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Recent content by Helpful NPC Thom

  1. Helpful NPC Thom

    D&D 5E Respect Mah Authoritah: Thoughts on DM and Player Authority in 5e

    Sometimes it can be tricky if that GM is your friend, or if the game is three-quarters good and one-quarter not-so-good. Some players would rather endure bad gaming than no gaming. I'm not one of them. I was in a weekly game where I realized that I was having fun for about one hour out of every...
  2. Helpful NPC Thom

    D&D 5E Respect Mah Authoritah: Thoughts on DM and Player Authority in 5e

    The concept of authority gets a bad rap unless we're deferring it to credentialed "experts." EXPERTS SAY THAT... EXPERTS WEIGH IN ON... BAD THING TO HAPPEN, WARN EXPERTS, UNLESS... I'm Helpful NPC Thom, PhD. While you were out partying, I studied the DMG. Leadership requires authority, and...
  3. Helpful NPC Thom

    D&D 5E Respect Mah Authoritah: Thoughts on DM and Player Authority in 5e

    Typically, I will growl and bare my teeth. He's not. He's describing how spells and their associated mechanics limit GM authority and grant players limited narrative control. A Persuasion check can only exist if the GM allows it--and he sets the conditions for that along with the DC. In...
  4. Helpful NPC Thom

    D&D 5E Respect Mah Authoritah: Thoughts on DM and Player Authority in 5e

    I tend to be open with my method of DMing. Telegraph danger and potential consequences upfront. Call for skill checks sparingly. Communicate relative difficulty. Narrate what happens after a skill check. That last one is a big one. When the dice are resolved, there's not an opportunity for...
  5. Helpful NPC Thom

    D&D 5E Respect Mah Authoritah: Thoughts on DM and Player Authority in 5e

    This. As a relevant topic related to this, there are (assumed) limits on the DM's authority within D&D. In every group I've played with, it is a big no-no for the DM to usurp player character agency outside of defined effects (typically supernatural or spell) that have rules governing their...
  6. Helpful NPC Thom

    D&D 5E Let us "fix" Expertise!

    Reroll 1s.
  7. Helpful NPC Thom

    D&D 5E The D&D Advantage- The Campaign

    It's not the reward loop alone that has propelled D&D to its enviable position. The reward loop is certainly part of it, but it's not everything. I consider the reward loop perfected in two D&D editions: early editions and 4e. Early editions utilized the gold-for-XP mechanic, which was ingenious...
  8. Helpful NPC Thom

    D&D 5E Would you of preferred this Proficiency Bonus instead of what we got?

    My preference is that proficiency changes your modifier to a +4 or adds +2 to your total, whichever is more beneficial. Expertise should be changed entirely.
  9. Helpful NPC Thom

    D&D 5E The D&D Advantage- The Campaign

    Another thought: thinking of Ron Edwards in that 4e thread, he has described some games as "incoherent," meaning that they not designed for a particular purpose. D&D is incoherent, at least the later editions that moved beyond strict dungeoncrawlers. That incoherence is detrimental from a design...
  10. Helpful NPC Thom

    D&D 5E The D&D Advantage- The Campaign

    D&D has a je ne sais quoi that creates longevity in a way that other games don't. There's the combination of the reward loop, incremental advancement, the de facto campaign structure, the emphasis (especially in early editions) on exploration of a fictitious world teeming with life. Secrets...
  11. Helpful NPC Thom

    D&D 5E Calibration of single character skill checks

    I don't calibrate skill check DCs based on the player characters; I calibrate them on what seems reasonable within the fiction. Usually I set the DCs around 13-18 and will increase them higher based on what a player is trying to accomplish. If a player wants to accomplish more with a single...
  12. Helpful NPC Thom

    D&D 4E Ron Edwards on D&D 4e

    Familiarity with non-D&D systems (particularly narrative-oriented systems) aids in the execution and structuring of skill challenges, in the same way that familiarity with wargames aids in those processes with regards to AD&D. However, the systems were lackluster in terms of mathematical...
  13. Helpful NPC Thom

    D&D 4E Ron Edwards on D&D 4e

    Skill challenges were dismal in both explanation and implementation.
  14. Helpful NPC Thom

    D&D 4E Ron Edwards on D&D 4e

    4e is a very well-designed game for its purpose. I am actually envious of its functionality and wish its design competence had been translated to 5e; the relative sloppiness of 5e mechanics is something of an embarrassment for a game developed on the heels of 4e with a considerable playtest...
  15. Helpful NPC Thom

    D&D 4E Ron Edwards on D&D 4e

    Gonna be brutally honest: anecdotes about how epic awesome your particular games were don't disprove the anecdotes the people whose games fell flat. Some games "click" for some groups, some games are a big miss. 4e was a miss for my group (I was a player and did not find it engaging). Had the GM...
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