« first day (1486 days earlier)   

12:00 AM
The rules pretty much explicitly tell you to be reasonable about judging whether somebody can actually hide, and so I don’t understand how you can make an argument that the RAW tell you not to use your judgment.
Like, the way I read the rules is, “You can hide behind cover, but not if somebody can obviously still see you, duh”
Whereas he was trying to tell me that you can hide behind a glass wall unless the rules explicitly tell you that you can’t.
 
The RAW says unreasonable things quite frequently, and then attempts to compensate by telling you to ignore the RAW when you find it unreasonable. This doesn't make the RAW stop saying unreasonable things.
 
@BESW I know, but seriously? The rules tell you that you can’t hide when people can still see you. So you need an explicit exception on top of that to say you can’t hide behind a glass wall?
 
It boils down to "the rules aren't absurd if they admit they're absurd."
 
That just strikes me as reading things into the rules so that you can find fault with them.
This isn’t even absurd though.
The rules say that you can usually hide behind total cover, but there are exceptions, like if people can still see you. I don’t see how that is absurd or unreasonable at all.
 
The glass wall doesn't make sense to me, but total cover is defined as being unseeable. You're unable to see something standing behind a (full height) wall, which also grants total cover.
 
12:04 AM
@BraddSzonye That's not what's being argued, though. The argument, as I'm seeing it, is a contradiction in how the text deals with certain mechanical vocabulary.
 
The fact that tower shields manage to give total cover, when they're so thin is what I'd complain about.
 
The shield doesn’t even give total cover for all purposes.
 
When wouldn't it?
 
@BESW The mechanical vocabulary also doesn’t say that your shield vanishes mysteriously if you hide behind it.
@Smurfton When somebody targets you with a spell.
That whole idea is a non-starter for multiple reasons.
So I don’t get how somebody can reasonably argue that the rules don’t give you any out for it.
 
Total cover hides your gear, too, though.
 
12:07 AM
Right. The rules are trying to simultaneously be extremely abstract (such as defining "cover" as a generic condition regardless of what grants it) and simulationist (by then introducing dozens of caveats to the generic condition), which produces bizarre interactions when the simulationist caveats interact with effects which assume the generic condition.
 
Like, “The rules also do not recognize anything as partially hidden, so the tower shield is hidden if you are.” Except that the rules don’t mandate how you must describe somebody hidden behind a shield.
So in the rare case where somebody comes up with a plausible way to hide behind a shield such that everyone in sight doesn’t just say “Oh yeah, it’s that dumb guy,” then you can describe it however you like, which need not be absurd.
I just don’t see how you can argue that the absurd interpretation is the rules fault here, unless you’re reading stuff into the rules to make them absurd.
 
(To be clear: I'm not taking either "side" in this. I don't care enough to research it to have an informed opinion on the actual ruling. I'm just being amused by how easily the rules fold over on themselves.)
 
Especially not when everyone involved says that you should read the rules in the sane way, and not the silly way.
 
By RAW, I don't see any other way that it can work. In practice, though, I'd go more with what you're saying.
 
By RAW, you can’t hide behind your shield while people can see you, and you can’t use a distraction to hide unless you can get to a hiding place out of sight (which a shield is not).
But there are people arguing things like, there’s no facing in D&D, so it doesn’t matter that a shield is a stupid hiding place.
 
12:11 AM
Yes, it really is.
 
What really is what?
 
a stupid hiding place.
 
Ah, yeah.
 
At the very least, it's a case where the rules are complicated enough that in order to make sense you have to flip through a handful of different parts of the book to see how it all fits together.
 
Even if, with your interpretation, it still allows a moving hiding spot.
 
12:12 AM
@BESW They’re two consecutive paragraphs. ;)
 
As long as nobody saw you go behind it.
 
But it's not trivial because the rules do encourage non-simulationist readings of many game elements.
@BraddSzonye The rules for hiding are next to the rules for how tower shields grant cover?
 
Also, it’s the sort of thing that I can’t think of anyone ever seriously proposing except as a “stupid rules tricks” sort of thing.
 
See also: the rules for using Hide are not adjacent to all the rules for being hidden.
 
@BESW The rules for “you can’t hide in plain sight” are right after the rules that say you can hide behind cover.
It literally says (paraphrased), “You can hide behind cover, but not in plain sight or while people are watching, duh.”
Meanwhile, it doesn’t say anywhere that you can hide behind the shield.
The part saying that the shield gives you cover is elsewhere, but the stuff about hiding is all together.
 
12:15 AM
The most dumb rules placement is probably that falling speed is not actually in the falling section. It's in the subjective directional gravity section.
 
I love Evil Hat's tendency to put "see page X" in the margins whenever they reference something that's covered elsewhere.
 
Yeah, I like their rulebooks in general.
 
Took me forever to find that thing.
Evil Hat?
 
This question just kinda bugs me, because not only is it a dumb rules trick question that any reasonable person should read the right way, but also the top-voted answer is validating a perverse reading of the rules instead of just saying, “this is a stupid rules trick and here’s why it doesn’t work, which is in the very next paragraph
It’s another kind of system bashing, albeit a subtler one.
 
The game publisher who does Fate games, among others.
@BraddSzonye One of the attractions of 3.5 for many of its users is the legalistic minigame. Focusing on the legal reasons why it doesn't work might be more productive, because challenging it on common sense grounds seems to be a challenge to the frame of the question.
 
12:21 AM
@BESW Yeah, that was my goal, which is why I cited three different rules that undermine the rules-lawyer interpretation.
I just consider it a failure of the SE voting system.
Like, I can understand posting an answer that lays out the absurd rules-lawyer interpretation explaining how you get to the undesirable result.
But an answer that shows you how to break your game is not useful unless your goal is to poke fun at the system in question.
 
And then he goes on to mention Heal-by-Drowning which doesn't work either...
 
I don’t actually know how that one works, so I can’t argue against it.
 
But it's broken the other way.
Okay, so you're in water.
You can hold your breath for 2*Con rounds.
After that, there's a check to see if you drown.
It increases in difficulty each round.
All reasonable, right?
 
@BESW Speaking of challenging the frame, more than one of KRyan’s answers challenge the frame of D&D by ignoring the fact that RPG designers, even D&D’s, often expect you to apply real-world knowledge to guide interpretation.
He has a fundamental assumption that if it isn’t written in the rules, it isn’t real. But that isn’t a useful assumption for interpreting D&D rules (or most other RPGs)
 
When you fail, your health goes to 0, and you are unconcious.
Heal-by-drowning argues that if you had massively negative health, then you were just healed.
 
12:30 AM
> When the character finally fails her Constitution check, she begins to drown. In the first round, she falls unconscious (0 hp). In the following round, she drops to -1 hit points and is dying. In the third round, she drowns.
 
The problem is that on the next round, your health is set to -10, and you drown. It is impossible, by RAW to stop drowning, even if you are healed and removed from the water.
shoot.
3 rounds.
 
I would write that as “by a perverse reading of the rules as written.”
 
All I'm trying to say is that if you're going for perverse readings, it still cannot work.
 
It works fine if you stop applying the rules as soon as the situation that imposes them goes away.
 
The problem lies in an assumption that everyone's got the same real-world assumptions and "common sense." This is demonstrably untrue, and so the only common ground we can have in discussing the rules is the text itself.
 
12:34 AM
Lots of perverse readings, including this one, rely on cherry-picking when to apply rules because the authors didn’t lay out painfully explicit rules for exactly what applies when.
 
This is admittedly not always desirable, but it's true.
 
...That's how heal-by-drowning is argued. You go to 0 hp, so if you start at a super negative health, you end up at 0 hp.
Then you are removed from the water by your party.
 
Which is double cherry-picking.
 
Many of the rules themselves are predicated on unreasonable, unrealistic, or illogical "real-world assumptions."
 
First you ignore good judgment that says that these are the rules for somebody who is not already dying, then you apply good judgment to say that the rules only apply when they make sense.
 
12:37 AM
The HP abstraction is nothing but this, while almost any attempt to be "historically accurate" suffers from it.
 
Aren't there spells that allow you to have negative health, so long as you are healed by the end of the duration?
 
This is a major part of why I don't use this system anymore: it requires an excess of individual "fixing" of the rules.
 
A sane person says, “That’s cute, the authors could have written that better. We will apply the rules in the way that actually makes sense.” I’ve met rules lawyers who would in all seriousness think they should benefit from the loophole. And I’ve met bashers who propose this as a serious criticism of the game, rather than a criticism of obnoxious rules laywering.
 
If I were to DM, and somebody tried that, he would probably die. "It's right there, and nobody can argue common sense with RAW!"
 
@BraddSzonye Seriously? "The authors could have written that better and the individual group has to do extra work to make the system make sense" is an unreasonable criticism?
 
12:39 AM
I could sympathize with the bashers more if it were not so blatantly an example of rules lawyering stupid loopholes that nobody ever intended or thinks are a good idea.
@BESW That isn’t the criticism here though, is it?
Note how KRyan’s answer isn’t “The authors could have written this better, but here’s what it means.” Instead, he says that the rules offer no caveat to prevent the absurd result, even though there are huge caveats in the same and the following paragraph.
 
@BraddSzonye It's my criticism. I don't want to play a game that tells me exactly how to play, but then blames me for failing to ignore its advice when it gets things wrong.
 
I wouldn’t have a beef if this were just somebody saying, “Haha, you can read it that way if you try, they should’ve made it clearer” because in this case it couldn’t be much clearer.
@BESW Honestly, I think this D&D rule is much clearer than Fate’s “blind sniper” problem, which requires a major paradigm shift to wrap your head around.
D&D has plenty of examples of legitimate weirdness and loopholes. This really isn’t one of them.
 
@BraddSzonye Fate is a different kind of game. Saying "It doesn't work if you ignore the kind of game it is" doesn't fly.
 
Even people who get what kind of game Fate is have trouble with the blind sniper problem.
And I agree that it isn’t really a problem.
 
Blind sniper gets laughed at by anyone who reads the basic rules about invokes which require that invokes need to be justified.
 
12:45 AM
The monk proficiency with unarmed strikes is kind of a thing. They only get proficiency in the form of Advanced Unarmed Strike.
 
Fate runs on narrative conventions, and willing suspension of belief is a big one. So it’s a valid criticism to say that the game easily lets you get results that strain willing suspension of disbelief.
The blind sniper problem is sort of a death by thousand cuts problem.
 
What is it?
 
Each individual invoke makes sense narratively, but several together strain narrative sense.
 
@Smurfton Blind sniper
 
@Smurfton The basic idea is that the game gives you +2 per narratively plausible circumstance in your favor that you can justify and pay for.
But it doesn’t generally limit how many times you can do this.
So you can pile on several plausible circumstances that add up to an unbelievable overall outcome.
Whether it’s a problem depends on your personal ability to suspend disbelief.
 
12:48 AM
The Blind Sniper scenario only works if the group agrees it works, because that's how invokes function in Fate. If the group thinks it's silly, it doesn't happen.
 
Reading the answer, I haven't seen anything that seems at all rediculous.
 
You can't take the shot--and thus can't add bonuses to the roll--unless the narrative allows it.
 
@BESW That’s a reasonable answer to the problem if the group can agree on how much is too much. Otherwise you’re going to get arguments between people who find it unbelievable and people who find it just peachy.
 
@BraddSzonye And that's not a system problem.
 
@BESW Nor is somebody who says that you can’t hide behind a shield because you’re still in plain sight, and the systems says you can’t hide in plain sight.
Also, I would say the blind sniper is not a rules problem, but it is a system problem.
Because unlike some folks I consider the players an integral part of the system.
“System” is a humpty-dumpty word, which people often shift around to make a point.
 
12:51 AM
....that sounds like a passive-aggressive swipe at me based on nit-picking vocabulary.
 
No, sorry, didn’t mean it that way.
I agree with you that it’s not a system problem, I would just prefer it if folks said that as “It’s not a rules problem.”
 
I try to be very consistent and careful using 'system' and 'engine' and 'game' and so forth. If you've seen me get confusing about that, call it out when it happens.
 
It’s only confusing because everyone uses them to mean different things.
Which causes real confusion when you mix people where system=rules with people where system=rules+examples+adventures+culture
And you can’t generally tell who’s who.
 
Where's the crazy part? Sure, you hit. Sure, you have no skill. Did it take your whole party? Yes.
 
@Smurfton I don’t personally find it crazy. But lots of reasonable people do.
@BESW Even old-school D&D people can’t agree on whether Dragon Magazine is part of the “system,” for example.
And if so, which parts.
Hell, some folks can’t even agree on whether splatbooks are part of the system.
 
12:55 AM
But, that would even work in D&D, to an extent. All circumstance bonuses are +2.
 
@Smurfton That's not too big a deal though, depending. The crazy part is, well, you're blind and a good distance away. Narratively, it's pretty unreasonable you'll even know where you're aiming. (Making the "in my sights" advantage very strange, and probably unjustifiable.)
 
@doppelgreener And without "in my sights," you can't really justify any of the other aspects which represent care and precision being useful.
 
@doppelgreener One tough part of the blind sniper problem I think is that we can all imagine narratives where it’s heroically awesome and appropriate, and others where it’s absolutely out of bounds.
 
There's no way that Dragon Magazine counts. Including chicken infested commoners?
 
@BraddSzonye Yeah, totally. That comes back to the thing BESW mentioned where they'll decide whether it's totally awesome or silly.
 
12:57 AM
"Oh, I'm just aiming at this fly two miles away; I want to shoot its left eye out."
 
@doppelgreener Which works pretty well around a game table, but obscures the hell out of things in an abstract Internet argument.
 
I totally mangled that, but hopefully one of you recognizes it.
 
@BraddSzonye This is exactly the problem you're coming up against with the shield thing.
 
@BraddSzonye Sure does!!
 
@Smurfton Lots of people think at least part of Dragon Magazine is part of the system.
 
12:58 AM
Everybody's assuming their personal group's experience and decision-making priorities are universal.
 
@BraddSzonye I hear you
 
Yes, exactly. And I do assume that’s part of the shield question problem.
 
For me, "system" is the text (in the literary theory sense): not just the rules, but the agreed-upon reference which guides the game. It includes the manual's explanation of its philosophy, if it has any, and house rules, and so forth. A group will individually choose what its text is. Most groups which use a particular publication will assume they share the majority of the text with other groups using the same publication--which lets us talk to each other, but can lead to miscommunications.
 
Dead being a flaw that is allowed just says to me "This whole thing is meant as a joke, not as rules"
 
@Smurfton allowed in what!?
 
1:01 AM
@doppelgreener deadEarth.
 
It's on the same page of commoner flaws as chicken-infested.
 
And in Lady Blackbird, "dead" is a temporary condition.
 
@BESW I agree! Some games have a tradition of a lot of that text being outside of the published rulebooks.
 
See, now, here I thought you'd just die from other things compounding into lethality, not just from being told you're dead.
@BESW haha, nice.
 
Usually in casual conversation "system" and "published source material" are functionally equivalent, but it's important to remember they aren't actually equivalent.
 
1:03 AM
@BESW Agreed! And for stuff like old-school D&D they can be very, very different.
Groups also vary wildly as to whether published adventures are canonical.
In some games it’s more obvious than others. For example, Shadowrun and Paranoia have long relied on adventures to advance both the metaplot and the system.
Gotta run! Time for a birthday party! Have a great weekend, guys!
 
But for RPG.SE answers, we only have the published source material as common system texts and it's really hard to give answers which draw on outside system texts--that's why Back It Up is so important, like requiring experience-based insights.
ttfn
 
Have fun!
 
@doppelgreener I'm gonna throw you guys a major curveball tonight.
 
:O
oh boy. :D
I'm!!!! going to go for a little while. ttfn!
gotta visit a furniture store. :D
 
@BESW Major Curveball is a proud and distinguished military officer. She doesn't appreciate being thrown.
3
 
1:09 AM
...I'm thinking more about the Cindy Mayweather thing, and I'm having a hard time figuring how rules-breaking to make her.
And gosh, this Trail adventure is brutal.
(Yes, I've got three different games I'm thinking on at the same time.)
 
 
1 hour later…
2:27 AM
@Smurfton Total cover is being behind something, such that you can't draw a straight line from creature A to creature B without touching anything but air. This blocks line of effect, but isn't necessarily concealment, which blocks line of sight.
 
>.> A mulleted question is eligible for bounty (I know at least 2 people who wanted to know)
anyways, work, ttfn
 
Mulleted?
 
@Metool Thanks. Did not realize.
Surprised that I counted as still in chat; my computer was asleep.
 
2:45 AM
...these premade PCs are seriously uneven in their treatment.
 
Gratz!
 
nice!
 
rock it
 
@Smurfton I'm liking pixel dungeon but food is too scarce!
I've switched over to trying the original pixel dungeon to see what that's like.
My biggest threat is simply not having food; survivability otherwise isn't a major challenge.
Which is frustrating! It's like the game itself has taken steps to make sure I can't win.
because food wholly depends on the game giving it to me; there's no way I can be clever about it.
 
[pokes ToC adventure] Really, adventure? Only one guy on the ship is from Arkham, and he's the bad guy? Really? There's separation of player and character knowledge, and then there's poking suspension of disbelief with pointy sticks.
[changes the town]
(There's no reason for his association with Arkham in the narrative, except that it's a Mythos story and Arkham is a Mythos town.)
 
3:56 AM
@Smurfton By contrast NetHack gives me ample food most of the time, and the hard decision is just how much to carry because it's heavy... and my deaths are mostly of my own folly, or occasionally encountering a far too difficult monster without a means to escape.
 
4:12 AM
(I won't pretend it isn't ludicrously unfair in a lot of ways 8D but the main challenge is just not knowing stuff)
(it gives you roughly enough to beat everything, and then get yourself killed)
 
 
1 hour later…
5:17 AM
[Vaguely singing] You better heal up, run away...
How's all?
 
I'm ripping the stupidity and padding out of a generally good Trail of Cthulhu adventure.
 
@Lord_Gareth Feeling at once drained and restless.
 
This thing is supposed to be good for a four-hour convention campaign. No way.
 
There was a RAW discussion without me. I feel sad about this.
 
This adventure has scene transitions like "The scene ends when all have said all they wish to say."
That's... three weeks from now, for a lot of the groups I've run.
[rips out exposition dump] Mythos horror doesn't get explanations. Bad adventure, no cookie.
 
5:25 AM
Who wrote it?
 
Bill White.
This is a great adventure, but it's got too much busywork and it couldn't figure out a graceful way to let the investigators piece the story together themselves so it shoves an awkward exposition dump into the second act.
And personally, I have no interest in giving the investigators a fair chance of figuring out the whole story at all.
I much prefer my Mythos horror to end with "Hooray! We stopped... a... thing... probably? Our brains aren't melting anymore, anyway. Take the win."
> "Any alien encounter you don't wind up dead or probed, take the win." - Peacemaker, Blue Beetle 13
 
lol
that is one of the things I don't entirely like though
 
[critiques a person's XP guidelines]
 
It's all well and good that we aren't supposed to understand something,... but especially when Lovecraft himself tried to do it,... it came off as pretentious to me
 
@BESW I like this too.
"I don't know what we did or what that was but something happened and maybe something worse was going to happen and I think we might probably have stopped that..!?!? Y-yay!"
 
5:40 AM
not to mention the fact he was pretty racist,.... and tended to drone on about how scared you are going to be later in the book
at least from what little I have read from his works
 
If a party could possibly have no resources that refresh in anything more than a few hours, rewarding XP only in encounters in which resources measured in days or wealth have been consumed is not a good plan.
 
@BESW My stories along those lines usually end with the exhausted PCs collapsing against nearby walls and at least one of them going, "I need a drink."
 
@Lord_Gareth My stories usually end with the exhausted PCs picking slivers of shrapnel from their flesh and going, "Shame we just blew up all the drink."
 
@BESW My campaigns rarely end within 1 blast radius of a bar, because I have a giant nerd-on for extradimensional travel.
 
First Cthulhu Dark campaign, we blew up a Tibetan monastery.
Second campaign, we blew up a lighthouse.
Third campaign, I ran the second storyline with a new group. Also ended with an exploded lighthouse.
 
5:49 AM
{find-replaces 'mage' with 'Wizard', gets iWizard}
 
@BESW well you did fill the bottom of it with barrels of fuel
barrels, plural, lots of them
abundant explosives are usually a good last-resort solution to existential horrors in a building
 
6:11 AM
@Lord_Gareth Last time I took my players somewhere truly extradimensional, it was in a 4e game, and the Far Realm looked like an Arizona desert oasis with blood instead of water, where the air was filled with tentacled bubbles.
 
6:36 AM
@trogdor I agree with this, I've read one or two of his books and rather than actually being scary he just told me I should be scared. He'd describe mountains as scary by just throwing a load of adjectives at them saying how scary they are - not by actually describing them in a way that made me reach the conclusion myself that they are scary.
 
Lovecraft's approach to terror was not conventional, and that's often a source of disconnect from his readership's expectations about the nature of the horror he's writing, but he also often wasn't able to really follow through on his own promises.
The problem with his work--and definitely with many of the authors who follow in his footsteps-- often comes from over explaining, or showing too much.
This is something I'm taking issue with in the adventure I'm re-working: by explaining what's going on, it makes the events understandable and even mundane.
When you're told the horrific events you're experiencing are just the interdimensional equivalent of coaxing a couple of pandas to mate, it loses that "atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces."
I'm afraid of Yog-Sothoth when he's holding an inseminator, but it's not a cosmic fear.
 
6:52 AM
lol
 
 
1 hour later…
7:54 AM
@trogdor I'm home, you can head on over whenever.
 
 
2 hours later…
9:50 AM
I am mildly upset.
Also, good morning
 
 
1 hour later…
11:10 AM
@waxeagle Congratulations in this chat also! (It's impressive enough to congratulate in both chats.)
 
11:20 AM
@Mourdos boo hiss?
 
I discovered that RPG.SE apparently follows the policy that if the question changes, answers get deleted and then un-deleted if they update, as opposed to if the question changes, asking another question.
The word policy meaning "that is what a mod did" in this case
 
Oh
I suspect from memory that it depends on the extent of the change to the question
 
 
1 hour later…
12:30 PM
@BESW MacGuyver had a mullet
 
12:58 PM
Tonight, the party prepared to kill the Warden hunting them. Then he reminded them that his death would bring the wrath of the White Council on the island, and said if they refused to surrender he'd call the feds to arrest everyone on the island for collusion with the gang based there.
So they faked their deaths in a massive explosion.
 
All hail the roast beef.
 
When I say "massive," I mean they got a +16 on it and could've easily made it higher.
Next week... not sure what we'll do. Penny, Cthulhu Dark, Roll for Shoes....
 
 
1 hour later…
2:17 PM
[staggers]
 
2:36 PM
@waxeagle, come forth!
 
3:33 PM
@Lord_Gareth wasabi?
 
@waxeagle I do not wish to brave the horrors of Christianity.SE; what is the reasoning behind religious anti-vaccination?
 
@Lord_Gareth I literally have no [snipping] clue
(ie there isn't a rational biblical explanation from my theological perspective)
 
3:49 PM
@waxeagle Yes but I thought you might have heard their arguments about it.
 
@Lord_Gareth I'm not familiar enough with them to give a solid perspective tbh. though we should probably take this to the bar

 Not a bar, but plays one on TV

For topics that overstayed their welcome elsewhere.
 

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