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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Today, 12:31 AM
    I see. So if we cast sleep on the orc, we’d all be in agreement that orc would be uniquely vulnerable. But there’s a gray area between that definite candidate for checkmate and an orc who is not a candidate for checkmate that you’re calling fiat. I suppose the defining line for me would be whether or not a defense against the attack were reasonably possible/effective. Natural armor might be...
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:49 PM
    Didn’t take any position on Holds. I have no wizards or sorcerers in any group at the moment. What is a “fiat threshold?”
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:38 PM
    I don’t think the DM who doesn’t let something work is a jerk. Same for the one who doesn’t apply the rules due to reasons. I think the biggest jerk DM thing is when they decide my actions for me.
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:35 PM
    Invisibility is helpful but IMO it does not, on its own, satisfy “target is totally unaware of you.”
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:56 PM
    Well, if I were in your shoes, I would use pregen characters at 3rd level and forget advancement altogether. I would not run any kind of continuing story or adventure path. Probably best to stick to a dungeon/monster of the month setup. And I’d have very clear win/lose conditions proposed up front. Maybe even points so you could declare a monthly “winner.” Or have all the viewers vote on...
    5 replies | 131 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:32 PM
    Yeah. They wanted combat to be faster, more dangerous, and more deadly. So I made it faster and deadlier. Now they’re careful when engaging enemies, pickier about where they hold positions, weighing whether to risk an opportunity attack for their action or take the safe play and use the withdraw action. They usually aren’t just standing around exchanging whacks. There’s a lot of...
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:08 PM
    They could. And the same might happen to them too. In practice it isn’t as go-to as it seems. At least not in my games so far. They’ve decapitated some zombies and did cut the sting off a Wyvern, though.
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:05 PM
    I’ve got 3 games going right now with these rules in play. Works fine.
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:51 PM
    The same way I adjudicate most other actions. You’ve got a fighter or whoever that wants to chop off an opponent’s limb with their weapon. That’s a clear enough goal and approach for me to know what check to ask for and what DC to set. I’ll ask for a weapon attack versus the target’s AC because that most closely approximates what’s happening in the narrative. Now this isn’t just a hit, but a...
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:34 PM
    Yeah, I agree that you could and that it wouldn’t be too much fun. You might do it if you’re short of time and want to expedite some of the game play to hit a solid end. But I don’t think you’re forbidden from bypassing HP simply because HP exists. I mean, there’s no real rule in place to cut the sting off a giant scorpion, either, but that doesn’t mean it should be impossible.
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:25 PM
    I addressed it upthread a bit. As a guideline, I sometimes compare the damage of the attack to the target’s constitution score. When the damage equals or exceeds the target’s constitution score, the target has to make a death saving throw. That typically covers exceptionally tough creatures well-enough for my use. However, it is equally reasonable to say “you’re never gonna dagger a dragon’s...
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:22 PM
    You’ve ignored the caveat that there is no reasonably effective defense. Pointed crossbows don’t inhibit or prevent an effective defense. Your failure to imagine a good use for the rule doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Your insistence that all uses of the rule are DM-screwjobs doesn’t mean they are.
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:03 PM
    I think my last example of sneaking up on an unwary NPC suggests an answer to that question. If you sneak up on someone who isn’t on guard duty (or perhaps is on guard duty but is otherwise distracted) and approach them such that they are unaware of your presence, a simple Dexterity (Stealth) check may well be sufficient to get you into a knife-at-throat position. How about in-combat?...
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:31 PM
    A rule is not a system. Was that in dispute? Rule adds nothing to the rope bridge scenario. Again, not really important. My claim was that the rope bridge scenario qualified, not that it was impossible to resolve by any other application of the rules. Finally, it does address the knife to the throat scenario, at the time the knife applies to the throat. The prerequisite is that you must...
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:08 PM
    You summed up your opinion by calling me a liar. I am not a liar. Here is the rule I use: “When you create circumstances to defeat an enemy such that there is no reasonably effective defense, that enemy is defeated.” For examples, I use the knife-to-the-throat case, the avalanche-over-a-cliff case, and the unwary-NPC-who-is-totally-unaware-of-your-presence case.
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:44 PM
    NPCs can take called shots too. I didn’t argue they couldn’t. NPCs can try to checkmate a PC. I didn’t argue they couldn’t. NPCs can try to douse themselves when they’re on fire. I didn’t argue they couldn’t.
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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.
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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...
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:05 PM
    Man, come on. If I have a house rule about checkmate scenarios and I give you an example of one I consider to be a checkmate scenario, isn’t it a little bit unfair to argue that example doesn’t meet my criteria? I mean, “here’s an example of the sort of thing I’m talking about” and you respond “no it’s not.” I feel like I’m probably an expert on my own darn opinion.
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:01 PM
    Yeah, I meant “causality” and typed “consequentialism.” +1 internet point for you. The rest of your point seems to take issue with “things act like they do in the real world,” which isn’t a position I’m taking as an absolute truth in all circumstances. I couldn’t possibly be taking that position in a game that includes dragons and magic spells. If the game world circumstances are that you...
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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.
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:51 PM
    Cool. So in my last post I was trying to say “the DM is D&D’s way of handling cases not covered by rules.” I wasn’t saying houserules were. My bad on lack of clarity. Demonstrative of my point was the rope bridge scenario. There are a number of rules that might be employed to resolve the situation but it’s the DM who decides which of the existing rules, if any, to apply. That may include...
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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...
    61 replies | 1313 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:13 PM
    Im not convinced that abandoning basic consequentialism (edit: I mean “causality” not consequentialism, I apologize for the confusion) is nonsensical, regardless of a real world or fantasy setting. “You’re on fire, now in the real world, you’d reasonably expect to stop, drop, and roll or douse yourself with water. But here in d&d, the fire keeps burning until the dice say it stops because...
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:08 PM
    Aren’t you kind of overlooking the one big thing in the D&D rules that DOES account for for off-book propositions? This is why the game has an arbiter. The DM is the game’s rule system that handles these cases. A human being with a brain and judgment who isn’t mindlessly adhering to program but weighing stakes and potential outcomes in advance of asking for a check. So, respectfully,...
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
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  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:12 PM
    Yep, 100%. It seems as though many of the players here treat every D&D combat as the game part of "roleplaying game", and thus you are just expected to go through all the rigamarole of running "the game", regardless of whether the roleplaying part of it makes a lick of sense. And in this situation where you've described... where someone has a knife to their neck being threatened... if anyone...
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:04 AM
    I want to make this. Inter-war era noir-ish.
    391 replies | 10368 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:47 AM
    I’m with you. I had a game a long while back where one of my players grabbed an enemy NPC with a knife to the throat and demanded the NPC order their goons to surrender. I ruled the NPC did not do that and the player cut the NPC’s throat - for 1d4 damage. Ineffective. Dumb. The wrong call completely. And a complete wet blanket on the game. That stuck with me and I’ve since adopted a...
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
    4 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:18 AM
    When I run my games, combat is as much a part of the narrative as the exploration and interaction is. Combat tells part of the story we are all contributing to at the table. And thus... if the narrative is pretty self-explanatory-- IE the group wants to take out the sentry as part of sneaking into the camp-- then I go along with it. This surprised orc sentry would become a minion for our...
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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...
    110 replies | 1715 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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 | 226 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...
    61 replies | 1313 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...
    4 replies | 217 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 03:53 PM
    Right, these are two different approaches to achieve the same goal and both can be described by the players as they say what they want to do which makes it easier for the DM to determine whether there's an ability check and which ability and skill proficiency applies. Neither of these approaches is the "one true solution" in a way that promotes the "pixel bitching" that some posters insist is...
    61 replies | 1313 view(s)
    2 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 12:49 PM
    That seems like something that won't actually result in much benefit, as the group will end up just defaulting to the rest schedule of the weakest member. Either that, or the ones who can't rest while others can will just always be the ones on watch the entire time since they have no reason to sleep.
    32 replies | 953 view(s)
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  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 11:52 AM
    If my players pretend to not know about trolls and fire, I have the trolls spit fire at them, and then explode. ..Just thought I would throw in a less expected answer.
    26 replies | 719 view(s)
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  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 11:49 AM
    I am by no means a 'tough guy', but getting a filling from a skilled dentist barely hurts. Skilled being the operative word here. If your dentist knows what he/she's doing, you should be fine. And it saves money too.
    35 replies | 774 view(s)
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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 05:33 AM
    I want to look at a couple things on a modified rest schedule. Among those are pace, travel, and rising/falling action. If the group has few encounters between long rests, I prefer those encounters to be of hard or harder difficulty. If the group has many encounters per long rest, I prefer to mix it up with a variety of difficulties. Personally, I’m a fan of the idea that a rest in...
    32 replies | 953 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 12:39 AM
    As a DM, I'd expect them to make an action declaration that minimizes the amount of assumptions the DM has to make to adjudicate to a result. I don't have a particular solution in mind or magic words the player has to say in my notes. But I'm going to need more than "I look at them closely..." All that suggests to me as DM is that it's probably a Wisdom check, assuming there's a check at all,...
    61 replies | 1313 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 12:33 AM
    Or see “Percussive Questioning” in the Player’s Fistbook.
    61 replies | 1313 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 10:36 PM
    While I agree that “examination” is a sufficient approach, I’ve never yet had a player try to beat the ground with a club to force a confession out of it. I’m trying to write a joke response about Internet forums and beating dead horses, but you can all just presume it’s funny. —————- But in response to the OP - I would not ask for a check if the character had training in Nature. Some...
    61 replies | 1313 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 10:32 PM
    While it's commonly put forward as a "major problem with the 'goal and approach' way," precise knowledge of how to perform the task isn't and has never been required of players to state an approach to the goal, at least at my table. I definitely need something more than what's been offered in this example to even determine if a check is needed, leave alone what ability score and skill proficiency...
    61 replies | 1313 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 09:37 PM
    What I see here are goals (what the PC hopes to achieve) but not approaches (how the PC tries to achieve the goal). The approaches will determine the uncertainty as to the outcome, whether there's a meaningful consequence for failure and, if both of those elements are present, what ability check and skill proficiency is called for and the DC for the roll. So my vote is "DM needs more...
    61 replies | 1313 view(s)
    5 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 08:22 PM
    Unless it was a mapped out tactical challenge with grid and minis including elevation, I wouldn't go this complicated with it.
    26 replies | 739 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 06:22 PM
    "Parkour" could be imagined as an overarching challenge that is divided into specific obstacles, the declared tasks for which may or may not call for ability checks as per the normal rules for adjudicating actions. Strength (Athletics) checks covers "difficult situations you encounter while climbing, jumping..." (Basic Rules, p. 62). Dexterity (Acrobatics) covers attempts to "stay on your feet in...
    26 replies | 739 view(s)
    2 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 01:16 PM
    Isn't this what players hate about the Beastmaster? That their beast takes over and replaces their PC's actions for the round? If people despise the Beastmaster that much, I don't see how they'd be okay with what would essentially be humanoid beasts.
    30 replies | 973 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 11:55 AM
    Getting a filling done does not hurt as much as people think. It's not fun, but it beats having to deal with the feeling of a numb jaw long after your visit to the dentist. There's plenty of dentists that will do a filling in the Netherlands without an anaesthetic, but these days they always offer to give you one. I tend to decline. When I grew up none of the dentists gave you one for a simple...
    35 replies | 774 view(s)
    0 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Sunday, 23rd June, 2019, 07:49 PM
    So its sounds like you're coming up with your timescales based upon "real world" resting, as opposed to the recovery of game mechanics. If that's the case, and you want your rests to have an appearance of what you think a person actually would consider restful were they to actually take one... then fine. Whatever time amount you decide on that "feels right" will be fine. I will say though,...
    32 replies | 953 view(s)
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  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Sunday, 23rd June, 2019, 12:37 PM
    Spend $10 on DMs Guild to pick up this wonderful D&D sourcebook: HR1 Vikings Campaign Sourcebook Yes it was written for 2nd edition... but I'm pretty sure everything in there about running D&D in the historical northmen era will still be applicable for you using 5E rules. I haven't read it myself personally... but since its a Vikings sourcebook I'd be fairly confident it'd give you...
    39 replies | 1097 view(s)
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  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Saturday, 22nd June, 2019, 11:06 AM
    People get an anesthetic for a simple filling? Now that's a rip off.
    35 replies | 774 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 06:33 PM
    I agree. That is just bad adventure design and you'd think professional adventure writers would realize that by now. Sometimes things that happen in the movies just can't easily be replicated at the table. Be happy when it does, but plan that it won't.
    54 replies | 1644 view(s)
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  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 04:04 PM
    Is this going to be one of those threads where we come back in two weeks time and see that it has over 1000 posts, and you can't help but think "THAT?!? That's the subject matter that warranted a thousand responses? Doesn't anybody have anything better to do with their time?!?" ;)
    466 replies | 9962 view(s)
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  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 11:46 AM
    How about Keanu as Gambit?
    23 replies | 640 view(s)
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  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 11:40 AM
    Never force a villain to escape. The villain only escapes if the players let him get away. If a module says that a villain escapes, that is a dumb module. Ignore it.
    54 replies | 1644 view(s)
    5 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 02:21 PM
    Why are you people venting about the metal armor for druids rule when there is a new and perfectly good "they're going to revamp the ranger again!" thread to vent in? At least that thread has the possibility of your opinions having an effect. ;)
    466 replies | 9962 view(s)
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  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th June, 2019, 01:18 PM
    The problem with any "versatile" style is that there are too many members of the party around you fighting to make "switching forms" unnecessary. Once you get into combat, attack bonuses, damage rolls, and AC all just meld together into whatever melange the entire party has... and no monster you fight is so distinct in what they can do that a player can accurately determine at the drop of a hat...
    46 replies | 1437 view(s)
    1 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 02:52 PM
    I've done a revamp of the Maneuver system myself... adding in new ones and making slight alterations to other ones. I've also taken some abilities from other classes to incorporate into my list, the reason being I was setting up the rules for a Core Four E6 campaign and thus didn't mind duplication since the classes that were being stolen from weren't going to be used anyway. And then as part...
    76 replies | 2541 view(s)
    3 XP
  • pukunui's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, 01:07 AM
    I still enjoy rereading the Chronicles trilogy every so often. I have found, though, that the prose can be very clunky and is not conducive to reading out loud the way, say, Pratchett’s Discworld novels are.
    41 replies | 1641 view(s)
    0 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, 09:47 PM
    Using Point Buy, the standard Human bonuses in a "mix-maxy" sort of way will result in a PC that will have one higher bonus in the 4th best ability score over a demihuman (assuming the demihuman selects a class that aligns to their bonuses.) The arguable "best" Point Buy spread for a standard Human is 15, 15, 13, 11, 9, 8... with a similar matching spread for the demihuman of 15, 14, 14, 10,...
    21 replies | 859 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, 11:41 AM
    While I'm excited to hear that the old cast is returning (or at least, those that are still alive), my common sense is screaming that this is a bad idea. Maybe it is the Indy 4 syndrome.
    143 replies | 6837 view(s)
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  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, 11:39 AM
    3E: Armor class now makes some sense, this is what made me accept 3rd edition.
    51 replies | 2087 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pukunui's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, 05:52 AM
    TarionzCousin: I would not have guessed that many! But then I stopped reading D&D novels sometime in the late 90s, I think. I've read most, if not all, of the older Dragonlance novels but none of the newer ones. PabloM: Interesting perspective. I have long held the opposite belief: that Krynn is a great world for novels but not that great to play in (partly because it feels too small).
    41 replies | 1641 view(s)
    1 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 02:28 PM
    If it matters to you, it's fine for your purposes. If you require the people at WotC to buy into your premise, you're crap outta luck. And besides which it's completely unnecessary... as anyone at WotC could and probably will change the explanations as needed to fulfill whatever story requirements they need for the future. Someone is already dead but would make a good personage in this new...
    1 replies | 206 view(s)
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  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 02:47 AM
    I have only played one RPG that has had something close to what you are calling "Novel" fighting... and that is Feng Shui. The edition that I played in that game had the barest minimum in combat mechanics. Instead, because the game was meant to be an adaptation of action movies, our combats were to narrate like 10 seconds of "action movie action" and then finish it up with like a single roll...
    57 replies | 1762 view(s)
    2 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Monday, 17th June, 2019, 02:21 AM
    Right. For you and the other 17 DMs out there who get so noodly about light sources and wanting to have dungeon waylays and stealthing in the darkness that the players forsake choosing characters based on personal interest and instead go straight to the min-maxing necessary to overcome whatever challenges you guys and gals put forth. But for the other 96.45% of the DMs out there... there is...
    205 replies | 7824 view(s)
    0 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 02:48 PM
    If you are a unknowledgable D&D Target person... neither the names of FR or Eberron will mean anything to you. Thus the only thing that will impact you is the box cover art design. And seeing as how the Starter Set follows the FR design and takes place in the FR, it already essentially is a FR boxed set already. Whereas an Eberron boxed set will have a much different look, what with an airship...
    90 replies | 3741 view(s)
    2 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 02:41 PM
    It's all a big waste of time... both the alignment system *and* all the discussion about the alignment system. Just play your character and then worry about how you might've defined him with one of 9 boxes after the fact.
    306 replies | 8165 view(s)
    2 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Sunday, 16th June, 2019, 02:22 PM
    Vision is like spell components... If you think it's an important part of the game, anything the devs put in the book was not going to be as noodly or as in-depth as you were going to want the rules to be. And you were going to house rule your own system into place anyway. Which is why they didn't bother making any big rule system that was just going to be ignored by most people as a result. ...
    205 replies | 7824 view(s)
    1 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 12:47 PM
    And in terms of the Weapon Master feat... I ditched it altogether and merged its effects into Martial Adept, where that feat gives you proficiency in all Simple and Martial weapons in addition to the combat maneuvers and superiority die. Because really, all Weapon Master was was a fluff feat meant to allow PCs to re-fluff the weapon they could use into the form they wanted to use (despite...
    72 replies | 2814 view(s)
    6 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Saturday, 15th June, 2019, 12:40 PM
    Maybe overall, but at my tables I've yet to have any "obvious" choices. And as I hate to have two selections when a single one would do (which is why for example I got rid of the Acrobats skill and just use DEX (Athletics) instead)... having two different movement based feats was unnecessary to me. So after my edits to the feat list, this particular feat now looks like: FREERUNNER - Your...
    72 replies | 2814 view(s)
    0 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 10:45 PM
    Nothing too outrageous. Grappler and Tavern Brawler for one. Athlete and Mobile for another. Moderately Armored and Medium Armor Master. Observant and Alertness (with a few changes.) Probably a couple others I can't think of at the moment.
    72 replies | 2814 view(s)
    0 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 01:44 PM
    They already are good rules. Because the numbers are all close enough that when you are playing what you want to play the game is more than satisfying enough to make very few people have a voice in the back of their head going "Gee, I dunno... you could have done an extra 3 points of damage on that attack had you been playing a ranged Warlock instead..." I mean really, who in the middle of...
    31 replies | 1038 view(s)
    1 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 01:20 PM
    Don't have a "favorite" edition of D&D, as I love every edition as it's out and I'm in the midst of playing it. But to answer the question... my absolute favorite thing is the Eberron campaign setting and the complete set of books that were produced for it during 3.5. I can't think of a single thing that is missing a book for it. There's the religion book, the dragonmarked book, the magic...
    68 replies | 2225 view(s)
    1 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 01:07 PM
    Same. I use feats as character-defining traits, and thus have no desire to spread out that definition over several feats. If there's going to be a "exceedingly healthy and hearty" feat, I only need/want the one. So I removed the CON bonus from Durable then combined the two feats into a single one. And as far as Healer is concerned... frankly I don't care if its as powerful as most healing...
    72 replies | 2814 view(s)
    0 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 02:49 PM
    All right... if you're going to make an alternate 5E then just say that. Or if you want to make a personalized 4E variant then just say that. But if that's the case, then you have no need to worry about the D&D SRDs or the OGL. Do whatever you want with no expectation of publishing or publicizing it and keep it for yourself (which it looks like you, Zardnaar have already been doing, which is...
    78 replies | 2465 view(s)
    1 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 02:27 PM
    If you are trying to "clone" 4E and not just create an entirely new game for yourself, it needs to be able to work with existing 4E material that people already have. Thus you can't reduce abilities down to 4 or raise them up to 8. Because if you do, every single adventure or additional product that a person owns that they would want to use with their "4E rules with the serial numbers shaved...
    78 replies | 2465 view(s)
    3 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 01:20 PM
    This will not be a "clone" of 4E. If you want to clone 4E, start by actually using 4E as the foundation. Every single section should already be filled out by what actually appears in 4E (using SRD terminology). Then, and only then, can modifications be made in an attempt to "balance" bits that are off. You can't add the advantage/disadvantage mechanic and two new ability scores and call...
    78 replies | 2465 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 12:26 PM
    I would steer the plot towards a peace treaty, where one group tries to assasinate the other. The best location for that would be a multi-story building, like a theater or a government building. I could imagine that the nobles start to realize that some sort of a solution must be found in regards to all the criminal gangs, so they offer the leader of each gang a seat in governing the city. They...
    13 replies | 494 view(s)
    1 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 02:57 PM
    The long and the short of it is this: WotC is not going to provide stats for a gnoll PC race. Or at least... not until they eventually decide they will. But until that point (if it happens), if you wish to play a gnoll PC you either need to make up your own gnoll race statistics or find a 3PP who has already done it for you. After that, it all comes down to the campaign setting you are...
    53 replies | 4911 view(s)
    0 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 01:05 PM
    For an easy switch if you want a different methodology for attacking ships that reduces the "Go for the sails, Boo! Go for the sails! Yearghh!!!"... don't give individual pieces of the ship their own ACs or allow them to be selected for attack. Instead, treat the hull's AC as the "Ship AC", and all attacks normally hit the hull-- unless your roll reaches another less-occuring marker (like an...
    11 replies | 463 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 07:07 AM
    Get the core 4 right first. Then move into 4 other classes by power source. Divine, Arcane, Martial, Primal, Psionic.
    29 replies | 1289 view(s)
    0 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 02:49 PM
    In my two current Eberron campaigns I've turned every long-rest spellcasting class into a 'Known Spells' caster, and they all run with the same spell slot table, Spells Known, and Cantrips Known (except for isolated changes here and there-- Sorcerer gains an extra Cantrip over the others for example). And the three primary casters who normally are Prepared but now aren't (cleric, druid,...
    26 replies | 1257 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 07:45 AM
    What makes a great GM? 1. A great GM is able to improvize on the spot, even when the players go off the beaten path, or do something completely unexpected. 2. A great DM allows his players to surprise him, and rolls with whatever the players come up with. He facilitates their ideas and does not block them. 3. A great DM is able to make his fictional world come alive, whether this is an...
    18 replies | 768 view(s)
    0 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th June, 2019, 02:23 PM
    Clone just the Fighter. Most likely, the person making the clone is going to barely get that far before they realize just how much work it is and then come to the conclusion its easier to just play the regular game without bothering to clone it. But if by some chance they actually get the Fighter fully cloned, then they can move onto the Rogue, then the Cleric, then the Wizard and so on. ...
    29 replies | 1289 view(s)
    2 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th June, 2019, 02:17 PM
    When you are a DM, the more you treat a pet like an actual player character in the party the less concern there is about "game balance". They are no longer just mechanics to deal with, they are characters with personalities and relationships to the others in the group. Thus the players and their PCs react and treat the pet as they would another party member and concerns about dealing too much...
    5 replies | 370 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pukunui's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th June, 2019, 01:26 AM
    Isn't it also a case of them reusing the original artwork from Dungeon for the Styes?
    17 replies | 1046 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Friday, 7th June, 2019, 11:05 PM
    Elfquest. Let’s see that done the way it was meant to be done.
    20 replies | 739 view(s)
    0 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Friday, 7th June, 2019, 02:07 PM
    Ah, c'mon, just level with us! The REAL reason you want THAC0 back isn't because you actually like using it... you just want to return to a time where rapiers didn't exist, barely anyone ever rolled stats well enough to get a paladin on the table, and gnomes were of the garden variety look and thus nobody had any desire to play those ugly things. WE KNOW WHAT YOU'RE ON ABOUT! YOU CAN'T FOOL...
    166 replies | 6013 view(s)
    0 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Friday, 7th June, 2019, 06:07 AM
    I'm very happy with the materials overall. I only have two complaints. The first is a minor complaint: a number of typos made it into the final. I would hope Green Ronin would have had better editing. It is not terrible, but more than one or two typos indicates skimping on the proof reading. The second is that I find the organization difficult to follow. You have to flip around a lot. It is nice...
    40 replies | 3006 view(s)
    0 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th June, 2019, 10:07 PM
    See, the reputation I've always heard bandied about regarding THAC0 wasn't that it was "really complex"... but rather once 3E introduced ascending ACs its reputation was "My god, THAC0 was just STUPID. Why the hell did they ever do it that way in the first place?" :) And this is why I have absolutely no need to ever play any version of D&D prior to 3E again. Because yes, THAC0 *is* just...
    166 replies | 6013 view(s)
    0 XP
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Wednesday, 26th June, 2019

  • 12:40 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned iserith in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    D&D has always had a hard transition into combat from other play. And, D&D has always had a hard line in detail between combat and other play. Because of this, it makes it difficult to do things that are very near or even astride that line, like the situation in the OP. There will always be many that say that since you've touched on the combat pillar, the hard transition must be accomplished, else you're devaluing portions of the game, or violating parity between the PCs and the hordes of DM controlled NPCs operating in the DM controlled environment (an argument I find silly, as you might could tell, although I once was a vocal proponent of it). In this case, I think relying on the 5e core play loop offers insight, much as iserith and others have mentioned. The DM narrates a scene, players declare actions, DM determines success (often via mechanics), DM narrate results, repeat. This loop functions both in and out of combat -- it's universal to the entire game. In combat, it's more structured and the DM has more tools, but no one could say that the DM couldn't make a ruling for an outcome in combat, so let's go with that angle. Here, the goal and approach are clear, and you, as DM, are free to determine if the action is successful or not via whichever resolution mechanic you choose to use. The combat mechanics are there, very details, and could be used, but they are not required to be used to resolve a character action. You could modify them to suit your needs, and that's within the rules of the game. Now, practically, I'd be leery of letting this situation be an easy one. You might have elided the details prior, but I wouldn't let such a situation occur without having it embedded in a larger series of ...
  • 07:57 AM - Nevvur mentioned iserith in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    To the OP, it's a surprise attack, and I don't think the rules books are unambiguous about how to handle the situation. So the question I'm hearing is, "Is this a good house rule?" IMO, it is. It works as you described, but I think iserith made the best suggestion at the top of the thread: As well, however, this strikes me as an obstacle in an overarching exploration challenge that only looks somewhat like a combat challenge. The task is neither impossible nor trivially easy. You could say there's an uncertain outcome and the meaningful consequence for failure is there - so some kind of roll is appropriate. I think it's fine to resolve it without relying upon the combat rules. Call it a Dexterity check with proficiency at disadvantage against a hard DC to account for range and the difficulty of ensuring a kill shot. Someone throws guidance or enhance ability on the ranger. Maybe he or she spends Inspiration. Go, teamwork. I understand and respect the positions stated by others pertaining to equanimity with NPCs, e.g. if you can one shot NPCs in this scenario, they should be able to one shot you, etc. As a GM, I've never given NPCs and PCs exactly equal footing, and frankly find it unfun when such policy is followed d...

Tuesday, 28th May, 2019

  • 06:07 PM - DM Dave1 mentioned iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    ...d secret doors in the given game, but it can be for other reasons. If your players are experienced and know the Monster Manual pretty well, then they might not see value in recalling lore on monsters, which argues for changing up the monsters (if that will be fun for everyone). So it might be worth examining the game you're presenting to see if that is adding to the game-induced impetus to dump Intelligence. So I've been struggling a bit with coming up with some meaningful consequences for failure of knowledge checks when fighting monsters. On a success, the PC recalls some helpful lore On a failure, the PC doesn't recall lore (which falls a bit flat since that is essentially "nothing happens") Perhaps better: On a failure, the PC doesn't recall lore and the enemy becomes offended at the PC's probing, if not somewhat confused, stare down. Enemy will gain advantage on next attack against PC. I know we don't have a specific example here but, in general, what might you do, iserith?
  • 05:57 PM - Fenris-77 mentioned iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    iserith I agree with you - the Ranger would seem to be a great candidate for that. However, in order to be able to do that you mostly need to slight your actual core abilities to fight and track stuff. Like I said, this is eminently fixable in a given campaign given a GM with a desire to do so, and my issue (problem? whatever...) isn't with specific games, but rather with the optics and feel of our common frame of reference characters. This wasn't supposed to be contentious (not that you personally have been contentious about it). I don't like the feel of exemplar heroes with multiple negative attributes in common areas based on class.
  • 02:48 AM - Ovinomancer mentioned iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    If I may, at this late juncture... This argument is about something that's entirely downstream of the real issue, which isn't being address clearly enough (although iserith has touched on it repeatedly): what a character thinks is irrelevant to the game structure. The game let's players have the authority to declare actions for their characters. This is, really, the only authority players have outside of character build (creations and leveling). What a character thinks is just something the player establishes as color for the action declaration if they care to do so. So, of course the player has complete authority over what the character thinks, because the rule say that they player has complete authority over what the character tries to do. You cannot have the latter if you have restrictions on the former. So, in the case of the thunderwave scrolls, the player has the authority to declare this action for their character. What the character is thinking here is color -- it's not important at all; the game doesn't care at all. If, however, the player wants information from the setting, then they can establish an action declaration for how their...

Friday, 24th May, 2019

  • 06:20 PM - jaelis mentioned iserith in post Control Flame in Combat?
    Personally, I wouldn't let you use the clothing as fuel. But if they are standing on something flammable, sure. I agree with iserith that the create bonfire mechanic seems applicable.

Thursday, 23rd May, 2019

  • 09:27 PM - 77IM mentioned iserith in post Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, off to a good start
    ...enging issues, you don't get XP. Burning down a house is something anyone can do, and takes no special effort - oil, toches, whoomph! Done. Why should they get a reward for that? IF burning down the house doesn't do anything towards the goals, then there's no XP to get, and no XP to "lose." So I agree with that part. My point was that, if the house is full of dangerous enemies, then burning it down definitely DOES do something towards the goals. It does a lot. Awarding or withholding XP based on the PC's method of achieving the goals turns one of the primary decisions the players get to make into a meta-game decision. Rather than "How should we overcome this challenge?" it becomes "How does the DM want us to overcome this challenge?" IF burning down the house doesn't do anything towards the goals, then why did the players decide do it? My players are not stupid people. If that really seems like the best course of action, maybe I've miscommunicated somehow? I agree with iserith that the players do bear some responsibility for making "fun" decisions instead of purely pragmatic ones. For example, for most PCs, the purely pragmatic decision is to sell most of your starting gear and become a farmer. ;) My group of PCs literally met at a bar (location 8, the Empty Net) and decided to adventure together for purely meta-game reasons. One thing I'm considering is giving characters a Wisdom (Insight) check to get "hunches" about the consequences of major actions. Like, "maybe you'll miss important clues if you burn the house down." This would really just be an excuse for me to tell them things at a meta-game level, without breaking immersion. I'm hesitant though, because for some people doing that would break immersion even worse.

Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019

  • 01:34 AM - Bawylie mentioned iserith in post Brainstorming TotM
    ...big set-piece "Marvel Battles", but I was curious if there are other DMs out there who have the same issues using TotM in 5E. The biggest issue I see with TotM in 5E is that it puts all the stress for managing and directing the flow of the action on the DM. I think this strips a lot of agency from the players, and can leave the DM with all the blame if the fight "goes south". What, as a DM, are your experiences with narrative combat in 5th? Are there any special tools or systems you use to make it more accessible for your players? I think it’s wise to divide the combat encounters between big set pieces and minor skirmishes. Because by doing that, you can spend your prep time designing your set piece encounters while leaving “trash” combat encounters (random encounters, unexpected fights, etc.) to a very quick and improv-friendly rules set. If I were in your shoes and table-time was at a premium, I would run my minor skirmishes narratively. (I can’t emphasize enough how important iserith ‘s advice is, so definitely keep a “Go back to 1” post-it handy). Anyway for narrative skirmishes, I want to dispense with absolute positioning in favor of relative position. You see this is some of the rules sets mentioned up thread. For me, there are only two zones/areas I need and two I *might* need. I need: 1.) the Melee. Everyone who’s in the melee can move around and hit anyone else in the melee. These combatants are all engaged, close, whatever you want to say. They’re in melee. 2.) at Range. Everyone not in the melee is at Range. When you’re at range, you can shoot spells or missiles into the melee or at anyone else at range. I might need: 3.) Above - aka “the dogfight” for aerial combats or higher platforms. 4.) Below - aka “the pitfight” for submerged or lower platforms. That covers basically every range/area I need for a quick and dirty narrative combat. Special considerations: •Anyone can move into or within the melee freely, but anyone leaving it must Disengage (...

Thursday, 9th May, 2019

  • 06:10 AM - Hussar mentioned iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    *ducks back in, waving a white flag* Totally, totally not trying to start anything. Honest. I just want to point something out iserith. When three different posters, at least, at three different times - myself, Oofta and now Tony Vargas, all come to the same, or at least very similar conclusions based on what you are posting, perhaps, and I'm not saying this is true, but, perhaps, the point you are trying to make isn't as clear as you think it is. I mean, you're dismissing Tony Vargas because apparently he's been scarred by edition wars. You dismissed oofta so hard that he's still on your ignore list. You dismissed my points as well. I'm not saying you're wrong here. I'm not trying to pick a fight and my horse in this race is long dead. I'm just saying that perhaps, just maybe, your point could be misconstrued. I mean, heck, once you actually pointed out an actual example, I realized that there is not much difference between your table and mine, I just don't insist on such strict adherence to formula - I skip steps. Otherwise, the end results between your table and mine are probably pretty close. How...

Wednesday, 8th May, 2019

  • 03:43 AM - Elfcrusher mentioned iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    But you haven't answered the underlying question. Does Francis the Guard exist? Can the player track them down in that town, now that they have pulled that from their backstory? I'll try to answer that, and maybe this will help pemerton, too, who keeps trying to get me to define this boundary. Francis the Guard exists if that suits my purpose. He exists only in the player's imagination otherwise. Or he died. Or maybe he does exist, but this isn't Francis. As iserith points out, the player has absolute control over the character's thoughts and beliefs, and the DM has absolute control over the environment. Both may cede some of that authority if they want, but that is going outside the rules. Now, I think your question (and maybe pemerton's...I may be wrong) is really asking the question of how you define a clear boundary, to prevent players from trying to grab too much of the DM's authority. That what's needed is some kind of clear rule, that can't be debated or refuted, right? No. Wrong. This isn't a problem of unclear rules. This is a problem of players sometimes being jerkwads, and I don't need rules to protect my games against jerkwads. I have a door for that. I also don't need rules to protect me from jerkwad DMs. This door is a magical door, and it also works, albeit in a slightly different manner, as protection against jerkwad DMs.
  • 03:37 AM - Chaosmancer mentioned iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    ...nsider that a perfectly fine thing for you to assert. Trouble is, it doesn't change the fact that you will get no special treatment from me unless your character also has spent CharGen resources on whatever lore skills are necessary to actually learn facts about monsters. If you, as a player of a character that has no lore skill regarding monsters, assert that your character was told a lot of stuff, the very fact that your character does not have a bunch of points spent on monster lore proves that what you were told was probably incomplete, or common knowledge, or just plain wrong. The facts on your character sheet disprove your claim of special knowledge - or else they don't. That call out to your background may perfectly explain why you do have all that lore on your character sheet. Or it may just explain that natural 20 you rolled to identify this particular monster. Again, according to some of the people I've been discussing this with, you are completely wrong. In fact, iserith went so far as to state in the insight thread that a player never has to justify why their character knows something. There is no roll, there is no story, the player says their character knows earth elemental are vulnerable to thunder damage, so their character knows that. Now, iserith was also very quick to state that assuming what you know is accurate is a dangerous thing, because the DM could have changed anything and your assumptions might be woefully inaccurate, but I disagree with the premise, not the exception. It was why I disagreed with the Elder telling you all the monster secrets, that everyone seemed to agree was perfectly okay. No CharGen resources needed, no lore rolls required, you know what your character thinks, therefore you know those facts about those monsters. However, when it turned to a social event where a roll could be bypassed, the player was outside the rules of the game, as everyone has stated repeatedly. That was why I brought this up, because o...

Tuesday, 7th May, 2019

  • 08:29 PM - Satyrn mentioned iserith in post If an NPC is telling the truth, what's the Insight DC to know they're telling the truth?
    Quoting Myself For Great Justice! That was me for most of 3e! I meant to also say that I started DMing so much better when I adopted what I think of as the AD&D mindset. I didn't change the rules of 3e, I just started asking the players "whaddya do?" instead of n telling them whatta do. And then 5e came along doing the same! I wasn't even part of the playtest . . . I'm glad you were, though, @iserith. :p
  • 03:41 AM - Chaosmancer mentioned iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    I would say that D&D 4e prior to Essentials with its embrace of "Yes, and..." and encouragement of the DM to accept ideas outside the character's control that the player proffers could be such a game. There's a sidebar in the D&D 4e DMG that uses an example from one of the designers wherein the player suggests there is a trap on a statue that is protecting a treasure. The DM rolls with it, they play out the trap challenge, and the player's character gets the treasure. But even that requires the DM's assent and the limits (the designer above remarks that HE would be the one to decide what treasure it was!) are likely understood formally or informally in the form of a table rule. I wasn't planning on jumping into this thread, and this post is far back in this thread, but were you iserith, not the one who told me repeatedly in the insight thread that the DM cannot and should not tell a player what they think? This was your justification for players having knowledge of monsters that they otherwise might not have, because the player got to decide what was reasonable for them to know, and the DM could never tell them that they could not think that. So, since this "Francis the Guard" example evolved from the "Orc Elder" example of hearing stories which told them the weaknesses of monsters, where does it go to far? Is the player correct about having been raised in an orphanage? Is the player correct that they were raised with a boy named Franics at said orphanage? Is the player correct that Francis and the PC were very close and dear friends? Is the player correct that this guard looks like Francis? Is the player correct that this guard is Francis? Is the player correct in that Francis the Guard still thinks of them as a friend and wants to help them out? ...

Monday, 6th May, 2019

  • 08:22 PM - Elfcrusher mentioned iserith in post If an NPC is telling the truth, what's the Insight DC to know they're telling the truth?
    @Elfcrusher, I'm with @5ekyu on this. I don't place traps randomly. I don't use them very often and when I do it's in fairly obvious locations an situations. As I've stated before, when I do I rely heavily on passive checks. "Obvious locations" is a form of telegraph. If a player is thinking, "This door to the treasure room is probably trapped" then we are talking about player skill, right? That's why the only way to not telegraph, at all, is to place them randomly. Or maybe you had a different idea in mind when @iserith and others started talking about 'telegraphing'? Maybe you thought, oh, I don't know...how about: signs that say "trap here". If so, I'm glad we had this little chat and cleared that up. Now, I think 'obvious locations' is a particularly uninteresting form of telegraphing. Sure, it still relies on player skill, but not a very engaging or rewarding form of player skill. Or really very much skill. I never get that little rush of satisfaction, the one that I get when overcome something novel and interesting, just because I remembered to check for traps in an obvious place. But, hey, it's telegraphing. I've never had a 5E game devolve into checking for traps every 5 ft. Has anyone on this thread ever claimed they were in a game where that happened? Because it seems to be a strawman. "Devolve"? No. Play that way in the early 1980's because that was what the adventures required, and even because it seemed fun at the time? Sure. And, anyway, I was pretty clear that I was just tr...

Thursday, 2nd May, 2019

  • 12:11 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    ...thread, Elfcrusher gave an example of a player authoring shared fiction invovling the stories told to a young PC by trial elders. I don't think many posters regarded this as a usurpation of the GM's authority. The general response to my post seems to be that the player deciding that the gate guard is her/his PC's childhood friend Frances is a usurpation of the GM's authority. But in some other recent threads I've seen criticisms of a GM narrating failure as some sort of oversight or carelessness on the part of the PC as a usurpation by the GM of the player's authority over deciding what his/her PC does, thinks and feels. Likewise there's a widespread view that it would be usurpation for a GM to decide that a PC didn't do what the player has said s/he does, because the GM thinks it is inconsistent with the PC's stats. These boundaries aren't crystal clear to me, and I'm a pretty experienced RPGer. I don't find them clearly articulated in the 5e Basic PDF. I'm sure I could get by in iserith's game playing a "man with no name"-type character, but nothing in these threads has given me any indication of how I might go about playing a character who is genuinely embedded in the social context of the gameworld - even though the Tika/Artemis sidebars, and the more general tenor of chapter 4 of the Basic PDF, all give me the impression that the game is focused on such embedded individuals. Goal and approach is - as I understand it - all about engaging the fiction so as to mitigate the difficulty of the challenge (or, perhaps, aggravating it so as to earn Inspiration). I'm not disputing that a boundary can be articulated which explains why I pull out my crowbar and use it to lever the door open is OK but There's my old friend Frances, one of the guards now - I ask her to let us through is not. I'm just saying that I haven't seen it articulated yet. And although you emphasise not carrying baggage from one game to the next, at the moment the only grasp I am getting on the boun...
  • 05:23 AM - pemerton mentioned iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    ...pthread, Elfcrusher gave an example of a player authoring shared fiction invovling the stories told to a young PC by trial elders. I don't think many posters regarded this as a usurpation of the GM's authority. The general response to my post seems to be that the player deciding that the gate guard is her/his PC's childhood friend Frances is a usurpation of the GM's authority. But in some other recent threads I've seen criticisms of a GM narrating failure as some sort of oversight or carelessness on the part of the PC as a usurpation by the GM of the player's authority over deciding what his/her PC does, thinks and feels. Likewise there's a widespread view that it would be usurpation for a GM to decide that a PC didn't do what the player has said s/he does, because the GM thinks it is inconsistent with the PC's stats. These boundaries aren't crystal clear to me, and I'm a pretty experienced RPGer. I don't find them clearly articulated in the 5e Basic PDF. I'm sure I could get by in iserith's game playing a "man with no name"-type character, but nothing in these threads has given me any indication of how I might go about playing a character who is genuinely embedded in the social context of the gameworld - even though the Tika/Artemis sidebars, and the more general tenor of chapter 4 of the Basic PDF, all give me the impression that the game is focused on such embedded individuals. It's somewhat related in that players being able to establish this sort of thing during play can mitigate or aggravate the difficulty of the challenge to the player. A player establishing that the character is old friends with the guard, who is presumably the obstacle in the challenge, may be mitigating the difficulty. Conversely, a player establishing that the character has a strained relationship with the guard (perhaps as a means to portray a personal characteristic and earn Inspiration) may be aggravating the difficulty of the challenge to the player.Goal and approach is - as I understa...
  • 05:02 AM - Hussar mentioned iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    ...with you actually. I honestly think that the difference between us is pretty small at the end of the day. Really, about the only difference is that I will skip the step where the DM calls for a roll, sometimes. Otherwise, most of our scenes will play out exactly the same. I recently had a perfect example come up in our Dragon Heist game last session. During the session, the PC's finally retrieve the Macguffin, only to be ambushed by Bregan D'arthe (sp) drow. Fight ensues. During the fight, half the party runs away with the Macguffin, leaving the other half of the party to slow down pursuit. One of the PC's left behind announces that she will show the fake Macguffin that the party has (that they picked up in an earlier session) and declare that she has the real thing, in order to confuse the pursuers. She then rolls a Deception check without me asking. I roll Insight checks for the drow and play continues. Now, as I understand it, the big difference here between me and iserith is that iserith will call for that Deception roll rather than the player simply going ahead and doing it. Our group skips that step simply out of expediency really. We're all experienced gamers and most of us have DM'd for a lot of years. We know, pretty accurately, what declarations will call for a roll without being told. Again, it's simply an extension of play experience and experience with playing with each other. OTOH, I doubt that the outcome would be any different at iserith's table. And, really, I suppose this is a good example of goal:method, with the change that we skipped a step. Now, frequently, again because we've played together so long, we don't even need to make a declaration - it's a common enough action that it's just understood. "I scout ahead - Stealth X" is a perfectly acceptable thing to do at my table, again, because everyone understands exactly what's going on and there's no need to add in the extra steps of the DM asking for rolls. So, yes, ise...
  • 01:34 AM - Hussar mentioned iserith in post If an NPC is telling the truth, what's the Insight DC to know they're telling the truth?
    ...rly implemented, or misunderstood, players may try to "talkie talkie" the DM or think it's "mother may I." Of course, those sorts of DMs and players will try to do that anyway, so honestly I'm not sure how much of a weakness it is. /snip So, the only weakness is if someone doesn't do it right. Ok. /snip I’m sorry, has anyone said that there is a 100% perfect approach with only strengths and no weaknesses? Didn't you ask me for cites not so long ago. There's one right there. And, as far as smooth vs better goes, I'm sorry, but, that's complete bollocks. My game is running smooth=good. My game is running rough=bad. That's plain English. Endless dodges don't actually change that. It's not force, but, rather, default. Please. For all the complaints about misunderstanding, you folks do seem bent on defending some pretty disingenuous points. Yeah, robus is right. The other thread showed me the light. I'm already running it goal:method anyway according to iserith, so, well, this conversation is rather pointless. I did try to unsubscribe once before. We'll see if it sticks this time.
  • 01:02 AM - Hussar mentioned iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    ...to see proof of the claim (if they aren't familiar with the PC), since anyone can claim to be noble, which the player may have in the form of a scroll of pedigree (noble starting equipment). If the scroll is produced, then the character is permitted entry (automatic success). If it is not produced, an ability check may follow depending on how the player has the character respond. The challenge to the player is to get the character past the guards. The difficulty is made very low by applying the background feature and pedigree scroll. But, there was no approach. Other than a decision I made at character generation. Aren't there two parts to your approach? Sure, there's a goal here, but, what's the approach? I'm not drawing on anything. .... Y'know what? I just realized that I've been playing goal:approach all the way along. If all it takes for an approach is being able to point to a line on my character sheet, well, hell, the only real difference between my table and iserith's is I tend to let the players call for rolls. And not even all the time. Sometimes I, as DM, call for rolls too. Wow, iserith's goal:approach system is so broad and vague that EVERYONE is doing it. Well done you sir, you've convinced me. Everyone who has ever sat down to play an RPG is using goal:approach methodology.
  • 12:57 AM - Hussar mentioned iserith in post If an NPC is telling the truth, what's the Insight DC to know they're telling the truth?
    Again, no force. Choice does not equal force. But, iserith is saying that there is no choice. That DM centric is the default state and the presumed state of the game. If I'm playing 5e by the rules, then, by default, the rules place me front and center of the game. So, where's the choice there? Again, this is just another case of playing silly buggers with semantics. It's not forcing you to be front and center, it's "defaulting" to front and center. :erm: Gimme a break. It's not "better", but, it's "smoother". On and on and on. Any criticism is immediately deflected with this sort of pedantry. There would be a lot less accusations of misunderstanding points if folks would actually stick to plain English instead of trying to dodge any potential issue with this sort of garbage. Several criticisms of arguing in bad faith and then every time there is any criticism, a complete retreat into bad faith pedantry. Like I said in the other thread, if folks were willing to accept that no approach is 100% perfect and contains both str...


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Wednesday, 26th June, 2019

  • 06:46 PM - Dausuul quoted iserith in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    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. Ah - failed to find that one, thanks! So we're looking at an average of 70 falling damage, plus 99 fire damage, coming to 169 damage instantly and an additional 99 per round. For the overwhelming majority of PCs, this means insta-death. A high-level PC with a good Con might be able to survive for six seconds. Seems fine to me.
  • 06:19 PM - Umbran quoted iserith in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    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. I dunno if we have to worry about it being "paramount" in general. This is not about character advancement, or about classes, or about particular powers, or even a feat. We are talking, honestly, about a very basic setup - getting the drop on the opponent, and being able to attack before they realize you are there. A very basic tactic, used throughout history. The logic being used to justify it in the first place as presented amounts to, "this just seems *reasonable* - it is how the real world works". That rationale should, by its own logic, apply to both PCs and NPCs. "This is how the real world works, but we won't follow that when it isn't in the PCs favor..." sounds kind of bogus.
  • 02:25 PM - DMMike quoted iserith in post Abilities....Which check would you use?
    Take that 15 year old kid. How is it *really* different to say, "My sheet says I know about Survival, and I'd like to use that knowledge to acquire shelter in these woods," and "I'd like to roll Survival to find out more about the tracks"? I mean, yeah, asking for a skill check is more metagamey. We can encourage description of in-game approach, sure. But to outright not accept a basic, relevant request seems... a bit dogmatic, doesn't it? Thanks...for answering for me? Correctly, as it happens (it's more metagamey). I don't believe that I said I'd reject the request "outright" though... Right, these are two different approaches to achieve the same goal and both can be described by the players as they say what they want to do which makes it easier for the DM to determine whether there's an ability check and which ability and skill proficiency applies. Neither of these approaches is the "one true solution" in a way that promotes the "pixel bitching" that some posters insist is go...

Monday, 24th June, 2019

  • 11:59 PM - Springheel quoted iserith in post Abilities....Which check would you use?
    What I see here are goals (what the PC hopes to achieve) but not approaches (how the PC tries to achieve the goal). If I asked my players, "HOW do you try to figure out how many creatures there are," I assume I'd get a blank look and something like, "I look closely at the tracks...?" What else would you expect from yours?
  • 09:54 PM - Umbran quoted iserith in post Abilities....Which check would you use?
    What I see here are goals (what the PC hopes to achieve) but not approaches (how the PC tries to achieve the goal). It isn't like this is a modern forensics game, where the PC can choose to take pictures of image processing, or take samples to the lab for analysis for approaches. Nor are players likely to be forensic scientists, or even people who actually have the skills in question, that would be able to name approaches would actually be fruitful. This is, honestly, a major problem with the "goal and approach" way of dealing with things - if the *player* doesn't have domain knowledge, they can't always guess what approaches are reasonable. This can lead to, "I beat the ground with my club until the very Earth itself tells me what I want to know to avoid the pain," frustration approach. I think we can presume, "I examine the tracks," to be the basic approach, and all those skills are applicable to that approach. So, in answer to that - you could determine which skill the PC is be...
  • 07:28 PM - Kid Charlemagne quoted iserith in post 5E, Acrobatics, and Parkour
    It might be easier to just write up some maneuvers and give them a DC and base stat, with some DEX and some STR. That pretty much my plan. Edit: mostly I try to gate as few actions behind die rolls as I can. I also agree with this - it solved a lot of my players problems when I realized climbing mostly didn't require rolls unless its particularly dangerous. Not that it necessarily matters in a 5E skills context, but weak people can't do parkour, just like clumsy people can't. This is true, but thieves need to be able to climb walls! "Parkour" could be imagined as an overarching challenge that is divided into specific obstacles, the declared tasks for which may or may not call for ability checks as per the normal rules for adjudicating actions. Strength (Athletics) checks covers "difficult situations you encounter while climbing, jumping..." (Basic Rules, p. 62). Dexterity (Acrobatics) covers attempts to "stay on your feet in a tricky situation..." (Basic Rules, p. 63). A...

Thursday, 30th May, 2019

  • 04:50 AM - Chaosmancer quoted iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Cherry-picking example: in “White Plume Mountain”, there is a puzzle involving a series of numbers, and which of those are prime numbers. I pondered the numbers for maybe a second, then stated the correct answer. My PC, a Folk Hero paladin, was unaware of prime numbers (and possibly fuzzy on multiplication tables). White Plume Mountain was written with the assumption of Pawn Stance, so I played accordingly. (See also, this exchange between Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford during the filming of Star Wars. Hamill notices a continuity issue, and wants to fix it; Ford responds gruffly with “Hey, kid, it ain’t that kinda movie.”) When did that idea or value emerge? The idea that using my knowledge of prime numbers would be “bad form”? It wasn’t the guiding principle of that puzzle in White Plume Mountain. D&D developed from putting a name to tokens on a miniatures battlefield: this is a Squad of Archers token, this is a Heroic Warrior token - hey, what if this Heroic Warrior was named Fritz? (Tw...

Wednesday, 29th May, 2019

  • 10:36 PM - Chaosmancer quoted iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    ...ne in my view is why you "feel like there should be a check." I submit it is because you learned this behavior from another game where that sort of thinking was more supported than in this game. Again, this isn't a problem on its own. Play how you want. But it's useful as I see it to understand why you choose to play that way so that you can perhaps understand the position of others who don't. Why do you think that this idea is not supported in 5e? Just because it isn't stated in the rules? There are a lot of things not directly stated in game rules that still apply to those games. Especially in "roleplaying" games where one is supposed to enter into the "role" of someone else. In that case it is generally considered bad form to use knowledge your character would not have or use, since it would break the "role" If I may, at this late juncture... This argument is about something that's entirely downstream of the real issue, which isn't being address clearly enough (although iserith has touched on it repeatedly): what a character thinks is irrelevant to the game structure. The game let's players have the authority to declare actions for their characters. This is, really, the only authority players have outside of character build (creations and leveling). What a character thinks is just something the player establishes as color for the action declaration if they care to do so. So, of course the player has complete authority over what the character thinks, because the rule say that they player has complete authority over what the character tries to do. You cannot have the latter if you have restrictions on the former. So, in the case of the thunderwave scrolls, the player has the authority to declare this action for their character. What the character is thinking here is color -- it's not important at all; the game doesn't care at all. If, however, the player wants information from the setting, then they can establish an action declaration for how their...

Tuesday, 28th May, 2019

  • 08:59 PM - Fenris-77 quoted iserith in post [5E] Disguise Self - Scope and RAW
    I recommend taking a look at the social interaction rules in the DMG. It provides a useful structure for creating a challenge as opposed to just social interaction for the sake of exposition. An "intrigue heavy social interaction kind of thing" is going to lack a lot of exciting stakes, unlike combat, so that's another thing I'd look at and the challenge structure in the DMG will help.There's some useful stuff in the DMG, but the parts about ideals, and flaws and whatnot won't work for me - I dislike that whole mechanic, although I can (and probably will) replace it with a couple of other things. I'm working on stuff related more to handling whispers, gossip, rumors, reputation and the like to compliment more direct social interaction (although I still don't have a system I'm 100% happy with for the former). Stakes won't be an issue. Combat will still be a significant part of the campaign, but it'll be more like duels, knives in the dark and chases though alleyways rather than rooms full or...
  • 06:07 PM - DM Dave1 quoted iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    ...d secret doors in the given game, but it can be for other reasons. If your players are experienced and know the Monster Manual pretty well, then they might not see value in recalling lore on monsters, which argues for changing up the monsters (if that will be fun for everyone). So it might be worth examining the game you're presenting to see if that is adding to the game-induced impetus to dump Intelligence. So I've been struggling a bit with coming up with some meaningful consequences for failure of knowledge checks when fighting monsters. On a success, the PC recalls some helpful lore On a failure, the PC doesn't recall lore (which falls a bit flat since that is essentially "nothing happens") Perhaps better: On a failure, the PC doesn't recall lore and the enemy becomes offended at the PC's probing, if not somewhat confused, stare down. Enemy will gain advantage on next attack against PC. I know we don't have a specific example here but, in general, what might you do, iserith?
  • 05:15 PM - Fenris-77 quoted iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    I would say that the assertion that an Int-8 character is "shortbus" needs some proof, given bounded accuracy. It sounds like some adjustments in perception or expectations is needed here. If that doesn't work, the game does provide a way to address this via the PCs' personal characteristics. Just add a personality trait or flaw to the effect of "I'm about as smart as a bag of hammers and it shows..." then award Inspiration when the players portray that trait or flaw. It stands to reason that a player motivated enough to draw upon information in the Monster Manual to succeed might also be enticed to portray his or her character in a way that will net a further advantage. I'm fine adjudicating low INT on a player by player basic, there are mechanics for it, it's fine. My problem is, as I mentioned, more philosophical. The 5e point buy system from the PHB generally mitigates for dump stats at 8, which is a -1 modifier. Let's say we have a party consisting of a Bard, Fighter, Paladin and Rang...
  • 05:33 AM - Saeviomagy quoted iserith in post Unsatisfied with the D&D 5e skill system
    There's no need to tweak rules to get there more often, just narrate success more often. As DM, you are /Empowered/ to do so! That's the basic adjudication process though. First the DM decides if a roll is necessary at all. Climbing is called out specifically as being just movement except in certain circumstances. Since we're already talking about using the skill system, lets assume that there is some doubt about success here. After all, it's pretty trivial to describe obstacles and then describe characters overcoming them with ease. Doesn't sound much fun though... A DC can only be set once the task is established by the player in a reasonably specific way such that the DM can decide if there's an uncertain outcome and a meaningful consequence for failure. Climbing in particular just costs 2 feet of movement for every 1 foot of progress, no check necessary, unless there's something complicating things e.g. slippery vertical surface, few handholds, the need to avoid specific hazards,...
  • 04:04 AM - Fenris-77 quoted iserith in post [5E] Disguise Self - Scope and RAW
    If I had to guess, there's probably more of them than either of us would find desirable. That's especially true of DMs who consider this sort of character build and associated tasks to be problematic for their event-based adventure prep. There's a lot of incentive in such a scenario for the DM to treat the ability check like a saving throw. Yeah, again i agree with you, sadly. I wasn't approaching this as a "surprise, your whole plan for the night is effed" sort of character build idea. I'm more interested in finding ways to pad the social interaction pillar and create some different and interesting ways to interact with a primarily intrigue-based campaign. The whole idea is kind of limp in a dungeon crawl, although creativity does go a long way.

Monday, 27th May, 2019

  • 11:57 PM - Chaosmancer quoted iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    ...the Monster Manual said. And they may rightfully assume that since it is an objective source, they are right. Yes, the DM can change things, but the rules of the game state that Earth Elementals are weak to Thunder Damage and are siege monsters that deal double damage to structures. They know this, so they declare that their character knows this. You, however, are stating "well, they think it. If they want to know it they need to make a check" which will.... what? The player has been playing their character as knowing it, but now that they stop and think they remember they are wrong? I mean, confirmation bias is a thing, people will think they are right unless given evidence they are wrong. And even then they will likely keep thinking they were right. I don't see why not knowing anything isn't a meaningful consequence. I mean, recalling something useful certainly is. Is the idea that you start off not knowing anything, so you might as well try? I'm just going off what iserith has said. There seems to be no meaningful consequence (by their definition) so even if I was allowed to ask a player to make a check to declare their out of character knowledge as in character, then they would auto-pass. The character might know a lot about the world. But, how much? To give an IRL example, I know poison ivy is dangerous to touch. Didn't know what a fully adult vine of poison ivy looks like if it doesn't have leaves on it. (Turns out is looks like a slightly hairy wooden vine) so I didn't take proper precautions a few years ago when pulling some off an apple tree. So, I don't like players just telling me things they know because it was in the Monster Manual and they read it, and assuming their character has the same knowledge (despite Iserith trying to distinguish between thinking and knowing in this scenario). I feel like there should be a check. Because while it might be something your character knows, it might not be. Ultimately, isn't the whole knowle...
  • 03:20 AM - Saeviomagy quoted iserith in post Unsatisfied with the D&D 5e skill system
    Well, the good news is that climbing in D&D 5e is a factor of speed and ability checks are only necessary if there's something about the climb that makes it uncertain, such as a slippery vertical surface or few handholds. Don't those things factor into the DC, not into whether or not a roll is necessary? We already decided this is a moderate climb, not a beginner one. We already decided the penalty for failure is something nasty, simply because you're climbing the side of a mountain. But now we need another, different evaluation of the climb difficulty to determine whether it's possible to fail or not... and if we decide it's not difficult, then it's fine for the worst climber in the world to attempt the moderate climb with fatal consequences, because he never actually needs to roll...

Sunday, 26th May, 2019

  • 03:36 PM - Remathilis quoted iserith in post Pre-Campaign Handouts
    My assumption is that players will never read anything I prepare for them in this regard. (I know I won't read it, so I do not expect that of others.) That's been my experience as well. They will never read it. If they do read it, they will never remember or reference it, and 90% of the time, it gets tossed into a folder or the back is used to track HP and treasure on. Part of the reason I have abandoned homebrew worlds was watching hours of work go into documents for players who just wanted to adventure and didn't give two craps if it was on Faerun, Ebberon, or my homebrew setting.

Thursday, 23rd May, 2019

  • 08:53 PM - 77IM quoted iserith in post Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, off to a good start
    Man, I don't know if I'd want to live in a world where as DM I'm not encouraging stupid actions. LOL, I don't want to discourage stupid actions, either. ;) So much of the advice on this thread sounds really punitive to me. "Deny them XP! Give them a bad reputation! Let them know they've screwed up the adventure and now the town will be destroyed! Nyaaaah!" This is boring to me. I seek a world in which every player decision, smart or stupid, leads to ever more interesting decisions...
  • 06:39 PM - Elon Tusk quoted iserith in post Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, off to a good start
    Is hurting enemies and destroying traps in a house by setting it on fire from the outside so different than disarming traps and killing monsters that are restrained by Hold Monster? It's a different method. It could harm innocents inside or destroy items or clues, but using a fireball in combat often has collateral damage. Is burning a house different than shooting a fireball into a cave? If creatures inside the house aren't killed, they will likely take damage. They might even flee the house to keep from taking more damage in which case the PCs could have readied action to attack them. Burning down a house is not the usual method of tackling the problem; I'm not sure how you could say its not more inventive than the normal way of going room by room and fighting what's there. I don't see how a sandbox campaign would automatically consider burning down a house a failure. The thing with burning down the house is that as with any particular course of action the players consider, they ar...
  • 03:08 PM - Yaarel quoted iserith in post Incorporeal Movement
    That is my reading, though I would say a sword is also an object. I think the main thing here is that incorporeal movement is just that - movement. Push a sword through this creature and it will take damage. If it instead moves through the sword, it takes no damage unless it ends its turn on the sword. That too is a confusing part, because the ghost is only ‘resistant’ to weapon attacks. So it is semi-solid so that a sword *can* damage it.
  • 02:51 PM - Yaarel quoted iserith in post Incorporeal Movement
    "For the purposes of these rules, an object is a discrete, inanimate item like a window, door, sword, book, table, chair, or stone, not a building or vehicle that is composed of many other objects." (DMG, pg. 246) Walls are also considered objects. They are mentioned in this section as well. Yeah, the example mentions a sword hitting a ‘wall’. I assume the wall is the object, not the sword. But where it says ‘not a building’, can easily seem to mean a wall is not an object. Later, a castle wall is called a ‘big object’. It seems the ‘building’ is an exception because it is actually an assemblage of separate objects. Thus each individual object needs to be considered. Such as the hit points of a glass window, versus the hit points of a thick stone wall.


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