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  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Today, 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...
    23 replies | 565 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Today, 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,...
    20 replies | 443 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Today, 12:33 AM
    Or see “Percussive Questioning” in the Player’s Fistbook.
    20 replies | 443 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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...
    20 replies | 443 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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...
    20 replies | 443 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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...
    20 replies | 443 view(s)
    4 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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.
    17 replies | 373 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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...
    17 replies | 373 view(s)
    2 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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.
    24 replies | 622 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Yesterday, 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...
    33 replies | 617 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,...
    23 replies | 565 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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 | 1018 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Saturday, 22nd June, 2019, 11:06 AM
    People get an anesthetic for a simple filling? Now that's a rip off.
    33 replies | 617 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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.
    47 replies | 1287 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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?!?" ;)
    321 replies | 6883 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Friday, 21st June, 2019, 11:46 AM
    How about Keanu as Gambit?
    17 replies | 450 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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.
    47 replies | 1287 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. ;)
    321 replies | 6883 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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...
    45 replies | 1227 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 | 2468 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.
    39 replies | 1436 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 | 840 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 | 6811 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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 | 1985 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).
    39 replies | 1436 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 | 197 view(s)
    0 XP
  • 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 | 1684 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 | 7783 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 | 3612 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 | 7923 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 | 7783 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 | 2738 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 | 2738 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 | 2738 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 | 1004 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 | 2209 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 | 2738 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...
    73 replies | 2214 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...
    73 replies | 2214 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...
    73 replies | 2214 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 | 491 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 | 4876 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 | 452 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 | 1264 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 | 1199 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 | 754 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 | 1264 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 | 366 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 | 1020 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 | 725 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 | 5878 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 | 2978 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 | 5878 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th June, 2019, 05:57 PM
    Right. It works if the DM says it works. Full stop. Arguments from reality are perhaps the weakest arguments one can make about a fantasy world controlled by someone who gets to say how things operate. The more productive way to examine this situation in my view is: Why is this happening and what can I do as DM to take away the impetus to do it? Because it's almost certainly the DM's fault due...
    68 replies | 2771 view(s)
    0 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th June, 2019, 03:29 PM
    Speaking of real-life torture... BAYYYYYY-BEEEEE... SHARK! DO-DO-doDO-doDO... BABY SHARK! DO-DO-doDO-doDO... BABY SHARK! DO-DO-doDO-doDO... BABY SHARK! You are all welcome. :)
    68 replies | 2771 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th June, 2019, 02:39 PM
    While I agree that torture is far too common in many games, I don't agree with your reasoning on the mechanics encouraging it or your solutions for curtailing it. Your position on the mechanics seems to be one in which the players are asking for or declaring that they are making ability checks, which the rules do not allow. The DM is always the one who asks for ability checks, when the outcome...
    68 replies | 2771 view(s)
    5 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th June, 2019, 11:54 AM
    Not only that, but fighting and killing monsters can be very light hearted and fun. Where as rape is never any of those two things, not even when it is fictionalized. Wether torture belongs in a D&D campaign is a point of discussion. It's not something I would throw at players at a con either, and always discuss with the players before introducing it in a campaign.
    419 replies | 18153 view(s)
    1 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th June, 2019, 05:45 PM
    They had their popularity, sure. Which is why it was strictly my experience as to why 4E began to run dry for me towards the end (despite getting several years of great enjoyment to start with). A lot of the spells that allowed to creativity that didn't snap to the grid felt like they were missing from our arsenals after a while. But if other folks never experienced that stuff previously then...
    245 replies | 10708 view(s)
    0 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th June, 2019, 04:34 PM
    I think one thing that would be advantageous for me were I ever to go back to playing 4E is that because I wouldn't have D&D Insider (and thus the massive amounts of extra powers that the character generator collected for me)... the classes would go back to being more disparate (and thus more interesting and compelling.) This was something I discovered throughout 4E's lifetime that I now can...
    245 replies | 10708 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th June, 2019, 11:59 AM
    Quick question, if you already own the original Betrayal at House on the Hill (as I do), how much added value is there in buying the legacy version?
    53 replies | 5110 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th June, 2019, 11:58 AM
    "Fanatics make unreliable allies" -Garret, from the game Thief the Dark project
    71 replies | 5599 view(s)
    0 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th June, 2019, 03:59 AM
    Yep, agreed wholeheartedly. That's why in my games I: Removed Animal Handling-- use CHA (Nature) instead Removed Acrobatics-- use DEX (Athletics) instead Removed Medicine-- use INT (Survival) instead Removed Perception for finding inanimate hidden things (like traps or doors)-- use INT (Investigation) instead Removed Performance-- use Tools or Persuasion as applicable Removed Sleight of...
    70 replies | 2044 view(s)
    10 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th June, 2019, 09:32 PM
    I've ran multiple adult campaigns in my life, some of which included sexual (consensual) content. But I would never dare to run any such campaign at a con with random people, and I would always inform my players what they are about to play, and discuss how I intend to deal with the more edgy material. Usually it involves a 'fade to black', because playing out what exactly happens is just gross...
    419 replies | 18153 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th June, 2019, 08:43 PM
    I’d advise you not to play it, since you’re asking.
    245 replies | 10708 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th June, 2019, 06:28 PM
    Agreed. I purposefully ran a game for a group of people who had never played D&D 4e, but had heard plenty of bad things. At the end, I asked what they thought and the consensus was "I don't understand what people hated about it - that was awesome!"
    245 replies | 10708 view(s)
    5 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th June, 2019, 04:16 PM
    If the DM knows how to create and present skill challenges (as outlined in the Rules Compendium, not the DMGs), then skills are very important. Often my players are more terrified of skill challenges than they are of combats!
    245 replies | 10708 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th June, 2019, 02:20 PM
    It's a great game in my view. Just be prepared that combats will tend to run slower than D&D 5e, especially if the group is unfamiliar with the system. You or your group may or may not have access to the online character builder (I still have it). If you do not, that can make character creation and advancement a bit more time consuming if all the books are open for use.
    245 replies | 10708 view(s)
    1 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th June, 2019, 12:33 PM
    Everything looks fine. As is always the case about 75% of any set of balancing House Rules will never come up (because the players won't actually select or use the mechanics you attempted to balance)... but as a way of working out your game design and DM muscles, coming up with them and writing them down is still a good process. Have a good game!
    6 replies | 350 view(s)
    0 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd June, 2019, 04:47 PM
    Personally, I don't think Stormreach is the best place to set Ghosts of Saltmarsh. The most obvious place for that book in Eberron is Q'Barra-- there are meant to see several small towns on Adder Bay, and the entire area is surrounded by many lizardfolk tribes. So the land is already set up for Saltmarsh to be dropped in with a minimum amount of necessary changes to the area. In addition, as...
    6 replies | 351 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd June, 2019, 11:50 AM
    And for this reason session 0's were invented. Discuss which themes and topics may come up in your campaign before you start subjecting your players to it. If for example you run a horror campaign, then body horror may be part of the game, and thats fine... but where are the limits? It is incredibly important to get all your players on the same page. It doesn't sound like this DM really cared for...
    419 replies | 18153 view(s)
    1 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Sunday, 2nd June, 2019, 02:45 PM
    Combat for groups that are 5 players or more already is unwieldy, this will only make it worse. How many PCs are in your group? The more PCs you have, the more total hit points and total available healing is available for the group. Which means to generate suitable threats for them you need to use larger monsters and larger numbers of monsters with larger pools of HP, otherwise they get...
    14 replies | 565 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Bawylie's Avatar
    Friday, 31st May, 2019, 10:28 PM
    At my table, The world exists for the players. Because it is their sandbox, it must be a space in which they can play, explore, create, and destroy. That doesn’t mean things are static but for player involvement. But it does mean that the majority of my design focuses on things in their proximity more than things outside that area. This holds true even for established, well-trod settings....
    106 replies | 3847 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Friday, 31st May, 2019, 11:48 AM
    I can't let undead threads rest either... Last session one of my players traveled deep into the fey-wild, into an area that I had not prepared, because I had not anticipated this action. I winged it a bit, and then when he finally reached the heart of the forest, I decided to end the campaign there for the evening. I flat out told my players that I would need time to prepare the next area,...
    62 replies | 5242 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Friday, 31st May, 2019, 11:41 AM
    Butt-kicking for goodness!
    99 replies | 4906 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Thursday, 30th May, 2019, 07:03 AM
    Mine is scheduled for delivery on Monday. Can't wait.
    40 replies | 2978 view(s)
    0 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Thursday, 30th May, 2019, 06:44 AM
    I'm just sitting here eating my sour grapes, giving the stink eye to all you Otus haters.
    253 replies | 8297 view(s)
    3 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 30th May, 2019, 05:07 AM
    Yeah, or the culture of the group in which you play. Keep it up and I'll bring out the exclamation points. But seriously, I don't mind shortcuts. I do mind it if the shortcut you chose to characterize my position isn't actually my position.
    664 replies | 26841 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 29th May, 2019, 11:50 PM
    As I think I mentioned, I'd characterize some of your positions and preferences as being rooted in D&D 3.Xe and/or D&D 4e. I think you've mentioned playing those games before, so this makes perfect sense. My "style" is based on the game system. You would notice my "style" changes when I run and play D&D 4e. Just like it changes when I run and play Dungeon World. That's my point here: I don't have...
    664 replies | 26841 view(s)
    0 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Wednesday, 29th May, 2019, 10:07 PM
    Don't forget you also have Goodman Games who could license doing a re-up of one or all 3 DoD modules at some point too. They chose to do Isle of Dread leading up to stand side-by-side with Ghosts of Saltmarsh, so if at some point WotC does a desert and/or Dark Sun thing but doesn't want to re-do those three themselves... Goodman could perhaps do it instead.
    126 replies | 12470 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Wednesday, 29th May, 2019, 11:43 AM
    I played a bit of Lord of the Rings, Star Wars RPG (d6) and Battletech (forgot which edition)... all with the same dreadful DM, making me never want to play those systems again. I realize that is unfair towards those systems, but these experiences just left such a bad aftertaste.
    61 replies | 4616 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 29th May, 2019, 01:49 AM
    Yeah, I have a player pool which includes more players than seats in a given game and, often, multiple PCs per player. There is no way, especially considering my increasing age and penchant for drink at the table, that I can remember anything about the characters' stats. So I don't see any issue with choosing a DC for a task ahead of time which is later resolved by a passive check. I've had that...
    664 replies | 26841 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 29th May, 2019, 01:11 AM
    That's fair and my apologies for attributing to you anything that you don't believe. I think that the fewer exceptions to the basic play loop the better. I would also say that "basic access" is something I see as available to anyone through the DM's description of the environment and the things within it and it's on the players to speak up if they want to recall more information that may be...
    664 replies | 26841 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 29th May, 2019, 12:48 AM
    Notably, in D&D 5e, "passive" in "passive check" doesn't actually refer to the character being "inactive." It just refers to there being no dice. Unfortunately, it's commonly interpreted as meaning the character isn't doing anything in particular but I don't think one can get there from a reading of the D&D 5e rules. One can get there by reading the D&D 4e rules which refers to both "actively...
    664 replies | 26841 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 29th May, 2019, 12:23 AM
    While I'm sure it works with little issue at the table, I think passive check DCs for set knowledge is more appropriate to D&D 3.Xe and D&D 4e than for D&D 5e. In the latter, I prefer to simply lay out the necessary context and basic scope of options sufficient for the characters to act and let the players describe what they want to do. That might include recalling lore to introduce new...
    664 replies | 26841 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 28th May, 2019, 09:28 PM
    I thought that might be the issue. Perhaps this will help: The Case for Inspiration.
    23 replies | 809 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 28th May, 2019, 09:08 PM
    What don't you like about the mechanic? As it is written, it might actually work quite well with this disguise self tactic. It's one thing to look like someone. It's another thing to act like them and that may require learning traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws, which encourages the players to interact and explore to gain a further edge.
    23 replies | 809 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 28th May, 2019, 07:02 PM
    My position is that this depends on the rules of the game system and whether there's a fair and fun method of resolving this. In a game like D&D 5e, I would say there isn't, so my table rule is that if a player wants to act upon another player's character in a way that is a hindrance or is harmful, the player of the target character gets to decide the outcome.
    26 replies | 1126 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 28th May, 2019, 06:16 PM
    I think progress combined with a setback is good here - give them the info, but the monster gains an advantage as you say. That could be a situational advantage or just advantage on an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw.
    664 replies | 26841 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 28th May, 2019, 05:40 PM
    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.
    23 replies | 809 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 28th May, 2019, 05:32 PM
    How many traps and secret doors are in your game? Figuring out how a trap works ahead of disabling it may call for an Intelligence (Investigation) check, as might a task to figure out how a secret door can be opened. How often are players attempting to recall lore when fighting monsters in order to figure out their strengths, weaknesses, etc.? If they're not doing that, why aren't they? The...
    664 replies | 26841 view(s)
    0 XP
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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...

Wednesday, 1st May, 2019

  • 06:39 PM - Elfcrusher mentioned iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    I think this is malformed: you're asking if this action declaration violates a principle of the DM not controlling characters thoughts before establishing that the action declaration violates established norms on who has this authorial control. In other words, we can even reach your last question before resolving the authorial control one. And, simply, in 5e the GM has this authority, the player does not. So, again, we can't reach your last question without stipulating that the player has already broken the rules. In which case, I think your question is mooted. Yes. And also 'yes' to iserith's response. Now, in my own games I welcome this sort of thing, even though it's technically a violation of the Player/DM division of authority. If for some reason I didn't want the guard to be the Francis the player knows, it would just turn out that he's mistaken, this is not Francis. IT'S HIS EVIL TWIN!!!! Or just somebody who looks like Francis. But, anyway, it's not an action declaration, it's the player assuming some of the DM's role.
  • 11:22 AM - pemerton mentioned iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    In D&D 5e, players describe what they want to do. They decide what their characters do, how they think, and what they say. That's all they can do.Does this mean that you don't agree that the player can establish the backstory for Gord the Barbarian that was flagged upthread? Or - and I'm not trying to impute views to you, just trying to map out some of the relevant space of possibilities - would you see that as a suggestion to the GM which the latter is free to accept or reject? if we're talking about boundaries, mine are basically the same as @iserith's, although...I'm hazarding a guess, here...I think mine are a little looser.That's what I'm getting at in the paragraph just above this one. I welcome players adding to the fiction outside of their character, especially if it's about their background; not sure if iserith does that. In last night's session some low level characters encountered a partially used necklace of fireballs. One of the players announced he was going OOC and said, "I'm pretty sure I know what this is but I don't think my character would know." I said that's cool, he can have his character know or not know; it's all the same to me. But if he chooses to know, maybe he also knows why. The player said, "Ahhh..." and immediately invented a 'well-known' fairy tale from his homeland. Another player (first time at my table; he kept saying things like, "I'll use Insight...") wanted to know if he had any friends/associates in the city who might have some particular information. I said, "Describe this friend."...


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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.

Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019

  • 06:36 PM - Chaosmancer quoted iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    It's frankly hard to say what's at the core of this discussion anymore. What I do know is that if you want to call "thinking" an action, then because of the rule that players determine what the characters think, then there can be no ability check here since there is no uncertainty as to the outcome. The character thinks what the player says he or she thinks. *sigh* You know, I know why we keep going in this circle. Because you could care less about players using out-of-character knowledge, seemingly in any form. But this is also why a lot of people see Intelligence as a dump stat, because two of the biggest uses for Intelligence are Investigation and knowledge checks. Oh sorry, Intelligence checks using proficiency with the intent to recall lore. But, if players get to determine that they already know the lore, then there is no need for those checks. If they just tell you they know something, then that is what they know. The only check upon that is that they might be wrong out of the...
  • 07:31 AM - Charlaquin quoted iserith in post Brainstorming TotM
    I prefer maps and tokens and use Roll20 even for in-person games. But one thing I learned about TotM is that the standard play loop is even more important and the DM is well-served by internalizing that process and using it. The standard play loop is (1) The DM describes the environment, (2) The players describe what they want to do, and (3) The DM narrates the results of the adventurers's actions. The key thing here (and this applies to any game, not just TotM) is that this is a loop, meaning that after you've narrated the result of someone's action and their turn is over, start back at (1) The DM describes the environment. Many DMs just go "Okay, John, you're up next..." skipping over (1) and going straight to (2). By doing so, this opens up the floor to questions about who is standing where and what the current PC is in the position to do. A side conversation ensues between the DM and player that interrupts the flow of the game while everyone gets back on the same page. With a map and tok...
  • 02:07 AM - Saeviomagy quoted iserith in post Unsatisfied with the D&D 5e skill system
    This is supported by the "Degrees of Failure" rules in the DMG, page 242. What is old is new again! Right... and in this case, our max-level, max-strength, trained in climbing figher (edit - argh, barbarian succeeds automatically!) can feel confident that he can attempt a moderate climb and not risk death! Effectively reducing DCs by 5 feels better than where DCs are currently, because it brings results into the 'cannot possibly fail' region more often, but it's still an across the board change that requires the DM to do a lot more than is written into typical skill checks, and will still often be invisible.


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