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What are the biggest things DnD 5e needs to be passable?
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Cervantes
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:47 pm    Post subject: What are the biggest things DnD 5e needs to be passable? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

This sort of presumes that we're going to tell a low-fantasy sort of story, that characters are going to progress pretty slowly, that the DM is going to pull out bullshit stops to prevent Minionmancers from steamrolling bounded accuracy. Yes, I know, "just use a different system", but my players are relatively new to TTRPGs and they're comfortable with 5e and haven't played enough for the cracks to shine through.

I guess the more specific question is: can you houserule and patch 5e into a passable game (for certain kinds of stories, high-fantasy not included)? Is the chassis robust enough or is it rotten to the core?

And a bonus question: when it comes to using math in game design is it largely just "figure out the outcomes that you want to be possible and the respective chances of their occurring and then tweak the numbers to make that the case"?


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Niles
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Even if you could make it work, it would be just as much effort and a lot more confusion for your players than learning a new system.
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John Magnum
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

5e's non-combat rules are even more shockingly nonexistent than 4e's. Everything is "the DM may allow you to make a roll, at a DC they pull out of their ass. they may not." So you need to make massive revisions to 5e combat plus create an entire non-combat system from scratch. I don't really see the point.
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Voss
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:35 am    Post subject: Re: What are the biggest things DnD 5e needs to be passable? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Cervantes wrote:
This sort of presumes that we're going to tell a low-fantasy sort of story, that characters are going to progress pretty slowly, that the DM is going to pull out bullshit stops to prevent Minionmancers from steamrolling bounded accuracy.

Wow. OK, that's a hell of a premise.

First, the last bit is the easy part- just a general agreement not to do that, which is relatively easy with new players. It pretty much the requires the GM not to include the fuck-you monsters* either, so the party can actually survive with minioning it up.

*banshees, mind flayers, intellect devourers, also any monster that is ridiculously unbalanced for their CR in either HP or damage, which includes shit like satyrs and hobgoblins, which are absurd tanks and ultimate death machines respectively.

Slow advancement isn't really a premise of the system (and it sucks absolute balls to be stuck at low level in 5e), but it's pretty much a matter of just ignoring the XP system and agreeing on when levels happen.

As for low fantasy, well... go fuck yourself. D&D isn't and can't be. Even at first level the game involves telling physics to go cry in the corner of a round room.


Quote:
I guess the more specific question is: can you houserule and patch 5e into a passable game (for certain kinds of stories, high-fantasy not included)? Is the chassis robust enough or is it rotten to the core?

Not sure why high fantasy isn't included, since that's actually what it's aimed at.

Mysteries get blown up by all sorts of spells and some class features (rangers and paladins, who can just finger specific types of monsters unerringly, with a range of miles for the ranger)

Grim derp is pretty laughable with all the healing and no-cost utility magic.

Low fantasy is a non-starter, partly for the same reasons as grim derp, but also for all the absurdly lazy status effects, half of which (like poison) default to just disadvantage for a few minutes, and most everything is cleared by twiddling your thumbs for an hour or 8 at the worst. Healing magic gets from nearly almost truly dead to perfectly healthy and functioning with ranged bonus actions, and in combat resurrection is on the table at 5th fucking level.

Quote:
And a bonus question: when it comes to using math in game design is it largely just "figure out the outcomes that you want to be possible and the respective chances of their occurring and then tweak the numbers to make that the case"?

Based on 5e... and 4e... and pathfinder... and starfinder... No, it isn't. Its about throwing shit at a wall and pretending it all works out in the end.
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Cervantes
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The "slow advancement" thing isn't a premise, sorry, it's more like what the system forces on you because of bounded accuracy. As in, level 5 to level 10 is not that much of a power jump.

From what I gather, 5e doesn't really do high fantasy that well because at the highest level you're still going to get fucking massacred by enough level 1 mooks. So either you're going to be middling in a world with archmages you can't dare fuck with (ugh) or the archmages aren't that strong. But the rules definitely want to be high fantasy, you're right. Ugh again.

The bonus question was mostly a question about "how ought one use math". Because I like math and I like using it but I'm not entirely sure how to go about applying it to game design.
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Chamomile
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

High fantasy is about the level of magic saturation in the world, not the power of the characters. It's a different thing from high level. A high fantasy world is a world where being a wizard is a profession, not a unique trait carried by a single-digit number of people. The Arthurian myths are low fantasy because the setting is mostly just medieval Britain, and something like half of the stories revolve entirely around totally mundane feuds between knights, or tournaments, or quests for kidnapped maidens who got lost and sought refuge in the keep of a dishonorable but totally mundane knight who now refuses to let them leave. Then every once in a while Merlin or one of the three or so other wizards in the entire world will put a sword in a magic anvil attached to a prophecy.

Harry Potter is high fantasy because while the setting is nominally just Britain, Harry himself and almost every single named character is a wizard with at-will access to a laundry list of magical superpowers. It's still high fantasy even in the early books when that laundry list was filled entirely with level one junk that can be replicated with lockpicks and a stun gun.

Also, there's a literary definition that involves whether or not the story takes place on what is nominally Earth, but no one cares about that because the genre has moved on from the 70s and that distinction is no longer helpful. Calling Shadowrun low fantasy is dumb, and describing Game of Thrones as a world that's transitioning from low fantasy to high fantasy is a good way to describe it even though Westeros is not being swapped out for Earth one piece at a time by reverse King Radical.
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Chamomile wrote:
The Arthurian myths are low fantasy because the setting is mostly just medieval Britain, and something like half of the stories revolve entirely around totally mundane feuds between knights, or tournaments, or quests for kidnapped maidens who got lost and sought refuge in the keep of a dishonorable but totally mundane knight who now refuses to let them leave.

Out of curiosity, can you name any of these entirely mundane stories? Because I've read... a lot of Arthuriana and I've encountered zero such. To be clear, this is equal parts genuine curiosity and accusing you of talking out of your butt.
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Mord
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

angelfromanotherpin wrote:
Out of curiosity, can you name any of these entirely mundane stories? Because I've read... a lot of Arthuriana and I've encountered zero such. To be clear, this is equal parts genuine curiosity and accusing you of talking out of your butt.

I'd reckon that Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, which is about as canonical as you can get, is about 50% mundane. Sir Tristram's entire story, for instance, is devoid of supernatural elements. The story of Arthur being crowned Western Roman Emperor, save for a random encounter with a giant, is just a story about an implausible war. The story of the war between Arthur and Lancelot is, barring Gawain's strength/time of day power, another ordinary war story.

The most explicitly magical stories in the book are mostly centered around quests, where hermits and maidens regularly do divinations and the knights witness miracles and enchantments and suchlike.

I'd definitely classify the more historical Arthur stories as low fantasy, since there's very little magic and next to no explanation for the magic that is present beyond identifying any given feat as being the work of the devil or the work of God. Or, like Gawain's strength, it's a work of magic with no explanation whatsoever; it just is.

There are certainly other takes on the myth, but they tend not to get really fantastical until you get pretty far from the original sources.
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Mord wrote:
I'd reckon that Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, which is about as canonical as you can get, is about 50% mundane. Sir Tristram's entire story, for instance, is devoid of supernatural elements. The story of Arthur being crowned Western Roman Emperor, save for a random encounter with a giant, is just a story about an implausible war. The story of the war between Arthur and Lancelot is, barring Gawain's strength/time of day power, another ordinary war story.

This is the statement of someone who has not read the text, or the Cliffs Notes for the text, but has skimmed the wikipedia article of the book. For example, Tristan and Iseult is one of the most naturalistic Arthurian romances, but all versions of it that I'm aware of contain at least the love potion, and Malory's version also contains a poison that can only be cured in Ireland, and an explicitly sorcerous adultery-detecting drinking horn. Arthur's war with the Romans includes not only several giants, but also a Saracen who heals wounds with 'the waters of Paradise.' And so on.

But more generally, the part where you cherry pick a single author and then say that several of his stories that do include overt magical elements count as mundane for [reason not given] is baffling dishonest bullshit, so I'm glad my instincts were right.
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Voss
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Cervantes wrote:
The "slow advancement" thing isn't a premise, sorry, it's more like what the system forces on you because of bounded accuracy. As in, level 5 to level 10 is not that much of a power jump.

Well... kind of. Martials are just maxing out their stats (and getting a fuckton more HP), but casters are getting a lot of good shit over those 5 levels. The teens are much more problematic for progression since 6th-9th are 1/day each only, go fuck yourself.

The real problem for 5e in terms of advancement is saving throws and other defenses. For most of your saving throws, you start at zero and stay at zero, and there is jack/shit you can do about, and they odds of running into a screw you encounter go up and up.

Quote:
From what I gather, 5e doesn't really do high fantasy that well because at the highest level you're still going to get fucking massacred by enough level 1 mooks. So either you're going to be middling in a world with archmages you can't dare fuck with (ugh) or the archmages aren't that strong. But the rules definitely want to be high fantasy, you're right. Ugh again.

Well, none of that really has anything to do with high fantasy. Except that there are potentially lots of archmages running around, which does make it high fantasy. People are talking to gods and getting answers (or miracles), barbarians can summon animals to demand answers about nearby things or creatures, and most of the classes have the option to throw spells around at fairly low level. And it isn't even weird by default. But...

Encounter design for 5e is simply that big fights shouldn't happen ever. Yes hobgoblins will fucking murder the party, so fighting hobgoblin tribes is simply not a part of the game. They're lieutenants for goblins or some shit.

Seriously, 5e has a multiplier for the number of creatures involved in an encounter. It starts at two creatures. A medium encounter for 4 1st level characters involves creatures worth 200 xp. This is two CR 1/2 creatures. But the multiplier for 2 creatures is 1.5, which puts it at 300 (virtual) XP (the multiplier doesn't count for what they actually get), which makes it a hard encounter.

3-6 creatures is a x2 multiplier, 7-10 is x2.5, 11-14 is x3 and 15+ is x4. So using fractional CR creatures in encounters staggeringly hard to do, because the multipliers make them seem ridiculously challenging even when they're not, and adjusting on the fly depends a lot on map position and available spells (clustered, they're just an AoE spell waiting to happen, unless they have high HP, which a lot of them do)

16 Kobolds (CR 1/8, so 400 xp for the lot), should be a medium encounter for four 2nd level characters. Supposedly, with the multiplier, they should be worth 1600 XP, which is a deadly encounter for 3rd level characters, or something between an easy and medium encounter for 5th level characters.

Needless to say, this is a complete mess of shit and nonsense- the system really wants a dogpile on single creature with a CR equal to the party's level. Even at equal numbers, the system wobbles a hell of a lot.


As for the archmage, out of the book, this is a damn stupid fight. Its CR 12, but has 9th level spells, but they're largely shit. Time stop and a giant pile of defensive spells (but concentration says fuck you to casting a giant pile of defensive spells), offensively it has fire bolt, magic missile, lightning bolt and cone of cold and that is seriously it. It can turn invisible at will, so it becomes a question of whether you can blow through its 99 hp before it teleports out, and how many AoEs is can get off before it runs. (Which shouldn't be many- 99 hp at AC15 isn't that hard for a level 12 party, even in 5e- a fighter should be doing about half that with a +2 greatsword and 3 attacks. With action surge, might even kill it outright)

Now, if you swap the spells around, this can absolutely be more dangerous. But there is very little that can be done to one shot 12th level PCs. Feeblemind can absolutely screw people, but finger of death and like is generally soakable (and getting back up is generally someone's bonus action).

Quote:
The bonus question was mostly a question about "how ought one use math". Because I like math and I like using it but I'm not entirely sure how to go about applying it to game design.

Consistently would probably be the best answer, but the system and setting also have to be interesting, which is why a lot of 70s/80s RPGs failed miserably.

A lot of it depends on where you want to set your standards. 2nd edition had a lot of problems, but encounters were faster and bigger. That pretty much gets lost with fractional CR critters that have to be hacked at with a greatsword multiple times to go down.

My big math bugbear with the current versions of D&D (including pathfinder/starfinder) is hit points are stupidly bloated, and the designers seem to have no concept of how it affects things. Both in terms of drawn out and boring fights (bullet sponge boss fights), and the inability to throw more than a handful of monsters at the party at any one time or the whole thing ends in a TPK against trash mobs.

This is especially true in 5e, because there simply aren't options beyond hack or burn through (generally) large hit point tallies, and scaling is a thing that largely only affects cantrips and sneak attack (and there is a hard limit of 1 sneak attack per round, and rogues don't get multiple attacks beyond TWF, which is ass in 5e).


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Chamomile
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

angelfromanotherpin wrote:

Out of curiosity, can you name any of these entirely mundane stories? Because I've read... a lot of Arthuriana and I've encountered zero such.


Well, I guess the Knight of the Cart is pretty obscure, since it's just the introduction of the mostly-forgotten knight fucking Lancelot, so you can be forgiven for letting it slip past despite your voluminous experience with the material. Unless you're going to try and argue that an inconveniently designed bridge and the existence of dwarves count as fantasy elements.

If you wanted to be an asshole and bitch about semantics - which would certainly fit with responding to Mord as though he were my secret alt or I'd personally reviewed his response or something - you could use the interconnected nature to argue that technically every story is magic because defining exactly where one story ends and another begins is mostly arbitrary, so it's possible to declare yourself victorious just because Le Morte contains magic and is all one story even though it is also comprised of lots of little stories, and indeed has subsumed several other standalone works into itself. You would be a disingenuous asshole, but you could do it.

Plus, a bunch of knights get magic items early on which are then rarely mentioned again. Sir Perceval's origin story gives him a magic ring of invincibility that he presumably carries around with him even in stories where it isn't mentioned and he has regular encounters with color-coded evil knights (who only sometimes turn out to have magical superpowers), and likewise King Arthur gets a magic scabbard fairly early on that makes him invincible and which, again presumably, he carries around with him even in stories where all he's doing is killing a bunch of Saxons or beating up on knights and the scabbard and its powers aren't even mentioned in the text of the story itself. The story of the Round Table is just that King Arthur's father-in-law got him a wedding gift, and it was a bigass table with symbolic importance. Sir Balin's second sword doesn't even have any magical powers after he pulls it out of the scabbard, and the encounter between him and the knight who pursues him is entirely mundane. Lancelot kills the knight who had all the shields hanging on the tree just because he's an awesome knight, so far as I can recall he doesn't even have any magic in his backstory. King Arthur's wars sometimes involve him killing a bunch of giants, but sometimes he just kills a bunch of Saxons. Sometimes he kills a giant and then a bunch of Saxons (or Saracens or whatever), and sometimes the second bit is a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end which can survive just fine without the giant at all.

Contrast to Harry Potter. You can slice Harry Potter up into much smaller stories than the seven individual books, but the overwhelming majority of those stories involve active use of magic, and most of the exceptions involve intentional avoidance of magic as an actual plot point. Even when Harry's just having a teenage romance, he'll have it in a cafe with a magic quill that takes his order autonomously or something. Nearly every Shadowrun story you can tell has a troll or an elf or some kind of wizard in it. Lord of the Rings is about hobbits, who are fictitious fantasy creatures even when they aren't actively using their elven cloaks of super-camouflage.
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Chamomile wrote:
Well, I guess the Knight of the Cart is pretty obscure, since it's just the introduction of the mostly-forgotten knight fucking Lancelot, so you can be forgiven for letting it slip past despite your voluminous experience with the material. Unless you're going to try and argue that an inconveniently designed bridge and the existence of dwarves count as fantasy elements.

Having read a lot of Chretien's stuff, I happen to know that Lancelot is actually introduced in Erec and Enide, but besides that, Knight of the Cart includes a cursed bed, a stone that can only be lifted by a destined liberator, Lancelot's magic spell-breaking ring, magical illusionary lions, and I'm not even halfway through this thing before I don't believe you've read it.

Quote:
If you wanted to be an asshole and bitch about semantics - which would certainly fit with responding to Mord as though he were my secret alt or I'd personally reviewed his response or something - you could use the interconnected nature to argue that technically every story is magic because defining exactly where one story ends and another begins is mostly arbitrary, so it's possible to declare yourself victorious just because Le Morte contains magic and is all one story even though it is also comprised of lots of little stories, and indeed has subsumed several other standalone works into itself. You would be a disingenuous asshole, but you could do it.

As it happens, I count LMDA as the eight stories that the author seems to have.

Quote:
Contrast to Harry Potter.

Dude, I'm not saying it's as fantastic as a story where literally every character of consequence is a wizard or a non-human. (Although, a lot of Arthuriana is exactly that fantastic, the earliest stuff being caught up in the gonzo-fantasy of Celtic myth, and the later stuff being caught up in a fashion for outrageous allegory that demanded elements so bizarre as to be surrealist.) I wanted to see what stories you were counting as 'entirely mundane,' and so far you have not named a single one that has turned out to actually be so. I mean, cherry-picking individual battles out of a longer war-story with a fantastic context is pretty bogus (is Hermione punching Draco its own entirely mundane story?) but you haven't even actually done that yet, you've just claimed that there are such somewhere which is conveniently unreviewable.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

While there are proper definitions and understandings for these concepts, the problem is that many audiences don't have the education for discernment. For a huge number of people, Arthurian myth has maybe a handful of legit supernatural elements in an otherwise renaissance faire setting. If you want to be a guy who can grow to the size of a tree, treat decapitation as a game, or have a dog that's also the King of India; you will be viewed as a disruptive twit by the DM.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Cervantes wrote:
I guess the more specific question is: can you houserule and patch 5e into a passable game (for certain kinds of stories, high-fantasy not included)? Is the chassis robust enough or is it rotten to the core?
Possible? Maybe. But the effort required is going to be Herculean. I would say you're better off plucking out the few things that 5e did well and transplanting them into a completely different system than the other way around.
Cervantes wrote:
The bonus question was mostly a question about "how ought one use math". Because I like math and I like using it but I'm not entirely sure how to go about applying it to game design.
You may find this thread illuminating. The basic idea is that you should understand the abilities of players and the challenges they face first, then design mechanics to fit.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

At least spell durations are mostly restricted by "concentration".
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Mord
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

angelfromanotherpin wrote:
This is the statement of someone who has not read the text, or the Cliffs Notes for the text, but has skimmed the wikipedia article of the book. For example, Tristan and Iseult is one of the most naturalistic Arthurian romances, but all versions of it that I'm aware of contain at least the love potion, and Malory's version also contains a poison that can only be cured in Ireland, and an explicitly sorcerous adultery-detecting drinking horn. Arthur's war with the Romans includes not only several giants, but also a Saracen who heals wounds with 'the waters of Paradise.' And so on.

But more generally, the part where you cherry pick a single author and then say that several of his stories that do include overt magical elements count as mundane for [reason not given] is baffling dishonest bullshit, so I'm glad my instincts were right.

To get the preliminaries out of the way: I'm not Chamomile, but thanks for inspiring my new avatar.

Now, to business: It's notably retarded for you to accuse me of cherry picking for saying that Malory is a canonical source for Arthurian legend; it's about as stupid as accusing someone of cherry picking for identifying the Divine Comedy as the exemplar of literary depictions of the (Christian) afterlife.

I admit that it has been several years since I last read Morte, and I forgot about the love potion in the story of Tristram and Isolde. This is because it is an inconsequential and unnecessary detail mentioned one (1) time in the story and there is no difference between it being included or not. This is exactly why Chamomile (reminder: not me) initially cited Arthurian myth as a good example of low fantasy: magic is present in the overall setting, but magical elements are not present in every story, and in many of the stories where they are present, they are basically unnecessary. The stories where the magical happenings are integral are the most famous, e.g. the quest for the Grail, Merlin helping Uther do a Revenge of the Nerds-style rape, because the fantastical elements are best at catching the imagination.

Less-famous stories, such as Lancelot's adventures in Book VI, can be incited by magic (i.e. Morgan Le Fay and her posse capturing a sleeping Lancelot by enchantment), but that magic doesn't have any particular importance to the story after that. Shit just kind of happens one thing after another; as soon as we get to the next chapter or next paragraph, that magic is pretty much forgotten from a narrative standpoint. Example: Book VI, chapters XIII, XIV-XV, and XVI.

Chapter XIII: Lancelot, wearing Kay's armor, kicks four knights' asses when they meet in a forest.
Chapter XIV-XV: Lancelot braves a chapel filled with thirty giant knights in black armor in service to Hellawes, a sorceress with a deadly kiss, then uses sympathetic magic to heal a wounded knight.
Chapter XVI: Lancelot climbs a tree to rescue a hawk, is ambushed while in the tree, and subsequently beats his foe to death with a branch.

One random thing after the other, pretty much. You can do the same kind of breakdown on the story of Arthur's war on Emperor Lucius. So, if you want to count the whole of Book VI as "magical" because crazy shit happens in Book VI Chapters XIV-XV and others, that's one way to categorize, I guess. As Chamomile (reminder: not me) originally stated, he estimates that about half of Arthurian stories are completely mundane. If you do this accounting on an episode-by-episode basis, rather than a less granular approach, I agree with him.
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Chamomile
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

angelfromanotherpin wrote:
Knight of the Cart includes a cursed bed,


It's not cursed, it's just a deathtrap. The damsel who warns Lancelot about it mistakes him for being disgraced, Lancelot lays down in it anyway, the trap goes off, and Lancelot is too badass to be killed by it. The bed either attempts to murder literally everyone who lies on it and the worthy is too badass to die, or else the trap gets set off even though the damsel is mistaken about who Lancelot is (which is the running theme of the story). Magic isn't necessary for either and in the second case is ruled out entirely.

Now, I had forgotten that the giant stone was involved in that story because that element gets recycled for other stories, and I'd also forgotten that Lancelot actually confirms with his ring that the lions were magical illusions rather than just being mirages on account of all the fire (from the far side they can't even tell if they're looking at lions or leopards). So, hey, mea culpa, of the many episodic adventures Lancelot has in Knight of the Cart, there are two that do actually involve magic, although in one case magic so trivial that if you removed a line from the story it wouldn't even be magic anymore.

This doesn't do any harm to my greater point, something which you've already conceded, so we're back to you whinging because you dislike the exact way I phrased something. It only sounds wrong if you quote a single sentence while ignoring the rest of the post surrounding it. Or, I guess, if you have a definition of "story" that's defined by publishing standards and not storytelling even when dealing with stories that predate the printing press. Do you think the legends of King Arthur have their roots in the written documents we reference now? That would explain the reverence you have for how those documents split them up, but it's bonkers nonsense that doesn't survive the slightest bit of scrutiny of their origins.

Quote:

As it happens, I count LMDA as the eight stories that the author seems to have.


Why? The context of the conversation is that one setting is higher magic than the other. What exactly do you think you're proving by your bold declaration that one of my statements is incorrect if you divorce it from context? I mean, fuck, LMDA is in the public domain, I can copy the text exactly and add new chapter breaks wherever the Hell I want. Some releases of the story actually do that. The original oral storytellers did that before Malory was born.

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I wanted to see what stories you were counting as 'entirely mundane,' and so far you have not named a single one that has turned out to actually be so.


Most individual Arthurian stories are not named because medieval storytelling did not require individual stories get a title before going to print because they did not go to print. I've pointed you to several specific stories already, and they're not exactly obscure. I'm not going to go and dig up their names because many of them don't have names, they're part of collections which are strung together with a meta-plot. Individual episodes in a greater season arc of television are still complete stories. Individual episodes of one of King Arthur's knights' adventures work the same way, right down to regularly being relayed without context of the greater meta-plot as a jumbled pile of reruns. Medieval storytellers did not strictly demand that Arthurian legends always be told in the order that they were written, and did not often even know what order they were written in. Several of these storytellers told these stories prior to their being written down.

Quote:
(is Hermione punching Draco its own entirely mundane story?)


No, but only because Hermoine's wizard powers are central to that story. It begins with Draco mocking Harry and co., the middle is that Hermoine threatens Draco with her magical superpowers before being talked down by her friends, and then the twist at the end is that Draco shoots another barb at them and Hermoine attacks him with a completely mundane punch to the nose. The story only works because using a mundane punch to the nose is weird, and the default of attacking with magic hexes is established during the story itself.

It is, however, entirely okay to call that a story by itself. So long as a story contains a beginning, middle, and end, the exact breakpoints are completely arbitrary. Not only can that story be split off from the rest of the movie and relayed by itself, someone has in fact done that.
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Voss
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

JonSetanta wrote:
At least spell durations are mostly restricted by "concentration".

Er... No they aren't. spells either have concentration or not, and have a time limit. Which generally varies between up to 1 minute, up to 10, or up to 1 hour. But nothing prevents a 24 hour concentration spell.

Concentration prevents spell stacking, and gives the DM a way of getting rid of your buffs (which is especially bad when you've cast fly on multiple party members).

Duration is an independent factor- they just stuck concentration in the same line. It should actually be a tag, and honestly called something else, because concentrating doesn't really describe the process, it's much more like breathing- you might stop and gasp for breath if someone sucker punches you in the right spot, but it's largely autonomous.


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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Mord wrote:
Now, to business: It's notably retarded for you to accuse me of cherry picking for saying that Malory is a canonical source for Arthurian legend; it's about as stupid as accusing someone of cherry picking for identifying the Divine Comedy as the exemplar of literary depictions of the (Christian) afterlife.

I wasn't saying that Malory wasn't canonical (insofar as canon exists). I was saying that he is one author. Arthuriana is big and full of crazy, and picking out one dude and saying that half of his work is mundane doesn't really support half of the mythology being mundane. As an analogy: one of the defining traits of the Sherlock Holmes stories was that crimes were committed for common sordid motives, like money or revenge; but Stephen Moffat's Sherlock series has an enormous percentage of its crimes committed by bored super-geniuses for the lulz. Moffat's series is immensely successful and well-known, but it's very different from the bulk of the recognized stories.

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I admit that it has been several years since I last read Morte, and I forgot about the love potion in the story of Tristram and Isolde. This is because it is an inconsequential and unnecessary detail mentioned one (1) time in the story and there is no difference between it being included or not.

I'm going to cut you off there. Partly because you don't go on to address either the magic poison or drinking horn, but also because the love potion is actually fucking crucial to the story. It's the difference between the characters being sympathetic and not. If Tristram can't resist his own desires for Isolde, then he's not a worthy knight, he's a weak-willed asshole. If Isolde can't stay faithful to her husband then she's not a virtuous woman, she's a ho. Their romance being forced upon them by an outside compulsion is what makes the story a tragedy of good people in bad circumstances and not 'terrible people get away with crimes of choice.'

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If you do this accounting on an episode-by-episode basis, rather than a less granular approach, I agree with him.

Well, you could also do it on a line-by-line basis and get a much higher mundane:magic ratio, but that might be too transparently dishonest.
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Chamomile
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

angelfromanotherpin wrote:

Well, you could also do it on a line-by-line basis and get a much higher mundane:magic ratio, but that might be too transparently dishonest.


A story contains a beginning, middle, and end. It is not defined by specific chapter structures or the arbitrary breakpoints Malory or whoever the fuck put things in. It's defined by whether or not it starts in one situation and then progresses through a chain of cause and effect to another situation. Individual lines almost never qualify. This isn't hard, and the only reason you're refusing to acknowledge this incredibly basic truth is because it's the only way your argument is anything other than obviously petty and wrong. As I mentioned in my earlier post, not only is it possible to tell fragments of Malory's stories divorced from the greater work and still have a complete story, this is in fact how most of those stories originated. Of course the giant named collections of random episodic events tend to contain at least one magical event. About half of all the stories do, so if you shove fourteen stories into one book, the odds that none of them will contain any magic happenings is astronomical.

All of this still comes down to you whining that you think your bullshit definition of "story" as meaning "a specific published work" (if someone tells you they have a story about something crazy that happened to them at work, do you assume they've got a book deal lined up?) rather than "a series of related events that build on one another." It's not like this is a case of you using the word in a weird way and then other people making a federal case out of how your definition is dumb while ignoring whatever point you were trying to make, either. I used that word, it was not a poor choice of words but rather exactly what the word "story" means (as opposed to "book" or "published work"), my overall point was perfectly clear in context and no one, including you, is disputing it, and the beginning and end of your objection is that you think the word "story" should for some reason be assumed to have a radically different definition in this conversation than how it is actually used. Fuck off with that shit. My point was clear, you don't disagree with it, and the definition you're trying to assert is stupid and contrary to common usage.
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Chamomile wrote:
All of this still comes down to you whining that you think your bullshit definition of "story" as meaning "a specific published work"

Well, not a specific published work necessarily, but certainly a specific work. Malory's versions of the Arthurian stories differ considerably from other people's versions. His Sir Tristram doesn't kill any dragons. His Marhault isn't a literal ogre. His Sir Kay doesn't grow thirty feet tall or burn like a fire, but does have character traits derived from Bricriu of the Poisoned Tongue (which some other versions do not). His King Arthur does not spend chunks of his childhood learning politics from animals. His Merlin is definitely not a backwards-aging modern anachronism, and there's no indication he's the son of the Devil. And so on.

When someone cites Malory, they're citing a specific version of (some of) the Arthurian stories. A version that was written by a person who divided them up in a specific way. If they don't like those divisions, they are free to cite a different version of the story.
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Chamomile
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

angelfromanotherpin wrote:
A version that was written by a person who divided them up in a specific way. If they don't like those divisions, they are free to cite a different version of the story.


No. Fuck off. That is not what "story" means. There are other words for that, words like "book" and "chapter" and "episode." Even if Malory hadn't divided his work up into chapters, which he did, most of which are self-contained stories, which they are, many of which are completely mundane in nature, which they are, it still wouldn't matter, because the boundaries of a story have fuck-all to do with the layout decisions of the guy writing them down. If someone wants to include "a story from Le Morte de Arthur" in some other work, they are under no obligation to include an entire chapter, let alone an entire fucking book of Malory's text, because that is not what "story" means, and even if that wasn't true it would still be true that your insistence on using only the larger of the divisions that Malory worked with is clearly disingenuous because Malory himself does in fact have another, more granular set of divisions under which your paper-thin argument falls apart completely.
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Mord
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

angelfromanotherpin wrote:
I wasn't saying that Malory wasn't canonical (insofar as canon exists). I was saying that he is one author. Arthuriana is big and full of crazy, and picking out one dude and saying that half of his work is mundane doesn't really support half of the mythology being mundane. As an analogy: one of the defining traits of the Sherlock Holmes stories was that crimes were committed for common sordid motives, like money or revenge; but Stephen Moffat's Sherlock series has an enormous percentage of its crimes committed by bored super-geniuses for the lulz. Moffat's series is immensely successful and well-known, but it's very different from the bulk of the recognized stories.

Yes, Arthurian lore, like Holmes lore, is big and crazy - that is exactly why you have to pick a specific version and discuss it to the exclusion of other versions. I picked out Malory because he is among the earliest literary chroniclers of Arthurian legend and the first to include many of the elements we expect (a Round Table, Lancelot & Guenivere, the Holy Grail). I could have gone back to Geoffrey of Monmouth; on reflection, that would have been an even better example, because Geoffrey has even less magic.

Your Moffat example highlights this perfectly - you can't talk about the entire Holmes mythology, because Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch's stories are mutually incompatible. There's nothing intrinsically superior in your choice to discuss one over the other; I prefer earlier sources because there's less contamination from influences outside the work's original context, but if you want to talk Disney instead, more power to you.



angelfromanotherpin wrote:
I'm going to cut you off there. Partly because you don't go on to address either the magic poison or drinking horn

You probably should have read the rest of the paragraph, because it does address the magic poison and the drinking horn: they, like the love potion, are not necessary for the story to unfold in the same way. Here, let me do all the editing the story needs to get rid of the magic poison:
Thomas Malory wrote:
Then the king let send after all manner of leeches and surgeons, both unto men and women, and there was none that would behote him the life. Then came there a lady that was a right wise lady, and she said plainly unto King Mark, and to Sir Tristram, and to all his barons, that he should never be whole but if Sir Tristram went in the same country that the venom came from, where there dwelt a noble surgeon of all-surpassing skill, and in that country should he be holpen or else never. Thus said the lady unto the king.

And the point of this is not to say there is no fantasy in Malory's version of the Arthurian mythos, rather, to say that Malory's Arthurian setting is low fantasy because the magic elements are easily redactable without changing the story.

angelfromanotherpin wrote:
, but also because the love potion is actually fucking crucial to the story. It's the difference between the characters being sympathetic and not. If Tristram can't resist his own desires for Isolde, then he's not a worthy knight, he's a weak-willed asshole. If Isolde can't stay faithful to her husband then she's not a virtuous woman, she's a ho. Their romance being forced upon them by an outside compulsion is what makes the story a tragedy of good people in bad circumstances and not 'terrible people get away with crimes of choice.'

That's your interpretation; without the potion, I find them just as sympathetic, if not more so, because the whole reason Mark wanted to marry Isolde in the first place is because he's a terrible person. Specifically, Mark was pissed off that when he and Tristram both wanted to sleep with Segwarides' wife, Tristram got to her first. As revenge, Mark set up a long con, using his knowledge of Tristram's love for Isolde to set them up for adultery and then kill him. The whole thing is founded on everyone involved (except maybe Segwarides?) being terrible people even without any magical inducements.

Note also that Mark's scheme was founded on the knowledge that Tristram already loved Isolde, and the plot would not have worked if he did not. Note also also that Mark didn't provide the potion, it was the Queen of Ireland, who presumably did not know of Mark's plot and probably just wanted to help her daughter cope with her arranged marriage to King Rando of Wherever.

And, not to put too fine a point on it, but the passage specifies that they found the potion when "they were in their cabin, [and] it happed so that they were thirsty." What do you think they were up to in their cabin, that they worked up such a thirst?

Really, the potion really just confuses things. But, you probably also think that Lancelot is a "weak-willed asshole" and that Guenivere is a "ho," so I'm probably not going to get anywhere with this line of argumentation.
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Mord wrote:
And the point of this is not to say there is no fantasy in Malory's version of the Arthurian mythos, rather, to say that Malory's Arthurian setting is low fantasy because the magic elements are easily redactable without changing the story.

You seem confused. I'm not contesting 'is Malory low fantasy,' it obviously is by both definitions. I asked: 'can anyone name an actually completely mundane Arthurian story as Cham claimed 50% of such stories are.' And your answer has been, so far as I can tell: 'Yes, if I'm allowed to count my own rewrites that remove all fantastic elements.' Sure, if you wanted to, you could even rewrite them so many times that they were 50% or even 99% of all Arthurian stories. It's kind of cheating, though.

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That's your interpretation

It's actually my Medieval Lit professor's interpretation that I happen to agree with. It was written for an audience whose context for adultery was 'possible casus belli.' It was serious shit, and in every period story where the knight and the married lady actually get together, the ending is bad; sometimes it's just T&I bad and they die horribly, sometimes it's full Lancelot & Guinevere bad and the whole kingdom falls. It wasn't subtle.

On a related note, everyone who hasn't should read the Bettermyths analysis of courtly romance. It is the best.

Quote:
But, you probably also think that Lancelot is a "weak-willed asshole" and that Guenivere is a "ho," so I'm probably not going to get anywhere with this line of argumentation.

Those judgements on a non-compelled T&I were from the notional perspective of a period audience, to be clear, and from that same perspective, yes, I think it's meant to be a moral event horizon for both of them. My own judgement is that they're both too stupid to be moral agents in the first place; they were openly committing treason, what did they think would happen?

(There are a number of stories where Guinevere very clearly is a slut; I think it has to do with the fantasy appeal of having a sexually available queen, in the same tradition of the stories where the version of Arthur as an ideal king just stays the hell out of everyone's way except to throw mad parties for whoever the main character is. Lanval's a good example if you're interested in checking out the 'Guinevere as horny villainess' tradition.)
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deaddmwalking
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

For what it's worth, I'd take the potion as a convenient metaphor for a powerful all-encompassing desire that overthrows reason. This would be consistent with a pattern; the conception of Arthur, Lancelot and Guenivere, and of course it echoes biblical themes such as David and Batsheba.

On the one hand, we want people to be faithful and on the other, passionate love affairs happen. The potion is a token to excuse an action only for those that require the excuse. Even without it, they were not 'in control'.
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