Advice Please: THE THRILL IS GONE (Veteran Gamer Blues)


Advice

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Headfirst wrote:
chbgraphicarts wrote:
Newsflash, buddy - your Nostalgia Filter is on full-opaque.
Wow, a couple of you are really upset about my personal anecdotes here. Let's try to calm down, okay?

When you make blanket statements like:

Headfirst wrote:
Over the last twenty years, the industry has tried as hard as possible to turn RPGs into tabletop wargames so they can sell us miniatures, paints, battle mats, adventure maps, and terrain pieces. Remember back in the olden days when all the battles took place entirely in your imagination?

as though anecdotes of your own experiences were true for the whole of TRPGs, and just adds on to the already-enormous pile of nostalgia-fueled nonsense that never was and never will be objectively, provably, categorically true.

If your personal experiences were that you had more fun with your group when you didn't use minis & the like, fine - that's your group's personal preferences.

There are plenty of people (even me) who had fun playing 1st and 2nd ed, or other systems, with or without minis & terrain.

It doesn't mean that minis didn't exist, doesn't mean minis, paints, maps (or at least grid paper), & terrain-pieces weren't the norm, and it doesn't mean that people have been arguing to no ends about "theater of the mind vs minis" like idiots since 1974.

So, yeah, saying "well it USED to be this way, and it was better" when many of us remember quite clearly and can present evidence that, no, it wasn't that way at all, is a good way for us to jump on you.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
blackbloodtroll wrote:

No.

There are an enumerable amount of TRPGs that require no miniatures, paints, battle mats, adventure maps, terrain pieces, etc.

I grow tired of old gamers throwing these "degradation of the imagination" accusations around like glitter at a unicorn rave.

Nostalgia makes all you memories of early gaming way more awesome, then they actually were.

I have fond memories of my first edition AD+D gaming. After a recent attempt at redoing the Village of Hommlet, I was also reminded that I'm very glad that I'm not playing AD+D any longer.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
chbgraphicarts wrote:
Headfirst wrote:
Here's why I think modern fantasy RPGs just aren't as special to us as they used to be: Over the last twenty years, the industry has tried as hard as possible to turn RPGs into tabletop wargames so they can sell us miniatures, paints, battle mats, adventure maps, and terrain pieces. Remember back in the olden days when all the battles took place entirely in your imagination?
You mean back in the day, when the 1st Edition Player's Handbook REQUIRED you to not only use graph paper but MINIATURES as well, especially those meant for Chainmail?

Um, no.

AD&D 1st ed did NOT "require" miniatures.

I just pulled out my trusty AD&D Players Handbook (the 1978 edition, with the idol cover). Based on about 10 minutes of looking, I can only see two references to miniatures in the first edition AD&D Players Handbook at all...

AD&D Players Handbook (1st edition) wrote:

p. 38: Weapons (footnote on Table: Hurled Weapons and Missiles): "Rate of fire is based on the turn (for table-top miniatures) or the melee round."

p. 106: Organization: "Organize your party by showing which characters are where. Show marching order for a 10' passage, a 20' passage, door openings, etc. Always prepare for rear actions as well as frontal combats. Assign one individual as leader. This character will 'call', i.e. tell the referee where the party will go and what they will do. Miniature figures are a great aid here. The DM will usually require a marching order to be drawn on a piece of paper if figures are not at hand."

As for graph paper, I can find a single reference:

AD&D Players Handbook (1st edition) wrote:
p.106: Mapping: "One player must keep a map of the expedition's trek, and if two players make maps the chances for the success of the expedition improve. Graph paper with 5 or 6 lines to the inch is suggested for underground map making. A sheet of small size hex grid is usual for outdoors maps. Both sorts of paper should always be on hand."

Both are suggestions, not requirements. And in old-school gaming, the GM isn't going to help you out if you get lost in a maze-like dungeon. If you don't have a map, you're going to get lost and have a LOT of wandering monster encounters!


Haladir wrote:
AD&D Players Handbook (1st edition) wrote:
p.106: Mapping: "One player must keep a map of the expedition's trek, and if two players make maps the chances for the success of the expedition improve. Graph paper with 5 or 6 lines to the inch is suggested for underground map making. A sheet of small size hex grid is usual for outdoors maps. Both sorts of paper should always be on hand."
Both are suggestions, not requirements.

It's hard to call them "not requirements" when the book says that at least one play must keep a map.

Even the part where it says grid and hex-grid paper both "should always be on hand" makes it hard to say it's not a requirement.

Requiring players to keep a marching order, as well, whether you use miniatures, simply use markers like coins, etc., or just even keeping a drawing doesn't do much for the fact that you needed some visual marker for marching order.

And, then, you get to movement.

Rather than listing movement in terms of "10ft", "20ft", "30ft", etc., as they are today, movement was ALL listed in terms of inches, meaning that, yes, the intention was pretty obvious that miniatures or other tokens on a surface was the intended modus operandi since the earliest days of AD&D.

Unless I'm misreading this, and RAW is that you're in a 100ft room, and can literally only move 6 inches every ROUND (with a round being a whole MINUTE)... in which case, congratulations, every character is The Mighty Snailman!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

I always forget that one can never have a civil discussion on the "Rules" or "Advice" boards without it turning into a flame war.

Okay, fine. I'm wrong, you're right. You win the Internetz.

Happy now?

Hiding thread so I'm no longer tempted to post here.

The Exchange

I remember playing games that didn't require maps and minis. However, for us, that was really quite frustrating at times. Relied too much on GM description at a time when we were still learning that craft.

We used minis any way (we made our own fantasy minis from dodgy plastic wrestlers that were around at the time. Still have one or two of them in fact). It wasn't battle grid or scale, but it allowed us to have individual minis and helped us get visual arrangements in combat so we could track some of those more complex battles better.

Now days I can run with either and be fine. However as a collector of miniatures and a painter with a pretty good level of skill, I get a thrill from converting and painting minis for all the players in my groups and if I'm dming, getting specific enemies painted up for a battle as well.

On another note for things I've done that really stimulate my fun factor in games.

- Alternate game styles. I looked through my collection of Paizo modules and AP's and its the ones that try new things that really want me to play them. Carrion crown, wrath of righteous, Kingmaker, Iron Gods. All of those have awesome plots as usual, but they also have that sense of discovering something new that the players aren't quite aware of until the game plays out.

- Home Brew settings or new settings that the players aren't overly familiar with. I ran in Eberron for ages, and I was pretty much the only one with the source material. My players learnt everything about Eberron from in game sessions. It rocked for all of us since it was all about discovering a new world. It's the same buzz you get from a computer game set in a beautiful and unique world that you get to explore and adventure in.

So for me, the thrill of new and exploring unique settings and characters and races and civilisations is what brings that gamer high.
The longer we stay in a setting or campaign, the staler it becomes. That's why for me at least, the longer a campaign drags on, the less interested in finishing it I become. (Especially under pathfinder rules in high level play, which can drag sessions out a lot).

Cheers

Grand Lodge

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Haladir wrote:

I always forget that one can never have a civil discussion on the "Rules" or "Advice" boards without it turning into a flame war.

Okay, fine. I'm wrong, you're right. You win the Internetz.

Happy now?

Hiding thread so I'm no longer tempted to post here.

Yeah, seems to be happening more and more on the Paizo boards. You post a comment, opinion, or idea and someone shrieks bloody murder at you until one or both of you get banned. I can almost feel Chris Lambertz reading this right now, itchy finger hovering over the ban button...

The funny part is that I often hear some of these same angry forum guys tell stories about awkward, frustrating, or outright confrontational experiences with "problem" players and DMs in their games and it makes me wonder. :)

So, to get back on the topic of this thread with some new insight... Here's another way to recapture some of the magic of gaming: Stop yelling, stop trying to prove how right you are all the time, stop being an obstructionist, a contrarian, or a nitpicker. Just relax and have a good time (here on the message boards and in your local game).

It's going to sound counter-intuitive, but in other words: To recapture the magic of how awesome gaming was when you were young, grow up.

Shadow Lodge

I'd hold up a mirror if I thought it would do anything, but since you can read your own post right there...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I still suggest Mouse Guard, or Marvel Heroic.

To speak on minis/maps:

I like with, and without.

I, and a couple of guys I game with, love to customize, and paint minis.

One of my friends, actually collects maps.

Along with painting minis, I love to illustrate characters.

I feel it an outright insult, to suggest that my friends and I, are "lacking in imagination", because we want to add to our gaming experience.

Even our games that use map/minis, will have situations, where we handle it without either.

There is no shame, in expanding how we enjoy our hobby.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Our Pathfinder group was feeling a bit of burnout until we started 5th Edition, and now we try to play twice a month instead of maybe once a month.

Another group tried 5th Edition just to spice things up, and the perpetual rogue archer LOVES all the changes to sneak attack. They're easier, they're multiplied on a crit, and they don't require super precise tactical finagling.

5th edition feels like 1st edition, but plays like a stream-lined 3rd edition/PF. It's also very elegant.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

As long as it's not 4th Edition. >_> <_<


I didn't take the time to read all of the comments to see if my suggestion had already been posted, if it has, take this as a +1.

Has the formulaic structure of your game sessions become stale? Are story arcs with the traditional beginning, middle, and end getting boring? Cut it out, toss it all aside and try a organic sandbox approach.

Tired of a slow build up? Set your own pace by building the story based on the actions of the players, and the reactions of the inhabitants of the game world.

For this style, game hooks can be rolled from random tables, and customized to the group. Stories should progress quickly, with completion within a session or two.


I don't think I ever had the problems the OP had. Maybe back in the 80's we didn't play year long games. We played short games and created 15th level characters and the like. In the late 80's, when I got into college, I got into other games like Champions, Dr Who, Star Trek, etc. With our College gaming group. So the suggested Variety has been there with me through out the years. I used to hear about these Campaigns that lasted for years and I never played in one that lasted for more than a few months (in any game system). So when I got to Pathfinder and played Second Darkness I loved it!

A friend of mine has a saying "We game more than we should and not as often as we'd like."

I have heard about GM burn out and a friend of mine just wants to play the game now. I have no answers for Player burn out.


Well, I have been playing since...well...you know. And, I found the best way to spice up a game is to do a weird campaign. All Uncommon Races, no full spellcasters. Everyone rolls (5d5 drop 2, re-roll 1s) and takes the stats in order.

Or try another RPG that isn't fantasy- wild west, supers, 1920's Cthulhu*.

* is it weird that spellchecker knows this?

The Exchange

DrDeth wrote:

Well, I have been playing since...well...you know. And, I found the best way to spice up a game is to do a weird campaign. All Uncommon Races, no full spellcasters. Everyone rolls (5d5 drop 2, re-roll 1s) and takes the stats in order.

Or try another RPG that isn't fantasy- wild west, supers, 1920's Cthulhu*.

* is it weird that spellchecker knows this?

*not in the least....

My group is me running a D&D 5e campaign and the alternate GM running a 1920's era Cthulhu campaign set in Tuxedo Park, New York. We alternate in 2 week blocks and whenever one campaign is ready to be shelved for a bit someone else will pick up the GM seat and start another game...possibly something Steampunkish, Star Warsy, or Dark Fantasy. But whatever is next it is all good because we know there is an end point and other options on the horizon.
I personally dislike the giant campaign arcs anymore. The stories last forever and it seems like you are trapped in a book with no way out but to keep reading until the end. I am looking at my D&D sessions and have started to look into crafting more of a "comic book" or short story approach into my game. Players stay more focused and on task when they know the story is only going to last for 4-6 months of real time and there is less "hey back in Sept of 2013 didn't that guy say that such-and-such had a certain item in his possession?" The last few Pathfinder and 3.5 games I was in were 2 to 2-1/2 year campaigns from level 1 to level 15+. That's a long time to be on one story. I feel like as an adventurer you should have a much more episodic career with short adventures. Mini-series of 5 shows, not a 5 season series.

I am really enjoying the variety and the Cthulhu game is being run by a dude who actually grew up in Tuxedo Park so his details of the area really help to get you into the game. I hope everyone can find such good gaming. Between the switch to 5E and this alternate game it is a welcome change at a time when I was starting to get jaded by the long, drawn-out campaigns that drew to a standstill once higher level combat set in. The role play seemed to die when tactical combat started taking almost the entire session. I like the quick eloquence of 5E and the heavy roleplay involved in Call of Cthulhu.
Just wish that the dreams of the 3 armed lady's head that crawled into my 1916 Packard and made us careen into a lake would settle down a bit!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Cthulhu is no longer something obscure, mentioned only among small groups.

He is everywhere.

From South Park, to hipster T-shirts.


I say you need to change the setting drastically.
(Have you ever played tomb of horrors? A fully pirate themed story? gotten kidnapped by a wizard and had the entire story happen in a prizon/maze demiplane?)

Play a different game.
(Boardgame, cardgame or video game all might work, but Im actually talking about a different system, like Cthulu, Savage worlds or the Warhammer 40k system).

Play with different people.
(My very first gaming group lasted a while and had all my closest friends at the time. It wasnt until I gave up on that group and started a completely different one a year later that I realised how bad and and frightfully unimaginative the original players were.)

Or take a full break.
(You can get tired of anything, ever had a friend that you meet constantly for a few months and then dont see for a couple of years? Only to reunite and spend every waking moment in contact for the next few months, and repeat? You can get tired of your friends, games, work, anything. A timely break is the solution.)


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Cthulhu is no longer something obscure, mentioned only among small groups.

He is everywhere.

From South Park, to hipster T-shirts.

So much so I find it very cliched when any mythos suddenly appears in an adventure

I have found playing rpgs where I don't need to count squares very refreshing

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

If you want to find the thrill again while still playing Pathfinder, you're going to have to disconnect your brain for a while, and make a character that's completely combat ineffective.

If you've fallen into a pattern where you always pick human for maximum amount of feats, for instance, disconnect!

Play a race you'd normally never pick, and don't feel obligated to pick the traditional role for that race (i.e. don't feel like you must play a rogue if you play halfling).

You've played for a while and I'm assuming you've already explored the "optimized" options already; try something for fun and pay attention to the plot and not necessarily what's on your character sheet.

Anyone can make a diplomacy check, not just the party face... if your low Cha halfling wants to hit on that waitress, just have him walk up to her trembling and stuttering. Sometimes we look at the high skill modifiers and *only* attempt those that are optimal, which is a meta-gaming trap that completely takes away from the flawed nature of our characters.

Playing up the flaws can be a big part of "fun" side of the equation.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Yeah, sometimes emphasizing your flaws can be super fun.

I have a dwarf barbarian 1/magus 7 with a Charisma of 6 that still tries to be the party face. At least he discovered agro--horrible Diplomacy checks!

I also have a 5th Edition half-elf rogue (thief) urchin with an 8 Intelligence. He is "street smart," which means "actually dumb" and is a hoot to play.

Sovereign Court

There were some very interesting ideas posted here, however, keep those ideas coming because...

> I kinda feel "shaken" a bit about GMing. I've been doing this for many years and I've hit some sort of wall that I still can't explain. No post so far has really hit on it.

> I'm interested in whether 5e might be a cure? I miss the days when I truly mastered the rules in the sense that the rules served me, not the other way around. I've heard good things and like what I see.

> I've got the gaming blues... but just like B.B.King sang about... just because someone has the blues doesn't mean they don't miss their girl. I'm saying that "not-playing" is definately NOT the answer. I miss the game... I miss that special D&D joy, and its been missing for some time. Recent developments have brought it to light, but I think the thrill is gone means something much deeper than just taking a break... taking a break would just be avoiding the problem and also stopping what I feel is my favorite hobby. I want it back, just like B.B.King sang about the girls he longed to hold. I want my D&D back!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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5th Edition might be the key. It feels like 1st Edition, but plays like 3.5/PF.

The mechanics are roll d20, add modifier, so it's really easy to play (no THAC0, charts, tables, or clunky mechanics). Very elegant, especially the way the Proficiency bonus is the same for attack rolls, skill checks, saving throws, spell save DCs, etc. It's VERY elegant. The Advantage/Disadvantage system replaces all the little bonuses and penalties. It really simplifies things a lot.

But it's not dumbed down. Using higher level spell slots can increase the potency of many spells, particularly cures and damaging spells.

It plays like 1st Edition, though. Low level monsters can still be a threat at higher levels, and a low level party can plan and plot and possibly even scheme and succeed against a much higher CR encounter.

I know a lot of the older players I play with really like it.

The Exchange

Fifth is beautiful to DM. So much more freedom in design and story telling. No more need to justify everything that's going on with a rules reference or stat boost item etc.

For me it gets back to the grass roots of what the game is. Characters confronting situations and solving them as best they can. It's less about finding that perfect combo of abilities and items to max your character than it is about roleplaying your character.

Players are free to try actions that Pathfinder wants them to have feats to accomplish.

For me it was awesome.

Some people prefer the complexity and challenge of building characters and having restricted options in combat though. For them, that is what makes the game fun. As such, they may not get as much out of fifth ed that I did.


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Wrath wrote:
Players are free to try actions that Pathfinder wants them to have feats to accomplish.

So much this!

Sovereign Court

Wrath wrote:

Fifth is beautiful to DM. So much more freedom in design and story telling. No more need to justify everything that's going on with a rules reference or stat boost item etc.

For me it gets back to the grass roots of what the game is. Characters confronting situations and solving them as best they can. It's less about finding that perfect combo of abilities and items to max your character than it is about roleplaying your character.

Players are free to try actions that Pathfinder wants them to have feats to accomplish.

For me it was awesome.

Some people prefer the complexity and challenge of building characters and having restricted options in combat though. For them, that is what makes the game fun. As such, they may not get as much out of fifth ed that I did.

Very intereating summary.

I had the opportunity to play-test 5e last night in one of those organized groups.

All I can say so far: Like Max Max it was shiny and chrome.

I caught a buzz opening my new shiney PHB for the first time in 10 years (ignoring 4e, and not counting the PFCRB).

Play was fast, fun, and easy. I felt like I could glance at the rules and instantly know and play them.

No rules barried in long winded narrative text and no crazy math + math _+ math + math.

Although I'm exicted I cannot yet evaluate it. I'm reading the PHB this week and will let you know. But those posts just above this one are certainly encouraging.

I GUESS I WENT THRILL SEEKING ---- and found something thrilling.

Could this be the solution?


Trying new systems can be taxing on the mind and can slow you down more than it ignites your interest.

I recommend Unchained, and I recommend trying out some of the new systems so you can retain your knowledge of whatever system you're using (3.x or PFRPG) while still engaging in a new type of tactical and resource system.

Of note, the new actions system (or the mobile combat system) make turns more dynamic and engaging, allowing different tactical options while you play which may result in you coming up with new outlooks on building characters and in how to play them.

Then, nix XP. Have games level based on story, and have each benchmark of the game represent a level. You should be able to level every two to three weeks (or sessions if you play more often than once a week). This keeps things fresh, and lets you move through a campaign faster.

Lastly, don't be afraid to play a game where players can switch characters easily between or even mid adventure. Or, have the characters not tied to a player, but rather have the characters all built collectively by the players and have the players switch characters between sessions, letting you keep things fresh while maintaining continuity.

Your approach to gaming will enlighten you much more than the game that you actually play.

Try some home games with stories that put new spins on classics, rather than stories that try to re create classics with something new.


With the intense emotions and massive time commitment and heavy personalization, RPG's are a lot like intense long-distance lovers.

Then there are the demi-relationships you have with the actual people you play with, since RPG's are in-person and group. I call them demi because you don't have to be actual friends, and yet you will share some of the most intense moments ever.

It takes time to build systems that satisfy someone when the systems are complex. It also takes time for dysfunctions to get bad enough that the system starts hurt more than it brings joy. It will take time to sort out what's happening for the OP to cause his/her fatigue.

A lot of people suggested trying new stuff, which i think is a great idea to juxtapose. You could also do some soul searching and journaling to try to isolate your likes/dislikes.

The great problem with RPG's is that for everything they offer, they are both intense and inconsistent emotionally. You often cannot control the outcome, other players or even how you feel about playing initially.

I've had lots of ups and downs with RPG's.

I am old enough to fall into the 80's religious wave, wherein I was forced to quite for a time due to my parent's fear of satan tunnel worshipers.

I quit playing another time because there was simply no time or money in graduate school and marriage.

I DM'ed for years without a chance to play at all. I found myself falling away from my joy for RPGs because good DM'ing takes so much from me and gives little back.

As that campaign has slowed down, I've found myself in a group of middle-aged people who've never played before and it's a great time, but we play very much less than i'd like to and that won't change before the group dies.

No great points here. Just acknowledgement that RPG's can be a big deal to people's lives and it's hard to control the long term feelings and need meeting from them.


Pax Veritas wrote:

...

I had the opportunity to play-test 5e last night in one of those organized groups.

...

I GUESS I WENT THRILL SEEKING ---- and found something thrilling.

Could this be the solution?

Quite possibly, but possibly not. I know some people love switching to a new game. Me? Not so much.

1) I have to buy a new book (or 3) not yet knowing if I will like it.
2) I have to find a group playing it or talk my current group into giving it a try (with requisite complaining about the expense of new books).
3) I have to learn a new system.
4) If I'm pushing it, I'm almost certain to be the GM which means I have to write some adventures (or buy them if available).

To me, with my limited free time, it is usually more work than it worth. But then again I like PF and the group I am in. If I wasn't having fun, I'd probably be much more inclined to go to that effort.

However I do know some people who have literally dozens of game systems and love everyone of them. They have multiple groups or a group that switches systems every few months or alternate. If you think you might like it, by all means give it a go.

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