Demigorgon 8 My Baby's page

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KaeYoss wrote:

When the GM asks for information, you either provide said information or bow out of the game.

I did bow out of the game.

KaeYoss wrote:

No other way. At least not when I'm running the game.

You weren't. I generally like your posts and I'd guess if you were running the game and asked me how many hit points I had I'd tell you.

KaeYoss wrote:

Players talking back when asked for information is an indication for one of two things: Either they don't like the way I run games and are being passive aggressive about it

I don't think that was passive aggressive. I think it was a pretty clear statement that I didn't like the way he did things.

KaeYoss wrote:

or they don't trust me (and I don't see why I should bother with that).

I touched on the trust issue in an earlier post. Yes, I had stopped trusting him.

KaeYoss wrote:

Especially since you just assume that he will fudge. Doesn't have to be. Maybe the GM is just curious. I sometimes ask people about their HP when I roll damage. And that doesn't necessarily mean I'll fudge the rolls to spare them.

I made an educated assessment based on the situation, and my personal knowledge of the GM in question. He had fudged encounters in the past, and I thought he was going to do it again.

KaeYoss wrote:

Plus, there might be abilities related to your HP. In fact, I'm quite sure there is 3.x Material that affects you depending on your HP.

You are really stretching here. He wasn't asking me because of some obscure 3.x Material. He was asking me because he was going to lie about what the dice roll was if it was going to kill my character. You can either take my word for it, since I was the only person in the conversation who was actually there. Or you can keep making justifications for some guy you've never met, about an incident you never witnessed.

KaeYoss wrote:

Video games don't necessarily work that way you know.

I was referring to the fact that most video games come with a save feature. An although I am aware that some video games you have to play all the way through without saving. That is the exception rather than the rule.

If you can't die in an RPG, it feels like a video game to me. Just hit the reset button and start over. Some people like to play that way, not me.

Kain Darkwind wrote:

If you are unwilling or annoyed at answering a DM's question, it suggests there are more underlying issues that are the real problem.

You are absolutely correct. I think most of these bad GM threads really come down to one issue: trust.

The players have to trust the GM to be fair. Usually when people say that, they mean that the GM isn't doing things to the detriment of the players. But really it works in reverse too.

The example I gave was just one instance where I thought he was being unfair to the game universe. On more than one occasion mysterious NPCs showed up to save us from certain TPKs. I could keep going, but the real point is simple: I had stopped trusting him.

Kain Darkwind wrote:

And as a DM, my response would be "you're damn right it matters, now answer my fricken question."

As the DM, I'm entitled to know how wounded the players are. I have multiple monster hp tracked, buffs, etc. I shouldn't have to count how much damage my players are taking, but when my foe needs to choose appropriately who to attack (whether they prefer more wounded foes to finish off, or less wounded foes to fight with honor, or what the hell ever), I don't need a snarky response tossed at me to slow down combat even more. The foe can see how wounded the character is, and thus the DM needs to know how wounded the character is.

So yeah. It does matter.

When he asked me the question, I had been told I had been hit, but he hadn't rolled damage yet. At that point it really doesn't matter how many hit points my character had left unless the GM was planning on fudging the damage to not kill the character.

As a player, I don't like that, and I don't want to play in a game where the GM is going to fudge things to save my character. I have no problem telling the GM anything about my characters current condition, I just don't want the GM to Nerf encounters, or fudge rolls in my favor. I think that's lame.

Other people have different ideas about what is acceptable behavior for a GM. I don't play with that GM anymore.

wraithstrike wrote:

So the one hero point is to cover any mistake you might make + all of theirs? I would ask for more hero points if the Raise dead series of spells were removed.

PS:Just trying to get clarification.

Yeah, that's it one. I told them if they did something truly heroic it might be possible to earn another one, but pretty much one per character is all they got.

I know it's a little rough, but I think that the real possibility of irreversible death is necessary for a sense that victory is earned rather than awarded.

John Kretzer wrote:

Or when the GM asks "how many HPs do you have?" Etc.

I had a GM that did this. I would just say, "Does it matter? Just tell me how much damage I take."

I used to be kind of a GM#1. I would occasionally fudge things so that characters wouldn't die. I'm not sure if my players ever noticed, but really I felt like I was cheating them out of chance to be truly victorious.

So the last campaign I ran, I changed how I did things a little. I gave everybody a hero point. A player could use there hero point to temporarily take over the story. They could say- No, I didn't get killed by the werewolves, we slaughtered them all. I did this to account for encounters I misjudged.

The other changes I made. I started rolling in front of them. I would tell them what number the villains needed to roll to make their saves, and let the dice fall where they may. I banned Resurrection, True Resurrection, and Raise Dead. You have one hero point to save your character, when that's gone- dead is dead.

Now when they win, they really have beaten the challenges set before them. My players really seem to like it.

Bruno Kristensen wrote:

Sometimes, as a DM, you have to cheat (or ask the players to roll up new chars). As recently as yesterday, I had my hand "forced" this way.

** spoiler omitted **

Honestly, if I was playing in that game, I would have said, just kill us all.

It's not fun for me when there is no chance of loosing. It means my actions don't matter because eventually we will win anyways. It becomes like a video game.

Terry Van D%!& wrote:
I am a GM setting up a retool of an established 3.5 game world, but I want to make it a special start up. I plan to do a player's guide with a polished presentation that mirrors the professional presentation of a paizo download, but do not have the capability to replicate the pages or formats or fonts they use...any direction would be appreciated.

There is a guy, Kirth Gersen, on the boards who house ruled about 90% of the game. He basically re-wrote the core book in Word. If what you are looking for is formatting and fonts his house rules would be a good place to start. His work is very good and it looks professional, minus the artwork.

Here is the link

I hope that helps. Good luck.


1. It's always fun to be part of something new, and have an opportunity as a player to shape the world. It would make a good PC nation and also work well as villains.

2. It's been done a lot. Sometimes that's good, it provides the players with a sense of familiarity, and other times it just seems like.. oh, this again. I'd try to make sure there was something radically different about him to catch the players interest, like he ritually kills himself every year and has his priesthood reincarnate him, and what he comes back as determines the nations luck for the next year.

3. I've done this quite a bit and it works real well. The key is to switch things up enough to keep it interesting.

4. In some ways I get real bored with non-human races and I don't use them much. They definitely suffer from the been there done that feeling. You have to give them some kind of fundamental change to peak the players interest. Making them not aloof is not enough of a change, in my opinion. Blood Elves from Earth Dawn had thorns poking thru their skin and were always in pain, Drow had midnight black skin, and were evil (although they've been done to the point of nausea since then). Those were different Elves.

5-9. See 4. I think you need big changes to capture interest. Stuff they haven't seen before, Like Orcs have a complex system of honor like Japanese samurai, only they still are fighting against their bestial nature, so ritual suicide due to loss of control occurs semi-frequently. (Not the best idea, but you really want to turn things on their ear, or the players are going to say: Oh cool, Orcs, what else is in your world.)

9. I'm not a big fan of beating people over the head with moral messages. Unless you have something to add to this I'd shy away from it. Just my opinion.

10. Fun stuff, terrorists make good bad guys because they believe what they are doing is right, which always makes for more interesting villains. Just remember the difference between terrorist and freedom fighter is usually what side you are watching from.

11. See 9. Unless you are interested in exploring the entirety of the issue, like the slave that didn't want to be freed because he loved his master (now that is evil). I'd either keep it a footnote or stay away from it.

12. Meh, nothing new with dragons.

13. If you know and apprecaite the culture it will be an interesting addition.

14. I'm not familiar with it, but it sounds different and interesting.

15. We use miniatures and maps. It helps.

16. I'm not a big fan of low levels, too much is determined by the randomness of the dice, but to each his own.

17. Intrigue is one of those things that players either love or ignore. If you think your players will get into this sort of thing, then go for it. Otherwise use it sparingly until you see some interest. It can be a huge waste of time to invent plots no one tries to explore.

Well those are my thoughts. Good Luck!

yellowdingo wrote:

1-7.............1d8-1, 2d4-1

1d8-1 actually gives a range from 0-7

yellowdingo wrote:


That should actually be 2d8-1.

KaeYoss wrote:

I use them as a form of torture.

Alright, I'll tell you where my rebel friends are. Just please stop.

IdleMind wrote:

Query as title indicates. Serious question.

Please don't tell me it's because it appeals to a more intelligent mind. Puns are insufferable =(


I'm with you. 9 times out of 10 puns are never as clever as the people who say them think they are.

Not a single one of the puns in this thread made me laugh. Give me the average stupid fart joke any day.

I'd go with A)

As a GM you need to be able to admit when you have ruled incorrectly. The mistake was in favor of the PC so no big deal there. But you want to set the precedent that if you find out you have ruled incorrectly that you will set things right.

Why would a 17th level Wizard go to all the trouble to chain bind efreeti when he could just cast Wish himself?

GroovyTaxi wrote:

There's this guy I've been playing with for about eight years. He's a nice guy, but he hates losing, whatever the game is. To be honest, his roleplaying isn't very impressive either, but he's a fun person to have around and he can often contribute well to a gaming table. Still, he hates losing.

First of all, I understand that this issue is a lot more complicated than just guys sitting around a table and one of them being a jerk. You guys are all friends and have been friends for a long time, and there are complex social dynamics going on outside the game. So even though the- kick him out, tell him to grow up- options seem logical and would work. I can appreciate why you don't want to use them.

I've been there before. I had a guy I played with who was going through a divorce be such a jerk that I stopped running games for around three years. The experience was so bad I didn't even play for two years. It stopped being fun.

The one thing I can suggest is talking to the player frankly and directly about the issue. Instead of taking the, Here's My Problem, stance, try starting with: It seems like you do not enjoy the challenge level I present. Every time things become difficult, you get angry. Do you think I'm being unfair or do you just want the game to be easier?

Get him to talk about what he wants out of the game, and why he's pissed off. Is he mad because he thinks you are screwing with him unfairly, or is he mad because he just wants to win. If it's the first, you all need to come to a consensus on what a fair challenge is. If it's the second, you need to explain to him that with the exception of survival he is the one that sets the conditions to win. And if he sets the condition to win as - Always being able to defeat every obstacle easily - then he is going to continue to be disappointed and frustrated. Because as a GM it's not a whole of fun to say: You win. You win again! How many HD does the dragon have, it doesn't matter because you are always the winner and I'm just the jerk off that sits here and tells you how great you are while you roll plastic dice.

He needs to appreciate that your enjoyment of the game is being effected.

Digitalelf wrote:
Not meaning to steal your thunder, but this is rather old news here on these boards...

Oh, well, guess I should have checked the date on the story.

This short story appeared in the New Yorker.
The Dungeon Master

On a lighter note. SN, do you have a great love of communism or is there some other reason you never capitalize anything.

Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
Many people mistake me for a Pedophile, but i am not, but here are my true fantasies and thier symbolisms. i confess the following info.

First, the fact that anyone would have even the slightest reason to think you are a pedophile should be a huge red flag for you. Your behavior is questionable and numerous people have told you so, don't justify it.

I think it is a bad idea for you to indulge this fantasy at all. I don't think it is good for you, and I think you have a distorted view of children.

Shuriken Nekogami wrote:
children are also not quite emotionally stable, i like my angelic beings tender, whether or not they actually be children, and this is a sign of tenderness,

Only people with problems, be they kids or adults, are emotionally unstable. I have kids and they all are emotionally stable.

I think you are attaching qualities to "child-like" characters that you really shouldn't. I'm not sure what you mean by tenderness, but I concur with Kozaric.

I also think you should take a good hard look at why you keep playing the same characters over and over. You really should step back from this fantasy for a while. Play adults for a while. Play men for a while. Play characters that are fighting against their baser instincts instead of giving into them. Don't water a seed you don't want to grow.

Deanoth wrote:

I actually think that you are very incorrect in your figures. I think that yes there are less people playing D&D then there was in the 80's BUT I think that there are MORE people playing RPG's in general, including MMORPG's. But yes I do agree that anyone supporting the hobby is a good thing... but I would rather not get the a bad name associated with it like there was in the 80's having been through that dark time in Role Playing.

As Kae Yoss pointed out you can't really count MMORPGs in with RPGs in this particular discussion. That said, my figures come from people who work at Paizo. Even though sales figures are 10% of what they once were, I do not think that their are 10% of the players there were in the 80's. But the facts seem to show that there are less pen and paper RPG players than there were in the 80's.

I'm not saying the hobby is doomed, or dying, or that in twenty years people won't be playing D&D. Personally I think the hobby has just dropped off from the gargantuan numbers it had in the 80's. It seems to have leveled off, and their are people who can still make a living making RPGs- which is really all that matters.

And to my original point: All us groganrds shouldn't frick on the new guys, we should be happy there are new guys.

Damian Magecraft wrote:

is that units volume? or inflation adjusted dollars?

If Units then keep in mind that there were fewer companies back in the day than there are now. so just viewing the figures of one company will not give an accurate over view of the hobby as a whole.

While I am inclined to agree that the hobby is not growing like it once did I question if it is in as bad shape as I once thought or is more that there is too much diversity of product which has only managed to dilute the impact of what dollars are being spent? Also has the recent (relatively speaking) economic issues affected the hobby as a whole?

It's units. Erik Mona and James Jacobs who have first hand experience say that it isn't as big as it used to be.

Erik Mona said that in today's market a smaller company is lucky to sell through a print run of 10,000. Their were modules back in the 80's that sold 10 times that.

Caineach wrote:
D&D was bigger. The hoby is no longer just D&D. Maybe 1/10th of the roleplayers I know own a copy of the core books from 3.0, 3.5, 4E or pathfinder. Not all play D&D, and those that do can get the information they need for free from a friend. Not every D&D GM I know owns a copy of a core rulebook.

The hobby wasn't just D&D back then either. D&D was the top selling game in the 80's and it still is today. So, I do think sales figures for that particular game is valid data.

It is impossible to calculate the effects of PDFs, and especially PDF piracy on the hobby, but the fact that sales figures for D&D are 10% of what they were 25 years ago shows the hobby is not growing.

Caineach wrote:
Demigorgon 8 My Baby wrote:

Seriously, there are vastly less people playing the hobby than there were in the 80's. Anyone supporting the hobby is good. It means better and more diverse products for everyone.

I keep seeing people claiming this, but have never actually seen any statistics to back it up. How true is it? Got any data?

Check out this thread.


A couple posts down from mine James Jacobs confirms what I said.

Caineach wrote:

And add me to the Pete Townshend, who?...

Pete Townshend was the guitar player for The Who, which was one of the British invasion bands of the late 60's.

They had a song called My Generation which was basically about old people putting down young people and not understanding them.

MendedWall12 wrote:
I just got off the phone with one of my regular players, and we had an in depth (yes we're nerds of the machine) discussion about the differences between "old school" "new school" "role players vs. roll players" and RPG elitists vs. mmorpg fodder. At the end of the conversation we decided that since the hobby we love brings all kinds out of the "woodwork." We should be happy with everyone that is playing; however, after all was said and done we agreed that there's a certain part of us that believes the newer "toon" creating element, doesn't have the same respect for the hobby that we believe we do. Take that for what you will, maybe I think a certain amount of elitism is due to those RPers that have been playing pen and paper first and foremost for the past twenty or so years. Flame war, begin!

I remember when we had to roll dice up hill, both ways, in the snow. And you don't want to know where we had to keep that 10' pole.

Seriously, there are vastly less people playing the hobby than there were in the 80's. Anyone supporting the hobby is good. It means better and more diverse products for everyone.

And yes, their is a new generation of gamers that is into things I just don't really care for like MMOs and anime (though I do like some of it). They also don't appreciate all the cool things from my youth like Wizards and Heavy Metal, and games like Aftermath where character generation was like calculus homework. That's OK, I like to focus on the common ground rather than sweating the differences.

I've been playing for over twenty-five years and I always look forward to playing with new people.

J.S. wrote:
Demigorgon 8 My Baby wrote:
W E Ray wrote:


Not 5 minutes ago I asked on another Thread what a "Toon" is.

So I guess here I should just ask "What was the game "Toon"?"

It was a very simple game made by Steve Jackson Games in the mid 80's where you played a cartoon character, like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, or Bart Simpson. It was part of a small contingent of "comic" themed RPGs that included "Tales from the Floating Vagabond" and "Paranoia".

That's like saying Catherine the Great, Attila the Hun, and Bozo the Clown belong in a group together because they all share a middle name. Those are three very different games, and three very different forms of comedy.

The best way to think about Toon is that it's a game about cartoon logic.

Excuse me for not understanding the profound differences between Toon and Tales from the Floating Vagabond.

W E Ray wrote:


Not 5 minutes ago I asked on another Thread what a "Toon" is.

So I guess here I should just ask "What was the game "Toon"?"

It was a very simple game made by Steve Jackson Games in the mid 80's where you played a cartoon character, like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, or Bart Simpson. It was part of a small contingent of "comic" themed RPGs that included "Tales from the Floating Vagabond" and "Paranoia".

Wolfsnap wrote:

I kind of get why Weapon Finesse decouples to-hit and damage bonuses. It allows dex-based classes like rogues to play to their primary abilities in melee (notice I didn't say "play to their strengths", haha) while keeping traditional strength-based fighters at the top of the heap.

I'm always waffling on my opinion of the mechanic, though: Sometimes I'm bugged by the fact that this makes dex-based melee characters more difficult to create. Sometimes I think it's fine.

I don't often stray outside the core rules for exotic feats and the like, so maybe someone can educate me: have there been splat book feats that tried using other stats for damage bonuses? Like maybe INT? (Seems natural to me, for doing precision damage) If anyone has any experience with something along those lines, I'd love to hear about it.

When designing a Dex-based fighter (as in, the actual Fighter class) do you think using finesse weapons by default make for a less powerful PC than a Strength based fighter?

There was a d20 game called A Game of Thrones (based on the book by George R.R. Martin), that had feats for every stat to be used as the base to hit stat, besides CON. You also had to burn a feat so that STR added to, to hit. So there really wasn't the same emphasis on STR in that game. Of the four PCs I saw for that game high stats were in INT, DEX, STR, and CHA.

Dire Mongoose wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:
And they added options to craft without specific spell requirements, and to speed up crafting time, tied to a skill check.
I think they're talking about the Craft skill, not magic item creation.

No, I'm talking about magic item creation. And I don't think making it easier to make magic items is the solution.

The problem is they have all these formulas to make magic items, only they don't always work or make sense. So there solution was pick a magic item in the book that is most like it and guess from there.

Unlike say character creation where I am given a very definitive guideline on what is and is not permissible; with magic items all of that is left up to the GM. Telling the GM to wing it when necessary is not a system, it's the default of any game situation without good rules.

Evil Lincoln wrote:

Or new craft rules entirely. They were the worst legacy inclusion in the book.

+1, This was the one thing I was most disappointed that Pathfinder didn't change. Frankly the crafting rules have always sucked, and PF did NOTHING to improve them.

jreyst wrote:
I know what you're saying but I think I just wanted to "flatten" the core of everything down to the most common elements then let people customize from there. I always HATED having the saving throws be forced on me in certain increments. If I want a fighter who is great at will saves but sucks at Fort saves for pete's sake let me do it. This way, I can.

You could give every character Good, Poor, Poor saving throws, and still let them decide which one is the Good one.

I like the idea of "flattening" the core as well, but unless you are trying to get rid of levels as well as class you might want to think of keeping some of the basic charts of level progression.

If you started every character with the default attributes of:

1/2 BAB
Good, Poor, Poor Saving Throws
1d4 HD
Simple Weapon Prof.
No Armor Prof.
2+ Int Mod. Skill Points

That's pretty flat.
Right now 1 point of BAB cost 1 TP, that's only 1/15th of your starting allotment. Every first level character will have a +1 BAB.

I'm also not real fond of the way SAGA did skills. I like skill ranks. But that's just my opinion.

jreyst wrote:

I haven't added it yet but the intention is to have some "limiters" such as "no more than one Major Talent per level" or "you can not gain a Talent and its Prerequisite in the same level" and also, I haven't gotten there yet but I plan to have a levels of the various spell casting talents to represent access to the next level of spells etc. Meaning, when you get Spell Casting 1 (Prepared - Divine) you get access to just 1st level spells. When you get Spell Casting 2 (Prepared - Divine) you get access to 2nd level spells. Then, if I say that you can only gain Major Talents at odd levels, then you could only gain each level of spell casting at the same progression as it is now, ie, 1,3,5,7,9 etc.

How about cutting all the meat and potatoes out of each class (like spellcasting, Full BAB, Wildshape) and making them a new category of talents called "core talents".

These would be talents that were only available at 1st Level, that would form the core of the character. Then you could cost them so that you could only have so many combinations, and you could control better how players could mix up the classes.

I think you want to cost things so that you can't get Full Wizard spells, Full BAB, +1 to all Saves, and +8 HP. Right now you have the feat Silent Spell costing the same as Spellcasting, and even if that only gives you first level spells the costs are still not equal.

Kirth Gersen wrote:

Know Your Players.


The best GMs I have played under all have a few things in common.

1) Detailed game universes - I played under one guy who had notes on conversations NPCs had before the game started, back story on places, and a complete history of his game world. The best GMs games provide a genuine sense that the whole world moves and breathes without the players doing anything.

2) Vivid NPCs - It is the GMs job to speak for 99% of the universe. The best GMs make that 99% seem diverse and complicated. When they speak for an NPC you can hear the backs story and subtext coming through in their words. GMs that exemplify this the most can even speak without saying which NPC is talking and the players can follow right along without breaking immersion.

3) Good preparation - Other posters have commented extensively on this point. The best GMs are prepared and have both a good idea of what they want to do with the game, and the ability to adapt to what the players are doing at any given moment.

4) Love for the characters - This isn't really a skill or talent that you can develop, but really comes down to finding people you like to play with. But a great GM can find something to latch onto with the characters in their game, and kind of acts like the fans for the hero. One aspect of both playing and gamemastering that often gets ignored is being the audience.

5) Good challenge level - A great GM is able to balance risk with reward. They always make their players feel like dangerous situations are truly dangerous. And that the rewards they receive were earned and not just passed out as a matter of course.

I have a buddy I gamed with for years, who moved out of state. Whenever I need GM advice I just give him a call, he's probably the best GM I ever played under.

As far as an opportunity to get some advice, why not post here, and tell your player not to look at any thread labeled "Lindisty - Campaign Notes" or something similar. As long as he's not the kind of player who buys the module he's playing and reads it, I'm sure he won't look.

jreyst wrote:

Lot's of updates... deep digging going on... interested in folks impressions thus far.

If you think we're way off base, feel free to say so.

If you think we're about to strike gold, tell us to keep digging :)

Check it out!

My initial thoughts:

You have good building blocks, but I think your talent system is ripe for abuse, and is not balanced well at all. For example: How many TP does it cost for Spell Casting (Prepared - Arcane), Spell Casting (Prepared - Divine), Spell Casting (Spontaneous - Arcane), and Spell Casting (Spontaneous - Divine)? 12, am I right, so that still gives me 3 TP to play with and I can cast every spell in the game pretty much.

I like the modular design. I think getting rid of classes entirely and just having a pool to buy features from is cool. I just don't think that particular set-up will work well, once people actually start designing characters.

I also think in some instances you kind of threw out the baby with the bath water. What about starting everyone off with 2 poor and 1 Good saving throw, and 1/2 BAB, and then make people upgrade from there. I'd try to keep familiar concepts like BAB, HD, and Saves as intact as possible.

I'd love to help you out with your project, it has a lot of potential. the hard part is going to be creating a talent system that allows people to make all the core classes, allows people to tweak classes (like a Wizard with favored Enemy instead of Scribe scroll or a Fighter with Hide in Plain Sight), without allowing players to create uber characters that are far more powerful than the core classes.

Evil Lincoln wrote:

Have you noticed this?


Sylvanite wrote:

Empower makes the rays each do 6d6.

Intensify doesn't have an effect on Scorching Ray.

3 rays is the max unless you play with old things like Split Ray.


Does empower spell affect the number of rays/missiles cast in the description of the spell?

Example 1:
Scorching Ray + Empower Spell @ CL 12

4 rays each doing 6D6 or is it 3 rays each doing 6D6?

Example 2:
Scorching Ray + Empower Spell + Intensify Spell @ CL 16

6 Rays each doing 6D6 or is it 4 rays each doing 6D6?

James Jacobs wrote:

D&D at its height in the early 80s had VASTLY more players than it does today, based solely on sales figures.

I realize it can be frustrating for someone not in the RPG industry to not have access to market research or sales data or any of that stuff, and while I'm not going to break that trend and cite numbers here... I've seen the sales figures for AD&D ad Basic/Expert D&D from the early 80s, and I worked in the sales department at WotC during the launch of 3rd edition, and there's no comparison—tabletop D&D was bigger in the early 80s than it ever has been again.

You mentioned the 3.0 launch, how does that compare to PF? Do you think the customer base for TTRPGs is still shrinking, or do you think it has stabilized at it's current level?

WPharolin wrote:
Since you don't actually have any real numbers, everything you have said about the popularity of the game is by default hearsay, and to be ignored, until you can can demonstrated otherwise.

Here is a link to a youtube video of a lecture Erik Mona gave at Neoncon 2009. It was about the industry as whole and featured several points here he talked about sales figures.

It's over an hour, but a very interesting watch. Here are some key points for those that don't want to watch the whole thing.

17:45- He talks about how the 4E launch is nothing compared to 3.0

38:00- He mentions an industry insider reporting sales figures for 1980's modules like Tomb of Horrors and Temple of Elemental Evil selling between 50,000-150,000 copies, previously he mentioned that new publishers were lucky to sell through a 5000 copy print run in today's market.

47:35- He says at best they are selling 10% of D&D products that they were in 80's

It is impossible to calculate the effects of PDFs and especially pirated ones, on sales figures, but it is clear from this lecture that the hobby has shrunk from it's heyday in 1982-1984. Competition from MMORPGs and computer RPGs have had a considerable effect on the popularity of TTRPGs.

pres man wrote:

Again, I just want to point out that there was never anything that forced groups to have to kill everything. You got xp for overcoming challenges, not for killing them. Certainly killing the challenge is one method of overcoming it, but not the only one.

Frankly, the parties where this happens most often (kill=xp) are usually the same ones where the GM gives out less xp for the party being creative about the encounters. You talk your way past some guardian and you are docked xp because the challenge wasn't "challenging enough". The GM complains about his party acting all blood-thirsty and isn't capable of realizing that he caused the party to act that way.

You get XP for overcoming challenges, but what about circumventing them. Example: The players are presented with a scenario where they most cross a valley occupied by hostile forces. Would you give them XP for talking their way past? What about sneaking past them? Do they still get XP for "overcoming the challenge" if the sorcerer casts overland flight on everyone and they just cruise over the valley at night and avoid the whole thing altogether? And I've seen that happen before, where a player comes up with a plan to circumvent the obstacle and then another player reminds them, "But wait we're passing up XP."

It's not simply a matter of not rewarding people for other ways of overcoming challenges. I wanted to remove the meta-game reason players used to make their decisions.

Laurefindel wrote:

I'm a poor judge of what constitute a solid but fair challenge for a group of optimizers, and I rarely use all of a monster's abilities to its fullest advantage. Creatures are usually there for story purposes, not for their statblock. This result in encounters sometimes too easy, sometimes where "escaping with your life" is the real challenge. I find that not winning every fight is also part of the reality of an adventurer.

Challenge level is one of the hardest parts about being a game master. If a game is too hard it feels like the deck is stacked against you. If it's too easy the rewards don't seem real, they almost become like a hand-out. If anything I'm probably on the too easy side.

It’s hard to sum up my style in a single post, but here are a few things that I changed over the years that I think made me a better GM. That’s not to say that people who do it another way are doing it wrong, but these are changes that made my play experience more enjoyable, and seemed to increase the enjoyment of my players.

Switching from GM driven plots, to PC driven plots
I used to write adventures like a module. It didn’t matter who was coming it was designed for 4 characters between 4-7th Level. Now I try to tailor the plots based on the PCs. Plot hooks, encounters, NPC interactions, and even monsters are tailored specifically for the group I am running. I still write adventures, but the players are the ones who decide where to go and who to talk to. No PC actions are required for the sake of the story. If the PCs don’t want to stop the ogres from sacking the village, and instead want to explore the long lost ruins I mentioned three games back- that’s OK.

Switching from making players roll for information, to just telling them what I want them to know.
I was running a game, and I had some clever little detail about an NPC villain that I wanted the players to know. I had them roll a Perception check, and none of them rolled over a 10. It occurred to me at that point, who am I helping by making them roll to find out stuff I want them to know- no one. If I want them to know something I just tell them, or I’ll have them roll and whoever gets the highest roll notices/knows/finds out.

Switching from being a neutral arbitrator, to a “The PCs are supposed to win” mentality.
I used to believe that it was the GM’s job to be the fair and impartial arbitrator. Then I came to the realization that since I controlled all the variables it was inherently unfair. Not only did I decide what the monsters were, and how many there were; I also got to decide how many encounters they faced before being able to reacquire expendable resources and when they faced the encounter. Do you fight the Merfolk on the beach, or in the rowboat half way between the ship and dry land. I’m less interested in fairness and more interested in everyone having a good time.

Switching from a static simulationist worldview to adjusting challenge levels based on current conditions.
I used to write my gameworlds like a video game. There were dragons over here, giants over there, and orcs over there. They had X number of hit points, and where they were in the lair was already pre determined. If you were too low level to fight the dragon, it ate you, if you were too high level for the orcs you slaughtered them. After all the world exists outside the PCs, right? Now, if they aren’t ready to fight it, I change the encounter. It’s not home, it wants to subjugate you rather than eat you, it’s fighting another dragon when you show up, etc.

The reverse of that would be if they are too powerful for an encounter I might juice it up- the orcs have a powerful shaman or they were just subjugated by three ogre barbarians. Whatever I have to do to make the encounter fun. I might even hand wave it if it’s not important to the game- Yeah that’s a great plan, there really nothing they can do about flying invisible spellcasters. Do you kill them all or do you let the women and children go?

Shifty wrote:

Anyhow all of the above was the first step in moving to abandonging the XP awards, which is now why neither of us use the XP table anymore.

Then why are you arguing in favor of individual XP award?

I guess two things spring to mind.

Lack of Detail
My immersion in the game is directly tied to how well I can imagine the environment. If the GM is vague or only provides the barest boned descriptions it's hard to imagine where I am.

Inappropriate Challenge Level
I played under one GM who had three campaigns in a row, all over six months in length, end in TPKs. What a frustrating way to end a campagin.

I've also seen it go the other way. where everything is a walk in the park, and treasure drips from every tree. That isn't any fun either.

I also hate it when GMs make things stupidly hard, and then end up nerfing them later so they don't kill everyone. In a game I'm playing in right now the GM had an encounter with 4 classed NPCs only I think they were all higher level than us. The enemy mage shut down the Druid and I for two rounds straight with Greater Dispel Magic. When the GM realized that we were probably all going to get killed, a "mysterious" invisible force took the enemy mage out of the battle- uhhg!

Dabbler wrote:

I like you. Can I play in your game?

If you are willing to travel to the greater Phoenix area- absolutely!

Shifty wrote:

Meh, you are giving BONUS XP for good behaviour, the same way an employer can give employees a bonus for good work. Not every employee will get the bonus, but they STILL GET PAID the normal salary.

I'm realy failing to see the problem here.

The problem is that you are giving an objective award (XP) for a subjective act (RP). And by doing so you are judging what constitutes valid RP and therefore saying everyone who doesn't get the award didn't RP.

You analogy to a work bonus is not a good one. Every work bonus I have ever seen was tied to a measurable objective standard. Whoever sells X number of units gets a bonus. Whoever keeps their cost under x % gets a bonus. Even the ones that were contests were always done with a metric of some kind. I've never seen a work bonus that was, whoever upper management thinks did a good job gets a bonus.

loaba wrote:

C'mon - everybody who ditched the standard XP system, why'd you can it? What was the last straw, so to speak?

Simple, I wanted to remove the reward for killing and looting, and place that reward on simply playing. I want my PCs to kill what they are going to kill, because they think it needs to be dead, not because some meta-game reward encourages wanton slaughter.

As for how I handle leveling, every X number of sessions, characters level up.

I did away with the whole "monsters have treasure" idea for the same reason. You are just as likely to earn treasure in my game for solving the murder mystery, as you are for killing a monster. Some monsters have treasure but non-intelligent ones almost never do.

I wanted to encourage a different style of play from - kick in the door, kill the monster, toss the room.

I mostly listen to Pandora, when I'm at my computer. I'm listening to "The Gories" Station and no gories but Pandora can be like that at times.

Last 10

The Stooges- 1969
The Misfits- Children in Heat
The Greenhornes- There is an End
The Easies- Peach of a Girl
The Detroit Cobras- Summer (The Slum)
The Heartless Bastards- Hold Your Head High
Dead Moon- Crazy to the Bone
The Misfits- Horror Businsess
The Stooges- I wanna Be Your Dog
The Rolling Stones- Monkey Man

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