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  1. M

    D&D General GM : Spellcaster Arms Race

    This has been a ongoing conversation for decades. GMs talk about how mid/high level (and certainly beyond) Spellcasters (lets say level 9+) are not relatively overpowered (compared with their martial counterparts and the obstacles the PCs face) because a GM is capable of either proactively or...
  2. M

    Your Home Game DW Moves

    Pretty sure there isn't a repository for this on here, so figured I'd start a thread. * Discovery is from Perilous Wild (I use this outstanding book for my games; Journey moves and Hirelings/Companion/Fortune rolls). Think of it like a 7-9 Spout Lore move. Something interesting to be...
  3. M

    Dungeon World and Social Conflict

    On Tuesday, I'm starting a new game for 2 friends (late 30s and early 40s) who have never played TTRPGs in their lives (though they both have or do play video games and the love the genre). Something about Dungeon World has always bothered me: * The limits of the Parley Move (in general, but...
  4. M

    D&D 5E Intelligence and Wisdom Checks (Skills) as GM Tool for Plot Rationing or Expository Dump

    This was said in another thread recently: It seemed to me that the general bent of the thread's participants either actively agreed with this or didn't disagree with it enough to voice opposition. I thought this was interesting. Therefore, a poll. Is this commonplace among 5e GMs on these...
  5. M

    The Game, the Situation, the Decision-Point, and the Mechanics

    Alright, simple thread. Tell me/us about the machinery of a focused moment of play in your game. Format-wise, not looking for story-time. Looking for the following format: The Game: The Situation: The Decision-Point: The Mechanics’ Role in Resolution: So I'll start with an example The Game...
  6. M

    D&D 4E 4e Compared to Trad D&D; What You Lose, What You Gain

    Immediate Disclaimer: This analysis is going to have to span a few posts. I'm going to examine my last 5e play Excerpt which was at level 18. That Tier is "Master's of the World": "...characters have superheroic capabilities, and their deeds and adventures are the stuff of legend. Ordinary...
  7. M

    Integrating Skill Challenges With Combat

    First, the fiction. I feel like much of this will be self-evident, but lets just make sure. Each character in 4th edition will have (bare minimum), a Race, a Class, a Background, and a Theme (Heroic Tier). At every moment, a GM's job is to make the conflicts inherent to these PC build...
  8. M

    Change the Situation (Skill Challenges)!

    Figured I'd start a thread on one of the pivotal principles for running engaging, functional Skill Challenges: Change the Situation. Something goes wrong. A new threat emerges. Danger escalates or a related twist surfaces. A difficult choice or a branching course with consequences is faced...
  9. M

    Skill Utilities and Their Impact on Play

    Alright, should get some mileage out of this. Lets take a look at the effectiveness and application of the various Skill Utility Powers (Skill Powers, Theme Powers, Race Powers, Class Powers, Paragon Path Powers) on the following aspects of play: 1) Skill Challenges 2) Combat Stunting 3)...
  10. M

    D&D 5E NPC Ability Checks and Stunting or...Ogre Smash

    This is going to run long so fair warning. Turn back now if ye of TLDR heart. Also, if you aren't into parsing text ("you're overthinking it...I HATE PEOPLE LIKE YOU"), again, turn back now. I'm going to start with my parsing of the nature and procedure of the system's DC setting: 1) During...
  11. M

    D&D 5E How do you GM 4 of the 6 parts of ability checks

    The primary agenda of play in 5e is described in several places in the Basic PDF and the core books. Repeatedly, you get one iteration or another of: "...to create an exciting story of bold adventurers who confront deadly perils." GMs role is described as: "lead storyteller and referee."...
  12. M

    Skill Challenges Open Thread

    We've done this many times before. Here is yet another repository for insight and guidance into the machinery and techniques that make noncombat action scenes in 4e hum. I'll start. What are Failures? These are Team PC's Hit Point Pool, Stress Track (what have you). They're the mechanical...
  13. M

    D&D Obsessions or Minimizing Exposure and Pixel Bitching

    So I've run a few various one-off games (Basic, Dungeon World, Dogs in the Vineyard, Marvel Heroic) with a mix of (a) long time, exclusively D&D players, (b) casual players of lots of different games and genres, (c) more or less TTRPG virgins. These are all adults, 30s-40s. With respect to...
  14. M

    What makes us care about combat balance in D&D?

    I've been doing some thinking as of late on the question in the thread title. There are lots of possible reasons. Amongst them are: 1) Because of the severe impact of two wargaming facets of D&D combat: Initiative and the action economy. 2) Because D&D's PCs, monsters, and combat...
  15. M

    4e, Dungeon World, or Cortex + Fantasy Heroic

    For anyone following along this Play By Post, we're quickly drawing to a climax in this first part of the game. Curtain is going to drop pretty soon whether it be a TPK or victory parade for the good guys. We're pretty much indifferent whether we continue the game via Dungeon World or if we...
  16. M

    D&D 5E Mechanics as emotional provocateurs

    One of my favorite games, Dogs in the Vineyard, does a great job of putting the players in the emotional framework of their PCs. It does this via the conflict resolution mechanics that naturally tend to lead to escalation much of the time. When adrenaline is up and emotions are running high...
  17. M

    D&D 5E Tracking D&D's family history

    In another thread recently I was discussing the amalgamation of quasi-process sim task resolution and abstract conflict resolution that is D&D 5e's system for noncombat action resolution. I was talking about a few different tropes, and one of them was the age-old one of the wilderness...
  18. M

    Update to the former PBP adventure "Somewhere-else"

    found here. We're playing this one in real life now that we have some time, so I figure some folks who were following that adventure might be interested to find out what has happened to Saerie et al. So we left Saerie, her bear companion, Yamel, and his 4 remaining rangers as they were about...
  19. M

    The Fey, the Far, and the Ugly Space In Between

    This will be our PBP thread @Binks and @Tecklenburg and possibly our intrepid hero Scotsman at some point if they ever figure out that whole electricity thing. Please post: 1) Your characters, of which you should have two bonds with each other to start, one bond with any...
  20. M

    The Effect of "Big" on Combat

    Perhaps weirdly (or naturally...not sure on this), I'm emboldened by running bad guys/monsters who are size large or bigger against my players. I don't mean I'm personally emboldened. I just mean that there is this oddly visceral response that I find comes with looking at the battlemat and...
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