View Profile: Manbearcat - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 01:55 PM
    In your case, you seem to know both BW and D&D, which are the two systems I referenced in the post of mine that you quoted. Do you have any thoughts about this mind flayer and false memories example that might draw on either of the systems? Or if you want to engage it by reference to another system, that would be interesting too!
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 01:48 PM
    Do you have much experience with 4e D&D? It's a bit of an open question exactly what tools 4e provides, because the skill challenge is - as presented - such an open-ended or un-nailed-down framework that (experience suggests) needs users to bring ideas and/or experience from outside to really get the best out of it. I think a skill challenge might be able to handle the scenario you're...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 10:22 AM
    I'm not sure about incentives. When I read the Strike(!) I think of "intent and task" and failure narration in BW. Or the example from AW that I posted upthread. If the check fails, the GM is entitled to narrate the failure by imposing a new and unwanted description of the PC's action. But I don't think in any of the systems this could go as far as you've fallen in love with the maiden unless...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 10:16 AM
    This is an interesting question - in general, and about D&D play: To what extent is the GM permitted to rewrite player-authored PC backstory by drawing upon a combination of (i) situation and stakes and (ii) failed checks. In BW (for instance) I think this is fair game. The only version of D&D I can think of able to handle this is 4e. I don't really see how it would be done in AD&D. And from...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 10:02 AM
    If the player is avoiding expedience by sticking to conceptualisation, how is that conceptualisation going to be challenged? Or changed? If the player is at liberty to change conceptuatlisation in response to choices, what governs those choices? Self-evidently it can't be conceptualisation. You don't want it to be expedience. Is it whim? Do you have actual play examples to post that...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Today, 09:29 AM
    It's a situation the rules don't cover. I think a vampiric curse would be interesting for roleplay - I didn't say anything about taking away the character.
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Today, 08:23 AM
    I'm not sure I'd include Heinlein as being "sophisticated". At least as far as gender issues go. Funny thing is, if you click the link, there's a big red button for an additional thought to the comic: Kinda funny.
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Today, 06:30 AM
    So I've skimmed the recent bits of the thread. In a follow-up post, I'm going to relay a recent PC:PC social conflict in Strike (!) and invite folks to chime in on how they perceive this anecdote (a) contrasts with gameplay where social conflict isn't formalized and (b) there are neither mechanical feedbacks nor PC build components involved. But first, I want to post some text from Strike (!)...
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Today, 04:28 AM
    Just a bit of a tweak to the nose. :D from http://smbc-comics.com/comic/golden-age
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Today, 12:35 AM
    Gimme a break. No one is telling you to conform. You are being asked to not fling poo every single time the issue comes up. He’s got a point. There is NOTHING stopping you from having 2e style tieflings in your game. Zero. Zip. Nada. So why are you trying to force everyone else to adhere to your tastes?
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:15 PM
    Once they're Raised the Gentle Repose would not be in effect. They've been infected with vampirism, a magical disease, so they come back vampirised. I'd have them turn into a vampire later, as happened to my first PC in ES IV: Oblivion. She completed the game without feeding, then after failing to find a cure she walked into the sunlight.
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:27 PM
    I would be more than willing to discuss the merits of Exalted 3e elsewhere. It is a fundamentally different game that I feel delivers on the promise of previous versions of the game. Here I would like to focus on social mechanics, their effects, and implications.
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:44 PM
    I'd probably have them come back as a Vampire. :D Their hp maximum is 0 so they can't be alive, so if they come back it'll be as undead. Edit: Well really I'd probably let them come back with 1 hp apparently alive, and be able to rest to raise their hp total. The vampire stuff would come later...
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  • chaochou's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:16 PM
    But you don't know anything. You just blithely assert factless, empty garbage. You even accept, when challenged, total ignorance of the subject matter. As such, the key point in this exhange has been to demonstrate that your opinions are worthless.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:08 PM
    (1) This thread is in general RPG. Not D&D. There's a reason for that. (2) I'm not saying that players should or shouldn't do anything in every system. The OP invites discussion about various ways in which true descriptions of PC actions might be established. The current discussion has moved on a bit from that, to also talk about how true descriptions of PC choices, PC emotional states, etc...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:01 PM
    You posted this not too far upthread: Before you posted that, Campbell already posted on outline of mechanics from Exalted which contradict what you said: the player in Exalted (i) does not sit out of the loop, and (ii) does have input on how his/her PC would react. Further upthread I posted the Apocalypse World mechanics for PvP seduction/maipulation. In that system the player gets to...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:52 PM
    This is missing the point. One may as well ask, What story can't D&D produce? Well, if the players and the GM all get together and agree on it then you can play out Casablanca in D&D, can't you? (That was Campbell's point about consensus.) But the current topic of discussion is how that might be done, and what sort of play experience might be involved. The example of Exalted, for instance,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:34 PM
    I guess you can assert things in ignorance, yet avoid error, if you get lucky. On this occasion though, your luck has failed you. The claims you make aren't plausible even within the compass of D&D, which includes the 4e skill challenge mechanic. They are completely wrong when it comes to other systems such as the ones that chaochou has mentioned.
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  • chaochou's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:54 PM
    Again, using the mechanics of Burning Wheel's Duel of Wits, then Blades in the Dark, then Apocalypse World demonstrate how these claims manifest themselves in actual play. Again, you can't and won't because your claims are a) completely empty and false and b) the product of complete ignorance of the available mechanics.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:41 PM
    This completely misunderstands chaochou's point. As I posted upthread, "cheating" or acting on out-of-game motivations has nothing to do with what anyone is talking about in this thread. The basic point is that, in the scenarios you keep putting forward, nothing happens to the PC's inner being or self-conception that the player did not choose. So the player choose that which s/he prefers....
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:35 PM
    Duel of Wits from Burning Wheel has been mentioned. It's an interesting example, because it permits PCs to be persuaded (by other PCs, or by NPCs) but doesn't change their underlying motivations/orientations. In the context of (say) a maiden trying to persuade a PC to help her, it can certainly permit that. And if the maiden is charming or flirty that can factor into her checks (eg FoRK...
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  • chaochou's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:14 PM
    This is entirely ignorant of the range and applications of mechanics available and written into rpgs. You've clearly never read, far less used, any of them and yet seem completely certain of the impact of every one of them on the play experience. Explain how your persuasion situation is resolved in Burning Wheel's Duel of Wits. Then explain how it is resolved in Blades in the Dark. Then in...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:05 PM
    I'll leave the fidelity claim to one side. But the second claim is an empirical one. I'd be curious to see if it's true. Personally I doubt it - I don't have experience with Exalted, but in my experience with other systems that provide various sorts of systematic support for engagement with PC motivations and emotions the range of characters played - when considered in proportion to the overall...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:02 PM
    I tend to play across the whole level range, so I'd say 5-10 is most important but I expect the game to work at all levels and I certainly want 1-15 to be workable. 3e/PF problems at 7+ are a major issue for me since the APs typically go ca 1-15.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:15 AM
    I think this is very important when approaching social/emotional conflict in RPGs. Otherwise there is a significant risk of all the characters turning out to be the same ie merely expedient. That's fine for Dying Earth but not desirable in general, in my view. Can you explain this further in relation to the system you've described? Is this the depletion of Willpower, or something else as well?...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 06:29 PM
    Let me start off by saying I do not like viewing game mechanics through the lens of necessity. No mechanics are actually necessary. Anything can be resolved through consensus. That's what the online freeformers do. However, sometimes consensus is like boring and stuff. I'm going to start with an example of a system that I consider to have the most impact on player agency of the games I like to...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 03:46 PM
    If your perspective is that playing DitV is the same as playing DL, then I have to ask - have you played DitV, or any system like it? So now it's corrosive for people to talk about their play experiences, and what they found different in different systems? This is why I described you upthread as hostile to analysis. As for the idea that GNS is corrosive - the only anger and hostility I...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 03:34 PM
    I can see why you say this. But for me, this brings us back to Campbell's remarks: The absence of choice in the example I provided occurred at the point of the killing. At that point, thie player learns - without having any say over it - that his PC is a killer. At that point, playing the character with integrity generates the crisis. There were subsequent events, too, that played on the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 10:15 AM
    Yes, I mean faithfulness to what the unfolding fiction reveals about the character. Not accuracy. I was trying to build on what Campbell had said. There's the example that's been given by Umbran. Here's another example, which is based on an actual play experience I had many years ago now. The basic structure of the example is not too different from Umbran's. One of the PCs was a...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 04:53 AM
    I have already spoken on how social mechanics can serve as an immersion tool to help players feel what their characters should be feeling in the moment. Another crucial function can be to deliberately welcome the wholly unwelcome. It introduces outcomes which no one at the table would deliberately choose, but are nonetheless compelling. Vincent Baker calls this the fundamental purpose of RPG...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 04:27 AM
    I agree with Ovinomancer and Umbran that making a choice - even a hard choice - isn't a challenge to character and character concept of the sort that has been raised in this thread. Whether you need mechanics (social mechanics, emotional mechanics, whatever they might be) to generate that sort of challenge is a further question. My view is that you don't, although obviously they might help....
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 03:42 AM
    It means that the RPG can have story arcs comparable to other dramatic mediums. In film, think eg Casblanca. In literature, think eg The Human Factor. In genre fiction, think eg Han Solo (who, in Star Wars, turns out not to be the mercenary he thought he was) or Nameless, Jet Li's character in Hero (who in the end choose not to take the vengeance that he had pursued). Of course many other...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Saturday, 13th July, 2019, 02:53 AM
    B/X D&D as a wonderfully tuned focused sandbox dungeon crawling game that provides clear guidance on how to play is one of the better designed role playing games ever made. It does what it does very well. It's character options are remarkably well balanced (better than any edition barring 4e). I say this as someone who did not have the joy of playing or running B/X until the 4e era. My opinions...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Friday, 12th July, 2019, 03:56 AM
    I'm going to say something I expect will be controversial here. If I am playing or running a game that is supposed to be more character focused I absolutely do make aesthetic judgments of other players and I expect the same in kind. We should all be invested in each others' characters - be fans of them. For that to happen players should play their characters as if they were real people with...
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Friday, 12th July, 2019, 01:10 AM
    That’s your definition of small? Ok. I can see why you think the way you do.
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Friday, 12th July, 2019, 12:33 AM
    Very pretty. And, oh look, North is at the top of the map. :D :p
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 11:28 PM
    I run two versions of D&D; 4e and Moldvay Basic. So the answer is while D&D 4e can scratch an itch similar to Mouse Guard, Cortex+ , Dungeon World, and Mouse Guard, it and Moldvay Basic can't reproduce Dogs in the Vineyard, Apocalypse World, Dread, Blades in the Dark, Torchbearer, My Life With Master, Sorcerer, and Star Wars like Strike (!) and Scum and Villainy. Because system matters.
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 03:59 PM
    Basically, what it says in the topic. If I had a house rule that said the following: "Every source of advantage gives you one advantage. Every source of disadvantage gives you one disadvantage. Advantages and disadvantages cancel. If you have any advantages left over, roll an extra d20 for every advantage and take the highest roll. If you have any disadvantages left over, roll an extra...
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 03:46 PM
    I'm not sure if they're still ahead, but they definitely lose a decent amount of damage. The paladins loses 1d8+stat at 11, and the barbarian loses 3+stat, and the fighter loses 2xstat. Making GWM/SS and smites be less valuable is probably a good thing from a game design perspective, but it's still a solid nerf to martial attacks. You'd probably want to nerf cantrips, and especially...
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 01:56 PM
    Well, I started playing with 2E, so it would be tough for me to still be playing OD&D. :) But yes, any decision made on preferences like class is a valid argument. It might not be a compelling argument for most people, but it makes sense as an aesthetic preference.
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 01:50 PM
    My argument is simply that "what's core" shouldn't matter. "What's available" should be the metric used to make the decision. If your favorite classes aren't present in PF2 in 2019, and you don't want to switch because they aren't there, that's fine. If your favorite classes are available in an expansion book in 2020, and you still don't to switch because they didn't make those classes in...
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 09:26 AM
    I'm planning to do this myself next year once the second box is available in UK. Also throwing in B3 Palace of the Silver Princess! And I might add Sunless Citadel, or keep it back in case the PCs leave the start area. Planning to use 2-3 sessions/level right from the start, to spend more time in the 1-4 range.
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 07:28 AM
    On Saturday my PC group had a 19th level Rogue tried to shoot then hide vs an ancient blue dragon - Passive Perception 27 ...nope. :) +17 stealth = RT 27 vs PP 27; if you are trying to hide then on a tie situation remains unchanged. Also, you can normally only hide if you have cover.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 05:48 AM
    In D&D there is no limit - neither a hard one, nor even a soft one based on principles - as to how many special abilities a GM can use and how many saves s/he might force. This is not a universal truth of RPG design: I quoted the principle from Prince Valiant upthread; Marvel Heroic RP/Cortex+ Heroic uses the Doom Pool to modulate the challenges the GM introduces; other systems have other...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 05:40 AM
    And by that we can reasonably extrapolate that for game purposes a cave troll has lots of hit points and-or a high Con score. <snip> Just as you can't say a creature described as being particularly tough (relative to other creatures) in the fiction doesn't have lots of hit points, you can't say a creature with lots of hit points (relative to other creatures) isn't tough. Put another way,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 05:33 AM
    I don't see how this could be a general truth about RPGing. Maybe it's a truth about a certain sort of approach to D&D, Classic Traveller and maybe RQ. In Marvel Heroic RP, combat - ie fisticuffs between superheroes and supervillains - isn't a result of failing to overcome challenges in some other fashion. It's how heroes defeat villains! In Prince Valiant, a joust can be anything from...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 05:31 AM
    This could really be a topic all its own.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 03:41 AM
    A long post as I catch up on this thread. The second bit here suggest to me that you're not familiar with the play of any of the non-D&D games that Aldarc, Umbran, Ovinomancer and I have referenced - Fate, Pendrgaon, Prince Valiant, MHRP/Cortex+ Heroic, Bunring Wheel, etc. And the first bit is odd, because the way you find out whether a D&D character is tough enough to beat Orcus in a fight...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 03:30 AM
    Lanefan, FrogReaver - you've both made some recent posts which dispute the analysis of action put foward in the OP. Eg you both deny that I melt the maiden's heart with my wink is a true description of a PC's action, and a description of the same action as I wink at the maiden (although obviously a different description). I'm not that interested in turning this thread into an argument in the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 03:29 AM
    This is why I say you don't undertand the 4e combat resolution mechanics. This claim isn't true of 4e; hit points aren't a description of anything. The toughness of a creature is described in the fiction - just as (say) JRRT conveys that the cave troll is tough. The hit points are then a device - together with AC, attack rolls, damage dice etc - that are used to determine the outcomes of fights....
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 03:22 AM
    Well let's turn it around. Why is it so important to you that you have played narrativsit? Are you making a judgement? I don't play many boardgames other than backgammon (which I love). But modern boardgames, with their need for clever and calculated play, are things I'm not very good at. My personal discount curve is too steep (probably in all areas of my life, and certainly in these games)....
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 02:13 AM
    I really have no idea. There was no specific reason why AC was 2 higher than NADs either. In HoML I simply did away with AC (armor provides a small amount of DR) and then simply put out a blanket proficiency bonus rule which applies to weapons training, skill training, and 'tool' training (anything else which might fit the same pattern, technically weapons basically ARE 'tools' in this system). ...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 01:31 AM
    Tony Vargas Garthanos This is where I bill the 'non-wonky math' feature of HoML. Since a skill check and an attack roll are going to work exactly the same, you can simply make powers which attack with skill checks! That makes this sort of design a lot cleaner. Instead of imputing all sorts of craziness to a Diplomacy or Intimidate check, you simply create a power, which has an attack line of...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 11:48 PM
    I disagree that 5e is more flexible. I attribute most of its success in being wonderfully tuned to the predominant play pattern first established with Dragonlance and refined by 1990s games like Vampire, Shadowrun, Legend of the 5 Rings, etc. GM creates an elaborate plot for players to play through. Along the way they get to express their predefined awesomeness at controlled points, but never...
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 11:30 PM
    Although I fought the label at first I have found that I'm fairly immersion focused as a player. Mechanics that help me feel the pressure of social expectations, emotions, and weight of character beliefs only serve to aid in immersion. I'm not a huge fan of mechanics that dictate behavior, but ones that impact success and failure like strings in Monsterhearts or Conditions and Influence in Masks...
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 07:12 PM
    Like Tony Vargas said, giving up damage to do X is basically a lost cause. (That's why Battle Master Manuevers are all "spend a die to do X AND add damage.) If you're looking at more broad systemic changes, something like allowing advantage and disadvantage to stack could be relevant in a battle maneuver system. Every time you gain an advantage or disadvantage, you gain +1 d20 to the roll....
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 06:19 PM
    Sure; you could certainly argue that all of the multiclass archetypes are already cross-class archetypes, so it should be easy to add more. They'd just be of the type "Replace Class Feat X with options from this different pool of Feats." But the fact that there are fixed class features means that alternate class features that are specific replacements of those fixed features will no doubt be...
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 05:23 PM
    Oh, sure, using that as an attack against the system as a whole is absolutely a crappy argument. (Just like "But it doesn't have druids or bards" was a crappy argument against 4e.) But "I don't find a lot of the features of the new system that compelling, especially when my current edition has a lot more options, so I'm not enthused to switch" is valid.
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 05:02 PM
    The boon/bane system is very clever. One subtlety I like is that there a quite a few features that let you add a bonus effect if you take a bane or multiple banes on the roll. Since the most valuable boon is always the first one (because it adds about 3.5 to the roll, whereas later boons only add 1 or less than 1), this lets you trade out excess boons to gain bonus effects.
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 04:46 PM
    I agree with that in principle, but it's a valid argument in terms of not wanting to make a switch in 2019, when one edition has the options already and one will only have them in the future. I mean, losing out on currently existing options is a pretty valid argument against making any almost any edition switch.
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  • steenan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 04:41 PM
    I think the question is strange. It treats D&D as some kind of default, as if one needed a reason to play something different. For me, D&D was just one of the games I tried; neither the first nor the best one. In general, I prefer varied experiences. I switch between games to do something different. Sometimes, we play series of one-shots, jumping between games. At other times, we play...
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 04:39 PM
    No. That was easy.
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  • Scrivener of Doom's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 12:21 PM
    Don't forget there is a difference between revenue and profit....
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  • S'mon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 11:40 AM
    S'mon replied to OSR Gripes
    I generally prefer 5e, but running OSR helped me be a better 5e GM.
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 11:25 AM
    Shhhh. If you added this sort of thing, the edition warriors would have had the WotC dev's heads on pikes. After all, this is precisely what 4e did and apparently everyone hated it because it was a spectacularly bad idea. So bad of an idea that it retroactively kicked puppies before they were even born. So, good luck with this.
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 01:26 AM
    'Diplomancy' to me just always seemed like it should be a CLASS! I mean, there are skills, but they more represent 'knacks' or general knowledge than anything else. If you have some focused ability to do something, the that sounds like (in 4e parlance anyway) a POWER. Now, there are skill powers, so that can work as a way to get a little bit of something on the side, and you could of course work...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 12:08 AM
    GNS is an analytic framework. It's not a claim about what anyone has or hasn't done, or should or shouldn't have done. It's a claim about a certain sort of goal of play, not about system; but there is a recognition that some systems suit some goals better than other systems do, and better than they suit other goals. There's not reason to think that any given goal must be present in play...
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  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 07:42 PM
    Yea, in my own groups, counterspell is cast and hope for the best, we don't have spell ID rules. So hitting 4th and 5th level spells (a fairly broad swath of spells) is a noticeable boon. Sure. Having a reserve of spells to pull out when the situation demands it is obviously the single biggest benefit to playing a caster. But it's not like having a counterspell available is an either/or...
    42 replies | 1232 view(s)
    0 XP
  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 06:06 PM
    Yea, the initial goal of the proficiency levels was to open up new abilities. A lot of feats and abilities were tied into having expert or master or legendary level of proficiency in a skill. But playtesters in general didn't respond well to increasing proficiency without noticeable increases in the die roll modifier.
    126 replies | 8722 view(s)
    0 XP
  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 05:09 PM
    I don't disagree with your overall point (PF is overall much better than 3.5), but it does have the same "Angel Summoner vs BXM biker" issues; the people who play Pathfinder simply ignore it or embrace it and play Angel Summoners. :)
    39 replies | 1467 view(s)
    0 XP
  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 04:55 PM
    The Paizo developers stated specifically early in the playtest that they want moderate to high level heroes to be able to take down hundreds of low-level enemies without being threatened; it was the particular flavor of high fantasy they wanted. You can certainly fault them for the design goal (it's not an aesthetic I particularly favor), but the decision to add +level to all proficient...
    126 replies | 8722 view(s)
    5 XP
  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 04:42 PM
    That's interesting, because to my mind, I'd rather have the warlock do it. Auto-upcast, the warlock doesn't have as many high-leverage spells as the sorc/wiz, and burning a short rest resource rather than a long. I mean, ideally, if you have a sorc/wiz and a warlock, I'd rather see both of them have it. But that might be because I've been hit by high level casters too many times. :)
    42 replies | 1232 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 03:41 PM
    It seems to me that "win condition" here is turning into something like happy with the outcome. Whereas in a scenario like ToH or Ghost Tower of Inverness or The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan or White Plume Mountain or Castle Amber (to fasten on some classics of the genre) when we talk about win conditions we're certainy not talking about (say) being happy with how we reconciled two feuding members...
    126 replies | 8722 view(s)
    3 XP
  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 02:53 PM
    Yea, the warlock was a replacement character, so I already had a pretty good sense of what would synergize strongly. But I think we all know that optimizing to your specific party and DM is the first rule of practical optimization. Sure. I was preparing to drop it as soon as I got a magic weapon, it just never actually.... happened. (Thanks, DM!) Situational swapping of invocations and...
    42 replies | 1232 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 11:27 AM
    This seems to miss the whole point of the OP. If person A jums over the Grand Canyon, it follows that A tried to jump over the Grand Canyon. But A didn't perform two different actions - trying to jump the canyon, and then actually jumpiing it. S/he performed a single action which falls under both descriptions. Which descriptions are made true in a RPG, by whom, and how, is what this thread...
    623 replies | 14992 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 11:04 AM
    Heh. I’m glad I’m not the only one.
    49 replies | 1820 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 07:15 AM
    There is an assertion by some, or at least a very strong implication, that the PC can fail the test, or even feel its force, only if the player decides. In what sense? What body part moves? What intention is formed? Of course the maiden is acting: she is winking. But the PC whose heart is melted is not. No no more than it is an action on Frodo's part to have his finger bitten off by Gollum.
    623 replies | 14992 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 07:13 AM
    This still makes no sense. Are you talking about the fiction (in which nothing has hp - hit points are not a part of the gameworld) or about resolution mechanics? Likewise. I don't think you understand how 4e's combat rules work.
    623 replies | 14992 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 07:11 AM
    Not really. Suppose that the first is stated by the GM, the player makes a Resist Passion roll, and fails, and then the GM state the second. How did this situation suddenly change from "test" to "manipulation"? Or to give a different example. The GM has described the dungeon corridor that the PCs are standing in. The player says I walk down the left-hand path, inspecting the ceiling as I go....
    623 replies | 14992 view(s)
    1 XP
  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 04:18 AM
    Depends on party composition, really. We had an open hand monk in the party, so prone and stunned enemies were extremely common. And it would be more common on boss fights, since the monk would burn 5 ki a round if necessary to get the stun to stick. Personally, I only took EA and GWM. PAM is a boost, of course, but I found triple advantage attacks, especially combined with hexblade...
    42 replies | 1232 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Campbell's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 03:47 AM
    Scene framing isn't really part of play though. The play exists once a scene has been framed. Framing -> Play -> Framing -> Play. What's important is that player decisions are based on solid ground during the moment of play.
    126 replies | 8722 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 8th July, 2019, 06:52 PM
    This is where these conversations get so unwieldy. I mean...how is this question even conceived? OF COURSE THEY DO. If the point of play is (a) competitive integrity and (b) autonomy and expression of agency in decision points (and it is in this case; Gamism)...well, in any_activity where these things are the apex play priority, the legitimacy of (a) and (b) utterly depends upon win/loss...
    126 replies | 8722 view(s)
    2 XP
  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Monday, 8th July, 2019, 05:07 PM
    Feeling prophetic, might delete later....idk.
    214 replies | 8424 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Monday, 8th July, 2019, 09:09 AM
    Never minding the number of sock puppet accounts people have as well.
    177 replies | 5804 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 8th July, 2019, 08:44 AM
    The issue is framing it, in advance, as a scenario with win conditions. That can very easily butt up against the notion of establishing a story through play as opposed to playing through a pre-established story. I can't ask you to prove a negative, so what would you consider "support?"A serious account of someone who turned up to play Burning Wheel, played through something like DL or...
    126 replies | 8722 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Monday, 8th July, 2019, 12:14 AM
    Hussar replied to No Magic Shops!
    Not sure I buy that Maxperson, since the last two modules I bought - Dragon Heist and Ghosts of Saltmarsh include rather lengthy rules additions. GoS contains all the rules needed for running naval combat, for example. So, it's not like modules are not a source of mechanics. Traditionally, as well, in D&D, modules have often served as the source for new mechanics or for adjustments of existing...
    960 replies | 45998 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th July, 2019, 10:04 PM
    Upthread the notion of roleplaying - what it is, what it isn't - was raised. The closest to a consensus position that was put forward was that it involved playing the role of a character in a fictional world. In a RPG, there is an additional element of advocacy for the character on account of it being a game, where the participants therefore in some sense aspire to do well. A number of...
    623 replies | 14992 view(s)
    3 XP
  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th July, 2019, 09:37 PM
    .. / - .... .. -. -.- / .. - / .-- --- ..- .-.. -.. / .-- --- .-. -.- / ..-. .. -. .
    25 replies | 734 view(s)
    2 XP
  • TwoSix's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th July, 2019, 09:19 PM
    I don't know if I'd go that far. It's the only class that can leverage Elven Accuracy and GWM together, for example. Considering how ridiculously common gaining melee advantage is in most party compositions, it's a pretty strong combination. I'm probably biased because I played a half-elf hexblade for about a year, but it's been my favorite character so far mechanically. It's not the king...
    42 replies | 1232 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th July, 2019, 09:14 PM
    No. We're asking you what action you think is required on your PC's part. At least I am. (And I'm pretty sure the same is true for hawkeyefan.) My heart being melted isn't an action. It's an emotional state. What action do you think is required/dictated by that state?
    623 replies | 14992 view(s)
    0 XP
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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 “creeping horrors” ... 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".

Wednesday, 1st May, 2019

  • 12:52 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Stakes and consequences in action resolution
    ...ces to make sure I crack that safe, for nothing. But then, I turn around, and the paper I wanted was right there all the time! The resulting fiction is not about a great thief and safecracker - it is a fiction about a person who spends effort but only gets what they want by dumb luck. I think you need to re-read the quote from Vincent Baker: he's putting forward that example as an example of why he doesn't like task resolution. And I'm saying that I, personally and speaking only for myself, agree with thim. I should add - the example he gives, where the PC fails at the task to gain information but the GM feed in success anyway - is one that I have seen in more than one published adventure module. It's very common for those modules to have "backup" options for if the players fail to take, or to succeed, at the steps needed to get the requisite information. Like Vincent Baker, I find this to be bad RPGing because it undermines the sense of stakes and consequences. And to borrow Manbearcat's terminology, it introduces "false action" - in this case, false failure. There's any number of times when a thing is important because it is a critical resource of the BBEG, that ultimately the PCs want to destroy. Maybe spilling it on the floor, ruining it, is exactly what the PCs want. At this stage, they don't know. Heck, the GM didn't know. How on Earth can you claim to be honestly informing the players of the stakes if you don't know them yourself?Well, for the reasons that I gave in my post, it was clear in the context of play that spilling the fluid was a bad thing. For the GM to turn that around would be tantamount to cheating, or at least very poor play. I'm not a Dungeon World GM and have only a bit of play experience with that system, but I can describe what resulted from the fluid spill using some DW terminology: * I was thinking offscreen, that is, keeping in mind the spill of the fluid for future adverse revelation; * I took something from the characte...

Thursday, 25th April, 2019

  • 02:04 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    ...king that assumption, then I'm still confused about what you're saying but am also confused about why I'm confused! In a post-OP post somewhere upthread I think I mentioned classic dungeoncrawling along the lines of Gygax's PHB (which is what I understand you to mean by OSR-type play). As I said in that post, I don't think that play of that sort is a literary endeavour, because it's not an artistic endeavour at all. In respect of the goals and outlook of play (though not all the methods), it's closer to a wargame. But that wasn't what I had in mind in my OP. In my OP I'm talking about play that (if one can speak relatively broadly) would be the sort of play involved in a PbtA game. Though, as I've said, my actual PbtA play exerpience is modest, I'm pretty familiar with character-driven, largely "no myth" play based aroudn the core dynamic of GM frames scene which invites protagnoism from players via their PCs and in response players engage fiction via their PCs. It's because Manbearcat is familiar with this feature of my biography as a RPGer that he posed the questions he did not far upthread. To summarise, Manbearcat asked how the GMing techniques of that sort of play - building on prior fiction; responding to and building on theme and similar player-flagged points of interest/engagement; managing the pacing issues need to achieve effective transition from scene-to-scene so as to keep the invitations open while allowing the protagonism to play itself out - fit with my contention in the OP. My response is twofold: (i) extrapolating and building on a fiction within parameters of theme/interest/"meaningfulness" is not about quaity of form, insofar as it can be done even by a GM who is not particularly artistic or skillful in his/her actual narration of situations and consequences (I know this because I've experienced it); (ii) the sorts of pacing issues involved in GMing generally operate at a level (relative to the narrative) whereby managing them is more about wh...

Thursday, 18th April, 2019

  • 11:08 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post To boxed text or not to boxed text
    you seem to be going out of your way to ruin other people's fun by demanding that modules be written to your preferences, which are not shared by other people (and which do not matter to you).As best I'm aware Manbearcat and I exercise no influence over the hobby-gaming publishing industry other than as participants in the consumer side of the market. Whose fun do you think we're ruining? Are you saying we're morally obliged to pay for or advocate for boxed text modules so that others can derive their perceived beneift from them? The OP asked for views and preferences. I gave mine, and offered some explanation for them. You would prefer my preferences not be univesalised. Fine. I would prefer that others' preferences not be universalised, for two reasons. (1) I prefer a hobby where fewer GMs are taught that pre-secripted narration and railroading is at the heart of RPGing; (2) If the preference for boxed-text was universalised then I wouldn't be able to purchase excellent products like the Prince Valiant Episode Book. Nor would I have the use of such classic, box-free scenarios as B2. Part of what makes B2 usable by me is that it presents a place (the Keep) and a series of situations (the prox...

Wednesday, 17th April, 2019

  • 09:21 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post To boxed text or not to boxed text
    Manbearcat, such a good example! Am I the only one who thinks this is really mindless hair splitting? Box text is nice because it can provide theme as well as substance. "The room is poorly lit by dim moonlight entering through a half-covered window on the far side. A light breeze flows through the open window causing the shadows of the covered furniture to move ever so slightly. The only thing uncovered in the room is a large standing mirror which doesn't appear to reflect the room." Broken down into bullet points you can convey the same relevant information, but completely miss the feeling. -The room is poorly lit and there is a light breeze coming from an open window. -There is a variety of covered furniture in the room. -Only a large standing mirror is uncovered. If this were any old room, the bullet points are fine. If this was Curse of Strahd, the bullet points would absolutely destroy the feeling. Reliance on the DM to be creative is not why I play boxed adventures. ...

Saturday, 30th March, 2019

  • 11:16 AM - pemerton mentioned Manbearcat in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ... player priority, hence pawn stance and we're done. The odd bit of actor stance (eg the elf playing pranks on the dwarf when nothing else is at stake) is simply not that significant to the overall analysis. And once we get to "story"-focusd D&D play of the post-DL, 2nd ed era variety, then I think the assumption is that the GM will establish the key player motivations (by setting backstory, policing alignment, all the standard techniques) and players are expected to adopt actor stance within that context. I think this is borne out by the AD&D 2nd ed text that I quoted a little bit upthread. For the troll example to fit neatly into this conception, either the GM tells the players that their PCs know about trolls, or tells them that the PCs are ignorant. Then the player plays his/her PC as appropriate (perhaps with a significant degree of awkwardness or frustration if s/he knows the answer but has to pretend not to). There is no expectation that this sort of play will produce what Manbearcat called "discovery" - as opposed to fidelity to the motivational scheme established by the GM.


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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...

Thursday, 27th June, 2019

  • 12:57 AM - pemerton quoted Manbearcat in post GM DESCRIPTION: NARRATION OR CONVERSATION?
    I don't think of Apocalypse World or Dungeon World as scene-driven games. All of D&D combat is "scene-based." 5e D&D play that deploys the Social Interaction mechanics should be scene-based. I think of all of D&D 4e, Cortex+, Mouse Guard, Fate, Dogs in the Vineyard, Strike (!), and (due to many segments of play being scene-based) Blades in the Dark (Action Scenes with Clocks and certain Downtime activities) as scene-driven games. Torchbearer is sort of a tweener, similar to Blades.Adding some thoughts to this: Marvel Heroic RP/Cortex+ Heroic is very much a scene-based game, to the extent that the way actions are declared and resolved depends upon whether the game is current in an Action Scene or a Transition Scene. Burning Wheel tends to be scene-based, although it doesn't quite have the formal mechanical architecture of (say) MHRP or 4e D&D or any version of D&D combat. The scene-based character of the game emerges from the GMing principles and especially the emphasis on, and integrati...

Wednesday, 26th June, 2019

  • 09:15 AM - Aldarc quoted Manbearcat in post The urban fantasy market seems awfully stagnant
    I'm with Aldarc here. I don't think the answer is a single general use Urban Fantasy TTRPGing system with theme/premise-neutral mechanics to rule them all (this almost always leads to an overwhelming GM presence in play trajectory to manufacture an experience...typically putting players in a significantly more passive position than in a game like Blades in the Dark). This is precisely why I brought up Blades in the Dark. I think the answer is MORE niche Urban Fantasy TTRPGing systems with encoded theme/premise and a holisitic approach to system (all mechanics, reward cycles, ethos, participant authority) that relentlessly focuses on producing an emergent fiction and participant experience around those things.Here is where I would advocate the use of Urban Shadows. Urban Shadows (and its use of the PbtA system) leans heavily into exploring through play the implications, complications, and satisfactions of "being" the supernatural (or the aware mundane). The playbook is meant to embrace th...

Monday, 24th June, 2019

  • 03:52 PM - Umbran quoted Manbearcat in post The urban fantasy market seems awfully stagnant
    Ah ok. (I’m asking this out of a position of ignorance) So when someone refers to “Urban Fantasy” in TTRPGing, are they referring to “a malleable game/system without a tight play premise baked in so it can be drifted to (say) the modern focus of ‘paranormal romance’ or something similar?” It seems the OP wants that. It isn't part of Urban Fantasy in and of itself.
  • 03:23 PM - Aldarc quoted Manbearcat in post The urban fantasy market seems awfully stagnant
    Ah ok. (I’m asking this out of a position of ignorance) So when someone refers to “Urban Fantasy” in TTRPGing, are they referring to “a malleable game/system without a tight play premise baked in so it can be drifted to (say) the modern focus of ‘paranormal romance’ or something similar?”In the context of the OP? I would say, yes, that appears to be the case: Of the urban fantasy games that have come out in the last three decades or so, the one that seems to dominate the market is World of Darkness. Well, that and Shadowrun. I could be wrong, that's the impression I get. What sets World of Darkness apart from something like Dungeons & Dragons, All Flesh Must be Eaten, Urban Shadows, Monsterhearts, or Feed is that it isn't a "generic" game which supports a variety of settings. It has a three decade old convoluted comic-book style continuity baked in. The less said about the mechanics the better. Especially the superpowers. It you want my opinion at its most succinct, then I believe a mec...
  • 02:44 PM - Aldarc quoted Manbearcat in post The urban fantasy market seems awfully stagnant
    Does Blades in the Dark not qualify as Urban Fantasy? Grimdark, cutthroat urban setting (Duskvol) - check Paranormal (overruneth and all kinds) - check Magic - check Factions/tribes embroiled in endless war to ascend hierarchy - checkIt is definitely Urban Fantasy, but the BitD setting is incredibly restrictive both in geographic scope (Duskvol) and its breadth of urban fantasy tropes. I don't think that one could readily use BitD for a generic urban fantasy game. It curtails itself to a fairly particular play experience. This is one of its strengths, but it can also work against its favor. d20 Modern was fun, but the base classes were the best case for a traditionally class-based system to say "why have classes at all?".This is how Modern AGE, possibly the closest successor to d20 Modern (albeit 3d6 instead of d20), approached it. Instead of adopting the three class system of the AGE system (warrior, mage, rogue), it instead opted to go classless.

Sunday, 23rd June, 2019

  • 11:45 PM - Fenris-77 quoted Manbearcat in post The urban fantasy market seems awfully stagnant
    Does Blades in the Dark not qualify as Urban Fantasy? Grimdark, cutthroat urban setting (Duskvol) - check Paranormal (overruneth and all kinds) - check Magic - check Factions/tribes embroiled in endless war to ascend hierarchy - check QFT - great system. There are still recent exemplars of urban fantasy that have been excellent. The show based on Lev Grossman's Magicians was good, Supernatural is going into it's 14th season and has been hugely popular, The Strain was good. Heck, even Riverdale is essentially urban fantasy. Ghosts, spooks, magic and the rest in a modern setting are still very popular and still seem to be everywhere - you just need to avoid that particular "sexy vampires in black leather" WoD bit and most people are still very much on board. Even that can be done well - the Dresden Files has some very WoD bits around the edges and is still wildly popular.

Tuesday, 18th June, 2019

  • 08:44 AM - reelo quoted Manbearcat in post Favorite things about your favorite edition: MECHANICS/RULES ONLY
    1E - strictly defined race/class themes and limitations - something I much prefer to the 'anything goes' style of later editions. 1E - uneven class progression - giving each class a chance to shine at different levels, there were no stressing over keeping the party levels relatively even either. (also true for 2E) B/X - The tight, holistic focus of design around its play paradigm. - The Exploration Turn/Rest > Wandering Monster Clock > Resource Attrition/Risk Reward Cycle Loop. - Monster Reactions/Morale. - Gold for xp. Same for me. BX seems less about collaboratively storytelling and more about collaborative problem-solving and ressource management. That's not to say storytelling isn't possible or encouraged, but "player smarts" are as vital, if not more so, than character/class abilities.

Saturday, 15th June, 2019

  • 02:17 AM - Riley37 quoted Manbearcat in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Ok, so I understand your position. So I guess I just have a few questions/thoughts: I sense the presence of some useful angles on the questions at hand. I also can't sort out the meaning of some of your sentences. I'm amused that I'm having this problem, in a conversation which has gone round and round on form versus content. I want to understand your points. In #2: In how many of those cases, did the GM have a strong track record of success with systems they knew well, then struggle while running another, new-to-them system? (If that's the issue, then I have further questions about GMs applying fundamentals in familiar systems versus in newly-learned systems.) In #3: What is GM-workshopping? Does it involve GM A watching GM B prepare a scenario and then watch while GM B runs a table? Is it one-on-one, or a group activity? In #4: are you using > to mean "greater than", or to mean "and then as subsequent steps in a process", or something else? Thanks!

Friday, 14th June, 2019

  • 03:22 PM - lowkey13 quoted Manbearcat in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Ok, so I understand your position. So I guess I just have a few questions/thoughts: 1) Why can’t Aptitude Bias run the other direction (as so many do); overestimating the importance of a honed Skill-set or natural affinity? Good question! And the answer is .... because then it wouldn't be aptitude bias as you are calling it. :) I don't mean that to be snarky; but to give you the appropriate analogy (with a bit of a joke that is so appropriate here), think of the framing bias (framing effect). The framing bias exists when people are presented options, and those options are given with positive or negative semantics. However, it wouldn't be correct to say that the framing bias "runs in the other direction" and that people OVERESTIMATE the importance of presenting options with positive or negative semantics. One is a cognitive bias that refers to how a person can't see how they are biased; the other refers to the belief that a cognitive bias is stronger than it might be. We'll call it proje...
  • 04:24 AM - lowkey13 quoted Manbearcat in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Citing the above, I want to make sure I've captured your position before I attempt to move the conversation forward. To do so, I'm going to also cite the below from me: "the ability to communicate with economy but provocatively almost certainly has an amplification effect...one way or the other...but not a causal effect...hence why it’s lower on the hierarchy)." Is your position that I (and others) have a blind spot for the gravity of the amplification effect I cite above (or further still, that it is indeed a causal effect) because of natural ability/decades of honing the crafts of exposition and oratory? Some kind of cognitive bias due to being well-practiced; call it "Aptitude Bias?" So, let me first answer that with a video- https://youtu.be/-g-Pzf7-Bso Did you watch? Good! "I can't frame that. There's loads and loads of things you just did that might as well be magic!" You see where I'm going with this, yes? So when you ascribe positions on the hierarchy, it's necessarily from the...

Thursday, 13th June, 2019

  • 07:41 PM - lowkey13 quoted 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. The former. my color scheme is default text on black background of that helps (I’m computer incompetent so that is the best I got). Weird. Well, when I go to edit it, it doesn't show as being formatted to a particular color?????
  • 07:24 PM - lowkey13 quoted Manbearcat in post Formatting- Quotes Not Coming Out Correctly
    YOU ARE CORRECT SIR Invisible text in other thread and linked thread. Is it invisible to you, as in "If I select the text, or change my color scheme, it appears!" ... or is it invisible, as in ... not there?
  • 07:12 PM - lowkey13 quoted Manbearcat in post Formatting- Quotes Not Coming Out Correctly
    The text in the bottom quote is visible to me. Arghhh! Okay, but the quotes in the other thread didn't look right? What about the thread that I link to in this OP- https://www.enworld.org/forum/showth...=1#post7618903 Can you see that quote in that?

Wednesday, 12th June, 2019

  • 07:23 PM - Lanefan quoted Manbearcat in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Couple things: 1) In the spirit of this thread, I was trying to demonstrate that the framing of the creature is hierarchically more important than the words used to depict it (though again, they matter...they’re just lower in the hierarchy). I'd say that's a matter of opinion. Without words, there is no framing; and without the right words the framing very likely isn't going to come off in the manner intended. 2) If you aren’t thematically framing a “bogeyman” as a bogeyman, then it seems pretty apt to point out that the situation the PCs are confronted with would be “bogeymanless”! Perhaps, but it's still a slimy creature with big teeth and an attitude that the PCs have to deal with in whatever manner they see fit. 3) In your last sentence, what do “threat”, “interesting”, and “does it right” mean here in terms of confronting the PCs with a bogeyman trope? Are you just saying that you can present bogeymen in “bogeyman-neutral” ways that are still interesting threats? If so, that’s a ...
  • 04:57 PM - lowkey13 quoted Manbearcat in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    ...understanding dramatic device, but don’t correlate them profoundly to certain facets of exposition skill (I do correlate it to some aspects; the ability to communicate with economy but provocatively almost certainly has an amplification effect...one way or the other...but not a causal effect...hence why it’s lower on the hierarchy). ...dude. You are literally using hierarchy in its adverb form.This single sentence starts with "Hence" (that is one of TWO hences), contains multiple ellipses, a parenthetical, and multiple subclauses. I am just going to quote this small passage of nine words within the sentence- "correlate them profoundly to certain facets of exposition skill[.]" The overall passage has a Flesch Reading Ease level of 38.58 (lower is harder); for comparison, Moby Dick averages 57.9, and this compares favorably in difficulty to an article in the Harvard Law Review. What is my point? Wait, allow me to quote myself- Look, let's use the examples of, say, you, Pemerton, Manbearcat, and Bedrockgames. Just because you've all posted recently and you're all advocates of the "But it's just conversation and framing" mode (more or less, I am simplifying). Look at the comments you have made in defense of this theory. Long, lengthy, well-written, good grammar, decent vocabulary, engaged with the argument, and so on. ...what I'm getting at is that you are overlooking your own backgrounds. I keep joking that there is this return to a concept of "highfalutin'" because that's what is happening. It's easy to overlook what you have. But if it's not apparent, this is why (inter alia) D&D is so useful for kids with autism; because they don't have these natural abilties, and because it can help teach .... narrative and emotion which goes into proper framing. But to re-state the obvious; yes, of course you don't see yourself engaged in anything but "mere conversation" or "mere framing" because you're already experienced, and your natural ability, honed through those years of...
  • 12:40 AM - pemerton quoted Manbearcat in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Is it possible to be very good at conflict framing (a) and resolution (b) yet be mediocre in words usage on the journey from a to b?Yes. Someone can be good at plotting but poor at scripting. Someone can have good imagination for drama, conflict, story and yet be a bad writer. Is the inverse possible (poor at framing and resolution but beautiful prose/oratory)?I would say so, yes.

Tuesday, 11th June, 2019

  • 09:13 PM - lowkey13 quoted Manbearcat in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    I feel like there is a teeny tiny excluded middle between MAXIMUM TERSENESS (SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY) and exposition economy (while still managing the key components of dramatic device) :) Hehehehehehehe. So, the second one is quick and easy. IMO, of course someone can be great at, say, writing (beautiful prose) but unable to provide a good spoken narration. It's closer when it comes to someone who is really good at oratory; it is IME unusual and unlikely, but POSSIBLE for someone to be able to be very good at certain forms of oratory, yet not good at framing/resolution. The first one isn't easy, but here goes- Proper framing/resolution requires choice of words that are appropriate for the occasion. Different people will have different styles that are appropriate and, therefore, work. But IME, I have not seen a GM who is both EXCELLENT at framing/resolution, and terrible at oratory/word usage. It doesn't happen. Some people might claim that- I would imagine that some, like the OP, honestly beli...


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