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  1. Replies
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    It's a normal combat situation. There is an...

    It's a normal combat situation.

    There is an obvious reason why. Suppose that the orcs now adopt the same tactics. How do your players feel about orc archers achieving die no save hits on the PC...
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    I do love me some random encounter tables. The...

    I do love me some random encounter tables.

    The important thing to remember about a random encounter table it is supposed to be a scene generating device.

    So don't put anything on the table that...
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    For me, the thing is descriptive whether or not...

    For me, the thing is descriptive whether or not it is prescriptive. Whether you think of them as scenes or not, they are scenes. Thinking of them as locations is true, in the sense that any good...
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    Ahh, yes. The problem with trying to conduct a...

    Ahh, yes. The problem with trying to conduct a conversation in English is that even though we have like 60,000 words, most of the common ones have several different meanings - sometimes not even...
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    Bedrockgames: I don't know how meaningful this...

    Bedrockgames: I don't know how meaningful this is, but I think it's interesting that I have a tendency to write long posts whereas you have a tendency to respond with bursts of shorter posts, which...
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    Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Goody. We are going to get into...

    Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Goody. We are going to get into a discussion of what a "scene" is and how thinking about how you play a game is as important to how you play a game as the rules of the game. These...
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    I think I do get where you are coming from, as...

    I think I do get where you are coming from, as I'm somewhat on the opposite end of the spectrum and prone to verbosity. So I'm keen to learn something from your take, if only to mitigate my flaws.
    ...
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    It's amazing how many arguments depend on...

    It's amazing how many arguments depend on different understandings of what a word or phrase mean. Without knowing how exactly Bedrockgames defines narration or scene, I don't really know what his...
  9. I don't understand what you mean by that. I...

    I don't understand what you mean by that. I don't believe I have addressed the "Why?" in this discussion much at all.



    Ok, so that sounds like answering "Why?", but hitherto I've been mostly...
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    For now, we are forbearing from smiting the...

    For now, we are forbearing from smiting the heretic until suitable time to allow for his repentance has transpired.
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    I agree that they are narration in a general...

    I agree that they are narration in a general ordinary non-jargon sense of the word, but strictly they are not narration as it is normally meant in the table top RPG world because the player hasn't...
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    Well, it is but I do understand where you are...

    Well, it is but I do understand where you are coming from. Compared to my typical example of play, your scene setting or frame setting is very sparse. You are expecting that the player will fill in...
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    Jumping into this late, but why not "Both"? I...

    Jumping into this late, but why not "Both"?

    I strongly prefer a short boxed text to frame a scene, and being an advocate for the idea that gaming is an art, I prefer that the short boxed text be...
  14. Not as differently as you seem to think. ...

    Not as differently as you seem to think.



    Yes, but railroading almost never happens that way. Very rarely is a GM running a railroad so inept at running a railroad that they just start playing...
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    The fact that the Law and Chaos axis predates the...

    The fact that the Law and Chaos axis predates the Good and Evil axis is part of it, but if you think about it, that only moves back the question one step.

    Why did Gygax tend to treat Law as Good...
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    I'm actually neither denigrating nor praising...

    I'm actually neither denigrating nor praising him, and certainly don't mean by saying moral struggles to mean he had greater than the usual moral failings.

    So far as it goes, I consider Gygax's...
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    Well, I will note that in order to debate that at...

    Well, I will note that in order to debate that at any depth, we'd have to veer into discussions that are verboten according to the board rules, but that we ought to note that none of the assertions...
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    For the record, while I don't really care about...

    For the record, while I don't really care about the topic, I do agree with you that CN characters are not reliable.

    Although, I think the actual argument you are in is over what is meant by...
  19. I don't think I've ever settled on a "official"...

    I don't think I've ever settled on a "official" definition of player agency, but in general by player agency I mean tending to have the ability by your in game choices (propositions) to change both...
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    I'll give you this much. When I try to explain...

    I'll give you this much. When I try to explain this sort of thing, I run short of English vocabulary. "Selflessness" has several different definitions, one of which contains only emphasis on a lack...
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    I agree with most of this but I think new and...

    I agree with most of this but I think new and even experienced players mistake alignment for something it is not, namely, a description of personality.

    The most common example is the idea that...
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    I'm not entirely sure what you mean by that. If...

    I'm not entirely sure what you mean by that. If you mean that that fallacy was at times exhibited by Gygax and has been repeated ever since, then I agree. If you mean it's surprising that I'd...
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    So far, so good. This I strongly object to...

    So far, so good.



    This I strongly object to on several grounds. First, it belongs to the hideous bias that chaotic is a conditional that makes something less good, while lawful is something...
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    This assumes omniscience on the part of the...

    This assumes omniscience on the part of the participants. Just because the world is or isn't something, doesn't mean that everyone observing it will agree on what it is or isn't.

    Everyone in the...
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    Wait? What? That's not at all what I said. I...

    Wait? What? That's not at all what I said. I didn't in the slightest outline a sort of moral relativism. Each position is one of moral absolutism. All I did was outline a framework under which...
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    I wanted to break this out and deal with it...

    I wanted to break this out and deal with it separately, because that is not actually what the story claims.

    Bizarrely, in the story - and I don't know if Margaret Weiss or Tracy Hickman is...
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    This is in fact the intellectual justification...

    This is in fact the intellectual justification for fantasy. In real life, because real evil and real good is often something ordinary and hard to discern and stories about it are often mundane, we...
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    I'm not going to debate it. I'm not even going...

    I'm not going to debate it. I'm not even going to quibble with what you've revealed about your own view of the real world.

    However, going back to the fantasy world, one way to define each of the...
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    Yeah, but people are not only really bad at...

    Yeah, but people are not only really bad at evaluating their own alignment; they are really bad at evaluating the alignment of their friends and neighbors as well. Most people will identify as good...
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    On the subject of Druid power source, since it's...

    On the subject of Druid power source, since it's never been particularly explicit, it was always sort of up to the DM.

    In my game worlds, the power source of Druids is pacts with spirits which are...
  31. I had entirely planned to take some time off and...

    I had entirely planned to take some time off and spend a few days at Origins actually participating instead of a few hours just browsing the floor, but unfortunately real life intervened. It's been...
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    This claim so shocked me that I did a text search...

    This claim so shocked me that I did a text search over the last 140 posts, just to see if I had misspoke or what I had written that had so mislead you. And you know what I found?

    Despite being a...
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    I think we said mostly the same thing, and agree...

    I think we said mostly the same thing, and agree on the basic point that people are complex. I don't want to get too far into a discussion of real world cosmology, theology, or normative ethics that...
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    I didn't move the goal posts. You did. At no...

    I didn't move the goal posts. You did. At no point did I ever include acting, accents, or mannerisms in my discussion until you brought them into it. When I provided examples, it was always...
  35. I heard the game he ran with HG Wells and...

    I heard the game he ran with HG Wells and Heisenberg was visionary. Decades ahead of its time. Unfortunately, it fell apart because they players kept interfering with each other and they couldn't...
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    Amongst committed Christians there is an neurosis...

    Amongst committed Christians there is an neurosis that sometimes develops where the person begins to perceive in more and more things that power of Satan evidenced in the world. Soon thier thoughts...
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    I think you for your considered and thoughtful...

    I think you for your considered and thoughtful response. Unfortunately, it goes wrong right with the initial assumption. You start out well enough, but you end up focusing on what is I think a...
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    Good. And indeed, you have the advantage of me...

    Good. And indeed, you have the advantage of me if you can read it in the original.

    But I still haven't the faintest idea what you are trying to say.
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    Who is "we" and "they"? And what is "the tale"? ...

    Who is "we" and "they"? And what is "the tale"?

    And if by "the book" you mean, "The Last Ringbearer", have you actually read it?
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    If it actually treated with the ideas in LotR, I...

    If it actually treated with the ideas in LotR, I might be sympathetic. But it doesn't actually. It attributes ideas to the LotR that are not found in it, and which are often as not contrary to the...
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    Sorry about that. Strictly speaking, most of the...

    Sorry about that. Strictly speaking, most of the time I employ the word 'you', I'm doing so improperly when I mean the English pronoun 'one'. But the pronoun 'one' is so uncommon in modern...
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    I have read 'The Last Ringbearer'. I consider it...

    I have read 'The Last Ringbearer'. I consider it a distasteful, derivative, mockery of good which a person deluded by Morgoth might create. It is no more nuanced or reasonable criticism of Tolkien...
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    One of my homebrew adventures involves the PC's...

    One of my homebrew adventures involves the PC's investigating a series of attacks perpetrated by kobolds following a village festival. The PC's are meant to treat this as stereotypical murderous...
  44. I believe you misunderstood my point. I'm...

    I believe you misunderstood my point. I'm suggesting that in games where players can engage in authorship, they can have less agency than in games where they can't.

    Consider my case of a...
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    Why? No. For example, there is a...

    Why?



    No. For example, there is a connection between the word 'orc' and the world 'orcus'. Is it presumptuous to assume demons are evil? Are we not allowed to incarnate good and evil in a...
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    I would imagine that the majority of people do...

    I would imagine that the majority of people do not know their own alignment, and misrepresent their alignment to others and even to themselves. In D&D terms, it requires a high degree of Wisdom to...
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    That's true. Characters also have personalities,...

    That's true. Characters also have personalities, preferences and other sorts of dispositions.



    True, but only fully true of True Chaotic. Chaotic Good draws a hard line on choices that...
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    After seeing everything we agree on, I'm...

    After seeing everything we agree on, I'm beginning to think that the real problem is we have different definitions of good. What would Han have to demonstrate in order for you to think he was Good?
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    Yes, but feeling because he had no connection to...

    Yes, but feeling because he had no connection to the pair that he had no obligation to act in any manner other than for his own benefit, and that he could choose to act in that manner entirely under...
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    Law/Chaos has always been a little less clear...

    Law/Chaos has always been a little less clear than Good/Evil to the average reader, and while I think entropy has some connection at some philosophical level, at the practical ethical level your...
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    I'm pretty sure we are. We both seem to agree as...

    I'm pretty sure we are. We both seem to agree as to the gist of the plot.



    Just? Just? Rarely in a person's life do they have motive to engage in acts of stereotypical villainy like...
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    Sure. But they were guidelines, and even if I...

    Sure. But they were guidelines, and even if I was inclined to rigidly follow someone else's guidelines, it's trivial matter to show that two groups of 13 encounters with the same encounter levels...
  53. Replies
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    Which Han? It's like talking about Batman at...

    Which Han? It's like talking about Batman at this point.

    Han starts out the original trilogy as CN, and then has a character arc which goes through a series of changes in his behavior and his...
  54. And both in practice could fail to provide player...

    And both in practice could fail to provide player agency depending on the techniques that the game's moderator/referee/secret keeper/story teller employed to shift agency back to themselves.

    And...
  55. Replies
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    Yes. But I also remember how unreliable those...

    Yes. But I also remember how unreliable those guidelines were, how hard they could be to interpret in practice, and that they were guidelines.
  56. Replies
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    I have no stake in this "how many players is the...

    I have no stake in this "how many players is the right number of players" side discussion, and by quoting you I'm not at all asserting that you are being particularly or especially ridiculous...
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    Nor is it merely a preference and subjective just...

    Nor is it merely a preference and subjective just because you claim it is so.

    Even the very definition of role-playing suggests a strong and natural connection between acting and the act of...
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    This not at all my experience. ''Ease" or...

    This not at all my experience. ''Ease" or "difficulty" is entirely a matter of the DM. I can make a killer dungeon in any edition. I can run through a stack of photocopied character sheets in any...
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    You are stating that as if it was an objective...

    You are stating that as if it was an objective fact. I at least have an argument for why it isn't. I could make further ones.
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    ParanoydStyle: I don't agree with all you have to...

    ParanoydStyle: I don't agree with all you have to say, but I would subscribe to your newsletter.
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    Yes, that's pretty much the essence of it. ...

    Yes, that's pretty much the essence of it.



    So, here comes the stickler. I'm not really interested in arguing the qualitative. I'm arguing for essentially the quantitative. In other words,...
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    I think that there probably is an objective...

    I think that there probably is an objective difference. I could easily write a computer program to adjudicate, in the same way you could write a program to play chess and determine what was or...
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    We're in full agreement on stirges.

    We're in full agreement on stirges.
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    A lot of people don't. You'll note, I...

    A lot of people don't.



    You'll note, I don't either. What I actually believe is something much more controversial.



    I think "I try to intimidate the guard" replaces actual roleplaying,...
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    Your example assumes that the players know OOG...

    Your example assumes that the players know OOG that rot grubs exist and have some idea what to do about them because they've read the entry, and that the party is of sufficient level that some...
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    Only if there isn't a high level cleric on hand...

    Only if there isn't a high level cleric on hand with a selection of Slow Poison and Neutralize Poison effects. Slow Poison can return a PC to life with no ill-effects, no resurrection failure...
  67. Replies
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    Current American culture is heavily skewed to...

    Current American culture is heavily skewed to individualism. Since ~80% of players can only play themselves, this means most players will only play a character that is highly individualistic, which...
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    Depending on the style of treasure allocation, XP...

    Depending on the style of treasure allocation, XP from combat tended to be between 1/3rd and 1/10th as much as the XP from treasure.



    The question I have for that statement is, "Is relying on...
  69. Replies
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    Doing this in a concrete way requires a bit of...

    Doing this in a concrete way requires a bit of preparation of the sort people generally don't do.

    You have to define the Duke as a social character. The 'Seven Sentence NPC' article in Dragon...
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    I'm not sure that there is a "right" answer (that...

    I'm not sure that there is a "right" answer (that is, there is probably more than one good way to do things), but I do think that there are wrong answers.

    In any event, assuming that both of those...
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    More to the point, they tend to be less engaging...

    More to the point, they tend to be less engaging than the social interaction that they are simulating.

    By the argument that I outlined above, the more detailed the social interaction rules, the...
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    My suspicion is that it is because gamers tend to...

    My suspicion is that it is because gamers tend to prefer the least abstract experience of the scenario possible (or at least that is convenient).

    For combat, the least abstract thing to do would...
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    Yes, but I am postulating that modern society...

    Yes, but I am postulating that modern society successfully conditions the majority of person to abhor actual violence through a variety of mechanisms, both subtle and overt.

    Thus, it is necessary...
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    Feeling bad about killing is a heavily...

    Feeling bad about killing is a heavily conditioned response, and so far as I can tell is not natural. And, even if it were, the vast majority of civilizations in world history have built their...
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    There aren't enough KKK left in the USA to fill a...

    There aren't enough KKK left in the USA to fill a basketball arena. The leadership got busted up by state Attorney Generals about that same time, and they never recovered. Heck, even the neo...
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    When preparing to run a game for them, I looked...

    When preparing to run a game for them, I looked over some of the other options out there and decided (characteristically) that the systems were too complex and not expressive enough, so I wrote my...
  77. Youtube's Seth Skorkowsky gives very thorough and...

    Youtube's Seth Skorkowsky gives very thorough and practical GM centered reviews of Call of Cthulhu modules.

    Youtube's Dael Kingsmill (Monarchsfactory is the channel) can be very entertaining, and...
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    That may be true in part, but part of the...

    That may be true in part, but part of the negative consequence that gets drilled into small children is other small children bonking them in the nose or biting them back in response.

    That said,...
  79. You are possibly right. Certainly, 10 software...

    You are possibly right. Certainly, 10 software engineers with sufficient experience and knowledge would be able to agree as to when code was badly written.

    But one of the underlying assumptions...
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    It's not the board rules on what is a defensible...

    It's not the board rules on what is a defensible political position that would get me in trouble. Heck, I'm playing in a Paizo adventure path right now, so if blatant attempts to be inclusive were a...
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    Then it will be closed. I mean, I could post my...

    Then it will be closed. I mean, I could post my honest opinion of certain game systems right now and get it closed if that's what you wanted.



    Well if you mean we are better, then "No", I...
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    One thing I've noted in the past about playing...

    One thing I've noted in the past about playing with kids is that they tend to be vastly more moral than the adults. Most middle school and earlier players I've encountered tend to take moral...
  83. I work in software development. There is a...

    I work in software development.

    There is a general sense in the industry, that for two given methods for solving a problem, the one that is lower complexity tends to be the better solution. We...
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    Certainly if I also had that background, I think...

    Certainly if I also had that background, I think I'd see why that would be your first pass understanding of the structure of D&D, but the fantasy foundations of D&D go back to a time well before...
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    Briefly, combat has a unique combination of...

    Briefly, combat has a unique combination of elements that makes it a suitable focus for social gaming.

    1) It's a team activity where all participants can make meaningful decisions.
    2) It is a...
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    I nearly put DitV on my list as well, but I...

    I nearly put DitV on my list as well, but I didn't because the OP specifically said "systems you'd never play". And the thing is, I can think of some games I might want to play where I'd use the...
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    "Space: 1889" While the basic concept of a...

    "Space: 1889"

    While the basic concept of a game set in the world of HG Wells, Jules Verne, and Edgar Rice Burroughs is sound, the fact that it both creates a unique setting which is inferior to...
  88. I agree that is a 'Grave Robber' is a rogue with...

    I agree that is a 'Grave Robber' is a rogue with a 'Grave Digger' type background more than it is a new subclass.

    In my game world, owing to the problem of undead, Undertakers are skilled...
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    I haven't the foggiest clue why the argument in...

    I haven't the foggiest clue why the argument in this thread is meaningful, but you seem to be well on top of it.

    Conversely, we could have a single foe that dies after 5 units of damage, but...
  90. No, I'm not. I'm not making any sort of evasive...

    No, I'm not. I'm not making any sort of evasive argument. The argument presented in the academic paper is fundamentally flawed. It's true that victims will tell their torturers anything they think...
  91. I can only answer how my campaign works. In...

    I can only answer how my campaign works.

    In general, mind control spells in my campaign world are treated legally as equivalent in distaste to rape (one violates the body, the other the mind). ...
  92. I concur. Advice like "Underlings aren't given...

    I concur.

    Advice like "Underlings aren't given important information or have incorrect or incomplete information" is advice that is utterly agnostic on the question of whether torture is...
  93. I would dispute this claim. The US army field...

    I would dispute this claim.

    The US army field manuals and instructions issued to captured prisoners suggest that prisoners should expect that in the long run torture always works, and that they...
  94. R_Chance: OK, we seem to be on the same page...

    R_Chance: OK, we seem to be on the same page then. We just differ in what we imagine to be low percentages.

    You give very few numbers, but you say things like, "As for mercenaries, the White...
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    Ok, with respect, since that went zooming by you...

    Ok, with respect, since that went zooming by you without pause, let me be more blunt and say I think you are confused and that your rhetorical question indicates you fundamentally did not understand...
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    I agree with all of these statements, but I think...

    I agree with all of these statements, but I think there is something important captured in the idea of when acting is or isn't role-playing, that ought to be applied to the litmus test for when...
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    It's a common confusion, but for the purpose of...

    It's a common confusion, but for the purpose of this topic I think we have to be very clear - PCs don't play in the world, players do. I think it's a much less interesting question as to whether the...
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    Perhaps all novelists are just frustrated GMs.

    Perhaps all novelists are just frustrated GMs.
  99. Replies
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    Yes, or at least, they can. The proof of this...

    Yes, or at least, they can.

    The proof of this is that things can happen and events can progress "off stage". And in particular, many GM's feel some obligation to have the events that transpire...
  100. I'm always astounded at people's capacity for...

    I'm always astounded at people's capacity for stupidity and evil. This sort of horror story always sounds made up, simply because it's so unbelievable that anyone would do this sort of thing. And...
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