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6:00 PM
Yes, but that's a really terrible story
No buildup, no character development, no drama
Not every one-shot needs build up or character development.
And isn't coleslaw slipped drama enough?
Spilled, that is.
I'm also disappointed that it doesn't pass the Bechdel test
Ethical question: should a story that contains no male characters be eligible to fail the Bechdel test?
> Scholars remain divided.
Hi gang. I have a meta-y question. I keep seeing commenters saying "this question seems to be asking for opinions", but TTRPGs strike me as an arena with entire dimensions dedicated to opinion (i.e. GMing). Is there a rule or guideline I've missed on rpg.se that indicates asking this kind of question is a mistake?
> Albert Einstein was the most famous scientist of his day and upon his passing, multiple cities fought for the right to be the site of his grave. Eventually, a compromise was reached.
> Scholar remains divided.
6:15 PM
@ToweringTrouble Hello! The whole "opinion-based" thing is a stackexchange site policy. This is meant as a Q&A site rather than a discussion forum. Sometimes answers can be answered with opinion, but they'd need to be backed up with facts and experience.
@ToweringTrouble Good question, that is (partially) answered with this post: Good Subjective, Bad Subjective. The essence of it is that while Opinion-based questions are fine and (necessarily) encouraged, there's a difference between questions that are kind of just throw **** to the wall and see what sticks, vs. questions that emphasize experience and facts, while still seeking opinionated responses.
Whereas if a question is entirely subjective, like "What is the best class?" or "What should my campaign be about?" then there's really no way to gauge good vs bad answers, so those types of questions are generally unfit for the site.
Those are exactly the answers I needed. Thanks!
@Yuuki My current annoyance: We had the finale session of a long campaign, and got immediately wrecked by the BBEG. What's worse is that it was an obvious trap, and in hindsight I realize I could've countered the BBEG, so I blame myself.
6:26 PM
Honestly, as a DM, I wouldn't end a finale like that.
Although actually, that should be something discussed in planning, I suppose.
"Are you okay with ending a campaign on a defeat?"
Or "would you enjoy a campaign that ends in defeat?"
I'm fine with a loss, if it feels fair and the final bout is enjoyable. But the BBEG hit us with a readied AOE disjunction as soon as we entered the area, before initiative rolls.
@MikeQ :|
This is why I prefer not reaching high levels, tbh. Because the amount of alpha-strike f--kery that goes on when you have access to 9th-level spells is frankly disgusting.
It was moreso the insult of it. We'd just finished like 2 hours of prep work and planning, as our party mostly relied on temporary buffs. So that time and effort went down the drain.
Q: Do ability scores have any effect on casting Wish spell

Jonaleth Niel Asterion Ixal Is a sorcerer able to cast wish in the same way and as effectively as a wizard can? I had a friendly argument lately. I wrote my hypothetical wish somewhere around draconic sorcerer level 3. Being a lawyer I wrote about page long Wish with the intention to become a real dragon. Recently I get i...

@Yuuki A campaign ending in defeat seems acceptable and normal if the campaign was generally started with the assumption that the fights (or other conflicts) are fair and that the challenge level is such that there is uncertainty of outcome.
6:40 PM
@Yuuki See, in Pathfinder, mages disjunction is such an annoyingly complicated and game-ending spell that we kinda assumed the GM wouldn't use it.
Could anyone take a look at my answer here ( rpg.stackexchange.com/a/153908/55869 ) and tell me if there's any way I could improve the formatting of it? It just doesn't look right but idk how I can improve it.
@vicky_molokh I wouldn't treat a finale like any other encounter.
No, I agree with @vicky_molokh here. Failure is always on the table. The problem here is that the encounter was so above our party's level, and the GM immediately resorted to PC-negation tactics before the battle gained any momentum.
@Yuuki On one hand, a finale has more oomph than other encounters. On the other, if the player base joined a campaign where outcomes are in doubt, then having the finale suddenly have a predefined outcome would likely make a victory hollow. (Of course, the specific case of a finale ending in an alpha strike that allows no counterplay is also unfun for such an audience because it's de facto a predefined outcome too.)
@MikeQ Yeah, it's the counterplay-negating setup that's very hard to excuse here, IMHO.
It was like Hitchcock's ticking time bomb, except worse because it blows up the audience too
6:48 PM
@Himitsu_no_Yami I made a small tweak for you. Instead of making everything H1 headers, you I put some of them as H2 (##), you may honestly want to bump them down to H3(###) for more differentiation.
@Rubiksmoose I didn't see options for different headers so that's why I used that one every time so thanks
@Himitsu_no_Yami Yeah they don't make it obvious for sure.
@vicky_molokh Apparently we were given one chance to prevent it, but it was not communicated very well, so none of the players understood what was going on
Q: Is the "Find Greater Steed" Spell affected by Barovian Magic Alterations?

RobSo, in Curse of Strahd there's this thing called "Alterations to magic" which causes spells to take an evil turn. For instance, a wizard casting Mage Hand will find himself with an skeletal hand instead of a normal one, or maybe he will find his familiar to be undead and so on. Same thing happens...

@Rubiksmoose looking at it, I actually can't tell the difference
7:13 PM
@Himitsu_no_Yami There's a small difference in size between H2 and H3 (the ones currently used). It can be hard to spot, but it is there and it matters more to users of text aids
@Someone_Evil Ah okay then.
btw, --- after a line gives H2 not H1, H1 can be obtained like that using ===
There is a more obvious difference between H1 and H3, so doing that might be preferable
I was just using the only header I saw in the box. /shrug
@Xirema Wouldn't such a piece of media always pass? They can't talk about a man if there are no male characters.
@DavidCoffron The character need not be present in the story, I think. Trivial example: 3 ladies discussing the recently deceased guy they used to be married to at different times; the story is set after the funeral, so the guy never shows up in the story.
7:25 PM
Well, the Bechdel Test is actually pretty specific.

1. A conversation lasting [at least] 30 seconds
2. Between two women
3. Where a man is never the subject of the conversation

So if you have a work that has very few conversations; AND those conversations tend to be short, it would technically fail the test, even if none of the characters were male.
@MikeQ Ah yes, the constant issue that communication is hard. Make the clues too opaque and nobody has a chance. Make the clues too obvious and the players will be disappointed they're being spoon-fed info.
@vicky_molokh That's still a male character; just not an important one
@Xirema Ah the time factor is a thing
@vicky_molokh I would argue on technicality that a dead character is still a character in the story, even if we never see him or hear from him or know anything about him other than his relationship to the other characters.
@Xirema And some films have no conversations at all which techinically fail
@Xirema He's not in the story, only second-hand accounts of him are.
7:31 PM
@vicky_molokh I think we're arguing across definitions. When I say a character is in a story, my only requirement is that they exist, not that they actually play a role in the story or even show up.
I would like to see the statistics on the other side. Getting figures like only ~60% pass the test in its entirety is useless if you can't compare it against the male counterpart. i.e. "A conversation between at least two men talking about things other than a woman." I don't doubt that the numbers sway towards more passing the latter test, but I'd like to see exactly how much more
If a movie begins with a conversation "So my brother, who died ten years ago, once told me....", then the brother is a character in the story, even if we never see him in the story or is never referenced ever again.
@DavidCoffron I mean, the easier response is to just acknowledge that the Bechdel Test—which only existed originally as an off-hand jokey reference in a gag-a-day comic strip—cannot, and was never intended to, be used as a serious critique of how "Feminist" a work of media is, and only really functions as a casual, light-hearted observation about certain trends in media.
@Xirema I have to agree that we have different definitions. I suppose you see mine as not a constructive/useful one just as I have trouble seeing the benefits of using your definition. So agree to disagree?
@vicky_molokh Mmm. It's more that I view your definition as a more colloquial and shorthand definition and mine as a more theoretical, academic definition. Not that yours is necessarily less "useful" than mine. =P
@Xirema True; I'm still curious now xD
7:37 PM
Like, if I were writing an IMDB page and asked someone to name all the characters in a movie, it wouldn't be very useful to start gathering info on every off-hand character never seen on screen or only referenced in asides.
@Xirema the movie The Big Chill did that effectively.
I mean if someone told me that Keanu Reeves is in this film, and after watching it it'd turn out that there's a posthumous character who was supposed/implied/whatever to be played by Keanu Reeves but no scenes with him have been filmed/included (not even voice), I'd feel misinformed by the description of the film as having Keanu in it.
(Maybe my example is a bit on the brute-force side though.)
@Xirema I mean the premise of the Bechdal test (to try to illustrate that women aren't characters in their own right, but supporting characters for male characters), supports vicky's definition as "someone integral to the story"
@vicky_molokh tell that to Kevin Kostner (ref The Big Chill)
The purpose of the Bechdel test isn't so much a pass/fail test as it is an indicator. If something fails the Bechdel test, is there a sound reason as to why it fails the Bechdel test?
7:41 PM
@DavidCoffron But even for that, I'd be careful about jumping to conclusions about being supporting characters, depending on other factors, as Yuuki points out above.
If it's a TV police procedural where the main characters are women and the current episode involves tracking a male suspect, there are good reasons as to why such an episode would fail the Bechdel test.
@DavidCoffron Right; but stepping back from the fringes a little, if you had a movie where all these women were constantly talking about their relationship to a dead man we never actually see, is it holistically correct to say the movie passes the test, because he's "not really a character"?
@Yuuki It's also not a useful metric on its own; just a flag that makes ou think about the movie a certain way
It's basically a "take a second look at this" thing not a "good or bad" thing.
@Yuuki Also this.
7:44 PM
@Xirema Spirit of the test, I'd say they fail (if that relationship is the driving point of the story). Literally, they probably fail too (since he is a character, even one that doesn't appear). If the relationship is not a driving point of the story, and that is just all the women talk about (maybe the story has more to do with actions than conversations), then they pass in spirit
@Yuuki In theory. In practice a lot of people seem to treat it as a good-or-bad indicator of some sort.
@Yuuki Agreed
@vicky_molokh Which then spins off terrible stuff like writing in two completely random female minor characters whose sole purpose to is talk about something inane (like the weather) just to pass the Bechdel test.
@vicky_molokh Which is strange; I could imagine a movie that have a story centered around women talking about a man are just because that man serves as inspiration for the women's personality (like any other role model might). Then when he comes up in conversation all the time it makes sense. It's not because they are only their to support him as a character, but because he plays a role in their characterization
@vicky_molokh I mean, it's not completely divorced from a "good or bad" metric. Like, X movie not passing the Bechdel test doesn't really matter; but if a lot of movies fail that test, it does sort of imply that women in movies aren't being given an equitable proportion of agency in their stories.
7:47 PM
Or a movie set it an office where the boss is male (which has its own questions). It may fail just because the entire plot is connected to the workplace and the connector between each employee is a man.
@Xirema Which is why you really need the other side to make any sort of judgment.
@Xirema Though the industry-wide statistics oddly get warped into full-scale judgements about individual works. At least at times.
If it's 60 pass female-Bechdel while 95 pass male-Bechdel, that is significant, but if its 60-65 or 60-70, there is a much less stark conclusion to reach
Fun fact, Gravity and Disney's Mulan (the animated film) both fail the Bechdel test.
I could imagine a world where most films are just about interpersonal relationships between men and women and therefore a good portion of films contain only conversations where individuals talk about those of another gender. In that world, a 60% Bechdel could be both male and female and says nothing.
Whereas "Manos" The Hands of Fate, The Bikini Carwash Company and Showgirls, films whose treatment of women range from incredibly squicky to tasteless fanservice, pass the test.
7:50 PM
I don't guess that is the case in our film industry, but without any sort of numbers towards male-Bechdel we can't come to any sort of comparative conclusion
I think if we require the conversation to be one on one, then 95%+ of my main campaign's sessions fail the reverse (male) Bechdel test. (Major reasons: out of 5 party PCs and 3 party NPCs, there's 1 male PC and 1 male NPC. Neither of the males in the party is a face in any meaningful way.) If this anecdote were to be extrapolated, I think what it'd show is that the ratio of main characters will influence failures significantly.
@Yuuki In the original joke where the test was proposed, Alien managed to pass because it had one conversation where two women talk about the Xenomorph, itself a genderless alien.
@Xirema XD
The test itself also fails to account for non-male non-female genders, but that's another topic entirely
@Xirema Sexless perhaps (or maybe just female), but they did seem to have their own equivalent of gender distinctions as demonstrated in the second film and onward.
(although now that I think of it, perhaps it doesn't have to as the salience of the Bechdel test is that proportion of "real" characters may not be rep representative, while non-male non-female genders are underrepresented in the real world proportionally)
7:54 PM
@DavidCoffron Well, that's where you have a general framework. 1) A conversation lasting [at least] 30 seconds 2) between two members of minority class X 3) where a member of majority class Y is never the subject of the conversation.
@Yuuki Calling half of humanity a minority has always been a weird thing to me. I don't think I've seen it used that way in my own region.
@vicky_molokh "Minority" doesn't always mean numerical minority.
@vicky_molokh In this case, minority needn't mean proportional minority. It could just be "disadvantaged class X" instead
I like the term disadvantaged better here, because then wealthy people talking about something other than the poor doesn't necessarily pass the wealth-Bechdel test
@DavidCoffron I can't say I'm happy about the conflation of terms, but oh well, Anglophones are staunch descriptivists and it's unlikely that I'd be able to do much against the conflation . . .
@vicky_molokh I dislike the conflation as well, but it happens a lot in American politics (which is what I'm familiar with)
(see my wealth analogy for one example of how minority should not always mean disprivileged)
And there are technically more women than men in America (although its not a significant majority), so men are the numerical minority
8:01 PM
There's apparently a scene in Superior Foes of Spider-Man where Beetle complains about how her life is failing the Bechdel test since she hangs out with a bunch of guys.
@Yuuki I think my life passes since there are women integral in my life who have conversations with each other about things other than men; but it doesn't really tract well to real life (since there are no "main characters" objectively, and only one "main character" subjectively)
But on further consideration, applying the test to actual minorities would produce rather useless results because of the way how numeric multiplication works. So better not even try.
Wow, I really underestimated the social subtext of @Yuuki's spilled coleslaw. There's a lesson here, although I don't know what it is.
@vicky_molokh Check out the DuVernay test (I think there are other minorty-Bechdel tests too, but that's the one I remember)
Although I think that the test is rather useless for some types of analyses, since some very racist films technically pass
This is a funny derivative ^
8:12 PM
@DavidCoffron Single-factor tests shouldn't generally be just assumed to be very useful, especially for predictive value, unless there's some serious correlation proven by thorough research.
@MikeQ The lesson here is that if you want a spicy chicken sandwich, Popeye's is a better choice than Chik-Fil-A both in taste and in morality.
8:38 PM
("Marginalized" is becoming more commonly used to describe the condition which "minority" used to be used for. See also "disenfranchised," and the more accurate but unwieldy "social exclusion.")
in Not a bar, but plays one on TV, Feb 22 '16 at 4:46, by BESW
A great film can fail the Bechdel Test and be no less great; that so many films fail it is of concern, and the totally reasonable creative choices of any particular creative team making a film which fails the test don't make the general trend any less concerning.
It's not intended to be a way to judge a single film.
Well, intent isn't really a good word even, since it wasn't created as a scholarly or analytical tool in the first place, it's just a clever comic strip that got legs.
Q: Does an object count as "being moved" when placed in a Bag of Holding before its wielder moves, and then after moving they take the object out again?

VadrukContext The Eldritch Knight in my game is looking for ways to make the spell magic circle be used quickly in battle, since casting it takes one minute. He came up with casting glyph of warding on his armor, choosing the Spell Glyph option. So when needed, he could trigger the glyph for quick use...

9:12 PM
Q: Is there a limit on how long the casting (speaking aloud part of the spell) of Wish can be?

Jonaleth Niel Asterion Ixal The wording of spell Wish is: "Wish is the mightiest spell a mortal creature can cast. By simply speaking aloud, you can alter the very foundations of reality in accord with your desires..." Is there any limit to how long you can speak aloud or how many details of your wish you can stipula...

2 hours later…
11:02 PM
I have a question, but I think it may be too opinion-based or searching-for-outside-resource to be a Stack question, though I'm certainly open to good ways to phrase it in case there's a way to make it work:
I'm looking for a cheatsheet or guide or something on how as a DM to effectively portray the various Forgotten Realms ethnic groups and subraces and such.
This comes from starting to prepare for running Waterdeep: Dragon Heist next month, and there are like over 150 named NPCs. So when I'm given something like "N Male Illuskan human", and not a lot else, I want to figure out an accent / mannerism / etc. to help distinguish them all, as least as much for me as for the players. And I'm assuming that basing it on the "stereotypical" examples of that ethnic group or subrace or whatever might help, though perhaps that's naive.
So I think I might be hoping for something like "group so-and-so can be represented with a US southern drawl accent"
And what's in the Player's Handbook describes physical appearance somewhat, and not much else.
Counter-question: Does it matter if there's a lore-compatible "correct" accent? Could you just choose which origin matches which mannerisms and voices?
I have been wondering that
And I guess that I'm hoping that something lore-correct would help me with visualizing what these characters are like
Is this AL or some other form of organized play?
And is perhaps something that's out there already somehow, since there seems to have been a bazillion things written about the Forgotten Realms
Nope, just my home table
But as I still feel pretty new (despite having played for a couple years now, most of that as DM), I like starting from the official books before going off and doing my own stuff
@PeterCooperJr. I don't know about you, but I' can't portray 150 NPCs in a distinct way. So I'd prepare about a dozen of distinctive mannerisms/accents/etc and just use an appropriate one for the NPCs the PCs actually engage with.
11:11 PM
I don't feel especially good at being creative. I'm much better at adjudicating combat rules than roleplaying NPC interactions. Waterdeep will stretch me in this area, which is something I'm trying for but I'm hoping to get some resources ahead of time to help me figure this all out.
@PeterCooperJr. Then it will be good practice at being creative. Choose some distinct accents that you can do consistently, then arbitrarily assign them to the various in-game regions.
@ACuriousMind Oh, quite true. I think that why I was hoping for a cheatsheet, was so that I could refer to it when they go back to see somebody they met before, and I could go back and think "oh, yeah, he's from that culture"
But if this isn't a thing that's out there already, then yeah I can just make something up myself
Perhaps I'm just used to absolutely anything I can possibly think of already being out on the Internet somewhere.
@PeterCooperJr. I don't think such a cheat sheet would really be helpful to a lot of DMs because DMs are very different in what they do to portray NPCs
@ACuriousMind Yeah, maybe I just need to go read all the advice already out there about just portraying NPCs in general, and that might really be what I need.
While some are great at accents (not me), others distinguish NPCs much more by speaking speed or catchphrases, or tone
E.g. I can't do believable accents in German (my native tongue and the one I mostly play in) for the life of me, but I can vary my pitch and speed very well. So I tend to not rely on accents at all to differentiate NPCs, while other DMs use accents much more
11:19 PM
I probably just need to do some practice of that sort of thing
And somehow take notes I can refer back to on what I'm doing for who
what you probably might be able to find is a list of the various cultures of FR by comparison to their real-world inspirations, for reference
I used to worry about that until I realized that the cast of recurring NPCs tends to be rather small. Of course the need for that sort of note taking varies a lot by how frequently you play
@Carcer Yeah, that sort of chart is I think that I was hoping to find in the first place
e.g. "Mulhorand is literally Egypt"
If you play every week or two, you probably don't need detailed notes on how the recurring NPCs speak or behave - but if you play only once per quarter, that sort of notes gets more and more important
11:24 PM
Our game is generally weekly. I'm probably more apprehensive than I need to be. :)
And we're looking for more players, if anybody in the Southern Central Massachusetts area is looking for a game Sunday afternoons. :)
@PeterCooperJr. Oh, you'll be fine. Just wing the NPCs the first few times around and the third time you portray one of them, you'll just remember what they're like ;)
The main reason I like tables with short frequencies is that I don't have to write so much down :P
I'd also like people's opinions on whether the Valeur DM Guide is worth purchasing.
@PeterCooperJr. I try to mimic voices that I'm familiar with, doing impressions of actors for example. I'm a bad enough impersonator that people don't usually catch on, but it provides a touchstone for keeping the characters consistent.
[ SmokeDetector | MS ] Bad keyword with email in body (60): Play Testers Wanted - Adventure System RPG by BadJoss on rpg.SE
Also it's just so darn fun to do a Peter Lorre.
11:33 PM
I've literally never noticed but I can see that being fun
I have noticed you doing a voice but unless I just heard it, or it's Checkov (the one from Star Trek) I can't tell who it is
11:57 PM
But everyone does a really bad Checkov so it's pretty recognizable
Even Chekov does a bad Chekov.
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