Gaming Terms that Annoy You... and why


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Very much so. There will be business negotiations where it makes sense to have a professional do the talking, but then there should also be situations where other characters get to/have to do some interaction.

Maybe the remote elven community leaders want to talk with the elf in the party, rather than the halfling who's the official face. Maybe the officials want to get a feel for the whole group and thus talk to them one on one. There should be all sorts of situations where each PC has to deal with people.

Liberty's Edge

I would not be surprised if the term "face" also had it's origins in the 80s A-tem series. Or it was a influence of some kind at least imo. Where one of the characters code name was Faceman was for all intensive puposes the "face" of the group.

I don't dislike the term fluff. So much that some in the hobby think that fluff will disguise bad mechanics. When in reality to me at least does the opposite.


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DnD or Dungeons and dragons as a general term for rpgs.

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@Raynulf - It's been my experience that most folks who avoid all non-mandatory social interaction with their "non-Face" characters have been trained to do so by at least one GM. Have enough instances of innocently trying to portray the grump you've envisioned and then having the GM unexpectedly call for a check and then force an embarrassment that you didn't sign up for, and you'll start keeping your head down as much as you can.

If it's not you, it might have been a previous GM. I recommend putting some extra effort into making it clear that demonstrating their flaws won't get them shamed (let alone penalized) at the table. That might remove your peeve. :)

Alternatively, it could also be a symptom of the players being very conscious of the "team" aspect of the game. Getting involved in the parts where the diplomat is supposed to shine might feel (to them) like betraying the trust that each player would respect what the other players claimed. Like if someone wanted to focus on stealth so they could scout ahead, then everyone else moved forward with them instead of waiting. That's pretty rude and inconsiderate, and it's possible that the "silent non-Faces" see the social encounters the same way.

If that's the situation, then changing the behavior will likely start with making sure that the invested diplomat feels like they still have plenty of times to do their thing, and that the other players can see that assurance. That way, the minor social interactions might feel less like that player's "territory", making it easier for others to get involved without feeling disrespectful.

Best of luck in getting your games going the way you like. :)

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memorax wrote:

I would not be surprised if the term "face" also had it's origins in the 80s A-tem series. Or it was a influence of some kind at least imo. Where one of the characters code name was Faceman was for all intensive puposes the "face" of the group.

I don't dislike the term fluff. So much that some in the hobby think that fluff will disguise bad mechanics. When in reality to me at least does the opposite.

Face comes from con man terminology. It's one of the roles that might need to be filled in a scam.


Jiggy wrote:

@Raynulf - It's been my experience that most folks who avoid all non-mandatory social interaction with their "non-Face" characters have been trained to do so by at least one GM. Have enough instances of innocently trying to portray the grump you've envisioned and then having the GM unexpectedly call for a check and then force an embarrassment that you didn't sign up for, and you'll start keeping your head down as much as you can.

If it's not you, it might have been a previous GM. I recommend putting some extra effort into making it clear that demonstrating their flaws won't get them shamed (let alone penalized) at the table. That might remove your peeve. :)

As a GM, I usually do, and find most players will eventually come out of their shell and talk in character with NPCs in my games. Not all, but most... Eventually.

There's a lot of ways to play this game, but people's expectations (and thus perception of "what the game is supposed to be") tend to be formed by the first campaign or two, and subsequently accepting other styles of play can be difficult. E.g. players who's first experience with D&D was with an adversarial GM trying to kill them at every turn, convincing them that it can be played in a narrative style where the GM is ultimately not "out to get you" is... hard. Very, very hard.

Study in human nature, I guess? :)

Jiggy wrote:


Best of luck in getting your games going the way you like. :)

Thanks :)


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Tank, in MMORPG terms, is someone who takes hits while holding all attention of the enemies while everyone else attacks it (or heals the PCs). The part of being a tank that doesn't really translate into TTRPG is the "holding aggro" where the enemy focuses solely on the guy in front of him with tunnel vision.

So making a "tank" is really difficult and requires GM cooperation. Of course, most creatures who are somewhat intelligent wouldn't focus solely on one person (unless they can take him out, in which case the player would probably get angry that his tank didn't perform like he thinks it should have).

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Adjule wrote:

Tank, in MMORPG terms, is someone who takes hits while holding all attention of the enemies while everyone else attacks it (or heals the PCs). The part of being a tank that doesn't really translate into TTRPG is the "holding aggro" where the enemy focuses solely on the guy in front of him with tunnel vision.

So making a "tank" is really difficult and requires GM cooperation. Of course, most creatures who are somewhat intelligent wouldn't focus solely on one person (unless they can take him out, in which case the player would probably get angry that his tank didn't perform like he thinks it should have).

The closest I've gotten to making a true tank in that sense is a Flowing Monk who can interrupt attacks made against an adjacent ally with a Reposition which places the enemy in a spot where I am it's only target.

It's a lot of fun when it works.


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'Effective character" when used in the sense of a character not being effective unless they are the BEST at whatever they do.

You don't have to be Michael Jordan to be an effective scorer, you don't have to be Usain Bolt to be an effective runner and you don't have to be Michael Phelps to be an 'effective' swimmer.

In other words, even the guy who finishes fourth at the Olympics and doesn't medal is 'effective' at their sport.


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I also think it's funny how tanks are supposed to be these invincible aggression-getters when, in real life, tanks have been prone to breakage and can be surprisingly delicate, with a whole squad of "squishy" warrior people dedicated to keeping it working and protecting it from the bad things so that it can destroy a target with its massive singular attaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...

Waaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiit a minute.


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Exactly why you never name your heavy armor wearing melee character Sherman...

(well played there Tac)

For me, Rules Lawyer is a term I hate, as it is often seen as a negative thing.

Unless you are being actively jerkish with your knowledge of the rules, adhering to the rules of the game should generally IMO be a good thing.

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GM_Beernorg wrote:

Exactly why you never name your heavy armor wearing melee character Sherman...

(well played there Tac)

For me, Rules Lawyer is a term I hate, as it is often seen as a negative thing.

Unless you are being actively jerkish with your knowledge of the rules, adhering to the rules of the game should generally IMO be a good thing.

Yeah, the D&D/PF-playing subculture has this weird thing where there's a segment of the population that condemns very good things, such as actually being good at the game, the equality of the participants, and everybody reminding each other of things they missed.

Get a group of adults together to play just about any other game (whether competitive or cooperative), and you see people happy about good plays, you see people correct each other and remind each other of rules like it's no big deal, and you see (in the case of a dispute) people defer to whomever is clearly most knowledgeable about the game rules. Everybody's equal, everybody's working together to have a good time.

Bring that same behavior into certain segments of the D&D/PF community, though, and now you're a powergaming rules lawyer who doesn't respect the GM and has (somehow) missed that the point of the game is to have fun. Oh, and you don't know how to roleplay, either.

It is truly fascinating to watch sometimes.

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Jiggy wrote:

Have enough instances of innocently trying to portray the grump you've envisioned and then having the GM unexpectedly call for a check and then force an embarrassment that you didn't sign up for, and you'll start keeping your head down as much as you can.

This is why I make it clear to new players that everybody will sometimes be called on to make a check on any ability score - just because you dump Charisma doesn't mean you'll never have to roll it. I agree that it shouldn't be a surprise - that's being a jerk.

I'm not a fan of "murderhobo," at least when used with the assumption that all games are played that way - with itinerant characters who go around killing. I haven't played in a group that fits that description since the early 80s.

I don't actually have a problem with the term "rocket tag," except that generally when I see it used I tend to disagree strongly with the opinion espoused by the user. (High level Pathfinder doesn't have to come down to an initiative roll; that's simply a consequence of a certain style of optimization - avoid that style and you avoid rocket tag).


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Tis indeed, I have seen that very thing happen from the rules lawyer seat, was advised I was "not welcome back" to play with that group.

It was a very odd feeling to be chastised for knowing the rules "too" well.


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Roleplaying is grown-up 'playing pretend.'

Some people feel their wonderland of makebelieve is threatened if somebody comes in with an encyclopedic knowledge of rules they play fast and loose with.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Adjule wrote:

Tank, in MMORPG terms, is someone who takes hits while holding all attention of the enemies while everyone else attacks it (or heals the PCs). The part of being a tank that doesn't really translate into TTRPG is the "holding aggro" where the enemy focuses solely on the guy in front of him with tunnel vision.

So making a "tank" is really difficult and requires GM cooperation. Of course, most creatures who are somewhat intelligent wouldn't focus solely on one person (unless they can take him out, in which case the player would probably get angry that his tank didn't perform like he thinks it should have).

As others have pointed out, the reason that role is called "Tank" in an MMO, is becasue plate fighters were called Tanks in TTRPGS before MMOs existed.

The aggro mechanics of the MMO is irrelevant when using the term to describe a role you want your character to portray in a TTRPG.
Everyone understands what it means, unless you spend time splitting hairs.


OTOH,I've been the goto guy for rules in several groups even when other people were running with no problems.

I've also seen players try to (and sometimes succeed) talk the GM into allowing corner case rules interpretations to work in their favor. At length and to the point of disrupting the game.

Rules lawyers in the negative sense exist.It's not always they just don't like players who know the rules better.


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Dwarven tank: Shale Dempti


Kryzbyn wrote:
Adjule wrote:

Tank, in MMORPG terms, is someone who takes hits while holding all attention of the enemies while everyone else attacks it (or heals the PCs). The part of being a tank that doesn't really translate into TTRPG is the "holding aggro" where the enemy focuses solely on the guy in front of him with tunnel vision.

So making a "tank" is really difficult and requires GM cooperation. Of course, most creatures who are somewhat intelligent wouldn't focus solely on one person (unless they can take him out, in which case the player would probably get angry that his tank didn't perform like he thinks it should have).

As others have pointed out, the reason that role is called "Tank" in an MMO, is becasue plate fighters were called Tanks in TTRPGS before MMOs existed.

The aggro mechanics of the MMO is irrelevant when using the term to describe a role you want your character to portray in a TTRPG.
Everyone understands what it means, unless you spend time splitting hairs.

I know this. But typically when I hear people say "I'm going to make a tank", they expect the enemies to focus on them (holding aggro) so they can keep the "squishies" from being hurt.


Adjule wrote:


I know this. But typically when I hear people say "I'm going to make a tank", they expect the enemies to focus on them (holding aggro) so they can keep the "squishies" from being hurt.

Whereas I never hear of anyone expecting that among the people I play with - they just want to be hard to hurt and/or kill. I suspect there are generational or other population segmenting differences behind the differences in our experiences.


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thejeff wrote:

OTOH,I've been the goto guy for rules in several groups even when other people were running with no problems.

I've also seen players try to (and sometimes succeed) talk the GM into allowing corner case rules interpretations to work in their favor. At length and to the point of disrupting the game.

Rules lawyers in the negative sense exist.It's not always they just don't like players who know the rules better.

Yep its possible to be a bad rules lawyer, I had one which is what pushed me to learn 3.5 nearly backwards and forwards. I am fine with a guy who can quickly clarify a rule at the table. I do not need an extended argument mid session.

Adjule wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:
Adjule wrote:

Tank, in MMORPG terms, is someone who takes hits while holding all attention of the enemies while everyone else attacks it (or heals the PCs). The part of being a tank that doesn't really translate into TTRPG is the "holding aggro" where the enemy focuses solely on the guy in front of him with tunnel vision.

So making a "tank" is really difficult and requires GM cooperation. Of course, most creatures who are somewhat intelligent wouldn't focus solely on one person (unless they can take him out, in which case the player would probably get angry that his tank didn't perform like he thinks it should have).

As others have pointed out, the reason that role is called "Tank" in an MMO, is becasue plate fighters were called Tanks in TTRPGS before MMOs existed.

The aggro mechanics of the MMO is irrelevant when using the term to describe a role you want your character to portray in a TTRPG.
Everyone understands what it means, unless you spend time splitting hairs.
I know this. But typically when I hear people say "I'm going to make a tank", they expect the enemies to focus on them (holding aggro) so they can keep the "squishies" from being hurt.

If I tank in PF that usually means I made a fighter with whip feats and look for bottle necks. As long as I can disarm/grapple/trip/re-position what I am fighting I can keep squishes alive.


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We really prefer to be called Rules Advocates... :)

(it is always bad form to use rules knowledge to push extra hard on corner cases and to player advantage, but that is already covered with don't be a jerk, or the "don't smash folks with the giant Harley Quinn mallet of Rule Knowledge" That a word..adult seems to maybe apply here)

To clarify, none of the rules I cited during the game session in question benefited me, actually, a few were negative impacts for my PC, but hey, good Rules Lawyering is blind, much like true justice.


Jiggy wrote:

Get a group of adults together to play just about any other game (whether competitive or cooperative), and you see people happy about good plays, you see people correct each other and remind each other of rules like it's no big deal, and you see (in the case of a dispute) people defer to whomever is clearly most knowledgeable about the game rules. Everybody's equal, everybody's working together to have a good time.

Bring that same behavior into certain segments of the D&D/PF community, though, and now you're a powergaming rules lawyer who doesn't respect the GM and has (somehow) missed that the point of the game is to have fun. Oh, and you don't know how to roleplay, either.

...and that's why I only game with people that I know and trust, and with people vouched for by people I know and trust.

No game is better than a bad game.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Haladir wrote:
No game is better than a bad game.

Okay, I know what you meant here, but it sounds like you just said that there's nothing better than a bad game.


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John Woodford wrote:
I'd argue, though, that the MMORPG connotation of the tank is distinct from the TTRPG use: the MMORPG tank is a character that probably doesn't dish out a lot of damage, but stands there and takes attacks and protects the high-DPS characters who do the actual killing. By contrast your OD&D tank fighter was probably also the most reliable damage dealer, at least at low levels before the magic-user starting carting around a wand or two (and especially in the pre-Greyhawk days, before thieves and backstabbing).

I would not say "distinct" but yes, different flavors.

But what class isnt different today from OD&D?


Adjule wrote:

Tank, in MMORPG terms, is someone who takes hits while holding all attention of the enemies while everyone else attacks it (or heals the PCs). The part of being a tank that doesn't really translate into TTRPG is the "holding aggro" where the enemy focuses solely on the guy in front of him with tunnel vision.

So making a "tank" is really difficult and requires GM cooperation. Of course, most creatures who are somewhat intelligent wouldn't focus solely on one person (unless they can take him out, in which case the player would probably get angry that his tank didn't perform like he thinks it should have).

Well, if he is standing in a narrow corridor, I think they would. Besides, it's better to focus on one foe at a time.


ryric wrote:

I'm not a fan of "murderhobo," at least when used with the assumption that all games are played that way - with itinerant characters who go around killing. I haven't played in a group that fits that description since the early 80s.

I think what they are doing is sneering at D&D, with experience points, etc. They are saying THEIR style of game is oh soo much more better than D&D with it's "murderhobos".

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=murderhobo
"The term originated in discussions of tabletop role-playing games by authors seeking to create games aimed at styles of play not supported by traditional games like Dungeons & Dragons."

Only time I can remember Murderhobo style was in a 5th ed game.


Lol. What don't I hate? This is me we're talking about.

Mostly nowadays, I hate mmo based terms being used in games, people whining about viability, asking to be sold on stuff, rules advocacy with an eye towards one upsmanship/system mastery at the expense of the others at the table/twink, munchkin, etc.

Not so much terms as behaviors.


That's because your definition of murderhobo is pretty tight and constrained Dr D.

Most of us use the term MurderHobo to describe parties who shoot first ask questions later. This sort of behavior seldom extends to 'in town' or whatnot, rather being the way they act on the road or in 'the dungeon' [dungeons themselves being a trope I'm not terribly fond of.]


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DrDeth wrote:
Well, if he is standing in a narrow corridor, I think they would. Besides, it's better to focus on one foe at a time.

As the wider hobby moved away from dungeon crawls, choke points like this became something of a holy grail for our group...


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Can some of you old timers explain the appeal to dungeon delving?

I know personally speaking I infinitely prefer an open world motif.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Freehold DM wrote:

Lol. What don't I hate? This is me we're talking about.

Mostly nowadays, I hate mmo based terms being used in games, people whining about viability, asking to be sold on stuff, rules advocacy with an eye towards one upsmanship/system mastery at the expense of the others at the table/twink, munchkin, etc.

Not so much terms as behaviors.

I agree on the sell me.

Either you understand the mechanics enough to make your own decisions, or you don't. How valid is anyone's response going to be to "sell" if the requestor doesn't understand what's going on in the first place?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
kyrt-ryder wrote:

Can some of you old timers explain the appeal to dungeon delving?

I know personally speaking I infinitely prefer an open world motif.

Why not both?


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kyrt-ryder wrote:
Can some of you old timers explain the appeal to dungeon delving?

A combination of being what people grew up on coupled with playing really well with certain gaming styles.

(While I can do either dungeonpalooza or "open world," I like variety enough that I find the best solution is the drop the occasional dungeon into my open world and enjoy)

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Kryzbyn wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:

Lol. What don't I hate? This is me we're talking about.

Mostly nowadays, I hate mmo based terms being used in games, people whining about viability, asking to be sold on stuff, rules advocacy with an eye towards one upsmanship/system mastery at the expense of the others at the table/twink, munchkin, etc.

Not so much terms as behaviors.

I agree on the sell me.

Either you understand the mechanics enough to make your own decisions, or you don't. How valid is anyone's response going to be to "sell" if the requestor doesn't understand what's going on in the first place?

You can understand the mechanics of a class/spell/ability/etc without understanding how it relates to the context of the larger metastructure of the game*. For example, you can understand the casting time, duration, and math of divine favor without understanding what that really means in the context of actual gameplay situations (considering action economy, enemy full-attacks and movement, likelihood of pre-casting, etc).

I've generally not participated in the "sell me" threads myself, but I always assumed that's what was going on.

*See also: "fighters can go all day", "you need a cleric for healing", "rogues are good at skills", etc.

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kyrt-ryder wrote:
Can some of you old timers explain the appeal to dungeon delving?

Dungeons are more easily defended. Thus people tend to put more interesting things in them.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Can some of you old timers explain the appeal to dungeon delving?
Dungeons are more easily defended. Thus people tend to put more interesting things in them.

+ you don't have to keep check at (at least) an half-sphere with a radius of seveal miles when in a dungeons, not that it mean Dungeons are less dangerous than open world.

... and something, something, video games.


Guy St-Amant wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Can some of you old timers explain the appeal to dungeon delving?
Dungeons are more easily defended. Thus people tend to put more interesting things in them.

+ you don't have to keep check at (at least) an half-sphere with a radius of seveal miles when in a dungeons, not that it mean Dungeons are less dangerous than open world.

... and something, something, video games.

Given that I'd guess that Table top RPGs have become less focused on dungeons even as video games become more dominant, I doubt there's any connection there.

Old school was all about the dungeon. Everything else came along later.


kyrt-ryder wrote:

That's because your definition of murderhobo is pretty tight and constrained Dr D.

Most of us use the term MurderHobo to describe parties who shoot first ask questions later. This sort of behavior seldom extends to 'in town' or whatnot, rather being the way they act on the road or in 'the dungeon' [dungeons themselves being a trope I'm not terribly fond of.]

Well, it's the definition that the guys who originated meant, except that they also meant all of us who play any form of D&F play "murderhoboes".

So, since few people play like like that, and the term is designed and meant to denigrate all D&D players, let's us just not use it, OK? I mean, what's wrong with "parties who shoot first ask questions later"?

By using THEIR term, you are falling into their trap of all D&D is played by nothing but murderhobos.


kyrt-ryder wrote:

Can some of you old timers explain the appeal to dungeon delving?

I know personally speaking I infinitely prefer an open world motif.

We had open worlds too. Just that dungeons had concentrated loot and foes, and usually were built on a level system, with easier monsters up top, and so forth. Whereas wilderness random encounters could result in a TPK, easy.

Outdoors was also "travel, fight, rest- rinse wash repeat". Dungeons included traps, puzzles, mysterious idols or pools, and even wish rooms.

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Dungeons are a lot easier play environment for both players and GMs. From the GM side, you generally only have to prepare what's actually in the constrained space, you only need to create finite paths, you might even get away with a fairly static environment.

For players, small rooms mean less foes at once in general, and usually you can get to your goal by following one of the paths presented to you. You might not get to choose where you go on a railroad, but they tend to run smoothly and efficiently when followed.

There's a reason the old BX and BECMI versions of D&D started with pure dungeon crawling. It's easier to handle.


"memorax"Where one of the characters code name was Faceman was for all intensive puposes the "face" of the group.[/QUOTE wrote:

I think you meant to say for all intents and purposes.


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Huh... I suppose that's just part of my style as a player and GM.

As player I value freedom and agency above almost anything else.

As a GM I try to give my players that, and I don't like the amount of mental energy it takes to lay out a dungeon. I can create encounters and plots on the fly, but dungeons require structure and layout.


kyrt-ryder wrote:

Huh... I suppose that's just part of my style as a player and GM.

As player I value freedom and agency above almost anything else.

As a GM I try to give my players that, and I don't like the amount of mental energy it takes to lay out a dungeon. I can create encounters and plots on the fly, but dungeons require structure and layout.

How do freedom and agency vary between dungeon adventuring and open world? Dungeon delving has plenty of freedom and agency as long as the PCs have the choice of whether to interact with a particular dungeon or not.


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I suppose you're right Bill, that was a copout when I didn't have a better reasoning behind my dislike of dungeon environs.


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I think kyrt-ryder has a good point, though I respect them for owning up to what they felt was a "copout". It's possible to make the choice of whether to dungeon delve available, but once they're in the dungeon, they're committed to the structure. You can make a dungeon flexible in terms of choice, but it takes a lot of effort and planning.


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Here, why don't we move this off-thread?


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Here, why don't we move this off-thread?

You're not my Dad!

I mean, um, sure.

Anyway, getting back on topic, I guess talk about characters being unrealistic. My personal view is that once you hit level 5, every character should be able to accomplish feats that make regular folks think witchcraft was involved. I'm kind of a fan of the Charles Atlas Superpower trope as far as fantasy heroes go.


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Take a close look at what spells can do, and you see large jumps at character levels 5, 9, 13 and 17. Thus that's where I've drawn out 'tiers of play' for my own games.

Hint hint level 13-16 are Demigods.


thejeff wrote:
Guy St-Amant wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
Can some of you old timers explain the appeal to dungeon delving?
Dungeons are more easily defended. Thus people tend to put more interesting things in them.

+ you don't have to keep check at (at least) an half-sphere with a radius of seveal miles when in a dungeons, not that it mean Dungeons are less dangerous than open world.

... and something, something, video games.

Given that I'd guess that Table top RPGs have become less focused on dungeons even as video games become more dominant, I doubt there's any connection there.

Meant older Video Games, where most of the stuff happened in towns or in Dungeons.

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