Douglas Muir 406's page

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Okay, so... guessing that's a "No"?

Doug M.

Been running this AP as a 5e campaign. The first module, it was pretty easy to just "wing it". But Seven Days is a bit more complex. Has anyone done a 5e conversion of this?

Many thanks in advance --

Doug M.

Where are you at right now, and what happened to your previous DM?

[Edit] Also, link to the campaign?

Doug M.

Andostre wrote:

It's an idea worth exploring. Often in a PbP group you start with a group of characters that are all waiting to be told what to do, with nobody feeling comfortable making the next-steps or end-goal decisions.

Right. Besides the novelty value, I was thinking it might be useful to provide a framework for roleplaying, not just as individuals but as a party too.


I've also seen it where multiple people try and be the group leader. What happens is the rest of the party listens to one leader, and the player of the other PC leader feels hurt. I've also seen similar scenarios for other archetypes, as well. Two Smart Guys can be fun, but there's also a lot of redundancy.

Yeah there are some obvious failure modes. "Leader player thinks that means he should be telling other players what to do," "Heart player thinks that means constantly telling other players what they /should/ do, "Lancer player decides that his role is to be an a+!+!~$ / critic / loner," and so forth.

Doug M.

The Five Man Band is a trope: a way to build a team (adventurers, superheroes, whatever) that pops up repeatedly, presumably because it's a good plot engine that produces interesting stories. If you haven't heard of it, probably the best description can be found right here, by Red over at Overly Sarcastic. While there are a lot of different versions -- this is an empirically observed thing, not a rule that someone has written down -- the classic Five Man Band goes something like this:

The Leader -- Self-explanatory, yes? May be the hero or protagonist, but not necessarily. Not the best fighter, or the strongest, but the one who makes high-level decisions and sets the direction for the team. Captain Kirk, Captain Mal, Cyclops in classic X-Men, Robin in the Teen Titans, Nate on Leverage, Roy in The Order of the Stick, Monkey D. Luffy.

The Lancer -- The Lancer is a foil to the Leader. He's a character who differs most from the other four, either in personality, in motivations, or in tactics. He's therefore most likely to be involved in conflicts with the others, or to provide implicit or explicit criticism. Wolverine, Belkar, Han Solo, Melinda May, Spock, Zuko in Season Three (after joining the Gaang). Battlestar Galactica had two Lancers: Starbuck (to Apollo) and Tigh (to Adama).

(Note that the same character can switch roles depending on context. So, Batman is a Leader to the Batman Family, while in the Justice League he's usually in more of a Lancer role. Captain Jack Harkness was something like a Lancer to the Ninth Doctor in Doctor Who, but was a Leader in Torchwood.)

The Heart -- The emotional center. Most likely to be female (though not always). Probably kindly and nurturing (though not always). Probably either the most wise / sensible, or a sweet innocent. Provides emotional support, pep talks, good advice, maybe healing. On Firefly, Kaylee and Shepherd Book neatly split the Heart role down the middle (one Wise, one Sweet and Innocent). The Invisible Woman, Katara, Durkon, Starfire in the Teen Titans, Groot.

The Big Guy -- The one who solves problems by strength or hitting things. Jayne, Cyborg, Colossus, Eliot on Leverage, The Thing. Usually male and usually literally big, but not always -- Toph in A:TLA was a Big Guy. Might be a gentle giant, but OTOH Mr. Hyde in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen also qualifies.

The Smart Guy -- The one who solves problems with brains. Might be a tech genius, mad scientist, psychic, robot, or wizard. Brainiac 5, Vaarsuvius, Donatello, Felicity Smoak, Hardison on Leverage, Mina Harker in LOEG. Reed Richards is a hybrid Smart Guy / Leader.

Okay, so: this sort of thing can lead to ENDLESS nerd conversations (isn't Spock more of a Smart Guy than a Lancer? What about the Avengers? You are WRONG about Firefly!) but (1) it's a very broad vague general empirical pattern, not an actual set of rules as such, and (2) that's not what I'm asking here.

What I'm asking here is... has anyone tried to use this to set up a campaign? Like, here on the forums, recruitment is either free-form (most common) or, if there's a structure, people may say "we need a melee tank and a specialized arcane caster". Has anyone tried a recruitment where you say "We need one each of the classic Five -- tell me if your proposed character is a Leader, Lancer, Heart or whatever, and briefly explain why"?

It might not work -- I can think of a couple of failure modes, easily enough -- but I'm just wondering whether anyone has tried it.

Doug M.

I mean... obviously they do, because people use Discord for frickin' everything. So I guess my question is more "How does that work, how /well/ does that work, and is this something worth trying?"

Note that I'm not talking about getting a group together at 7 PM every Sunday for online-but-live gaming. I'm talking about play-by-post, just like on these forums, except with Discord. Has anyone around here been doing that, and how has it worked out?

Thanks in advance,

Doug M.

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Just went back and looked at _Into The Darklands_ again, for the first time in years.

It actually holds up pretty well! Putting aside the OGL stuff and the slightly edgier 3.5 ambience, the ideas are good and the writing is very solid. And most of the content still works just fine. Dividing the Darklands into three big regions was a good idea in 2008, and still is. The majority of the locations were cool, and still are.

There are a bunch of different ways you could slice this -- splatbooks on particular locations, or races, or whatever. But most of this content looks still relevant and usable.

Doug M.

PF1 had _Into the Darklands_ (2008) and then _Darklands Revisited_ (2015). Has there been anything since then?

I see from this thread here that the OGL-ORC transition is going to result in a bunch of changes, since a lot of the Darklands stuff was OGL. That discussion was at Paizocon back in May of this year. So, there probably hasn't been time for any ORC stuff.

But is there any pre-ORC 2E Darklands stuff? Splatbooks, a module, PFS scenarios, anything?

Doug M.

So, Devargo. PCs go, make a check, pay a bribe. Maybe they play knivesies. Knivesies is mildly interesting, but I'd like to liven this up a bit.

My PCs are violent-ish, but also kinda good-aligned. So "please go and kill this person for me" doesn't really work. So... what's something that a group of low-level adventurers could do for the King of Spiders that he couldn't do for himself?

Thanks in advance,

Doug M.

11 years after writing this, I am running it myself, as part of a 5e campaign.

The PCs have just fended off the Red Mantis! Lyrie took some damage but survived. Next session: the big deal goes down!

Doug M.

I have a couple of players who just don't like playing fragile low level characters. I think I can still make EoA work -- throw out a couple of early encounters, adjust others to be harder. The main concern here is Lamm and the fishery. Running through the creatures there, I see:

Bloo the dog -- two dogs, Bloo and Booger. Otherwise no change.
Yargin -- Yargin is a speed bump. Add another level of expert? If that.
Hookshanks the gnome -- He's a Rogue 2. Make him a Rogue 4, I guess? Or give him one level of illusionist, which he uses to terrorize the orphans.
Giggles the half-orc -- Ftr 2 becomes Ftr 4, easy enough.
Spiders -- Not sure what to do here. I could just use more / bigger spiders, but... eh, they'll encounter a bunch of spiders with the ettercap later. What sort of CR 3 creature might Lamm keep penned up in here?
Jigsaw shark -- just give it a couple more HD, no problem there
Alligator -- Advanced template
Lamm -- Lamm is tricky, but I think we can make him a straight Rogue 6. Keep the slowed movement, we don't want him getting away...

Thoughts, comments?

Doug M.

Like, say I wanted to set a campaign during the actual, historical Hundred Years War or the War of the Roses -- late medieval, 14th / 15th century type of thing.

Is there (1) a PF2 resource that could help (probably it would be 3PP), or (2) failing that, a PF1 / 5e / 3.x resource? I remember there was a 3e 3PP book called something like "A Realistic Medieval Campaign" back in the '00s, and I remember it being pretty solid, but... that was a while ago, and I don't even remember the name precisely.

Anyway! Does anyone have anything?

Thanks in advance,

Doug M.

Toying with the idea of running a settle the wild / build a kingdom game. Kingmaker is the obvious way to go here... except that freaking EVERYBODY knows Kingmaker now. It's been around forever, it's one of the two or three most popular APs and it has a popular video game. Even people who haven't played it know the plot and the Big Bad.

Okay then... what else is out there that might scratch this particular itch? In this case, the more obscure the better! (As long as it's at least okay-good.) 3PP, weird online stuff, something that was published in Dungeon magazine back in 1993... whatever.

What've you got?

Long-time player of 3.x, PF 1e, and D&D 5e. Now finally -- very late to the party! -- considering trying 2e.

So, the obvious question: as a long-time 1e player, what takes most getting used to in 2e? What are the unexpected changes -- good or bad -- and what should I be mindful of?

Doug M.


Well, perhaps some other time!

Same question. I mentioned playing a paladin, because it looks like the party needs a front-line melee tank. Also, are there skills that the party is missing? Also-also, yes -- what sorts of characters would best fit the story being told?

[raises hand] Would there be any interest in a straight-up paladin?

Not a morally superior jerk, not a naive doofus, and no stick up the butt either. Just a guy who is trying to be a Good Guy, and who has picked up a sword to defend the innocent.

Is that something that could work here?

Pathfinder, D&D, or any other TTRPG. Can speak English or German. Happpy to either DM or play.

Is there anyone out there?

Good questions!

Also, I wonder if it would be worth a quick Study roll to look for vulnerabilities and/or how to manipulate this thing.

I'm willing to give it a try! But if we do, I would really like to pick up the pace.

"They wouldn't last half a day in the Deathlands."

"They don't care." Zuben spreads his hands. "Half of them are dying of mutations anyway -- deformed, poisoned by Leviathan blood. Their life expectancy is measured in months or weeks anyway. Months or weeks of horror and pain. If your life were surely ending, would you not sacrifice it to some better cause?" This is a calculated risk -- asking a proud Severosi to put himself in the filth-spattered shoes of a Grinder revolutionary. But needs must, when the Negative Spirit drives. "Besides, they don't need to survive long in the Darklands. Just long enough."

Minimum interest threshold crossed; recruitment threat activated.

Doug M.

The Scorpio playbook *must* be a traitor. But anyone can be traitor if you want to! (Honestly, the Gemini playbook is hinting at it pretty broadly IMO.)

Anyway -- it looks like we might have a critical mass of 4+ players! Hold the thought...

Doug M.

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Lady Ladile wrote:
I suspect a lot of folks have migrated to playing on Discord, whether in closed groups or on a server where things like Pathfinder & Starfinder Society happen. I can think of at least a couple folks who used to be active in PbP here that have since migrated to Discord to play.

I believe that. OTOH there are people who dislike gaming on Discord, for one reason or another.

I'm one of them! I'd much rather game on a friendly forum -- especially one that provides a good set of tools for it.

Doug M.

Tareth wrote:

I enjoy the PbtA engine. I'd be interested in giving this a try, although I don't currently have the book. A link to the bundle would be great. Is it similar to Band of Blades only in space?

There are points of similarity. It's PbtA, not the Forged in the Dark system. They both use playbooks, and they both have "success / partial or complicated success / failure" rolls. They're both very narrativist, and they both alternate scenes of action with social / cooldown scenes. The Pressure mechanic is rather similar to FitD's Stress. And with particular regard to BoB, you are running away from a vastly more powerful foe in a universe where the bad guys have already mostly won. So that's familiar.

The PbtA system is mechanically simpler, though -- it's always 2d6, with modifiers that can't go below -3 or above +4. That's really simple! Characters have just 5 stats, which start at either 0, -1, or +1. Also pretty simple.

Doug M.

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Speaking for myself, one factor was the instability of this platform. I had my most recent campaign end because the system locked me out for several days. (No reason I could ever figure out, and eventually it just let me back in.) Intermittent outages are also a thing. IME they seem to come in waves -- things will be fine for weeks, and suddenly there'll be a flurry of incidents where the forum won't load, or it loads but messages post slowly or even disappear, or whatever.

The Paizo forums were amazing when they came into existence 15+ years ago, and they're still an important asset. But they haven't had a serious upgrade in... when? over a decade? more? At this point one has the impression that behind the scenes they're held together with string and chewing gum.

Here you go:

$9.95 to get it, along with one other complete game and short versions of three more games.

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Sorry, I was unclear. I was thinking of *this* forum particularly -- the PBP / Online Campaigns one.

Doug M.

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I've been on and off this forum since 2012 or so, and it feels like there's less traffic now than a few years back. Still plenty of activity; just, less than there was a few years back.

This is just an impression, but... does anyone else see it too? (And is anyone tracking or keeping statistics that could confirm or refute it?)

Doug M.

Why I ask: I like PBP, but if you try to run most modules on PBP, you get six people who've read and/or played the module already. That's not a game-stopper, but it makes me sigh a little. I'd like to run something that nobody knows anything about. So I'm looking for:

-- a module or scenario. Not an AP! This should be something a competent group could get through in no more than 3 sessions.

-- can be PF1, PF2, 3.x, or 5e.

-- ideally, should still be available to buy somewhere, at least as a pdf.

And that's it. Basically, I'm just looking for that cool fun interesting adventure that *you* know about, but that somehow the rest of the world either missed or has already forgotten. What've you got?

Doug M.

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Hi Kevin!

With some googling I was able to find this page, which converts about 2/3 of Call Forth Darkness. Can't find a complete CFD, though, nor any of the other modules.

-- You know, it's been ten ! years ! since this thing first came out, and it's still very solid.


Did anyone ever do a 5e conversion for this?

Doug M.

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Oh man, I would love to see Paizo products with a union label on them. Probably a crazy dream, but it would be pretty cool.

I'll also note that this is a chance for Paizo to be a cutting-edge leader in the industry. I'm pretty sure no TTRPG gaming company has ever unionized before; by doing so, Paizo would attract a great deal of positive attention.

Fingers crossed.

Doug M.

avr wrote:
I'd think a psychic with the psychedelia discipline is appropriate here, replacing either wizard or alchemist.

Oh my gosh, the psychedelic psychic is perfect. I think that replaces the illusionist. Thank you!

Even if you don't take it, it obviously points towards a cognatogen as being helpful for a Int-based spellcaster while also fitting the theme.

Yes yes.

Sticking with the wizard // alchemist, besides cognatogen there's intuitive understanding, collective understanding and the potion based discoveries which could work for you. Mindchemist would be an obvious archetype to take.

Intuitive understand and... collective memory? Both of those look great, and very much on point.

Mindchemist, heck yes. Doesn't stack with collective memory, but that's okay. I can take Breadth of Knowledge as my first level feat and be the party knowledge monkey.

Excellent suggestions. Assuming my first feat is Breadth of Knowledge, and my third level feat is Mahathallah's Obedience -- which is really 2.5 feats for the price of one -- any other thoughts on building in the early levels?

Character concept: a gnome who's a drug addict, exploring the extremes of sensation and reality. Probably NE alignment, though CE is on the table too.

It's a gestalt, so I'm toying with the idea of alchemist / wizard (illusion specialist) who's a devotee of Mahathallah, the LE Night Queen of mortality and illusions. Unfortunately I've never done a gestalt before, so I have no idea whether that works. I'm not a minimaxer, so I'm okay with suboptimal, but I would want the character to be competitive with the other gestalts in the party.

So: assuming I want to keep the wizard side of the gestalt fixed, what of the alchemist side? Can it be made to work? Obviously I'm intrigued by the drugs/poison aspect. Is there an alchemist type that synergizes well with an illusionist wizard and/or is thematically a good match here? Or is this combination so weak I should try something else entirely?

Looking for an evil deity for an evil character to worship. ("Deity" here includes archdevils, demon princes, velstrac demagogues, or whatever.) The character is a gestalt gish who is pursuing perfection in both combat and spellcasting, so the entity in question could be focused on combat, on spells, or on just the idea of perfection. So, for instance, Kalkyton the velstrac is all about improvement through Frankensteinian fleshcrafting; thematically, a bit of a stretch, but could work.

Bonus points if it's one of the ones with good Obediences and Benefits, though that's not strictly necessary.


Doug M.

Looking for an evil deity for an evil character to worship. ("Deity" here includes archdevils, demon princes, velstrac demagogues, or whatever.) The character is a gestalt gish who is pursuing perfection in both combat and spellcasting, so the entity in question could be focused on combat, on spells, or on just the idea of perfection. So, for instance, Kalkyton the velstrac is all about improvement through Frankensteinian fleshcrafting; thematically, a bit of a stretch, but could work.

Bonus points if it's one of the ones with good Obediences and Benefits, though that's not strictly necessary.


Doug M.

Okay, the following players please report to the Discussion thread --


-- and let's get started!

As noted, BoB doesn't have strict character monogamy. You may have favorite PCs, but you'll certainly play two, three, or even more characters over the course of a campaign. So the "design a PC beauty contest" wouldn't work here. I guess I just have to take a few minutes to scan over your activity?

So, closing recruitment later today. If you're still interested, jump in now.

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The base system is called "Forged in the Dark" and at this point there are a bunch of different games based on it.

Also, if you're OK with getting pdfs, the Bag of Holding is a pretty good deal -- you can get five complete games, all using the same system but with very different campaign rules and settings, for about $28. You can find it right here.

Doug M.

Bane88 wrote:

And to clarify, we would only need the BoB book right, it says on the site that it is stand-alone, not required to purchase BitD right?

Correct. All the BiTD spinoffs -- BoB, Scum and Villainy, and all the rest -- include everything you need to play.

Doug M.

CrystalSeas wrote:


Okay, done. Let's see what happens. ampaign


When humanity is in true peril and affairs of the supernatural plague the world, the gods create one or more Chosen. These powerful champions are imbued with aspects of the deity in question. They ride forth to vanquish mythic beasts, mend rifts in the world, and seal away curses. When the Cinder King rose in the West, an unheard-of nine Chosen arose.

When they faced the Cinder King, five were Broken and turned to fight at his side.

A desperate army was assembled by the remaining Chosen and led to fight a final decisive battle on the plains of Ettenmark. Humanity lost. They did not expect the horrors the Broken brought to bear.

Now in retreat, a famous band of mercenaries seeks to stem the tide of the Cinder King, hoping to buy time for the Eastern Kingdoms to mount some wild hope, some wild plan, to keep humanity alive.

* * *

In the aftermath of the catastrophic battle, the Legion has to retreat across hundreds of miles. The good news: you have one of the Chosen with you as an ally. The bad news: you are pursued by not one but two of the Broken, each commanding an army, and each with its own suite of ravening abominations and arcane powers.

Band of Blades is a dark military fantasy.

Dark fantasy contains strong horror elements, and this game has strong horror themes. The enemies the players face are horrific undead, with a casual disregard for the living. The enemies are stong, deadly, and want to kill the characters, who have no magic spell to save the day. It’s a game where mortality and the frailty of the human condition play big parts.

This is a fantasy world, but one without dragons, elves, or dwarves. There are no prophecies that predict the outcome of this war, no healing magic that will let you leap back into combat from the edge of death, no wizards to craft some mighty spell to defeat the Cinder King. This is a world where the only solutions are the blood, sweat, and tears of people fighting for their existence.

It is an old world, with forgotten ruins, creatures of legend, and a history that remains primarily shrouded in mystery. The world doesn’t care if our protagonists live or die—indeed, the odds are stacked against them. The enemy has arcane horrors, and you have cunning, courage, and strength of arms.

The technology level of the world is late European Renaissance. Black powder is available and most countries have muskets and simple muzzle-loaded pistols. But combustion engines don’t exist and steam engines are huge and very rare — animals still perform the bulk of society’s labor. Magic absolutely exists, but is often unpredictable and almost always dangerous.

So Band of Blades.

It's the grimdark military survival horror campaign, inspired by (among other things) Glen Cook's Black Company books. You play a group of elite mercenaries trying to survive after the battle against the Dark Lord has gone catastrophically wrong. It uses the Blades in the Dark system. If you don't know what that is, it's a narrative-intensive system that uses dice pools -- somewhat like PbTA or Alien: TRPG. I think it could run very well as a PBP campaign.

What am I looking for?

-- Must either already be familiar with BitD / BoB, or be willing to read the BoB rulebook and become familiar with it. (NOTE: the BOB rulebook is fairly massive.) I have a basic familiarity but am not fluent, so I'd like most of the players to know the system.

-- Strongly preferred that you own an honestly acquired copy of the rules, whether physical or pdf. (Note that you can pick it up as part of a Bag of Holding Bundle right now and for the next week or so -- $25 gets you five complete RPGs, three of them very good IMO, plus a bunch of accessories.)

-- If you're not familiar with it, be aware that BitD / BOB is very different from PF / D&D. Just to mention one difference: there's no character monogamy, i.e. you would be playing several different PCs.

-- This is an RPG that has a heavy resource management / bookkeeping aspect. In between missions, you play the Quartermaster, Commander, and Marshall, determining things like how the Legion is going to find food, allocating horses, finding recruits to replace casualties, and the like. This would be super tedious for some players, super interesting for others. Just, FYI.

-- I'm looking for fast posting and strong commitment. I'll commit to posting every day; I'd be looking for the same from the players.

So, trial balloon here. Would anyone be interested? If yes, then:

1) Have you played BitD or any similar games, like PbtA? If not, are you a quick study?

2) Do you have a copy? If not, are you willing to blow $20-$25 to pick one up? (Obviously I can't enforce this; I just think creators should be paid. If you're living on a tight budget, okay -- PM me.)

No commitment at this time; this is an interest check. Some notes on setting and tone follow.

Doug M.

That said, yes, you're right -- I probably should post over there.

Doug M.

True enough. People can get riled up there -- there's an implicit assumption that a post on Recruitment is, well, recruiting. So I thought I might put a toe in the water here.

Doug M.

Well, 3-4 players are needed to make this work. Let's give it a few days and see if anyone else shows interest.

Doug M.

I have the impression it was down a bit this year, from a peak c. 2014-18. But that's purely a subjective impression, and could certainly be wrong.

So -- is anyone tracking it?

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