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    Yesterday, 09:39 PM
    Tony's answer is spot on. In my experience, it's a common question asked by new players trying to figure out which abilities apply to which combinations of attack type and weapon type. It doesn't help that the very first class ability a new player reads in the PHB is Rage, which is the paradigmatic example of an ability players want to use with thrown weapons but are not able to due to the...
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  • Xetheral's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:47 PM
    I'm not sure if this is a pedantic complaint or a complaint about where the rules need to be read pedantically to work. (Worrying about that distinction, however, seems suitably pedantic.) Without further ado... Crawford has confirmed in a rules article that the commonly used rules phrase "melee weapon attack" refers to "melee attacks with a weapon" rather than "attacks with melee weapons"....
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  • Xetheral's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 07:42 PM
    Since we're being pedantic, the rules in the game are actually a correct implementation of the inverse square law. For every light source, doubling the distance will cause the intensity to drop by a factor of 4. If a candle has the same intensity at 5' that Daylight has at 60', then the candle will have 1/4 that intensity at 10', and Daylight will have 1/4 that intensity at 120'. More...
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Thursday, 13th September, 2018

  • 02:41 PM - DM Dave1 mentioned Xetheral in post Arguments and assumptions against multi classing
    ... Are you using a dictionary definition of the word "barbarian" and using it to define the D&D Barbarian class? Some other extrinsic source? (I would note that using dictionary definitions to determine what is and is not essential fluff for each class will produce problematic results when you get to the Druid class.) ... Barbarians come from uncivilized areas, not inside of them. Let's look closer at your street urchin and the barbarian class. These abilities are nonsensical for such a person:unarmored defense, fast movement, brutal critical, indomitable might, and primal champion. That's the problem with re-fluffing classes into something completely different. There are usually abilities that don't fit. You didn't really answer the question posed by Xetheral directly Maxperson. Where are you getting your definition of barbarian? Regardless of whether you choose to answer that question or not, is it right to assume that in your game the only true Barbarian is one with the Outlander background? No wiggle room on that? And to get back to the OP, how would you feel about a multiclass Barbarian/Paladin?

Sunday, 26th August, 2018

  • 02:48 PM - pemerton mentioned Xetheral in post Missing Rules
    ...ut "mentioning" you into this thread, so I'm glad that you found it on your own! I don't set DCs based on the abilities of the character. If a situation includes a gap to be jumped, for example, that's unusually far for some characters such that they need to make a STR (Athletics) check to clear the span, the DC would be the same for each person making the attempt. I see the designations, easy, medium, hard, etc., to refer to the difficulty for the average person, not the difficulty for the individual making the check. DCs appear to be intended to be objective, not subjective. That seemed to mean focus on the jump distance, not the jumper. When I do that, it feels easy to reach a consistent ruling. <snip> players have all kinds of resources to bear on this, that can make a high DC doable, or circumvent it all together (cast Fly?) That makes scaling subjectively for me a questionable pursuit, but if I did scale, I'd scale percentually.My intuition is closer to 5ekyu and Xetheral - the DC is objective in the sense of relfective of the pre-established ingame difficulty (which constrasts with some other sytems, including some aspects of 4e) but the character's STR is part of that pre-estabished ingame difficulty. That is, if a character can certainly jump 15' (STR 15) then it seems that s/he can probably jump 16' about as easily as someone who can certainly jump 12' (STR 12) can jump 13' or 14'. But a DC = distance approach will tend to exaggerate things in favour of the weaker character. I don't think I would personally use a formula, but just the standard DCs - jumping an extra foot for that 15 STR PC is probably easy (DC 10, so better than 50% chance of succes), while jumping an extra 4' for that 12 STR PC seems Medium or even Hard (so DC 15 or 20, ie quite a bit less than 50% chance of success without solid Athletics proficiency). Another consideration (harking back to the Thief-Acrobat jumping abilities in Unearthed Arcana) is whether the character lan...

Saturday, 11th August, 2018

  • 07:00 PM - Oofta mentioned Xetheral in post Missed session catch-up XP
    Xetheral, I honestly don't know how people do mid-to-high level combats without killing low level PCs, and no one has ever given me a good example except a scenario where the PC was never targeted. Or have weird parallel encounters. Or the low level PC stays home/half a mile away from combat because otherwise they're toast. Then again I always have the bad guys do what I think they should do. If that means fireballing the intern, so be it. But I may never know since Iserith blocked me after I commented that he's more of a rules-first guy (making the story match the rules) and I'm a story-first (rules bend now and then to match the story). :uhoh:

Wednesday, 6th December, 2017

  • 07:20 PM - redrick mentioned Xetheral in post Reliable Talent. What the what?
    ...nt into a narration device. Have you found that players of Rogues complain about Reliable Talent taking the fun out of the game for them? I disagree that the advice being given is to stop engaging Reliable Talent. Quite the opposite — continue giving Rogues the opportunities to use those skills, and where appropriate, succeed automatically. Just don't rely on those particular skill checks to provide uncertainty in your game. Which, if the Rogue already had a 55% chance of success, you shouldn't rely on anymore anyway. Skill checks are the most open-ended way of interacting with the game world. That's the fun in playing a skill monkey — you get to come up with creative things to do, describe them, and then try and do them. By the time you are a high level Rogue, you can pull off some truly challenging things. By the time you are an 11th level Rogue, you can be depended on to pull off some of these things without risk of failure. ----EDITED TO ADD----- And to further what Xetheral was saying, the challenge is still to find an approach where the chance of success is as high as possible. Reliable Talent doesn't take that away. It simply takes away the chance at skunking on your roll once you find a good approach. A starting Rogue has 6 skill proficiencies, plus Thieve's Tools. By 11th level, they have 4 expertise slots. Depending on what they choose to specialize in and how they used their ASIs, that could give them an expert bonus as high as +13 or as low as +7. (Expertise in Athletics for a Rogue who dumped Strength. I've done this.) For the (minimum — don't forget skill feats) 3 skills in which they do not have expertise, their bonus will range from +3 to +9. There are plenty of cases where Reliable Talent will not take hard skill checks off the table.

Saturday, 29th April, 2017

  • 04:27 AM - pemerton mentioned Xetheral in post Judgement calls vs "railroading"
    ...space: Faith, in BW, is bound by "intent and task". The task is speaking a prayer: so, at the table, the player has to speak the prayer his/her PC is making. The intent is the deisred (mechanically defined) outcome, which also determines the difficulty of the check, although (as per Revised p 231; Gold p 523) "Outlandish intents are a fine cause for massively increased obstacles and a little divine wrath." Having to actually speak your prayer puts the player of the faithful character in quite a different position from the player of the D&D cleric: there is no "hiding" behind spell slots and V, S, M/F components. You have to give voice to your faith. And yet another example, in a different conceptual space, but that relates back to the account of the GM and player roles that I have posted in response to Tony Vargas: the GM is expected to respond to what you, as a player of your character are pushing towards, and if you check fails the GM is expected to thwart that intent. Upthread, Xetheral described this as unduly adversarial. Personally I don't find it to be such (otherwise I wouldn't play the game), but it is putting emotions, and conceptions of the character and the fiction, on the line. There is nothing like an alignment system, a pre-written scenario, etc to serve as a buffer or a "release valve" for these issues.

Monday, 17th April, 2017

  • 07:37 AM - pemerton mentioned Xetheral in post Judgement calls vs "railroading"
    ...at this point has nothing to do with the rest of his story. <snip> In an RPG context one could see this all as a railroad, and Luke's story in particular. <snip> when the original Star Wars was released, Luke was not the Jedi heir, he was just another guy. At that point in the saga literally anybody could be Obi-Wan's padawan. <snip> The reality is, movies and TV series typically function more like what I'm used to - the DM (director, writer) provides the world, and the characters react to it. The more that you utilize the players own ideas and the character motivations, the more involved they will be in the story. But I don't think it's essential <snippage> to break immersion in the middle of the game to get it.There is a lot going on here. I don't know that I'll respond sensibly to all of it, but will try to convey some of the thoughts I had. (1) Not necessary to break immersion: I don't think that's a significant object of dispute. But, as per the disussion upthread between Xetheral, Campbell and me, what breaks immesion vs what preseves immersion can be rather variable. As I said in a few posts, I find that depending up on the GM as sole mediator of the gameworld, so that players never (as their PCs) have their own perceptions/intuitions/understandings to rely upon, quite immersion breaking. (Unless the PC is literally meant to be an alien in the fictional world.) (2) Anyone could have been Obi-Wan's apprentice: Luke's name is Skywalker; his father was a great pilot and a great Jedi who left him a lightsabre as an heirloom; his father was killed by Darth Vader. These are the things that make Luke the appropriate heir to the Jedi tradition, and cast him in dramatic opposition to Vader and the Empire. (In a very different way from Leia, whose opposition is political, not personal/spiritual in the same way, at least before the Death Star is used to blow up Alderaan.) (3) Star Wars as a railroad: as with the discussion, way upthread, of LotR, we can't tell simply f...

Sunday, 16th April, 2017

  • 04:31 AM - pemerton mentioned Xetheral in post Judgement calls vs "railroading"
    the advisor would have to be retarded not to attempt to mitigate the damage from his outing himself. <snip> Challenge won. That really has no bearing on what the advisor does next, though. If he attempts to mitigate the damage, it in no way tarnishes that win. <snip> I don't understand eliminating the possibility of people being outed or outing themselves and being able to mitigate that damage. That seems like a perfectly reasonable and viable path for the game to go down, and one that is quite fun.This is like saying, "The orc was reduced to zero hp, but it seems quite reasonable, viable and fun for it in fact just to be a flesh wound, so the orc gets up and keeps on fighting" I mean, maybe some people would find that fun, and maybe in some RPG systems that is reasonable and viable, but as I prefer to play that would clearly be a violation of finality in resolution. And to reiterate a point I made upthread (I think to Xetheral): it is no answer to this to say that the orc can't get up because, in the fiction, it is unconscious or dead. Because the only way we know that fiction is via the mechanical state of zero hp; and we can only infer to the fiction if that mecahnical state ensures finality. In the skill challenge, the players' success establishes that the advisor reveals himself in a way that redounds upon him and does not hurt the PCs' relationship with the baron. That's what they were angling for, and that's what they got. The matter is settled. As I said, in the fiction the advisor can snivel and weasel - as Wormtongue does once Gandalf unmasks him - but that is not going to change the situation. As GM, I don't get a "do over". The established result stands.

Thursday, 13th April, 2017

  • 12:28 PM - pemerton mentioned Xetheral in post Judgement calls vs "railroading"
    ...e GM would likely just agree and ask you to continue. I don't think that a bit of confirmation on the DM's part is all that disorienting to the player that it would carry over to their role playing. <snip> I feel like having the game world feel more lived in, more dynamic would be more supported by planning ahead a bit rather than allowing everything to be established on the fly.I've highlighted one sentence in this post, because it illustrates what, in my view, tends to undermine immersion: if I'm meant to experience the fiction in the same way (whatever exactly that means) as my character, then why am I having to ask how coats are hung. Wouldn't I (as my PC) know that? Would it disorient the player and disrupt his/her roleplaying? Well, it won't stop performance, I guess. Actors are (I assume) used to being told about what the norms are that their characters are used to, as part of helping them understand how to play their characters, how to react to things, etc. But Xetheral didn't talk about roleplaying in that sense - the word used was immersion. And I personally think that that sort of GM mediation is an obstacle to immersion. As I said, I feel it makes the character feel like an alien. And I don't see how GM prep really deals with this issue. GM prep doesn't make the world more "lived in" from the point of view of the player experience of "inhabiting" the PC. But what if the player says "I hand my drenched coat to...my long lost brother who is standing beside the door!?!?!" Cue the dramatic music. <snip> I think most games likely allow at least a little input into NPCs by players...supporting cast and family and the like are something I always try to use in my games. Typically, I let the players decide the basics, and then I may take it from there. I feel like this is something that the GM has to mitigate to some extent. The example I gave above of the long lost brother showing up out of the blue...that was mostly a joke, but if the p...
  • 04:07 AM - Manbearcat mentioned Xetheral in post Judgement calls vs "railroading"
    ...ion (which it, intentionally, infects the players with) due to the way all the parts work together. "Ask questions and use the answers" is (a) not necessary for these games (because each unit of conversation, the high utility prep, the fundamental play procedures, and the resolution mechanics all do their expectant job) and (b) it would actively work against the play agenda of Torchbearer because it could potentially mitigate some/much of that grim, anxious desperation that is part and parcel of the experience. There are some games where part of the experience of being protagonized is to allow the System Agency to do its thing and provoke your dread, your sense of forboding, your grim outlook, your sense of loss (My Life With Master, Dread, Torchbearer). "Ask questons and use the answers" is not for those systems. Unrelated, I think there is some confusion as to the process here of "Ask questions and use the answers." I don't recall who I should summon here, so I'll just summon @Xetheral and @Lanefan and cross my fingers that the clarification will be relevant to them. "Who is this guy?...how do you know him?" is an offer. Its not "leading the witness" or an instruction/demand. It can absolutely be handled by the player how they see fit. The following is absolutely a legit response (whether this situation unfolded as a result of framing or was the product of a action resolution (perhaps the system's equivalent of a Contacts move resulted in either a Success with Complications or a Fail Forward/Twist). Player: I cover my mouth and speak under my breath to my companions as the man makes a mess of himself toward our table. "I've never seen this man. Be on your guard." I casually slide my boot knife from its sheathe and keep that hand under the table...
  • 03:59 AM - pemerton mentioned Xetheral in post Judgement calls vs "railroading"
    in the real world, this is not mediated. If you want to know something about your immediate environment you just look around.Which in the game is modeled by asking the DM. <snip> just ask for more details (preferably those specific ones relevant to what you're doing e.g. don't ask about the number of tables in the bar if your main interest is whether there's a hook or not) until you get the relevant info you need. Some players will take this too far and ask for descriptions of absolutely everything whether relevant or not; some DMs will also take this too far by proactively describing everything whether relevant or not. Both of these just waste time.Relating this back to Xetheral's posts: I don't see how this is very immersive. It seems quite unimmersive to me, as my sense of "being there" is constantly disrupted by this 20-questions-style back-and-forth with the GM to establish basic details which would be immediately known by my PC. Adding in a constraint of "relevance" only compounds the issue, particularly in an environment where players are discouraged from explaining what their motivations or intentions are for their PCs, and where the GM is keeping secret from the players what s/he thinks is at stake in the situation, and hence there is no real clarity at the table as to what may or may not be relevant. he game mentioned in the OP has been driven primarily by the mage PCs desire to redeem his brother, the assassin/wizard's desire to kill the same, and the elven ronin's inability to come to terms with the loss of his master (which was what led him to wander into human lands). Without those background elements, there wouldn't be any play.Whyever...

Wednesday, 12th April, 2017

  • 02:01 AM - pemerton mentioned Xetheral in post Judgement calls vs "railroading"
    Certainly, as a DM, improvisation is always part of the game. But by having a thorough understanding of the NPCs and their goals, the events that are occurring in the region, the lay of the land, and things like that. Even the typical behavior of monsters, etc., means that I can also focus on the creation of the story during the game, reacting to the characters and their actions. Outside of the game session I don't have any problem with as much input from the players as they want to give. But within the game we expect to be within the scene, and within the moment, with them as their characters and nothing else.I've highlighted two bits of this quote. The first seems to go right to the core of the thread. It posits the GM as creating the story. The second seems to go to the discussion with Xetheral about immersion, and my post not far upthread. Because human beings are related to people around them, and embedded in the world around them, sometimes "being the character" also requires establishing elements of the shared fiction.

Tuesday, 11th April, 2017

  • 05:54 AM - Lanefan mentioned Xetheral in post Judgement calls vs "railroading"
    ...all in a favor and this is the guy...but maybe he comes with some kind of cost or complication; eg it was a 7-9 move roll in Dungeon World, a failure by 1-2 in 5e, or an intra-Skill Challenge success in 4e that changes the situation but introduces a new obstacle/complication to the ultimate goal), (b) if its a bit of both for both sides, and (c) what it all means for play (the actual dynamics of the play conversation and the trajectory of the fiction).I'm taking it at face value - some anxious guy wanders into a pub, trainwrecks the barmaid, sees the PCs, and beelines for their table. Naturally I assumed that if there was any more to it (e.g. the PCs are expecting someone to turn up but aren't sure who it'll be) you'd have included that in the write-up. The absence of any such inclusion told me this is just some random guy; and is an element of the game-world proactively coming to the PCs in order to generate a reaction. Lanefan , thoughts on Ilbranteloth's play excerpt above? Xetheral has me covered in post 778, above. Just pretend I pretty much typed the same again. :) Lan-"my job as a player is to either react to what the game-world does or to go and do something within it, not to co-build it as we go along"-efan
  • 05:51 AM - Campbell mentioned Xetheral in post Judgement calls vs "railroading"
    Xetheral I think we should be careful about confusing our methods with our aims. A given set of techniques might bring about that sense of being there in the moment for a given player while not being well suited for another player. That is not necessarily evidence of radically different aims, just of different approaches. I find answering these sort of questions if addressed to my character rather than me often helps me connect to the fiction and gets me primed for the actual play of the game. I mean this sort of exchange where we are teasing out the details of the fiction whether written down beforehand or not is not something I view as playing the game. We can't play in the fiction until we know what it is. Another example of where different approaches might serve different players with the same aims is how abstract we describe things and whether we have rules for things like Willpower, Influence, Strings, or Beliefs. Exacting physical descriptions laid out in concrete measurements take...

Monday, 10th April, 2017

  • 05:56 PM - Manbearcat mentioned Xetheral in post Judgement calls vs "railroading"
    ...ssume that Connections is a rogue/thief move; the others I'm not sure about, but I'm guessing they are also class moves), and this plugs some gaps in my knowledge/exposition! EDIT: I looked some of them up: Weather Weaver is Druidic; Heirloom is a fighter move; Wealth and Taste is a thief move. I didn't find the others. (For anyone else following a long: a class "move" in DW is similar to a feat or other ability gained on reaching a new level in WotC-style D&D.) My Love for You is Like a Truck is Barbarian (the DW Barbarian is probably the best incarnation of a D&D offering that would live up to the tropes of Conan in play). Old Enemies and A Lover in Every Port is Dashing Hero playbook. Classic Zoro, Dread Pirate Roberts/Man In Black/Errol Flynn tropes. Its easily my favorite Dungeon World playbook. I did a two-off Sword and Sorcery/Swashbuckling mash-up with it and the Barbarian and it was glorious. So question for everyone (especially Lanefan , hawkeyefan , Xetheral , Ilbranteloth ). When you're running your D&D games (5e or whatever), do you guys "ask questions and use the answers." For instance: GM: "An anxious looking fellow enters the tavern while looking this way and that. He runs headlong into a barmaid's tray due to his state. They both hit the deck and drinks spill everywhere. While he's sitting his head is still scanning left and right as he absent-mindedly mats the liquid into his soiled shirt. He locks eyes with you and breaks into a crawl which leads him unsteadily to his feet. He's making a bee-line for your table." "Who is this guy? Do you know him?"

Thursday, 6th April, 2017

  • 08:27 PM - Manbearcat mentioned Xetheral in post Judgement calls vs "railroading"
    Nagol , yup, those hard moves you mention are definitely "Make a move that follows (the fiction)" (and I have used them when the fiction warranted). You can still give players a hard choice on a 6- when you deploy Use Their Resources. It just needs to change the situation more punitively than that on a 7-9, because the player is getting none of what they want (rather than some). The fiction could be something like "you can leap to this tiny landing and hold on by your fingertips (thus you're still very much in danger...especially if there are enemies or further environmental hazards about), but you can't hold onto your magic sword at the same time!" So the player can either eat damage/Forceful tag (thus being in a bad spot spatially now...perhaps partially buried and swept down and lower on HPs) or they can lose their magic sword and "be in a spot." Xetheral , I'm posted out and have to exit stage left. I'll try to read your response and get to it tomorrow (most likely).

Monday, 3rd April, 2017

  • 04:59 AM - hawkeyefan mentioned Xetheral in post Judgement calls vs "railroading"
    ..."side trek" (sorry pemerton!)...meaning it happened as a result of the PC falling into a crevasse and then into an underground river. You also said this was all determined on the fly. So the story of the hobgoblin kingdom and the PCs' relationship (and their kingdom/home?) is still there in the background. A kind of main story that looms over everything. And this "side trek" is turning out to be more than that because how the PC handles the situation could impact things in the larger conflict. That's the situation as I understand it. If I'm wrong let me know. I see a GM presence in the scenario either way. It seems more a question of how. Let's set aside actual manipulation of roll results and the like. The GM in DW is determining this scenario on the fly, and yet it dovetails into the "larger" story. How is that not nudging things toward what the GM wants? I think that perhaps the crux of the matter comes down to a question of the Outcome. I don't think that Lanefan or Xetheral or myself are abdicating a predetermined outcome. I think that we all expect the actual outcome to depend on how the PCs deal with what comes their way. Which is why I think your example of 5E play was a bit of an exaggeration. Yes, the DM can set a DC and keep that DC secret and then twist the die result to whatever he wants. In this case the implication is a nudge towards conflict with the hobgoblins. This could happen of course, but without good reason I don't think it's a good idea, nor do I think anyone is saying that would be the way to handle it. I think instead, when those of us in the thread are advocating for GM driven material, what we're talking about is that "main plot" of the relationship with the hobgoblin kingdom. That's the main focus of the campaign/adventure/what have you, and so we try to keep things from moving too far afield from that. That's what the GM has worked on, that's how things have taken shape in the game, and so on. It doesn't mean that the GM...
  • 12:54 AM - Manbearcat mentioned Xetheral in post Judgement calls vs "railroading"
    @Lanefan , @hawkeyefan, @Xetheral , I've broken down the Dungeon World play excerpt in both its original mechanical state of Dungeon World and transliterated it how it would work out procedurally in B/X . Its original incarnation of Dungeon World would be "Story Now/Play to Find Out". B/X would obviously be "Gamist/Refereeing." I'm now going to start the process of transliterating it to 5e using a Storyteller agenda and Illusionism techniques so we can compare and contrast. Going to do this piecemeal so we can focus like a laser beam. For ease of reference, here are a few initial parts of the conversation of play for that excerpt. I'll get to the 5e procedures (using a Storyteller agenda, which is my takeaway from the 5e texts) after. * Disclaimer - I am not saying here that 5e imposes either a Storyteller agenda or Illusionism techniques. But it certainly plays very nice with both (explicitly and implicitly). Alright, here we go. ELF After I've regeared, I'll pocket the coins and place the choker aroun...

Sunday, 2nd April, 2017

  • 02:22 PM - pemerton mentioned Xetheral in post Judgement calls vs "railroading"
    Terminology again...a PC doing anything at all - even something as banal as asking where an inn might be found - is an action declaration as far as I'd ever use the term: it's something that the DM has to respond to. It could in this case be an extremely innocuous or almost irrelevant action declaration, but that's not the point; and for all we know maybe the PC wants to know where the inn is so she can burn it down.But this is what I'm getting at when I'm saying that Xetheral and hawkeyefan aren't always making it clear to me what they are describing, when they ask "Would pemerton characterise such-and-such as railroading? Or what sort of label would I put on the approach?" When the action is described only in in-fiction terms (a PC looks for an inn), who can tell. To judge what sort of dynamic and approach is going on at the table, we need to be told about the action in real-world terms: what does the player want for his/her PC, and why? And where did that come from? For instance, if the PC is asking about an inn because a NPC, conceived of entirely by the GM, dropped a hint or clue about an inn, then we have a GM-driven game. The player seems to be searching for the next bit of plot. If the PC is asking about an inn because the game assumes that the PCs need somewhere to eat, sleep, etc, then it's just colour - it's establishing the necessary fiction around the PC's living conditions, and maybe involves deducting a few gp from an equipment list. But no...

Thursday, 30th March, 2017

  • 04:07 AM - Manbearcat mentioned Xetheral in post Judgement calls vs "railroading"
    This has been a very good thread. Thanks hawkeyefan , Xetheral, Gardens & Goblins, lowkey13 , and Lanefan for participating (and for the nature of your participation). Unfortunately, Campbell , Tony Vargas , and pemerton , your contributions have been mostly crap. I don't have time to respond/comment tonight, but I will in the coming days.

Monday, 27th March, 2017

  • 08:28 AM - pemerton mentioned Xetheral in post Judgement calls vs "railroading"
    Xetheral You probably won't be surprised that I want to present a hypothetical example of play that puts pressure on the "disconnect" idea. I'm curious what you make of it. Scenario: The PCs have busted some smugglers (eg Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh). One of the PCs has, as part of her backstory, that her hometown is a "hive of scum and villainy" (including smugglers). The player of this PC tells the the GM, "I look at the smuggled crates - is there any mark to suggest that they came from, or passed through, my hometown?" The GM has to respond - and, for the sake of this example it is stipulated that the GM has nothing prewritten about this (ie about where the smuggled goods came from). Now we have a moment of action declaration, which forces the GM to author something. There are different ways of doing that - my way is one of them! Upthread Campbell and I made some posts about "transparency" - ie being clear to players about how GMing decisions are made. So generally I wouldn't ex...


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Wednesday, 17th July, 2019

  • 05:37 PM - Jer quoted Xetheral in post What are your Pedantic Complaints about D&D?
    It would have been much clearer to just write "melee attack with a weapon" everywhere in the rules that they wrote "melee weapon attack". I'm trying to figure out the circumstances where the difference would matter - or why Crawford got this question in the first place. (Clicking the link gave no context, just the answer). Is someone wondering whether whacking a monster with their longbow counts as a "melee weapon attack"? I don't even get why this question would come up... ETA: I know this is the thread for pedantry, and this is pedantry and so it's appropriate. But the fact that Crawford got asked this question just blows my mind - I just have to know why it matters!

Tuesday, 16th July, 2019

  • 02:04 PM - Sadras quoted Xetheral in post What are your Pedantic Complaints about D&D?
    Since we're being pedantic, the rules in the game are actually a correct implementation of the inverse square law. For every light source, doubling the distance will cause the intensity to drop by a factor of 4. If a candle has the same intensity at 5' that Daylight has at 60', then the candle will have 1/4 that intensity at 10', and Daylight will have 1/4 that intensity at 120'. More explicitly, let "L" be the brightness of a candle at 5'. For Daylight to be just as bright at 60' as a candle is at 5', its brightness at 5' must be: (60'*60')*L/(5'*5')=144*L. The brightness of a candle at 10 feet is (5'*5')*L/(10'*10')=L/4. The distance at which Daylight fades to L/4 is: SQRT((5'*5')(144*L)/(L/4))=SQRT(14400 sqft)=120'. This is the power of math, people! :]

Thursday, 7th February, 2019

  • 06:53 AM - FrogReaver quoted Xetheral in post Cantrip House Rule
    Some utility casters use nearly all their spell slots in the Social and Exploration pillars, relying on cantrips to contribute to Combat. This change would make such characters unworkable above 5th level. Even if those characters save the extra spell slots you're granting them for combat, it can't make up halving (or worse, at higher levels) their damage potential for the other 80-90% of combat rounds. Such characters may not be common at your table, in which case this won't be much of a practical drawback. But ruling out an entire category of utility builds seems like an unintended side effect that is worth pointing out. (For those unfamiliar with such builds, they play similarly in combat to ranged Champion Fighters, but trading lower offense and defense for more out-of-combat ability. I've mainly seen them used by casual players who don't want to stress over tactical spell use, by experienced players in mixed groups that don't want to hog the combat spotlight, or by anyone designing a ...

Tuesday, 20th November, 2018

  • 03:43 AM - Ovinomancer quoted Xetheral in post The math of Advantage and Disadvantage
    I disagree that there is anything mathematically wrong about looking at an absolute percentage-point change in addition to looking at the corresponding proportional change. They measure different things, and thus are both valuable. When considering a binary event, such as whether a d20+bonus roll hits a DC, the absolute percentage-point change provided by an Effect (e.g. advantage) is an accurate measure of how often the Effect will be outcome-determinitive. This is useful information and is not in any way "wrong". The "wrong" part was converting a normal distribution to a mean-shifting a flat distribution. The is wrong. Evaluating how often a the "Effect" (a nebulous term that I can easily define in a way that makes this wrong, but am choosing to assume that you're mostly referring to ad/disadvantage) is useful has little to do with the size of the absolute percentage change. To consider needing an 11, disadvantage would mean that the normal 200/400 chance drops to 100/400, or the Eff...

Thursday, 25th October, 2018

  • 07:41 AM - Charlaquin quoted Xetheral in post Passive Perception better than Active Perception?
    Hypothetical: Let's say a player has declared that their character is looking for something in particular and describes their method. A second player declares that their character is assisting the first character and describes how. The first character is trained in Perception and has the Observant feat, making their Passive Perception 10 (Base) + 5 (Observant) + 5 (Advantage) + X (Attribute mod) + Y (Prof bonus) = 20 + X + Y. It is thus impossible for the character to roll higher than their Passive Perception. As a DM, in such a circumstance would you ever tell the player of the first character to roll an [Attribute] (Perception) check? Or would you rely solely on the Passive Perception to resolve uncertainty (if any)? Here’s how I personally run it. Any hidden details in a scene have a DC to detect. If a character’s passive Perception is equal to or higher than the DC, I describe any sensory information the character could notice about the hidden detail without actively looking, e.g. feeling a...

Wednesday, 24th October, 2018

  • 11:06 PM - iserith quoted Xetheral in post Passive Perception better than Active Perception?
    That was my original approach. The difficulty I encountered was communicating to the players of the Observant characters that they were not being penalized for declaring an action--that I wouldn't have relied on Passive Perception to determine if they found what they were looking for in the absence of an action declaration. This lead to the players being unhappy with the Observant feat being less useful than they had anticipated. So I changed my approach and now let Passive Perception function as a floor on all perception checks. It made the players much happier. It may not be what was originally intended, but it's simple to apply and doesn't break anything. Interestingly, especially within a couple of years of the game launching, there were a ton of complaints about Observant on the forums, specifically around it being too powerful - nothing gets past the character. Taken as a whole, the rules don't suggest this is how it should be handled. Characters can only focus, generally speaking, on on...
  • 10:10 PM - daviddalbec quoted Xetheral in post Passive Perception better than Active Perception?
    Hypothetical: Let's say a player has declared that their character is looking for something in particular and describes their method. A second player declares that their character is assisting the first character and describes how. The first character is trained in Perception and has the Observant feat, making their Passive Perception 10 (Base) + 5 (Observant) + 5 (Advantage) + X (Attribute mod) + Y (Prof bonus) = 20 + X + Y. It is thus impossible for the character to roll higher than their Passive Perception. As a DM, in such a circumstance would you ever tell the player of the first character to roll an [Attribute] (Perception) check? Or would you rely solely on the Passive Perception to resolve uncertainty (if any)? Hypothetical: Let's say a player has declared that their character is looking for something in particular and describes their method. A second player declares that their character is assisting the first character and describes how. The first character is trained in Perception a...
  • 10:09 PM - iserith quoted Xetheral in post Passive Perception better than Active Perception?
    Hypothetical: Let's say a player has declared that their character is looking for something in particular and describes their method. A second player declares that their character is assisting the first character and describes how. The first character is trained in Perception and has the Observant feat, making their Passive Perception 10 (Base) + 5 (Observant) + 5 (Advantage) + X (Attribute mod) + Y (Prof bonus) = 20 + X + Y. It is thus impossible for the character to roll higher than their Passive Perception. As a DM, in such a circumstance would you ever tell the player of the first character to roll an [Attribute] (Perception) check? Or would you rely solely on the Passive Perception to resolve uncertainty (if any)? This looks like a Wisdom (Perception) check to me, not a passive Perception check. If it's a Search action in combat, the passive Perception is by default the "floor" because the creature attempting to hide will have had to beat that passive Perception score to have been hidde...

Wednesday, 19th September, 2018

  • 03:46 PM - Arial Black quoted Xetheral in post Arguments and assumptions against multi classing
    As an aside, "unutterably" is my new favorite word. I can't think of a single usage that isn't (in a superficial sense) hilariously self-contradictory. It's like "unspeakably" on steriods. Thank you for introducing me to this gem. Not self-contradictory. What 'unutterably' means in this context is:- "I can tell you that it's wrong, but the words do not exist that could accurately allow me to convey just how wrong it is!"
  • 03:03 PM - Arial Black quoted Xetheral in post Arguments and assumptions against multi classing
    Although the question was not aimed at me, I hope you won't mind if I provide my take on it. I consider the fluff of the class to be up to the player (within the constraints set by the DM's opinion of what fits in the setting) based on implication from the text in the PHB (and what it doesn't say), my experience with the D&D product across multiple editions, and a comparison with other game systems. I fully acknowledge that my interpretation is not the only one: the examples below are intended to explain the source of my interpretation, not to try to prove that my interpretation is the best one. From the PHB: Page 11: "You also invent the personality, appearance, and backstory of your character." If the personality, appearance, and backstory described in the class fluff was meant to be a stricture, rather than a suggestion, I would expect this quote to instead say "you invent the personality, appearance, and backstory of your character within the boundaries set by your choices in the steps ...

Tuesday, 18th September, 2018

  • 03:29 AM - Maxperson quoted Xetheral in post Arguments and assumptions against multi classing
    Although the question was not aimed at me, I hope you won't mind if I provide my take on it. I consider the fluff of the class to be up to the player (within the constraints set by the DM's opinion of what fits in the setting) based on implication from the text in the PHB (and what it doesn't say), my experience with the D&D product across multiple editions, and a comparison with other game systems. I fully acknowledge that my interpretation is not the only one: the examples below are intended to explain the source of my interpretation, not to try to prove that my interpretation is the best one. From the PHB: Page 11: "You also invent the personality, appearance, and backstory of your character." If the personality, appearance, and backstory described in the class fluff was meant to be a stricture, rather than a suggestion, I would expect this quote to instead say "you invent the personality, appearance, and backstory of your character within the boundaries set by your choices in the steps ...

Monday, 17th September, 2018

  • 10:25 PM - S'mon quoted Xetheral in post Arguments and assumptions against multi classing
    But I think it is more plausible that this lack implies a desire to make it easier for DMs to decide to enforce fluff as sacrosanct at their tables, rather than an unspoken 180 degree reversal from the idea that fluff is mutable. Seems reasonable. Yes, they want to empower GMs to say "IMC all paladins are virtuous knights who strive to defeat Evil" - without wanting to ban the Paladin of Asmodeus some player AND HIS GM thinks is a cool idea. :)
  • 10:07 PM - Saelorn quoted Xetheral in post Arguments and assumptions against multi classing
    Page 11: "Or you might be more interested in an unconventional character, such as a brawny rogue who likes hand-to-hand combat...". There is no mention of brawny rogues anywhere in the rogue class fluff. Instead, the fluff explicitly says that "rogues prioritize cunning over brute strength" (PHB 94). We know that brawny rogues are explicitly allowed by the text on page 11. Since the rogue fluff text does not make allowances for brawny rogues, I conclude that it is reasonable to infer that the class fluff text is more likely to be a series of examples and possibilities rather than strictures.That doesn't change any of the fluff around the mechanical aspects of the class, though. Even if your particular rogue is an oddity among rogues, with a higher Strength than Dexterity, their sneak attack ability is still a precise strike made with a light weapon rather than a clobber over the head. That is to say, a class isn't the only aspect to a given character; your rogue may vary from other rogues, in w...
  • 06:10 PM - 5ekyu quoted Xetheral in post Arguments and assumptions against multi classing
    Words have meaning, but that meaning is contextual. Consider that the word "spear" in D&D refers to a throwable weapon without reach, limiting it to a small subset of real-life weapons that can be described as "spears". Further, consider the word "elf" which refers to wildly different creatures in different contexts. One can't draw on what one knows of Tolkien or Rowling elves and use that to infer traits of D&D elves, which are described quite differently from either. Similarly, I see no reason to assume that the class name "Barbarian" corresponds solely to the real world equivalent of barbarian tribes. Much of the text in the PHB talks about barbarians in an uncivilized, tribal sense, but it also allows for other possibilities, explicitly including dwarves, who are not described as tribal or uncivilized in any D&D-related context of which I am aware. Furthermore, that same text includes references to individual Barbarians' opinions of cities and civilization, which earlier you agreed can be ...

Thursday, 13th September, 2018

  • 02:41 PM - DM Dave1 quoted Xetheral in post Arguments and assumptions against multi classing
    ... Are you using a dictionary definition of the word "barbarian" and using it to define the D&D Barbarian class? Some other extrinsic source? (I would note that using dictionary definitions to determine what is and is not essential fluff for each class will produce problematic results when you get to the Druid class.) ... Barbarians come from uncivilized areas, not inside of them. Let's look closer at your street urchin and the barbarian class. These abilities are nonsensical for such a person:unarmored defense, fast movement, brutal critical, indomitable might, and primal champion. That's the problem with re-fluffing classes into something completely different. There are usually abilities that don't fit. You didn't really answer the question posed by Xetheral directly Maxperson. Where are you getting your definition of barbarian? Regardless of whether you choose to answer that question or not, is it right to assume that in your game the only true Barbarian is one with the Outlander background? No wiggle room on that? And to get back to the OP, how would you feel about a multiclass Barbarian/Paladin?
  • 07:21 AM - Maxperson quoted Xetheral in post Arguments and assumptions against multi classing
    And I see absolutely nothing inappropriate for a feral street urchin about any of the Barbarian features you listed. Surviving childhood on one's own in the underbelly of a major metropolis could easily be a harsher and more-violent existance than being raised by an isolated tribe or joning a group of dwarven berserkers. Street urchins would overthrow the city if they were that incredible. All it would take is one to become that powerful and they'd all be hunted down and executed. Urchin barbarian: "We are stronger than the city guard! We are stronger than the army! We can pull down the king and his protectors! We are street urchins!!!"
  • 06:39 AM - Maxperson quoted Xetheral in post Arguments and assumptions against multi classing
    You appear to have a predetermined definition of what is and is not a "Barbarian" that you're using to decide which pieces of class fluff it's permissible to ignore, and which pieces are essential. For example, you're fine with a Barbarian moving to a city and enjoying it, so long as they weren't raised there. As best I can tell, that distinction is nowhere to be found in the text of the PHB. Are you using a dictionary definition of the word "barbarian" and using it to define the D&D Barbarian class? Some other extrinsic source? (I would note that using dictionary definitions to determine what is and is not essential fluff for each class will produce problematic results when you get to the Druid class.) Regardless of where your predetermined definition of Barbarian comes from, since it's not in the PHB your players may not share the same definition. I would suggest that it would be impractical to expect your players to be able to deduce which parts of the Barbarian fluff you consider essentia...
  • 04:15 AM - Maxperson quoted Xetheral in post Arguments and assumptions against multi classing
    Isn't it though? What is the difference between ignoring the part of the class fluff that says that Barbarians view civilization as a weakness (to play a reform-minded tribal barbarian) and ignoring the part of the class fluff that says Barbarians "are uncomfortable when hedged in by walls" (to play an urban warrior)? They're in the same paragraph of fluff. Why is ignoring one sentence of fluff fine and dandy, but ignoring a nearby sentence isn't? You aren't ignoring the part that says "are uncomfortable when hedged in by walls" to play an urban warrior. You ignore that part to play a barbarian who comes to town and joins the guard. An urban warrior isn't a barbarian at all. He was born civilized and despite his anger, is not any sort of barbarian at all. More specifically, what is it about being an "urban warrior" that makes it incompatible with being an "unconventional Barbarian"? Urban warriors are born and raised civilized. Barbarians are not. I have no problem with one going to ...
  • 03:08 AM - Maxperson quoted Xetheral in post Arguments and assumptions against multi classing
    PHB 46: "To a barbarian, though, civilization is no virtue, but a sign of weakness." It's right there on the page, as part of the class fluff. If you're truly going to argue that class fluff is immutable without the DM's permission, then that restriction applies to a barbarian's opinions regarding civilization. Also, please note that the book very strongly suggests that class fluff is changeable by the player. Consider the following: PHB 94: "When it comes to combat, rogues prioritize cunning over brute strength." PHB 11: "Or you might be interested in an unconventional character, such as a brawny rogue..." Taken together, these quotes imply that a conventional rogue favors cunning over strength. But the book explicitly says that a player has the option to play something "unconventional", and gives an example diametrically opposed to the rogue class fluff. If players needed DM permission to change the class fluff, why does the second paragraph on character creation suggest an unconventional...
  • 02:10 AM - Maxperson quoted Xetheral in post Arguments and assumptions against multi classing
    I would expand on what @DMDave1 said above. The passage you quoted refers specifically to working with the DM to create a new mechanical benefit for a custom background. It does not in any way state that you need the DM's permission to alter class fluff to, for example, have a Barbarian PC who aspires for their tribe to join civilization rather than viewing civilization as a form of weakness. Having the rest of your tribe agree with you that civilization is a good thing would require DM buy-in by default, since the other tribe members are NPCs, but a PC's personal opinion of civilization is normally entirely up to the player. If a specific opinion of civilization would somehow create problems for a specific game, the DM can totally ask the player to change it, but, absent such a request, the player is doing nothing wrong by unilaterally determining their character's opinions. That's not an example of changing class fluff. A barbarian PC can aspire to join civilization or not without altering...


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