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I've the last segment of a campaign coming up in 2 months and we're looking to add a layer of mechanics as a resource for the players and to help track/adjudicate progress.
Long story short, the players were part of a crusade that fell apart. The players went off on their own and have resurrected a god and restored a portion of their religion. Now they're going back to the mortal plane and will be attempting to build a coalition army to vanquish their foes.
I'm looking for suggestions of any game/supplement that handles this in a mechanical fashion. Please limit suggestions to things that are in print or are easily obtainable.
Not looking for mass combat rules, or single scene diplomacy/intrigue rules, but rather long term diplomacy rules, ideally stuff that operates on the scale of months or years.
I played a session of this game this weekend. I really liked it. It's PbtA (Powered by the Apocalypse), so if you're familiar with Apocalypse World, Dungeon World, etc, you're familiar with the basic framework of the game.
The game peels back the curtain, you approach the session like you're building a TV show, though like real wrestling, unscripted things can happen, but every session starts with a plan. The Gamemaster role is called "Creative," they're in charge of booking matches (including who wins), picking some scenes before and after matches and helping to drive storylines between characters.
Each player plays a wrestler based on common archetypes. For example you can be a High Flyer, Monster, Hardcore, Technician or Jobber (or many more). This gives you some initial input on who you are and what kind of wrestler you are, as well as some custom abilities.
A match isn't about who is a better wrestler. During the match, one wrestler will have control, but both players will work together to describe the action. Control will pass back and forth, but the real question is how the match will impact your relationship with the other wrestler, and how much audience you gain during it. You're not trying to win the match, you're trying to get the audience to love/hate you as much as possible. To be top dog, you have to have the biggest audience.
I really liked it. The game has a narrative first focus, you don't pick your move, rather you describe what you do, and that dictates what move is activated. You'll learn what kinds of narration will trigger the moves you want, but this leads to exciting and memorable matches.
You don't need to be a fan of wrestling to enjoy the game. I haven't watched wrestling in nearly 30 years and I still had a blast. The game plays decent as a one-shot, but I would say that over 3-4 sessions it would really shine. You could play longer than that, but you have to start rotating through different characters; after 10-12 sessions, the continuity won't be relevant to where you started.
It's only 2 weeks away. I'm excited after not making it the past 2 years. Share what you're looking forward to, for example:
What's on your event list?
I'm going to be at Games-on-Demand a lot. I'd probably be there a lot anyways, but by volunteering 16+ hours of my time I got a free badge. I'll probably find some panels to sit in on to round out day time activities. I haven't really thought about what's on my shopping list yet, probably not much, but there's always something.
I haven't grabbed it yet, but I think I will soon.
It's a survival game that doesn't involve zombies. The premise is highly realistic, you're survivors in a war zone. It's a side scroller that forces you to make choices, some of them kind of horrific.
The movie, not the game designer.
Just saw it. I liked it.
It's your basic revenge fantasy porn. Guy has nice life. Someone messes it up. Guy spends next 90 minutes messing up anyone he thinks is responsible. Basically the entire plot of the movie is in the first 15-20 minutes. After that it's a series of action sequences.
2) The action scenes are good. They aren't amazing, but they are done well. They're also filmed in a style that actually lets you see the action, instead of covering up crappy choreography with intense close-ups and shaky-cam.
3) Some of the stunts are really good. They aren't eye-popping and you kind of need to be a connoisseur of action movies to spot them. They're subtle, but it's in that subtlety that the amazing is found.
4) Even though it drags a little, it doesn't drag specific scenes out. There aren't any epic, long death rattles. People die, it's fast and the movie presses on.
Overall, I'd give it 2 1/2 out of 4. I really liked it for what it is and I would totally watch John Wick 2. It might be a long time until I rewatch this one though. I will say that seeing it in the theater with at least a small crowd is very rewarding. There is one scene specifically that caught the whole theater by surprise and it was fun having that reaction as a group.
Looking for a published adventure I can steal material from for my home game. It doesn't need to meet all my criteria, but the more the better. I'm mostly looking for maps, cause I don't draw maps well, so having some that have been professionally produced is nice. Anyways, what I'm looking for...
1. Valley of the Kings - similar to the ancient Egyptian area. It's a valley with numerous tombs/dwellings carved into various areas of the mountain.
2. Ruined city nested in a mountainous valley. I've looked at the one at the end of RotRL, less major metropolis and more ancient ruins.
3. A fortress guarding a valley path/road.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, regardless of publisher. I'm going to populate it myself, so level doesn't matter. Mostly looking for the art and maps.
I played Epyllion this weekend. It's a Apocalypse Powered game, so if you've played something like Dungeon World, Apocalypse World, Sixth World or Monsterhearts, you're familiar with the basic mechanics.
If you're not familiar, this game has a couple of interesting aspects about play style.
1) It's good for off-the-cuff play. Aspects of the rules require questions to be answered during play. It helps to have a good general idea of what is going on to help answer these questions, but some answers come from players, so you need to be able to handle curve-balls.
2) Mentioned at the end of 1, players get to make up things about the game and the fiction that are not directly related to their character. The nice thing is that means the DM (DragonMaster in this game) doesn't need to have the creative juices to invent EVERYTHING. They do need to have the juices to react to what the players say/do though.
The game takes obvious cues from My Little Pony. You start off as young dragons who are new to the world and learning your way in it. You have connections to the Moons (sources of magic) and have to pick a Virtue to epitomize. The game quickly takes a turn for the dark though, literally. An ancient evil called the Darkness (no, not the band) is returning to Dragonia and you must help protect all dragon-kind from it.
A couple interesting mechanical things:
1) There are no moves for violence with dragons. Dragons don't fight each other, they argue, cajole, promise, compromise, etc. There's lots of moves that deal with dragons interacting with dragons, just not violence.
2) Each dragon has a resource, Gems. Your own Gems don't do anything for you, you can't power any move with them. What you can do is give them to your friends. You can use the Gems you've gained from others to power magic, or use the Help/Hinder move. Some moves you just roll +Gems, other moves require you to return one or more Gems. Whenever someone does something that exemplifies your Virtue (your judgement) you can give them one of your gems.
Ex: I have the Bravery virtue.
The game isn't finished yet. The available version is kind of a beta-version (or ashcan in the publishing industry). It still needs some polish to the overall game, but I still really enjoyed our first session. Once I can get the full game, this is going into my grab-bag of games to have ready for a spur of the moment session.
So, the one in Las Vegas, they first killed two cops, then they killed someone who tried to stop them. The third victim was a concealed carry permit holder, who tried to stop them because he was armed. Their spree ended when the woman first killed her husband, than herself (the murders were a married couple).
Is "a good guy with a gun" really the best solution we can come up with? Because that seems to be of limited effectiveness. In fact, what ended this spree was the "bad guy with a gun".
For 2014, there have so far been 4,814 deaths due to gun violence, with an additional 8,513 injured.
Of the 18,000+ incidents:
646 have been home invasions
I got to play a test of this game once and it was amazing. Partly I was playing with really cool people, but it is also a really, really good game.
For years I've loved stealth video games. Metal Gear: Solid, Tenchu, Splinter Cell, Thief... all of them were good in their own way (at least in their time). They all captivated me for one reason or another, and the stealth was at least enjoyable, if not the primary draw.
With roleplaying games, I've always felt that the mechanics of stealth were lacking. It doesn't FEEL like stealth, it feels like every other mechanic used to resolve success/failure. And for the most part, that's okay. If you only have one person with Stealth maxed out in your Pathfinder group, you really don't need a complex system just for their one skill. Stories revolving around stealth were cool, but it wasn't the mechanic that interested me, it was the story telling between me and the GM that made it cool.
Project: Dark has really cool stealth mechanics. Now I can play a stealth based game where the mechanics are interesting AND the group can tell a cool story. The cool thing is it plays well with 1 player, where it feels more like some of the aforementioned video games, or with 3-4 players, it feels more like a heist movie with specializations, it works well both ways.
I'm super excited for this game. He's planning to do adventures for the stretch goals and last I heard, possibly organizing them in series to help make an adventure path style product.
Basic Description: Each player picks a hero. The hero comes with a 40 card deck that you use to play that hero. You play against a villain (which has their own deck) and it's set in an environment (which is also represented by a deck).
The heroes work together to defeat the villain, it's cooperative. If at least one hero is still standing and the villain goes down, the heroes win.
More complex description: While the concept sounds simple, the execution is much more complex. Some villains have alternate victory (or lose) conditions. Baron Blade, an often suggested first villain, wins if he successfully pulls the Moon into the Earth. The how is described on his character card, but basically it's a countdown timer. If you don't deal with him fast enough, he wins. If you do deal with him, you haven't won yet, now you have to deal with his other side of the character (every villain has a condition that flips their card) and now he just tries to pound you into the dirt.
Every villain is pretty different, using very simple concepts to really make huge differences between them.
The heroes are also pretty different. Broadly they come in two categories, support and damage, though some provide both. Heroes also mix and match very differently. Playing Ra alongside Absolute Zero is a lot different than playing Ra with Fanatic, which is different than Ra paired up with Legacy.
Not to mention the environment decks. Each has various cards that either help/hurt the heroes, but depending on the villain/hero set up, a card might be helpful, while other times it's painful. Also, certain environments make villains much tougher, while other environments will make them easier.
All in all, there are several reasons to buy/play this game:
1) You like comic book themed games
It's not licensed on anything, but the art is really good and very representative of comic book art. The villains vs hero concept of the silver age of comics is expertly represented both in the art and the game play. If you're familiar with comics you see a lot of similarity between various Marvel and DC characters in this game, but once you look past that, you'll also see nuance about the characters that could actually make for some cool comic books in their own right.
2) You like cooperative games
I like competitive ones, but cooperative games are fun too. Coop games have to tread a really fine line of difficulty, often times once you know how to beat a game it really isn't much of a challenge and you lose interest in it. This game solves that problem brilliantly. All the combinations provide huge differences in difficulty, plus it vastly increases replayability. The randomness of card decks help provide some uncertainty as well.
3) You just like good card/board games
It's really well put together. Cards have a really good layout, though a couple have complex sentence structure that I find off-putting with their font. The rules are very simple at their most basic. Your turn goes: Play a card, use a power, draw a card. It often gets modified very quickly (as card games tend to do) by card text. Overall the rules design is very streamlined and a basic understanding of card game logic will serve you well 95% of the time. The only downside is that the rulebook isn't the best, but that's a common complain about most games.
They just did another print run. If it sounds interesting, get it quick before it disappears. The company has said they don't plan to keep reprinting this game. It's $40 for the base game and if you aren't thrilled with it, you can probably resell/trade it at a reasonable rate.
Have you tried it? What did you like about it? What would you have done to improve it?
We just started a new campaign with one of my groups. We tend to have around 6-10 people show up and we really enjoy city campaigns, where the group isn't necessarily always together. Since most of us have run a game at least once, we decided to use two DM's this time.
The setting is homebrew, we've been using it for a little over 10 years now. A major change is we're going to try it with E8 and trending slightly towards lower magic, but not strictly.
Anyways, we're a couple sessions in and it's going well so far. We used the Ghost Tower of Inverness as an intro dungeon crawl (we actually used the tournament time rule to encourage them to split the party). Low RP session so people could just get their feet wet. (We did use this method of character creation that I've adapted)
Second session we did a murder mystery, which works well for introducing a large number of NPC's, factions and backstory for a city campaign. We put a cap on the number of scene's per day in-game, but let the party split to deal with tasks.
Partially this is also to solve the common (for us) problem of the thieves going off for an hour and doing stuff while everyone else waits. Now they get to do something too, that is important and relevant to the game.
One I'd be curious from other DM's who have done something like this, how did you coordinate prep? Any tips, tricks or tools you'd recommend? Right now we're using Google Docs and it works pretty well.
I'd love to hear stories from other people about experiences, both as player and DM of having multiple DM's. What did you like? What could have been done better?
(Notice, I left out "what did you hate?" I don't care what you hated, I'm only interested in the solution it resulted in)
To start, the method/concept that this is based on comes from another game (which I talk about way too much sometimes), Mythender.
You can get Mythender here for free. I highly recommend it. I directly stole a major portion of character creation, including some of the actual text.
The basic concept is this, before you:
You must first have an idea of who the character is. To do get the creative juices flowing and have characters who feel more complete, I provide my players with a menu of questions that they can answer.
Even though it isn't really finished, I've used it already. I still want to add more text to it to help make it clearer and more easily usable if I'm not present to explain them all. I'll probably even change some of the questions over time as I figure out which ones tend to solicit poor answers, or answers that are unhelpful.
The basic process is that a player chooses one background and one drive, then answers all the questions for each. The background and drive form a little character history. The answers don't need to be long, a single sentence is usually enough. They don't represent the entirety of your character's back story, but rather the foundation.
The goal of this is to help jump start character creation AND provide useful information to the GM to build adventures around. It's not that I'm going to use the answers to "punish" the character, but rather it is an opportunity for the player to make suggestions about what they want to see in the game.
As a GM, I don't want to just have bad guys with evil plots. I want bad guys with evil plots, that the PC's WANT to stop. To take some stress off me, instead of trying to invent why, I'm just going to ask the players.
The game: The game has a couple of themes and undercurrents too it. On the face of it it's an epic, metal game about killing gods. Which it totally is. The premise of the game is that if you read a lot of old stories about gods, they're kind of jerks. They mess with mortals, teaching them 'lessons' that are meant to instill fear and require worship. The PC's are mythenders, they've tapped into mythic power and are now using it to defeat the gods and loosen their grip on humanity.
Underneath the surface, the game becomes about free will versus power. You can always take more power, but if you take too much, you become a god, an agent of the mythic force that seeks to control mortals.
The thing that sets this game apart from other games is the dice mechanics. It works of a d6 pool method, but your pool of dice ebbs and flows over the course of the game. It represents your ability to force your will on the world around you, as well as your survival. When you take meaningful damage (in the description of events you can be injured, but it's just color unless the damage mechanic is invoked) you lose dice. If you run out of dice, you die. The game does not measure your chance of success at doing something, it measures how meaningful and the impact of what you do.
The Author: Ryan Macklin has worked on some other games, notable Dresden Files RPG. He's done some rules development, but mostly works as a freelance editor for small press games. He recently joined Paizo as a contract editor. He has a blog, where he talks about his ideas on editing/developing/writing games, how to work on a project, dealing with mental illness while working and some other related topics.
I love this game, I've mentioned it more than a few times over the past year in particular. I was first introduced to it 3 years ago and have been craving it ever since. A year ago Ryan finally decided to push through and finish the game and I was able to give some feedback and cheerleading along the way. I'm very excited that the game was finally released (just this week!) and that it is available for free and released using Creative Commons. I'm even working on my own version of a game using the core mechanics, but attempting to do something very different.
If you're in the Minneapolis, MN area and want to try this game out, let me know I would be delighted to run a session (takes about 4 hours to play the demo). Odds are about 75% I'll be at GenCon this year, so I can also run a session there (I'll probably carve out 4-8 hours a day for GM'ing this year).
This is not a GM vs Player thread. This is a GM'ing discussion thread.
Specifically, I want to talk about how do you determine bad things that happen to the players, but make those bad things interesting and fun for the players without seeming like you're just arbitrarily punishing them, or creating busy work for them to deal with.
Background: in most stories, movies/books/tv shows, bad things happen to the heroes. This is what makes their struggle feel like a struggle, instead of just a lazy Sunday afternoon reading the paper. Even a story of hyper competence (ex: Taken, Mission Impossible), the heroes don't just face challenges, but set backs as well. I enjoy this in stories, and when done well, I enjoy it in my RPG's as well.
The difficulty I face is sometimes these set backs feel like arbitrary decisions by the GM, or the make a previous scene feel irrelevant.
One method I try to use to avoid both of those issues, is to talk to the players. I ask them questions during the scene and tell them things so that they know what is going on. I might ask a player "What stops you from catching the thief as they get away with the MacGuffin?", the player gets to describe what happens as is appropriate to their character. Sometimes it's something from their background or personality, other times it's a moment of slapstick, but it lets the player take ownership of that information so that it becomes something significant and appropriate to them.
I'd love to hear other methods GM's use to do horrible things to their PC's, but keep their players coming back for more.
Picked up a copy of Legends of Andor this weekend and gave it a try. What intrigued me about the game was it's lack of a rule book. It's designed to teach you how to play through the process of actually playing.
Overall, it has some similarities in style and substance with Descent, Talisman and Heroquest. It's another cooperative fantasy adventure board game. It comes with 5 scenarios, the first one being a fairly easy tutorial, though each one seems to ramp up the difficulty some.
I really enjoyed the concept of teaching by doing, as I often find it's the best method to teach other people games anyways. My one fault with it is that sometimes it takes a little searching to find clarification when you forget a rule or are trying to figure out a question someone had. Rules are basically printed on cards that are revealed as part of the games mechanics.
If you're looking for a cooperative fantasy game, it's not a bad pick. Scenarios take probably just over an hour to set up and finish (the box's suggestion of 75 min is pretty accurate), so it's a little shorter than something like Descent. If you find game design an interesting subject, I highly recommend it as the printed method of teaching the game is innovative.
I can buy and sell stock in a corporation. Corporations are afforded all the rights of people. If a corporation isn't afforded the same protection as a person, than it isn't actually a person under the law. Therefore people have the same rights as corporations. And so, I can buy and sell people, or at least shares of people.
Would anyone like to discuss my IPO I'm considering announcing?
Either that or the stock market should be abolished.
Mythender is all about leaping off of mountains with your giant, flaming sword drawn and diving into a giant’s face. At least, it was a face before you showed up.
Mythender is all about staring off against the terrible, unjust gods of this world and showing them what it’s like to have a peer that will regulate on behalf of mortalkind.
Mythender is all about the vicious cycle of apotheosis and deicide, trying to keep from taking on so much corrupt power that you become a god. You must bond with mortals in order to keep your own mortality, even though all mortalkind sees you as a force of nature.
I am interested in running demo's of this game for people in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. The game is currently in alpha/beta, but will be released for free once it is finished. A demo session takes about 3-4 hours, including character creation. The game plays well with 3-4 players.
If you have a group that would like to experience Mythender, or want to see if I have a spot open in one of my tables, feel free to contact me. I'm available most evenings.
I dislike CoC sanity rules. They're essentially mental hit points, which doesn't really evoke what sanity actually is. There's no tension, no build up. Players can develop a pretty good idea beforehand if a situation is dangerous or not once they become experienced with the system.
I want to hear ideas about how to add a Sanity mechanic that builds up a little fear for the player, not just the character, but the player too. I also want a "way out", but it doesn't save the character, it just allows them to accomplish one more act before something really bad happens to them. Essentially, the player can choose to purposely fail the next check to gain some sort of advantage for their allies.
Borrowing a physical concept from my favorite horror game, Dread, my first thought is each player builds a dice stack in front of them, from a communal lot of dice (preferably uniform in size). Every time something happens that requires a sanity check, they add a die to their dice stack. If their dice stack ever topples over, the character "has an episode", from a list of bad things prepared by the GM, appropriate for that game. Once that scene ends, they start a new dice stack, but they must start with 1 more die than last time. If a stack falls over while building the initial stack, the character becomes catatonic for the session and he gets to help the GM plot evilness for the other players.
A player can purposely knock over the stack to save his companions from having to make a sanity check.
The downside of this method is the physicality of it. It requires a stable table, probably a cube of spare d6's and space to have the stacks while also being able to still play.
Anyone else have some creative ideas for adding sanity/horror to PFRPG?
This is a loose concept, the blogger (Rob Donoghue), uses 4e as an example, but it originated out of a discussion about Dungeon World. The basic concept is to help a DM come up with experience for exploring and interacting with new locations that aren't necessarily tied to defeating monsters, though that can be rolled into the system as well.
This would work particularly well for a West Marches style campaign. Finding and mapping new locations is a major part of this kind of game so a simple way of determining XP for that is useful.
Another useful tool for DM's and their groups. How you give out xp can have a direct impact on the feel and focus of your game, this isn't a replacement, but rather something you can add on to the current system.
Also, it's not directly related to the Dwarven Door Game, but I'm seeing a combination that could be fun.
Dungeon World is an indie game based off the Apocalypse World game. The current edition is the Red Book, covers levels 1-5 and has everything you need to get you started. The PDF costs $5. The full version will be finished and released some time in 2012.
The game attempts to bring back some of the nostalgia you remember playing D&D 20 years ago, or create it for the first time if you missed out on that era. You kill monsters, take their stuff and explore dangerous locations. The rules are fairly simple and quick to pick up, though it plays a bit different from a lot of RPG's. The style of play it encourages is much more free form than a modern D&D 3.X game, or Pathfinder.
In a normal game, when the PC's encounter the plot, things might get a little screwy. In Dungeon World, when the PC's enter the mix, things get really screwy. In a recent game that I played in we encountered a magic rock. The wizard in the group used the ability Spout Lore to ask the question "How do I prevent it from blowing up?" The DM hadn't prepared for it blowing up, but it was now fact, it could blow up. He gave an answer... which allowed us to later blow it up, it was awesome.
If you're looking for a simple, easy to play game that works hard to capture the basics of what you love about old school D&D, this is it. It's an unfinished product, but the minds behind it and collaboration going are doing great work. If you play the game, post a report of your experience (on a blog, forum, wherever), then e-mail the creators of the game, they'll give you access to the Adventurer's Guild, and you'll be part of the people who are giving input into how the game develops.
Has your dungeon crawl turned into exactly that, a crawl? Do you wish you could turn it into a dungeon sprint?! Well wish no more!
The rules are simple:
Things to remember while playing:
The Dwarven Door Game was invented by Trollbear Thundersnow, a dwarven barbarian, who was a little bored one day.
Disclaimer: The Dwarven Door Game is very exciting. You might get caught up in opening doors really fast. Side effects include:
Feel free to try the Dwarven Door Game at home, no purchase required. Post stories about how you almost won the Dwarven Door Game, but died. Post variant rules that you've experimented with in your own game.
This is something that's been bugging me for a while. Feats are supposed to be things you can take to improve your characters abilities. Metamagic is specifically supposed to either improve your spells, or add benefits to them. Looking at healing spells, there are very few uses for metamagic (other than the very broad Still/Silent/Quicken, which are each potentially useful on over 90% of spells)
Two feats that can impact healing spells, Empower and Maximize, are actually WORSE than their level equivalent spells (unless you apply the Empower or Maximize for free). For example, at spell level 3, when cast by a 5th level caster you get these averages:
Cure Serious Wounds: 18.5
This disparity increases as your caster level goes up.
The only option to get better at casting healing magic is to be a cleric with the healing domain. All other casters who have access to those spells have to rely on magic items to increase their effectiveness.
Am I the only one bothered by this? That spending a resource (a feat) and applying it to a spell actually makes it worse than the unmodified equivalent at that level. Short of just rewriting all the healing spells, I haven't been able to come up with a solution. I'm not necessarily looking at just changes to how healing interacts with Empower and Maximize, but just adding some sort of option that healers can take (via metamagic feats) to improve their healing magic.
Also, the Mass Cure spells have become pretty pathetic IMO. Mass Light and Mass Moderate are never better than a Channel Energy on average (except when modified by Empowered... but the difference between an empowered spell and the unmodified spell already at that level is tiny).
This is a new cyberpunk game coming soon from Jeremy Keller, author of Chronica Feudalis (which won an Ennie). I got to help him playtest it a couple of times and I love it. It's a simple system, but it lets you tell a complex story. He also includes a method for GM's to tell complex, tangled stories with minimal prep. The convoluted stories often associated Shadowrun, or cyberpunk fiction, are well represented with this game.
The beta rules are still available for download as well from the main site:
It feels to me like the low level options are too restricted by their lack of progressive uses per day, but I wouldn't want to increase the number of uses for higher level abilities.
My simplest solution is to reorganize the abilities under one ability, Metamagic Arcana (can come up with a better name later). It can be taken multiple times, each time you select it, you gain a new metamagic feat that can be applied. The level restrictions for each would be the same (though I think I would increase Empowered to 9th level). Every time you take this ability, all previous Metamagic Arcana selections gain one additional use per day.
If a character took nothing but this ability (and adjusted Empowered), at 15th level they would have:
Still Spell 5/day
They could hold off Still or Silent until 18th level to gain an extra use of the 9 level or higher abilities, but then you're deciding your 18th level ability is Silent Spell 1/day.