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12:02 AM
The BOLT RPG Engine Tarot Magic System by Cas uses a 78-card tarot deck to create a mysterious and powerful magic system for your game.
@BESW I've been looking for a good excuse to buy a Tarot deck.
@RedRiderX A lot of indie games use them!
@RedRiderX I mean, "The PCs get to watch while NPCs they can't affect fight other NPCs they can't affect" was a fairly common structure in adventure-writing at the time.
Jul 11 '19 at 0:36, by BESW
Kickstarter: moonflower is a GM-less tabletop role-playing game about changes and compromises, guided by tarot cards and oriented for one-shots without preparations.
Mar 6 at 2:14, by BESW
Imaginarium by momatoes is a cooperative storymaking game for 2 to 9 players, where you build a story through the revelations of the major arcana. Taste the storytelling secrets of tarot through a sandbox RPG that isn't afraid to throw twists at you. Easy setup, no-holds-barred setting creation, freedom to build your story...if the tarot cards are amenable to your twisted plans.
Mostly in the more metaplot-heavy games, like Vampire and Deadlands.
12:06 AM
@Glazius Yeah I think it is informative in that context, but my point is your caveat "that engaging the rules of the game to prompt or limit your options means you don't have full control over the resolution of your problems" is true of all games all the time.
And at best that caveat makes the principle some kind of truism.
And saying that the player of a solo ttrpg doesn't count as the author of adversity or resolution in the game doesn't compute for me.
(My experience with WoD games was that the ST would ignore the rules in order to circumvent player agency whenever that agency would derail his plots.)
@RedRiderX Well, no. A lot of those adventures just had the fight but then handed the win to whoever was supposed to win for the plot to continue, regardless of what the dice said.
"The PCs eat six combat rounds of artillery no matter what they do, after which point the plot continues" doesn't use anything about the game rules - just the GM's generally unlimited power of artifice.
Oh wow, that's very interesting, I don't think I've ever experienced or even heard of encounters playing out like that.
My Mage ate a painful amount of paradox trying to stop the monster, but the monster was unaffected... because the ST's own PC had to sacrifice himself to blow it up with a grenade. Sure, handfuls of pure Prime dice do nothing but a grenade will take it out.
I hit that ding-dang thing with an entire chapter of the Gospel. (My Mage manifested Prime as luminous Scripture.)
@RedRiderX This is a pretty common occurence in several "old-school" supernatural game traditions. World of Darkness, Call of Cthulhu; things are So Weird and rules are so nebulous that it's really easy for the GM to just handwave rules-based player agency away with "this monster doesn't work like that."
And while from our perspective that's obviously not a great play style, the game manuals often not only enable it, they may empower it.
Ah that was my big question, how much of this counted as "engaging the rules of the game"
12:18 AM
The players have rules, and the GM has... guidelines which encourage ignoring the player rules.
The only time I've ever seen that actually work in a satisfying way, was Dog Eat Dog where the point is to create an unjust power imbalance.
@BESW that level of handwaving makes me physically upset
As a confrontation of that style of game, the so-called Lesson of Chalk Outlines makes some sense, but it's still framed in a needlessly roundabout way.
(not in an uncomfortable to discuss way though, please continue)
I think, especially with that bit of history, I can continue to agree that the principle had value in the design landscape of decades past.
But what I heard in Glazius' first response was "the principle isn't narrow in applicability because solo ttrpgs don't really count"
Apr 11 '14 at 13:29, by BESW
If I could subtitle this answer, it would be "Why BESW Stuck With d20 Systems For Eight Years After Trying Mage For One Night."
12:24 AM
That might have been me misunderstanding their intent, but their cavet really reads that way to me.
@RedRiderX Or "solo RPGs are fun to the extent that they constrain your free choice of problems and resolutions"?
At that point I think you're defining RPGs more than defining fun.
@Glazius I can agree with that statement, but now we're in territory entirely outside of what the principle is actually talking about.
The principle was stated as an absolute based on the landscape at the time. That landscape has expanded, so the absolute wording now only undermines its usefulness, because it can't consider all the new possibilities available.
I'm sure if it were restated it could be more useful.
In short: This is exactly why Socrates never wrote anything down :P
"Writing fails to adapt to present arguments" or something.
Honestly the "landscape" was expanded at the time but they were talking about a specific recurring play experience. This is one of the problems with Forge-era jargon: they kept calling things Principles and Rules when they were just talking about their own specific experiences.
And it's not just a Forge issue: D&D disc horse of the same era loved using the language of strict logical deduction. "Oberoni Fallacy" and "Stormwind Fallacy" come to mind.
(cf Rule Zero.)
> The writers don't think about this [stuff] nearly as hard as you all do.
So true
12:37 AM
Oh gosh. People get all het up about RAW/RAI and I'm sitting here going "HAP/HOP/[^HYP]/RBD/PBD."
(To be fair, D&D writers were probably high a lot less than WoD writers.)
Chat spitting facts all night it seems
I can't regret if CofD2e mage resolves this neatly
@AncientSwordRage Honestly this is something I find a lot more appealing about tiny indie games; sometimes the creator poured their heart and soul into the game and sometimes they smashed something out in fifteen minutes and both are okay.
They both work
@BESW ...I do not understand any of those acronyms.
20 mins ago, by BESW
Apr 11 '14 at 13:29, by BESW
If I could subtitle this answer, it would be "Why BESW Stuck With d20 Systems For Eight Years After Trying Mage For One Night."
Follow the rabbit hole
12:45 AM
@Glazius In the World of Darkness magic is possible but the world gets mad at you for breaking the rules. This manifests as "paradox" that hurts the caster. But the games are... inconsistent... about what counts as breaking the rules of the world for using magic.
HAP/HOP/[^HYP]/RBD/PBD are the various player systems for determining whether a mage will get hit with paradox.
HAP means you take paradox if your magic is obviously impossible to the Hypothetical Average Perceiver. HOP assumes a Hypothetical Omniscient Perceiver. Harass Yonder Passerby is a joke.
...I could almost buy a con game that ran on HYP rules, just as an experience.
Then they came up with another way of thinking about it, based on Result-Based Determinism and Process-Based Determinism.
@Glazius "Do you like Squirrels?"
"Harass Yonder Passerby," by the way, is: Find someone on the street outside where you're gaming and ask them if they'd believe your proposed magical effect to be plausible. If so, coincidental. If not, vulgar. — Jadasc Apr 10 '14 at 11:12
@AncientSwordRage Yes, exactly.
12:48 AM
("vulgar" is Mage-speak for magic that can't be passed off as non-magical.)
> The Clapham omnibus has many passengers. The most venerable is the reasonable man, who was born during the reign of Victoria but remains in vigorous health. Amongst the other passengers are the right-thinking member of society, familiar from the law of defamation, the officious bystander, the reasonable parent, the reasonable landlord, and the fair-minded and informed observer, all of whom have had season tickets for many years.
@BESW a better parallel, but not the example I remembered
(I also consider HAP/HOP/[^HYP]/RBD/PBD an excellent rebuttal to the claim that armchair nitpicking of rules can be blamed on Wizards and the wider use of the Internet in the early 2000s.)
@BESW absolutely
Now I'm thinking of rational man with a shotgun
1:01 AM
And now I'm reminiscing about my last Mage character
waits for a picture
@BESW Hah, I love it
He was called petrichor and he awakened while flying through a thunderstorm
3 hours later…
4:15 AM
I need feedback on a game thing real quick, if there are 5 stats, each ranging from 0 to 3, and PCs are expected to be really good (+3) at 1-2 things, average (+1/+2) at 1-2 things, and really bad (+0) at the rest, how many points to buy stats would be a good idea? I was thinking 8 to start, but I can’t tell what’s the best.
Why use a point buy? Why not a fixed array?
Yeah, I'd just go with +3, +2, +1, +1, +0.
(Which is basically the Fate Accelerated spread.)
My test group (two younger siblings of which one is a kindergartener) said they liked having choices about whether they wanted to be really good at 2 things and bad at the rest, or decent at everything. Also, some Specializations suggest 2 high stats (communications, security) and some have one primary and a couple of secondary stats (engineering, medical, science)
Okay, so present two or three arrays.
Maybe a hybrid, then? Have an initial fixed array, and then some floating +1s that can be distributed, up to some maximum per stat?
4:21 AM
Afternoon all
Everyone seems to be up late today :P
Point buy is a h*ckuvalotta math for a dev to do if all you want is to limit them to three basic options. Don't do the math, just give them the options.
It's not giving them more choice if you've obfuscated the limitations behind fancy math.
@BESW see, I like math. And then totally forget nobody else does.
It's not a matter of liking or disliking math. It's a matter of whether math is the right tool for the job.
@BardicWizard I like math, and I like point buy more than arrays. So I guess my question would be, with 8 points, are you okay with players going for 3/3/2/0/0 or 2/2/2/1/1? (The most "extreme" arrays that can be made with 8 points.)
This is one of the most significant lessons I've learned in my time working with game design, from homebrew to drifting to completely independent design: I can just say what I want the game to do. Cleverly orchestrating numbers to have my desired outcome emerge reliably is not only more work, it's usually less reliable and puts more busywork between the players and the game.
Massaging randomization numbers to produce desired statistical spreads, and engineering tactical resource consumption, can be really valuable when that is the game or it empowers part of the play experience... the rest of the time it's usually just dead weight.
4:28 AM
I mean...one of the objectives of this game is to teach maths, right?
So yeah, Miniman's got the full weight of it: use point buy if you want to encourage outlier builds. But if "PCs are expected to be really good (+3) at 1-2 things, average (+1/+2) at 1-2 things, and really bad (+0) at the rest," just say that's how it is. Giving them tools which make it seem like they can break that mould... means they'll try to.
It also matters what is the functional value of a net +1. In gameplay terms, how much better is +3 than +2? Or +1 vs +0?
Yeah, like in Fate improving +2 to +3 means significantly more successes than improving +1 to +2.
Whereas in D&D, on a per-roll basis, +1 to +2 is rarely worse than +10 to +11.
It’s rolling in 2d6 and adding a modifier between +0 and +3.
Roll-over, roll-under? Are the targets fixed or variable?
Is it possible to have a target higher or lower than the raw dice output?
A +3 becomes MUCH more valuable than +1 if you've got a roll-over target of 14, compared to a roll-over target of 11.
Why are you using 2d6? Wouldn't you get a lot more potential for tailoring math analysis to individuals in a mixed group if you used polyhedral pools instead of modifiers on fixed rolls?
4:42 AM
Roll over, variable based on difficulty, targets can be higher than raw dice, 2d6 because that’s what the kindergartener can tend to add reliably.
5:08 AM
Just closed a cupboard with my knee. The issue was I hit the reflex point on my knee, so the gentle tap ended up as an involuntary attempt to put my leg through the door
Q: Is there a way to discern if the magic of an item is a "trap" or a "property" of the item?

Karrion42To put things into context: We just entered the final room of a dungeon and we found some magic items strewn about in the room and some others inside a tomb. Our sorcerer used Detect Magic to know if any of the items was magic, and indeed they were, but we were fearful that they may have any prot...

@HotRPGQuestions Check if your GM is giggling smugly at the thought of tricking players who trust them to be providing much-needed equipment upgrades. If so, maybe find a different GM.
I’m probably just going to put in the 8 point buy and a couple of “suggested ways of allocating points for certain Specializations"
@BESW sounds like you’ve got some experience there...
@BardicWizard I've been that GM. I wish my players had called me on it.
I know the feeling. Not for specifically that (some games I ran never went much beyond starting equipment), but for doing stuff badly for a long time and not getting called out, yeah I’ve been that gm too
5:22 AM
And I mean, I can't exactly blame my players. We were all snookered by the game manual's clear enthusiasm for setting up trust systems only to exploit them.
Which game?
I want to know so I can avoid it.
I started TRPGs by GMing D&D 3.0 and 3.5.
I'm still unlearning some of the awful attitudes I trusted that system to teach me.
I can actually see that, now that I think about it. I got lucky: started with D&D 5e and my dad, an old d&d fan who’d been playing since 1e and branched out to other RPGs afterwards, taught me to gm.
5:37 AM
It's really the Mage example writ large - when the players try to use game mechanics to do something the GM doesn't want done, they must be cheating.
4 hours later…
9:09 AM
Hi! I'm playing Dragon of Icespire Peak and I'm in a bit of a pickle. The end goal of this adventure is to defeat the dragon. However, one of my PCs has in her backstory that she feels dragons are misunderstood, and she wants to defend them from harm. She hates that people follow dragons for fame or coin. I'm wondering what to do when (if?) it comes to them actually facing the dragon at the end of the adventure.
For now, she knows that the dragon has been roaming around, killing cattle, little children, and women: it avoids men "because women and children are tastier". When it comes to facing the dragon, I'm wondering how it will play out, and I have 2 options: either they can talk to the dragon, and NOT FIGHT AT ANY POINT (meh), or they can weaken it to lift up a curse from Thalos. The dragon will then tell them that his judgement had been clouded and actually he's a vegetarian or something
They still have plenty of time until they come to this (each session is bound to happen at earliest every 3 weeks)
I'm wondering if anyone has any comments or suggestions?
@Sos does your player know much about dragons in D&D?
@Carcer one of them yes. His PC asked the townsfolk what type of dragon it was, what color. The NPC told him it was a white dragon. They dont know any more, and we can adapt. My PC is used to older rules, so he was telling me he expects these white dragons to be like level 20 or something, so he is overestimating it a bit
eh, even in previous editions dragons still came with age categories
they don't know that this is a young dragon yet
And there is one more detail that can help (or not!). As I posted above a while back, they got a big tooth. They dont know yet what it does, or where it is from. For all they know, it's a trinket shaped like a tooth. I will follow the suggestion and give it a kind of pro and con effect, and was thinking about using it on the final fight. For instance, if they use it, they can lift the curse of the dragon
well, fair enough.
I was just wondering if your player might be happy knowing that there are some good dragons, too
9:22 AM
That can be yes!
But how will I fit this all in this story I'm not sure. The whole campaign centers around helping different people against this dragon. Warning them, etc
About Orcs and other creatures having to run out of their own territory because of this dragn
Speak to the player outside the game and see if they had a plan
they may want to either play the game different like yo usay, or maybe they want their character to 'fall' and change opinion on dragons
D&D's established lore has always held that the chromatic dragons are evil and the metallic dragons are good
if the party meets a good dragon who assures them they'd be doing the right thing by defeating the white dragon, maybe that satisfies the player?
I'm also wondering if it could be that the WhiteDragon is actually misunderstood indeed. And he was only eating women and children of "evil" races and people?
I don't think you can really put a positive spin on "well, I only eat evil children"
They know that there is a good degree of homebrew in this campaign, even if I'm following a given adventure
9:28 AM
given how it's been set up I think you probably need to go with "the dragon has been cursed" if you want it to not actually be evil after all
@Carcer That excuse doesn't work for me, dragon's shouldn't get away with it either
@sos, but definitely see what direction your players will find fun
Is it OK if I ask you both an unrelated question as well?
because some of the players may feel cheated by taking away their 'I get to kill evil dragons' thing.
yeah, ultimately fun's the point. If it's the case that your player just really likes dragons and wants to have positive relationships with dragons as part of their game, my personal inclination would be to include more, nicer dragons, but not to just make all dragons misunderstood.
@Carcer this seems good
9:32 AM
so, I'd probably do something like throw in a silver dragon in humanoid guise that meets the party and gives them assistance - due to dragon politics they can't just go and deal with the young white themselves, but they can quietly encourage this adventuring party to deal with the problem
also, you can have a the white dragon ACTUALLY be a polymorphed/mind controlled metallic (i.e. good) dragon. You could have them be under the spell of an actually evil dragon, setting up a feeling of 'some dragons ARE evil'
@Carcer thats another good tact
Those are very good suggestions guys! I really like this humanoid perspective!
My other question: on the last session, they went through a dungeon with lots of hidden doors (the Dwarven Excavation if you're familiar with it). Looking back, I noticed 2 mistakes I made, probably because it was my 2nd session as DM. In the dungeon description, it is said that they should do a DC 15 perception check to find the doors. So at some point they kept rolling dice all the time
I noticed the mistake and could kind of help them through the 2 NPCs that were there
@Sos The white dragon could even be the silver dragon's mate/partner who was transformed by another dragon
@Sos that sounds liek it should have been passive perception
but I'm wondering how you guys go about this sort of thing. In many non-combat cases, I feel that dice rolling is not as helpful sometimes
more specifically, how do you go about them finding hidden traps and doors?
@Sos as AncientSwordRage mentions passive perception is important here; you should keep track of what your player's passive perception scores are, if any of them have particularly good perception they should probably automatically notice many things
9:36 AM
@AncientSwordRage I really like your and @Carcer's suggestions for the dragons. I feel that perhaps then I can have everyone being happy: the dragons may not be inherently evil while you still need to fight a dragon. When the dragon is "finished", it may get all its memory back, etc etc
@Carcer I was thinking that perhaps I could describe the dungeon and give some hints that there may be something more. This so that they actively say "I inspect this wall more carefully"
not sure how you guys do the roleplaying (if NPCs are there) or ambience description
you can certainly do that, then you're sort of turning it into a puzzle; you describe what's there and the players are figuring out what's unusual or out of place
what you have to be careful about there is that perception and investigation are the skills meant for those kind of interactions and if they are never actually made relevant, a player who's invested in being good at those may feel a bit cheated.
I suggest what I'd try and do in those cases is have the party make their perception (or investigation, if they're deliberately doing a more detailed examination of an area) checks and then give them more and more hints based on how good their checks are
like, massive success is basically just "okay, you find a secret door in the wall", but lesser success like "you notice some odd scrape marks on the floor" or "a few stones in the wall seem to have a different texture", kind of thing
but wait, then how do you do before they even make a roll? Do you describe anything special about it?
"You see the corridor in front of you, it ends in a wall"
@Sos say the players have a passive perception of 12, and the DC is 15, yeah thats about it
9:44 AM
@AncientSwordRage Some dragons are just jerks?
you can give the no frills description of the area and then ask the players to make perception checks before describing further.
or "You see the corridor in front of you, it ends in a wall, but this wall just has a different angle than all others around"
but if thye have a passive perception above the DC you can go into details, like @Carcer says
@GcL yup
or yeah, base the initial description on the party's passive perception and then have them make checks only if they decide to look more carefully
there's a bit of a meta thing where whenever you ask players to make a perception check you're implicitly giving away that there's something they might notice
I can see white dragons getting a poor reputation for giving people the cold shoulder a lot of the time, but maybe this particular dragon is in it for malice.
9:45 AM
and some groups are more or less good about not metagaming that information.
@GcL ice to see you making jokes
where I'm getting at is: if their passive perception fails, I either make it too easy for them just by asking them to make a check or by giving any clue whatsoever about the wall in front of them, or dont say anything and risk it them completely missing (which is fine of course)
@Sos the later
always the latter
@Sos I've never found a clue that was too obvious or on the nose.
players missing clues is 100% par for the course, which is why you give more clues rather than easier clues
9:47 AM
Sometimes flaming neon sign with angels and trumpets isn't enough.
@GcL howcome? If I say "the wall at the end has a slight different tint than the rest" is already too obvious no?
personally yeah, I'd generally play with the assumption that the party may not always find everything there is to find, and anything that you need them to find should be signposted with several clues
Hopefully, they'll go investigate that wall.
@Sos people can get hooked on irrelevant clues
9:48 AM
@AncientSwordRage that's a good point, I didnt think of that
imho a corridor that just goes straight into a dead end is, in itself, a clue that something's funky, because who'd design that?
My players ask about stuff not in the description and get hooked on the adjectives that immediately follow the phrase, "I dunno... it's..."
a corridor that's unfinished, sure, that tracks
but a corridor that goes straight into a worked wall?
that's weird
@Carcer right, I learned that the hard way on the last session. As they were not looking for anything (because I didnt give any clues at all, and the DC was higher than their passive perceptions). What I did was to use NPCs, that had actually found a hidden door before they even arrived to the dungeon, to help them and point out the only important hidden door
Maybe they had particularly naughty minions. "Go in the corner and think about what you did! No! The faaaaaarrrrr corner!"
9:50 AM
I just roll the secret doors ahead of time or use whatever is in the module. This game there's a monk that took the alert feat. That monk gets ALL the secret doors and points out ALL the ambushes.
@Sos let me introduce you to the three clue rule
Fewer than three clues is too few.
@GcL more than 4 means you're probably wasting effort
@AncientSwordRage oh I wasn't aware of this
9:53 AM
@Sos the 3 clue rule?
@GcL well, I thought about that. No PC is particularly good at these things, but now they started developing this "sense" that there may always be more things around them
@AncientSwordRage yep!
@AncientSwordRage I think that's the holy hand grenade of Antioch... just throw the thing already!
@GcL so by the end of the session, and after almost dying (this was on purpose, they had been taking it too easy before)
@GcL YES eaxactly
they started thinking about perception checks a lot: either becuase they were afraid of fighting more monsters (so, I am happy with this), or to find hidden stuff
9:55 AM
@Sos Sure... some of the secret doors are walls build to keep something worse out. At least, that's what a could of them are. If they can read the language, they get a nice version of "Keep Out! Large pointy teeth!"
Greed vs self preservation can be an entertaining story if you don't mind losing a few PCs here and there.
@Sos I also recommend Cthulhu Dark's Dark Depths scenario guide for layering mysteries.
Like a parfait though. If you layer them like an onion, people just cry.
@BESW ooooooooooooohhh
And generally, never touch the randomizer unless you're okay with any result it might produce. That means if failing a roll to find a clue will stop the story cold, or make it take too long, or anything else that is going to throw the campaign out of wack... don't ask for a roll. That's what Gumshoe's based on: always find the minimum clue you need to keep going forward.
(This principle shouldn't be used to take away players' agency, of course: generally I use it to make sure good things happen.)
@AncientSwordRage I love everything about Cthulhu Dark's mechanics and structures, and I loathe everything about its name and much of it terminology.
@BESW ooof
10:01 AM
Give it a different name, call the tension mechanic "fear," apply it to Doctor Who and Scooby-Doo, and I'm a happy little dread-terror-gore GM.
It's great for Jaws style stories too!
@BESW Is this to do with being too close to HPL?
Because Doctor Who/Scooby Do/ and Jaws too sound like great bases for a campaign regardless
@AncientSwordRage Yeah, and whole sanist structures that TRPGs so often think are crucial to games inspired by him.
@BESW ahh yeah
I read much more into Charles Dexter Ward/Polaris/Silver key stories which are more dram based
Also Whisperer in the Dark features 0 satanists
It's not even very good at telling L*vecraft stories, it's trying to reproduce the cultural memetic impression of them. But if you look at Jaws? It's perfect for that.
@BESW lovecraft is very much not lovecraft
as in the actual mythos is much bigger than his books
10:06 AM
I would like to see a TRPG designed for Manly Wade Wellman stories, that'd be a hoot.
But it'd have to be ownvoices or it'd probably get really gross about "redneck" stereotypes.
@BESW never heard of them
Looks like I should fix that though
Manly Wade Wellman, aside from having one of the best names in the history of ever, wrote a series of short stories and novels set in rural Appalachia. They were about a wandering musician and storyteller called "Silver John" or "John the Balladeer," who would occasionally encounter strange and dangerous folks and things on his travels, and face them down with his wits, his stories, and his silver-stringed guitar.
@BESW sounds amazing
@BESW Name is second only to Manley Power
10:10 AM
I haven't read any of his novels, just the short stories in that compilation.
@BESW cool
The Obsidian and Blood novels would also make for good horror, but again I'd worry about them being made in a way that led players to treat the material with respect.
@BESW the robot of offense needs a head
10:39 AM
Q: What are the criteria for a comment being auto-deleted when you flag it as "no longer needed"?

NathanSI've noticed (and have done so today, in fact) that when I flag certain comments as No Longer Needed, they are auto-deleted right there and then, rather than requiring a moderator to delete them manually. What are the criteria for comments being auto-deleted in this way as a response to being fla...

11:28 AM
@Sos let us know how youre campaign goes
11:47 AM
@AncientSwordRage ay buddy
@ThomasMarkov how you doin
just got into the office.
it feels like dndbeyond is being really slow with the class feature variants UA
12:12 PM
@ThomasMarkov are we sure they're going to be added? Given previous experience with UA on dndbeyond, it's maybe easier for them to just not. (Or Wizards has told them not to.)
@ThomasMarkov first thing you check when you get in...maybe everyone else at work is also using it :p
oh wait not running slow
@Carcer Every dev update since I think late april they have stated they are working on getting class feature variants implemented.
@ThomasMarkov ah, fair enough.
I don't keep up with their notes.
12:28 PM
@Carcer I think they're on youtube?
12:55 PM
@AncientSwordRage @BESW thanks a lot, sorry that I had to run away for a while earlier today. Thanks a lot, I'll come back to update you, but it will sadly take about 2 or 3 weeks until the next session. Not everyone is as excited about D&D as me it seems
@ThomasMarkov ^
I managed to fail twice with my reply....
@BESW sorry, but how do you use this?
You just combine them randomly?
@StevenJeffries Well how about that.
Mine is probably an earlier printing despite being purchased recently.
@Sos I'm not sure what "them" you're referring to.
Sorry, I meant the Chtulu pdf you kindly shared with me
1:04 PM
Yes, but what's the "them"? The clues in each layer of the Descent?
Do you randomly combine the different stages? Well, I should probably read them before asking silly questions :)
Yes, but I'll read it before asking stupid questions
My apologies
No worries. That will probably be a good place to start.
Q: Does the community agree with the part of the "never guess" policy regarding asking meta first?

NathanSTo quote part of KRyan's most-upvoted answer about the current policy (that was added in a later edit): [...] we could allow system tags to be edited in without the OP’s input after a Meta discussion agrees that the situation is “safe” to edit. [...] This is also my understanding after reading ...

Good morning everyone :)
1:17 PM
@BESW @AncientSwordRage I was reading about the Three Clue Rule that you shared in the morning. I'm specifically thinking about something my PCs will face on the next session: there's a room with huge spinning blades that is extremely hard to go through. If they do, and fail a DEX check, they lose A LOT of health (enough to wack them to 0 HP). In the core rules it's said that there's a lever that can be moved through a spell, that I'm aware none of my PCs has.
I'm thinking how I would adapt it to the 3-core rule. One solution would be: have a kind of switch that could be shot with an arrow (at least 2 PCs have bows), or shot with any object. The other point is that they would NEED to know there is a switch in the room, and I could point this out with a message at the entrance, that would state something like "If you come from this side, shoot at the switch, or scream [random word]" or something
but I also don't want to make it too easy... I understand the following of breadcrumbs approach, but....
Too easy for who, and how?
@Sos Something I've often struggled with is the balance between "challenge" and "fun".
If they are having fun, the degree of challenge can be fungible.
easy for the PCs. For instance, if it is "If you come from this side, shoot at the switch, or scream gnome's favorite [something]". My imagination is not great today
But the point of the three clue rule is that your players will miss the obvious.
1:20 PM
@NautArch that's true
Are you distinguishing between 'easy for the PCs' and 'easy for the players'?
And then if that happens and they get more hurt than necessary because they missed the 'clues', then they may not be having fun.
ah yes, I mean easy for the players :)
short of just outright telling them what they need to do, even clues that you think are tremendously obvious will not necessarily be so to your players
Here's some examples of clues that come to mind right away for that kind of scenario, mostly drawing on my time running 4e challenges:
> - Tell the player whose PC has the highest relevant skill, "You know this kind of trap always has a way for people who are supposed to be here to walk through safely."
> - Tell the player whose PC has the highest magic-related skill, "This trap seems entirely mechanical, it doesn't have a magical shutoff."
> - Tell the player who asks about such things, "There's a lever in the center of the room, well out of reach beyond the blades."
1:27 PM
I hadn't thought of the first 2
I tend to overestimate them on some occasions, and underestimate them on others. In combat, I usually underestimate them, but the opposite in scenario solving
yeah, that's where the layers-of-clues model can come in really handy.
Thanks a lot @BESW
If you're willing to take the time (and I'm not, for simple traps), you can craft a series of increasingly-obvious clues gated by less-obvious clues, so that the group gets the satisfaction of solving it as soon as they're able, and ALSO getting a sense of progression on their way to the solution.
That means the 3 clue rule, but do you also provide 3 different solutions for it?
I can see that in this particular situation they would A. try to solve it by switching the lever or B. trying to break one of the fans in some way
Oh, I never hold myself to a single solution. One of the greatest joys of crafting a puzzle for my players, is when they find a solution better than I could have devised.
I'll have a solution in mind and be leading them toward it, but if they decide the clues mean something else I'll usually go with them; I love being surprised.
1:34 PM
That is what it should be about. Let the players be creative. If they come up with something that fits the clues and it wasn't what you were expecting, roll with it!
ahah this all seems what will happen with the White Dragon thing we discussed in the morning :)
If they decide there's a secret path through the blades which can be followed by dancing the waltz they heard at the faerie ball three sessions earlier, I'll give it to 'em and applaud.
It's probably not within your current game's purview, but more recently I've started asking the players to tell me what the clues are in the first place.
Could you elaborate a bit? How does that work in practice?
Atomic Robo's Brainstorming system is a great example of mechanics for the GM to hand the whole "looking for clues and answering a question" process over to the PCs.
@Sos It's about listening to the players and agreeing that the idea they came up with fully fits within a fun solution given the clues provided.
1:38 PM
That system boils down to the players taking turns rolling various skills to "discover" clues which the players invent on the spot, and then they try to figure out an explanation that fits all the clues.
Does 5e keep 4e's attitude that every skill is a knowledge skill?
@BESW For the most part, but at least at my table we tend to combine players and characters for puzzles.
@NautArch In 5e we generally have as well.
Yes, that's one of the great conundrums of agency-in-body play styles: puzzles become liminal spaces of tension.
@BESW run that past me again, if you can?
@AncientSwordRage Basically, if you're trained in Athletics that means you're not just good at doing athletic things, it means you're knowledgeable about athletic things. You know muscle groups and sporting rules and basic nutrition, etc.
1:43 PM
@BESW ahh it's also a knowledge skill
It's a great conceit because it vastly expands the agency of characters who would otherwise stand around trimming their nails during "what is going on" scenes.
@BESW I like it
I also used it in skilled rituals.
That's interesting, I didnt think about that!
1:45 PM
4e was so cool
So for instance, could Athletics represent knowledge of sports, something too esoteric for nerdy high-Int wizards to know?
Ah, here we go. Don't mind some of the notations, it's using a fan-made variant of 4e skill challenges.
One of the things I really enjoyed about 4e, that I've found is common in a lot of the games I'm playing since, is how by removing the magic subsystem it made the whole game more magical.
Do you apply this when a PC is about to die after combat?
No, it's used after the PC has died, so that they can get up and keep participating in the session and walk themselves to a more permanent resurrection.
I specifically wrote it for use in a Shadowfell adventure.
Access to resurrection magic would be almost impossible for the duration of the adventure, but being in the Shadowfell (which is the path souls take to the afterlife) also justified making it pretty h*ckin' easy to talk the PC's soul back into their body for a little while.
And I really hate telling players they have to just... stop playing...
Of course, most of the games I play now put death in the player's hands so it's their choice and not mine or the dice's.
(It's sometimes breathtaking how much I hacked D&D to be... not itself... in ways that are just normal in the games I've found since.)
I told my players at my session 0 that they COULD die at any point, but this would not mean they would stop playing - though I confess I dont know what would be a good solution that would involve a new PCs.
1:55 PM
@BESW Gotta trim those nails sometime! Very under valued adventurer self-upkeep.
How would you have done death in a fantasy (LOTR-style) D&D?
Done what?
I could imagine still aplying something as what you came up with, and the players permanently gaining some advantages and disadvantages as you mentioned in your PDF
death in a fantasy (LOTR-style) D&D
that was for D&D.
(4e, specifically)
LotR-style D&D isn't a thing. They're totally different supernatural paradigms.
1:58 PM
oh :) sorry, my newbyness strikes again
But yeah, the ritual above was made for a D&D 4e campaign.
(Using Stalker0's modified skill challenge system, because the skill challenge as written in the manual isn't just bad, it's downright contrary.)
I was marveling at how that ritual is an early example of my bucking against D&D standards of play, without yet trying to actually just find a system that made me happy without dramatic modification.
Wait, the default 4e rules had a system for resurrecting characters so that their players wouldn't just sit out the rest of the session? I'd wonder why they removed that for 5e. Odd.
No, they didn't.
I added that myself, using a modification of the skill challenge structure which was a generic structure for using multiple rolls shared across the whole party in out-of-combat situations.
(Basically 4e realized that one d20 roll is way too swingy to ride an important outcome on, and the reason it works in combat is that the outcome is spread over many d20 rolls. So they made an out-of-combat equivalent.)
On Death, and still having thought very little about it, I really like this idea of having a permanent bond. I imagine that I would speak with the player away from the table, and ask for something in return. Perhaps he would need to sacrifice a NPC every 2 sessions? Or something related with other PCs?
May 19 at 0:52, by BESW
@rh16 Stakes-wise, it's my experience that death is one of the most boring and tedious thing that can possible happen to a character.
May 19 at 0:58, by BESW
If the PCs are proactive and engaged in the world, if they want to learn something or protect someone or achieve something other than the endless "kill to be better at killing" cycle, then their reluctance to take risks stops being about avoiding boring anticlimactic death: their risk evaluation is rooted in something more complex, where failure can lead forward to new story.
That is: I never kill PCs anymore.
2:11 PM
But if they know they cannot die, that also leads to losing thrill
If a player wants their PC to die, that's cool. But I'll have PCs presumed dead, or kidnapped, or they lose something important to them, or the enemy gains crucial knowledge...
Nah. Death is one of the lowest stakes you can have. Nothing happens afterwards.
Humiliate them, make them lose, give their enemies a win, inconvenience them, delay them, but killing them? There's no "what next" to it.
In my experience, death is only the highest stake if the players don't care about anything.
For my games, I planned on something where dead PCs eventually become powerful undead that affect parts of the in-game world. Theoretically, a future group of PCs could try dealing with them, which would entail resolving some of the original PC's unresolved issues.
(This would be the cost of having a temporary revival partway through a session)
I do like the idea of death as an excuse to bind the PC to the world more--through debt for resurrection, or turning into an influence on the world in their own right.
But at that point it's not really death, is it.
I once had a player sacrifice their PC to save another. He chose that his PC became lost in time while he experimented with other PC concepts he wanted to try out, and every now and then we'd justify some ridiculous conceit in an adventure by saying the timelost PC had arranged it.
Then when he wanted the PC back, we had him come back in a dramatic save-the-day moment.
Ha, that's good! But yes I suppose the best route is to ask the player if they want to keep the PC alive, and if so, then decide on a story cost (rather than some cosmic debt cost).
Fate basically frames it as "what part of the enemy's agenda are you willing to let them accomplish, in exchange for narrating your escape?"
2:22 PM
Well, sure. Fate doesn't explicitly call it "death" when the character runs out of $life_resource.
The principle applies, though.
True, although I thought we were talking about GM techniques (or table techniques) for systems that impose disappointing character death by default.
Granted, I haven't actually been in a Fate game where a player character runs out of stress/condition boxes.
2:43 PM
Death is a bad thing. Especially because he talks in sᴍᴀʟʟ ᴄᴀᴘs
@BardicWizard But Death does like cats
@AncientSwordRage okay, that is a very good thing. I retract my statement.
@BESW No, that's fine, I agree with you. But their knowing that their characters can be ressurrected is something that I'd like to avoid
Simply because then it takes a bit of the thrill away of having to think well before fighting all the enemies
I do like that compromise that you mention though
@ThomasMarkov I may allow lair actions anyway. It kinda fits the theme.
@NautArch I love the idea of a minion being left in charge with the lair actions. And being completely irresponsible with them when they get the chance to use them
2:55 PM
@Someone_Evil Not too many minions allowed int he phylactery vault. But it seems more likely that it wouldn't be left totally open when the lich isn't around.
Well that's liches for you. Never giving a poor goblin the chance to prove their mettle
But it would be funny to have a little invisible imp doing everything. And doing things wrong at times.
Being disallowed from the phylactery vault is an even better reason for minions to enter once the boss is gone
@NautArch "Pull the lever! [...] Wrong leeeevvvvvvveerrrrrrrrr"
Maybe we just want someone to make "Lich's apprentice"
2:58 PM
Once they defeat the archlich, they must face the undead equivalent of Starscream
@MikeQ "Do Not Enter? Must be reverse psychology!"
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