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Andre Roy wrote:
Oh if we do run with the cities theme, I will be spearheading an orcish invasion, like the claiming or Urgir. I've got several Orc themed / city themed article ideas bouncing around in my brain right now.
Well, it was a dwarf built city ... But it got its character from orcs! ;)
Well I was going to pop in to begin asking for folks to review, but there already is one, so I will dig deeper.
First thanks for the review! All the folks who have put this together would love to know what exactly you enjoyed, and what we may have dropped the ball on. Details, we live for details! That said, seriously, thanks for the quick review. :)
Ok, I'm done. That feels better. ;)
Ha! Gen Highlander! Good one!
[note to self - sharpen the blade when i get home ...]
oh it's not just millennials who are cynical on this front. i'm gen x and have been cynical about the entire corporate/business mindset for 25+ years.
Garrett Guillotte wrote:
Cities would be cool. There are orc cities (or at least one ... above ground anyway).
And to be clear, it's not really so much that there are "a bunch of bad guys". You have each individual who had their own pre-sensate baggage to some extent (i.e. - Wolfgang and the German mafia, or Caephas being in a pretty violent location, or Sun and her evil brother/prison), these are all really the personal baddies. Then you have Whispers and BPO (the organization he works for), who are the overarching baddies.
In an X Files parallel, the personal baddies are the lower level hurdles Murder and Scully took on (the bureaucracy wanting to hinder and discredit the investigations, the other agents looking down on their efforts, etc). The Smoking Man and the shadow organization he was part of would be the BPO equivalent.
Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
Soooo ... you do realize that "the Smoking Man" back story did not even start to be picked at until season 2, and you really never got full backstory for him (though you got several variants and speculations). At this point, Whispers is ahead of the game as "the Smoking Man" only had 4 words in season 1 of X Files (yep, looked that up ;) ).
I thought green packing peanuts were an indicator of being made of recycled material, not biodegradability.
EDIT: well you learn something new every day. apparently they are made of recycled polystyrene but are also specially treated to break down in a landfill withing 1-5 years.
And the pink ones are anti-static.
Ah, so it strikes me that the lack of connection to Cauldron y'all are feeling really is more the result of GM style. It does take effort on the GMs part to ensure there are points of connection, beginning as early as PC creation.
Creating additional material can also work for immersing the player's into the city. For example, I put together the following items prior to our first game (the Gazetteer was inspired by some of the other similar works put out by other folks on theRPGGenius site for the AP).
I do plan to continue the Gazetteers as a regular element, partly to show the impact the PCs have, partly to help build up the rivalry with the Stormblades, and partly to introduce various elements of the city (via the "ads" on the sidebar).
I also expect the Gazetteers to aid in dropping occasional clues / red herrings (though we do have a sort of unofficial house rule that if the PCs are going off on a red herring in a major way, the GM usually works an actual red herring (or scarlet fish or similar imagery) into the plot, so the players are aware it is off the rails. Sometimes we have continued on the false trail simply for the fun of it, but mostly we end up backtracking to see what we missed.
honestly, every preprinted campaign will be railroady, it's just the nature of the beast. It is the job of the GM to obscure the tracks. Even Kingmaker, the "sandbox" AP, still had railroad aspects (i.e. the overarching plotline of the AP).
That said, not sure why your GM is not letting you buy a house in town, if that is the way you want to run. And PC actions should definitely have an impact, probably not on the greater plotline (as the PCs are most likely not interacting on that level until mid/upper levels), but should have an impact on Cauldron and the smaller stories going on there. It is possible there could be adjustments to the greater storyline from the actions on the PCs in the smaller storylines. The extent of the PC impact really depends on the GM and how they run the campaign. This is, of course, a rule for any campaign that a GM runs.
I am currently running the campaign (updating most elements to PF) for some friends and while it is early on so far, it is going well. I do plan on introducing some sidetrek items to tie into the PCs' backstories, which should help invest the PCs more into the story of Cauldron.
As to the bigger picture, there is an overarching plot, and the PCs should be receiving hints as they go along. If you have not been receiving hints as the story has progressed, that may be an issue with the way the GM is running the game, or you are overlooking the hints.
While there are some plot holes in the campaign (as there are within any campaign), as long as the GM prepares in advance these holes can be patched .
Some of the house rules I tend to run with:
Level up at the speed of plot. Makes for smoother game play I find.
If you qualify for Combat Expertise (i.e. - you have Int 13+), you gain the feat automatically; similarly for Power Attack (i.e. - you have Str 13+ ... forget about BAB +1), you gain the feat automatically. I don't see the reasoning behind needing a feat to basically fight defensively in an intelligent fashion (CE) or hit harder but leave an opening in your defenses (PA).
For raise dead, it does not need to a a single 5000gp diamond, just 5000gp worth of diamonds (or diamond dust). A single 5000gp rock should be exceedingly rare; if it isn't, then the value of diamonds should plummet, making the needed stone even bigger in size in order to fulfill a gp requirement.
As GM, I roll your Craft Item checks if you make a magic item. This has been a point of contention in some groups, but if you mess up the roll and get a cursed item, you should not have the meta knowledge that it is a cursed item.
You can resize magic armor and weapons down one size category with a successful Craft Magical Arms and Armor check. And no, you don't end up with extra mithral from reducing the size of the elven chain. Chalk it up to the crafting cost.
After having watched Highlander 30 some odd times over a week in order to do a film analysis paper (lighting, shot type, camera angle, etc. etc. and the intended effect of such to be imparted to the viewer) I really can't watch the movie any more ... and I used to love it.
Back on topic.
More comedies (did I mention I kinda like comedies?) ... and I can't believe no one has mentioned any John Cusack comedies yet, so here you go ...
Better Off Dead - John Cusack as a teen with issues who meets a French exchange student Diane Franklin. Quirky comedy from Savage Steve Holland.
One Crazy Summer - John Cusack as a teen with issues who meets a guitar-playing hippiesque Demi Moore. Quirky comedy from Savage Steve Holland.
Hot Pursuit - John Cusack as a teen who tries to catch up with girlfriend's family on a Caribbean vacation. Kind of a comedy of errors comedy in a lot of ways.
Tape Heads - John Cusack and Tim Robbins as two security guard, high school graduates turned video producers. Quirky comedy and the Swanky Modes! Actually Sam Moore and Junior Walker, but still, the Swanky Modes!!
Gross Pointe Blank - John Cusack as a hit man who goes to his 10 year high school reunion. Great comedy with a great 80's soundtrack.
More comedy vein (I kinda like comedies, what can I say ... they tend to lend themselves to light entertainment) ...
The Man with One Red Shoe - musician mistaken for spy, with humorous results.
The Man Who Knew Too Little - brother visits his successful brother in London, gets signed up for "Theater of Life" and things go horribly astray in a spy filled comedy
Arsenic and Old Lace - classic Cary Grant, if you have not seen it you really should. Freaking hilarious.
The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest - comedy in a psuedo tech vein, marketing guy quits to take a creative job at a tech firm and takes on the "$100 computer" project which is basically the "never gonna happen, low budget" project.
Real Genius - more psuedo tech comedy. Another classic.
The Jerk - classic Steve Martin ... "Oh no! He hates these cans too!" hehehehe
In the comedy vein ...
Quick Change - comedy of errors involving a bank robbery
Let It Ride - a cabbie has a good day at the track ... a VERY good day.
Roxanne - a retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac ... the bar insult bet scene is truly classic
Groundhog Day - time loop comedy that I can watch again, and again, and again ...
The Hangover - a prime example of comedy that requires no brain cells, but will make you laugh your butt off.
In the surreal vein (not necessarily good flicks but can be entertaining)...
Repo! The Genetic Opera - dark future where widespread organ failure allows a genetic firm to roll out organs at a premium, and repossess them if payments are late ... and it's a musical!
Patch Town - factory where kids are turned into dolls and sold as toys ... and it's a musical!
See I don't view grognardism as being anything more that an indicator that one has a depth of previous experience to draw from. This does not mean that the person knows what they are talking about, mind you, just that they are pulling from a wider range of experiences than someone who has just started playing.
As to when someone can claim to be a grognard, that's really up to the individual. You may have been playing for 40 years and not claim to be a grognard, or you could have been playing for 10 and claim to be. really, it's more of a mindset of how one perceives their level of experience (and with RPGs, it's really cross system experience ... after all, as far as I am concerned, if you have pulled content from one system to incorporate into another system that kinda puts you into Grognardland).
pH unbalanced wrote:
Derp. I completely forgot about that game. Only played it once or twice, but we did utilize Claw Law and Arms Law for the crit tables at many a D&D table back in the day. :)
And yeah, ICE did some solid stuff.
The 80s were also rife with D&D protests by misguided church groups, along with book burnings (usually if your movement requires the burning of books, your movement is moving in the wrong direction). The purchases of the books for the book burnings I'm sure helped the sales figures a little bit.
But yes, the hobby has always been niche. In the 80s, it was very niche (D&D was played by all of us "weird kids" ... I did not see a jock playing the game until I got to college in '88). But I do see a mix of age ranges at the cons I attend. Granted there are a bunch of grognards, but there is a significant 20-something and millennial crowd at most of the cons I've been to over the last several years.
Let's add to that list...Twilight 2000
ODD (original boxed set)
Every other iteration of basic D&D
White Wolf (Mage, Vampire, Changeling, etc.; Usually a mashup of two or more)
Star Wars d20
Star Wars Saga
Savage Worlds (most settings)
Chivalry and Sorcery
Tunnels and Trolls
Got to say the only one from Mulgar's list I did not recognize was Merp. And I do miss Toon ... great cartoon game. Did a D&D/Toon mashup ages ago (PCs ended up in cartoonland and had to help out a cartoon dragon against an Elmer Fuddesque knight and his gooblin minions, even made cartoon drawings of the NPCs and different locations).