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  • DarmakDarmak RAGE vympyvvhyc vyctyvyRegistered User regular
    Delduwath wrote: »
    Darmak wrote: »
    I am about this close to just buying like a fuckload of different RPG sourcebooks just because of the art or the setting or the mechanics and it's a lot of money for all at once but I wannnnt eeemmmmmm.

    Namely I'm looking at

    Spire: The City Must Fall
    Symbaroum
    Blades in the Dark (got the .pdf in the itch.io bundle but I want a hardcopy)
    Overlight
    Paranoia
    Troika! (another one I got in the itch bundle)
    Starfinder

    I also want to get a copy of Mage: The Awakening but I can't find any new copies of it

    I probably won't ever convince my group to play any of these, but I still want em
    I agree with Straightzi re: The Spire - the setting, the writing, and the character classes (the flavor, especially) are off the chain. I likewise agree that the system feels inelegant. I should mention that I have like no practical experience running or playing RPGs, I'm very much an armchair RPG nerd (the armchair is made of dozens of RPG books that I buy and never play), so take that with a grain of salt.

    One thing that I will say about the system is that it will literally, obviously fuck your character up. Just reading the stress system makes me feel stressed out. The premise of the game is that your are a revolutionary, and building the revolution will kill you; it's more a question of how much you can do before you're broken and cast down. So, I think it's kind of appropriate in that respect. On the other hand, some parts of it feel really swingy - like a random roll will decide whether or not you take some mental stress or whatever, and if you do then that's a Big Deal and if you don't then it's fine. I guess that can lead to good drama if you come into it knowing that your booze-knight might semi-randomly die, and you have some juicy death scene you're ready to play out for your buddies.

    The other very specific gripe that I have is that the original Kickstarter had an early draft of the rules where all the classes' top-tier abilities were described in narrative terms, not mechanics. So it was something along the lines of: "The Firebrand [an actual leading-the-underclasses-in-the-streets-to-glorious-revolution type] becomes the very idea of revolution, can instantly appear wherever a crowd of people gathers and sings a song about rebellion". This really really worked for me; I like the idea that the most powerful abilities are beyond the reach of the rules, especially in a narrative-heavy game like this. If I remember correctly, there were some OWD Vampire books that listed the 10-dot powers for each Discipline as "Plot Device"? Yes, this is what I want. And then the final rules came out and all the top-tier abilities had mechanics attached to them and I was like "...oh".

    But the art in the book is increda, and the imagination that was poured into the setting is enough to jump-start anyone else's.

    Darmak, thank you for reminding me about Overlight; I'd been meaning to check that out ages ago, and completely forgot about it. The other thing that I forgot about, and was remind of by your "RPG book with pretty art" comment, was Emberwind. I think it was mentioned on this very forum some time ago, I checked out their free previews, and thought it was fairly novel and definitely had some banging art. I think it's out now? I should read some reviews. Or, you know, rush out to order the book and then read the reviews.

    Also, if you're looking for interesting RPGs with pretty art, have you checked out Fellowship? (I will never stop banging Fellowship's drum, even though I've literally never played it.) I think it's a really pretty book, and I think a lot of the ideas in the game are interesting and inspirational, even if you never actually get to play the game or ultimately decide that the game isn't for you.

    I hadn't ever heard of Overlight, but it popped up in recommended books on Amazon while looking at others and the art caught my eye, obviously. I haven't heard of Emberwind or Fellowship, but I'll go check those out right now (and probably wishlist them as well)

    6RUApv3.png
    Delduwath
  • StraightziStraightzi Here we may reign secure, and in my choice, To reign is worth ambition though in HellRegistered User regular
    gavindel wrote: »
    Yeah, I'll have to play with alternative framings. Dungeon delving as an activity has a rather fine granularity - locks, keys, square feet, corners, line of sight, movement timing. Moving to a rules light system, you more or less abandon that granularity. To give an example:

    Players entered the room of the forge firemaster. They see three chests in back, all gleaming with a magical aura.
    One player uses the investigation roll, partial success, to ask "what looks important in here?"
    I glance at my notes. "Uh, well, the three shiny glowing chests?"
    "Oh."
    "Yeah. Honestly, that's kind of obvious. I'll let you ask something else."

    We'll see if Dungeon World survives. This group cut its teeth on 5e, and our one player outright admitted she found the lack of any initiative order very frustrating in the new system.

    In my experience, everyone just kind of does a standard initiative in DW still. You can act out of order if you want to, but usually you're just sticking to the same order.

    As for that discern realities, I would recommend you give more information - why do those look useful or valuable, what might they be useful or valuable for? Remember that the player gets a +1 bonus when acting on that information - it's not just a perception check, it's setting up a future action.

    And if you don't think that would apply to what you have in your notes, make up something new. Discern realities is a way for the player to take some control of the narrative, so if they ask that question, there should be an answer, even if there wasn't one before they asked it.

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  • DelduwathDelduwath Registered User regular
    edited June 30
    Darmak wrote: »
    Delduwath wrote: »
    Darmak wrote: »
    I am about this close to just buying like a fuckload of different RPG sourcebooks just because of the art or the setting or the mechanics and it's a lot of money for all at once but I wannnnt eeemmmmmm.

    Namely I'm looking at

    Spire: The City Must Fall
    Symbaroum
    Blades in the Dark (got the .pdf in the itch.io bundle but I want a hardcopy)
    Overlight
    Paranoia
    Troika! (another one I got in the itch bundle)
    Starfinder

    I also want to get a copy of Mage: The Awakening but I can't find any new copies of it

    I probably won't ever convince my group to play any of these, but I still want em
    I agree with Straightzi re: The Spire - the setting, the writing, and the character classes (the flavor, especially) are off the chain. I likewise agree that the system feels inelegant. I should mention that I have like no practical experience running or playing RPGs, I'm very much an armchair RPG nerd (the armchair is made of dozens of RPG books that I buy and never play), so take that with a grain of salt.

    One thing that I will say about the system is that it will literally, obviously fuck your character up. Just reading the stress system makes me feel stressed out. The premise of the game is that your are a revolutionary, and building the revolution will kill you; it's more a question of how much you can do before you're broken and cast down. So, I think it's kind of appropriate in that respect. On the other hand, some parts of it feel really swingy - like a random roll will decide whether or not you take some mental stress or whatever, and if you do then that's a Big Deal and if you don't then it's fine. I guess that can lead to good drama if you come into it knowing that your booze-knight might semi-randomly die, and you have some juicy death scene you're ready to play out for your buddies.

    The other very specific gripe that I have is that the original Kickstarter had an early draft of the rules where all the classes' top-tier abilities were described in narrative terms, not mechanics. So it was something along the lines of: "The Firebrand [an actual leading-the-underclasses-in-the-streets-to-glorious-revolution type] becomes the very idea of revolution, can instantly appear wherever a crowd of people gathers and sings a song about rebellion". This really really worked for me; I like the idea that the most powerful abilities are beyond the reach of the rules, especially in a narrative-heavy game like this. If I remember correctly, there were some OWD Vampire books that listed the 10-dot powers for each Discipline as "Plot Device"? Yes, this is what I want. And then the final rules came out and all the top-tier abilities had mechanics attached to them and I was like "...oh".

    But the art in the book is increda, and the imagination that was poured into the setting is enough to jump-start anyone else's.

    Darmak, thank you for reminding me about Overlight; I'd been meaning to check that out ages ago, and completely forgot about it. The other thing that I forgot about, and was remind of by your "RPG book with pretty art" comment, was Emberwind. I think it was mentioned on this very forum some time ago, I checked out their free previews, and thought it was fairly novel and definitely had some banging art. I think it's out now? I should read some reviews. Or, you know, rush out to order the book and then read the reviews.

    Also, if you're looking for interesting RPGs with pretty art, have you checked out Fellowship? (I will never stop banging Fellowship's drum, even though I've literally never played it.) I think it's a really pretty book, and I think a lot of the ideas in the game are interesting and inspirational, even if you never actually get to play the game or ultimately decide that the game isn't for you.

    I hadn't ever heard of Overlight, but it popped up in recommended books on Amazon while looking at others and the art caught my eye, obviously. I haven't heard of Emberwind or Fellowship, but I'll go check those out right now (and probably wishlist them as well)
    @Darmak Fellowship was originally a Kickstarter project, and if you go to the campaign page for it, there are some preview images linked in the text that give you a taste of what kind of ideas it's playing with.

    ...and if you want a PDF of it, you can buy it for $8 (or ~$20 to get even more expansion books) in the Bundle of Holding in the next ~6 days:
    https://bundleofholding.com/presents/Fellowship

    Delduwath on
    Darmak
  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited June 30
    Darmak wrote: »
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    Just found a mini that first came out in 2016 in limited qualities that I really, really want.

    The company is out of stock, and the only website I've seen selling them is charging a little over $100. It is a 70mm tall mini, but damn.

    EDIT: Just bought it. Paid about $115 dollars for a BBEG figure that for all I know I may never use in a game.

    Pics plz!

    I'm pretty sure the image isn't work safe, but my intention is that it could be used as an alternative design for the Queen of Chaos. She's a D&D villainess who appeared in the Rod of Seven Parts adventure and is supposedly the most powerful demon lord in existence but has only ever been name dropped since...partially because she looks a lot like Ursula from The Little Mermaid.

    1pqz7lvvk9ws.jpg
    I'm not particularly keen on the mythos for her and Miska from the Rod of Seven Parts adventure, nor am I that keen on her resemblance to Whats-Her-Name from The Little Mermaid, nor am I too keen on the fact that her name is the Queen of Chaos.

    The mini I purchased has the tentacles coming out of her head instead, replacing the ones the official design has with a sluglike lower body dragged around by crablike legs.

    In 3E the Queen of Chaos was established to be one of the original demons and the creator of Demogorgon.

    In 4E it was said that she was the leader of twelve demon lords who had already destroyed an entire multiverse and wanted to achieve the same feat in a new one. She sent a seed for a new Abyss to another multiverse, which was found and planted by the god Tharizdun. The formation of the new Abyss allowed the Queen of Chaos, Dagon, Pazuzu, Obox-Ob, and the other elder demon lords to escape their dying reality for this new one (Tharizdun's prison in 4E, btw, was the now completely annihilated multiverse that the Queen of Chaos had come from).

    5E so far has just listed her as an Elder Evil.

    BTW, there was also a novelization of The Rod of Seven Parts that featured her and her general/consort, Miska the Wolf Spider. Here's an excerpt:
    "The Queen of Chaos towered like a large building, rising from the midst of a nest of tentacles. Her body was a dark and shapeless blob, almost black in color, the upper portion resembling some grotesque, unspeakably foul version of a giantess. The form was vaguely humanoid and female, yet so bulbous and disfigured as to barely resemble anything like a woman. Miska's human face was buried somewhere in the folds of the queen's monstrous body, but the two wolf heads were upraised and alert."

    Now I just wish I could get an Obox-Ob mini!

    r8p32b1zi5pl.jpg

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  • ToxTox I kill threads Punch DimensionRegistered User regular
    edited June 30
    Bucketman wrote: »
    So I mentioned my wife was going to run the next campaign we do. We had some...tension about her original pitch vis a ve baby eating monster. Well our own monster (one of our cats) knocked over a cup of dirty paint water all over her D&D notebook and she lost everything she had planned.

    She just game me her new pitch. Partially inspired by True Blood.

    So Mab, the Queen of Darkness, has been crossing over when she can and mating with mortals and spawning children. They have weird powers and shes using them to try and open a permanent portal between the Feywilds (specifically her kingdom) and the mortal realm. Also if they kill one of their siblings, they get even more power. So she had the weak ones culled by the stronger and is using them to sow chaos. The characters don't know it but they are also all children of Mab and feel drawn to the area where the most powerful are gathering to start the final push to open the portal.

    I love it. I also asked her if I ever told her about Baulder's Gate, and I hadn't I guess. I love that she came up with this on her own. I am excited!

    Guess how the campaign is most likely to go off the rails.

    Overall I really like this idea! But! DM will need to be very careful about reviewing the PCs to make sure they get along and are notable exceptions to the norm for Mab's kids and are designedly unlikely to try to take each other out for power. Otherwise this is gonna turn sideways shit fast.

    On another note, thinking of the character I had in mind (the Loxodon Paladin), it probably won't work for this group since EVERYONE else is also melee. So I was thinking of trying a Sorceror or Warlock since I've never done either.

    Weird that a Wild Magic Sorceror doesn't have to roll on the Wild Magic table at set times, but just when the DM decides to have them do it.
    I run into that sort of issue a lot, but mostly the other way around (nobody wants to be melee, or they'll just be primary range but with some melee). It's always super important to me to map out the PCs in advance, so everybody knows what everybody is doing and how all the characters work and fit together. I liken it to the writing room of a TV show. Why these characters, why like this? That sort of thing. The most important question I feel needs to be answerable is "why would my character stick with this group?" and the opposite, "why would the group keep this character around?" I think those are important questions, especially when you're just starting out. It's easy to develop characters into friends or the like, but I get Very Stressed Out when it feels like a given character just doesn't fit in with the team, and I can't figure out how "the writers' room" (aka, the humans at the table) are going to make it work.

    It is, hands down, far and away my biggest source of stress as a player. Even in the game I'm in that just kicked off, I keep looking at us and going "fuck we need a wizard"

    Tox on
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  • The Zombie PenguinThe Zombie Penguin Eternal Hungry Corpse Registered User regular
    Conversly, in @Endless_Serpents game, we have no party face (my character gear has sooooort of been doing the role, and she's running around with 8 cha, so great choice! Oh wait, no, she's terrible, quick @Darmak baber needs to take the lead).

    It's fucking great, we're about to do a big street party/halloween thing, nothing can possibly go wrong with our little band of loons. Hopefully we get to just annihilate another big fight again.

    ---

    Mer - Mammalian seasnakefolk. Have scales, really excellent hair (it's very dramatic). Spit poison, very social, like naps in the sun. Might be a result of Terror Incognita's weird memory side effects.
    Orcs - my LION ORCS.
    Satyr - Work hard PARTY HARD do astronomy, astrology and drugs.
    Ogres - Hippo ogres, best ogres? Best ogres.
    Undead (in wraith, skeleton and bog mummy flavors! They like music a whole lot)
    Humans (Old Blood & New Blood. Old blood have fey-critter familiars!)
    Aeternum Elves - Traded Elfven life span for FIRE. Totally not creepy. Also very hard to set on fire.

    The above are all the sentient species in my Terror Incognita setting so far. At least, the main races that have big presence. Currently working out stating all these up as playable species. I know one thing i'm doing is they're all +2 to one stat of player's choice, +1 one to another. Nice and simple.

    Other things i need to do are bigger write ups on the the four main city states - Monferrina, Serenity, The Last Citdael (Still needs a new name - i'm leaning towards Quyllur, as this is the Quecha for Star - seems good), and Raider's Rest. That and write up stuff on the various biomes and what might be in them so okay, i've got a looooot to do still. Also gotta write up the Spore Legions.

    Anything people are immediately curious about from all of this ramble? this is good for sparking my creativity.

    Ideas hate it when you anthropomorphize them
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  • The Zombie PenguinThe Zombie Penguin Eternal Hungry Corpse Registered User regular
    Also this is silly, but I have a sudden urge to run a campaign George of the Jungle style.

    Aka, everyone can hear the narrator in character and argue with them.

    Ideas hate it when you anthropomorphize them
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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    edited June 30
    Maddoc wrote: »
    4e is good if you enjoy tactical combat, that isn't to say that it can't be utilized as well as other editions of D&D to tell a story, but it certainly is a combat focused rule set, and the narrative and conversational mechanics like skill challenges is much lighter than the combat rules.

    I agree though I'd point out that 4e has basically the exact same amount of narrative and conversational mechanics than the other versions of D&D. Other editions have always pretty much had some variant stuff like "Well, uh, inspiration or something" or huge cumbersome kingdom management expansions and such.

    IME That sort of thing in D&D has always been ad hoc collaborative storytelling, which is fine. I just don't think the game system gets to claim credit (or blame) to that stuff if it doesn't meaningfully facilitate it.

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  • DarmakDarmak RAGE vympyvvhyc vyctyvyRegistered User regular
    Conversly, in Endless_Serpents game, we have no party face (my character gear has sooooort of been doing the role, and she's running around with 8 cha, so great choice! Oh wait, no, she's terrible, quick Darmak baber needs to take the lead).

    It's fucking great, we're about to do a big street party/halloween thing, nothing can possibly go wrong with our little band of loons. Hopefully we get to just annihilate another big fight again.

    Yeah, Baber has +1 CHA but no social skills other than intimidation lol. Our party is smol, but mighty! But we can adapt and overcome, and I feel like so far we've been pretty good at finding some creative solutions to situations. I think we'll be fine! 😁

    6RUApv3.png
  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited June 30
    I'm taking on the challenge of trying to make a reasonable stand-in of this lady in Hero Forge (though if anyone knows of any figures that resemble her let me know please):

    t4ib4ajeykq9.jpg

    This is Oublivae, a demon queen introduced in 4E. Her Abyssal layer, the Barrens, is a wasteland dotted with copies of civilizations as they were at their demise. This makes her something of an archaeologist who delights in researching civilizations and how they ended; therefore, someone who is particularly desperate to find lore about an ancient empire destroyed by a magical catastrophe could entreat Oublivae for aid. Depending on her mood, Oublivae will either give one a short lecture concerning the lore they seek or impale the questioner on her tail before biting off the victim's head.

    Oublivae has also kept populations of mortals who somehow found themselves trapped in the Barrens around for generations, masquerading as a guardian angel to these communities while also never telling them they are in the Abyss. She finds it amusing to watch these ignorant mortal souls explore the post-apocalyptic ruins and face both monsters and the supernaturally-sustained disasters that destroyed these civilizations. Oublivae's greatest pleasure is to watch the sole surviving member of a community dying alone.

    Oublivae is interesting in that she's less interested in causing chaos in the world herself as she is enjoying the aftermath of others' civilization-destroying efforts. When an aspect of her's appears in the world it is mostly content to assume the guise of a guardian angel come to save someone lacking survival skills lost in the wilderness. The avatar then intentionally guides that individual to deeper locations in the wilderness so that they might be eaten by monsters, starve to death, suffer a fatal accident, or otherwise die from exposure to the elements.

    BTW, the book Oublivae debuted in, Demonomicon, came out about the same time as 4E's Dark Sun update and D&D Gamma World. Both Dark Sun and Gamma World are post-apocalyptic in tone, and I recall Oublivae's creator stating that GMs who wanted to put a twist on those settings could set them as part of Oublivae's realm.

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  • DarmakDarmak RAGE vympyvvhyc vyctyvyRegistered User regular
    Also, Obox-Ob there is just letting his balls hang out, huh?

    6RUApv3.png
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  • BucketmanBucketman Call me SkraggRegistered User regular
    Tox wrote: »
    Bucketman wrote: »
    So I mentioned my wife was going to run the next campaign we do. We had some...tension about her original pitch vis a ve baby eating monster. Well our own monster (one of our cats) knocked over a cup of dirty paint water all over her D&D notebook and she lost everything she had planned.

    She just game me her new pitch. Partially inspired by True Blood.

    So Mab, the Queen of Darkness, has been crossing over when she can and mating with mortals and spawning children. They have weird powers and shes using them to try and open a permanent portal between the Feywilds (specifically her kingdom) and the mortal realm. Also if they kill one of their siblings, they get even more power. So she had the weak ones culled by the stronger and is using them to sow chaos. The characters don't know it but they are also all children of Mab and feel drawn to the area where the most powerful are gathering to start the final push to open the portal.

    I love it. I also asked her if I ever told her about Baulder's Gate, and I hadn't I guess. I love that she came up with this on her own. I am excited!

    Guess how the campaign is most likely to go off the rails.

    Overall I really like this idea! But! DM will need to be very careful about reviewing the PCs to make sure they get along and are notable exceptions to the norm for Mab's kids and are designedly unlikely to try to take each other out for power. Otherwise this is gonna turn sideways shit fast.

    On another note, thinking of the character I had in mind (the Loxodon Paladin), it probably won't work for this group since EVERYONE else is also melee. So I was thinking of trying a Sorceror or Warlock since I've never done either.

    Weird that a Wild Magic Sorceror doesn't have to roll on the Wild Magic table at set times, but just when the DM decides to have them do it.
    I run into that sort of issue a lot, but mostly the other way around (nobody wants to be melee, or they'll just be primary range but with some melee). It's always super important to me to map out the PCs in advance, so everybody knows what everybody is doing and how all the characters work and fit together. I liken it to the writing room of a TV show. Why these characters, why like this? That sort of thing. The most important question I feel needs to be answerable is "why would my character stick with this group?" and the opposite, "why would the group keep this character around?" I think those are important questions, especially when you're just starting out. It's easy to develop characters into friends or the like, but I get Very Stressed Out when it feels like a given character just doesn't fit in with the team, and I can't figure out how "the writers' room" (aka, the humans at the table) are going to make it work.

    It is, hands down, far and away my biggest source of stress as a player. Even in the game I'm in that just kicked off, I keep looking at us and going "fuck we need a wizard"

    Yeah there's a chance things will go sideways, but I'm really proud of how ambitious she's being with her first full campaign.

    She did run another game once but it didn't last long because of the players scattering but it was an expedition to an island to tame and settle it and she developed evening from a full map to an error system for upgrading the camp into a town

    ToxHexmage-PA
  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    edited June 30
    The one time I ran a successful "evil" campaign, there was an established understanding between the PCs that if they didn't cooperate, they would destroy each other and no one would achieve their goal. But if they stayed as a team, they would be more powerful and attain more power than any of them could individually. It worked well as a simple justification for cooperation.

    Edit: Of course it also helped immensely that the players all knew what game they were playing and that D&D kind of needs everyone to just get on board with not killing each other.

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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited June 30
    Darmak wrote: »
    Also, Obox-Ob there is just letting his balls hang out, huh?

    Obox-Ob's got some crazy anatomy going on.

    Start with a centipede. Replace the head with three scorpion stingers (not entire scorpion tails, just the stingers). Put three vaguely skull-shaped heads with proboscis tongues on the rear of the body, stacked on top of each other and arranged so that if the body lays flat the heads will be facing up from the back. Then bend the body backwards so that the heads are vertically aligned.

    This guy was Demogorgon's predecessor as the Prince of Demons, by the way. The 3.5E Savage Tide adventure path ended with an invasion of Demogorgon's layer of the Abyss by the party and allied armies (which, depending on how negotiations went, could include armies of eladrin and demons who oppose Demogorgon working together while Orcus went after Demogorgon directly to challenge him to a duel). As part of the adventure you could free Obox-Ob from a prison beneath a demonic city devoted to Demogorgon so that Obox-Ob could wreck up the place for you.

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  • MaddocMaddoc I'm Bobbin Threadbare, are you my mother? Registered User regular
    Denada wrote: »
    The one time I ran a successful "evil" campaign, there was an established understanding between the PCs that if they didn't cooperate, they would destroy each other and no one would achieve their goal. But if they stayed as a team, they would be more powerful and attain more power than any of them could individually. It worked well as a simple justification for cooperation.

    Edit: Of course it also helped immensely that the players all knew what game they were playing and that D&D kind of needs everyone to just get on board with not killing each other.

    I've also played evil PCs with essentially this same unspoken rule that my character was, regardless of his overall morality, invested in the well being of the party (just, you know, not particularly invested in the well-being of anyone outside of the party)

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  • UrielUriel Registered User regular
    I'm thinking of trying to flesh out my ideas about the sleepy mist world a bit.

    I'm thinking maybe not the whole world was inveloped in the mist but many of the largest most well developed cities were, all part of a continent spanning kingdom now lost to time as people know not to venture into the misty areas of the world because those that do either never come back or come back in an incurable sleeping spell.

    And things have been largely peaceful since then until some folks figured out ways to resist the magic mist, and come back with powerful ancient artifacts, but at the price of being changed forever, either unable to sleep for the rest of their life or haunted by waking nightmares and paranoia altering their behavior as to twist them into villains and such.

  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Bad Opinion Haver Registered User regular
    Uriel wrote: »
    I'm thinking of trying to flesh out my ideas about the sleepy mist world a bit.

    I'm thinking maybe not the whole world was inveloped in the mist but many of the largest most well developed cities were, all part of a continent spanning kingdom now lost to time as people know not to venture into the misty areas of the world because those that do either never come back or come back in an incurable sleeping spell.

    And things have been largely peaceful since then until some folks figured out ways to resist the magic mist, and come back with powerful ancient artifacts, but at the price of being changed forever, either unable to sleep for the rest of their life or haunted by waking nightmares and paranoia altering their behavior as to twist them into villains and such.

    Maybe something like a big trade nation that was about to be invaded. The King embraced the curse which put the main city under the mist and full of everyone's dreams/night mares that sometimes roam out of it.

    That way you can have some fun with like, the Princess holding court in exile from the capital and the security ring around it along with how people need noble seals (or to fake them, or to sneak in) to get into the city. With the obvious prize that will get people super rich/noble titles and land being actually making it through the ever more twisted maze of that seaside city's streets to remove the cursed crown from the kings head.

    Add in some way to stabilize/create check point feeling areas and you've got a mega dungeon campaign with multiple opposing parties around and the goal being to find loot to sell to the outside to get more supplies and stabilization magic to create rest zones that let you get deeper and deeper to uncover lore/map out the way to the goal. Plus with it being a huge capital trade city that was part way through an invasion there's heaps of easy player motivations to go in and play with thanks to dream mechanics.

    Uriel
  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    I figure my campaign will eventually take the party to the Abyss, so I'm doing some research on Abyssal locations and NPCs from established D&D lore.

    Here's my favorite NPC so far:

    Packaos the Immortal resembles a cherubic young halfling. He has twice served as a Blightlord of Morglon-Daar, a city populated primarily by yugoloths in the fourth layer of the Abyss. Packaos' most recent stint as a Blightlord ended when he quit out of boredom, but before that he was slain and replaced by a rival. Packaos reappeared in the city unharmed the next day and challenged his successor to a rematch, which he won. Packaos' several apparent deaths have been witnessed multiple times, but he always reappears in Morglon-Daar the next day. The mysterious halfling now runs a mercantile operation that ships goods up and down the Abyssal layers via the River Styx.

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  • QuantumTurkQuantumTurk Registered User regular
    Straightzi wrote: »
    gavindel wrote: »
    Yeah, I'll have to play with alternative framings. Dungeon delving as an activity has a rather fine granularity - locks, keys, square feet, corners, line of sight, movement timing. Moving to a rules light system, you more or less abandon that granularity. To give an example:

    Players entered the room of the forge firemaster. They see three chests in back, all gleaming with a magical aura.
    One player uses the investigation roll, partial success, to ask "what looks important in here?"
    I glance at my notes. "Uh, well, the three shiny glowing chests?"
    "Oh."
    "Yeah. Honestly, that's kind of obvious. I'll let you ask something else."

    We'll see if Dungeon World survives. This group cut its teeth on 5e, and our one player outright admitted she found the lack of any initiative order very frustrating in the new system.

    In my experience, everyone just kind of does a standard initiative in DW still. You can act out of order if you want to, but usually you're just sticking to the same order.

    As for that discern realities, I would recommend you give more information - why do those look useful or valuable, what might they be useful or valuable for? Remember that the player gets a +1 bonus when acting on that information - it's not just a perception check, it's setting up a future action.

    And if you don't think that would apply to what you have in your notes, make up something new. Discern realities is a way for the player to take some control of the narrative, so if they ask that question, there should be an answer, even if there wasn't one before they asked it.

    Partial successes like that are also a great time to let your players stretch a bit outside of your prep. If things have been going badly and you want to lighten that? "The third chest has a symbol you recognize from a tome you once stole, tell us how you stole it and I'll let you know how it helps you here" OR if they have been crusing and you need to bump it up a bit, "well those pressure plates in front of the chests sure are of interest, considering the dark vents above them" I think discern realities is begging for some riffing and spotlighting on both sides, and like any roll in an apocalypse system it's also the player saying "I will risk harm for an advantage here"

    Obviously that style and heavy improv isn't everyone's cup of tea, it's just super my jam. But my big thing is always, if you are rolling, that's time for one of us to be ready to make some shit up to either expand on what we've got, or move what we've got forward.

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  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Bad Opinion Haver Registered User regular
    Spoilered purely for Marsh and anyone else in my thursday group:

    GITS style plot, tell me if you think it works or is dumb:

    General outline:

    The Panopticon Squad (yes I'm that obvious that the institution sucks ass) are left babysitting a protest that might turn violent over refugee issues in the Inningham Sprawl. An explosive rips open a parked swat van and mayhem ensues with several well trained agents in the protesters using pistols and batons to keep the area clear so a tight beam hack can be done on the police network.

    The police were illegally monitoring a several UK citizens who have ties to the EU war (because it's GITS so a vague WW4 took place recently) as resistance fighters. These people are now turning up dead.

    The full plot is that a hardcore element of those resistance fighters lead by a famed assassin are doing the killings. Acting as judge, juries and executioners for people who sold out the cause to get citizenship and safety.

    The end point if the PCs dont interupt it is a mostly wheelchair bound captain of said resistance willingly showing up to the cargo ship the assassins are operating out of to serve his trail and a duel.

    The only extra bit I'm considering is trying to link in a member of British intelligence who was enabling this kill squad to tie up loose ends to an operation. Not sure if that will flow in easily.

  • Der Waffle MousDer Waffle Mous Blame this on the misfortune of your birth. New Yark, New Yark.Registered User regular
    Maddoc wrote: »
    4e is good if you enjoy tactical combat, that isn't to say that it can't be utilized as well as other editions of D&D to tell a story, but it certainly is a combat focused rule set, and the narrative and conversational mechanics like skill challenges is much lighter than the combat rules.

    I agree though I'd point out that 4e has basically the exact same amount of narrative and conversational mechanics than the other versions of D&D. Other editions have always pretty much had some variant stuff like "Well, uh, inspiration or something" or huge cumbersome kingdom management expansions and such.

    IME That sort of thing in D&D has always been ad hoc collaborative storytelling, which is fine. I just don't think the game system gets to claim credit (or blame) to that stuff if it doesn't meaningfully facilitate it.

    the arguments are almost invariably a) they consolidated the skill lists so you can't make your unseen camouflage master who cannot move a muscle without making a racket and that's not roleplaying. And b) they gave gave everyone access to what was once certain classes' "skip challenge" button and made them require time and effort to use.

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  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    4e's biggest crime to me was that all the abilities and such were boring. I didn't care. Maybe it was the presentation or reputation or whatever but 4e was just something I had 0.0 interest in playing at all ever. Like I'm not saying I'd play like, PBTA over 4e but it's close.

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  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Bad Opinion Haver Registered User regular
    Solar wrote: »
    4e's biggest crime to me was that all the abilities and such were boring. I didn't care. Maybe it was the presentation or reputation or whatever but 4e was just something I had 0.0 interest in playing at all ever. Like I'm not saying I'd play like, PBTA over 4e but it's close.

    Look if we’re judging D&D by its ability design then literally throw the whole thing in the fire.

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  • RiemannLivesRiemannLives Registered User regular
    edited June 30
    Maddoc wrote: »
    4e is good if you enjoy tactical combat, that isn't to say that it can't be utilized as well as other editions of D&D to tell a story, but it certainly is a combat focused rule set, and the narrative and conversational mechanics like skill challenges is much lighter than the combat rules.

    I agree though I'd point out that 4e has basically the exact same amount of narrative and conversational mechanics than the other versions of D&D. Other editions have always pretty much had some variant stuff like "Well, uh, inspiration or something" or huge cumbersome kingdom management expansions and such.

    IME That sort of thing in D&D has always been ad hoc collaborative storytelling, which is fine. I just don't think the game system gets to claim credit (or blame) to that stuff if it doesn't meaningfully facilitate it.

    I'd add to that the percentage pagecount spent on combat related things + spell descriptions (which are mostly combat related things) in 3rd, 4th and 5th are pretty much the same. 4th ed wasn't any more "combat focused" than 3rd or 5th. Comparisons get harder to od&d, 1st ed, basic series and 2nd as they are so much different from 3rd and later. 1st ed probably had the largest amount of content not directly related to combat but it was also very weird and not-useful content by todays standards.

    I'd also add that I find the 5th ed DMG to be just about the most useless version of that book ever produced. I found the 4th ed DMG 1, DMG 2 and Dungeon Masters Toolkit way more helpful in creating a setting, adventures and running the game.

    I think part of it is that I think there is a big difference between RPG products (both systems and adventures / other content) that are better to read vs those that are better to play. Online discussions always have and always will be much more weighted towards the products that are good to read compared to an actual game group.

    RPG settings that are good to read often have great depth and detail (often with excellent artwork) that are in practice really difficult to convey to a group of players who haven't also read the book (best example of this: Planescape, see also Empire of the Petal Throne). Good to read adventures often have well fleshed out locales and NPCs but no clear hook for how to actually get the players involved. After reading them (and having a great time doing so!) I am left thinking "ok now how the hell will the start of the first session actually go for this adventure?!? why would the players get involved in this mess?". They tend to have way more detail than it is possible to use during play and are difficult to use at the table because the DM is constantly having to look up that detail. They also tend to rely heavily on players doing just the right thing to progress the adventure.

    Systems where creating a character is a complex process of setting up a "build" that plans out far past character creation / the first session into the choices that the player will be making after many hours of actual game play are very much good-to-read systems. 3rd ed D&D is probably the most extreme modern example of this that I know of. Creating character builds, theorycrafting your abilities out to 20th level, finding that feat that you'll so love to take when you hit level 12, the entire Prestige Class system etc... is lots of fun. Especially when you don't have a group to play with. And they are interesting to chat about online. But I think they detract from playing the game. For one they are a high barrier to entry and are usually full of mastery-traps. But more importantly if you know what your character will be like at 20th level when you are rolling their stats why bother playing? How could you know that the flow of the story and the adventures of that character will actually make it sensible to multiclass out of bard into barbarian at level 3?

    Adventures that are good to play (and especially run for the DM) tend to seem, on reading them, too simplistic. They often seem too plot-hammery at the start (though a good adventure will quickly open up after that). The motivations given for the players seem crude but are clear and easy to understand (this is so important for the first session, that is always the hardest part). The NPCs aren't' as detailed, especially when it comes to information the players wouldn't know. The plans of the villain are less complex but they do need to have plans and behave in such a way as to achieve them.

    I think Keep on the Shadowfell is the best adventure to actually run from any of the modules published by WOTC since the start of 3rd edition. It's also free to download from WOTC at that link!

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  • Der Waffle MousDer Waffle Mous Blame this on the misfortune of your birth. New Yark, New Yark.Registered User regular
    edited June 30
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  • StraightziStraightzi Here we may reign secure, and in my choice, To reign is worth ambition though in HellRegistered User regular
    Solar wrote: »
    4e's biggest crime to me was that all the abilities and such were boring. I didn't care. Maybe it was the presentation or reputation or whatever but 4e was just something I had 0.0 interest in playing at all ever. Like I'm not saying I'd play like, PBTA over 4e but it's close.

    This was my initial thought before playing it. I didn't really like it as a game, because it was more strictly codifying a lot of things that 3.X had done - I saw a game where I wouldn't be able to make as flexible a character, with the dubious reward of being able to do a set of moves that I probably could have made a character based around doing already. I knew how to make a rogue who specialized in tripping enemies and getting their sneak attacks that way, I'd been playing the game for like seven years already.

    But, on a lark, my DM (who also had a lot of history with D&D and mostly agreed with my opinions on 4E), decided to put it on the table. More of a test run than anything else, was the plan. And the rest of our group, actors who hadn't played D&D before they started playing with us, they loved it. Because they saw moves that they could use in a way that they'd never been able to, things that they'd tried to do and found too difficult or complicated to actually pull off. And that's what made me actually appreciate 4E - its abilities weren't more exciting than what I could do with the right skills and feats, sure, but they were more accessible.

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  • UrielUriel Registered User regular

    Fighters in d&d should be fantasy john Wick

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  • RiemannLivesRiemannLives Registered User regular
    Straightzi wrote: »
    Solar wrote: »
    4e's biggest crime to me was that all the abilities and such were boring. I didn't care. Maybe it was the presentation or reputation or whatever but 4e was just something I had 0.0 interest in playing at all ever. Like I'm not saying I'd play like, PBTA over 4e but it's close.

    This was my initial thought before playing it. I didn't really like it as a game, because it was more strictly codifying a lot of things that 3.X had done - I saw a game where I wouldn't be able to make as flexible a character, with the dubious reward of being able to do a set of moves that I probably could have made a character based around doing already. I knew how to make a rogue who specialized in tripping enemies and getting their sneak attacks that way, I'd been playing the game for like seven years already.

    But, on a lark, my DM (who also had a lot of history with D&D and mostly agreed with my opinions on 4E), decided to put it on the table. More of a test run than anything else, was the plan. And the rest of our group, actors who hadn't played D&D before they started playing with us, they loved it. Because they saw moves that they could use in a way that they'd never been able to, things that they'd tried to do and found too difficult or complicated to actually pull off. And that's what made me actually appreciate 4E - its abilities weren't more exciting than what I could do with the right skills and feats, sure, but they were more accessible.

    4th ed came a lot closer to solving the linear-fighter quadratic-wizard problem than any previous edition of the game too. No collection of feats, prestige classes and skills was going to make a fighter or rogue keep up with a pure caster at high level in 3rd ed.

    And this is coming from someone who liked 3rd a lot when it came out. It's better than 2nd no question (low bar that may be). Hell, I was working for WOTC when 3rd ed came out. I DMed for 12 hours during the all night release event for the Players Handbook at the WOTC Game Center. But damn did it not hold up to extended play well.

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  • ZonugalZonugal The Holiday Armadillo I'm Santa's representative for all the southern states. And Mexico!Registered User regular
    D&D 3.5 as a system is so heavily imbalanced that...

    To imagine a fully-optimized Fighter battle a fully-optimized Wizard is like imagining a fight between Ben Grimm against Dr. Strange.

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  • Der Waffle MousDer Waffle Mous Blame this on the misfortune of your birth. New Yark, New Yark.Registered User regular
    I mean if you want to get down to it 4e gave the fighter a whole lot of things it could just *do*, like shoving, tripping, grappling, suplexing etc. without having to engage in a dumb subsystem that was essentially there to be another point of failure.

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  • AuralynxAuralynx Darkness is a perspective Watching the ego workRegistered User regular
    Zonugal wrote: »
    D&D 3.5 as a system is so heavily imbalanced that...

    To imagine a fully-optimized Fighter battle a fully-optimized Wizard is like imagining a fight between Ben Grimm against Dr. Strange.

    So... clobberin' time, right? Obviously the fighter has advantage. :rotate:

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  • Der Waffle MousDer Waffle Mous Blame this on the misfortune of your birth. New Yark, New Yark.Registered User regular
    *4e fighter slams Strange into the ground like World War Hulk*

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  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus premium Registered User regular
    edited July 1
    Warlords look upon the battlefield and say "Why would I need to take any actions? Actions are for my teammates to take!"

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  • Der Waffle MousDer Waffle Mous Blame this on the misfortune of your birth. New Yark, New Yark.Registered User regular
    also apparently cubicle 7's updating the entirety of the Enemy Within campaign for WFRP4e and *why was I not informed of this before?????*

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  • QuantumTurkQuantumTurk Registered User regular
    I mean if you want to get down to it 4e gave the fighter a whole lot of things it could just *do*, like shoving, tripping, grappling, suplexing etc. without having to engage in a dumb subsystem that was essentially there to be another point of failure.

    Which is necessary to be at "prepared Batman" levels. Which you have to be to keep up with the guy who doesn't have to roll for if there is a fireball or not, just how much it hurts.

  • ZonugalZonugal The Holiday Armadillo I'm Santa's representative for all the southern states. And Mexico!Registered User regular
    One of my dream campaigns to run is a D&D 3.5 E6 game where the players are just building their characters like superheroes.

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  • UrielUriel Registered User regular
    Uriel wrote: »
    I'm thinking of trying to flesh out my ideas about the sleepy mist world a bit.

    I'm thinking maybe not the whole world was inveloped in the mist but many of the largest most well developed cities were, all part of a continent spanning kingdom now lost to time as people know not to venture into the misty areas of the world because those that do either never come back or come back in an incurable sleeping spell.

    And things have been largely peaceful since then until some folks figured out ways to resist the magic mist, and come back with powerful ancient artifacts, but at the price of being changed forever, either unable to sleep for the rest of their life or haunted by waking nightmares and paranoia altering their behavior as to twist them into villains and such.

    Maybe something like a big trade nation that was about to be invaded. The King embraced the curse which put the main city under the mist and full of everyone's dreams/night mares that sometimes roam out of it.

    That way you can have some fun with like, the Princess holding court in exile from the capital and the security ring around it along with how people need noble seals (or to fake them, or to sneak in) to get into the city. With the obvious prize that will get people super rich/noble titles and land being actually making it through the ever more twisted maze of that seaside city's streets to remove the cursed crown from the kings head.

    Add in some way to stabilize/create check point feeling areas and you've got a mega dungeon campaign with multiple opposing parties around and the goal being to find loot to sell to the outside to get more supplies and stabilization magic to create rest zones that let you get deeper and deeper to uncover lore/map out the way to the goal. Plus with it being a huge capital trade city that was part way through an invasion there's heaps of easy player motivations to go in and play with thanks to dream mechanics.

    I'm probably going to partially use this idea.

    I've got a big circle of mist in the middle of a map with giant blockade ships at the cardinal direction points where other nations guard against the terrors that sometimes seep out intimate the rest of the world.

    The players wake up on an island somewhere near the nw edge of the mist in the wake of one of the seeping events, and find a small tower where a guy from the nw blockade has been researching the mist in really unethical ways on some poor locals but discovered a way to stay in the mist safely for up to 48 hours at a time. Eventually the players can extend this too but they basically inherit this ability from him when he abandons his tower and runs away then they can start running missions into the mist circle to reclaim the old nation bit by bit.

  • ToxTox I kill threads Punch DimensionRegistered User regular
    edited July 1
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    Warlords look upon the battlefield and say "Why would I need to take any actions? Actions are for my teammates to take!"

    "A barbarian hits its enemies with its axe. A warlord hits its enemies with its barbarian."

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  • ToxTox I kill threads Punch DimensionRegistered User regular
    Zonugal wrote: »
    One of my dream campaigns to run is a D&D 3.5 E6 game where the players are just building their characters like superheroes.

    Have you found a point in 5th that feels like an equivalent stopping point for an E6 style game?

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  • ZonugalZonugal The Holiday Armadillo I'm Santa's representative for all the southern states. And Mexico!Registered User regular
    Tox wrote: »
    Zonugal wrote: »
    One of my dream campaigns to run is a D&D 3.5 E6 game where the players are just building their characters like superheroes.

    Have you found a point in 5th that feels like an equivalent stopping point for an E6 style game?

    Nope!

    But that's due to 5th edition's bounded accuracy.

    Even at 20th-level, a few members of the City Watch can still hurt ya.

    In 3.5 once you hit 20th-level you are a demi-god.

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