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J.S.'s page

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 327 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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The "cheat" I always use for this kind of problem is that it's less about following a legal code and more about submission to the idea of a code of laws. Using the original example, paladin who broke the wizard out of jail to achieve the wizard's redemption would, following said redemption, go back to town to turn himself into the authorities. It's respect and honor, not slavish adherence.

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Kthulhu wrote:

If they break out the cheesy trick once or twice during a campaign, while in a bad situation, then they get a pass.

If they break out the cheesy trick at least once a session, then they should expect to have the cheesy trick used on them.

Seconding a variation of this. The sorting criteria is the cheese factor. Possibly divided by the mookiness of the opposition.

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Overall, I think Ambrus has some very good points.

I do think there's a limit to what the war analogy can do for you. Trophies and obviously portable valuables (gold teeth spring to mind) are somewhat the exceptions that prove the rule. There's a lot more scrounging for sustenance, and wear and tear on what you have. When's the last time the PCs took the goblin's rations, so that they'd have food to eat, or took the bandit's (non-magical) boots to replace their own? Much less something to replace a broken weapon, rather than an upgrade? It's not that we don't go there, we just generally, as tabletop gamers, go in for that level of detail, unless the game is specifically about that level of detail (post-apoc. games with extensive equipment wear values and survival requirements spring to mind).

Personally, I tend to approach the matter with more than a little dark humor, the crowning moment in one game being when the party discovered they were being followed by a merchant, who made his living off of whatever it was below them to loot at the moment.

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Fletch wrote:
City-sized space ships of 10,000 crewmembers seems a bit beyond the scope of what I enjoy, though. I didn't see anything that suggested I'd be arrested for fudging that at my table and declaring ships to be a lot smaller with a very reduced crew.

You won't be arrested, but to my thinking, it's changing a fact that operates on a core thematic level (and attaches to some of the ship rules), which I find a curious choice to make.

*cough* Traveller: it's firefly in space! *cough*

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Erastil is always my Exhibit A in "Why Paizo Needs To Hire A Folklorist."

Something that's also relevant about the city building game is that it isn't necessarily something that the characters are in charge of as much as a game the players are playing. The game is called "Kingmaker," not "General Contractor," much less "Zoning Board Member." The city building is going on around them, both at their directives and in spite of them. Having a party of teetotalers doesn't mean there won't be taverns, just that any taverns will actually be speakeasies.

Personally, this is the sort of thing I think is better approached as an RP challenge. OP is very correct that there's a tricky distinction to "where a community with traditional values turns into an urban mess," but in my thinking, that's what's makes it fun to play out.

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It's much easier if your CHA is at least 14 and you can take the Harkness feat.

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Wow, big questions, requiring inline response.

Zombieneighbours wrote:
As a DM, do you mind if an adventure contains material you may not end up using?

No, because A) I like 'deep background' and B) things I don't use, I can recycle later. The important caveat to A is that Far Too Many Writers can't distinguish between deep background and self-indulgence.

Deep background means that I know enough history and motivation to get into the heads of the antagonists, giving me a surplus of flexibility in the game itself if the players do something 'off the map.' Self-indulgence is background material that doesn't provide me with that. As a rule, if there's a question, it shouldn't be there.

Zombieneighbours wrote:
As a player do you like sprawling investigative adventures with red hearings and dead ends, or do you prefer a linier story/investicgation, where clues lead from a to b to c to d ?

A good sprawling investigation is much better than a good linear adventure, but a bad investigation is much worse than bad linear game.

A linear investigative game is something of a contradiction in terms and the worst of all the possibilities.

Zombieneighbours wrote:
As a player do you mind if you don't see all of the plot, or do you want to be left seeing all of the big picture at the end?

The best adventures allow - but do not force - an "Usual Suspects" moment. Plot speculation is fun, and the point is for the players/characters to catch on, not to be lead to it by the DM. For my money, there is nothing more satisfying in an RPG than three sessions later getting to have a "Wait a minute, I understand!" moment.

Of course, if it's a one shot, I want total resolution.

Zombieneighbours wrote:
As a player, do you mind if you are not the only group driving action, and events occur even if you spend three days drinking and wenching? Or do you feel like you should be the only people changing the status quo, and that events should not move on unless by your hand?

The former, though this one can get very tricky. There are at least two important distinctions here. One, the party should be totally able to avoid /the/ adventure. It should not be able to avoid /an/ adventure. Two, the party should have a disproportionate level of control over the status quo as relative to the scope of the party's own power (not level).

Zombieneighbours wrote:
Do you like having a single plot within an adventure, or multiple plots?

One plot per adventure, but if it's a longer term thing, I want plot arcs as well.

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If what we're talking about is 'combat-possible event per time played,' I think that there is tremendous variation between sessions, but a general average of 1 every 45 minutes.

I have some degree of trouble calling that the pace of the game, however. I'm not sure what would represent "plot per hour," but I feel its somewhat independent to the number of encounters.

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It may or may not be what you're looking for, but the rules behind Kingmaker work as excellent transplants into any number of adventures and settings, so you really should not feel limited to the AP itself.

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HeHateMe wrote:

WH 40K is also a morally relative setting. Meaning that there is no black and white, right and wrong, politically correct liberal hippy care bear morality that the GM must enforce with an iron fist.

I disagree. 40K is not a morally neutral setting. Traveller's Imperium is a morally neutral setting. Warhammer, fantasy or 40 K, is more of a morally bleak setting. The only analogy I can use is Paranoia played straight, or rather played for internal laughs. But that's what makes it unique.

Looked at differently, 40 K trades the "politically correct liberal hippy care bare mentality" for bigotry as parody. If your character isn't a racist jihadi, you've missed the point.

The rules are suitably grim, yet equally accessible. If you want a game that's full of stark action and black comedy, it's perfect. What's possibly the only downside is that it's better the more you are "in on the joke" in the sense of knowing Warhammer and it's universe.

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#1 - Traveller: The New Era

The party has landed on a planet in the hopes of a cold recovery mission, winding up in collusion with not only one, but two enemy groups (both Virus and the Guild) and would up misstarting a fusion reactor that lead to the planet, otherwise a treasure trove of lost technology, being turned into a burnt out cinder.

After a narrow escape, there is a long pause, as the party contemplates everything that went wrong. Finally, the self-appointed captain speaks up:

Captain: Erase the logs. We were never here.

This being Traveller, it became something of a refrain whenever the party would end up in a potentially morally compromising situation.

#2 - Changeling

Character A and Character B have an on-again, off-again romance. Character B, in order to get 'vital information,' seduces an NPC.

B [beginning to seethe]: Can I cast {curse} on {the NPC}?

ST: Sure.

Character B crits. ST says nothing. Character A returns, smiling, with the information. About ten minutes pass.

B: Uh, what about my curse? Did nothing happen? I got a critical success?

ST: Oh, you'll find about 9 months.

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Complexity in presentation for one. Think about how long optimization guides are when only one character is in question, much less duos of who knows how many classes and packages.

Complexity in execution for two. The more links in the chain you add, the more unwieldy gets if something goes wrong. If four characters are perfectly optimized to work together in a fight, if something pulls one of those characters out of the fight, the greater a disadvantage you are at, at least in theory. A two person one trick pony can be catastrophic if something goes weird, and things are always going weird in a RPG.

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I'm sorry, I was unaware that the gloves were on in the first place, at least when player/character mind-#($*(#ery was concerned.

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If you want to be truly blameless in terms of metagaming, RP the uncertainty. Maybe even take a turn for the "what just happened!?!" factor.

A relevant modern analogy would be the difference between knowing someone has a particular disease versus knowing the list of symptoms. If you know someone has a flu virus, you know basically what's going to work and what's not. If you know that someone has a mild fever, headache, and congestion, you have some general ideas of what is going to help in that "bed rest and fluid" sort of theme, but it could be anything from allergies to pneumonia with a lot of stops in between and a lot of different sorts of treatments.

If you knew it was invisibility, you would know he was still in the cell. Since you don't know it was invisibility, you don't know whether he could still be in the cell, but it's in the range of possibilities, among many others. Checking the cell to make sure that it's not an illusion or other trickery seems pretty obvious (and, frankly, with a DM worth his or her salt, will still allow the mage a jump on things, giving 'game value' to the invisibility and reducing the depth of a question of metagaming).

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Accidental TPKs are the reason why prison adventures were created.

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1) Mage: the Ascension, but you need moderately sophisticated players. Including the advanced rote rules works well to give it a nice classical fantasy feel.

2) There was a 'power word' system that someone I knew cobbled together. I think that they based it off of Ultima, like the video game.

3) Non-magic magic system 1: the nanotech system from 5th Ed Gamma World works great for a sort of wild/natural magic system.

4) Non-magic magic system 2: GURPS magic not so much, but GURPS psionics? Great for retooling into a magic system.

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Put me on the side of "so what?", not because he doesn't need to know the rules, but he's pretty well bound to have to learn the rules if he wants to run the game...unlike if he keeps playing, in which case he really never has to learn the rules because it's never his responsibility. I mean, if he really doesn't want to learn the rules, he's never going to keep GMing, not Pathfinder at any rate.

Put differently, you can't know the rules until you've GMed.

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rg wrote:
. What we are hoping for is a system which is more about roleplaying than "ruleplaying", which will give me the freedom to make the game suspenseful and challenging, even when we are not bashing zombie brains. From the system, ABOVE ALL we need grittiness, realism, and believability; I need a system which can handle the survival horror roleplaying without much trouble, and something which, while allowing us to improve our characters as we progress, is not going to allow us to be able to become overpowered in a few sessions.

I stand a good chance at getting pilloried for this, but Twilight:2K13. It's a bit clumsy for the first sentence, but applies superbly for the next sentences.

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ProfessorCirno wrote:
(the rest of Trad Games owns too so feel free to look around at other threads about the genius that is Greg Stolze or at how much Eclipse Phase owns). We hit a metric ton of awesome stuff that's generally not too well known, be it Polaris or Fiasco, and they're pretty much all amazing.

I love Eclipse Phase. However, Eclipse Phase is the '10s version of the Aughts Transhuman Space is the '90s version of Blue Planet - creative, far thinking SF games that are actually original, as opposed to the 3/4ths of the drek out there, scare the hell out of most people, but all suffer from a bit of being too diffuse, and giving many hooks rather than a few good ones.

Fiasco is amazing. Most of the time, non-GM games don't live up to things, or rather that most of the good ideas that they have are better stolen from the idea of collaborative narration and reincorporated into games with GMs. I would cite Fiasco as the exception to the rule.

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The great thing about Savage Worlds is that it has an excellent balance of fluff, crunch, and flair. If I had to run a fantasy game, and I didn't have the sorts of players who wanted the Legos that Pathfinder has to offer, Savage Worlds would be my first choice.

...that also explains why I have such trouble answering these sorts of questions. There are lots of games out there, each one that cuts things differently.

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Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:

If turning ones self into an undead creature doesn't SCREAM necromancy then I must have seriously missed something.

Okay, I'm going to go ahead and say it: this is an edition thing.

In early D&D eds, magical item creation was much more costly and much more fantastical. The writers were pulling (in my read) from the Norse Sagas, specifically the forging of the chain to hold Fenris Wolf. In 3, magic item creation became much more mechanical (and accessible!) to the point that, in PF, it's basically assumed that PCs are going to be making magic.

Specifically, now, a magic item is an item that's the sum of its components, and those components are spells. So now, it's much more like lich...has it's soul in a special component somewhere, magic jar then?

But that's not necessarily the case. If you look at the published materials, even Pazio's recent undead guide, there's nothing about it that says Liches need necromancy spells. It's more about the ritual, and (as a brief survey of the web shows) the process towards evil that is brought about by that ritual.

It seems to me that the defining characteristic of a lich isn't his undead nature. It's intelligence, dedication, and corruption. Looked at another way, a lich is undead as happenstance to the lich's attempt at immortality. It's a big, momentous thing, not just a necromancer Prestige class. You are not casting 'Create Greater Undead, Self.'

That so, I take no issue with the DMs call. It is reasonable to the point of self-obvious. I just don't think that the player suggesting it rises to the level of outright derision.

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Grand Magus wrote:

The quickest and easiest way is to start a war.

I'm pretty sure that the quickest way would be to cull some portion of the population, thus narrowing the 'per capita' aspect. I mean, seriously, there are suburbs of Detroit with more people than Luxembourg, and rest stops in Nevada with more people than Qatar.

And, sure, you can do that by starting a war, but that's outsourcing your production off-shore. You might as well set up the death camps locally instead, bringing American ingenuity, hard work, and that can kill spirit to bear.

Alternately, some sort of infectious disease might work, if it could target the unemployed somehow.

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ciretose wrote:
The DM asked how he would be able to do that when he couldn't cast necromancy spells, and he tried to argue (with a straight face) that transformation into a lich wasn't specifically labeled as necromancy and so it wasn't clear that it would involve necromancy spells.

Honestly, I don't see the problem with this. I mean, it's perfectly within reason for the DM to say that lichdom requires casting _____(Necromancy), so he can't do it. On the other hand, since, to the best of my knowledge, the lich creation method is intentionally vague. There's no reason why it shouldn't be much more ritual-oriented, and not requiring specific spells, much less necromantic ones.

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I'm the sort of person that, if the character sheet isn't crumpled to hell and handwritten on the back of a shoe contract, with places that the page has worn thin through constant erasure and re-writing, it just isn't actually playing a RPG.

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jemstone wrote:
J.S. wrote:

As someone who contributed a lot to the second edition of that game, I thank you. :)


I ran a Cybergeneration game in college once. Now, fifteen years later, that one game has spawned at least three campaigns and countless one shots, some of which are still going on, all of which I account totally to the quality of that game.

Shifty wrote:

Oh I also forgot:

Star Frontiers!
(80's sci fi goodness)

Triumph of setting over system, there.

VM mercenario wrote:
I've recently read about this Senzar RPG. Apparently when it was launched it was reviled as one of the worst games of all time, mostly because the creators were d***s and it was a powergamers dream come true. More recent reviews say the game has actually pretty solid rules and it is pretty awesome at what it sets out to do. Which is being a powergamers dream come true. Kinda like an Exalted that was launched at the wrong time.

SenZar is terrible. Okay, I'm willing to give it some cred simply because games that were That Much Worse came later (FATAL), and that in some ways it's a victim of technology: the point where *anyone* could publish his or her crappy fantasy system (via the internet) was a few years to come. But a comparison to Exalted is like comparing Army of Darkness to Manos: Hands of Fate. It may have accidentally had some non-crappy bits, and I can see powergamer nostalgia looking fondly at it, but no.

Tensor wrote:

> Maid RPG Link <


Has anyone played this? What do you think?

I haven't actually played it, but this is why I'm going for the quote bunch, because Maid is a good counter to something like SenZar. I think the better analogy is Toon, rather than Tales of the Floating. It knows what it is doing, as evidenced by its strong TVtropes love (and origin), so as well as you're ready to engage that sort of fluff, it's a great call.

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D20 Modern is good for High Cinema Action.

I'll second Cyberpunk/Interlock, insomuch as you're willing to do a lot of 'tending the garden' with players in the setup.

GURPS is okay, but turgid. Frankly, if you're going to go to GURPS, you might as well go all the way to Twilight:2013.

Gumeshoe isn't a bad choice. If you want a slightly more action-y version, Savage Worlds?

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You say moving away from Gygaxian style, I say increasing the gamist quality. I don't know how much making it easier was ever a design goal as much an inadvertent result of that strategic scope.

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Jason Ellis 350 wrote:


Sorry, but your character did not survive character generation, please try again.

I have to defend the honor of the old regiment here.

Traveller has a much different character paradigm than most other RPGs. As opposed to a level 1 nobody, your average Traveller character is a highly competent professional. The counterpoint to this is that XP is, functionally, a non-starter in Traveller. The character you leave character generation is about as good as your character's going to get.

The rules for in-generation character death (and disability) are, more or less, part of the braking system. It's not like you flip a coin every other turn to see if you survive. But the more you look to munchkin out, the more likely you are to have a bad roll either kill or generally ruin your character's overpower potential. Try to build a competent character and get out while the going's good and there's never any real chance.

The problem is, especially more modern gamers who've grown up on things like 3.X-4 D&D where a lot of the fun /comes from/ constantly pushing the system to its limits, find the mental shift in something that's otherwise so generally accepted, that trouble results.

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Scott Betts wrote:
When someone tries to tell you that "Game X is like an MMORPG," or "Game X is like a board game," they are denigrating a game to try and make a poorly-constructed point. The implication (and a silly implication at that) is that MMORPGs are badwrongfun and that anything that might cause a game to superficially resemble an MMO in any way is, therefore, badwrongfun as well.

I agree in practice, but I disagree in theory. You're spot on about mechanical incentives though.

There's no question there's a lot of slurring that goes on. But I think it's important to remember that there's a lot of ... retrospective unity. I'm sure there's a better term, but I can't think of it. To use your terms, I believe that sometimes people write off points as superficial resemblances, when they're simply not.

To wit, there's no question in my mind that 4E is highly inspired by WoW (not MMOs in general, but WoW in specific). But, despite that people generally use it as an insult, that's really not actually a value judgment. It's like saying that 1E is highly inspired by Vance's Dying Earth. It's not inherently bad or good, it's just a thing, and it's a thing that may work better or worse.

The thing is, I'd love - love - to truly run a tabletop MMORPG. I mean, think of EVE as the model. Imagine a tabletop game, or a series of tabletop games, where there isn't these artificial economies, but an actual, player-created, (DM-supervised) economy, in the context of an ongoing game. It'd be mindblowing.

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reefwood wrote:
Also, the book states that time takes 1 week per 10,000 gp, so it would seem like this structure could be built in less than 1 day. If I assume 8 hours of work per day and 7 days per week, that breaks down to about 178 gp per hour, so this would take just under 6 hours. Does this seem too fast?

Yes, it does.

I don't know how I feel about the 1 week per 10,000 GP, but assuming it scales down like you have is a bit extreme. Every second is not worth 5 cp. It's building a house. A small, shack-like house that will gander snickers from various goblins, but a house nevertheless. You will hit a point where the effort to create a simple structure can't be made easier, or more precisely, there are economies of scale at some point for creating a larger structure.

I know it's a little 'deadly lava,' but my suspension of disbelief starts to scrape against the walls when a bunch of untrained people put up a whole house in less time than I've seen take trained people to hang a door. I would probably treat the week as a sort of minimum, and assume that it's a week because it includes all the gathering raw materials, running into supply problems, arguing about which way the door should face, realizing you cut the windowpanes in the wrong size, debating what to have for lunch, sending the soldier back to the store for the right size nails, and a lot of other problems that otherwise get really tricky because it forces you to decide just how medieval technology and magic do fit together as in comparison to modern expectations.

As to the craft skill questions, especially with free labor at hand (and as to the question of what to pay, only pay something if that guys being used for his carpentry skill, for instance, as opposed to a soldier using a saw and hammer), I wouldn't really do anything with game consequences, because, as above, you get into some fairly sophisticated economies, but have a pretty clear RP call - it's going to look like a hut made by non-professional labor.

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I think this question has everything to do with out-of-game factors, with some twinges of game mechanics factors, than it has to do with in-game or story ones.

There's no reason a game has to have an end. Think of it like a highly episodic TV show. Sure, there are plot arcs, reoccuring themes, end-of-season cliffhangers and all that, but the show can go on, at least until the proverbial moment of Jumping the Shark.

As a rule, like in TV, the immediate story for a RPG is generally the more important. Not always, and the long game is highly satisfying, but a RPG operates on a session by session sequence. The ending you need to worry about is the one three hours from now, not the one sixteen weeks from now.

However, there are a lot of structural reasons why concise endings payoff. There's a clear sense of when to start and when to stop, and since it's likely something's going to happen at some point to bring the game to a stop of its own accord, it's good to have it coordinate with in-game reasons. There's greater turnover between games, DMs, characters, and so on, which is generally healthy for the group. One of the reasons why I always run LARPs that have a fixed ending may also rear its head, which is that it's much easier to convince a player to take a risk when that player knows there's a date by which it won't matter.

Campaigns should have endings because campaigns do have endings, whether you want them to end or not. That doesn't make a completely open ended game work poorly, it just means that it thrives for reasons wholly outside of the game itself.

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Let's talk about Traveller.

Nearly every incarnation of Traveller is big on tables. Take, for instance, the subsector creation tables. With it, in about half an hour, a Ref can roll up a series of letters, numbers, and symbols that wholly represent a large segment of space. Fundamentally, it's all crunch. It's rules and how they interact.

Okay, but it's also the basis for a whole six month campaign, because that crunch completely spells out everything. It provides everything that you might want to know about the framework. The Referee just needs to fill in the gaps.

Alternately, someone could write a whole book describing a subsector in detail. And yeah, it'd be nice for one go, but it would be a pretty long book, and that's assuming that everything in the book fit with the particular Referee's vision. Chances are, it'd take some retrofitting and jumbling about.

Sturgeon's Law hits fluff very hard. Most fluff is tepid. It's not that I can come up with better fluff, it's that we ALL can come up with just as good fluff. We're gamers. That's what gaming is. Fluff gets cliche, or transparently axe-to-grind. There's a lot of bad you can say about fluff.

At its worst, crunch encourages unnecessary or malicious optimizing. But crunch has to almost try to be bad. Most of the time, bad crunch still breaks down into something usable, just because it's only rules and how those rules interact.

Good fluff is priceless, but rare, so I tend to prefer crunch. It does what I need it to do without airs.

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If you want to get players engaged in this:

1) IRL methods. Buy a poker set (or some other group "non-modern" game), leave it on the table, and wait until there's a downtime moment. In my experience, you won't even have to mention the fact the game's there before people start playing it out in character. This goes for a lot of other things, too, if they are tangible things your players can see and interact with. No joke - I once got a bunch of RP-skittish men to have what would look like to any disinterested observer as a tea party and they had the time of their lives.

2) Rules-Based hobbies. Let all the players take a 'trivia' skill, either a profession or knowledge, in something that's not specifically germane to adventuring but not altogether useless. Heck, pull out the ol' 2nd Ed Secondary Occupation table and roll on that. It puts it in terms of rules, and that makes it a lot more comfortable for some people to use. It also has the effect of making them /want/ to use it. Once you have Knowledge: Wars of the Age of Destiny or Profession: Potter, you start looking for ways to make it relevant.

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Freehold DM wrote:
Actually I meant culture on an ethnic level, but whatever. I just remembered a run in I had many years ago when just getting into D&D when someone's asian grandmother found out I brought food over and was incensed. I think our backgrounds influence us more than we think.

The problem was that he couched the matter in strictly economic terms.

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Sarrion wrote:
The reason why i was questioning it was more the invisibility and not attempting to use diplomacy first in order to bargain with the kidnappers. Using diplomacy could result in no fighting what so ever...

Yes, but that's not going to change necessarily because of a specific kidnapping situation.

Looked at another way, if this is against the code, then any time he did not first attempt a non-violent solution to a problem later solved with violence, it was against the code.

Now, point of fact, I have played paladins who had that code. But even then, there is a degree of 'circumstances beyond his control' mucking about in this specific instance that would, at best, have it so that he may have some quiet words with his party.

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It's interesting: the point when RPGs really took off for "us" when growing up was that 10ish level, and I think it was because we really took the whole notion of dominion management on in a whole hog sort of way.

Daniel Moyer wrote:
I have done 'mass combat' in the D&D system and I found it extremely tedious and clunky, it really wasn't designed that way. Besides don't we have "Axis & Allies" or "Warhammer" if we want to play 'mass combat' games? I guess I'm just not a big fan of shoe-horning mechanics into a game, especially when they overwhelm and/or replace (or attempt to) the existing game.

I understand your critique. The counterpoint is granularity. A D&D-based mass combat system isn't trying to be Warhammer. It's never going to be first chair to the party, and never going to have the degree of detail and figitability of a more mass combat specific system. But what that doesn't mean is that it doesn't deal with mass combat to the degree it needs to deal with it.

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Daniel Moyer wrote:
I'm still not sold on the Kingmaker Ruleset honestly, it feels a bit detracting from what we know as "D&D".

It may depend on when you started playing. People who walked up the Red Box line are familiar with hitting Name Level at 9th, whereupon your character builds or otherwise gets his or her stronghold, with the dominion and mass combat systems in Companion Set soon approaching. For me, growing up playing to those rules, I feel the KM-esque stuff as inimical as a dungeon.

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Doomed Hero wrote: comments like this-

DM Wellard wrote:

+1 googleplex. Please Gary, Ross, Liz..anyone can't we just ban this creep from the boards?

- are counterproductive to both Shuriken's mental health, and our own growth as a mature community.

First, there are some of us who still think it's a hoax.

Second, if it's not a hoax, the venue of sound advice this board can offer is infinitesimal, to the point the notion of removing temptation for people to offer bad or over-reaching advice is fairly compelling.

Third, it's highly counterproductive to anyone looking at the community and thinking that it's mature, because it's the sort of posting that verifies the worst sort of opinion of gaming and gamers.

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It depends, but done right, LARPs are an enormous amount of effort to get started. Even forgetting all the RP structure side, which is the actually important stuff, LARPs have to worry about things like renting space and carrying insurance and the sort of things that normal RPGs lack. There's often an equal amount of out-of-game politics going on, which doesn't make it any easier. There's some general degree of competition for space, staff, and schedule.

I would, however, follow up with whomever told you, if you can find the information. He might know of something interesting even if it's not his game.

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Traveller. That's sort of it's allure, really. The original version more or less openly mocked the idea of XP.

In the more current Mongoose version, it's a counterbalancing element to the semi-random character generation. You can end up with a character who's old and experienced and will never get another skill point, or you can end up with a young, inexperienced character who will get skills every few sessions, though even then skill progression operates as a factor of in-game time, rather than real time.

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Needs more polyhedrons.

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That group has Kingmaker written all over it, insomuch as you have a group that's A) okay with sandbox and B) interested in the domain rules.

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Evil Lincoln wrote:

Time was, the "host" of any gathering was considered responsible for the feeding of guests, because otherwise they would get hungry and leave.

That's not the rule anymore. I presume it is because pizza can be delivered.

However, it is interesting to note how what is considered "rude" vis a vis hosting and food can differ by region and time and culture. And we are on the internet.

I'd swear that I recall a TSR publication where it outright states that it's a duty of the players to bring and pay for the food, in compensation of the DM's efforts.

This is another one of those reasons why I like playing in an actual city. Pick a restaurant, walk a block, pick up food; everyone pays for his own and gets exactly what he wants. You don't really even have to stop the game.

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My favorite interlude of humor from a recent game was the bartender who, when the PCs sauntered up in that typical 'so, explain this plot' sort of way, proceeded to flip out, explaining in no unclear terms how he was a bartender, and someone who served drinks, not just the information bank for every passing ne're-do-well and vagabond.

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Gorbacz wrote:
Hama wrote:
Cover yourself in gasoline, light yourself on fire and try to run around for 6 seconds...
Except in our reality, your deity of choice doesn't grant you the ability to magically heal third degree burns :)

Just because I have access to antibiotics doesn't mean that I eat Anthrax milkshakes, and a rollercoaster is still thrilling, even though you're strapped in. Even if there's a rational part of the brain that knows, there's another, more well-wired and basic part that says "fire bad."

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Erik Freund wrote:
If people haven't seen them yet, two great examples of "ancient city done right" would be Crucible of Chaos and From Shore to Sea. (Conversely, I would not recommend Lost Cities of Golarion.)


Much like Legacy of Fire is a mash note from Pazio to Ray Harryhausen, Serpent's Skull is about pulp fiction, across several genres of it.

Now, a meta-problem is that D&D-style games don't do pulp very well. The rules aren't built that way. But that's only a minor setback as these things go.

In that regard, Seven Spears really drops the ball. An adventure about finding a lost city doesn't fit in the whole 'finding a lost city' modality. There's a really interesting idea to how it plays out, but it doesn't match the genre. It's like Indiana Jones hacking through the jungle only to find himself embroiled in Cold War spy novel. And while the genre influences pick up again in the subsequent adventure, that dissonance lingers, if only because the plot lingers in the same place.

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I blame VHS.

No, really. It used to be that a film - or a TV show for that matter - was put it in the can and forget about it. There were ways to revisit older material, but it was somewhat limited in scope. Novelty was, in some ways, the only option.

But then, things like VHS came along, along with the explosion of television stations, not to mention the backlog becoming sufficient that post-theater markets or syndication became a goal, and not just a mere afterthought. It made these various media properties indelible.

VHS invented nostalgia. Nostalgia made a market.

And come on, if a rich uncle you didn't know about died and left you in charge of a film studio, do you seriously propose that there aren't at least six media properties out there that you haven't at least spitballed what the movie should look like with your friends? That deserve a modern remake or at least a fix?

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roccojr wrote:
(Don't worry about how they're getting from place to place... its all by the rules and I really don't want THAT to be the subject discussed).


I mean, this, plus one or two other things, lead me to believe that you're more in cahoots with the players than you may readily realize to make their beeline a possibility, even if you're not conscious of it. The again, that's arguably a sign of good DMing, so mind it too much.

I do think that you're aware of the risk, specifically in book 2 where things turn really pace oriented rather than plot oriented. But I think that you do have a very definitive transition between the two books, so it just becomes something you need to make sure to hammer home when the time comes.

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