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Bring it on, O my readers.
1. The Onomancy Tradition was ROBBED in the UA feedbacks. Robbed like Jamie Foxx and Samuel L. Jackson for Django Unchained at the 2013 Oscars.
2. The DM’s Guild is a work of great genius, benefiting WotC AND writers AND fans. Sure, we’d all like to see full-time freelance Guild publishing amount to a living wage, but that’s more about the audience size than the Guild model.

Or did you believe in ethical consumption...?
3. There ARE things D&D doesn’t handle easily, but it is far more versatile in its stories than many of its critics allow.

This is a hobby of creativity; arguing that you CAN’T do [thing] only motivates the listener to prove you wrong.
4. The greatest weakness of the GMing model we’ve used for the last 45 years, IMO, across all GMed games, is convincingly presenting two NPCs having a conversation.

I’m ready to explore more two-GM models.
5. Jumping over to some boffer LARP opinions: our player advancement models are decreasingly serving each game’s needs. Getting a New Thing after each event, 4-6 times a year, feels good at the time but creates game-running issues that we aren’t solving.
5b. Therefore what I want is a character that starts off a bit stronger but has a much shallower advancement, built in from the beginning. Midgame superheroes are a huge headache, as well as making it harder for new players or characters to come in.
6. Mechanical character variation is good up to a point, but variety and depth of narrative focus and exploration are inversely related.

You can say a lot more about elves in a game where most or all characters are elves than you can in a game where no 2 PCs share a race.
7. In both D&D and PBTA, classes/playbooks are trapped in a knife fight between the player’s absolute narrative freedom and letting the class/playbook SAY something, model exciting cinematic moments, and otherwise incorporate narrative.
7b. Neither side *should* ever win that, but I personally skew toward making a Thematic Statement.

Reskinning features addresses some of the problem, but can increase cognitive dissonance during play.
8. Adversarial GMing has a place, but it has to be treated as an advanced technique built on a foundation of player consent. As it stands, it’s the piece of Gygax’s legacy that all #ttrpg still NEED to destroy, root and branch.
9. That Thing I Always Say:

Placescape: Torment Enhanced Edition has lessons to teach about narrative, reward loops, repeated use of content, empowerment fantasy, and so many other lessons. We have barely scratched the surface of all the things it gets right.
10. Other games have captured and exemplified individual elements of what PS:T does (e.g., Life is Strange for excellence in dialogue sim, Mass Effect for the Codex rewarding exploration and for depth of companion stories), but I don’t know of a game that pulls it all together.
11. No #ttrpg I have ever played works simultaneously as palate cleanser, idea mine, and long-term campaign quite like Over The Edge.

Running some more OTE25A probably needs to make it onto my New Year’s Resolutions list.
12. I think we’re going to look back on Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and all of the 2019 releases as a watershed in the underlying dynamic of official D&D. PCs are increasingly, explicitly expected to be woven into the fabric of society, rather than rootless, kinless wanderers.
13. That’s a pretty common dynamic over the course of an edition, btw. They start out with a stripped-down D&D and gradually introduce more connections to each setting. This is a major feature of 1e’s OA, 2e’s Birthright and Planescape, 3e’s DMG 2, & 4e’s Themes.
14. MANY (most?) of us learned a whole lot of advanced vocabulary from Gygax, Arneson, or (in my case, child of 2e that I am) Zeb Cook & co.

A balance of elevated and approachable language is good; educating in the name of fun is GREAT.
15. One of the toughest things to do in sf/f gaming is to establish what constitutes “normal,” so that anything can deviate from it.

Most published adventures that try to start off with a bang run afoul of this problem - players don’t yet understand how to feel about weirdness.
16. It’s been great to see 4e’s long, slow rehabilitation, starting in roughly 2012-13.

For my money, we had a great time with it for about 2 years, but it’s ideal use requires a different approach to description and characterization than other editions.
17. I don’t think I could return to 4e as-written at this point, because it’s numbers are so fiddly that I find it frustrating and time-wasting.

I think there’s a lot to be said for revisiting its fundamentals to build a new game, tho.
18. The greatest of all crimes there is that we didn’t get approximately 10 bazillion 4e-based video games. There was a 4e Facebook game and... anything else? I don’t remember.

But 4e is *so right* for a D&D video game.
19. Maybe my most heretical opinion:

In #ttrpg play, treating XP and advancement as the only *meaningfully* desirable goal is incredibly corrosive to engagement with the narrative, the setting, and the other people at the table, no matter the pay scheme.
19b. At some point, players have to be willing to engage in play, interaction, and exploration because they are intrinsically FUN, not because you’ve covered them in XP-flavored gravy.
20. It’s not a perfect approach, but my favorite new technique in ages is getting more meaningful session feedback with Roses, Thorns, and Wishes (or Thorns, Wishes, and Roses, as Stras Acimovic reordered it, to end on a high note).
20b. It has the benefit of being simple, but quasi-requiring each respondent to have both a Thorn (something they didn’t like) and a Rose (something they did like).
20c. It has had the effect of, I think, creating a space with gentle pressure toward transparent communication, beyond “thanks for a good game, see you next week/month.”
21. My most paradoxically old-school opinion:

Most campaign-length games need to explicitly incorporate troupe-style play, a la Ars Magica. Drop-in/drop-out play is the only reason I have a campaign at all, these days.
22. One of the best things a player can do to improve a game, but that I see only occasionally, is to become interested in what happens to other PCs’ characters and to think about what your character wants from them or provides them - tactically, emotionally, financially, etc.
22b. This is one of the great strengths of #CriticalRole - the players come up with reasons to engage with each other for emotional stakes. They’re consciously assuming vulnerable positions in front of one another... and the whole internet.
23. Back to video games: the desire for photorealistic graphics has been lost on me for ages, since LONG before Thomas Was Alone And Tales of Maj’Eyal became some of my faves.

Also, ToME doesn’t get NEARLY enough love for its interesting, sometimes oddball class design.
24. Man alive, do I love some cooperative board games - Aeon’s End is probably my current favorite, but I also love BSG, Pandemic, and Arkham Horror without reservation. I have a lot more tolerance for long play-time co-ops than competitive games.
25. For competitive games... shorter games make it much easier to shake off a bad beat. To put that another way - Twilight Imperium is just not my bag.
26. Two of the most underrated books in all of 2e: Campaign Sourcebook & Catacomb Guide, and DM’s Option: High-Level Campaigns.

They’re both still useful texts for 5e DMs, CSCG even more than HLC - because it’s more advice and almost no mechanics.
27. The 3.5e DMG 2 and, to an even greater extent, the 4e DMG 2 are among the best books released for their respective editions. You can expect Edition Wars to cover both of those in a lot more depth someday.
28. Player-facing books after the PH in each edition are seldom better than the PH (XGTE is among the best PH2’s I’ve seen), thanks to power creep and waning playtesting. DM-facing books finally get around to nuance that the DMG elided, so they’re often better than the DMG1.
29. It is one of the great delights of the last 5-10 years to see a revitalization of video game genres that I loved as a kid, with updated mechanics and more deliberate approaches to difficulty: Pillars of Eternity bringing back fixed-view isometric RPGs, for one.
30. Metroidvanias have possibly become too much of a buzzword genre, but Ori and the Blind Forest and Hollow Knight are phenomenal experiences even for me, the forkin' loser who has played only a handful of minutes of the Metroid and Castlevania franchises combined.
31. D&D needs to embrace letting more spellcasters decide between two or more stats as their casting stat for the class at 1st level. 13th Age is *pointing the way,* all you gotta do is follow.

Let's talk about bards and warlocks real quick.
32. I'm sure I don't know why 5e's College of Lore needs Cha as its casting stat when Int is their *thing.* Beyond that, I love 13A's idea of bards as holy cantors, using Wis as their casting stat. Those are dead simple ways to expand the stories we tell with and about bards.
33. 4e warlocks have basically two casting paths, either Con or Cha. Because of 4e's format, this turned out to be a mess (accuracy is KING in 4e, so this halves the number of powers you regard as viable options to just your better score), BUT I loved the narrative there.
34. In 5e, it's so much easier. Warlocks would make perfect sense with Con (physical channeling, blood sacrifice themes), Int (forbidden lore!), or Cha (inner strength of soul, or whatever Cha represents to you).

Likewise bards with Int, Wis, or Cha.
35. "Charismatic priest" explains itself. If it's good enough for paladins it sort of HAS to be good enough for clerics... right?

And scholarly priests who study the secret names of the gods or the Words of Creation comfortably justify Int.
36. We've strongly associated wizards with Int, but I would have no trouble getting on board with Wisdom wizards. They are the Society of the Wise, after all, and Gandalf the Grey reminds us that Int and Wis are a fairly artificial distinction at the best of times.
37. It's... sort of dumb, then, that druids and sorcerers are the ones I'm getting hung up on in trying to expand. I can see Con for either of them, channeling natural or arcane forces. But sorcery needs some work to make it more thematically distinct and less "fantasy X-Men."
38. I've never understood the deep fan love of Earthdawn's magic system. I <3 ED's setting, races, big bads, and whole approach to magic items, but I can't find much to love in its magic.

One round to weave a thread, with a fail chance, so that NEXT round I can cast? Nah.
39. Of course, by 4th-ish circle, that flips so that you're just crazy OP. Ice Mace & Chains, every round. If that's the part that you love, then I can understand pure power fantasy, but there's nothing *special* to distinguish it from a putative generic system.
40. That said, MORE settings need something like Earthdawn’s Horrors as a sense of cosmic danger, and the sense of personal attachment to magic items that you’ve learned about and leveled up is *chef’s kiss.*

(Splitting XP with your items is... less rad to me, but okay.)
41. Personal attachment to the STORY of your significant magic items is so good. @standsinthefire brought that to Dust to Dust LARP, as one of his many great ideas.

You want a positive feedback loop of items making the PC cooler and the PC making the magic item cooler.
@standsinthefire 42. More from the Deep Blasphemy Archives: Pendragon’s system is dearly loved by designers I deeply respect, but I found it to be a system I had to endure (while loving the Great Campaign story).

Falling behind in Glory by more than 1-2k became self-perpetuating.
43. This is where I learned how much I could be frustrated with players receiving differing XP rewards from a single session - feeding directly into my heresies of thought against so much of indie gaming.
44. Magic systems ARE setting content, which is one of the oddities and weaknesses of D&D setting creation.

Only Dark Sun really broke the mold of what magic looks like, how it behaves. (Partial credit to Dragonlance & Birthright for moon-linked magic & bloodline/realm magic).
45. Obliquely gaming-related:

Game creation and commentary has been my whole career and most of the hobbies I’ve ever had.

I remain DEEPLY suspicious of “gamer” as an identity, and allergic to self-describing as a gamer without “and a [contrasting thing].”
46. I don’t know how popular/unpopular this opinion might be, but: I don’t think I’ve ever seen mechanics-based social conflict that didn’t leave me cold.

SIFRP’s Intrigue rules have a spark of something good, but ultimately they’re too fiddle for the flow of conversation.
47. I played the House maester in @lee_hammock’s SIFRP game. Lee spent a lot of time bending the limits of what magic-adjacent things a PC could do - it’s hard out there for a maester.

There’s a reason the books and show relegate maesters to supporting cast!
@lee_hammock 48. Noumenon is my favorite game that is too weird for me to run. Surrealism is great flavor, dubious main course.

It’s also the inspiration for one of my favorite design ideas I’ve ever had: its domino resolution system became Dust to Dust’s Ritualism.
@lee_hammock 49. Whether MMO, #ttrpg, campaign #LARP, or single-player CRPG, the treasure economy matters.

If it has money rather than a Wealth stat, the game’s emotional hook probably needs you to need/want money, permanently.

Money enters from loot and big paydays (quest rewards, etc.)
49b. In *almost* all games, players expect today’s haul to be bigger than yesterday’s, smaller than tomorrow’s, because you’ve beat a bigger monster, climbed a higher mountain.

A steeply-inflating gear treadmill is AN answer (cf. 4e), but it only works for a few types of games.
49c. This is another Thing I Say All the Time, but... I think the answer for games without a steep gear treadmill is to emphasize prestige as something that influences NPC reactions, and offer high-ticket prestige items.

Yes, even gaming has to solve for the ultra-rich.
50. In games that DO have an aggressive gear treadmill (MMOs, 3.x/4e D&D), and even more so if the game involves player crafting, it's not enough to pull $$ out of the economy. You also need reasons for items to go away, and PCs to feel SOME measure of satisfaction about it.
50b. The PC had that item for some amount of time, and trashing it now offends our sense of "but I *cared* about that thing and worked to get it in the first place!" This is the emotional reason that Disenchanting in WoW is important. (Residuum in 4e misses the mark somehow.)
51. There are a lot of #ttrpg where the game doesn't explain what kinds of stories you tell/adventures you have in this system well enough for me to feel like I can jump in. I usually respond to these by saying, "I want to see this through the eyes of someone who loves it."
51b. Vampire (Masquerade or Requiem), Amber Diceless/Lords of Gossamer and Shadow, and many other games fall into this category.

I don't know what "good enough for me to jump in confidently" looks like, but D&D, Mage: the Awakening, and Over the Edge all hit that mark for me.
52. Leomund is just a tech bro disrupting Mordenkainen’s hospitality industry by embracing pop-up locations and circumventing regulation.

L is the AirBnB to M’s Marriott Marquis, do not @ me.
53. Why HASN’T D&D (among others) taken a hard run at Final Fantasy-style Materia upgrades to gear?

Other than bookkeeping strain, I mean.

54. I can live with the initiative system D&D has used from 3.0-5e, but it *is* a flow-destroying smash cut. The problem with replacing it is that effect durations depend on it working the way it does. I've tried tinkering with it on my own time, with forgettable results.
54b. In case you DID want to read my post on that, it's here: brandesstoddard.com/2017/06/initia…
55. The conflict between downtime and active threat fronts drives me absolutely nuts. Building up tension is awfully hard if it's also going to be generally okay for players to take a month or two of downtime to do... whatever. Craft, carouse, research, etc.
55b. The solution to this, as much as there IS one, is to operate on shorter cycles of tension buildup and resolution. Maybe you can't go research a spell RIGHT NOW, but we're one session away from stabbing this threat to death, so you'll get what you want v. soon.

56. As a follow-on to initiative: surprise is a rocky area of D&D rules.

In terms of tone, I think the game wants the PCs to be on their back foot - being the surprised party more often than the surprisING party. That's about creating the sense of threat.
56b. The *problem* is that the Assassin rogue wants to trigger the big damage add of Assassinate, and that needs surprise. If the Assassin can't get surprise at least 1-2 times a session, the subclass is real thin on *exciting* features.
56c. The process for players trying to establish surprise isn't defined in hard mechanical terms, but what *negates* surprise definitely is. I actually *don't* want to see PCs go through a dungeon like Seal Team Six, because my tolerance for hard anachronism is low, so.
57. Few things are as overrated in adventure-writing as red herrings and false rumors.

Remember that PCs don’t have an actual lifetime of experience in your setting to help them sift truth from lies.

Time spent running down red herrings builds the most disappointing climax.
58. Just split two games of Shobu with @caudelac. My opinions:
a) this game is super interesting
b) I'm going to need a lot more play with it to get ANY kind of broader grasp of it
c) where the h*ck was this while we were running Dust to Dust, jfc
59. More on #LARP, possibly controversial - boffer LARPing is in a massive time of transition in the American South. NERO National and SOLAR both ended, with much recrimination, in 2019.

Maybe there's still a NERO Atlanta? I honestly can't tell from outside.
59b. Rule of 3 is at the halfway point of what is probably its last boffer LARP. There are other games and communities, but it's not clear to me that they'll attract the people leaving other games.

I've become intensely conscious of how we (fail to?) teach boffer gamerunning.
59c. Almost everything I've learned, I was either taught through conversation with an actual person, or I learned through trial and error. It's a roleplaying art form for which each game has its own Player's Handbook, but no game has a "Dungeon Master's Guide."
60. Back to #ttrpg -

Vampiric healing will never stop being fun as sh*t if you can swing it. I’ve been waiting 12ish years to play a functioning Disciple of Khaine from Warhammer: Age of Reckoning in D&D - a striker/party healer that heals by stabbing their enemies.
60b. 4e offered that *gameplay* with the cleric, but was trying for an aesthetic so different that it kinda stopped speaking to me.

5e doesn't really like requiring complex triggers, and my noodling in that direction has been unproductive to date.
61. I'm not the first person to say this in response to this meme - what's up, @PaperandDice - but dayum, Battle Master gameplay is so good.

There was a time when UA experimented heavily with more fighter subclasses that were CS dice with different Maneuvers.

I want that.
@PaperandDice 62. Not needing a ton of new base classes is a strength of 5e.

That said, there are a few I’d still like to see, or make.

First: Arcane melee hybrid, a.k.a. swordmage. EK and Bladesinger have their virtues, but also their significant issues.
63. Second: runepriest, covering everything from rune-wielding smiths to refined calligraphers. (There might be a Right Way to do this with artificer.)

Third: I know this is a third-rail topic still, but a psion or mystic. Not that I objected to a Psionic wizard as a Thing.
64. I *do* think it’s legit for a setting, especially a third-party setting, to reject all existing base classes and write all of their own to fit what they’re doing.

If nothing else, I will *never* say we should stop experimenting.
65. A tip for PCs and GMs we don’t talk about often enough:

Think about and hone how you’re delivering characterization through action.

I’ve occasionally gotten stuck on “suboptimal actions are the main way to express character,” but I think that’s shortsighted.
66. The Middle Ages had plenty of violence, small-scale and large, but you can improve your campaign by studying the social structures that resisted violence - especially the limits & obligations placed upon the powerful.

Maybe start here:
67. 3.x's prestige classes are a great idea that didn't survive contact with the players or designers writing to a wordcount. Transforming your training and developing rare new features because of difficult in-game achievements sounds great!
67b. Based on internet conversations, though, people were treating them as bags of features to mix & match, rather than meaningful narrative elements.

I'm sure some folks reading this were fans! But for me, the cool part of the idea was lost from the start.
68. Adventures that mechanically reinforce tone with unique mechanics are fantastic to me - even better if they’re simple but have a deep effect on the system.

Tomb of Annihilation’s “meat grinder mode,” f’rex - all it does is change one save DC! Eminently stealable.



69b. 1e and 2e give a very strong impression that it was common to spend one or more sessions completing training quests. I still don’t know how much that was reflected in real use at everyone’s tables.

It’d be awesome to have spare time for that kind of spotlight, wouldn’t it?
70. I’m not great at deck-building games by any stretch of the imagination, but I sure do love them.

Aeon’s End
Don’t Turn Your Back (I’ve wanted to riff on this one for a game idea I had, but don’t know enough to make)
Guild of Dungeoneering

Someday I’ll even play Dominion!
71. Okay, first off, the encounter with Ravel in Ravel's Maze (in Planescape: Torment) is probably the single coolest encounter I have ever played in a video game. I saw that for the first time about an hour ago. (I should go to bed.)
72. Now, PS:T only has fighters, mages, clerics (and only one of those), and thieves, plus janky 2e multiclassing.

But they DO stuff in the narrative that really elevates the narrow core-4 class model: by having three mages in the party, content targeting mages MEANS more.
72b. I don't know how I'd feel about a strict core-4 D&D of any edition, but if having ONLY wizards as arcane casters (f'rex) means that new things can happen in the narrative - like the stunning coolness of the Unbroken Circle of Zerthimon - then maybe I owe it to myself to try?
72c. Like a lot of game designers who toss off an idea casually, my brain is now working on it obsessively.

Thanks, brain, you h*ckin’ jerk.

ok so the default fighter is a Battle Master, & they collect Maneuvers like wizards collect spells...

73. I love wizardly spell collection, all the more if wizards can’t just surf the PH to see what’s coming. Secrets & discovery are My Deal.

I want to generalize that to other casters, especially clerics and druids. Auto access to all spells of each level bugs me unreasonably.
73b. I’d make cleric spell learning come from prayer scrolls, holy sites, or contact with relics.

And sure, your home temple probably DOES have a decent collection of core spells - I’m not trying to make a cleric start without Bless/Cure Wounds/Healing Word.
74. Maybe no 3.x prestige class gets under my skin quite as bad as the Frenzied Berserker. A friend of mine who was otherwise a delightful person was crazy about it, and seemed to relish the idea of becoming a problem the rest of us couldn’t solve because his PC was so badass.
74b. In short, it was an excuse to turn the whole game into a dick-measuring contest and I couldn’t figure out how to even talk about it without escalating.

I kinda hate the 5e Berserker, residually. (Well, that, and Frenzied Rage is... not great.)
75. I’d love to see more point-defense or pseudo-tower-defense fights in official releases of D&D and other action-adventure games, just to completely change the player mindset of the situation.
76. I unironically adore the setting of Mage: the Awakening (having never even read Ascension).

The text takes its “magic cones from Atlantis” premise seriously... but I had no ability to sell that concept to my players. Ah well.
77. I wish I liked the XP mechanics of Awakening 2e, but it feels to me like play centers around grubbing for XP by trying to get bad things to happen to you, then curing those conditions. (This perception may be unfair.)
Out of order, but: 76b. In fairness to Awakening, there’s enough other stuff going on the setting that my players largely rejecting the Atlantis myth didn’t stop them from having a good time and stopping the Prince of 100,000 Leaves.
78. Not that Awakening 1e’s XP system was *such* great shakes; the reward part was fine, but the whole system of rotes expected that you’d buy more Attributes and Skills, rather than pouring everything into Arcana & Gnosis.

My players couldn’t ever quite see those as good buys.
79. I would love to play someone else’s Awakening game, just to see how they handled the pace & flow of play and incorporated the Orders and Consilium into the story and player experience. I did okay with those, but no *better* than okay.
80. The Abyssal threats described in Mage: the Awakening, the Boston setting book, and a bunch of the other Awakening 1e line are still super inspiring to me. I like that they're *weird* and indirect in their threat, rather than the eat-your-face evil of D&D's tanar'ri.
80b. There are a lot of Abyss-corrupted items and ideas and places. It's very much in the vein of The Magnus Archives.

For all I know, some of the later material MIGHT drill down on the evils of the Abyss to the point that they start to resemble TMA's Powers.
81. Video game opinion: F*ck the Mako, especially on the XBox 360.

It is literally the only thing stopping me from wanting to replay ME1, a game I otherwise adored.

Yes, I know that this is a common opinion. It just needed to be said.
82. Few games deserve a 2020 remake quite as much as Sierra's Quest for Glory series.

I played the QfG1 remake, not the original, so QfG2's text parser came as quite an unwelcome downgrade.

My character was a mage-paladin, the most on-brand thing of my whole gaming career.
83. I have straight-up seen a rules/canon lawyer chase a good GM out of running a 3-session series after the first session. I’m still mad about it - as far as I know she quit GMing completely.
83b. Least controversial opinion:

Don’t. Be. That. Guy.
84. A meaningful part of why 4e is so satisfying is the durability of 1st-level characters. It feels more like starting out competent than other editions offer.

A house rule of +5 starting hp does surprisingly well at recapturing that feeling.
85. 4e skill challenges had so much to offer and so many issues.

Where do I even start?

First, especially when there's a sentient antagonist involved, there's not a clear time for bad things to happen other than when the PCs fail a roll.
86. Second, punishing failure (by making failed rolls the only failure track of the challenge) but applying no other timer or particular restriction makes Aid Another/Help the optimal, but boring, move for everyone except the PC with the highest bonus in whatever skill.
87. Third, the problem needs to respond dynamically to PC spell/class feature use. Each problem needs to value some skills more and some skills less, so that it come out roughly even across all skills in the long term.

4e tends to over-value Perception and Arcana.
88. Way upthread, I said that I hadn’t seen a game that handled social conflict well.

4e is no exception.

What’s most important:
* the die roll + modifiers
* the participation of every player at the table
* following what characterization and narrative say should happen?
88b. I don’t think you can have a satisfying *roleplaying scene* if you’re not prioritizing what characterization & narrative say should happen, filtered thru the lens of the speaking player’s social ability and willingness to try.

This may be a deeply unpopular opinion.
89. Okay, unless there's a new burst of likes, RTs, and comments, we're in the home stretch.

Board games have needed emotional safety tools longer than tabletop games or LARPs have *existed,* because f*cking RISK was published in '57 and has been ruining friendships ever since.
90. I'm not kidding about that, but at least Risk says up-front that it's a winner-take-all game and has no handling for negotiated world peace.

Then there's BSG and other secret-traitor games. Uh. If you *wanted* to detonate friendships and trust, how much better could you do?
91. And sure, longer-term board gaming groups figure something out, even if it's brute-force desensitization or loud expressions of anger.. But the conversation on safety tools for TTRPGs and LARPs doesn't say "you don't need 'em if the hardcores have individually adapted."
92. When people talk about puzzles in TTRPGs, especially in dungeons, we put WAY too much emphasis on logic puzzles and riddles, and not enough on physical puzzles.
* Puzzle minigames in Mansions of Madness
* Domino puzzles
* Jenga puzzles
93. Including puzzles in tabletop games that players can't solve with an Intelligence roll is another Controversial Opinion. Personally I think we're missing a way to have a fun, tense encounter. It's not right for every group, but in most groups SOMEONE likes physical puzzles.
94. So uh, I watched the first episode of The Mandalorian last night. Yes, I'm way behind. Whatever.

Point is, I stand at the ready to write, run, or play in-game organizations that assemble suits of cool armor once piece at a time and have feelings about it.
95. Even more than the mechanics of D&D, the *conversation* around ability scores in gaming is pushing me away from wanting any appreciable form of descriptive ability score. This is hard to explain briefly, but many boffer LARPs don't have ability scores and it's FINE.
95b. Conversation around ability scores: basically everything around being stuck with low Int/Wis/Cha and figuring out how to play that is real tired at this point. There's nothing wrong with WANTING to play with low mental or social ability, many things wrong with HAVING to.
95c. And honestly, for what D&D is doing, it's fine. I don't object to D&D sticking to its own tradition. But I do want to go design my own thing to experiment with other approaches - positive statements rather than numerical stats.
96. I can guess a lot of the reasons that this doesn't happen more often, but I am so in love with Pelgrane's trifecta of in-game texts - The Armitage Files, Dracula Unredacted, and The Book of Changing Years.

Releasing something similar for D&D is a dream project for me.
96b. Inasmuch as there's ANY shortcoming in the Unbroken Circle of Zerthimon of Planescape: Torment, its lore drops don't factor into the later game as far as I know. (Please, no spoilers.) If it gave you clues to things to investigate, that would have been even MORE greatness.
97. Thanks to Reaper Bones, I have roughly forty bazillion awesome heavy-armor-wearing humanoid figures, but I almost never need to stage more than a tiny number at any one time.

So I'm always on the lookout for plot ideas that would justify staging 20+ heavies all at once.
98. Okay, super specific for 5e:

If the mechanic is declared *at the time of the roll it's affecting,* it should grant a reroll rather than advantage.

If it's put in place earlier and grants its effect to the next atk/check/save, it should grant advantage rather than reroll.
98b. Declaring & spending at the time of the roll is 100% going to have people remembering, ONLY after a failed roll, that they have the feature and want to use it, so it behaves like a reroll in real use. The DM telling them no (as Matt Mercer often has to) is UX design fail.
98c. This is one of the issues with Inspiration granting advantage rather than a reroll. Deciding you want to spend it before the roll just can't feel good.
99. By contrast, +dX (such as Bardic Inspiration) feels basically fine declared before or after the roll.
100. I am so tired of darkvision. It has become so common that it mainly exists as an absence from a tiny number of races. Conflating low-light vision and darkvision in 5e didn’t help.

Darkness should probably be a *meaningful* element of dungeon-crawling.
101. How you stat dangerous wild animals, and how often you use them as combat threats, is a huge world-building decision, though I doubt most DMs give it much thought.

It’s the closest we get to a fixed point of comparison for both PC and fantastical-creature prowess.
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