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Magnimar Special Investigations Unit One (Inactive)

Game Master Nazard

A serial police drama set in Magnimar - unit One.

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M Human Wizard (Divination School Specialist)/2

The ENnies website is here, I'll let you know when voting starts...

I was a judge a couple of years ago, and found that it was possible to maintain normal life, it was more that all that I read for the year was the entries... but seeing as most of my reading is RPGs (for reviewing purposes) it made little difference! Your pudgy mage will still be waddling around, never fear.

Liberty's Edge

Female Depemds on the game system (human in the real world)

ENnies voting is now open.

Nazard, nice idea with the maps :)

So I was going back through the discussion thread and remembered how much fun I had in this game before the whole blow-up over Markiv's funeral.

  • I am frustrated that Auriel not going to a funeral got magnified into a worse offense than Laya and Calatin publicly insulting Lord Millis and explicitly refusing a direct order from a superior to apologize. I am frustrated that this same offense has led the DM to remember her entire character arc as a selfish, troublemaking b!%$! who spent all her nights out carousing and never showed any interest in the other PCs, when this is not true.

  • I am frustrated that I tried to make a badass Blackwater specialist who was on the same side as MSI but had less use for the niceties of civil rights that the Watch has to deal with and ended up playing a Mafia patsy who works for an extortionist. I am frustrated that I feel I'm being forced to play a foil whose only hope of fitting in is by denouncing her past and associates instead of playing the character I want to play.

  • I am frustrated by the fact that Heward being the boss means no one else ever has a reason to interact with the NPCs. I am frustrated that this means the game has slowed to a crawl because everyone's waiting for Heward to give them the go-ahead to do anything. We may have been more chaotic without a leader, but at least there was more posting going on when we were running around being disorganized.

  • Male Halfling Inquisitor of Calistria (Heretic archetype)

    While I obviously don't have the same degree of history in the game that Joana does, I'd have to say that I share alot of her feelings and frustrations with respect to the way that the PbP is going at the moment.

    I'm finding it difficult to properly enunciate over a forum where what I say might be misconstrued with tone or the like - but the game at present has me getting a definite feeling of being a passenger and isn't a great deal of fun.

    Part of that is from the fact that the way the MSI unit is set up is explicitly as an authority driven organization - where Heward is Sergeant and therefore in charge.

    Part of that is through that apart from Heward, the remainder of the characters are passive (Phillip included at present).

    Another part is the fact that Joana as a player is obviously not engaged or having fun at present as well. I think a big part of that is a Khismia related issue... but not all of it.

    When I first started here back in March I honestly thought that Khismia was going to be retired and Auriel was going to be able to come back in... but that hasn't eventuated and Joana's been stuck with a lass that has a decidedly confrontational and negative outlook (Khismia) - which she has said before she doesn't enjoy playing.

    Grand Lodge

    I'd like to point out that Heward (Therealthom) is rather passive as a leader unless we push him to the forefront. As I understand it, that is on purpose for just the reason cited. We basically have the freedom to do as we want and he'll rubber stamp it.

    Also, Heward was put in charge as a way of hopefully bringing the group together. We may have had more individual freedom to act, but we were not jelling as a group. At least not yet.

    Frankly, it makes sense to me that MSI is an authority driven organization. Capt. Percival works as a background authority, but I think it would have been worse if our immediate superior was an NPC. One of us would almost have to be in charge and Heward was the best choice.

    This game lags, unfortunately, because my enthusiasm for it, mostly because there was so much bitterness and criticism coming my way.

    It's been slow this week because we've had guests over four times this week. Gotta love the summer for that.

    M Human Wizard (Divination School Specialist)/2

    It's always difficult running a game that involves organisational structure - be it a starship or a bunch of soldiers or whatever. It's why most such games involve a group operating as 'special forces' whether in the classic form as presented to such good effect as Mongoose's Wraith Recon or the bunch of spies that you get when running Spycraft; and if you are doing a police procedural, which this is, you need a special unit structure of some kind to make it work.

    But you still get orders and it is likely that someone in the group will have to give them to the rest.

    Character choice for the game is hence very important. It's usually a good idea when putting a party together to have some cohesion, however unrealistic, as you're going to have to work together down that dungeon or exploring the galaxy or whatever you are going to do. When the purpose of a game is to play out the life and times of a specific organisation or group, you do need an eye to what that group is when you invent your character.

    If you watch police procedural TV shows, who do you think your character maps to?

    Calatin was devised as a spell-casting version of a mix of Ducky and Abby from NCIS, built around a former character who was a tubby, scholarly wizard that I've played for a long time and who makes an appearance (as an historian) in Way of the Witch, a 2002 D20 book I co-authored. He's deliberately a bit-part character, not a star of our show; and I'm happy playing him that way... but the important thing is, that he was built intentionally thus to fit in with the constraints of what the game is all about.

    Perhaps those who are less than satisfied with their game experience did not put the same sort of consideration into making a character suited to the role he was to occupy? It's like a DM advertising a game of assassins for hire and all the players promptly rolling up paladins!

    Cookie Jar Pilferer 7

    Leaving for vacation weekend. see you Monday. DMPC Heward as needed.

    First, Nazard. This is a tough game to run and I have appreciated your efforts.

    Second, I very much like and respect the players. Dax, Joana, Megan, Navior and Mark. You guys have made some great characters and your commitment to them is impressive.

    Agree with Dax and Megan that the Watch is an hierarchical, organization. Therefore we "need" a leader.

    Heward was built to be the gumshoe muscle, not team leader. Given his personality he's going to be bossy. I am trying to evolve a beat cop into the irascible sergeant who's on everyone's case, but at the end of the day has to own up that his wildcard detectives got the job done despite not following procedure. As Dax mentioned I, his player, recognise that Heward as boss could be a problem. To get around that there's two mechanisms: 1)tell me what you want to do OOC and I'll rationalize Heward giving you the greenlight. 2)Go ahead and do it and take the RP flack, or praise. And I'm open to others.

    I really want this game to work and to be fun for everyone. An NPC boss may be better than the current situation, I don't know. I am perfectly willing for Heward to be demoted and give that a try. I am willing to dump Heward entirely and to try a new character, someone a little looser who may fit in better with the party makeup. Maybe a re-envisioned Foggy is in the cards.

    I appreciate the responses, but after reflection I'm going to respectfully excuse myself and back out of the game.

    Thank you to all for the time that was shared, and I wish you well in your future gaming.

    Sorry to lose you, Mark. We never really got a chance to get to know Phillip better and that's a shame.

    Part of the problem is that the characters still haven't really gotten to know each other, and that's really probably a little bit everybody's fault. Heward was made leader partly because the group just wasn't gelling, but unfortunately, the group still hasn't gelled. I'm not really sure what to suggest at this point other than scrapping all the characters and everyone working together to create a team that might actually like each other. But that's a bit of an extreme solution, methinks.

    That might be a downside to running a game for hand-picked players. With my other two games, I had a pool of ten, and was able to put them together into two teams based on what looked like it would gel. And those games are moving without a hitch.

    I certainly don't mind starting over with new characters we all create specifically to work together. Second level, I can come up with a new mission so that when it was finished, we'd be ready to start the next case (that I already have) right on schedule.

    If that's a solution that interests people.

    The majority of the players are clearly happy with the level of input they have into the story right now; there's no call to force everyone to recreate PCs when they're fond of the ones they're already playing. I think it's best I follow Mark out of the thread and hope that my absence reinvigorates Nazard's enthusiasm for the game. Thanks.

    So I see four options from here:

    1) We continue things as is, recruiting replacements or just working with the four we have.
    2) We continue on to the conclusion of the affair with the arcane inebriant, and then wrap things up. That will get everybody just to third level, which is further than a lot of PBP games get to.
    3) We follow Navior's suggestion and reboot with new characters and new cases.
    4) We call it quits here and part ways for bigger and better things.

    Grand Lodge

    I am all for continuing on, with our without replacements. It is truly unfortunate that we have had some players not get into the game, but I am having a very good time.
    If we do recruit, just make sure that they have some reasonable expectations about the group structure.

    M Human Wizard (Divination School Specialist)/2

    Likewise I am enjoying both the game itself and playing the current incarnation of Calatin. I would be happy to continue, recruiting as needed.

    And I don't think Navior or therealthom have any objections to continuing either, so we shall continue on. Are you knocking on the door or knocking it down (or something else)?

    It distresses me that two people (an entire third of the group) have decided to leave over this. However, I'm willing to push on if that's what everyone else wishes to do. Nonetheless, I do think it's important that we be conscious of what has led to this situation, so we can avoid a repeat in the future.

    I originally placed the Cathedral of Pharasma in the summit district, connected to the famed catacombs of Magnimar. Having just read the players' guide for Shattered Star, I see that canon has now placed the main church of Pharasma in Keystone (which I can see, as it puts it close to the Seerspring, a magical spring that has strong ties to divination and prophecy). It hasn't come up yet in my other two games, so I'm likely to go with canon there, which means I should do it here as well. The change won't impact much other than travel times which we can just handwave, but it does mean that the Cathedral now very likely as a cemetery attached to it.

    So Navior, feel free to re-write back in to Laya's backstory the parts about her spending time in the graveyard, being discovered there by the priests, etc.

    Sorry folks, my away week went a bit longer than expected. Tomorrow, I'll be back. Thanks all for your patience.

    M Human Wizard (Divination School Specialist)/2

    Hope you feel refreshed, Nazard.

    In other news, I got elected as an ENnies Judge for 2013 :)

    Cookie Jar Pilferer 7

    New and improved with personalized battle maps.

    Cookie Jar Pilferer 7

    Work will be a killer this week. Will post as I am able. Don't expect much. Oh, and vacation next weekend!

    Please DMPC Heward as needed if I'm holding things up.

    Grand Lodge

    Awgin's seek and destroy combat attitude is going to get him killed one day. However, it is nice that Heward has picked up on that and uses it.

    Cookie Jar Pilferer 7

    Paralysis covers my absence from the boards ....

    I like the new twist with the Pharasmin connection. Can't wait to see how it works out.

    M Human Wizard (Divination School Specialist)/2
    Nazard wrote:
    He's about to take another step before he feels tentacles slapping him in the forehead. It would seem he nearly walked right into the creature.

    Tee-hee... reminds me of a LARP game. It was a dark and stormy night (literally) and we were supposed to be looking for a dimensional gate in a forest... and I stood on it! Booby trapped of course, and a load of flares went off - gave everyone quite a shock :)

    M Human Wizard (Divination School Specialist)/2

    Sorry I have been a bit distracted. You see, I had been on a temporary contract. I was invited to interview again to be made permanent... and the [word no lady would use even in her mind let alone in public] decided to hire someone else. So, blat! Goodbye, and not even a thank you for the work done, just a bald e-mail... Oh well, more time for gaming!

    Cookie Jar Pilferer 7

    Megan, sorry to hear about the job. The extra gaming time is a silver lining.

    Also thanks for the post. I had lost my dot to the Magnimar game.

    Hey all.

    therealthom just sent me a great PM of encouragement, and asking after me (thanks Tom), asking me if I were losing enthusiasm for this game, given the blow-out, and the fact that my other two MSI games are more active than this one.

    I just wanted to let everybody know that's not the case. Since school has started for the year, I don't have ready access to the only computer on which I can edit and update maps, so some days I don't have a chance to update them. The best times are on the week-ends, which are typically slow posting days for everybody. Normally, that's not a real issue, but in my three games that I'm running, we are in combat in all of them, which I thought might happen when I decided to run the two new ones, but hadn't realized just how crippling it would be. The other two games are more active, because at the moment, the PCs there are standing around pounding on earth elementals in the cellar, with only one or two topside dealing with the Varisians (a third side I added to that encounter in response to your suggestions that the PCs need folks to actually beat and win against: what was previously a red herring (the Varisian woman Kinman thought had cursed him) has become an actual ally of the summoner - a partnership of opportunity, as she wants the Asmodeus books which was the other red herring. Ironically, I decided to make her an integral part after one of the PC groups actually managed to track her down and interview her.) It's easier to update those encounters without changing the maps when folks aren't moving around as much as this battle.

    Plus, having parent-teacher all week this week killed my evenings, so I couldn't update things then, either.

    All that being said, my enthusiasm for this game is still strong, and I don't want to stop. It's just going a bit slower than I'd like for now. Once we're out of combat, it'll speed up. I've been trying to post combat actions without benefit of the map, and I've been making mistakes.

    Cookie Jar Pilferer 7

    Three games is a lot to run. I know my third game has over-extended me and reduced the quality of the other two in terms of frequency of posting and writing/description .

    I don't know how some of these guys do it. Aubrey and Wellard spring to mind. They're running three or more high quality games.

    As for mistakes. My players call me out all the time. Trying to get posts in to move action without maps or notes at hand is one of my particualr bugbears. Mistakes like that don't bother me.

    Cookie Jar Pilferer 7

    I'll bet Calatin's wishing he'd come to combat training ! What happened to the burning hands?

    Nazard, Heward is going to go grubbing for one of the fallen javelins. Just let me know if he can grab one and still attack. Somehow I doubt it.

    M Human Wizard (Divination School Specialist)/2

    Calatin's wishing he'd found something else to do, involving books or pastries or perhaps both, instead of coming vargouille-hunting!

    Cookie Jar Pilferer 7 p;page=47#2344

    I think Calatin just readied to cast, but never actually cast the spell. Megan's post is referenced above.

    Find post 2372. Calatin had mentioned using burning hands, and when he nearly blundered into the vargouille in the dark, I had him follow through on that. Cobbers was badly burned by it too.

    M Human Wizard (Divination School Specialist)/2

    DM's ruling is final, no arguments from me :)

    Cookie Jar Pilferer 7

    Sorry, I missed that.

    Game ON!

    P.S. What will Calatin do then?

    He doesn't have many options. I'm not even sure if he carries a crossbow.

    If only someone had suggested that perhaps it would be smart for him to take some combat training...

    Cookie Jar Pilferer 7

    I guess he could fetch Heward's javelins. 8)

    Cookie Jar Pilferer 7

    Megan, are you out there? Calatin's up.

    Liberty's Edge

    Female Depemds on the game system (human in the real world)

    What, again?

    Not sure what he can/will do... he was deliberately built non-combatant!

    Cookie Jar Pilferer 7

    Navior! Laya's up.

    Oh! Didn't realize. Thanks for letting me know!

    Cookie Jar Pilferer 7

    Dax! Let's see if Awgin can rip him in two!

    Cookie Jar Pilferer 7

    Nazard, what's the law in Magnimar on outsiders and undead? Are we obligated to try to bring Mital to trial? A more expedient solution suggests itself.

    Hmmm...Magninar isn't a good-aligned city, so no help there. I doubt there's any law on the city's books making it illegal or punishable by death to be an evil-aligned outsider or undead, there is definitely a frontier-like aspect to the place. Given what Sir Mital is, a trial would certainly end in an execution, however. There isn't any imperative within the watch that such creatures would have to be given a trial, and indeed Heward probably realizes that bringing back a prisoner for the bother and expense if a trial wouldn't really garner MSI any appreciation or favors.

    So in short: no law requiring that he get a trial, no law denying him one, no law requiring he be killed outright, and no law to prevent MSI from enacting the eventual verdict right now.

    Does that help?

    Cookie Jar Pilferer 7

    Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

    Hey all,

    So here's where I am at the moment. This year of work has been way more time-consuming than previous years. A lot of my normal posting times would be before and after school and during lunch times, but now most of those are taken up with extra-curriculars. I have been slowly shedding several PBP games I play in (by not putting up any sort of fight when it looks like they're dying off), and not applying for any new ones in months, all of which has helped ease the load, but it's still a lot.

    I am committed to finishing the storyline about the Mage case (I'm personally loathe to ever just stop a game mid-story), and figure I will re-evaluate my availability at that point. I'm just going to hand wave Phillip away (as I also hate coming up with ways of writing out characters, and putting the negative energy of people abandoning the game into the game itself never helps), and the same for Khismia (much easier here), and continue with four characters. This game will never win the award for fastest-moving PBP, but the four of you seem content with that (though obviously we'd all prefer it move faster than this).

    Originally, I wasn't intending to level the group until after the Mage case, but it was written for six PCs, and as we may not get any further, I'd like for you to he able to feel the growth of third level, so consider yourselves dinged!:) The next game morning will involve quite a bit of RP, investigation, and non-combat encounters, so it'll be good to level up before that (and the leveling time will give me a chance to get these blasted report cards done).

    As usual, roll for hp, and if you don't like what you get, ask for mine.

    Man, that's a lot of parenthetical phrases! Are there any grammar rules on how many of those you're allowed to use while still maintaining a sense of good taste?

    M Human Wizard (Divination School Specialist)/2

    I am more familiar with rules for parenthesis in mathematics!

    Very busy this week with job interviews, will try & level over the weekend.

    Anything anyone wants Calatin to develop?

    Cookie Jar Pilferer 7

    Heward's hit point roll, level 3 1d10 ⇒ 2.

    Stuck on a feat. Thinking of Iron Will 'cause we'll be going up against casters. Cleave also appeals.

    Edit: well that roll balances te 10 at level 2.

    Cookie Jar Pilferer 7

    Nazard, I know exactly where you are. I'm trying to prune away some of my games as well because real life is different than it was two years ago. I'm pushing to finish up my CHildren of the Void with honor. DMing one less game will be a big plus.

    Because I enjoy playing with you so much, I'll try to draw out the mage case as long as possible. ;P

    Megan, whatever you want to do with Calatin would be fine, although we could use a little more offense in a fight.

    therealthom wrote:

    Heward's hit point roll, level 3 1d10.

    Stuck on a feat. Thinking of Iron Will 'cause we'll be going up against casters. Cleave also appeals.

    Edit: well that roll balances te 10 at level 2.

    Do you want to take my reroll? Can't get much worse?

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