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Topics - Arminius

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We can add the Keaton Batman to the list, with how it made Batman's beef with the Joker into a personal family vendetta.

Just noticed in Artesia, the term for a target number is the phrase "Difficulty Rating". Is this something that originated with 3e?

YMMV but I find it jarring because it could be expressed much more simply ("target number") and because I'm used to seeing the abbreviation "DR" for damage resistance in other games.

I haven't done a survey of English usage but for me the term "rating" implies qualitative categorization or at most ordinal valuation (bad, fair, good, better, best) rather than as a direct numeric input.

Less subjectively, I think that common jargon is often a flag of conceptual influence. I have no idea if Artesia should be seen as inspired by 3e or a reaction to it--in fact the system is supposed to be Fuzion--but I wouldn't be surprised if the author had 3e on his mind. (Note that in the original Fuzion rules, the term is "Difficulty Value".)

Help Desk / Can't correct thumbs up/down?
« on: May 24, 2016, 12:50:59 AM »
I knew it was going to happen eventually...

I meant to give this post a thumbs-up but I gave it a thumbs-down:

I was on a mobile device at the time, but it could happen on a full browser, too.

Any way to allow an undo (maybe within a limited time)?

Help Desk / Mobile deficiencies
« on: May 05, 2016, 02:14:02 PM »
I like the clean mobile layout but it's got a couple issues I've seen so far.

1. Header says "VBulletin" instead of being customized.

2. I can't see options in polls. Have to switch to full layout.

Help Desk / search doesn't allow results as posts, only as threads
« on: April 30, 2016, 03:37:14 PM »
There used to be menu choice (or radio button) to select between the two.

Thread results aren't very useful when I'm trying to find a particular post or conversation.

Help Desk / apostrophes/single quotes are f'd up in old posts
« on: April 30, 2016, 03:22:21 PM »
Probably just curly apostrophes. Test to see if it's happening on new posts...

Curly double left   “
Curly double right ”
Curly single left     ‘
Curly single right   ’

[Edit: not happening on old posts.]
[Edit edit: I meant new posts. Anyway looks fixed, see Brett's response.]

Example of post where it's visible on apostrophes:

News and Adverts / Lulu 30% off coupon expires today
« on: December 24, 2015, 07:49:48 PM »
FORME30 will get you 30%, expiring today.

If you search on "Lulu" at theRPGsite, you can find a lot of good recommendations for RPG stuff they carry. They also have some wargame/miniatures stuff--I'd recommend a look at books by John Curry, especially the reprints of Donald Featherstone and Tony Bath.

Returning to something that's bubbled up to my consciousness a number of times in the past, I'm wondering what people would recommend in the area of adventure generators. Just today I was thinking that the ideal generator would be something that broke down narrative threads into their smallest elements of the five W's and one H (explanation if you don't know) and offered mechanics for relating them and spinning off. Crimson Cutlass had a pretty nice set of charts for this, but focused on a fairly specific type of adventure (patron-driven missions in early modern Europe). Not sure how easy it would be to generalize it for something more S&S/fantasy/D&D.

(This is a little different from what might be called lists of seeds or plots, which I think of as more completely structured adventure outlines. I don't know if Eureka's 501 Adventure Plots or Roleplaying Tips 100 Encounters & Plots are really like this, but it's the vibe i get from the title.)

And what do you know, today I stopped into a store and saw Matt Finch's Tome of Adventure Design which seems to match the spec pretty well. But I notice that the first two parts of the book are also available separately as the Design Deskbook Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. Just volume 1 might suit me just fine since I'm not really interested in monster design. Anybody know what else is in the Tome that I'd be missing out on? (And is that publisher legit? EDIT: Looking some more at the website, I see that it's legit but not really functional.)

Then doing some more research I found discussion here about Campaign Sourcebook and Catacomb Guide from TSR. And finally I came across a reference to AEG's Ultimate Toolbox and Toolbox. Not sure if one supersedes the other.

I never got into D&D 3e, but I saw enough of it to recognize a similarity in newer games that had a whole parallel system of character powers alongside of skills. I know there were some complaints about this mechanic appearing in Mongoose Runequest I (though not in a huge way). I really noticed it in Myriad Song, a scifi game from Sanguine, then in Legends of Anglerre, and now in the Khepera edition of Atlantis: The Second Age.

While Feats are similar to GURPS Advantages (and I think I saw Advantages in subsequent games such as Waste World), they seem different in a couple crucial ways. First, Ads generally don't step on the toes of skills and abilities, at least not as strongly. If there's a way to be good at something via increasing a skill or ability, then that's usually the way to do it, rather than a shortcut via an Advantage. Second, Advantages usually provide fairly straightforward bonuses and calculations, while the powers I've seen in the newer games (that I believe are influenced by Feats) have effects and interactions where the math creates complicated synergies.

For example Atlantis has the "Great Escape" Talent, that lets a character add triple his Intelligence or Perception score to attempts to escape, up to a number of times per game equal to Dexterity. Then there's Advanced Missile Training,which lets one make multiple missile attacks (Dex+3) per round, up to a number of times per day equal to one's Combat Rating, which is a base, non-derived attribute. One can also add triple one's Perception to a ranged attack by taking a turn to aim.

I don't have GURPS in front of me but I think these sorts of things would either be a direct result of certain skills, or would be expressed as Advantages that provide a flat bonus (say, +4) to task resolution in certain defined situations. Not to mention, the "x times per day/game" element seems resembles Daily Powers in D&D 4e. My point here isn't condemn Feats but to distinguish them from Advantages or Skills.

And having done that, I'm wondering if Feats in 3e had any clearer precedent than Advantages. And also, after 3e, how big the trend is of non-D&D games including Feat-like elements.

Now the part where I editorialize: I don't care for these sorts of mechanics. Even in GURPS (3e), there are Advantages that seem justified only because there aren't enough attributes for what might be a derived effect in other games, and some Advantages just seem like they're alternate math for accomplishing the same thing--for example, unless a character has thick fur or a literal shell, what's really represented by Damage Resistance that isn't covered by high Health? But--to each his own. What really concerns me is the possibly that Feats have become a kind of cargo-cult design, something included in games just because the creator assumed it was a standard element of RPGs.

EDIT: In GURPS 3e the Advantage was "Toughness", and apparently the designers agreed that it was redundant, so in 4e they changed it to DR that literally means inhumanly thick natural armor, and forbade it for humans.

Help Desk / quoted search terms are treated as too short
« on: May 17, 2015, 03:13:42 AM »
If I'm looking for a phrase or something that's made up of several common words in a particular order, it would be nice be able to quote the phrase.

But whenever I use quotes around a group of words, the forum software tells me my keyword is under the minimum number of characters (I guess 3).

Can this be fixed?

Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / Only the players roll
« on: October 08, 2013, 12:18:26 PM »
All the buzz (good/bad) and discussion over Dungeon World reminded me that it uses a system where the GM only describes stuff and dictates mechanical effects ("you take X damage"). All the dice-rolling is done by the players. This is an attractive streamlined approach, at least in the abstract, and I wonder what other games do it this way.

Off the top of my head, I think some versions of Unisystem do, right? (Any versions of Cortex?)

Also Heroquest 2.0, yes?

Ideally it would be nice to dump not only dice rolling but pretty much all record-keeping onto the players. Not, say, in the sense of making them track orc hit points, but in the sense of doing away with monster hit points altogether and abstracting their effect into simple "states".

I think it goes without saying that these sorts of systems don't strive for symmetry in how PCs and the rest of the world work mechanically. I think it might be similar to how some gamebooks* do things.

Anyway, it would be interesting to see some actual comparative rules-readings or play experiences.


Wondering, as I find these are particularly prone to railroading both in detail (sceneification) and at the macro level (PCs basically have the adventure thrust upon them) which I don't think is necessarily representative of how a given RPG is played.

On the other hand, people have paid good money and devoted time to playing in the event, which they could be spending elsewhere at the con. So I feel there's some obligation to ensure the session is more than just dicking around. Or is there, if everyone is having fun?

How have you kickstarted a campaign? I would like to have a conversation with real accounts, not hypotheticals, and focused on so-called "sandbox" or "hexcrawl" campaigns. I think it's common to say that these campaigns "take on a life of their own" once the PCs start interacting with the gameworld, generating consequences from their actions and forming relationships. But how did your campaign start--what set things in motion?

I'm especially hoping to hear from Black Vulmea because of this excellent series of articles:

Help Desk / missing thread?
« on: January 28, 2013, 01:58:21 PM »
Someone posted a link to a video from the 70s about wargames (mostly SPI). Can't find it now.

Are there any standard systems for overland travel in Chaosium BRP or any of the related games? I know that Elric has good stuff for ships (which will be included in Magic World), and I think Runequest may have had something. Harnmaster, which is very BRP-like, has the Pilot's Almanac. But off the top of my head I'm not aware of anything which adds good detail and systems for over land travel.

To give an idea of what I'd look for, the early editions of D&D had some great stuff in terms of hexcrawl-oriented rules in the White Box, AD&D 1e DMG, and IIRC some parts of the B/X and BECMI/Rules Cyclopedia. Dragonquest (SPI) also had some useful stuff in terms of giving concrete overland movement rates and relating them to terrain, encumbrance, and fatigue.

Other important factors I'd look to cover include:

Cost & usage of supplies
Carrying capacity/encumbrance not only of humans but also of mounts, conveyances, and beasts of burden
Living off the land
Detection & evasion
Pathfinding and getting lost

Again, I'd most prefer to know about any official BRP publications that cover these areas; next best would be fan works and systems closely related to BRP (such as HM and RQ/Legend). Of course I'd also welcome pointers to other games whose systems could be adapted. Thanks in advance!

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