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  1. - Top - End - #181
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    Default Re: Biggest tabletop system pet peeves

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Again, purely your experience.
    Definitely my experience, yes, and I keep saying "IME". However, there is some logic to it. Just like the kind of GM who would knee-jerk "core only, for balance" tends to be indicative of certain personality traits, going to the trouble to change the system and lock off the world without a good reason is also indicative of certain personality traits. It's really not that big of a leap from "changing reality because reasons" to "changing reality to negate character actions", is it? Because it makes sense to me, and has certainly been related in my experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    The vast majority of gamers have not reported running across the problem, with one exception -- the aforementioned assumptions by certain players of universal applicability of all published material to all gaming tables, such that they take offense when a GM tells them that no, they can't bring in their level 12 snowflake with multiple PrCs from wildly divergent incompatible settings who is "half" five different races and blessed by Fate and blah blah blah blah blah.
    Again, you're conflating ideas. I have no problem with "no elves" or even "all elves" as a requirement for a D&D game (or, obviously, with a stated level range), if there's a good reason for such. Not all characters work with all games, all parties, or all GMs. That's all fine.

    But existing characters are known quantities. It's easier (for me, at least) to judge how well an existing character will mesh with a group than to make that judgement with a new character. Thus, on top of other reasons, even purely for "fitting in" reasons, I'll aim for existing character for the win.

    So, about the opposite of where you went with this.

    Now, a GM who cannot articulate his reasons for imposing limitations is an issue. Because the GM is the eyes and ears of the character. A GM who can't explain things is an ongoing issue, and probably not going to be worth my time fun for me to game under. But, as long as they can explain what they want out of the party, and why, I'll pick the existing character I think will best match that.

    -----

    Also, if the GM says "we're playing an all-elf game, being an elf", and the player brings a troll, that's on the player. But if the GM says, "bring a D&D character", and the player brings a troll (valid in at least 3e), and the GM is upset because they wanted an elf, then it's on the GM for not being specific enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    Regardless of whether you personally would find such a character interesting, would you accept Mario as a character in your games? Not someone that acts like Mario, but the actual mustachioed quasi-plumber that defeats his enemies by jumping on them and powers up by eating mushrooms? Would this game accept, at the same time, Khorne as a character? And also Thomas the Train Engine? Along with Barack Obama and MYOCDON'TSTEAL the anthropomorphic hedgehog? Again, not if you would enjoy playing these characters, but if your games, where you are the GM, would accept all of them playing at once at the same time.
    Well, now, that's several different questions.

    Would I accept any one of those characters individually in a game where their personality would work well with the party? I'm a very lenient GM - I'd probably give it a try, although I usually run without rails (or drugs), so I'd warn at least Thomas's (and Mario's) player that it might not be such a good plan

    Would I accept a party of such diverse characters? Um... Well, a party with such disparate backgrounds sounds like RIFTS to me, so... Why not?

    Would I accept these particular characters together in a party? Um... I, personally think that this is a bad plan. I can't imagine the start conditions / character creation rules I could have set that would possibly produce a scenario where all of these were valid characters. However, if they were all legal for... Um... A multiversal talk show, maybe?, then, sure.

    So, usually, even if I said "Mutants and Masterminds, 150 points, RIFTS-esque, bring new or existing - yes, even published known names like Mario", I'd usually have a caveat about the adventure, even if it was "for a political sandbox" or "as guests on a talk show". So long as the character meets my criteria in good faith, it's on me if the criteria were chosen poorly.

    But, that having been said, this line of thought is irrelevant to playing, say, an existing D&D character under a different GM.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    One of the many problems with taking a character to a new DM's table is that you don't necessarily know everything about your own equipment. Some curses don't show up immediately.
    Yeah, that is an issue. I always felt that there should be an officially supported, GM only "character secrets" foo. I'd say "website", but, well, back in my day, we didn't have websites.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2018-02-13 at 06:36 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #182
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    Default Re: Biggest tabletop system pet peeves

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Again, you're conflating ideas.
    I'm not conflating anything.

    I am responding to precisely what you're putting on the page.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    It's really not that big of a leap from "changing reality because reasons" to "changing reality to negate character actions", is it?
    It's worlds away, see below.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2018-02-13 at 09:33 PM.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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  3. - Top - End - #183
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    Default Re: Biggest tabletop system pet peeves

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Definitely my experience, yes, and I keep saying "IME". However, there is some logic to it. Just like the kind of GM who would knee-jerk "core only, for balance" tends to be indicative of certain personality traits, going to the trouble to change the system and lock off the world without a good reason is also indicative of certain personality traits. It's really not that big of a leap from "changing reality because reasons" to "changing reality to negate character actions", is it? Because it makes sense to me, and has certainly been related in my experience.
    The framing here is quite telling. Just running with the default is inherently justified, but you have to have good reason to do anything else, and apparently not wanting to grant influence over the game to some rando who's not even at the table isn't good enough. These GMs aren't "Changing reality because reasons". There's no "reality" there until they build it, and they're building settings that they consider fun and interesting. Why, exactly should those settings happen to be basically identical to TSR/WotC's output? Why encourage the derivative and disappointing Tolkien clone, with added D&D baggage?

    To a large extent this criteria is also a matter of how well someone can elucidate thematic concepts, theorize about settings, and just generally BS their way through it. I can produce a decent argument in favor of even a really stupid setting, because I've built up a lot of practice BSing my way through literature courses* and defending the existence of RPGs that aren't basically D&D. Meanwhile a GM without that background can make a good setting, but because they're not necessarily practiced in BSing their way through literature courses or defending their setting against the interrogation of why it isn't just Forgotten Greyhawlarion they'll be dismissed as railroading.

    *This is what happens when I'm supposed to pretend to take New Criticism as the be all end all of literary theory.
    Last edited by Knaight; 2018-02-13 at 07:12 PM.

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    Default Re: Biggest tabletop system pet peeves

    Quote Originally Posted by CharonsHelper View Post
    So - "My gamemaster lets me transport between worlds" is correct, but so is "Hello Gamemaster, might I transfer my character from another world?" In addition - when used as a title - "Last week Gamemaster Dave let me transfer my mecha pilot to his sword & sorcery style world.".
    Valid, maybe I should have added "when inappropriate" or "all the time" to the original comment.

    On Transplanting Characters: ... Not something I have done very often, and when I have I have called out "alt-universe version". Why? Because hacking out a character out of the setting, from all their relationships, from what they have, what they know about the world around them, is quite a bit of the character. So in my mind, you are not quite starting with a blank slate, but you are rubbing out large portions of that slate anyways.

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    Default Re: Biggest tabletop system pet peeves

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    The framing here is quite telling. Just running with the default is inherently justified, but you have to have good reason to do anything else, and apparently not wanting to grant influence over the game to some rando who's not even at the table isn't good enough. These GMs aren't "Changing reality because reasons". There's no "reality" there until they build it, and they're building settings that they consider fun and interesting. Why, exactly should those settings happen to be basically identical to TSR/WotC's output? Why encourage the derivative and disappointing Tolkien clone, with added D&D baggage?
    Very important point.

    The GM who makes their own setting is not changing (secondary, fictional, whatever) reality -- there's no reality until they put "pen to paper".
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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    Default Re: Biggest tabletop system pet peeves

    As far as transplanting characters goes, I played in a game where my Ordo Malleus Inquisitor Lord went on a trip to modern day Earth with a tiefling warlock, mad scientist, godling, and a few others from different settings to save the universe. It was fun.

    However, there's a time and place for things, and try to play within the spirit of the world I've written. And sometimes I will make restrictions on what you can and can't play: I don't ever allow Quarantine World or Daemon World, the Exorcised background, or the Malefic Daemonology power tree. If your plan was to summon daemons and be a closet heretic, save it for when we play Black Crusade.
    Guardsmen, hear me! Cadia may lie in ruin, but her proud people do not! For each brother and sister who gave their lives to Him as martyrs, we will reap a vengeance fiftyfold! Cadia may be no more, but will never be forgotten; our foes shall tremble in fear at the name, for their doom shall come from the barrels of Cadian guns, fired by Cadian hands! Forward, for vengeance and retribution, in His name and the names of our fallen comrades!

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    Default Re: Biggest tabletop system pet peeves

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    However, it is still a system. No GM is required to use all the races or restrict his world to the published races. No GM is every required to include all the listed magic items, monsters, spells, or classes, either -- or to restrict their campaign to the published races.
    Sure, I agree it's a system, but I also think it's also a setting. From my perspective, if I say "We're going to play D&D", you have a pretty good idea of what to expect, even without me specifying whether we're playing in Greyhawk or FR or even Ravenloft. A good 50-80% of what you need to know about the world you're about to be journeying through is encapsulated in just saying we're playing D&D. This as opposed to if I said "We're going to play GURPS/Fate/FUDGE". And it's very much a sliding scale, with pure (or as close to pure as you can get) systems like GURPS and Fate at one end, and pure settings (as in actual setting books) at the other end. D&D falls somewhere in the middle. It's a system, and one that can be (and has been) heavily modified to support a wide variety of different settings, but it has a lot of setting built in, and the more to stray from that built in setting, the more the system itself starts to break down as well

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    Default Re: Biggest tabletop system pet peeves

    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    Regardless of whether you personally would find such a character interesting, would you accept Mario as a character in your games? Not someone that acts like Mario, but the actual mustachioed quasi-plumber that defeats his enemies by jumping on them and powers up by eating mushrooms? Would this game accept, at the same time, Khorne as a character? And also Thomas the Train Engine? Along with Barack Obama and MYOCDON'TSTEAL the anthropomorphic hedgehog? Again, not if you would enjoy playing these characters, but if your games, where you are the GM, would accept all of them playing at once at the same time.
    ...I mean, it's not for every campaign, but running that at least once sounds like it'd be amazing!
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    Default Re: Biggest tabletop system pet peeves

    Quote Originally Posted by LordCdrMilitant View Post
    As far as transplanting characters goes, I played in a game where my Ordo Malleus Inquisitor Lord went on a trip to modern day Earth with a tiefling warlock, mad scientist, godling, and a few others from different settings to save the universe. It was fun.

    However, there's a time and place for things, and try to play within the spirit of the world I've written. And sometimes I will make restrictions on what you can and can't play: I don't ever allow Quarantine World or Daemon World, the Exorcised background, or the Malefic Daemonology power tree. If your plan was to summon daemons and be a closet heretic, save it for when we play Black Crusade.
    And with the former, sounds like that was the entire intent of the campaign, to bring in all sorts of different characters.

    That strikes me as a different from trying to impose a character where they don't fit.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

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    Default Re: Biggest tabletop system pet peeves

    I remember the idea that you would bring a character from one friends game to another being rather common in the 80s. For multiple systems, but primarily for D&D obviously, since it was the bull in the china shop. You might have to modify them in the process, especially up or down in levels. But it wasn't exactly a rare occurrence for a bunch of friend to go find a DM explicitly so they could play existing characters.

    Even more common was bringing the non-mechanical portion on a character from game to game, even from system to system. Everyone had a primary character that they would make in multiple games. Same personality, same basic character concept, they'd just adapt the rules of the game to remake that character. Mad Morrigan might always be a sneaky stabby character, Frank the Tank always a short heavy weapon warrior, usually a dwarf. Etc.

    These were common at both my high school gaming organizations, and at my college ones, especially the latter. So it clearly wasn't just a one local aberration from the norm.

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    Default Re: Biggest tabletop system pet peeves

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    I remember the idea that you would bring a character from one friends game to another being rather common in the 80s. For multiple systems, but primarily for D&D obviously, since it was the bull in the china shop. You might have to modify them in the process, especially up or down in levels. But it wasn't exactly a rare occurrence for a bunch of friend to go find a DM explicitly so they could play existing characters.

    Even more common was bringing the non-mechanical portion on a character from game to game, even from system to system. Everyone had a primary character that they would make in multiple games. Same personality, same basic character concept, they'd just adapt the rules of the game to remake that character. Mad Morrigan might always be a sneaky stabby character, Frank the Tank always a short heavy weapon warrior, usually a dwarf. Etc.

    These were common at both my high school gaming organizations, and at my college ones, especially the latter. So it clearly wasn't just a one local aberration from the norm.
    Honestly I wouldn't have any problem with carrying a character concept between games (or "cloning" a character that you had used earlier). It may be "bob the barbarian," (with the same personality and rough-strokes backstory) but it's adapted for setting, campaign, and power level.

    I have a difficulty with expecting that exact character, including all the experiences, history, etc. moving smoothly between games. Most of all--why is that person actually taking part in these adventures?

    I have an even bigger difficulty with the "god slumming with mortals" idea--it breaks the setting (can gods do that? Not in any established setting I'm aware of), it breaks the campaign (why isn't the god just fixing things?) and it breaks the inter-party relationships (it feels horribly condescending--"I'll let you lesser creatures try, and then I'll step in and fix what you break").

    I have one player whose character thinks he's a far realms godlike being incarnated. Is he? Or is he crazy? Either way, it's flavor only. Just about everybody thinks he's just crazy. That's as far as I'd be willing to go on that angle.
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    Oh yeah I'm with you on that. Remember, this was high school and college kids in the 80s. We were interested in bringing over our awesome stats (edit: and gear), not our awesome memories of things that had happened.

    Edit2: it's also worth mentioning that continuity was only ever given lip service. It wasn't until well into 2e era that I started encountering groups that were big on what I'd call story, world, campaign, or character continuity.
    Last edited by Tanarii; 2018-02-14 at 10:52 AM.

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    Default Re: Biggest tabletop system pet peeves

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Oh yeah I'm with you on that. Remember, this was high school and college kids in the 80s. We were interested in bringing over our awesome stats (edit: and gear), not our awesome memories of things that had happened.

    Edit2: it's also worth mentioning that continuity was only ever given lip service. It wasn't until well into 2e era that I started encountering groups that were big on what I'd call story, world, campaign, or character continuity.
    Yeah, game style and audience matter. If it's "kick down the door, kill the monsters and take their loot" (to use a stereotype), then characters that fit the world don't matter. Because the world isn't realized.

    I much prefer a world that has some depth because otherwise I have to use rails. Contra Quertus, it's because I care about the world that I can allow freedom. Otherwise, I have no way of knowing what's on the other side of those hills, at least not consistently. I of course reserve the right to be selective about which adventure pieces become canon for future games, but once a game's in play the PCs can change it however they're able.

    Heck, I had a group overthrow a government and institute fantasy communism. From that (and other groups running in that same world) I learned how much my presentation of this hide-bound society (flawed, but I thought it was relatively balanced) came across as being tyrannical and facistic.
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    Default Re: Biggest tabletop system pet peeves

    Quote Originally Posted by NovenFromTheSun View Post
    ...I mean, it's not for every campaign, but running that at least once sounds like it'd be amazing!
    Oh for sure, there is something to be said for complete insanity as a gaming experience now and then. But it would be a bit much to expect that every time, and to claim that a DM saying they're not interested in that sort of campaign right now is also likely to be the railroady type? Yeah, not so much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post

    Well, now, that's several different questions.

    Would I accept any one of those characters individually in a game where their personality would work well with the party? I'm a very lenient GM - I'd probably give it a try, although I usually run without rails (or drugs), so I'd warn at least Thomas's (and Mario's) player that it might not be such a good plan

    Would I accept a party of such diverse characters? Um... Well, a party with such disparate backgrounds sounds like RIFTS to me, so... Why not?

    Would I accept these particular characters together in a party? Um... I, personally think that this is a bad plan. I can't imagine the start conditions / character creation rules I could have set that would possibly produce a scenario where all of these were valid characters. However, if they were all legal for... Um... A multiversal talk show, maybe?, then, sure.

    So, usually, even if I said "Mutants and Masterminds, 150 points, RIFTS-esque, bring new or existing - yes, even published known names like Mario", I'd usually have a caveat about the adventure, even if it was "for a political sandbox" or "as guests on a talk show". So long as the character meets my criteria in good faith, it's on me if the criteria were chosen poorly.

    But, that having been said, this line of thought is irrelevant to playing, say, an existing D&D character under a different GM.
    It's all intended as the same question actually. Would you allow all of these characters together in every
    game, or are there games and scenarios where that wouldn't be appropriate? Say if you were not intending to run a Rifts-esque or interdimensional talk show game, but everyone just happened to bring these characters that they've played with previous GMs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Oh yeah I'm with you on that. Remember, this was high school and college kids in the 80s. We were interested in bringing over our awesome stats (edit: and gear), not our awesome memories of things that had happened.

    Edit2: it's also worth mentioning that continuity was only ever given lip service. It wasn't until well into 2e era that I started encountering groups that were big on what I'd call story, world, campaign, or character continuity.
    Porting characters was the culture in 2E. Didn't matter if your new DM doesn't know your previous DM let alone that game. Players brought their old character into the new game. The 2E DMG even discussed the matter, telling DMs to be careful with magic items the character has so as not to disrupt the game. The idea of creating a new character for a new campaign while not unheard of was not common. It wasn't conscious thought to create a new character for a campaign at the level the party was. It happened, but the more prevalent thought was every new character had to start at 1st level. Ergo, players would bring in their old character of an already appropriate level.

    3E changed that. Porting characters was never discussed in the DMG. Wealth by level was a guide to creating characters above 1st to start play. Gaming culture evolved to new campaign, new character. Bringing in an old character wouldn't be an option. At best a player recreated his character statistics if they were that important to him, but generally players created new characters.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1337 b4k4 View Post
    Sure, I agree it's a system, but I also think it's also a setting. From my perspective, if I say "We're going to play D&D", you have a pretty good idea of what to expect, even without me specifying whether we're playing in Greyhawk or FR or even Ravenloft. A good 50-80% of what you need to know about the world you're about to be journeying through is encapsulated in just saying we're playing D&D. This as opposed to if I said "We're going to play GURPS/Fate/FUDGE". And it's very much a sliding scale, with pure (or as close to pure as you can get) systems like GURPS and Fate at one end, and pure settings (as in actual setting books) at the other end. D&D falls somewhere in the middle. It's a system, and one that can be (and has been) heavily modified to support a wide variety of different settings, but it has a lot of setting built in, and the more to stray from that built in setting, the more the system itself starts to break down as well

    From my perspective, it's a system with a lot of very unhelpful assumptions baked in. But I also think some of the "oh we'll be playing a game like this" is player assumption rather than inherent to the system.

    My favorite system overall is still HERO 5th ed, despite a few flaws, and I take a lot of my approach from that angle -- so to me, the divide between the system as a toolkit, and the actual setting, has no real ambiguity.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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    So... in trying to understand, not how, buy why Jay R and I differ, when so very much of our "why" is actually identical, I seem to have derailed this thread. Sorry.

    But Exploration is my greatest enjoyment in a game, and it's little different on a forum (it comes in second to learning, of which, arguably, it is merely a subset). So I'mma try to clarify a few things, and see if I can de-obfuscate all this confusion.

    If someone says, "build a 7th level 3e D&D character for a Forgotten Realms game", I will most likely bring an existing rules-legal 7th level 3e D&D character... from a different world. Because world-travel is explicitly a thing in 3e D&D Forgotten Realms, and I would like to explore their idea of the Forgotten Realms rather than find that the Forgotten Realms as I understand it doesn't match their view of the Forgotten Realms, thereby making my character an in-setting alien that grates on the GM's nerves*.

    What I care about is the character of the character, their history and backstory and adventures that they've been through. I want to explore the character of the character about as much as I want to explore the world. Exploring "a whole bunch of similar characters, who may even have the same name and broad-strokes backstory" is... rather antithetical to that. I'd much rather paint one picture than throw a few brush strokes on 100 sheets of paper / canvases. The latter not only has no appeal to me, but is actively detrimental to me exploring the depths of a single character.

    * and because I need to "take a 20" to create a character that I'll enjoy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    To a large extent this criteria is also a matter of how well someone can elucidate thematic concepts, theorize about settings, and just generally BS their way through it. I can produce a decent argument in favor of even a really stupid setting, because I've built up a lot of practice BSing my way through literature courses* and defending the existence of RPGs that aren't basically D&D. Meanwhile a GM without that background can make a good setting, but because they're not necessarily practiced in BSing their way through literature courses or defending their setting against the interrogation of why it isn't just Forgotten Greyhawlarion they'll be dismissed as railroading.
    A GM with an awesome setting that they cannot talk about is of no value for my Exploration. This should be obvious.

    A GM who can actually BS with the consistency of an actual thought-through world? Think very carefully about all the GM horror stories, the fact that most official D&D worlds aren't actually consistent, and the forum posters who get called out for failed attempts at BS. But a GM who could pass my interrogation by BSing? Yes, I suppose that might possibly produce a world that was fun to "Explore"...

    Now, usually, I'll catch the GM BSing, and they'll fail for BS. Similarly, I'll usually keep poking at a GM who has trouble explaining themselves (I'm sure that comes as quite the surprise), and either we'll come to an understanding about communication, or they'll fail for lack of communication, not for assumption of future railroading behavior.

    But, sure, it's entirely possible for my experiences to give both false positives and false negatives. Note that I didn't say "every GM", but (something like) "high correlation between".

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    On Transplanting Characters: ... Not something I have done very often, and when I have I have called out "alt-universe version". Why? Because hacking out a character out of the setting, from all their relationships, from what they have, what they know about the world around them, is quite a bit of the character. So in my mind, you are not quite starting with a blank slate, but you are rubbing out large portions of that slate anyways.
    I want to paint a picture. Why keep painting on the same canvas when I could instead just grab a new canvas and start painting something like the picture that I already started? I can just have a pile of half-finished pictures, and that's just as good, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    I remember the idea that you would bring a character from one friends game to another being rather common in the 80s. For multiple systems, but primarily for D&D obviously, since it was the bull in the china shop. You might have to modify them in the process, especially up or down in levels. But it wasn't exactly a rare occurrence for a bunch of friend to go find a DM explicitly so they could play existing characters.

    Even more common was bringing the non-mechanical portion on a character from game to game, even from system to system. Everyone had a primary character that they would make in multiple games. Same personality, same basic character concept, they'd just adapt the rules of the game to remake that character. Mad Morrigan might always be a sneaky stabby character, Frank the Tank always a short heavy weapon warrior, usually a dwarf. Etc.

    These were common at both my high school gaming organizations, and at my college ones, especially the latter. So it clearly wasn't just a one local aberration from the norm.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Oh yeah I'm with you on that. Remember, this was high school and college kids in the 80s. We were interested in bringing over our awesome stats (edit: and gear), not our awesome memories of things that had happened.

    Edit2: it's also worth mentioning that continuity was only ever given lip service. It wasn't until well into 2e era that I started encountering groups that were big on what I'd call story, world, campaign, or character continuity.
    Well, at least someone else remembers it being common. I guess that's something.

    I play characters to explore the human psyche. The "awesome memories" and my knowledge of how it felt, how it affected the character, etc, is kinda the point. So, while my behavior might be similar to what you've seen, my underlying reasons are completely different.

    Whereas Jay R and I seem to have almost identical reasons, but completely different methods.

    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    Porting characters was the culture in 2E. Didn't matter if your new DM doesn't know your previous DM let alone that game. Players brought their old character into the new game. The 2E DMG even discussed the matter, telling DMs to be careful with magic items the character has so as not to disrupt the game. The idea of creating a new character for a new campaign while not unheard of was not common. It wasn't conscious thought to create a new character for a campaign at the level the party was. It happened, but the more prevalent thought was every new character had to start at 1st level. Ergo, players would bring in their old character of an already appropriate level.
    Yay, more proof that I'm not insane! Well, that I am insane, but that my insanity isn't the cause of this particular memory.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    3E changed that. Porting characters was never discussed in the DMG. Wealth by level was a guide to creating characters above 1st to start play. Gaming culture evolved to new campaign, new character. Bringing in an old character wouldn't be an option. At best a player recreated his character statistics if they were that important to him, but generally players created new characters.
    My tables took that the opposite way. WBL gave a "Rules as Intended" "this is what to expect from ported characters". It actually facilitated porting characters from one game to another without disrupting the game.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Contra Quertus, it's because I care about the world that I can allow freedom.
    Can you explain that bit?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Honestly I wouldn't have any problem with carrying a character concept between games (or "cloning" a character that you had used earlier). It may be "bob the barbarian," (with the same personality and rough-strokes backstory) but it's adapted for setting, campaign, and power level.
    I've seen that behavior. I'm not a fan.

    I prefer players who try to pick a character who has the appropriate personality, motivation, and power level for the group/setting/game/GM. Of course, I'm biased, as I'm one of those players.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I have a difficulty with expecting that exact character, including all the experiences, history, etc. moving smoothly between games.
    Why? Is, say, Batman, played by the same actor, but under a different director, somehow no longer the same character?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Most of all--why is that person actually taking part in these adventures?
    Because the player has carefully selected them as the most appropriate character to take part in these adventures, perhaps?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I have an even bigger difficulty with the "god slumming with mortals" idea--it breaks the setting (can gods do that? Not in any established setting I'm aware of), it breaks the campaign (why isn't the god just fixing things?) and it breaks the inter-party relationships (it feels horribly condescending--"I'll let you lesser creatures try, and then I'll step in and fix what you break").
    If it ever comes out that one of my characters that is actually a deity is a deity, then they have failed.

    If the deity actually brought their divine power to bear, then they'd have to contend with other deities, and it'd get messy.

    I'm playing a stat block that is appropriate for the game, but the driving personality is actually one of my deities.

    Because it is so much easier (for me, at least) to come up with a stat block than with an interesting personality for me to explore.

    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    Oh for sure, there is something to be said for complete insanity as a gaming experience now and then. But it would be a bit much to expect that every time, and to claim that a DM saying they're not interested in that sort of campaign right now is also likely to be the railroady type? Yeah, not so much.
    Again, if you ask me to bring a 7th level 3e D&D character, what does it matter if my rules-legal 3e D&D character was created whole-cloth for this game, or is one that I've run at another table before?

    But railroading GMs tend to think in terms of cutting off rules legal valid options. Thus, those who cut off rules legal valid options... tend to be railroading GMs. Yeah, so much. Funny how that works.

    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    It's all intended as the same question actually. Would you allow all of these characters together in every
    game, or are there games and scenarios where that wouldn't be appropriate? Say if you were not intending to run a Rifts-esque or interdimensional talk show game, but everyone just happened to bring these characters that they've played with previous GMs.
    If I ask for a 7th level 3e D&D character, and you somehow manage to make a rules-legal Thomas the Tank Engine? Go for it! And no, I don't care if you have run Thomas at someone else's table before, so long as he meets the criteria I've set for characters.

    But, no, every game has rules for valid characters (be those rules statistics, personality, race, whatever), and I seriously doubt anyone could possible play all of those characters you listed in every game I've ever run or ever will run.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2018-02-14 at 01:57 PM.

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    Yes, that Batman that won't kill you, but doesn't have to save you, is not in fact the same Batman that wields the awesome power of the Bat Credit Card. But more to the point, what distinguishes the criteria you set from others? Why does "your character can't be the mortal avatar of a gid slumming around with mortals" trip flags?
    Last edited by georgie_leech; 2018-02-14 at 01:57 PM.
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    We should try to make that a thing; I think it might help civility. Hey, GitP, let's try to make this a thing: when you're arguing optimization strategies, RAW-logic, and similar such things that you'd never actually use in a game, tag your post [THEORETICAL] and/or use green text
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    If you make an incarnated god where that doesn't ever come into play, then you wasted your time thinking of them as an incarnated god. It's completely null.

    And there are lots of D&D legal worlds where an incarnated god is an impossibility--even the FR doesn't deal well with that. The gods are inherently special. By demanding that, you're saying that the setting doesn't matter at all, that your needs are more important than the in-universe reality. That you want an unreal character, an impossibility. That's special snowflake/"look at me I'm special" territory. That would be a huge red flag for me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Oh yeah I'm with you on that. Remember, this was high school and college kids in the 80s.
    Remember it, too. Than Pharaoh happened, than Dragonlance, than White Wolf. Gaming and the expectations for the game itself changed a lot since then. Nowadays, I'm glad that players are invested in their character as well as the setting (and plot, if there's one) and want to be a part of it from the get-go, no "strangers from somewhere".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    Remember it, too. Than Pharaoh happened, than Dragonlance, than White Wolf. Gaming and the expectations for the game itself changed a lot since then. Nowadays, I'm glad that players are invested in their character as well as the setting (and plot, if there's one) and want to be a part of it from the get-go, no "strangers from somewhere".
    That's not my RPG experience, but then until recently I've mostly DM'd (and occasionally played) D&D official play since 4e came out. Often in game stores, but also as part of a large-scale email distro list where people run official play games out of their houses in my city.

    Now I run an open table 5e game in three different gaming stores, similar to AL. Characters generally start off as pretty blank slate, and are defined by what the player does with them during play. The advantage is they do get to have continuity since I'm only one DM running the game. Disadvantage is they can't bring AL characters to the table, they have to start new in my campaign.

    Edit: What I'm saying is Players do get invested in their characters in official play, but generally not setting or "plot" (connected events) because adventures tend to be stand-alone. Although the 5e adventure paths have changed that somewhat, from what I hear. But DDEX is far more common for AL groups to run rather than adventure paths IMX.
    Last edited by Tanarii; 2018-02-14 at 02:47 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    If you make an incarnated god where that doesn't ever come into play, then you wasted your time thinking of them as an incarnated god. It's completely null.
    By being "not from around here", I explicitly want all of my backstory to never come into play. But it's what defines the character - who they are and why they are who they are. Would you really say that that's completely null? Because, for me, it's everything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    Nowadays, I'm glad that players are invested in their character as well as the setting (and plot, if there's one) and want to be a part of it from the get-go, no "strangers from somewhere".
    Would you be glad that players are invested in their character and the setting, as opposed to invested in their character and exploring the setting, and, if so, why? Exploration is my greatest joy in gaming; it is thus of value to me to be able to identify GMs who will best give me what I desire vs those who consider it detrimental to the game.

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    I guess whats throwing me off about your approach to this, Quertus, is that you seem deeply invested in consistency when it comes to the world you are exploring but are asking the GM to accept a deep and serious INconsistency when it comes to just your character.

    Now, part of why I dont like running in published settings is because it builds the kinds of expectations you talk about, which become pain points when different people at the table have a conflicting vision of the setting. But its at least as grating (for many people) to have a character essentially drop out of the sky with no knowledge of their surroundings but fully capable of speaking the language, following social mores enough not to get into trouble, etc.

    If I had you at my table, Id probably be okay with you being from away provided you were willing to do some of the heavy lifting - that is, Id likely say something like: no godlings or alternate dimensions, people around here are races A-Z but Im willing to work with you on something else, youre from off the edge of the known map and arrived recently. But you have to answer:
    - how did you get here?
    - how is it that you speak the language?
    - what is the culture and society like where you are from?
    - if your immediate goal isnt to get home, what is it?

    And Id need to settle that with you before play starts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post

    If someone says, "build a 7th level 3e D&D character for a Forgotten Realms game", I will most likely bring an existing rules-legal 7th level 3e D&D character... from a different world. Because world-travel is explicitly a thing in 3e D&D Forgotten Realms, and I would like to explore their idea of the Forgotten Realms rather than find that the Forgotten Realms as I understand it doesn't match their view of the Forgotten Realms, thereby making my character an in-setting alien that grates on the GM's nerves*.
    I view this as wanting to be a special snowflake everyone must notice me. I see no reason to do this otherwise. It may be your fun, but it's drawing in extra special attention to disrupt verisimilitude. You could have kept your character intent yet work with the gameworld. It is likely the campaign would take place on the Sword Coast - Neverwinter, Silvery Moon, Waterdeep, Baldur's Gate, the wilderness in between. Therefore, have your character be from Mulhorand with the Far Traveler background from Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. The Good Guys PCs and NPCs are worshiping Tyr, Torm, Ilmater, Lathander, Chauntea, Tymora. You're worshiping Ra or Osiris or Isis.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    I would encourage all GMs to work with players, and I have no objection to "shared creation" of settings. I'm using "GM decides" here because it gets old to type out a bunch of qualifiers and details every time.
    But those qualifiers make the statement's meaning profoundly different. Being told "you can't do that, the DM said no" is railroading or at least something vaguely similar. Being told "you can't do that, we (a group that includes you) agreed that people can't do that" isn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Why, exactly should those settings happen to be basically identical to TSR/WotC's output? Why encourage the derivative and disappointing Tolkien clone, with added D&D baggage?
    So, I generally agree that different games can include different stuff and that is okay.

    But at the same time there are expectations about what a game that is advertised as "D&D" will be. Like, if you show up to a D&D game, you're not being unreasonable if you expect that you will roll a d20 to determine if you succeed or fail at challenges, or that you will have a class that you gain levels in, or any number of other mechanical things (particularly if it was advertised as "a 3.5 game" or "a 4e game" or whatever). Is it really unreasonable to expect that there are some setting elements that are similarly general? People certainly seem to think (from any of the dozens of Fighter threads) that "be able to play a mundane martial type" is something that they should be able to expect to be allowed when they sit down to play D&D. If you sit down to play a game of Shadowrun, you should be able to expect that you will be playing in a cyberpunk dystopia with magic and advanced technology.

    I don't think "how much should you be able to assume when someone tells you that the game they are setting up is Exalted" is an unreasonable question to ask, or that "nothing" is a reasonable answer to it.
    Last edited by Cosi; 2018-02-14 at 03:54 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    By being "not from around here", I explicitly want all of my backstory to never come into play. But it's what defines the character - who they are and why they are who they are. Would you really say that that's completely null? Because, for me, it's everything.
    For me, a character is defined by what they do at the table. Nothing else really matters, or even is fixed in stone. The only backstory that I've ever found to matter (beyond special snowflake syndrome) is

    * One or two personality quirks (talks real fast, blinks a lot, sees omens everywhere)
    * An ideal (what the character believes in)
    * A bond (why are they adventuring? Who are they connected to?)
    * a flaw (something that gets them in trouble.
    * a general outlook on life and society (a loose sense of alignment in the non-technical sense)

    I care who the character is at play start. Not where they came from, not what they've experienced, but who they are. I also care that they can change. You seem to tie your characters down so tightly that they can't change--you've stereotyped them and boxed them up neatly. That's not a real person--that's a caricature.

    You demand consistency from others, and then demand that they relax that consistency to let your special snowflake ascended god who's just playing at being mortal in. That bugs me. A lot. Because it's living a lie. An ascended god is completely different in nature than a mortal--the one can't just "play" at being the other. The difference in outlook, capabilities, history etc. should matter. If it never comes up in play or influences play, then it's not real. If it does, then you're breaking the game for other people. It's like playing a normal T3 game, except one person decides they want to play as an ancient dragon. Yeah, that's not going to fly. Even if they nerf themselves and "play down" to the level of the party. Because the characters have to be wondering "why is this person even here? Why aren't they solving the issues instead of making us take risks? They're just toying with us." It comes across as seriously condescending and belittling.

    I go by the motto that the only truths in a campaign are those that are created at the table. None of the setting pieces, nothing in the DM notes, nothing in a character's backstory that doesn't come out at the table is really real in-universe. Once it's been stated, then it's concrete fact. Until then, it's only possibly true.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosi View Post

    I don't think "how much should you be able to assume when someone tells you that the game they are setting up is Exalted" is an unreasonable question to ask, or that "nothing" is a reasonable answer to it.
    That's a huge jump there from the quote (exactly the same) to "no expectations at all."

    You can expect certain things from any "conforming" D&D setting. But you explicitly (by the books!) can't assume the existence of specific mechanical elements (such as inter-planar travel, the existence of particular spells/feats/PrCs/races/etc).

    This is especially true when you want to splat dive and use elements that are specific to other settings (a FR PrC in an Eberron game, for example). All of those pieces are there at the setting-designer's option. They're not required or expected by default--saying "we're using races X, Y, and Z and classes A, B, and C from books Q, R, and S" isn't a restriction of agency as long as you know about it going in to the game. You agreed to those rules by playing. Whining about it later is just bad sportsmanship.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lapak View Post
    I guess whats throwing me off about your approach to this, Quertus, is that you seem deeply invested in consistency when it comes to the world you are exploring but are asking the GM to accept a deep and serious INconsistency when it comes to just your character.

    Now, part of why I dont like running in published settings is because it builds the kinds of expectations you talk about, which become pain points when different people at the table have a conflicting vision of the setting. But its at least as grating (for many people) to have a character essentially drop out of the sky with no knowledge of their surroundings but fully capable of speaking the language, following social mores enough not to get into trouble, etc.

    If I had you at my table, Id probably be okay with you being from away provided you were willing to do some of the heavy lifting - that is, Id likely say something like: no godlings or alternate dimensions, people around here are races A-Z but Im willing to work with you on something else, youre from off the edge of the known map and arrived recently. But you have to answer:
    - how did you get here?
    - how is it that you speak the language?
    - what is the culture and society like where you are from?
    - if your immediate goal isnt to get home, what is it?

    And Id need to settle that with you before play starts.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    I view this as wanting to be a special snowflake everyone must notice me. I see no reason to do this otherwise. It may be your fun, but it's drawing in extra special attention to disrupt verisimilitude. You could have kept your character intent yet work with the gameworld. It is likely the campaign would take place on the Sword Coast - Neverwinter, Silvery Moon, Waterdeep, Baldur's Gate, the wilderness in between. Therefore, have your character be from Mulhorand with the Far Traveler background from Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. The Good Guys PCs and NPCs are worshiping Tyr, Torm, Ilmater, Lathander, Chauntea, Tymora. You're worshiping Ra or Osiris or Isis.

    Indeed, most settings are quite large and diverse enough that your character can be "not from around here" for big definitions of "here" without all the "dropped in from another reality" stuff.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lapak View Post
    I guess whats throwing me off about your approach to this, Quertus, is that you seem deeply invested in consistency when it comes to the world you are exploring but are asking the GM to accept a deep and serious INconsistency when it comes to just your character.
    D&D has so many ways to travel between worlds, it's not having such characters that would be the inconsistency.

    Both Warhammer and Mutants and Masterminds make it even easier than D&D. And RIFTS is kinda based on this concept. So, IIRC, 4 of the past 5 systems I've played, it's almost an expectation, unless the GM specifically forbids it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lapak View Post
    Now, part of why I dont like running in published settings is because it builds the kinds of expectations you talk about, which become pain points when different people at the table have a conflicting vision of the setting. But its at least as grating (for many people) to have a character essentially drop out of the sky with no knowledge of their surroundings but fully capable of speaking the language, following social mores enough not to get into trouble, etc.
    Speak the language? Well...

    D&D? Common. Done.

    Warhammer? High Gaelic or whatnot. Done.

    M&M? There's rules for languages. Done.

    RIFTS? I'm pretty sure that there were rules for languages in that game, too.

    But I've also played characters - and adventured beside characters - who didn't speak the language. Great times!

    Now, understanding social... mores... is a bit more of a head scratcher. I've seen and played two options. One way, the character doesn't know the rules, and gets in trouble. Of course, this often happens to whole parties as they travel. The other is, the GM says something like, "sure, you can play Quertus, but let's get his initial 'troubles' with the local mage guild out of the way one-on-one before the game". This prevents the character from being a spotlight hog in ways that wouldn't be fun for the rest of the group.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lapak View Post
    If I had you at my table, Id probably be okay with you being from away provided you were willing to do some of the heavy lifting - that is, Id likely say something like: no godlings or alternate dimensions, people around here are races A-Z but Im willing to work with you on something else, youre from off the edge of the known map and arrived recently. But you have to answer:
    - how did you get here?
    - how is it that you speak the language?
    - what is the culture and society like where you are from?
    - if your immediate goal isnt to get home, what is it?

    And Id need to settle that with you before play starts.
    That would be cool, except that it runs into the "and here's my 15th 'not from around here' character, as I struggle to build a character I'll enjoy playing. Now, if you ran a series if one-shots in this setting, until I had a character that I liked, worked well with the group, etc, and then started the real game, yes, that would be bloody awesome! I just hate imposing that much, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    I view this as wanting to be a special snowflake everyone must notice me. I see no reason to do this otherwise.
    As covered above, it's so I can play an existing character I know I'll enjoy playing (and will work with the group, the scenario, etc), rather than a new one I don't, or 19 new ones I don't enjoy followed by one that I do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    It may be your fun, but it's drawing in extra special attention to disrupt verisimilitude.
    Covered above, it's not disruptive to that v-word in most any system I play.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    You could have kept your character intent yet work with the gameworld. It is likely the campaign would take place on the Sword Coast - Neverwinter, Silvery Moon, Waterdeep, Baldur's Gate, the wilderness in between. Therefore, have your character be from Mulhorand with the Far Traveler background from Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. The Good Guys PCs and NPCs are worshiping Tyr, Torm, Ilmater, Lathander, Chauntea, Tymora. You're worshiping Ra or Osiris or Isis.
    That sounds more like a special snowflake to me, personally. Not that I mind special snowflakes as much as most people, mind, but I'd rather someone play the character for, you know, the character, rather than to be different.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    For me, a character is defined by what they do at the table. Nothing else really matters, or even is fixed in stone. The only backstory that I've ever found to matter (beyond special snowflake syndrome) is

    * One or two personality quirks (talks real fast, blinks a lot, sees omens everywhere)
    * An ideal (what the character believes in)
    * A bond (why are they adventuring? Who are they connected to?)
    * a flaw (something that gets them in trouble.
    * a general outlook on life and society (a loose sense of alignment in the non-technical sense)
    Here, I suspect, we're too different in our outlook to have a meaningful discussion. I personally believe that my personality and choices are based on a lot more than that list, and that, if I were uploaded and flattened to that list, I would not be recognizably me in any meaningful way.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I care who the character is at play start. Not where they came from, not what they've experienced, but who they are. I also care that they can change. You seem to tie your characters down so tightly that they can't change--you've stereotyped them and boxed them up neatly. That's not a real person--that's a caricature.
    Um... I clearly haven't communicated well, if that's your takeaway.

    Now, yes, the concept behind Quertus, my signature character for whom this account is named, was based on people who Never learn, never change, and so I rigged the game to make him as static as possible... So, sure, I can see how you'd get that impression.

    But I spend a lot of time developing my character's personalities, and, when pressured to run something quickly, I usually just run a deity playing an appropriate meat puppet just so that I don't run caricatures instead of characters.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    You demand consistency from others, and then demand that they relax that consistency to let your special snowflake ascended god who's just playing at being mortal in. That bugs me. A lot. Because it's living a lie. An ascended god is completely different in nature than a mortal--the one can't just "play" at being the other. The difference in outlook, capabilities, history etc. should matter. If it never comes up in play or influences play, then it's not real. If it does, then you're breaking the game for other people. It's like playing a normal T3 game, except one person decides they want to play as an ancient dragon. Yeah, that's not going to fly. Even if they nerf themselves and "play down" to the level of the party. Because the characters have to be wondering "why is this person even here? Why aren't they solving the issues instead of making us take risks? They're just toying with us." It comes across as seriously condescending and belittling.
    Actually, my "ascended deity" characters are usually, um, much plainer and more boring and less "special snowflakes" than my real characters - in part because the deity specifically doesn't want to draw attention to themselves.

    And a dragon in a 3e game? Horribly underpowered for its ECL. The T3 characters would totally steal the spotlight.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I go by the motto that the only truths in a campaign are those that are created at the table. None of the setting pieces, nothing in the DM notes, nothing in a character's backstory that doesn't come out at the table is really real in-universe. Once it's been stated, then it's concrete fact. Until then, it's only possibly true.
    What's my line? "And, on this point, I suspect we differ too much to have meaningful discourse."

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Indeed, most settings are quite large and diverse enough that your character can be "not from around here" for big definitions of "here" without all the "dropped in from another reality" stuff.
    True. As I covered above, "not from around here" is just an added bonus for "existing character". If I had 19 more ranks in "create character", and didn't have to take a 20 to get a character I'd enjoy, and I didn't have to worry about grating on the GMs nerves by being an in-world alien, then, yes, being from some other part of the campaign world would totally buy me the "not from around here" aspect that I also happen to enjoy.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2018-02-15 at 12:48 AM.

  30. - Top - End - #210
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    Default Re: Biggest tabletop system pet peeves

    Be careful when you edit multiple quotes. You are attributing to me in many places what others have written.
    Quote Originally Posted by OgresAreCute View Post
    "Welcome to Dungeons and Dragons fifth edition, where the DCs are made up and the rules don't matter."

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