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Daulton Whitehead
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Blog Update: I'm working on a revised Expanded Firearm and Vehicle rules for Cypher.
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Okay, question for the GMs out there:
The focus "Never Says Die" has two abilities at first Tier; "Rapid Recovery" (your 10-minute recovery takes only one action), and "Push on Through" (2 MP, You ignore the effects of terrain while moving for one hour.)

I have a build for a Resilient Nano who Never Says Die, however I don't see him as the 'Outdoorsy' type who deals with difficult terrain. I'd like to replace "Push on Through" with "Brings the Pain" (So his Mindslice/tazer can actually quietly drop a level 2 guard using 1 level of effort for damage, instead of leaving the target with 1 HP left and requiring a second round of combat where the guard alerts his buddies)

I'd like to replace "Push on Through" without dropping "Rapid Recovery" as Rapid Recovery is the whole reason I'm taking the NSD focus, however the rules are vague as to whether customizing a focus would have you trade abilities one-for-one, or drop everything at that tier in the focus for the custom tier ability (the text for Customizing a Focus seems to assume Foci Tiers have only one ability).

I'd like to say as a GM that I would allow it, but I've got a proverbial horse in the race from the Player side, so I'd like to hear some other opinions to counter my own bias.

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All those 1-shin light weapons in Numenera's weapon table, are they really just different shapes of daggers or knives, or do they have distinctly different tactical uses? My humble suggestion for making different types of weapons distinctly different.

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Making Tier Zero PCs, adventuring before they became Adventurers.

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Daulton Whitehead commented on a post on Blogger.
I think the problem isn't that magic is or isn't lazy, but rather that "It's Magic" is too often an excuse for a world to have certain features without explanation or exploration, a way to plaster over the cracks in a world design, rather than a well-thought out component of the world design.

To wit: In the Harry Potter universe an entire secret civilization lives alongside the mundane world, aware of the existence of the mundane world, yet the wizards don't regularly avail themselves of 'muggle technology' because... Science doesn't work with magic? Yet they have a magical steam train, and one book has a flying car, and there's an enchanted double-decker bus... Yet the wizards seem to have not grasped computer technology, or attempted to enchant Cell Phones, and the possibilities of applying Magic to space travel could be endless...

Magic in Harry Potter's universe is an excuse for the "Wizarding World" to have a late Renaissance/early Victorian veneer with some shades of Steampunk, while being in a "Modern" setting. There's no given reason why Magic cannot be used to enhance mundane objects, and the series gives numerous examples of such things, yet for reasons unexplained and unexplored the majority of Wizards get around on flying broomsticks getting bugs in their teeth instead of flying 4-door sedans with Air Conditioning and protection from inclement weather, or indeed purpose-built magic-flying-car-rockets that dispense with mundane trappings entirely for a magically efficient and comfortable transport.

In gaming this gets even more egregious when you examine how 'Magic' is used to excuse the "Skinner Box" effect. In short a Skinner Box is a psychological conditioning system wherein a subject does some action and after a randomized number of attempts they get a reward which encourages more attempts at the task. Computer "Dungeon Crawls" like the Diablo and Torchlight are classic Skinner Boxes. Beat up a pack of monsters, get a small pile of loot, and one of those items may be better than the one you're already carrying.

Now D&D and other role-playing games have had Skinner Box mechanisms since the beginning, however the difference between a +1 and a +2 sword is that the +2 is "more magical", or that your reward for fighting a pack of monsters is a randomly generated +2 sword that casts "Silence 20' Radius" with no reason why such a sword would be carried by that Ogre Berserker (silence isn't really his thing after all), or indeed why such a sword would exist at all (it was obviously commissioned by ninja clans, which don't exist within a thousand leagues of the lair of that Ogre), the "Magic" doesn't provide context, it's not a source of awe or wonder (as any true magic should be), it's just an excuse for the existence of the random magic item table and the Skinner Box it supports.
Nuts & Bolts #60 - Context is Key
Nuts & Bolts #60 - Context is Key
inspstrikes.blogspot.com
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Daulton Whitehead commented on a post on Blogger.
I think some of this is the "Computerization" of our hobby. Not the use of digital PDFs, dice rolling apps, or virtual tabletops, but the prevalence of computer-based RPGs where the medium is limited heavily by pre-scripted actions, which ultimately lends itself more towards combat-based interactions. Add Monsters A4 and D2, run combat rules until encounter completion state. This places much of the focus on the numbers, that "Magical +1", as opposed to the background of how the sword got that +1, or how that +1 actually works. By placing the emphasis on the numbers the goals of the game become to find bigger numbers, irrespective of how those numbers work. Then take those bigger numbers and 'fight' monsters with their own 'bigger numbers' to get even bigger numbers... (also known as a Skinner Box).

<Rant>
The +1 sword can have a fantastic backstory in it's fluff, but it remains fluff if there's no way for the players to investigate it further, like say it was the sword of the son of a wealthy merchant family, an heirloom of the patriarch that he was forced to sell in his youth for the seed money that he ended up building his financial empire on, and might be willing to provide a reward if it found it's way back to his hands so he could put it in a proper display case.

In the computer RPGs if that bit wasn't scripted than it's just another +1 sword in the market basket, no matter how detailed the description of the object in our inventory. Tabletop games have the freedom to let the players actually delve in to unscripted world elements, provided the GM and the Players can improvise...

And this goes back to the "computerization" of the tabletop hobby. I think a lot of the players I've gamed with over the years are accustomed to computer RPGs with predefined plot paths, that they, and I for that matter (I know I'm out of practice as well), have lost practice with the improv aspect of the hobby. Having said that though I've recently played (as a player) the 5'th edition D&D module "Tyranny of the Dragons", and that had a lot of scripted elements that basically took us from combat to combat without a lot of other interactions, so I think a not insignificant amount of the RPG publishing industry is also suffering from a lack of practice with the improvisation that really should be core to our hobby.

Ironically, for all the pre-scripted railroading in the published adventure I don't actually recall the plot. As a player I had so little ownership over what happened that I kind of don't care.

(interesting linkage here:
http://lorenrosson.blogspot.com/2012/11/old-school-d-simple-rules-great-modules.html
TL;DR: Old School modules focused on providing settings and interesting personages, not plotlines. Plot came from the improvisation from letting the PCs loose in the provided settings and interacting with the NPCs.)

Do I have any cures to the issue? ... Maybe.

I'm running a game of Numenera, and after a few sessions I hit on a campaign theme: The PCs have found the core element to a modular flying settlement, the on-board AI has decided that the party is a likely bunch to be it's "Administrators", and declared them to be the rulers. They have a flying village to run now, which includes diplomacy, taking care of the needs of citizens, and finding additional modules to attach to their settlement.

Finding new settlement modules satisfies the dungeon-crawl need. An ancient settlement module may be infested with monsters or occupied by an evil wizard that must (may) be dispatched with combat prowess before the module can be added to their flying city. The running of the settlement itself can satisfy a need for "Growing Numbers" and the Skinner Box effect without resorting to inflating combat with "Magical +Number" weapons (IE: the appeal of games like Sim City). And finally they're running a territory, a fiefdom that other rulers would look upon with envy (what ruler wouldn't want to get their hands on a flying artifact large enough to build a city, or fortress, on?) that will involve the PCs in diplomacy, alliance building, politics and skulduggery  that are significantly outside the scope of "Computerized" rule mechanics and require more practice with good old-fashioned Improv.

</Rant>
Magic is Lazy
Magic is Lazy
ilive4crits.blogspot.com
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Christmas comes early for your party's Gun Toting Maniac, get them a Minigun! Post includes two real-world examples.

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A post on Armor, Slashing and Crushing weapons I'd like some feedback on.

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So I've posted some Vehicle rules, Now the first "Motor Pool" post. Civilian vehicles for land sea and air and some military vehicles for ground combat and close air support.
Vehicles in Cypher: Motor Pool 1
Vehicles in Cypher: Motor Pool 1
cyphermodern.blogspot.com

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Cypherpunk. 'Nuff said Chummer.
Cypherpunk
Cypherpunk
cyphermodern.blogspot.com
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