View Profile: MNblockhead - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:57 PM
    iserith replied to Is This Odd?
    Sure, and that argues for page-setting when playing with new players, just as would be the case in my view for playing any game with new players. I run a fair amount of pickup games (not as much as I used to) and the first thing on my table rules is: "Before doing or saying anything, remember to consider the goals of play by asking yourself, 'Is what I'm about to do or say going to be fun for...
    34 replies | 839 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:41 PM
    iserith replied to Is This Odd?
    Yes, I think what is frequently forgotten in these discussions is that the players, regardless of the situation, are obligated to pursue the goals of play, that is, everyone having fun and contributing to the creation of an exciting memorable tale. It's spelled out right in the rules. Whether you know the module backwards and forwards or not, your decisions as a player still have to achieve...
    34 replies | 839 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:32 PM
    iserith replied to Is This Odd?
    Yes. Players frequently replay my one-shots with full knowledge of what to expect, sometimes many times over. This just isn't a problem in my experience. That said, there is no module I have ever run as-is because they are in my opinion frequently terrible. Especially the plot-based ones. My question is less about what people's particular opinions are on this (which are varied and...
    34 replies | 839 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:56 PM
    iserith replied to Is This Odd?
    I personally would not say that.
    34 replies | 839 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:39 PM
    iserith replied to Is This Odd?
    It's not clear to me where the presupposition that players shouldn't be drawing on hard-won information even comes from. It seems to me to be as old as the hills but I don't really recall any rules books saying we should be doing this. And it certainly doesn't say that in the D&D 5e books. "Metagame thinking" is solely a risk to the player in that he or she might be basing character actions on...
    34 replies | 839 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:29 PM
    iserith replied to Double Dash
    You have to flip this around and make the fighter the quarry for this to work most of the time. Quarry gets a chance to hide at the end of every round as long as there is something to hide behind. Rogues are typically not too shabby at hiding which means the rogue will generally get away. This has to be taken into account in my view if an argument is to be based on the DMG chase rules. (There...
    116 replies | 3032 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:34 PM
    You could just have the NPCs or monsters do something other than mindlessly attack the PCs until slain. Perhaps they rush the PCs, try to steal something valuable, then run away. Maybe they trail the PCs at a safe distance, not making their intent known, and then when the PCs encounter something tougher, they jump into the fight to try to take out a single PC. You could also have it be a social...
    28 replies | 622 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:22 PM
    iserith replied to Is This Odd?
    I don't care if someone reads the Monster Manual during play. If the difficulty of my challenge is hugely affected by players knowing something about the monsters, then I've designed a poor challenge. I don't expect veteran players to pretend like they don't know something about a monster they've been fighting for years and years. Basically the same thing in my view. If I want the difficulty of...
    34 replies | 839 view(s)
    6 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:40 AM
    I'm not sure. I'm a 40-something, white American who has lived and worked in a number of countries, mostly India, China, and Taiwan. Violence as entertainment is not an American or European anomaly. I've yet to encounter a culture where violence was not regularly depicted in their TV shows, movies, and books. American TV, movies, and many books do pretty darn well overseas as well. ...
    56 replies | 1605 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:16 AM
    Okay, you've convinced me.
    56 replies | 1605 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 07:49 PM
    iserith replied to Double Dash
    I use the Chase Rules a fair amount and I also see nothing against the rules about bonus action Dash under that system. The limiting factor for the rogue is Constitution here and burning out twice as fast. This is really only a problem though if the rogue is the pursuer rather than the quarry since, unless there is no chance of hiding, the rogue has often successfully escaped at the end of the...
    116 replies | 3032 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 07:12 AM
    Stewart's quote seems a tad disingenuous and a bit disrespectful to their business partners. They are licensing content to D&D Beyond, Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, etc. So they are allowing for digital options. They don't like PDFs because it makes piracy easier. Also, yes, PDFs are not a great experience IMHO, but DriveThru RPG and the many publishers who offer PDF versions of their print products...
    56 replies | 1605 view(s)
    2 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 06:52 AM
    Fair enough. I'm a fan of one-shots, but get it that character growth and getting to dive deep into storylines is the secret sauce for many and that such folks would find one-shots lacking.
    27 replies | 947 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 06:47 AM
    Sorry for my ignorance, but was that not the case in other editions of D&D? I played 1e in the 80s and I don't have the 1e DMG anymore, so I'm not sure if it was a rule that the DM called for rolls, but I recall playing that way. Or maybe my memory is being shaped by my recent experiences with 5e. I never played 2nd though 4th edition.
    43 replies | 1502 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 07:00 PM
    I allow it, but: 1. I enforce encumbrance rules 2. It is not "treasure": You don't get XP for the GP value of the sold items For those scratching their heads or taking umbrage at these two points: For point one: we use D&D Beyond, so tracking encumbrance is pretty easy. But it is enough of a hassle that they generally do not want to bother. That said, they've recently been building up...
    20 replies | 660 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:45 PM
    I'll echo "stunt points" mentioned above from the AGE system. I was introduced to the mechanic with The Expanse. I also like "fortune" in The Expanse. I think this also comes from the AGE system. Basically, you have an amount of fortune points that refresh after an "interlude" (kinda a mix of an extended long rest and downtime) and you get more as you level up. You can spend fortune points to...
    43 replies | 1502 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:10 PM
    I've found that feeling you have to put together a campaign can be a block to enjoying the hobby. One shots are a great way to get people together without worrying about whether that same group will be available next week/month. Also, it makes it easier for players to say yes as they don't feel pressured into a long-term time commitment. Also, you can play more characters and try different...
    27 replies | 947 view(s)
    3 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:00 PM
    iserith replied to Double Dash
    For what it's worth, the rules also specifically call out a character's or monster's speed as being "short bursts of energetic movement in the midst of a life-threatening situation."
    116 replies | 3032 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:00 PM
    . . . Okay, I'll ask: How does the Linguistics skill work in Pathfinder?
    154 replies | 6178 view(s)
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  • Jonathan Tweet's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 03:42 PM
    How does a pre-industrial society hang together with super-powerful individuals and groups wandering the land at will, especially as these people rocket up in personal power in just a few years?
    154 replies | 6178 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 03:14 PM
    You're right and it drives me crazy when I turn up in a game where a DM rolls individual initiative for monsters. Though it's still the same amount of actions to resolve, it really does slow things down because the initiative rolling takes longer and then, if those monsters are interspersed with PCs or other monsters, there's a "gear-changing" that eats up additional time. It really adds up!
    13 replies | 458 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 02:53 PM
    The RAW is that like creatures share initiative anyway. It's still 10 creatures on one initiative count, but it's not like you're rolling 10 different initiatives for them, if that's a concern. As for your swarm, it seems a sound idea, but someone better at math than me will have to say if it has parity with the spell as written. But anyway, players have an obligation to pursue the goals of...
    13 replies | 458 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 02:36 PM
    What Hriston said - most monsters' stuff is just junk. There are some exceptions that I will make an effort to describe, such as a hobgoblin in plate armor or the like. Sometimes I'll describe something resplendent a monster wears that would be damaged in combat and made less valuable in order to set up a challenge for the players to take out the monster without damaging their loot. It makes them...
    20 replies | 660 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:27 AM
    That's basically what my players do. They police themselves for speed and that includes just keeping them on a single target. It's not really about banning the spell BlivetWidget. It's just players realizing that it can slow down play and taking reasonable steps to mitigate that.
    13 replies | 458 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 11:13 PM
    The mob rules worked fine, but also working in my favor is that the table rule is that if you're the sort of player who can't manage this sort of spell without bogging down the turn, you simply don't cast it. The player has a responsibility here in my view. (Same for summons, pets, etc.)
    13 replies | 458 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:20 PM
    iserith replied to Double Dash
    Yes on the double-dash. There tends to be a LOT of movement in my games due to terrain, so it comes up quite a bit.
    116 replies | 3032 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 07:41 PM
    You can resolve by applying the mob rules in the DMG (pg. 250) which foregoes any attack rolls, saving time. Then use average damage.
    13 replies | 458 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 03:15 PM
    It doesn't matter if you keep track, really. The PCs should be counterspelling everything anyway.
    21 replies | 760 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 08:31 PM
    You could. Or you could assume that there are different distinct sentient, humanoid races, that can or can't interbreed and enjoy worldbuilding and roleplaying around what that might look like. I've been thinking of creating a campaign based on real-world archaeology. Set 50,000 to 80,000 years ago when homo sapiens was spreading out an encountering the neandrathals (homo neanderthalensis),...
    107 replies | 3897 view(s)
    2 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 07:53 PM
    Yeah, non-elves either want to eat them or breed with them. Exception being Dwarves, the bitter jealous brothers of the elder races. Yet, it is humans who actually breed most indiscriminately. Why do all half-breeds tend to be half-human? Looking at the flavor text for Orcs in the MM, I would think that half-orc/half-elf should be as common, if not more so, then half human.
    154 replies | 6178 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 07:11 AM
    Other than D&D I run one-shots. I'm on my third campaign since 5e came out. First campaign. Homebrew setting. Twenty eight-hour sessions, one level per session. Second campaign, Curse of Strahd, using a form of party-milestone leveling bases on locations explored, antagonists defeated, macguffins found, and quests accomplished. Were 9th level when they defeated Strahd. Ten 8-hour...
    51 replies | 2367 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 06:39 AM
    As a DM, create the world you want to run and find players who want to play in it. If you are not stuck running games for organized play, there is no right or wrong decision here as a long as everyone is having fun. I've run games where races were limited, because of the history and worldbuilding for that campaign. In my home-brew campaign, you can only select from human, dwarf, halfling, or...
    107 replies | 3897 view(s)
    4 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 06:20 AM
    Interesting that most of the pet peeves shared here don't bother me much. For example, I agree that 6-seconds is an eternity in combat and you can do A LOT in six seconds when it comes to punches, movement, and sword play. BUT I would like to see many more spells taking longer than an action. And I think it is silly to be able to take something out of your bag as a free action. But I'm happy...
    154 replies | 6178 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 05:41 AM
    This post BEGS for a follow-up. Sorry that you've had a fall out with a group you've been playing with for 20 years. Sounds like it is more than just leaving the group, if you've not even seen any of them outside of gaming for over half a year. Have your tried organized play, meetup.com, or Roll20 for one shots? Good way to try different games, meet new players, and if things don't gel, well,...
    27 replies | 947 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 08:02 AM
    The longer and more accurate question is: If you ever quit or stopped playing tabletop RPGs for an extended period of time, at what time in your life did that occur and why? And why did you pick them up again (which I'm assuming you did, if you are hanging out in these forums)? This thread is inspired by the conversation in the thread about D&D's portrayal in Stranger Things, Season 3. ...
    27 replies | 947 view(s)
    4 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Friday, 12th July, 2019, 10:21 AM
    The sidekicks rules in the Essentials Kit is a simplified version of those released in Unearthed Arcana, which you can read for free: https://dnd.wizards.com/articles/unearthed-arcana/sidekicks
    9 replies | 412 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Friday, 12th July, 2019, 09:34 AM
    Yes, though such people can grow out of that, I did. I don't have any experience with the level or horror that, say, someone who has been in a war may have. But I remember getting critical and trying for verisimilitude when it came to wilderness travel and survival after a couple summers with the Student Conservation Association. Also, having some experience with firearms, I have to try hard not...
    49 replies | 2096 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Friday, 12th July, 2019, 09:30 AM
    It depends upon the person. Different people react to things differently. Given the number of people from the military, who have seen real action, that I've played both D&D and also TTRPGs set in more modern settings with, I would say that there are plenty of people that would still enjoy--and may even find it therapeutic--to role play things that they have some real-world experience with. Others...
    49 replies | 2096 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Friday, 12th July, 2019, 09:07 AM
    Just a shout out to everyone who enjoys funny, campy, fantasy spoofs with lots of gamer inside jokes. The Kickstarter for season 4 of Journey Quest is on its last day and hasn't reached its goal yet. Please consider backing this. If you are a TTRPG gamer, I think you'll love the series. You can see seasons 1 through 3 for free on You Tube here:...
    0 replies | 123 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 06:23 PM
    iserith replied to Languages
    The DMG also has a section on languages in the campaign world planning section that basically tells the DM to figure this out on his or her own according to the kind of setting he or she wants to present.
    9 replies | 380 view(s)
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  • Jonathan Tweet's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 04:03 PM
    I wrote that kobolds had "sorcerer" as their favored class and that they say that they have the blood of dragons coursing through their veins. I meant everyone to figure that they were deluding themselves, but everyone loved the idea and it became canonical, basically. I don't remember how that got applied to human sorcerers, but we were definitely trying to make 3E cooler than 2E.
    88 replies | 3516 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Jonathan Tweet's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 03:58 PM
    That's a good analysis. The other trick is that if charging up let's you get double-value out of your daily spells, it increases your per-day power level even if it doesn't increase your per-round power level.
    88 replies | 3516 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 01:53 PM
    In the 80s, when I spent A LOT of time gaming, my friends and I just tired of it and we play many different systems, including those we made up ourselves. Now, 5e is my main game and I just don't have much time to game. I do still play other systems, but generally as one shots. At conventions, I like to try games I've never played, just for the novelty and variety. I run the Expanse...
    88 replies | 3147 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 01:34 PM
    To me, it rang very true. It represented the very real issue that many/most people go through at that time in their lives when their friends start dating and want to spend more time with their romantic partners and less with their group of friends. Also, that is a time of life when you start having other interests and start making friends from a larger pool than the kids in your neighborhood. If...
    49 replies | 2096 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 05:40 PM
    It seems to me all that really matters is whether the player thinks it's fun. If he or she does, carry on, I say. If not, then you can either jointly tinker with the rules to make it less certain, create conditions in the game that accomplish the same effect without tinkering with the rules, or the player can just choose not to have the character hide all the time.
    104 replies | 2937 view(s)
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  • Jonathan Tweet's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 05:28 PM
    Not much to say. Rich Baker created the original sorcerer as basically a variant wizard with different spell-casing rules, and I suggested we switch the main ability from Int to Cha to create more differentiation. A "spell point" system appeared with the psionicist, and it had the drawback that the player could cast a top-level "spell" every round and burn through their resources too fast. 13th...
    88 replies | 3516 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 09:25 PM
    iserith replied to OSR Gripes
    I played Lamentations of the Flame Princess which is one of these old school D&D-esque games. I lost 5 characters in one session. No exaggeration. That's just how it goes.
    231 replies | 8189 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 08:55 PM
    No insult is intended. Certain of your specific objections seem rooted in issues of spotlight management and other issues that are not the fault of the game. I make no judgment as to what you should or shouldn't do in your own game, only that some of your objections are easily solved without modifying the rules.
    104 replies | 2937 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 07:54 PM
    Like I said, house rules are fine. Personally, I don't actually care how the player makes the decision in the face of the NPC's attempt to persuade (to continue with that example), but I'm not calling for a roll here as DM. That breaks the rule of players determining what their characters do. The player is free to roll a die to figure out what the character does if he or she wants. Or flip a...
    104 replies | 2937 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 07:27 PM
    Magic is the difference. House rules are fine, but the issue in this situation for me is that the players always determine how their characters think and what they do and say. That means there is never uncertainty as to the outcome of the NPC's attempt to persuade and thus no ability check. The outcome is whatever the player says it is. I might, in some circumstances.
    104 replies | 2937 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 07:12 PM
    iserith replied to Languages
    There is no call-out in the rules for dialects other than Primordial. So as far as I am concerned, PCs that speak Common can't speak Undercommon, nor can creatures that speak Undercommon speak Common. Personally, I prefer it that way as it gives choice of language relevance and sets the PCs up for needing resources such as spells or NPCs to assist with communication. It's another problem for the...
    9 replies | 380 view(s)
    4 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 04:58 PM
    I use it and it works well enough. For those unfamiliar with it, it basically splits the challenge into what I call "The 'Tude," "The Chat," and "The Ask." In "The 'Tude," the DM frames the NPC's disposition toward the PCs and establishes the context of the challenge (what's at stake). This is also when players might try to have their characters recall lore about the NPC to garner useful...
    104 replies | 2937 view(s)
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  • Jonathan Tweet's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 02:45 PM
    Mechanically this change seems to work for handling supernatural for offense and defense, and it's sure worth a try. As the guy who switched the 3E first-draft sorcerer from Intelligence to Charisma, I would miss the distinction between the bookish wizard and the flashy sorcerer. More generally, Int, Wis, and Cha represent real-world qualities (however imperfectly), and these feel like...
    88 replies | 3516 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 02:04 PM
    I think they're okay for D&D standards. But almost nobody uses them in my experience because I don't think many DMs actually read the DMG. The rogue isn't being skipped and it isn't really planned though - at least no more than combat where everyone gets a turn. If that doesn't bother you (does it?), why should what amounts to taking turns in a social interaction challenge be bothersome?...
    104 replies | 2937 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 05:46 AM
    It just sounds to me like the argument is not so much "Expertise is problematic..." but "Expertise is problematic when I chop away two of the three pillars underpinning the game and things get wobbly." Which doesn't so much sound like a problem with Expertise per se, but the choices the DM has made. I think we agree here? Also there does seem to be an underlying assumption in your post that...
    104 replies | 2937 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 05:19 AM
    Really that just argues for the DM to balance the pillars of the game as much as he or she can in my view and to incentivize play to that end via XP and treasure. If the DM is leaning too heavily on any one pillar or incentivizing particular play to the exclusion of others, it's reasonable behavior for players to create and advance characters with particular skill proficiencies and other features...
    104 replies | 2937 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 05:09 AM
    "Party balance" in what sense? Why is it bad that this character can do a thing well and others can't? Wouldn't it be the case that this expert won't be able to do other things as well in this or the other two pillars? Also, how is "deception in the hands of a creative player" troublesome? Setting aside that the DM decides whether there is a roll or not in the first place, what's the actual...
    104 replies | 2937 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 05:05 AM
    I'm not really "going" anywhere, only checking to see if there's a rough correlation between people who have some kind of issue with the ability check system and playing the game in the very common way I described upthread wherein the players ask to make or declare they are making ability checks. Without taking anything away from your perception of the problem you outline above, could you...
    43 replies | 1380 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 04:53 AM
    Why do you think that is a problem?
    104 replies | 2937 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 04:48 AM
    As opposed to the DM deciding whether there is a roll at all, then what ability check to make and any skill proficiency that applies (per the rules). And in this case I'm not referring to a paradigm where the DM can decide a player-proposed roll is not necessary (e.g. Player: "Can I make an Investigation check to..." DM: "Nah, you just figure it out...").
    43 replies | 1380 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 04:42 AM
    Out of curiosity, if you have a problem with expertise, do you also play the game such that players ask to make or declare they are making ability checks?
    43 replies | 1380 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Monday, 8th July, 2019, 11:24 PM
    In a practical sense, this means that the rogue will almost always surprise monsters (unless he's traveling with other, less stealthy people) and will almost always have advantage on the attack roll if there's a place to hide in combat. If the rogue is on his or her own, it will also mean that scouting around without being detected will almost always succeed. Personally, if a rogue tries to...
    104 replies | 2937 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Monday, 8th July, 2019, 08:52 PM
    It works. My entire game is run like that, almost as a one-on-one between myself and one other player (when they're not talking among themselves) for a minute before switching to someone else. If a combat ends without finishing the round, I'll mentally stick to initiative order and call on the people who haven't gone that round to kick off whatever activity is next so that they aren't shorted on...
    32 replies | 1470 view(s)
    4 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Monday, 8th July, 2019, 04:32 PM
    How long are people taking on their turns? One thing I've noticed at other tables is that players are planning what to do on their turn instead of acting, which is a huge no-no at my table. Your turn is for acting, not for planning or stalling by asking 20 Questions (another common player tactic when they haven't planned off-turn). I think a turn is 30 seconds or less, ideally, which means your...
    32 replies | 1470 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Monday, 8th July, 2019, 03:20 PM
    First, ask for them to pay attention, then ask them what about the game isn't holding their attention. From your own observation, what parts of the game are they tuning out on? What can you do to minimize those parts of the game or make them more interesting?
    32 replies | 1470 view(s)
    6 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Sunday, 7th July, 2019, 07:16 AM
    BlivetWidget Have you thought of putting together these for all the PHB spells and selling as PDF in DMs Guild? These would make great handouts.
    30 replies | 1470 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019, 06:08 PM
    Yes, that's technically a choice.
    50 replies | 1954 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019, 04:54 PM
    I think what gets left off in the last few assertions that are floating about is that, in a game where the DM isn't concerned with any particular conclusion so long as it's fun, exciting, and memorable (even if it's bad for the characters), then said DM isn't also putting them into situations where they have no chance of success. In such games, the players choose to get themselves into those...
    50 replies | 1954 view(s)
    3 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd July, 2019, 05:01 PM
    Can they take short rests? If so, they should be able to do 6 to 8 medium or hard challenges with a couple of short rests. If the villain challenge is deadly, then reduce the number of preceding encounters accordingly, perhaps setting it to 4 to 6 medium or hard challenges followed by a deadly encounter. If the players are experienced, this seems doable.
    50 replies | 1954 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd July, 2019, 04:24 PM
    Make clear the risks and trade-offs inherent in the challenge, then let the players make their own decisions. Err on the side of giving "too much" information rather than too little. Use whatever contrivances you can think of to impart that info in a way that makes sense in context. Perhaps a grizzled veteran adventurer faced such a challenge before and made the mistake of doing battle with the...
    50 replies | 1954 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd July, 2019, 02:52 PM
    Time is an important resource in my adventures. It's yours to waste, but much like wasting hit points or spells, there may be consequences. In many cases, the longer you give the villain to prepare or complete his or her goals, the harder things get. To some extent, that may be desirable from the player's perspective as it potentially means more XP, but that must be weighed against the likelihood...
    50 replies | 1954 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd July, 2019, 01:04 AM
    It's not that it's complicated - it's just that it's more transactions per turn or round which necessarily takes longer than just the one, even with very capable players. Turn after turn, combat after combat, it adds up. An important part of DMing in my view is sharing the spotlight, that is, making sure that the PCs have more or less the same time in the spotlight over the course of the session....
    22 replies | 952 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 2nd July, 2019, 12:36 AM
    I think the biggest concern above all is: How much are your minions going to bog down the game? Because, frankly, they will, at least to some degree. In a game like mine which runs fast, it's very noticeable. When a player in my game wanted to play a necromancer, he had the good sense to ask me for my opinion on how many undead he could have at one time. I told him "When the game slows down...
    22 replies | 952 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Sunday, 30th June, 2019, 06:07 PM
    XGtE has a section on awarding magic items over the course of a campaign. There's a sidebar in that section that reveals the expected number of Treasure Hoards the PCs will uncover. You could perhaps base Individual Treasure rolls on those numbers, either following them exactly or by multiplying by some factor then seeding them among your NPCs and monsters. There are a number of random...
    18 replies | 912 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 28th June, 2019, 07:31 PM
    I don't even understand the objection that is being voiced. The play loop and adjudication process is for all and sundry to see right there in the rules of the game. It's not like we made it up. If there's an objection to it, take it up with Wizards of the Coast, I guess.
    178 replies | 5729 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 27th June, 2019, 11:23 PM
    The determination of whether a task has an uncertain outcome and the meaningful consequence of failure, which precedes the introduction and use of the game mechanics (ability checks, attack rolls, saving throws, etc.), is DM fiat which is enshrined in the rules via the play loop and adjudication process. Fiat is inescapable in this rules system. It is the first resort.
    178 replies | 5729 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 27th June, 2019, 07:35 PM
    Change "should" to "could" and I think you got it.
    178 replies | 5729 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 27th June, 2019, 05:38 PM
    I just say when a target has cover and what kind and the player says "Okay" and acts accordingly. I do my best to make that apparent well before the attack is declared by working it into my description of the environment. That way, there's no surprises.
    28 replies | 1104 view(s)
    5 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 27th June, 2019, 05:18 PM
    As I mentioned upthread, many DMs in my experience jump to the mechanics before they give much consideration to the play loop and adjudication process which comes first. If someone draws a blade - initiative! If someone tells a lie - deception! But this is skipping an important part of the DM's role and, frankly, it shows in their resulting play experience.
    178 replies | 5729 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 27th June, 2019, 04:19 PM
    Right. That section specifically says the play loop applies to all situations in D&D 5e and does call out combat as being a bit more structured but otherwise follows the same pattern. See also DMG page 237 wherein the specific process the DM follows to determine if some kind of roll is appropriate is laid out. That being, the task's outcome has to fall somewhere between impossible and...
    178 replies | 5729 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 27th June, 2019, 02:23 PM
    Harzel: What Ovinomancer said.
    178 replies | 5729 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 27th June, 2019, 06:53 AM
    I don't have experience with public games, but I have run a lot of pickup games with random players on Roll20. As well, my regular group and some other groups in which I play each have a pool of players they use to fill five seats per session. This is actually a very good setup because it means fewer scheduling hassles. If the DM can run the game, there's enough players in the pool to fill out at...
    11 replies | 485 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th June, 2019, 06:36 PM
    On the lava bit, the "improvising damage" rules in the DMG pegs "wading through a lava stream" as 10d10 damage and "being submerged in lava" as 18d10 damage. The latter seems appropriate for a fall into a lava pit.
    178 replies | 5729 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th June, 2019, 06:32 PM
    You won't ever catch me making a realism argument in D&D of any edition. What I will argue is that it's the DM's call on what mechanic to use to resolve uncertainty as to the outcome and I can make the case for either ability checks or attack rolls here (and have). While it's reasonable behavior in my opinion for players to treat a DM's ruling as precedent, I think it's a simple matter to point...
    178 replies | 5729 view(s)
    3 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th June, 2019, 05:46 PM
    I think fairness and consistency in the application of the rules is an important goal for the DM. That said, I think arguments about parity of their application between PCs and NPCs being paramount is legacy thinking that hasn't held water since D&D 3.Xe. So unless you're talking about that edition specifically, I can't take seriously any such argument for D&D 4e or D&D 5e.
    178 replies | 5729 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th June, 2019, 03:29 PM
    I'm not entirely sure what you mean here and I'm taking a stab at it, so please let me know if what I say below doesn't follow and I'll amend. I think that roleplaying is just playing a role by determining what the character does, thinks, and says, as per the rules regarding the same. But in the process of that roleplaying, the player has a responsibility in the game itself to describe what he...
    63 replies | 2102 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th June, 2019, 01:30 AM
    There are a few ways to do this that I think all work fine. The DM can rule the outcome of the task as impossible or at least highly unlikely. The ranger simply can't do enough damage in one shot to take out the orc except on a crit and even that's no guarantee. But perhaps the other PCs can add to that damage and take it out. If they can't, they learn a valuable lesson about taking some kind...
    178 replies | 5729 view(s)
    3 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th June, 2019, 12:18 AM
    Though there may be exceptions from time to time that I will telegraph accordingly, a PC noble will generally be welcome in high society, get special treatment by common folk, and secure an audience in my games.
    6 replies | 387 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 06:36 PM
    Agreed. Arriving at an answer requires adding assumptions to both the context of the situation and the player's action declaration which are outside the scope of the original post. I think what a lot of DMs do in play is they jump to the mechanics before considering the situation and the character's efforts in relation to that situation and, based on that, whether the mechanics are even needed to...
    63 replies | 2102 view(s)
    3 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 04:58 PM
    iserith replied to Last Stand
    My grappling bard luchador "Immovable Rod" Manleigh was battling a horde of monsters with his party when the retreat was sounded. Most of the other characters were low on resources and couldn't withstand another solid blow so they started falling back, one by one, leaving Rod to hold off the tide of violence coming their way. "Immovable Rod" Manleigh knew this was the end and his noble...
    7 replies | 480 view(s)
    2 XP
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About MNblockhead

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About MNblockhead
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Back to the table-top after 2.5 decades away
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Gamer that returned to the fold with 5e, after 25 years away from RPGs.
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Twin Cities, MN, USA
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Monthly 8-hour 5e game. Ended home-brew campaign in January 2018, after two years and am now running Curse of Strahd.
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I play a Tortle barbarian berserker with the great-weapon master feat.

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Town:
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Minnesota
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Monthly 8-hour 5e game. Ended home-brew campaign in January 2018, after two years and am now running Curse of Strahd.
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I play a Tortle barbarian berserker with the great-weapon master feat.
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Wednesday, 8th May, 2019

  • 02:55 AM - uzirath mentioned MNblockhead in post Good, Evil, Nature, and Druids
    Yeah, the lack of knowledge about historical druids is what would hold me back, though I love to reskin race and class archetypes in my campaigns to play against expectations (or at least to have variants that do). I'm not sure about the idea that historical druids didn't "revolve around gods." That may be true, but there were certainly Celtic gods, so it may be that scholars just don't have enough information to go on. But, in a game context, I like MNblockhead's conception of druids. The reincarnation motif is interesting and the idea that the gods are newcomers or outsiders or something like that is also fun to play with. That could create fun political conflicts between clerics and druids. In the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, druids don't have healing spells by default (that's the core domain of clerics). But, many GMs (including me) have houseruled them back in. (I can't remember how various editions of D&D handle this and I don't have my books nearby.) I had a discussion a while back on one of the SJG forums about how one might differentiate druidic from clerical healing. One idea I was mulling was that druidic healing is more "natural," which also means that it might be a bit slower, possibly more painful, and would leave scars. Clerics, on the other hand, basically erase wounds altogether. This could create all sorts of intriguing cultural elements. In a culture where clerics abound, having scar-free skin might be a sign of the upper class....

Tuesday, 7th May, 2019

  • 08:31 AM - aramis erak mentioned MNblockhead in post Printing maps - how to do this affordably & with minimum headache?
    MNblockhead A growing sector of gamers are playing in public spaces without access to power, big screens, projectors, etc. Tablets suck for map display. Printing things out is likely to remain important for many. blank grids (square or hex) only go so far; to go past, the best, least expensive method is usually to buy the commercial ones. And commercial maps were available for most of the hardcover Wizards 5E adventures... Buying them would be about the same cost as having them locally printed, and more likely to have good color. Nice that you broke free, but it's not practical for many. And undesirable for more. Oh, and a great way to carry maps? 4" or larger thin-wall PVC pipes - used for low-pressure applications, like AC ducting. End caps are readily available, even screw cap fittings. Adding a strap is trivial - buy some nylon strapping, glue it on. I've used a 4" water pipe. For unlaminated maps, it's great (if a bit heavy). For laminated, I want 6" PVC duct pipe...

Thursday, 2nd May, 2019

  • 10:11 PM - MaximusArael020 mentioned MNblockhead in post Need help coming up with the function of a magic artifact!
    Good suggestion, MNblockhead! Yes, my idea was that the abilities stack, and you unlock additional powers as you progress. The charges then denote how many total charges you have at that proficiency bonus level. Thus a total of 12 charges per day with proficiency bonus of +6, and all abilities "unlocked". I like the idea of breaking it into 3 columns. Thanks!

Friday, 19th April, 2019


Wednesday, 17th April, 2019


Sunday, 14th April, 2019

  • 09:52 PM - robus mentioned MNblockhead in post Your most used accessories?
    @MNblockhead - the cloth printing arrived. I think it's going to work well (and very easy to transport): 105896 Edit: probably could have been 25% smaller... :)

Tuesday, 9th April, 2019

  • 10:32 PM - Hussar mentioned MNblockhead in post Sneak Peek At Ghosts of Saltmarsh Maps
    I wonder if this is related to groups that don't do a lot of mapping during play. Left, right, ahead, (never minding, Top and Bottom) would be incredibly frustrating to the mapper. But, as MNblockhead says, maybe it's just an experience thing. My group also has a fair bit of military background, so it seems pretty natural to put north at the top of the map. Heh. Right as I type this, I'm looking at the weather map for today on TV. Funnily enough, it's oriented north to the top. :D Every time I use Google Maps, it's oriented north to the top. Every single map of Canada I've ever seen, going back centuries, is oriented north to the top. North to the top has been the standard for centuries now. It's pretty ubiquitous. Heck, rolling this back around to Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, the town in the three modules was never mapped. It's not like there's any sort of canon or tradition here. You were instructed by the original module to make your own map. So, why make a map that it automatically harder to use at the table? Player: Where is the general store? DM: It's in the west end of the town, next to the Color Animal Inn. Player: Huh? The Color Animal Inn is ...

Sunday, 7th April, 2019

  • 02:38 PM - robus mentioned MNblockhead in post Your most used accessories?
    Thanks for the detailed list MNblockhead, that Time Tracker looks really cool. Actually it would be perfect on the flip side of my initiative tracker!

Tuesday, 12th March, 2019

  • 05:16 AM - CleverNickName mentioned MNblockhead in post Critical Role Kickstarter Predition Game: Guess the Funding Outcome (GTFO)
    ...ualified. Predictions must be made in this thread before next Monday, March 11th, 11:59 p.m. PST. Predictions made after that time will be ignored. Good luck! The Prize The winner will receive a gift certificate to HeroForge.com, good for one custom 3D-printed character mini (a $25 value), like this one! 105294 I got this digital gift certificate for Christmas, but I already have like a dozen HeroForge minis (I may have a problem). I thought I'd offer it up to a worthy cause. Sound good? OF COURSE it sounds good! Let's see those predictions! ----- PREDICTION ROSTER Stalker0: $100,000,000 Dausuul: $50,000,000 gyor: $30,000,000 Hussar: $25,000,000 aco175: $23,500,000 CubicsRube: $21,000,000 CleverNickName: $20,612,408.57 ---------Highest-Funded Kickstarter in History (Pebble Time smartwatch) $20,338,986----------- Parmandr: $20,000,000 EnochSeven: $16,213,102 TallIan: $15,876,374 MNblockhead: $15,555,555 77IM: $14,980,000.00 jgsugden: $14,520,000 OB1: $14,000,042 The Big BZ: $14,000,000 dregntael: $13,935,109 chrisrtld: $13,635,019 pogre: $13,500,000 Aebir-Toril: $13,224,376.89 Satyrn: $13,000,000 Yardiff: $12,456,145 -----------Highest-Funded Game Project on Kickstarter (Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5) $12,393,139-------- Radaceus: $12,345,678.91 FarBeyondC: $12,345,678.90 Morrus: $12,000,000 Mistwell: $11,800,000 Mort: $11,620,000 Zardnaar: $11,354,883 <--- The Winner! Sadras: $11,120,000 SkidAce: $11,000,000 Tazawa: $10,700,000 togashi_joe: $10,250,000 DM Dave1: $10,101,010 MichaelSomething: $10,000,000 Lazybones: $9,750,000 PabloM: $9,500,000 akr71: $9,250,000 rczarnec: $9,250,000 Azzy: $9,000,000 Henry: $8,900,000 mortwatcher: $8,666,000 ...

Tuesday, 26th February, 2019

  • 07:39 PM - Sword of Spirit mentioned MNblockhead in post Best Campaign Management Product/Site?
    My experiences with RealmWorks are similar to MNblockheadís. I initially was looking for something simpler, but when I gave it a try I was hooked. The auto-linking is huge. There are also a lot of options for how to additionally connect information, and one of the biggest initial difficulties can be recognizing that you donít have to use them all just because you can, and should just use the ones that work best for you. So I donít really need to worry about using the info tag about how each deity (or NPC, or organization, etc) feels about each other, as well as how they publicly act like they feel about them, but using the feature to indicate where different people live is something I do extensively. And I donít use the storyline organizational feature, because my campaign is more exploration-based, but I do use map pins with links that can take me to other maps and topics to allow me explore my world(s) starting from whichever level I want. But you can always start using features you werenít, they arenít something you are locked into and hav...

Wednesday, 13th February, 2019

  • 07:15 PM - OB1 mentioned MNblockhead in post My return to TTRPG w/ 5e, reflections after 5 years
    MNblockhead I fall into a very similar experience as you. I played primarily from 88-96 (mix of 1e and 2e) along with a host of other RPGs (Robotech, Star Wars, Rifts, TMNT, Heroes) and tried out 3e for about six months in 2004 when a workmate invited me into his game, but didnít vibe on it and didnít really have the time. In 2011 or so I began listening to the 4e Critical Hit podcast and that gave me my D&D fix for a while. When the playtest came out, I downloaded it just to read and found it reminded me of the feel of 2e. Started a game with my wife and a couple friends that is still going today (Tier IV near the end). Have bought every official release since and brought a dozen or so new players (including my nieces and nephews) into the game. We put the main campaign on pause to run APs or other home brews from time to time, and there is so much stuff I canít ever imagine needing another system or edition. Not to thread jack, but as for your comments about social media, Iím guessing you ar...

Sunday, 20th January, 2019

  • 11:18 PM - TaranTheWanderer mentioned MNblockhead in post Blow Darts
    So, your suggestions have given me a couple ideas. How about this: With proficiency in poisoner's kit, a blow gun does 1pnt(as listed in PHB) of POISON damage. You need a long rest to re-apply/make the poison. In lieu of poison damage, if you hit, you may elect to have your opponent make a con save = to 8+proficiency in Poisoner's kit+INT. If they fail, they are poisoned for a number of rounds equal to the amount of damage you replace. So, to start, they'd be poisoned for 1rnd. If you take more time and make a more toxic poison that does, say, 1d3 damage, they are poisoned for 1d3 rounds. My idea is to just give the Stout halflings proficiency in poisoner's kit. As far as poisoning yourself, I think that if you are proficient in the kit, you are very unlikely to hurt yourself. I'd only make someone who has no proficiency make a check to poison themselves. MNblockhead In a fantasy game, having poison do a bit of damage could be partially from the dart or creating a localized bit of minor damage. having a very short term 'poisoned' condition could be from hives or itching or intense pain or whatever might distract or cause disadvantage.

Friday, 14th December, 2018

  • 05:11 PM - doctorbadwolf mentioned MNblockhead in post Matt Colvilleís Strongholds and Followers
    MNblockhead thanks for the reply, very informative. Sadly, it is definitely not just his fast spoken delivery. Iím from California, and I consume a lot more YouTube and podcast media than I do traditional video media, so fast talk is where I live. When I have to call the support center st work, and get someone from Vest Virginia, I feel like Iím at the DMV in Zootopia. People talk soooooooo slooooooowwww. He just annoys me. But, I donít think itís his diction, or vocabulary, or anything else that translates directly to print. I think itís just him. I watched his video on the Star Wars sequel movies vs the prequels, and I just couldnít stand the guy. Part of what annoys me about him is what annoys me about so many of my fellow Millenials, and GenX ppl. That is, the rampant deeply emotionally stubborn nostalgia. I...just donít experience nostalgia to anywhere near the same degree that others seem to, so when people seem to base their opinions strongly on it, I find it obnoxious. His line...

Wednesday, 12th December, 2018

  • 12:45 PM - dave2008 mentioned MNblockhead in post How to make an encounter with falling great distances interesting and dangerous, but not deadly?
    I agree with @MNblockhead - thank you for the recap. I think this is an interesting challenge and covers a lot a things that, out of the box, D&D doesn't do well. We really could use a DMG II or similar that covers more complex scenarios like this. One thing that got me thinking... Yeah, I really overlooked this. Twice, when they realized the fall was only 30 feet, the players sort of shrugged. I had further complications up my sleeve, so I was able to added twists when that happened (and I remembered to!), however it definitely dispelled the illusion of threat. This made me think once again about the falling rules. How about in addition to damage: every 30 feet of falling requires you to either take a level of exhaustion (thus 180' = death) or a roll on the lingering injury table. Or possibly a combination of the two. That way falling as some real consequences other than damage (which we all know is not a real consequence in D&D) ;)

Sunday, 2nd December, 2018

  • 05:08 PM - Parmandur mentioned MNblockhead in post Boxed Sets 2018 Style
    The key market for box sets isn't APs, it's settings, which simply aren't being given enough meat. MNblockhead specified Adventures, not other kinds of products. I don't see that a Ravnica box set would have had different contents, but would have cost more?

Tuesday, 30th October, 2018


Saturday, 8th September, 2018

  • 10:05 PM - epithet mentioned MNblockhead in post Curse of Strahd help (lots oí spoilers)
    I definitely agree that the Master of Ravenloft is a prisoner of the mists. Once you take up that power, your campaign is necessarily limited to consolidating your power in Barovia. I respectfully disagree with @MNblockhead with regard to the dark gift, however. While the dark gift of the Vampyre is currently necessary to rule the cursed land of Barovia, I think it is something that can be taken by charm, guile or force from one who currently possesses it, rather than strictly requiring the recipient to return to the original source. It just fits much better with vampire mythology in my mind. As I consider it, I would also require a special ritual casting of the 1st level cleric spell ceremony for the investiture of the new Master of Ravenloft, involving the shedding of the new Master's blood upon the soil of Barovia (as mentioned in the novel I, Strahd.) One thing I've been wondering is the possibility of freeing Barovia from the curse altogether. It seems that it should be possible to, for example, plane shift each amber vessel and its resident dark power to Carceri, or the astral plane, or somewhere removed from Barovia. If the Amber Temple were then hallowed, that should, in theory, completely brea...

Tuesday, 28th August, 2018

  • 07:35 AM - Coroc mentioned MNblockhead in post Interpreting Barbarian Rage in Non-combat Situations
    MNblockhead "Tell me more about how this would work in your games. First, the RAW does not seem to support this, beyond the DM determining how NPCs and creatures react to someone who is raging. In your example, would you, as the DM, decide that the player attacks the table? That's not really my style. I want the player to play their character and they decide how their character acts. Also, intimiation is a CHA check, so it would be waste to burn a rage to intimidate as it gives no mechanical advantage. " That is depending on the roleplaying of the player. The whole situation is a bit constructed and hypothetic but let us say it goes like this: Conan the thirsty roleplays his character being in absolute need for a drink. DM : The waiter seems to ignore you Player : I get really upset and clench my fist DM ruling you: get enraged and you want to hit something Player either playing along or DM ruling: Make a wis save to see if you control your rage if it fails you hit the table....


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Saturday, 20th July, 2019

  • 04:36 PM - R_J_K75 quoted MNblockhead in post Gale Force 9 Shows Off D&D 'Of Ships & The Sea' DM Screen
    I have the mini one and like it. But you have to create your own content for it or find a temple to print out. I like the screen DM David put together for TWGS mini: https://dmdavid.com/tag/improved-fifth-edition-dungeon-master-screen-and-initiative-tents/ But I ended up making my own in MS Publisher. I find that as I get more used to a system, a lot of the stuff on most DM screens is in my head and I just don't need it. Also, I use some third-party stuff, so I like to add references to that, as well as some campaign specific info. For D&D, as I use D&D Beyond now, and am far more familiar with the rules, I find I am using the screens for campaign-specific references. That's one great thing about Hammerdog's TWGS, you can easily swap out inserts. So you can have not only system-specific inserts, but also campaign specific inserts. For example, I can have inserts with pre-generated names for different regions and I can swap out them out from session to session as the party travels. Also, if ...

Friday, 19th July, 2019

  • 08:32 PM - uzirath quoted MNblockhead in post When and why did you stop playing D&D and other TTRPGs?
    Fair enough. I'm a fan of one-shots, but get it that character growth and getting to dive deep into storylines is the secret sauce for many and that such folks would find one-shots lacking. I have also found that one-shots often lead to further games. String enough together and you have a campaign. The most common question at the end of a good one-shot is, "When can we do this again?" Another thing I've found helpful to ease people in who are concerned about time is to do a "three-shot" or something like that. It's not a "campaign," but it's a somewhat bigger adventure that might take 2-4 sessions over the course of a month or two. Then players can discuss what level of further commitment (if any) they're comfortable with. I've played and run some great long-term campaigns that began as a series of loosely collected mini-adventures. The campaign background emerged in play with players taking as much authorship as the GM.
  • 12:31 PM - Doc_Klueless quoted MNblockhead in post What are your favourite single game mechanics?
    What are yours?Some of mine are already mentioned so I'll get those out of the way (heh): D&D's advantage/disadvantage is a really elegant way to replace all those fiddly bonuses. It's one of my favourite things about 5E.Love, love, love how this got rid of all those piddly modifiers. I know other games have done similar things, but this was my first massive exposure to the mechanic. Stunt Points (Dragon Age, Fantasy Age): roll 3d6, doubles on rolls generate Stunt points equal to the value of the off-colored stunt die that a player can spend on various cool thingsI really like this one as it give each round something new and interesting. One of the chief complaints I hear about the AGE system is that "hitting" the target becomes ridiculously easy as the characters advance in level. My own players, when I was learning the system a while back, really complained about it. But the 3d6 roll really isn't so much a "To Hit" Roll as it is a "Generate Stunt Points" Roll. Once we overcame that h...
  • 12:43 AM - Tony Vargas quoted MNblockhead in post What if the Roman Empire conquered the Forgotten Realms?
    This does have me thinking...I'm kinda more interested in what would happen if some force from the FR, e.g. the Wizards of Thay, invaded our world. In the nuclear age, are we more than a match for the magical powers of high-fantasy FR evils? It depends on how cunning the invading supernatural forces are, and how slow the modern society is to accept the reality of them. Come in quietly, reconnoiter invisibly, polymorph to infiltrate, and then charm/dominate/replace key people? Apart from some logistical concerns the world is yours, no one even notices. Encircle a major city with your undead horde, and cackle your demands for surrender from a conspicuous promontory? Might not go so well.

Thursday, 18th July, 2019

  • 08:31 PM - Mistwell quoted MNblockhead in post "The Future of D&D is International" (Inverse article)
    They don't like PDFs because it makes piracy easier. I disagree, but let me provide some background for other people reading this before I state my disagreement. BACKGROUND A little over a decade ago (around April 2009) WOTC mentioned piracy as one of the major reasons for them pulling PDFs that year. That policy was real, and was part of a crew at WOTC which isn't there anymore. Literally almost a complete turnover in personnel, from the Legal department to the PR department, to the content development department, it's all different people now from those who formulated or supported that policy. In the past 5 years, WOTC representatives have consistently and repeatedly stated a different reason for not liking PDFs. And it's reflected in this most recent article as well. And that is, simply put, they don't think PDFs provide a good experience. WOTC prefers either hardcopy, OR digital means which are more interactive and allow a user to immediately pull up a cited rule or section o...
  • 04:53 PM - Parmandur quoted MNblockhead in post "The Future of D&D is International" (Inverse article)
    Stewart's quote seems a tad disingenuous and a bit disrespectful to their business partners. They are licensing content to D&D Beyond, Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, etc. So they are allowing for digital options. They don't like PDFs because it makes piracy easier. Also, yes, PDFs are not a great experience IMHO, but DriveThru RPG and the many publishers who offer PDF versions of their print products seem to contradict Stewart's claims that people don't like PDFs. The scale of sales for DriveThruRPG products and printed 5E books is wildly different, though: the Fantasy ground, Roll20 and D&D Beyond experiences are notably different from a PDF reader. Stewart isn't claiming that nobody likes PDFs, he seems to be talking on the broad market level, which is WotC focus.

Wednesday, 17th July, 2019

  • 10:13 PM - Tyler Do'Urden quoted MNblockhead in post When and why did you stop playing D&D and other TTRPGs?
    I've found that feeling you have to put together a campaign can be a block to enjoying the hobby. One shots are a great way to get people together without worrying about whether that same group will be available next week/month. Also, it makes it easier for players to say yes as they don't feel pressured into a long-term time commitment. Also, you can play more characters and try different levels, races, and classes this way. More to this point, you can also play more systems. I understand the drive, especially as a DM who loves world building, to run a campaign and appreciate how nice it is to have a group of friends that you get together with on a scheduled basis. But if you can't make that work--I highly recommend on shots. If getting people together for one-shots is difficult, there is always organized play, though that's always been a last resort for me. I find one shots extremely boring and have no interest in running them or playing them; I'd much rather play board games. Sam...
  • 09:57 PM - D1Tremere quoted MNblockhead in post Vampire 5 Organized Play Launches
    I've been interested in trying Vampire the Masquerade, mainly because it became big after I went to college and stopped playing TTRPGs, so I missed out on it. But I've heard a lot of negative comments from friends who played it back in the 90s. Most of the negative comments seem to be about experiences with the LARP form of the game, and the fact that the games attracted a lot of young, horny, edge-lord types that could lead to some uncomfortable situations. Are the organized play games going to be tabletop, LARP-style, or either? Vampire is a very political and social game which lends itself well to LARPing. LARPs are like anything involving people, they will vary in content and quality. I have had many great experiences with Vampire both in tabletop and LARP form, so just look for a group that works well for you and give it a shot.

Monday, 15th July, 2019

  • 08:11 PM - Lanefan quoted MNblockhead in post What are your Pedantic Complaints about D&D?
    Yeah, non-elves either want to eat them or breed with them. Exception being Dwarves, the bitter jealous brothers of the elder races. Yet, it is humans who actually breed most indiscriminately. Why do all half-breeds tend to be half-human? Looking at the flavor text for Orcs in the MM, I would think that half-orc/half-elf should be as common, if not more so, then half human.This leads into a whole other field of study, should one be so inclined, and that's to go through the Monster Manual, find all the cross-breed races (e.g. Tabaxi is part human, part cat), and then from there figure out what can in theory breed with what and-or have what in its bloodlines. Can, for example, a half-orc breed with a half-elf and produce an offspring that is genetically 1/4 elf, 1/4 orc, and the rest human? I did this a long time ago using 1e's MM, FF, and MMII; and the results were rather staggering: a chart on a big piece of paper with lines connecting inter-breedable races that ended up looking like a pla...
  • 08:10 PM - ccs quoted MNblockhead in post What are your Pedantic Complaints about D&D?
    Yeah, non-elves either want to eat them or breed with them. Exception being Dwarves, the bitter jealous brothers of the elder races. Yet, it is humans who actually breed most indiscriminately. Why do all half-breeds tend to be half-human? Looking at the flavor text for Orcs in the MM, I would think that half-orc/half-elf should be as common, if not more so, then half human. I suspect that the orcs penchant for eating the elves dramatically reduces the odds of this crossbreed mix.
  • 04:28 PM - Ralif Redhammer quoted MNblockhead in post When and why did you stop playing D&D and other TTRPGs?
    Also when I first went off to college. I went to a place where I knew absolutely no one. Nevermind that playing D&D would probably have helped me make friends, for I was terribly shy at that point in my life. In the last two years, I started running an AD&D game back at home during the summer and had a lot of fun. A bunch of my fellow musicians all discovered that we used to play D&D and wanted to give it a try again. But then that trailed off again until news of the Lord of the Rings trilogy being made hit. I canít understate how just seeing that Quicktime trailer reinvigorated my love of fantasy again. What cause me to stop is going to college. I got together with some gamers maybe one or twice in my freshman year, but most of my new friends were not gamers and school, work, and other activities took focus and ended up selling all my gaming material.
  • 03:30 PM - AriochQ quoted MNblockhead in post Vampire 5 Organized Play Launches
    Are the organized play games going to be tabletop, LARP-style, or either? Modiphius publishes the tabletop game. I don't think the RPG publishers have ever been involved with the various LARP groups.
  • 06:58 AM - Tony Vargas quoted MNblockhead in post What are your Pedantic Complaints about D&D?
    Interesting that most of the pet peeves shared here don't bother me much. They're supposed to be examples of nitpicking over small details, rather than real problems like... With D&D, as a DM, I what I still struggle with the most is ... unlikely to qualify as pedantic, unless you mean it ironically... planning for player-character magic. More than any other action, selecting spells and applying magic effects seem to slow down the game. I found I that magic tended to surprise me and trivialize many encounters. Further, magic in D&D pushes the game into gonzo territory pretty quickly. Nope, that sounds serious. Totally off topic. ...to try to get back on topic, why is it called Faerie Fire? Everywhere else the game used American spellings. Why not Fairy? Was Sustare just being pedantic?

Friday, 12th July, 2019

  • 03:08 PM - Sacrosanct quoted MNblockhead in post Portrayal of D&D in Stranger Things 3 -some spoilers
    It depends upon the person. Different people react to things differently. Given the number of people from the military, who have seen real action, that I've played both D&D and also TTRPGs set in more modern settings with, I would say that there are plenty of people that would still enjoy--and may even find it therapeutic--to role play things that they have some real-world experience with. Others would not. I think it would be less about whether someone who liked TTRPGs, and who thenexperienced real s**t, would still play TTRPGs and more about whether they would want to avoid certain scenarios. Everyone is different, I'll give you that. I've long held a saying (even if it's not related to RPGs): "For vets who have seen war, when they return home, they either become more of pacifist liberals, or the become right wingers infatuated with weapons. Centrists are lost in war." That's a bit hyperbolic, but only a bit. With RPGs, I'm not sure if I'd call it therapeutic though. You either avoid...

Thursday, 11th July, 2019

  • 07:42 PM - MarkB quoted MNblockhead in post Portrayal of D&D in Stranger Things 3 -some spoilers
    The only thing that didn't strike me as true was the wizard costume. While cosplay, LARPing, SCA, etc. were certainly starting to take off by the mid to late 80s, I didn't know anyone who dressed up to play DnD. Not saying nobody did, but I feel confident in stating that it was rare. Having Will dress up to DM seemed to be an anachronistic nod to modern assumptions. To me, it just seemed like part of Will's all-in effort to draw his friends back into the game. There didn't appear to be any suggestion that he dressed up like that whenever they played.
  • 05:50 PM - Umbran quoted MNblockhead in post Portrayal of D&D in Stranger Things 3 -some spoilers
    The only thing that didn't strike me as true was the wizard costume. While cosplay, LARPing, SCA, etc. were certainly starting to take off by the mid to late 80s, I didn't know anyone who dressed up to play DnD. Not saying nobody did, but I feel confident in stating that it was rare. Having Will dress up to DM seemed to be an anachronistic nod to modern assumptions. It is perhaps as much a nod to him being... a tad desperate. Look at the past two seasons, what that kid went through. Consider how much of life (and growing up) he's missed just dealing with all that crud and the repercussions. He, very desperately, wants things to be *NORMAL*. Which, to him, is still hanging out in the game room with his friends playing games. They aren't interested. So, what does he do? Try to up production values! Careful battlemaps, costumes, all the bells and whistles he can, to get their attention and company. What's not true about that? Remember - the show is about the characters first, not abou...
  • 03:56 PM - Parmandur quoted MNblockhead in post Portrayal of D&D in Stranger Things 3 -some spoilers
    To me, it rang very true. It represented the very real issue that many/most people go through at that time in their lives when their friends start dating and want to spend more time with their romantic partners and less with their group of friends. Also, that is a time of life when you start having other interests and start making friends from a larger pool than the kids in your neighborhood. If you are kid that doesn't have romantic partner yet or who is still strongly invested in the hobbies that your friends are becoming less interested in, it can be difficult. The only thing that didn't strike me as true was the wizard costume. While cosplay, LARPing, SCA, etc. were certainly starting to take off by the mid to late 80s, I didn't know anyone who dressed up to play DnD. Not saying nobody did, but I feel confident in stating that it was rare. Having Will dress up to DM seemed to be an anachronistic nod to modern assumptions. Yeah, this: similarly, Dustin was left holding the ham radio geek...

Monday, 8th July, 2019

  • 07:44 PM - BlivetWidget quoted MNblockhead in post What Does Your Magic Look Like
    @BlivetWidget Have you thought of putting together these for all the PHB spells and selling as PDF in DMs Guild? These would make great handouts. As soon as I started thinking of algorithmic solutions to the massive quantity of spells, I should have known you had me hooked (I can't resist a fun coding project). For anyone considering a similar project, I ended up just using the Python keyboard module. Everything else produced sub-par results. But by taking control of the keyboard, I can open up powerpoint directly and just duplicate slides and edit text boxes at ridiculous speeds. You just have to lay out your slide so the text boxes are in the right order (okay, you don't have to, but it saves you a lot of effort). So here is what I'm picturing for each handout. There are three levels of difficulty. Easy: use it as is, so you can read the spell name. Medium: cut off the spell name, and use the Chart of Elemental Cyclicity to translate the first line (which is just the spell name translit...

Sunday, 7th July, 2019

  • 04:47 PM - BlivetWidget quoted MNblockhead in post What Does Your Magic Look Like
    @BlivetWidget Have you thought of putting together these for all the PHB spells and selling as PDF in DMs Guild? These would make great handouts. Thanks! It's not entirely out of the question, but it would require a different approach to what I'm doing now to be any kind of sensible for that number of spells. I automated the generation of linear spellscript (which is all I generally use), but I currently use PowerPoint with shapes and textboxes to get the 2D forms. Most automated ways of working with text don't support working with text boxes, unfortunately. I could potentially teach myself some pyautogui to get it done. But I think the most familiar approach would just be to use Pillow, though I would likely need to do a bit of fiddling to figure out exactly where all the rotated text bits go to line them up with the hexagram. Certainly doable in a day if I put my mind to it, I think. But I'm not sure there would really be much demand for this level of intricacy. I think most people a...

Wednesday, 19th June, 2019

  • 08:17 PM - Bradley Hindman quoted MNblockhead in post Mythological Figures: Billy the Kid (5E)
    The first patent for a speedloader was in 1879 by William H. Bell: https://www.guns.com/news/2013/03/30/revolver-speedloaders So, if you allow revolvers, I see no reason not to assume use of speedloaders to get around non-fun loading time. It makes more sense than what we allow for crossbows in D&D. Even earlier than 1879, one could carry around pre-loaded spare cylinders. This was particularly useful for the older percussion cap pistols.


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