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Messages - LCDarkwood

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DFRPG / OFFICIAL Harry Dresden Statblocking Contest
« on: May 14, 2013, 04:19:22 PM »

All right, y'all. You know what to do. Make me proud.


« on: December 04, 2012, 05:07:25 PM »
Thanks for posting this, Skimble.


DFRPG / Re: Help me out: Video game characters DFRPG style
« on: June 13, 2012, 08:26:21 PM »
fantazero, kindly refrain from continuing with the open hostility, please, thanks.


DFRPG / Re: Weapons and the law
« on: August 26, 2011, 07:42:45 PM »
Hey, folks?

More with the "here's how you can make this relevant in your game" talk, less with the political hip-shooting (pun intended), please.



DFRPG / Re: The First Law of Magic In-Play: Semi-Official Advice
« on: March 17, 2011, 01:56:58 AM »
I'm talking literally about hitting somebody with the equivalent of 2 and a half grenades in the face. :)

(Contextual note: I agree with you that sometimes, the nature of the attack leads to only one logical, lethal conclusion for Taken Out. I'm giving myself permission to float onto another topic because I find it fascinating. So, uh, don't assume that anything I say below is anything but what it is.)

Actually, after the defense roll is accounted for (presuming you hit, of course), you're not really talking literally about anything of the sort. A shift is a shift is a shift.

So if you have a Weapon:10 bazooka, and you roll a Great, and the defense is Fair, you inflict a 12-stress hit.

If you have Weapon:0 fists, roll a Legendary, invoke three aspects, and the defense is Fair, you inflict a 12-stress hit.

In game terms, those two results have equivalent meaning. But like I said, no one would suggest in the fiction that a 12-shift Fists punch is the force-equivalent of a 12-shift hit where you got most of your shifts from a bazooka's Weapon rating.

For a normal guy, you're still looking at taking a Moderate and Severe consequence if you want to stay in the fight. The bazooka gets no inherent privilege of effect in this case - the fact that it's a bazooka just means that your consequences are going to be "Burned to Hell" and "My Gut Has Shrapnel In It" vs. "Major Head Injury" and "Bruised Ribs".

Fate has a kind of schizophrenia about it at times, because it can often "feel" more simulative than it really is - the only thing it's trying to simulate is narrative logic. The mechanics only really represent things that are highly abstract, but those abstractions are bound in by the concerns of the fiction we're creating at the table.

So we have things like Weapon ratings, which gets bigger, ostensibly, as the weapon gets "nastier". We have them because the fiction suggests that we should pay attention to that.

But high Weapon ratings don't necessarily mean a weapon is more lethal - in game terms, all it means is that you're more likely to get a bigger result without having to invoke aspects. It doesn't magically make it more likely that a certain weapon will kill over another, because as I said in the OP, no dice result equals a killing strike automatically.

And that's intentional, because it keeps fictional interpretation where I think it should be, in the hands of the individual group. I'm okay with a game where we decide that a 12-shift knife stab kills you, but a 12-shift bazooka hit explodes nearby and tosses you about so hard that you end up shattered in the hospital, but survive. And I'm okay if we decide later in that same game to make a bazooka hit kill someone and a knife stab put them in the hospital.

For some folks, the fact that you can only situationally associate one set of constraints with the other is a bug. For some, and for me, it's a feature. So it goes.

DFRPG / Re: House Rules And Homebrew
« on: March 16, 2011, 09:53:31 PM »
Yeah, sponsored magic definitely does allow mental whammies. That's part of what makes it really damn scary and often Lawbreaking.

Which is, consequently, the reason why we don't see a lot of it in the books - they're about a White Council wizard who, for the most part, upholds the Laws. Bad guys use mental whammies on people all the time. (See White Court Vampires, Victor Sells, Corpsetaker, etc etc ad nauseum)

So I guess that's my issue - mind magic *is* an easy proof against Toughness. It's supposed to be. Targeting that cuts out a large part of what makes that cool and scary.

If there's a house rule to be had here that better fits the setting, I think it should revolve around expanding the function of Toughness, not limiting the function of sponsored magic. Just sayin'.

(Edit: I kind of like the idea of advanced wizards or True Faith folks being able to take mental-related Toughness as a power, "fortress of the mind" kind of shit.)

DFRPG / Re: House Rules And Homebrew
« on: March 16, 2011, 09:35:46 PM »
He says, "Spirit also covers..." That doesn't necessarily mean all that stuff can be done with evocation by default. I mean, there's no evo spell to launch a ghost at someone. The paragraph tells you how Spirit evo manifests - as the bending or manipulation of light and kinetic force.

Behind the scenes, we happened to know about Spirit's association with other kinds of magic, so it became a marginalia comment. Other elements have similar associations with different kinds of magic that reach beyond the boundaries of evo. We didn't know as much about those at the time of publication.

My point being, if there's a house rule to be had here, it's in exploring Spirit/Mind as an evo element, rather than Spirit/Force, which is what the book describes. I'm not opposed to that, though I find the implications hella scary. The inline text never tells you that you can use Spirit to do mental stress, though. So that shouldn't be a concern, though I recognize that clarification is always good if you feel you need to make it.

DFRPG / Re: Invoking Aspects On Others: The "Interaction" Requirement
« on: March 16, 2011, 09:21:24 PM »
See, Fred Lenny is trying to make clear that the GM is brokering the Compel, but the player is always allowed to call for one.

I fixed this for you. :)

Regarding the OP - I agree that the context given for the term "interaction" as written in that section is more literal, limiting, and narrowing than it should be. Oops! Sorry about that. I blame alcohol.

The bottom line is, relevancy should have more stringent requirements when you're trying to use an aspect that isn't yours.

Thus, and you might find this controversial, the "Crushed Ribcage" move is cool by me (provided that the net benefit is a +2 to the fleeing person's Athletics roll or whathaveyou), as is the "Building on Fire" move.

Also, to clarify, invoking for effect is basically allowing you to make a declaration without rolling dice. (Bonus to the person who catches the zero-sum move in here.) Compelling another aspect is a different, but totally valid, player move as per YS 107.

DFRPG / Re: Combat Speed
« on: March 16, 2011, 09:01:57 PM »
If you read his whole post, he suggested that Speed-powered folks would get some kind of a bonus on the split, to increase the potential benefits. While I don't have time to fine-tune that, I think probably this is the closest thing to the right track.

DFRPG / Re: House Rules And Homebrew
« on: March 16, 2011, 08:59:52 PM »
Anyway, this mental stress thing is clearly not settled.

Hey, 'Phrax? What sort of evo did you envision would be able to cause mental stress in the RAW? Spirit's really the only thing that might qualify, and spirit attacks are pretty explicitly limited to force applications, usually in the form of telekinetic pushing and solid shields. Veils are an edge case, but they also operate on purely physical principles - bending light and whatnot. It's not a mental whammy.

So, I'm confused as to why a house ruling on this would be necessary. Which isn't to say it's not. I'm just curious.

To contribute to the thread, I have a house rule that I sometimes use, sometimes don't, about fate point transfers in a conflict. RAW states that if you spend a fate point to use someone else's aspect to their detriment, the fate point goes to them at the end of the exchange. Sometimes I'll wait until the end of the conflict to dole those out. It's just a slight change in flow and creates a grittier atmosphere - yeah, you're going to get paid out, but not until after you've gotten your ass kicked.

DFRPG / Re: Combat Speed
« on: March 16, 2011, 08:46:47 PM »
How about allowing people with speed powers to make spray attacks/maneuvers regardless of what weapon they are using.

Gun to my head, I'd suggest this is the most elegant, easiest way forward, if you absolutely have to have this feature.

DFRPG / Re: The First Law of Magic In-Play: Semi-Official Advice
« on: March 16, 2011, 12:22:32 AM »
My point is you can "be forced to kill" if survival is not within the realm of reason.

I feel you. Everything is negotiation, sure. I'd be careful with your line of reasoning about the raw numbers, though. I mean, I could theoretically get 12 shifts on an attack where I punch you in the face, if I invoke/tag enough aspects. Does that make it the force-equivalent of a 12-shift evocation in the fiction? Probably not.

Interpreting that can be tough sometimes, because all a point of stress really measures is progress toward winning a conflict. It's not a statement about physics in any literal sense. You could lay me out with a three-shift Fists roll, if I only have two stress boxes on my track. I can also take 20 shifts worth of consequences (all four levels including Extreme) and choose to stay in the fight in the face of a fireball to the nose.

That said, of course it's totally fair to call ninja bullshit on a player who's all like, "Woo! 12-shift gravity hammer, eat it!" and then backtracks and goes, "Uh, but I totally pulled it enough not to kill them. Honest." You just have to judge the situation on the ground and use your people skills. No set of rules can substitute for that.

DFRPG / Re: "Official" Perspective on Lawbreaking
« on: March 15, 2011, 11:20:16 PM »
My thoughts on the topic required their own thread:,24800.0.html

DFRPG / The First Law of Magic In-Play: Semi-Official Advice
« on: March 15, 2011, 11:19:44 PM »
So, very few things are less interesting to me than determining when a Law of Magic is "officially" broken. Your Story, page 284, end of commentary.

What is interesting to me is the stuff the game will do when it comes up in play. So let's talk practical and leave the fictional lawyering for others.

A Word on Killing

Consider that the game rules do not, in fact, allow for an accidental or emergent result that kills someone.

The only way you can kill someone is to take them out in a conflict and then declare you killed them. As the player who wins the conflict, you absolutely can always declare that when you throw magic at a mortal or off-limits being, that you put them in the hospital, knock them out long enough for you to achieve your goals, etc. If you're going to kill someone, it's a willful player choice to put that drama into the game.

(Though, theoretically, the GM could also propose it as a compel if you have "Anger Management Problems" or whatever as an aspect. Or, someone could take you out in a mental conflict and declare that you lose your shit and roast a guy. Whatever. The point is, the dice are never going to tell you that you killed someone. Someone at the table is choosing to bring it into play.)

So whenever you're talking about a First Law violation in your game, keep in mind that there's going to have to be, by default, some sort of consensus about crossing that line.

To Power or Not to Power

At the end of the day, a Lawbreaker power is the same as the rest in one key area - all that matters is that you can somehow justify bringing it into play.

When you're figuring out how to make that decision, I'd like to suggest that the least important question you should be asking is whether it's a fact or not that the law was broken. Instead, you should ask yourself if the impact on that character makes things more interesting or less interesting, and how.  

Consider the case of Joe Wizard, who blasts a guy in a fight that's about to shoot his friend and takes a compel to say he killed that guy. He takes the stunt and shifts an aspect to "I Do What Is Necessary", which becomes the justification for more killing.

Late in this storyline, some scenarios down the road, we find out the dude he axed was actually a White Court vampire flunkie working for a more powerful boss.

Does that make the process of corruption suddenly invalid? Do we rewind everything?

Hell no! The Dark Powers are always willing to help. If I've convinced myself I have a conduit to killing magic, why would they argue with me? Magic is belief. The line between "the universe is corrupting my soul" and "I believe my soul is corrupt" is super, super thin.

So regardless of the initiating circumstances, there's something to be said for taking on the power anyway - it provides a tangible benefit to using that kind of magic again, which puts a new set of choices in front of the player every time he takes his stuff out for a spin. It puts a temptation out there for a free benefit if you're just willing to declare your magic inherently, unremittingly lethal.

Keep in mind, too, that there's nothing technically stopping you from spending one of your actual milestones on a Lawbreaker power, if you later decide that an "edge case" incident counts as a Lawbreaking as far as your character is concerned.

Aspects Work By Themselves Too

Understandably, though, this isn't always the effect you're going for. Sometimes, maybe you just want to give Joe Wizard something to think about or reflect on, an attitude adjustment, personal reflection, etc. Maybe the point is that he *almost* went over and is pushing at the boundaries of Lawbreaking with an edge case.

Every session gives you the opportunity to rename an aspect. If you want this in your game, all you have to do is change up an aspect to reflect it. Anything that happens in the story of the game can be given tangible weight by reflecting how it affects the character through renaming aspects.

This is a good option to take if, for some reason, there is serious disagreement about whether the violation is "real", but you want it to have an in-game effect anyway. So if you can't reach the consensus that says, "this is a Lawbreaking", your character can still go through "Loss of Faith in My Magic" or "Overcautious About Battle Magic" or whatever you want.

Of course, I think you get the best mileage with the Lawbreaker power *and* a changed aspect, but that's just me.

Corruption Isn't Always About Evil

We have a tendency to look at the Laws as things that turn ordinary, nice wizards into MFing Kemmler. So, it's understandable that some players are going to have an issue with the idea of being a Lawbreaker, because they don't really want their character to be an Evil Jackass.

But all we really know, as a baseline, is that breaking the Laws fundamentally changes you somehow. There's a lot of room to decide how you're going to express that change. That's why you don't have to, if you don't want to, worry about intent too much - good intentions can cause corruption just as much as bad ones.

Let's look at another Joe Wizard. This is a young dude, just getting started, who fries a mugger in self-defense because he's afraid. First Law violation, period dot.

But what if we decide the aspect is "Crippling, Massive Guilt"? 'Cause clearly, Joe's not a bad guy, right? No one expects he's going to go from magical self-defense to setting kittens on fire just to listen to them shriek.

However, what could happen is that his guilt keeps him from using his magic, even when its arguably necessary. Even when it could help people and prevent harm. Even when an innocent is being held up by the throat by a loup-garou, and he could save that person, but God, what if something goes wrong? What if he misses? What if he kills another innocent? Better that they die by the loup-garou's hand than his, right? Better he doesn't have it on his conscience, right?

And soon, this Joe Wizard finds himself utterly incapable of risk and sacrifice. His decisions become inherently selfish, all centered around keeping him, at all costs, from having to deal with that guilt again.

How is that not a kind of corruption?

So, keep in mind that you don't have to characterize this process as a descent into blistering, making-soup-with-babies sadism. Anything that people can feel can be taken too far and become destructive.

The World Doesn't Know the Difference

In terms of what happens outside the character, regardless of whether you express the incident with a Lawbreaker power, an aspect, or both, keep in mind that people in the setting are going to draw their own conclusions.

I mean, Morgan came after Harry in Storm Front for a crime he didn't even commit, and then came after him again for investigating it because of how much of a hard case Morgan is about the Laws.

The White Council doesn't have some mystical way of knowing with 100% certainty who broke the Laws and who didn't. And like any other organization, they turn a blind eye toward Lawbreaking they deem necessary to achieve their goals (see the Blackstaff).

So, whether you choose to take the power, change an aspect, both, or neither, it doesn't say anything about what's going to happen in the story relative to the incident in question. You could all agree that no Lawbreaking took place, make no changes to the character, and the White Council might still come down on you because some Warden heard you broke the Law and gets zealous.

You could take the power and an "All Kittens Must Die" aspect, and have everyone else in the setting think you were totally justified and totally off the hook. And any combination of things between these extremes. Maybe that's what's actually the interesting part about the situation - not what happens to the character, but in the world around the character.

In Sum

Whether or not the Law was broken is the most boring thing to dwell on - either you reach consensus quickly or you don't. From there, move on to what's interesting. Where the drama lies in the situation, whether for your character or the setting or both, should be your guide to playing with the Laws using any or all of the options above. Have a guy take a Lawbreaker power when everyone else thinks it was cool. Have the world tell a character he's evil and broke a Law when his sheet doesn't change. Play with the middle ground and all of its awesome potential.

And don't worry about the so-called facts.

DFRPG / Re: Paging Dr. Hicks, Dr. Fred Hicks please
« on: January 20, 2011, 03:05:42 PM »
Let's keep it down to a low simmer sans the personal stuff, folks.

This, except, from me also. Let's try to keep this thread from being like the rest of the Internet, as much as we can, please. Thanks!


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