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DungeonmasterCal, your story really put a smile on my face (in a bittersweet sort of way). I'm happy for you, buddy. :)
As for me, 2017 was one doozie of a year, but I'll try to keep this gaming-related.
I got to try some RPGs I hadn't played before, like Star Wars: Edge of the Empire, Mutant: Year Zero, and My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria. (I only now realize that every new RPG I played last year had a two-part title; weird.)
2017 also included the pleasure of helping a good friend of mine introduce his wife to roleplaying for the first time. He'd always wanted to share the hobby with her, but she was put off by both the rules load and the tendency toward solving problems with violence that's so present in many RPGs. But when I offered Tails of Equestria, a game that explicitly cautions you against violence and is made to be approachable even for children, the three of us plus my own wife had a nice little three-hour "double date" of roleplaying that everybody really enjoyed.
Perhaps most significantly, I finally got the kick I needed to really shift into high gear in designing my own game (currently in playtesting; click HERE for more info!) and have made leagues of progress in the last few months. It's familiar fantasy roleplaying but in a way that solves huge numbers of the most common complaints you see here on the boards. Even in its rough, unfinished state I'm super proud of it. :D
Does their comfort zone include all things d20, or specifically d20 fantasy? If the latter, then THIS might be a stepping stone you could use.
Here's a little something different: LINK
My wife agreed to read my playtest document and give me feedback on it. Great, right? Well, apparently she didn't understand what I meant by "playtest document": that it's a sort of condensed manual, meant simply to get the premise and mechanics into people's hands so they can test it out before I finalize it and write the "real thing".
What she thought was that this was the first draft of the "real thing".
So she spent half the day fretting over how she was going to politely and lovingly tell me that it was a piece of crap - basically, that it read more like a playtest document - and worrying I was going to be hurt and we'd have a big fight.
All because I miscommunicated the nature of the document she was reading.
The limited description here makes it sound a lot like Fate (Fate Core specifically, as that is the only edition I'm at all familiar with). How is this RPG different or how does it differentiate itself?
Valid question! Fate Core is high on the list of RPGs I'd love to try, but sadly I've not had the opportunity yet, so my ability to make comparisons is limited to what I can remember from a brief read-through several weeks ago. (Feel free to ask follow-up questions!)
I recall getting the impression that Fate Core was highly malleable, and (compared to games like Pathfinder or Edge of the Empire) relatively streamlined and lightweight. In these ways, Fate and Journey Away definitely have similarities (though I'd say my game is a smidge more lightweight than Fate). I can see why you asked your question.
On the other hand, there are still some foundational differences. For example, my understanding is that Fate assumes high-stakes, action-packed storylines that are predicated on violent or criminal conflict (knights slaying monsters, superheroes punching villains, spacefarers zapping aliens, etc). Like D&D and Pathfinder, Fate (as I understand it) is still a game about Big Damn Heroes. I even recall a line in the book making sure everyone is on the same page about how PCs are assumed to be well-trained paragons.
While Journey Away can certainly also handle a story of epic heroism, it neither requires it nor even assumes it. The default premise is that the PCs have decided to leave their hometown and go see the world and all its wonders; you get to decide whether that involves facing mighty dragons and legions of undead, or just traveling further than you've ever been before and witnessing the magical aurora that occurs every solstice and you used to think was a tall tale told by merchants visiting your home.
Additionally, I don't recall how (or even if) Fate characters advance, but in Journey Away, character growth is tied not to triumphs, but to a combination of having new experiences, putting forth effort, and enduring adversity. Journey Away incentivizes having a fleshed-out character who interacts with the setting. Can you remind me what Fate Core incentivizes?
That's what I've got off the top of my head. Again, if there's anything more specific you'd like to ask (sorry I don't know Fate better!), don't hesitate to ask.
Want to know some fun trivia about this game?
* The entire playtest document contains zero instances of the words "attack" or "weapon".
* Character advancement is based more on characterization than on monster-killing.
* Character creation is more flexible and supports more different concepts than Pathfinder, yet only takes a few minutes from start to finish.
* While chatting with my wife about what her first character might be like, we decided that two of her starting skills would likely be "Sweet staff moves" and "Crazy backflips and stuff".
If that sounds like something you'd like to try, or if you've got questions, hit me up!
If I remember correctly you are in the twin cities right?
Indeed! Though we need not meet in person for a playtest, if that's what you're getting at. I can give people "commenting" permissions on the Google Doc, so testers can run it with their own groups and leave clear, specific feedback. :)
Sounds interesting. :)
Indeed! Have any questions?
I've finished designing a new RPG, and I'm moving on to playtesting!
This is a game which unshackles fantasy roleplaying from the frequent assumption that such games have to be about plundering dungeons or defeating ancient evils. Instead, Journey Away (working title; subject to change) leaves you free to explore a fantasy world as you please, facing whatever sorts of challenges you and your group enjoy.
This is accomplished with a clean, unified action resolution mechanic that's a breeze to pick up and can be used consistently for everything you do, rather than a complex system that's 80% combat-centric.
To put it another way: in Pathfinder and D&D, even the basic act of character creation makes it clear that you're either going to spend a lot of time in combat, or else get very little use out of most of the rules you had to learn to play the game. But in Journey Away, your adventures can be anything you want, and the same basic mechanics will support you regardless!
The system is also open-ended enough that you can swap in your own settings with ease, and lightweight enough that you can show it to your non-gamer loved ones without putting them to sleep so they can finally understand what's so great about roleplaying.
Interested? Post questions here, and/or send me a PM if you'd like to help playtest it!
I was careful to remain conscious of diversity when designing my new RPG, and the result is a game where there's nothing holding you back in terms of the details of your character's identity.
If you like the idea of a fantasy RPG where you can be, say, a brown woman with pointy ears and a tail, check out my profile for ways to stay up to date on development. If you'd like to help playtest the game, send me a PM. :)
EDIT: Oh, also, I plan to represent women and minorities thoroughly in the art, and commission said art from women and minorities as well.
...so its not all about fighting so other players can roleplay and explore the world being built.
Here's the unfortunate truth:Pathfinder, D&D, and to some extent the fantasy RPG genre as a whole is specifically designed to provide gameplay experiences ranging from "kill monsters and loot the dungeon" to "fight through the Legions of Doom to defeat the dragon/lich/demon/god". Games in the D&D tradition are about resource management and tactical combat, testing player skill toward the goal of overcoming a series of progressively scaling encounters. Is it any wonder, then, that a player would build their character to be good at doing exactly that? It's literally what the game tells them to do.
So if you want the game to be "not all about fighting so other players can roleplay and explore the world being built", then it would make sense to look for a game that's actually designed that way. Unfortunately, the D&D model of fantasy roleplaying is pretty ubiquitous in the genre. If only some intrepid new designer would come along and make a game that's a perfect fit for what you're looking for...
OH WAIT THAT'S ME
Look for updates in the new year on a game that'll be right up your alley, my friend!
There's a great video from some game design experts on the concept of "Depth" versus "Complexity". It's really important to understand both the difference between the two things, and how they interact.
"Complexity" refers to all the rules, mechanics, expertise, and work that are required in order to play the game. Anything that requires either mental real estate or player action is complexity. For example, the fact that a shortsword and a longsword have different stats is a form of complexity.
"Depth" refers to how many meaningfully different gameplay experiences a game (or aspect of a game) provides to the player(s). If making a different decision makes the experience feel different, that's depth. For example, critting 25% of the time with your keen scimitar feels like a different play experience than critting 5% of the time with your club.
Here's the relationship:
Every attempt to add some depth to a game (that is, to add the possibility of additional distinct experiences) has a "cost" in the form of increased complexity (because you had to add a mechanism by which that depth would be created, and that mechanism has to be learned and executed by the players). This is important to understand because any given player has a limited "budget" of how much complexity they're willing to deal with at the top end, as well as a minimum requirement of depth they demand at the bottom end.
Therefore, it's important that when designing (or houseruling) a game, you try to "get the most bang for your buck" by finding things with a good depth to complexity ratio. (Either that, or find players with ludicrously high "budgets".) Generally, a mechanic that adds very little complexity while adding a good deal of depth is likely to be worth keeping in, but a mechanic that adds more complexity than depth is a good candidate for cutting.
For example, consider all the weapon stats in Pathfinder: size, weight, handedness, damage dice, threat range, crit multiplier, etc. Consider also the number of weapons with unique combinations of these stats. That's the complexity. The depth is when using one weapon actually feels different from using another: when the 2d6 of a greatsword feels different than the 1d4 of a dagger, or when the few massive hits of a two-hander feel different than the endless rolling of a TWF routine; that's the depth. The complexity of the weapon stat tables purchased the depth of those different gameplay experiences. (And in this case, I'd call it price gouging.)
To bring it back to your question of realism and spell component pouches and whatnot, you can apply this same principal to each houserule you're considering: how much complexity does your wear-and-tear system add (both in learning and in execution)? How much depth does it get you? Are you and your players happy with the answers to those two questions?
I think if you approach it like this, you'll come to a decision you can be satisfied with. :)
less wise than they should are.
I generally tend to play characters with options, such that I have some means of contributing meaningfully in most situations. In Pathfinder, that required playing spellcasters (or sticking to very low levels with non-casters). Same goes for 5E, though less rigidly. Outside of the D&D tradition, it depends on the system. For instance, I recently started a Mutant: Year Zero game, where versatility mostly means having well-rounded stats, but I'm also a Gearhead maxed out on Jury-Rig so I can build tools/equipment for whatever we want to do.
Just to throw in another perspective here, when I've been the GM, I've never felt like I needed the players to do anything in particular in order for me to have fun. Any player behavior I can think of that might disrupt my fun as a GM is also something that disrupts my fun as a fellow player, so it's not GM-specific.
And speaking from my background in psychology, I think that if the players are having fun but the GM isn't, then that's probably a red flag that there's some sort of dysfunction in the relationship: maybe the GM and the players weren't on the same page about what kind of game it was going to be, or the GM didn't really want to be the GM in the first place, or maybe there's even been a misunderstanding of what the GM's role is supposed to be. Whatever the reason, if I see a table full of happy players and an unhappy GM, my reaction is that I want to ask the GM what they were expecting to go differently.
Yeah, I saw the Kickstarter for Forbidden Lands, and it looks really enticing. Even so, my group is likely to play MYZ soon, so as far as researching exploration systems, it might be a bit redundant. Or not? I wonder how different they are. :/
I've heard that there are RPGs which contain subsystems for wilderness (or other) exploration, but aside from one that I'm about to try (Mutant: Year Zero) my exposure to such mechanics is zero. However, it's a topic I have an interest in and need to do some research into how different games have handled exploration mechanics.
Can anyone recommend some games with exploration systems for me to read up on? Bonus points if they're free/cheap or have some kind of SRD or something.
You know how in adventure movies, you've usually got a party of greenhorns and then that one seasoned adventurer who's already been around the block and isn't surprised by anything and is properly prepared for all the weird crap they run into (and provides helpful exposition on each such encounter by explaining it to the others)?
Yeah, apparently the only way you're allowed to play that character past like 3rd level or so is as a spellcaster who carries an assortment of scroll of overcome obstacle variants. If instead of a wizard or bard you wanted to do a version of this character who overcomes the same obstacles via grit and wit, well, tough.
@WormysQueue — I think we may be having a miscommunication here. First of all, in case there's any confusion on this point, I wasn't saying that the older community was racist, or even that whatever unhealthy attitudes existed among them were comparable to racism. Rather, the analogy was about how the absence of conflict does not indicate an absence of toxic mindsets or factually incorrect beliefs. Or to put it another way, an increase in arguments on topic X might not be due to people getting more argumentative or the community having more argumentative people in it; it might be due to the original population mostly agreeing with each other on the same wrong idea about X, never encountering any resistance to their belief until the community started to fill with larger numbers of people who had a better understanding of X. If you'll permit a bit of oversimplification: a community where everybody's right and a community where everybody's wrong will both have the same level of apparent "peace". But the bigger the community, the less likely it will fall into either category.
Second, please note that I specified I was only referring to a subset of topics, not everything. Perhaps this would have been clearer if I had listed out the specific topics I had in mind, but at the time I was concerned this would start fresh arguments here, so I hoped that simply announcing that the scope of my assertion was limited would be sufficient. Apparently it wasn't.
Does that help?
Sure, feel free to shoot me a PM. :)
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
I think Jiggy is busy with 3PP work (or I'm misremembering again).
I'm flattered that my decline in posting frequency was noticed. :)
Although I've done a little 3PP work, I'm not currently working on 3PP stuff (unless you count a massive independent project I'm slowly grinding away at), and that's not the reason for my absence. Rather, there was a convergence of factors (abandoning the deeply-sick PFS culture, fatigue with fundamental issues with the Pathfinder ruleset, and frustration with certain elements of the forums) that led to me abandoning Pathfinder altogether. As a result, spending time on the forums (outside of PbP games) shifted from being a meaningful priority to being something I do when I unexpectedly have a few minutes to kill. More recently, holidays and workplace transitions reduced that free time significantly.
On topic, I don't think the forums have gotten worse (since I've been here, at least). Rather, I think that the mindsets and attitudes that are at the root of a lot of the issues were always here, but weren't causing "problems" because those toxic mindsets were shared by what used to be a majority. Then, as new blood came into the community, that majority status diminished, and those toxic mindsets started to feel some serious pushback for the first time.
It's not unlike what might happen if more and more persons of color moved into a racist, historically white town: instead of 95% of your neighbors nodding along in support of a person's BS, 50% of them are calling it out. The result is a perception among the original residents that the town has "gotten worse", when really all that happened is that the original toxicity stopped having majority approval.
Obviously not all of the forum's issues come down to that; there's always going to be some number of people behaving poorly for all kinds of reasons, just like not all of the above hypothetical town's crime rate would be race-related. But many of the key topics (including ones that have already been mentioned in this thread) can, in my opinion, be linked to this phenomenon in some capacity.
Seems like a lot of folks are conflating "scared" with "endangered". Facing a monster with +99 to hit for 1d10+999 damage and 99 AC and +99 to all saves will certainly endanger your 1st-level party, but does it actually make you feel scared?
I find that the difference is in knowledge. If an enemy engages the party and quickly establishes a straightforward strategy (such as "attack for damage" or "cast save-or-suck spell X") then I find there tends not to be fear, but mere threat assessment. You get a feel for the likelihood of the enemy landing their hits/spells, and how severe their hits are, and you adjust accordingly. It's all just a bunch of calm decision-making.
But what if you don't know what sort of danger you're in? In my experience, it's far scarier if the enemy's initial actions set you up to demonstrate that something bad is coming, but you don't know exactly what. That lack of knowledge, that requirement to act without knowing the details of the situation, that inability to find the most efficient route to victory; that's where I think the actual fear comes in.
This makes me curious about where you shop. I do the bulk of my grocery shopping at Target and Aldi.
At Target, bagging your own groceries isn't an option: the cashier sets an open bag right next to the scanner, and they bag as they scan. Fortunately, this also means that the process is relatively efficient, dodging the twice-the-time scenario you described. But still, there's no choice to be made.
At Aldi, it's the other way around: the cashier is scanning your stuff and chucking it back into your previously-emptied cart, and the moment everything's paid for you're being sent off to a counter at the side to handle your acquisitions however you see fit while the cashier moves on to the next customer. Again, efficient; again, no choice/option.
I honestly can't think of a time I've been in a checkout lane where there was actually a choice to be made between self-bagging or waiting for the cashier to do it after the purchasing process was complete.
Warlocks seem to be the perfect dipping class for charisma classes. No real reason NOT to take it, it seems.
I actually went the other way around: my warlock has a 1-level dip in bard (mainly for Cure Wounds and Bardic Inspiration). He has 8 WIS and believes he's a cleric of a "good" deity whom nobody's heard of and whose name sounds suspiciously like that of an archfiend.
No, but I do have to pack it all up into boxes. In the morning, the boxes (along with computer, chair, phone, etc) should all be sitting at my new spot, waiting for me to unpack it.
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