    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 03:31 AM
    Your PC's actions have put your family at risk. When you decide to do have your PC do X rather than Y, how do you - as a player - know whether your are jeopardiding your relationship with your family? Who decides whether they stick with you or abandon you? And how? Is this is all just GM decides? This seems to rest on a premise that there is a finite amount of "challenge" which, if the PCs...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 03:23 AM
    Let's suppose your claim about human physiology was true, which I don't think it is. In 4e hp are not a model of that physiology. They are part of an action resolution framework. The primary mechanical marker of the power of a 4e creature, including the degree of physical trauma it can endure, is its level. By setting the level of a being, the GM is using a mechanical device to signal its...
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    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 02:57 AM
    To allude back to an earlier post, those are possible transcripts of play, accounts of events that oocur in the fiction. But from the transcript we can't tell what the play experience was. We can't tell who estabished the fiction, or how, or what the actual play experience was of doing that. I don't know what you mean by roleplaying activity or roleplaying experience. Do you mean transcript of...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 02:49 AM
    As I've already posted, I don't think this thread is the place for a serious discussion of philosophy of action. Rather, I'm taking Davidson as a starting point. But if you are correct, then it follows that - in the example - four different actions have been performed. And if there were two prowlers, each alerted, then five different things would have been done. That is obviously absurd. ...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 02:27 AM
    I don't know what you mean by a given instance of RP. I'll set out a practical example to try and illustrate my point: imagine a situation in which the PCs are fighting some NPCs, and are losing - multiple PCs down, hors de combat etc while the NPCs are clearly about to carry the day. In these circumstances in Classic Traveller the players have to make a morale check for their PCs...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 06:50 PM
    Honestly, I don't think the 5e designers were up to the task. Everytime I hear them talk about 4e I'm amazed by how little they get the appeal of 4e.
    100 replies | 2318 view(s)
    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 04:06 PM
    These two accounts of 5e seem pretty congruent with one another. They remind me of a certain, fairly common, sort of approach to 2nd ed AD&D. I've also edited a post about half-a-dozen upthread having read these posts. EDIT: and I also just read this, which seems equally congruent with the other two posts:
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 03:56 PM
    I don't understand. Are you saying that sometimes the GM has to ignore successful checks and treat them as failures because otherwise the players will win the game unfairly or too easily? That's a strange assertion, if it's the one you're making. I also don't understand what "combats that are unavoidable" has to do with anything. That's just more checks. If the player's dice are "hot" (as you...
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    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 03:41 PM
    An action declaration is a proposal that the fiction should include a certain content. For instance, I climb the wall is a proposal as to the content of the shared fiction, namely, that it includes the PC climbing the wall. I don't know what playing their character means here other than some improv acting. If the GM is deciding everything that happens, what else are the players contributing...
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    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 03:39 PM
    I see. So TTRPG systems and play are not objective things and cannot be analyzed empirically and anyone that attempts to do so is a big jerk? Is that pretty much the gist? Following from that, youíve just wasted my (and others) time with a rhetorical request to evaluate 5e that you obviously had no interest in engaging with. Feels bad. Please donít make such requests, get sincere...
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    2 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 02:52 PM
    * The ďLight ClockĒ in Torchbearer and how all of the other game mechanics are integrated perfectly with it and how, working in concert, they bring home the intended play experience (cognitive space inhabited, mood, theme, pace). * Same thing goes for Blades in the Dark with its holistic integration of all of its system machinery which engenders bold, devil-may-care scoundrels, each uniquely...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 02:10 PM
    I donít know what the point of this response was. It doesnít engage with anything Iíve said. You wonít me to...say that I donít know what Iím talking about? Huh? Further, itís a claim about me that has absolutely no evidence to back it up. What claim from ignorance do you think that Iím making that isnít backed by evidence and wonít stand up under scrutiny? If youíre looking for an example...
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    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 02:04 PM
    I see this as somewhat similar to what I posted upthread - that in AD&D there's no systematic way to put your connection to family on the line.
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    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 12:38 PM
    I've highlighted you use of the word things. I think you're using it to refer to certain sorts of events in the fiction. The sorts of things that might be presented on a messageboard in the form of a transcript. In my post I was talking about experiences had by the players, at the table. The transcript - the in-fiction events - is one component of these. But does not exhaust them. To give...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 12:23 PM
    I guess I'm assuming that - or wondering whether - there is more that can be said than just It's my preference. That is, that it's possible to articulate why it's good. Upthread, Lanefan asserted that 4e's hp mechanic is flawed because it doesn't conform to his expectations for a hp mechanic. That's a pretty strong claim - that his way of thinking is better. Presumably there's something that...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 11:40 AM
    Action resolution in Burning Wheel (which can be ported to other systems eg Classic Traveller): * Intent and task action declaration; * Say 'yes' or roll the dice; * Success is success on both intent and task; failure is narrated by the GM by reference to intent and/or task as will keep things moving and maintain or increase the pressure; * Let it ride (ie results stand - no rerolls).
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 07:54 AM
    My Princes of the Apocalypse game plays monthly, maybe 4 hours. There is still resource drain - several fights between (1 week) long rests is common - the fights aren't normally trivial since a trivial fight doesn't drain significant resources anyway. 5e expects PCs can do 6-8 medium to hard fights per LR before being tapped out.
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 07:00 AM
    I'm afraid this will sound like damning with faint praise, but it is the result of an honest evaluation that comes from running and playing 5e. Much like Fate, I consider 5e to be a really well designed game that excels at a style of play I have very little interest in. 5e excels at GM led and mediated storytelling where the emphasis is on resolving the adventure that is put in front of the PCs...
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    4 XP
  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 06:10 AM
    Right, there is really very little reason why you would NOT want that bonus. In any case most rangers are only going to have one HQ in play at a time, so they tend to focus fire. There is just not much to be gained by splitting up your attacks unless you're reduced to pinging minions with TS, which is a pretty silly thing to do in most cases (but stuff happens). As I said before Prime Shot is...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 03:41 AM
    Here is some rules text from Apocalypse World (which is one of the games Campbell was referring to), pp 12 and 194. The rule for moves is to do it, do it. In order for it to be a move and for the player to roll dice, the character has to do something that counts as that move; and whenever the character does something that counts as a move, itís the move and the player rolls dice. Usually...
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    3 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 09:31 PM
    The Xanathar's encounter tables are great for sandboxing, I definitely recommend them. I'm currently running a sandbox with the very good Primeval Thule Campaign Setting; previously I used the 3e Wilderlands of High Fantasy, both are on drivethru. Rob Conley's stuff like Blackmarsh (free) also good for smaller sandboxes. I definitely find adding to an existing box is much easier than starting...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 08:03 PM
    Which is why I regularly encourage people to play more and different types of games. And I also regularly recommend people (at least in my life) be willing to have the self-awareness and humility to say ďI donít know.Ē I donít understand this modern phenomena of being unwilling to simply recognize that you donít know what you donít know. There are lots of things I donít know...even in the...
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    2 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 12:54 PM
    Now that I can't really argue with. 4e modules, particularly early ones, were egregiously bad. To be fair, the Dungeon ones got better towards the end - the Chaos Scar adventures were actually a ton of fun. On the other hand, magic items in 4e were what you made them. My rogue with a life draining dagger and my warlock with the Crown of Winter were both fascinating to play. Again, it's...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 12:43 PM
    But on your own account this isn't true. Because the GM can always narrate something else. As you're presenting it, all the players get to do is make suggestions that the GM may or may not follow up on. How is that possiby a success, given the declared action? It's obviously a failure - the PC has not got what s/he wanted (namely, incriminating financial documents). So when do the players...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 11:54 AM
    Ever since I went to 1 week long rests, this sort of 4e problem vanished. The players definitely do care about resource draining encounters when it may mean eg the Barbarians not having a Rage left when they face the BBEG. Really 5e is built around an expectation of 6-8 encounters per Long Rest, with the majority of those only resource drains. Officially only a Deadly encounter has a...
    28 replies | 692 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 11:00 AM
    LOL. I always shake my head when folks say this. Hrm, 2 step recovery system, skill system that is virtually identical (strip out the level adjustments from 4e and you get the 5e skill system), every class is built on the same model, instead of powers, nearly every class gets spells, many of which do the same things that powers did in 4e. What else... oh, removing the need for magic items -...
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 09:25 AM
    Larger than man sized target.
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 09:20 AM
    Heh. It feels that way because of the presentation. It's certainly not the mechanics which are virtually identical to 4e. If 5e is the proper successor to 3e, then 4e was as well. But, the trick that WotC has performed has been to convince everyone that 4e and 5e are not related at all, while, at the same time, retaining virtually all of the mechanics of 4e. The primary difference between...
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    2 XP
  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 02:41 AM
    Truthfully, the Beast Master build is NOT at all underpowered in a basic sense. The only issue it has is the lack of access to a certain set of highly potent feats. Beyond that, the lack of the TWF's larger off-hand weapon is trivial (.5 point of damage on a hit, not a big deal). The only other lack being access to a truly world-shaking PP like Battlefield Archer. So, you don't REALLY need to...
    27 replies | 1137 view(s)
    1 XP
  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 02:23 AM
    Well, Xeviat, HoML does mostly group powers by source, though it doesn't really outlaw 'cross sourcing' by gaining boons which provide powers outside your source. In that sense source is a bit more 'thematic' than it is in 4e. Anyway, I think AoE damage IS control, very much so! However, I think wizards could profitably have gone much more in the direction of terrain effects, like walls and...
    27 replies | 952 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 10:35 PM
    If you've never been a grappler, it will be a little bit difficult to attempt to convey things conceptually, but Chess (which I suspect you've played or at least had exposure to) should suffice. Look at grappling (Brazillian Jiu-jitsu in particular) as a series of decision-trees where your opponent is imposing ever-progressing catch-22s upon you as they control you (takedown > deployment of a...
    795 replies | 23565 view(s)
    0 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 09:29 PM
    The ghoul problem for me is that in 5e they are underpowered and not nearly scary enough. I think they should have 3 attacks at +3/d6+1 necrotic, each being a DC 10 paralysis save. Save to end, fail 3 saves and you're paralysed for an hour. Still weak compared to 1e-3e but at least has the flavour and the theoretical possibility of being chewed on while still alive.
    78 replies | 14324 view(s)
    1 XP
  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 09:13 PM
    Forbidden Rules is the supplement that has the most variant rules in it...might be something in there.
    7 replies | 343 view(s)
    1 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 06:50 PM
    I like 'em once they're printed & bound. :D
    83 replies | 2893 view(s)
    0 XP
  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 04:15 PM
    So not a fan of Dark Souls, I take it? :)
    38 replies | 1589 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 04:00 PM
    My posts on this subject over the years (and in this thread) involve pretty intensive analysis on why resolution procedure/GMing technique/reward cycle/play ethos/PC build setup (a) objectively provides a different experience than(b) in many different areas (from table handling time to distribution of authority to intraparty balance to party: obstacle balance to cognitive workload and on and on)....
    795 replies | 23565 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 03:15 PM
    U Weíre complicated animals who live complicated lives. And these games, all of them, are complicated, relatively speaking. Nothing is ever one thing. But I think the line of evidence that I love running something like Dogs, something like 4e, while having many times more experience (and just as much enjoyment) with Moldvay Basic and AD&D1e is a pretty strong one.
    795 replies | 23565 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 02:03 PM
    Iím not Campbell, but Iíll throw some words at this from GMing perspective. Its definitely true that most people almost surely enjoy the experience of games they like, and through their affinity they develop or have a natural aptitude for better play. Humans have pretty extreme neurological diversity, so I would say that itís trivially true that cognitive predispositions and mental...
    795 replies | 23565 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 12:29 PM
    Heh, my snark aside, it really is an attempt to compare apples and oranges. Because, sure, you had a lot of save or die type monsters in 2e and, again depending on the character stats, parties could really vary. The trick about comparing across edition is that 3e changed every single aspect of the math of the game. Sure, you could have this or that build - but, now we're getting away from low...
    185 replies | 4877 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 11:31 AM
    Ok, let's use Snakes. Medium viper in 3e deals d6/d6 Con damage DC Fort 11. Fail the save and you could lose up to 12 con from each bite. You die at 0 con. That 2e viper was only lethal about 15% of the time: And even then you were generally at a +2 to your saving throw - that's a what, 7 for a 1st level fighter? I'm getting the feeling that lowkey13 was maybe closer to right than...
    185 replies | 4877 view(s)
    0 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 10:16 AM
    Well I agree that the tactile elements of D&D are a big draw for me. Nothing like a pint of warm beer, good company, a nice pub room, a colourful battlemat covered in minis, dozens of dice, pencils and weighty hardback tomes. :)
    83 replies | 2893 view(s)
    4 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 10:06 AM
    Had a battle yesterday with a bunch of Great Old One Warlocks, 14th level casters. Never played or ran a Warlock before, though I've seen them played a fair bit so I know eg Eldritch Blast is a good fallback. I just looked up the spells that seemed useful during the fight and cast those. I also took advice from a player ("Don't bother with Crown of Madness, it's crap in this edition"). We're...
    21 replies | 779 view(s)
    0 XP
  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 09:56 AM
    I agree with the analysis. I run a lot of big battles in 5e, I think the main thing for me is use average* damage and have plenty of d20s handy. I do a few things like have squads of mooks all move then all attack, pre-3e style, but otherwise I stick to the regular rules. *While I resent losing .5 average damage per hit, when you have 60+ multi-attacking NPCs on the battlemat the speed...
    1 replies | 263 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 05:23 AM
    I agree. The GM's primary role in TTRPGing (outside of a few instances) is (a) to know what adversity is relevant to this particular play and (b) bring that adversity to bear against the PCs in the imagined space in the most interesting/compelling/challenging/provocative (and these will be contingent upon the game) way possible. Above I mentioned a Dogs play excerpt. The adversity I...
    795 replies | 23565 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 05:01 AM
    Honestly I think the math here is right out to lunch. Because 3e monsters have stats and stat bonuses, by and large the do about three times more damage per round than 2e monsters. While 3e did give pcs some more hps, they certainly donít have three times as many. Try this for a test. Single 1st level fighter vs 5 orcs. Which edition fighter survives? My money is on the 2e fighter. He can...
    185 replies | 4877 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 04:47 AM
    Of course this also ignores the fact that a by the core 2e fighter does about six or seven times more damage per round than virtually any other edition fighter of an equal level. I mean even without a str bonus a 2e fighter with longsword specs and a short sword vs a dragon pumps out potentially 36 points of damage on even rounds and 24 on odd rounds. Letís see any edition first level...
    185 replies | 4877 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 04:31 AM
    Being more progressive than E E Smith is like being Valedictorian at summer school.
    18 replies | 771 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 04:13 AM
    FrogReaver I think you are starting from a faulty premise. You are assuming that game mechanics cannot meaningfully contribute to play despite having no direct experience of games where the rules are meant to supplement role play. We play these games because we value what they have to say about human nature and how people interact with each other. They help us form mental models of who our...
    795 replies | 23565 view(s)
    5 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 03:57 AM
    In some game no one gets to decide if a mechanic is invoked or not. In Apocalypse World if a character attempts to do something in the fiction that triggers a move the mechanics must be applied. One of the things a GM must always say is Always Say What the Rules Demand.
    795 replies | 23565 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 01:29 AM
    I suppose it depends on how humanlike you want to get. Are we talking something like what I posted above or something that would fit into Blade Runner? Then again Legion had the Vermillion androids. Definitely androgynous.
    18 replies | 771 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 12:03 AM
    To be totally fair, what would be the point? Why would you make a very realistic humanoid robot where you have to give it gender based features, only to then blur those features to remove any gender markers? That seems a lot of expense for very little gain. I suppose the Japanese robot Pepper might qualify.
    18 replies | 771 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 11:59 PM
    Jim McGarva has a perfect catch-phrase for this sprinkled throughout the Strike (!) rulebook, which is basically a riposte to all of the stuff we heard about with genre-incoherent drift in 4e: "DON'T DEMAND NONSENSE!" One such quip is on fictional positioning and permissible action declarations: If I'm running Dogs and the player thinks someone is under the thrall of demonic...
    795 replies | 23565 view(s)
    3 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 10:56 PM
    In one of my recent posts I referred to violations of genre, fictional positioning and system logic. In the Burning Wheel rulebooks Luke Crane makes the point by saying (something like) "no roll for beam weaponry in the duke's toilet". But that is all about vetoing or refusing to entertain certain action declarations. Lanefan was positing a successful outcome. As Ovinomancer has posted,...
    795 replies | 23565 view(s)
    0 XP
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Wednesday, 24th July, 2019

  • 03:56 AM - Campbell mentioned Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    I agree with much of what @Manbearcat just posted. The underlying tools 4e GMs have access to accurately reflect the fiction provide a means to properly convey the emotional weight of the battle before them. I view their responsible use as a function of framing. Just like clocks in Blades or GM moves in Apocalypse World they can definitely be misused. I think it's important to leave room for GM judgement in any role playing game. What's important to me is that these tools are used responsibly and during the act of play GM mediation is minimized so they can focus on adversity and playing to find out what happens. What I want is when a GM or any other player is trying to shape events to match their own creative vision that it is as obvious as possible. Most of the 4e machinery is right out there in the open for all to see. My own falling out with 4e is due to a couple things. All the resolution mechanics are built around a team of PCs working in tandem where my favored approach is a collection of individuals with their own ...

Tuesday, 23rd July, 2019

  • 11:18 PM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    ...r used called-shot rules in AD&D, and (ii) I don't think of their being a "true" (standard) AC and hp value to which the minion resolution approximates. But I fully agree that they are an alternative resolution system. They take full advantage of the various mathematical components of the D&D system (AC, hp, damage, etc) and play with them to produce the right fiction for the right tier of PC. My own take on 4e, given the way that the PHB and DMG present the tiers of play, is that while all the numbers are purely resolution devices, the tiers are something that is part of the fiction. Perhaps not strictly literally, but in the sense that - in the fiction - it is evident when a being is capable of doing the sorts of things described as apt for each of the tiers. ANd then on the GM side we use the various resolution devices (minions, solos, swarms, etc) to express our creatures and NPCs in ways that suit the fiction of the tiers. I've always thought that this is one of the reasons Manbearcat has described 4e D&D as "fiction first" rather than "mechanics first". It contrast very markedly in this respect with systems like RQ or RM which fall under the Forge lable purist-for-system simulationism and which lead with the mechanical framework and read all the fiction from that. 4e is virtually the opposite of purist-for-system. I also want to tie this back to one of Campbell's recent posts. Campbell referred to the role of the system being to facilitate and even force a certain sort of authenticity, antagonism and playing to find out. He flagged GM mediation as possible burden on this. 4e D&D minion mechanics are one form of GM mediation; they are one example of how 4e sometimes requires the GM to already form a view about what the fiction requires in terms of challenge - eg should this creature be presented as a standard or a minion? what should the complexity of this skill challenge be? This isn't a fom of railroading - it doesn't impose GM pre-determined outcomes onto the ...

Saturday, 20th July, 2019

  • 03:41 PM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    ...ng mentioned aren't possible in D&D etc. That's where the disagreement lies. I would just love once to hear their take on the pros of 5e in relation to roleplaying. What can it do that all these other systems can't?I'm not sure whether you're agreeing with me that different systems produce different experiences, or are asserting that 5e D&D prodocuse the same experiences as any other system. I'm not sure that both claims can be true. I don't play 5e D&D, so I can't tell you what its pros are in relation to roleplaying. Classic D&D (inlcuding Moldvay Basic and Gygax's AD&D) is quite a good system if you want to play a dungeon crawl: it has a range of systems to support that including wandering monster systems, mapping conventions, rules for searching in dungeons, systems for retainer/hireling loyalty, etc. The only other systems I personally know that aim to support this sort of play are T&T and Torchbearer - I've played a tiny bit of the former and none of the latter. But Manbearcat knows Torchbearer. 4e D&D is a completely different game from classic D&D - it shares some subsystems but almost none of the broader framework of play. It's a game of epic, often gonzo, fantasy/cosmological adventure. It doesn't have the dungeon-crawling subsystems of classic D&D, but it does have systems to help it do what it does, including the skill challenge mechanic. Someone else will have to post about 5e D&D.
  • 01:05 AM - Ovinomancer mentioned Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    ...s the cost instead of you, then, well, you find out that your character is, indeed, that type of person. This is fundamentally not something that exists in 5e -- this kind of opportunity to roleplay is not available in that system. Now, my best guess for your idiosyncratic definition of roleplay seems to include that it's only roleplay if the player chooses it -- nothing forced on the player is roleplaying, even if the force occurs after a failure on an action where the player explicitly risks an aspect of their character. This is you defining the term as how you prefer things, and not what the term means. This is adequately shown by your rather controversial claim that acting is not roleplaying. You've lately been questioning how others can know if they aren't just projecting their preferences into reality. I would say that defining terms so that what you do is included but widely accepted uses are not would be a strong indicator of your question being true. I don't see Manbearcat doing that, but I do see you doing it. You should maybe drop the statements that appear to be more projection than argument.

Friday, 19th July, 2019

  • 12:43 PM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    ... true in the game.Stating an attempted action is suggesting something to be true in the fiction - namely, that the PC performs the actin as described! That's the whole starting point for the OP of this thread. Your claim that the GM always decides in D&D is obviously very controversial But even at those tables where it is true, it doesn't follow that the GM never considers what it is that the players have suggested. Acting is not roleplaying.Someone upthread used method acting as either an example of, or an analogy to, roleplaying, so I'm not sure what you assert here is uncontroversial. But if acting is not roleplaying, then where does the roleplaying consist of in a game in which the GM decides all the outcomes? What are the players doing in such a game other than some improv acting? I am perfectly capable of figuring out who my character is and how he thinks and feels etc. <snip> Is it possible that you just find it easier to roleplay in games you like?To echo Manbearcat, the point is not that people like what they like. The point is that some systems make possible certain experiences that others don't. I'll give an example from a slightly different field of hobby: I don't believe that it is possible to get the same thrill from swimming laps in a pool as it is to get from catching a wave at a beach. That's not a criticism of lap-swimming or a praise of beaches - taking that extra step would require deciding whether or not we like the thrill (some do, but not everybody does). Now maybe there's someone out there who finds lap swimming really thrilling.I guess that's conceivable. But I would want pretty good evidence before I contemplated this possibility in a serious way. Because it is very much at odds with my own experiences and obvservations of both lap swimmers and body surfers. In RPGing, not every system can produce the same experience. In Rolemaster, when the first crit die is rolled, there is a sense of thrill and antiipation that cannot...

Saturday, 6th July, 2019

  • 07:24 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    a game could be very successfully "simulationist," even if all it's mechanics were extremely poor simulations of the things they purported to model. So it's an outright confusing, obfuscating label.Physicists call the heat given of by a burning match "work". Even though no one is doing any work. Most jargon has an origin that explains where it came from even though the present use of the jargon wouldn't reveal that. I mean, if were being concise, it's the immerssions, isn't it?Immersion is often used to describe a mental state. A person can play a Paizo AP and be engaged in the world of the story without entering that mental state, I think. It also explicitly excludes the most obvious way to create a story in an RPG. Ironically, also looks like it tries to exclude StorytellerIt's not ironic. As Manbearcat already posted, a significant, perhaps primary, driver of The Forge was to try and understand why Storyteller - especially V:tM - sucks if your goal in RPGing is to create story via play in the way I described. And then to design games that didn't suck in the same way. See, I'd think a narrativist RPG would be going for modeling stories, without any particular restrictions on how. But, really, that's trying to be a good simulation of a genre or story....Someone might classify both basketball and croquet as ball sports, but I'm not sure that's going to take us very far. Whereas I can see how comparing basket ball and rugby makes sense (and if you combined them you might even come up with something that resembles Australian football). Because RPGing invovles multiple participants, most of whom are in the "player"/"protagonist" role, it turns out that the difference between playing through a pre-established story and generating a story via play is pretty fundamental. If you're int...
  • 03:20 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    ...ed design" or "the three clue rule"). Narrativism (once called Dramatism in some discussion, but Jonathan Tweet had already coined that term for a different purpose in his game Everway and so Ron Edwards out of deference to Tween coined a new term) = RPGing where the goal, in play, is to create story experiences that are recognisably stories in the sense in which novels and films are stories, and an account of what I had for lunch yesterday probably isnt. So sequences of events that exhibit pacing, theme, rising action and climax, etc - where this is not pre-established by a GM or module writer but is done collectively at the table using the classic RPGing devices of players playing characters through the GM's world/situation. An early example is Prince Valiant. The best-known contemporary examples are probably Dogs in the Vineyard and Apocalypse World and many of its offshoots. My favourite version of such a system is Burning Wheel. A group of us on these boards - me, darkbard, Manbearcat and some others - think that of all versions of D&D, 4e is the best suited for narrativist play; and that independently of comparisons to other versions of D&D, it's well-suited to narrativist play. The features of the system that underpin that are the same features that make it poorly-suited for simulationist play, and that therefore make it unpopular with many RPGers. Whatever the commercial fate of Paizo's PF2, I've seen no evidence that PF2 is intended to be, or will be, a good game for narrativist purposes. But I haven't been following that closely; maybe Aldarc has a different view or can shed more light.

Thursday, 4th July, 2019

  • 04:18 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    Tony Vargas - just adding to what Manbearcat posted, which I fully agree with (except to add that 1st ed AD&D also started heading in the same direction in the post-DL era). The Forge isn't trying to explain your experience with CoC vs V:tM, and why you found them similar or different. It's offering an analytic vocabulary for talking about RPG design, and some features of RPG play. It's no more "confusing, inveigling or obfuscating" than is a chemist who tells you that coal and diamond are the same stuff, or Newton who tells you that an object falling to earth and a planet orbiting the sun is the same physical phenomenon, or an anthropologist who tells you that reigious practices among neolithic people and grief counselling in its contemporary Californian manifestation play the same social function. If you're not interested in that sort of analysis then that's fine, but as far as I can see it doesn't give any reason to complain about it. It's not like Ron Edwards dropped by your house and told you that yuo had to read his e...

Monday, 24th June, 2019

  • 06:04 PM - lowkey13 mentioned Manbearcat in post GM DESCRIPTION: NARRATION OR CONVERSATION?
    ...e that people who enjoy exploring the Role Playing aspects of Role Playing games probably do not appreciate your belief that they are "put[ting] on airs" when they are playing, any more than people previously thought that the description of their style of playing as "funny voices" was appropriate. To the extent your playing style, replete with reference to videogame characters, works for you- Great! But it's probably best, given the history of many who play this hobby, to refer to the way they play as some sort of highfalutin' putting on airs. Jus' sayin'- it's the kind of anti-intellectual attitude that so many of us already put up with. (I want to stress that I don't think you mean that, but the reason that these threads get so heated is that, like any playstyle conversations, they can quickly veer from describing how a person likes to play to prescribing how others ought to play, and that statements of preferences can easily become statements of disdain for other styles) Also? @Manbearcat ? Remember the whole aptitude bias thing? Just look at the first example. Rubbish is scattered around what was once a fine guest bedroom leads with a main clause ("rubbish is scattered about") that is, as far as information is concerned, of secondary interest. The clause what was once a fine guest bedroom is the main information-bearing clause from the point of view of describing what's there. The mismatch between syntactic structure and informational structure is a stylistic device. My contrasting formulation - it's a run-down bedroom with rubbish scattered about - aligns the syntax with the information: the syntactically main clause is also the main information-bearing clause, while the bit about rubbish is reduced to an adjectival phrase. It's that, not the extremely modest vocabulary change (ie my example replaces was once fine with is run down and drops the "guest" because I don't see how the past use of a bedroom as a guest bedroom is knowable by mere visual inspection), that m...

Sunday, 23rd June, 2019

  • 12:12 AM - Garthanos mentioned Manbearcat in post Examples of a skill challenge within a combat and vice versi
    In another thread about traditional D&D vs 4e style @Manbearcat brought an example to the table where the fighter took over ie manhandled a tank into using it against the enemy OK it was basically an element I brought in... the point was to show that 4e had assumptions of competence and tools for accomplishing the extraordinary for non-magical characters at higher levels that were lacking in other games. This is now my lead example for applying a skill challenge in combat I am wondering does anyone have examples of mixing skill challenge and fighting activity they would like to share?

Thursday, 13th June, 2019

  • 07:45 PM - lowkey13 mentioned Manbearcat in post Formatting- Quotes Not Coming Out Correctly
    Color formatting is the problem in some way. I can see the quote exists, but the formatting makes it invisible. Not to add to the mystery, but- 1. I use a white background. So I wouldn't see a problem. It appears that Manbearcat (and you, maybe?) use black ones. 2. However ..... what happened when you quoted my post? Shouldn't your quote of my entire post have caused the text to pop back out, at least on my screen? When I saw you quoting me, the quote was gone. Do you know what I'm saying?
  • 02:26 PM - lowkey13 mentioned Manbearcat in post Formatting- Quotes Not Coming Out Correctly
    Hi Everybody! (HI DR. NICK!) Now tell Dr. Nick where is the trouble. ...so, @Dannyalcatraz first pointed out a problem in my posts, specifically, this one- https://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?659985-Why-are-we-okay-with-violence-in-RPGs&p=7618903&viewfull=1#post7618903 Since then, two other commenters have noted the same problem. @pemerton @Manbearcat Q. What is the problem? A. I don't know- I can't see it! Everything looks good to me. But it looks like, from what is in Danny's post- https://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?659985-Why-are-we-okay-with-violence-in-RPGs&p=7619116&viewfull=1#post7619116 That my "quotes" are disappearing. It seems that pemerton reports it as a text formatting issue. So, I think this is recent? Maybe an "https:" change? And it's not universal ... it looks fine to me. Quotes that I use from someone else seem fine ... I think it might just be a combination of: Using the "quote" feature around text that I paste into the text box, and paste as "plain text formatting" (in order to avoid html issues). But I'd like the Powers That Be to look at this, and either tell me it's a bug (with a fix on the server side?) or that I need to do things differently so everyone can see what I'm doing; I'm guessing that this bug has led to some recent miscommunications. :) EDIT- Here's a test: Necessary Discla...

Wednesday, 12th June, 2019

  • 12:44 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Some people might claim that- I would imagine that some, like the OP, honestly believe that a lack of "highfalutin'" language indicates a lack of presence; I would only mention that the OP regularly refers to speaking at, inter alia, conferences and giving presentations; while we might view this type of speaking as somewhat banal compared to Finnegan's Wake, it is certainly true that such public speaking is far outside of the norm today. And I think there is a reason for that ...I don't quite follow this, and so am not sure what view is being attributed to me. For my answers to Manbearcat's questions, see the post immediately upthread.

Monday, 10th June, 2019

  • 01:25 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    A qallupilluit is an absolutely terrifying monster from Inuit folklore - a kind of hag that lives under the pack ice. If you drop that into your horror game for the first time, I don't think "a kind of hag that lives under the pack ice" is going to engage your players, do you?Why not? This take me, at least, back to some of the points Manbearcat was making fairly early in this thread. If I'm going to use a qallupilluit in my game, I will want to establish a situation which gives it some sort of heft or significance. There are very many ways of doing that (and obviously RPG system will have a significant impact, on top of system-independent techniques). In my experience, an elaborate or literary description isn't one of them. If the sudden appearance of a terrifying hag from under the pack ice isn't - for whatever of innumerable possible reasons - going to engage the players, why would, or should, piling on the evocative words make a difference?

Wednesday, 29th May, 2019

  • 01:47 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    And the author of the OP?What about me? Do you mean, what did I hope to get out of the thread? One's never sure in advance beyond "interesting conversation". But the discussion about storytelling and various modes, driven mostly by Aldarc and hawkeyefan, has been interesting. Hriston and darkbard have helped refine my framing of my point. That's helpful. And also led it in the direction of "advice to GMs", which led to some fruitful discussions with uzirath whom I've not engaged with very much before as a poster. And Manbearcat has pushed with some challenging posts about pacing that I haven't replied to yet. Ultimately, the reason I post on a discussion board is to have discussions.

Monday, 27th May, 2019

  • 01:12 PM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    I have made it clear what I mean by a *literary endeavour*. I mean an endeavour that regards the formal quality of words - wordcraft[I], if you like - as its main, or perhaps one of its main, techniques for evoking aesthetic resonses. Without wanting to detract from any of Aldarc's excellent points, I would regard at least some film and theatre as [I]literary endeavours in this sense. So are poetry recitals. But cooking certainly is not; and nor are you Youtube instructional videos I was using earlier this year when I wanted to puree mango without a blender/food processor. Whereas the typical Nigella Lawson show probably does count as a literary endeavour in my sense. The pacing issue was first raised by Manbearcat early in the thread, and I stand by my reply to him as far as my particular contention is concerned.

Sunday, 19th May, 2019

  • 03:23 PM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    ...cords well with the standard definition found in Google dictionary, for example, "concerning the writing, study, or content of literature, especially of the kind valued for quality of form." I think the OP intends to put some emphasis on the "quality of form" part of this sort of formulation of what makes something a literary endeavor. Literary or performance simply means HOW the material is presented in the game, either in written form or in oral during a session. Literary carries additional connotations of utilizing various literary devices. Did you use pathetic fallacy during the session? Did you use foreshadowing? Did you engage various tropes of the genre? Then you are using literary devices.The notion of how is too expansive. Speaking with sufficient volume to be heard, sufficient crispness of enunciation to be understood - these all go to how, but don't show that we're engaged in a literary endeavour. I made some comments on literary devices in post 40, replying to Manbearcat : dramatic pacing (probably) can't be completely divorced from the words - the form - whereby the content is conveyed. In the context of a RPG, though, where the pacing concerns - at least the sort that you refer to - are more at the "scene" level than the line-by-line level, I think the dependence of pacing on words becomes pretty lose. A GM who can't control his/her words at all is going to have troube wrapping up a scene, or cutting to the next situation, in a smooth way; but I think the threshold of skill to be able to do this falls well short of being able to write an evocative opening or closing line. I'll finish this post by saying that, in denying that RPGing is a *literary* endeavour I'm not denying that it has an important aesthetic component. But I think that the aesthetic component is much more connected to a sense of motion and drama in human affairs, than to a sense of beauty in composition or performance. As far as the use of tropes is concerned - that's ty...

Wednesday, 15th May, 2019

  • 11:37 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Stakes and consequences in action resolution
    This post is a follow-up to some of Manbearcat's posts in this thread, and to the idea - mentioned in the OP and taken up a bit since - that consequences can be implicit rather than express. I'm not sure how coherent it is, but it is trying to convey a thought I have. So, here's something from John Harper about making hard moves in Apocalypse World; I've bolded one sentence for emphasis: [W]hen it's time for a hard move, look back at the setup move(s) you made. What was threatened? What was about to happen, before the PC took action? Follow through on that. Bring the effects on screen. Bring the consequences to fruition. And speaking of consequences, a hard move doesn't automatically equate to severe consequences. The severity of the threat is a separate issue, depending wholly on the fiction as established. The hard move means the consequences, large or small, take full effect now. It's not about being mean, or punishing a missed roll, or inventing new trouble. It's about giving the fiction its full expression. Setup,...

Tuesday, 7th May, 2019

  • 02:11 PM - lowkey13 mentioned Manbearcat in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    ...sed bloodlines, mental abduction, the end of the world, and more. " https://www.dreadcentral.com/reviews/285500/cthulhu-dark-review-insane-non-euclidian-fun/ "Cthulhu Dark has some excellent guides for how to tell a horror story. One of my favorite tools the game has for doing this is what it calls ďcreeping horrorsĒ ... The rulebook is chock-full of Lovecraftian storytelling tools and tips like the creeping horrors." etc. So, yeah. I don't know, man. Seems like your experience and the ones that the reviewers had was different (but again, I don't know since I'm not familiar with that particular game). I appreciate that you have a long-standing group of players, and that you have a playingstyle that works for you and your group. Again, I wish you would stop universalizing your playing experiences to everyone else; different groups have different experiences, and I think you'd get a lot more traction if you'd approach things in a more, "This is what I do, and how I have fun (see @Manbearcat )" and less, "RPGs are not literary, and presentation doesn't matter." But that's your call.

Monday, 6th May, 2019

  • 02:15 PM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Stakes and consequences in action resolution
    Manbearcat, thanks for the reply. I think that, in the OP and some of my elaborations on it, I'm putting less emphasis on clarity and cognitive workspace than you. I think that's what follows from my comments about implicit consequences - that in place of the clarity you describe, and the scope for player evaluation of risk/reward, is substitued shared intuitions/understandings of the fiction. I'm not sure how this fits into constraint. It's true that the Cortex+ Heroic GM is very constrained. The Cthulhu Dark GM certainly has much more liberty. I have to think more about how this might relate to "force".


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Monday, 22nd July, 2019

  • 08:17 PM - Ovinomancer quoted Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    I assume you understood the rest of the post and these two questions (I'll quote) are what don't make sense? 1) Do you think if those mechanics were in play, would they affect (a) the sensation of play overall, (b) your navigation of your thoughts, (c) your perceptions of what is happening (the gravity, the momentum), (d) your immediate meta reflections (which I don't know about you...but I have personally about myself as a consequential moment is upon me) upon "who is this guy really?" 2) Do you think those mechanics being player-facing (to all participants) would or would not create more anxiety, anticipation, excitement, exaltation for the other participants who are beholding your actions (and are aware of the consequences)? Whatever your answer to that stuff, could you break it down in a little detail, please and thank you?I don't think this will make it ckearer because I think this discussion is mired a lot further back on the trail. I think FrogReaver's definition of roleplaying is...

Sunday, 21st July, 2019

  • 09:36 PM - FrogReaver quoted Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Forget for a minute what you feel about my analysis of your excerpt. Do you not think, for better or for worse, this would have changed the cognitive space you were occupying and the play experience of the other participants who bore witness to your PC's sacrifice? 1) Your character had a feedback loop (lets call it Nature) with 3 descriptors attached to it and both a positive and a negative mechanical aspect: * If paranoia or fear of the arcane and occult interferes with your effort to save an ally, increase your Nature by 1. * If your appetite for destruction is overcome by your appetite for a meal, increase your Nature by 1. * If you show fearlessness in dire circumstances while knowing you must live with the consequences, change (mundane, but defining trait) Dense to Reflective. 2) Nature goes from 0 to 7. You can recover it and you can tax it. If you ever end a session at 0 or 7, your character retires for whatever reason seems relevant given the fiction (eg the character become...
  • 06:57 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    A man arrives 5 minutes too late from a 2 hour journey that was meant to save ... I recommend sblock and trigger warning. Aside from that, great post... In real life, our behavioral outputs are a collage of external inputs (from emotional provocateurs to those that turn genes off and on), irrational compulsions, irrational biological imperatives, divorced-from-conscious-mind-neurological-subroutines, crappy heuristics, erudition, practice, and well-considered mindfulness. ...y'all'll hafta just imagine a cynical quip, here. Maybe later.
  • 05:50 PM - Arilyn quoted Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    This earned a lot of xp, but the take-home needs to be emphasized. In real life we aren't characterizing ourselves. In real life we don't have nearly the expression of autonomy or internal locus of control that one characterizes their PC with in a game of AD&D, 3.x, and 5e D&D. In real life, our behavioral outputs are a collage of external inputs (from emotional provocateurs to those that turn genes off and on), irrational compulsions, irrational biological imperatives, divorced-from-conscious-mind-neurological-subroutines, crappy heuristics, erudition, practice, and well-considered mindfulness. So that very pressure (that you cite) is fundamental to our daily lives, and shapes the most visceral moments of our lives in key ways...ways that transcend that moment and feed back onto the rest of our days. Mechanics that push/pull/provoke/demand (often with the seduction of immediate return at the cost of "the long game") are the best way I know of to model the fundamental role of those many ext...
  • 04:19 PM - FrogReaver quoted Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Its just background color. When you are going to sum up my personal experience with it's just background color. You've objectiveness has seriously gone awry.
  • 06:42 AM - FrogReaver quoted Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Following from that, youíve just wasted my (and others) time with a rhetorical request to evaluate 5e that you obviously had no interest in engaging with. Feels bad. Please donít make such requests, get sincere replies, and then completely ignore them. If you think TTRPG analysis isnít useful, or actively harmful, why are engaging in a thread like this? I forgive you for your rush to judgement. Now please don't do it again.
  • 06:39 AM - FrogReaver quoted Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Ill answer your question: Let me preface this with: thank you for answering the question. 1) 5e doesnít get enough credit for its Social Interaction mechanics. In a system that is about GM-mediated puzzle-solving, they did a great job of exemplifying that with a subsystem that feels like Wheel of Fortune or Pictionary in play...which, coincidentally is similar to trying to get to know a person and influence them. Interesting description. It's not one I would have made... but sounds good so far! 2) Background Traits, though limited, do a great job of providing the kind of cross-character player fiat that was only available to spellcasters in AD&D and 3.x. I'm not sure I understand what you are saying here. 3) Lair and Legendary Actions are quite good for thematic and tactical dynamism. If only they were orthodox across monsters. agreed, but I'm not sure how that impacts roleplaying. Very good mechanic though. 4) 5e makes no bones about its emulation of AD&D. I called it AD&D 3e in th...

Saturday, 20th July, 2019

  • 09:41 PM - Lanefan quoted Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    So TTRPG systems and play are not objective things and cannot be analyzed empirically Empirically? Perhaps, but I'd posit true empiric analysis can only really ceom from someone outside the hobby. Those inside it have largely lost objectivity (whether we like to admit it or not) in favour of what we know/like/prefer. Nothing wrong with this, of course, but we - all of us - have to admit it; and further have to admit that down-calling someone else's viewpoint as "subjective" or "just your preference" is almost always a case of pot meeting kettle. and anyone that attempts to do so is a big jerk? That's a bit harsh, but anyone inside the hobby who claims objectivity in analysis needs to be taken with a large grain of salt. If you think TTRPG analysis isnít useful, or actively harmful, why are engaging in a thread like this?I don't see it as harmful at all - it's fascinating, sometimes, to see the various analyses put forward by those of different gaming preferences and how said analyses...
  • 04:16 PM - pemerton quoted Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    5e does exploration well. It's designed on the premise that the PCs will be acting in a GM built world and exploring the fictional contours the GM has in mind. And, it does this well. It's structure of strong GM authority give the GM the needed control to curate the experience. <snip> 5e does character control well. There's a lot to be said for being able to have absolute authority over once characterization -- to decide what it is you want to roleplay and not be challenged on that. This lets you focus on the external-to-character challenges the game presents which ties very nicely into my first point as much of the game will revolve around this kind of play. 5e excels at GM led and mediated storytelling where the emphasis is on resolving the adventure that is put in front of the PCs with carefully managed spotlight balancing. The character generation rules do a good job of generating characters that have some interesting bits of characterization, but few outside entanglements. The r...
  • 03:12 PM - FrogReaver quoted Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    I donít know what the point of this response was. It doesnít engage with anything Iíve said. You wonít me to...say that I donít know what Iím talking about? Huh? Further, itís a claim about me that has absolutely no evidence to back it up. What claim from ignorance do you think that Iím making that isnít backed by evidence and wonít stand up under scrutiny? If youíre looking for an example of my willingness to claim ignorance on something RPG, look no further than my engagement with Tony (which you read) about Hero. I donít know it. If I want to engage in a discussion about it Iíll either (a) educate myself with firsthand experience or (b) ask questions of and listen to people who do know it. There are lots of things I donít know. Pick 3 topics and youíre sure to find at least 1 with plenty I donít know about. Right you were talking about knowing RPG's from experience (which on a side note I have admitted I don't have experience based knowledge. However I do have cognitive based knowledge i...
  • 12:47 AM - FrogReaver quoted Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Which is why I regularly encourage people to play more and different types of games. And I also regularly recommend people (at least in my life) be willing to have the self-awareness and humility to say ďI donít know.Ē I donít understand this modern phenomena of being unwilling to simply recognize that you donít know what you donít know. There are lots of things I donít know...even in the disciplines/leisure pursuits where Iím learned (you mentioned HERO in our exchange above...donít know the first thing about it...won't even guess itís play experience is like...you said itís fit to reproduce the experience I relayed...I respect your opinion on this so...sure that works for me...if I feel incredulous, Iíll wait until Iíve informed myself before offering any conjecture). So if you donít know...thatís fine...and itís also fine to not take someoneís word for something...but make an effort to know what you donít know. Youíll often find that your intuitions and extrapolations (from malformed heurist...

Friday, 19th July, 2019

  • 11:12 PM - FrogReaver quoted Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    My posts on this subject over the years (and in this thread) involve pretty intensive analysis on why resolution procedure/GMing technique/reward cycle/play ethos/PC build setup (a) objectively provides a different experience than(b) in many different areas (from table handling time to distribution of authority to intraparty balance to party: obstacle balance to cognitive workload and on and on). That fact can also point toward personal investment on the issue that could be clouding your judgement. I think youíre rather short-shrifting all of that with a single heuristic. Or point out a more important heuristic that you just so happened to overlook in your zeal dedication to attribute the differences to the system for all this time. How about this? Do you think itís possible to systematize the experience of reading letters from a loved one and the fallout you incur while youíre in the field (a tour of duty of some kind...something dangerous and emotionally/physically demanding)? If not....

Thursday, 18th July, 2019

  • 11:17 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    If you've never been a grappler, it will be a little bit difficult to attempt to convey things conceptually, but Chess (which I suspect you've played or at least had exposure to) should suffice.Ha! Blatant Nerd Stereotype! Öand true. I hope it should be abundantly clear how those map to "you can't do thing (a) or (b) without me punishing you and putting you closer to your loss condition."Thank you, yes.
  • 09:29 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Do you think itís possible to systematize the experience of reading letters from a loved one and the fallout you incur while youíre in the field (a tour of duty of some kind...something dangerous and emotionally/physically demanding)?I should hope so, that's potentially some powerful drama there. (I'm picturing WWI, for some reason, not being too into the DitV setting.) Does the character conceive a death wish and get killed? Find a renewed reason to live and survive - or die tragically, or even heroically, in spite of that? Become a stronger person or descend into an emotional spiral - if the latter, how can he pull out of it? I mean, it makes you "want to play to find out what happens!" And if youíve never played in systems that try...why are you sure?Thought experiment? I mean, it's not terribly hard to imagine that as a /scene/ (in book/play/movie/show/whatever), and from there, "how would you capture that scene in an RPG?"
  • 07:22 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    1) The Dogs excerpt I brought up earlier is just not doable in other formats. Actually playing through emotional warfare of reading a letter (the acuity-ablating, heart-tugging antagonism of a separated lovestruck couple) and finding out itís actual impacts on the person in the field (who has a dangerous and difficult job that requires total commitment and attention-span), and how those impacts turn into a feedback loop that the character becomes beholden to...well, that is not something that any old resolution mechanics, PC build and reward cycle scheme, and GMing ethos can legitimately pull off.Seems right up FATE's alley, and something that could be touched upon in systems that model the character's psychology in some way (Hero, would be the one I'm most familiar with: psych lims), that can be tested (EGO roll) and change over time (changed around, or exp to 'buy down/off'). Certainly not with the same detail and play dynamics, of course... 2) Look at the extreme disparity of how people p...
  • 03:28 PM - FrogReaver quoted Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    U Weíre complicated animals who live complicated lives. And these games, all of them, are complicated, relatively speaking. Nothing is ever one thing. But I think the line of evidence that I love running something like Dogs, something like 4e, while having many times more experience (and just as much enjoyment) with Moldvay Basic and AD&D1e is a pretty strong one. But you are looking on the individual level and saying those mechanics help you role play. Im looking at an individual level and saying those mechanics hinder my roleplaying The mechanics are the same but we get two different reports of their effects. conclusion: itís nothing to do with the mechanics but our individual differences.
  • 02:35 PM - FrogReaver quoted Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    Iím not Campbell, but Iíll throw some words at this from GMing perspective. Its definitely true that most people almost surely enjoy the experience of games they like, and through their affinity they develop or have a natural aptitude for better play. Humans have pretty extreme neurological diversity, so I would say that itís trivially true that cognitive predispositions and mental frameworks (be they inherent or earned through tenured environmental exposure) can make it less likely that people change significantly over time or pivot from one thing to another, and back, through the course of time. But that is as far as Iím willing to go. Different system tech absolutely enables inhabitation of an experience in ways that others canít. Two easy examples of this: 1) The Dogs excerpt I brought up earlier is just not doable in other formats. Actually playing through emotional warfare of reading a letter (the acuity-ablating, heart-tugging antagonism of a separated lovestruck couple) and finding o...

Monday, 15th July, 2019

  • 10:22 AM - pemerton quoted Manbearcat in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    I want to post some text from Strike (!) and Dogs in the Vineyard as I think it relates to the conversation. What do people think about the below as they pertain to Decide vs/and Discovery and how systematized incentive and constraints can hook into that (augmenting or delineating)I'm not sure about incentives. When I read the Strike(!) I think of "intent and task" and failure narration in BW. Or the example from AW that I posted upthread. If the check fails, the GM is entitled to narrate the failure by imposing a new and unwanted description of the PC's action. But I don't think in any of the systems this could go as far as you've fallen in love with the maiden unless that was the mere capstone to already-established fiction. More like your eye is caught by the maiden's wink, and you fail to notice . . . When I read the DitV I think of the examples I've posted upthread about the paladin and Nightcrawler. At least as I recall it, there is no mechanic in DitV for making it true that (say) ...

Monday, 8th July, 2019

  • 07:00 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Manbearcat in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    This is where these conversations get so unwieldy. I mean...how is this question even conceived? I can see how that could've been clearer. Scenarios of the kind I'm talking about, in the kind of game pemerton's talking about, might have their 'framing' done in play, rather than in advance (by the DM, between sessions), so the win condition might be defined in play. I can see how it could read as the win condition going undefined /until met/, which'd make it hard (but not impossible, assuming there's any way to influence what said win condition becomes) to "play to win." Otherwise, you either outright have Calvinball...Oh, we totally get Calvinball from some systems, at some tables. ;P

Thursday, 4th July, 2019

  • 02:10 AM - Tony Vargas quoted Manbearcat in post Is Pathfinder 2 Paizo's 4E?
    I think this may in fact be a source of dissonance that you and I have in some of these conversations, particularly where it pertains to The Forge and, more specifically, "system matters."I get plenty of dissonance from The Forge. I mean, if the Forge were trying to tell you "roll a d20, you want high," it would take 12000 words, and /none/ of those words would in any way refer to dice, the number of faces on them, nor the target for success - but, they'd sum it up in a completely nonsensical label at the end, so Forgites could say, IDK, "Confirm Brisance" when they mean "roll d20 you want high," and then link you to the 12k word Ron Edwards opus that fails to explain that's what it means. (And, no, I'm not going to tell you how I really feel, I'm going to enjoy my 4-day weekend.) The most fundamental core mechanic of VtM and White Wolf games is "The Golden Rule" or "there are no rules" or, apropos, "system doesn't matter." The Wolfie no-rule is hardly a /mechanic/, but sure, more or les...


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