Wednesday, 31 July 2019

No One Ever Escapes, Do They?

A long time ago, in response to this post, I said

These are good examples of exactly what I said in the other thread. Thanks!
For example, in a "fiction-first" system, the sorcerer's attempt to intimidate would tend to work against the wizard's and ranger's attempt to soothe. In a "rules-first" system, one ignores the dichotomy.
EDIT: Also, in a "fiction-first" system, the players could attempt to avoid a combat because that offered their best chance of success. If you design the challenge of avoiding said combat "To keep the XP and pacing about the same as I'd planned", then you undo the value of that choice. 
RC
It has been pointed out to me that, about a year ago, EnWorld user pemerton has been taking that out of context, to suggest, as victim did at the time, that a "single, correct choice" damages player agency. This is victim's post, which pemerton excerpts from:

I strongly disagree. Wide variance in difficulty or rewards based on player strategy doesn't preserve the value and meaning of player choice, it destroys that value - essentially, you create a single correct choice.
In a sort of in combat sense, think of 3e giants. They have pretty good stuff in general, especially in melee combat (and doubly so if specced to use combat maneuvers like Disarm or Sunder), and then really awful Will saves. Even if your wizard doesn't emphasize enchantments - let's say we're talking about an evoker - using Will based spells (Confusion, Slow, etc) is still the way to go even if your normal Spell Focuses don't apply. What the player/character would prefer to do; what they've chosen to be good at doesn't really matter, because taking advantage of giant's weakness provides such an overwhelming advantage.
Similarly, if a diplomatic approach is just as hard as a fight, whether or not the PCs have good CHA, skill trainings, etc means something. The fact that the characters chose a non violent means of resolving the problem even if it wasn't any easier tells us something about their values. If talking is easy, then PCs can get through without strong social skills, and all that their choice tells us about the characters is that they're expedient. 
When one choice is obviously superior, going for it is a pretty trivial decision.
Now, one might note that there is a world of difference between "the players could attempt to avoid a combat because that offered their best chance of success" and one choice being "obviously superior" or the DM sets up a "single correct choice". What the "best chance of success" is need not even be static - in most role-playing games, players can use up resources that change the strategies they use to meet challenges. When you are low on hit points, a fight that you could easily have won earlier may no longer be worthwhile.

The situation is set up by the DM; the strategy is determined by the players. It is not the DM who determines how the players should meet a challenge, it is the players.

It may be true that "The fact that the characters chose a non violent means of resolving the problem even if it wasn't any easier tells us something about their values", but it also might mean that they built their hammer to hit the nail in a particular way.

Victim says, "What the player/character would prefer to do; what they've chosen to be good at doesn't really matter, because taking advantage of giant's weakness provides such an overwhelming advantage." But this is really an argument that what the player has decided should determine what works best. If I am an evoker, evocation should be as successful against giants as enchantments.

Meh.

When the players have a chosen manner of dealing with problems, be it hitting them with an axe or with charm person, you learn more about them when their chosen solution isn't optimal than when it is. This is because the players must actually engage with the game, and seek out new solutions. And if their solutions are clever enough to make an encounter easier, the GM should not inflate the encounter to meet their predetermined difficulty level. And if their solutions make the problem worse, the GM should not shrink the difficulty to compensate.

If the outcome is the same no matter what choices are made, the choices do not matter to the outcome. This should be blindingly obvious.

Moreover, the context of the post is the idea of a skill challenge where one person attempts to intimidate a bear, while two people attempt to soothe it, and there is no consequence for choosing this paradoxical approach because game mechanics trump the fiction of the game.

I refer you now to this post, where it is clear that pemerton not only understood the context, but agreed to at least some degree with the edit. He also ignores this post, which answers his objections.

I hope that the point I was trying to make was clear: If the GM determines that the encounter will be of X difficulty no matter how the players decide to approach it, then the GM has stripped the players of their agency in the encounter. 

Anyway, that sort of misrepresentation was not unusual on EnWorld when I was active there, and it should not surprise me that it is still ongoing. I thought I was completely out, but no one ever really escapes, do they?

If you are interested, see here, here, here, and here.

And I suppose none of that really matters, but I disliked it when I was on EnWorld, and I still dislike it today. And it is still the same people pulling the same BS.

Cheers to having found a better community!

Related Posts: Difficulty in RPG Scenarios and Difficulty: Not Just For Players.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Mathoms Away!

Back in 2013, I started a tradition of giving away a "mathom" every year on my birthday. That tradition ended last year.

This year, I have made all prior mathoms available as "Pay What You Want" products on DriveThruRPG. I have also made my Gary Con 2017 Special available. I hope that I am stepping on no toes by doing this, and they are NOT approved for use with DCC.

You can find them here:

2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Gary Con 2017

Get them all for free, or buy me a cup of coffee if you wish!


Monday, 22 July 2019

Prince Charming, Reanimator

This is a friendly reminder about the upcoming one shot adventure Prince Charming, Reanimator, at Storm Crow Manor!

This is running from 7 pm to 11 pm on the 1st of August, and includes the same food as the standard DM & Dine experience.

Classic fairy tales are re-imagined with an (un)healthy dose of H.P. Lovecraft! When Prince Hubert Charming seeks to claim the Sleeping Beauty as his latest bride, he conscripts a group of peasants to recover her for him. You are that group of peasants!

Seats are still available.

Register Here or Here!

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Dungeon Crawl Classics - Patron Finder

Last updated 30 July 2019

It is almost 100% certain that I am missing several patrons already. Links go to listings in the DCC Trove of Treasures, and will be updated accordingly as that blog is updated.

As it stands, though, this page will help you locate patron information for your DCC, MCC, and related games.


Aakaanksha, The Granter of Pleasures
Acceptance, the Root Organ-Fractal
ACHROMA (Ad-Hoc Computer Hierarchy with Recursive Optical Memory AI)
ADEONA (Accelerated Destination Engineering & Orbital Nilspace AI)
Afara
Afgorkon
Agaderathil, the Black Between the Stars
A’goth-Amon, Abyssal Prince
A’KAS
Alboran, the Red King
Alkivasha
The Anti-Sam, Patron of the American Nightmare
Archdloos,The King of Swords
Arioch
The Arm of Vendel Re’Yune
Ar-Mammon, Lord of Hidden Treasures
Ars-Eleeta, Goddess of Technology
Atraz-Azul, Mother of Spiders
Avridar, King of Air, the South Wind, the Sirocco, the King of Storms
Azi Dahaka
Baal Zymymar
The Baba Jedza
Balancyrs, the Changeling Prince
Belshar of the Five Eyes
The Benefactors
The Benighted Pleomorphic Prion from Beyond
“Billy Jack”, An Artificial Intelligence Patron for DCC
Biloop, King of Sealife
B’kakaaw, Queen of Birds
The Black Goat
Blorgamorg, the Chthonic Snail
Bobugbubilz
The Bone Lady
Brinae, Queen of Water, Lady of the Laughing Waters, the River Maiden, the Mistress of Clouds
Buddy O’Burger
Camazotz the Death Bat
Carnifex
Castle Oldskull
The Charred Maiden
Cherek
The Chromatic Court
Chrontics Vault
The Cinder Claws
Ćire, Interdimensional Patron
Crimson Anagalis, the Repentant Collector
Culmenthdor the Sundered
The Curator
Daenthar, Progenitus of Inspiration
Dagon
Dahudmorgan
The Dead Rock Star, Patron of Fame and Excess
Death
Demogorgon
The Demon, the God of Thunder, Doctor Love
The Dimensional Dogs
Doctor Chapman
The Dweller in Dreams
Dzzhali
The Earth Brain of the Cyberhive
Ehawol, the Fallen
Elemental Lords
Emperor Norton I, Patron of the Benevolently Mad and Those Enslaved by Circumstance
Entorpus
Enzazza, Queen of the Hive
The Faerie Ring
Fantomah the Jungle Goddess
Father Frost, Craftsman of the Northern Lands
The Fiddler
Finngolric
Flash and Twilight
Floating Island of Terror
The Fog Beast
The Four Maidens of Tylin
Friggseth, the Seed in the Earth
GAEA (Global Array Earth AI)
The Gallows Tree
Ganelith, Lord of the Twisted
Garun, God of Scientific Slaughter
Gaz and the Drake
Gearswave, Inc.
Gelos, the Black Jester, Old Grin Maw, Death’s Mooncalf
The Gentle Lady
Ghrelin
Ghywval, the Dead God
The Giant Ebony Hand
Gloriana, Faerie Godmother
The Gods of Trouble
Golsimea, the Coming Change
The Great Ak
The Great Pumpkin
The Grey Directorate
Grimtooth
Grom, Prince of Elemental Stone
Gruuhm, Elemental Lord of Earth
Gul, the Old Darkness
Gydrion the Wanderer, Gydrion the Curious, the Wandering Wizard, the Hedge Wizard
HALE-E (Hologrid AI Login Entry – Entertainment)
The Hates
Haeviel, the Six-Winged Wonder, the Seraphim, the Righteous Knight of Heavens
Hecate (1), Goddess of Witches
Hecate (2)
Hekanhoda
HERA (Human Environment Reconfiguration AI)
HEXACODA (Holistic Entry-Exit AI, Coded on DNA)
Hhaaashh-Lusss, Lord Duke of Reptiles
Hidden Lord, God of Secrets
Hizzzgrad, Daemonic Lord of Crawling Things
Hollura
Horned King
Hraalvid, King of Earth, the Lord of Patience, the Lord of Stone, Keeper of Wisdom, Earth-shaker
Huitzilopochtli, Lord of the South, God of War
Ibyk
Ik'tik'buboe, the Drowned Sultan
Ioelena
Issek of the Jug
Ithha, Prince of Elemental Wind
John Henry, Steel Drivin’ Patron
Johnny Appleseed
Kaaboleth
Kala Môr
Kandri-sek, Queen of Fire, Queen of Passion, Child of the Phoenix Lord
Kannimorg, King of Bats, Bears, and Wolves
King Halgaz Bekur
The King of Elfland
Kizz
Kizzithixx, the Lord of Chains, the Bound One
Klarvgorok, the Merciless Gaze
Kos
Krakaal, Prince of Elemental Flame
Krelvax the Weaver
The Lady in Blue (Patron Write-up)
Lady of Shadows
Lamia, Patron of a Mother’s Nightmare
Lao T’zai
Lavarial, Angel of the Temple
Lilith (1)
Lilith (2)
Locust Lord
Logos, the Perfect Form
The Lonely King
Lumgolit, the Demon Queen of the Spider Pits
Mab, Dark Queen of Faerie
The Mad Moon
Magog
Magog the Beast
Malloc the Dark Creeper
The Man in the Green Velvet Coat
Manateecuhtli
MANGALA (Mars Asynchronous Networked Galactic AI)
Marcus Tertius
ME10 (Mnemonic Entity X 10 Billion)
The Mean Old Man
Menelotera, the Devil Bloom
Merlin (Revised)
The Metal Gods
Midwinter Maker
Mike Fink
Modeca, the Second of Three (Ol’ Blackcloak)
Mog the Spider God
Mog’Malu
Moolineha, Queen of the Hooved
Morketh
Mother of Hearts
The Mother of Monsters
The Mother of Shards
Mrowra, Queen of Cats
Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow, Patron of Arsonists
Mulferret, Queen of Weasels
Mulmo, He Who Whispers Forgotten Secrets
Myassari, the Patron of Birth and Decay
Myrddin
Naaz-Ibhax, the Elder Eye and the Shapeless One – Chaos Lord
Nalfeshnee, Lord of Pigs (Expanded)
Narrimunth, Spawnmother of Rats
The Nazhghad
Nektherazzan, the Everburning Flame of the Desert
Nengal, the Wild One
Nergal
Nhool
Nick’claus
Ningauble of the Seven Eyes
Nul, the Mindless God
Obitu-Que
The Old Man of the Mountain (a.k.a. the Great Stone Face), Patron of Knowledge and the Land
The OVERLORD (Operant Very-Efficient Regulated Locality Reconnaissance Defender)
Pagnyr'Parkus
Pandelume
Patsy, Patron God of Henchfolk
Pesh Joomang, the Gate and the Keeper
Ptah-Ungurath, Opener of the Way
Pwyk
The Queen of Battle, Death’s Handmaiden, the Black Queen, the Doom Bringer, the Destroyer
The Queen of Ice and Frost
Quetzalcoatwalrus
Radu, King of Rabbits
The Ram of Light
The Rat God
Razor-Worn, Henceforth the Shaft
The Red Death
The Red Duke
Reidmar, the Deathless
The Resplendent Aweswine
RIPPER
The Rope, God of Assassins
Saint Nicholas
Scrimage the Preserver
The Sea King
Seleeshara
Serbok, the Slithering Shadow
Setanda
Set-Utekh the Destroyer
Sezrekan
Shaggath-Ka, the Worm Sultan
Shaloth
Shammat, Lady of Cats
Sheelba of the Eyeless Face
Sheytherax, Emperor of Reptiles
Shub-Niggurath
The Silicone Minds
Sintar, the Knower
Sisssnagarasssh
Sister Ultiva, Goddess of Vengeance
Sky-Lasher the Everlasting, Trident of the Sun
Somnos, the Dreaming God
Sperato, God of Hope
The Spider Goddess
Splaasha, Prince of Elemental Water
Squallas, Mistress of the Night Soil Rivers
Sseleen'Jeril, the Emerald Snake, the Coiled One, the Endless Beast
Stagger Lee (a.k.a. Stackalee, Stack-o-Lee, or Stagolee), Patron of Badasses
The Star Child
Stardust the Super Wizard
Supreme Brainskull Commander
The Synod of the Astroliches
Takisaka, the Mother of Serpents
Tamar
Tamarah Pandoramicum
Tand-Alv, the Tooth Fairy
Tareus
Terror-Eater, the Earth-Mother
TETRAPLEX (Transcendent Extrapolating Term Research AI Pelxed)
Theszolokomodra
A Thing from the Between-Places
The Thing in the Crimson Void
Thantrix the Ineffable
The Three Fates
Torvak, the Enslaved Ape God
The Trickster
Trisdeus the Tri-God
Tsemobog: The Tongue of Hod
The Twisted One
The Two Faced Horned God, a Patron of Druids and Witches
UKUR (Universal Kinetic Underground Rail)
Umwansh, Father of the Waves
Uncle Sam, Patron of the United States of America
Urhatta, the Worldwalker
Van den Danderclanden
Volundrar
The Wampler
Warrior Horde of the Einherjar
Way of the Pteranodon
Way of the Raven
Way of the Triceratops
Way of the Tyrannosaur
Weal, the Queen of Abominations
Winged Tyaa
The Witness Beyond the Stars
Yan Oshoth, Revered Ancestor
Yddgrrl, the World Root (Expanded)
Yila-Keranuz
Yvrion
Zatima Xel Barca
Zezzberuiz, Queen of Insects



Sunday, 7 July 2019

Prince Charming, Reanimator, at Storm Crow Manor

If you are in the Toronto area on the 1st of August, my Storm Crow Manor event, Prince Charming, Reanimator, has been moved to that date.

Prince Hubert Charming, son of the Baron of Westlake, and heir to Westlake Manor, is well known as a cold man, whose watery blue eyes seem to betray no emotion at all. Yet he is a great lover of beauty, as all his wives have proven. The first he found working in the cinders of a woodsman’s cottage. Some say that the girl’s jealous stepsisters threw her down a well to prevent her from becoming the young prince’s bride, but even death did not bar Prince Charming, and she enchanted everyone at the wedding. Her stepsisters were placed in spiked barrels filled with hot coals and dragged through the town until they themselves died.

Whatever process Prince Charming used to revive his bride, it did not last forever. All too soon, the Princess Ella took ill and died.

Charming then found another bride, and there was no doubt in this case that she was dead. She was entombed in a glass coffin guarded by half a dozen or so dwarves. Yet, when Prince Charming injected his magic elixir and kissed her upon the lips, her eyelids fluttered open and she breathed again! The story was told that the new Princess had been in but a deep coma, a sham of death, until a poisoned apple was dislodged by the Prince’s kiss. But folk began to whisper in dread, and none were surprised when it was announced that Princess Snow, like Princess Ella, succumbed to a fatal illness after only a few years of marital bliss.

In all kingdoms there are tales, and in the Barony of Westlake, it is said that the Grimmswood hides the ruins of a long-lost realm. The daughter of its final king, cursed by a malevolent faerie, pricked her finger on a spindle upon her sixteenth birthday, in the blossom of her youth, and died. With her death, the kingdom went to ruin. Few now dare to go far into the Grimmswood, although the riches of the lost kingdom are said to lie unclaimed within. Fear of dark fey magic and even greater evils keep men out.

Or they did so until now. For Prince Hubert Charming of Westlake has determined that the long-dead Princess Beauty is only cursed to sleep away the aeons, and he will have her for his bride. His men rounded up a stable of “volunteers” at the beginning of one early autumn morning, and here you are, with what makeshift arms and equipment you had upon you when you were “volunteered”.

Your mission, the Prince’s Bailiff explains, is to enter the ruined castle, find the place where the “Sleeping” Beauty lies, and bring her forth for Prince Charming to restore with a kiss. Those who choose not to go upon this quest must take their chances with the Prince’s Guard, twenty men strong, and be declared outlaw. Those who choose to hazard their lives within the ruined castle may keep what they find, apart from the sleeping princess, but dare not leave without her.

An adventure combining well-known (and lesser-known) fairy tales with the works of H. P. Lovecraft, for a bit of rollicking fun and danger!

From the reviews:


"I'm a huge fan of DCC and Grimm fairytales. Needless to say this was an amazingly perfect combination." - A Customer

"Every time I run this the players all enjoy it immensely. The familiarity of ther fairy tale is something most people can cling to, but there are some many little twists included that make it enjoyable to play and to run." - Keith M.

And more reviews here!

Monday, 1 July 2019

Beneath the Temple of Doubt!

Tabletop Scotland

Raven Crowking is going to Scotland (Again!) 

And this time I am bringing an adventure!


Beneath the Temple of Doubt


Description:  A fortune of hoarded gold is said to be hidden beneath the ruins of the Temple of Doubt, but none has claimed it yet. To be certain, none has even come back. But few are as powerful as you, and surely the treasures of the Temple are destined to be yours.

Daniel is writing this scenario for the convention.  All players who participate will be added as Playtesters prior to it being published by Purple Duck Games.

Players: 6 Players Max.  4 Spaces Online. 2 Spaces at the convention.


Level 3 DCC. All necessary materials & swag provided!
Saturday 24 August

14:30 - 18:00