Is Starfinder is too comedy oriented?


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Pretty much.


Ascalaphus wrote:
Ixal's problems with the Starfinder ecoonomy are old news. This horse has been beaten to death in several threads. Spoiler alert: you're not going to change their mind.

Ditto his claims of lawlessness.

Also it may be dozens of threads.

Also ideas and solutions have been given to him, which I believe he has chosen not to use.

I think Starfinder may not be the game for him.


My current game isn't silly. The group is visiting Ravenloft, some for the second time. What was silly was our first starship fight. It was between the PCs and a force from the Tiamat Sector. I had to use a dragon to represent them, but anyhow.

Playing the Tiamat Sector dragons was a hoot. I tried to introduce Manifest Destiny or the whole We Expand or Die thing. But no, I made them up to be adolescents.

Now the group is visiting Ravenloft, that would all me to make it gritty and dark again. But the whole campaign I'm running has a firefly feel to it.


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Xenobiologist wrote:

I think the character level is meant, at least in economic terms, to be an abstract representation of the character's social standing and connections with the SFS. In a more detailed and granular game like GURPS, this would be various Status, Ranks, Allies, Contacts, and licenses. While I don't like the way that characters suddenly get better all at once when they increase a level, I think level does seem to work as an abstract measurement of social standing.

Where I could agree is non-combat items, though. I think that anything which wouldn't be restricted by licenses (or perhaps artificial scarcity) might be better "restricted" by price rather than level. That probably still wouldn't make it a good idea for a 2nd level to save up 25,000 credits and blow them on a hair-styling bot... unless your GM runs scenarios in which hairstyle is extremely important ... somehow.

Or perhaps certain healthcare items get cheaper the higher your level... because at a higher level you can get some equivalent of health insurance?

Equating level with social standing breaks the instance you play a criminal or unsavoury character. It also doesn't explain why your social standing rises by killing things in the wilderness no one cares about.

Take Signal of Screams for example. Sure, if you save the planet at the end you are the hero. But before you do that you are considered a crackpot who no one believes. So how does shooting up office buildings or secret bases no one knows of increase your social standing?

Removing level restrictions in general and make everything limited by price makes the most sense (and add in a optional extra hurdle for things which would logically be forbidden). That would also be way more realistic than how SF portraits modern societies, although that is not hard at all.

SF as written "works" as long as you don't look or interact with the setting much. Thats the reason why all APs happen far away from any form of civilization. If you don't and the players don't follow the railroad and instead want to get creative and use all the tools they have in a modern/futuristic setting like extensive bribery, hacking, social engineering, exploiting the police (swating), etc. it becomes quickly apparent that the SF setting has massive cracks because the only goal during its design was to support typical D&D like fantasy adventures of 4 to 5 dudes going into a dungeon, murder things and emerge with loot.
Signal of Screams 2 is a very good example of this and is a constant facepalm when you think about what is happening (and what not) in the middle of a metropolis.

To come back to the original question of the topic playing serious isn't really an option in SF unless everyone follows a railroad. And with the whacky races introduced, comedy is a likely substitution.


Ixal wrote:
SF as written "works" as long as you don't look or interact with the setting much. Thats the reason why all APs happen far away from any form of civilization.
Wat.
Ixal wrote:
If you don't and the players don't follow the railroad and instead want to get creative and use all the tools they have in a modern/futuristic setting like extensive bribery, hacking, social engineering, exploiting the police (swating), etc. it becomes quickly apparent that the SF setting has massive cracks because the only goal during its design was to support typical D&D like fantasy adventures of 4 to 5 dudes going into a dungeon, murder things and emerge with loot.

... wat.


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Ixal wrote:
Equating level with social standing breaks the instance you play a criminal or unsavoury character. It also doesn't explain why your social standing rises by killing things in the wilderness no one cares about.

You say that like criminal underworlds don't also operate by reputation and trust. Also, again, it's a balancing guideline.

Killing things in the wilderness and getting better at it can still be measured. You can take trophies, record your activities, or come back and demonstrate you skills to interested parties.

Ixal wrote:

Take Signal of Screams for example. Sure, if you save the planet at the end you are the hero. But before you do that you are considered a crackpot who no one believes. So how does shooting up office buildings or secret bases no one knows of increase your social standing?

Removing level restrictions in general and make everything limited by price makes the most sense (and add in a optional extra hurdle for things which would logically be forbidden). That would also be way more realistic than how SF portraits modern societies, although that is not hard at all.

Ixal, buddy, we've literally been telling you that you are free to do this if you so choose this entire time. Item level is a guideline of effective power and is intended to be a useful shorthand to help establish when certain things are balanced for PCs to have.

Ixal wrote:

SF as written "works" as long as you don't look or interact with the setting much. Thats the reason why all APs happen far away from any form of civilization. If you don't and the players don't follow the railroad and instead want to get creative and use all the tools they have in a modern/futuristic setting like extensive bribery, hacking, social engineering, exploiting the police (swating), etc. it becomes quickly apparent that the SF setting has massive cracks because the only goal during its design was to support typical D&D like fantasy adventures of 4 to 5 dudes going into a dungeon, murder things and emerge with loot.

Signal of Screams 2 is a very good example of this and is a constant facepalm when you think about what is happening (and what not) in the middle of a metropolis.

All of the problems you have described here can be handled with a skilled enough GM and players that ask for that level of granularity. You're assuming that pre-written adventure paths have to be followed beat by beat. There are plenty of opportunities for creative players to try interesting solutions to problems and a GM familiar with the rules can provide level-appropriate methods of achieving these goals.

APs are also more or less written as something of a railroad, they are meant to be pre-packaged stories that the players and the GM see through together. It's the difference between a homebrewed adventure and an AP. I like them because I don't have the time to write my own adventures.

Ixal wrote:
To come back to the original question of the topic playing serious isn't really an option in SF unless everyone follows a railroad. And with the whacky races introduced, comedy is a likely substitution.

I really hate how people seem to assume that humor and seriousness cannot coexist in a story. The late Sir Terry Pratchett wrote stories about grouchy witches, cowardly wizards, and trolls with silicon brains that operated more efficiently as they got colder. He also wrote about the cost of revolutions, why people need things to believe is, racism, and the march of technology.


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I've only played in Organized Play at conventions (as a Starfinder Society member character). It seemed to me that seriousness and silliness depended on character concepts and players' preferences. Even within the same scenario (Dreaming the Future) some adventures were played seriously, and another was semi-serious because one player decided to play the long-lost Icon daughter of the space pirate lord. Then I watched a game in which all the characers were completely incompetent and had turned their mission into an idiotic fiasco.

But I would like to see Hmm turn Signal of Screams into comedy.


Xenobiologist wrote:

<snip>

...I would like to see Hmm turn Signal of Screams into comedy.

Same!

:D

It's sure to be freaky!
;)

<ahem>

Carry on,

--C.

Dark Archive

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Umm, again, not including all possible options isn't railroading, railroading is stuff like saying "If you destroy Camera, the guy managed to films it anyway with secret one PCs can't notice" or "If PCs searched for bugs, bad guys still managed to bug and track their ship"

I'd say in modern or futuristic setting its actually really implausible to include all possible options on how to solve a problem because modern technology means if you wanted to write all of them, that would take way too much page count to list all of them :P You are supposed to allow PCs to be creative when they get ideas, you have never been supposed to only allow things written in adventures

(its debatable in case of organized play though since roleplaying guild rules for it says you are supposed to allow creativity, but rules also say you have to run scenarios as written so that is confusing :P)

Sovereign Court

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CorvusMask wrote:
(its debatable in case of organized play though since roleplaying guild rules for it says you are supposed to allow creativity, but rules also say you have to run scenarios as written so that is confusing :P)

The PFS/SFS rules then go on to explain what rules as written means. It's not about robotically doing the railroad and stifling creativity. It's about not getting to rewrite enemy stats because you want to make things easier/harder/cooler/deadlier. Because it turned out, random strangers editing scenarios for other random strangers didn't work all that well.

Dark Archive

Ascalaphus wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
(its debatable in case of organized play though since roleplaying guild rules for it says you are supposed to allow creativity, but rules also say you have to run scenarios as written so that is confusing :P)
The PFS/SFS rules then go on to explain what rules as written means. It's not about robotically doing the railroad and stifling creativity. It's about not getting to rewrite enemy stats because you want to make things easier/harder/cooler/deadlier. Because it turned out, random strangers editing scenarios for other random strangers didn't work all that well.

Yeah yeah, but its bit hard in some cases where the adventure rewards depends on doing specific things during the adventure. So let's say you do allow creativity, but PCs don't do exactly things adventure rewards them for despite still somehow creatively solving the scenario, that results in stuff like GM not knowing whether to award pcs or not.

Like, its not even just about stiff and railroading, just that its bit ambiguous how much GM can bend the written word in scenario to affect players' success(whether helping them or otherwise) :p Since it would be unfair to other tables if table deviation makes things easier or harder than what the written version is.


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Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
Ah yes, because Signal of Screams is totally a comedy campaign.
Laughing is a coping mechanism.
why do I envision you saying that *right* before the torture begins?

*ties a stack of lewd magazines to a drone and sets it to fly away just fast enough*

Oh hey look :3

hey, come back here drone! chases
*pilots drone into strip club*

is completely distracted


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Setting aside sidebars about the underlying philosophical basis of SFS, and presumptions about techno-authoritarian futures being the only "legitimate" futures. . .

I really don't see anything about Starfinder as intrinsically comedic, to any greater extent than existing fantasy RPGs. Sure, there is a tendency for PCs to turn anything into a joke, but that is baseline for all RPGs, even the most po-faced ones desperately trying for seriousness. Granted, I don't run premade adventures, so my adventures are fitted specifically to my own balance of comedy, drama, and horror. However, the setting provides far more than enough material for me to make as much drama and horror as I want.

I admit, it may be just me, but I really tend to read the question itself as indicative of an underlying unconscious bias against comedy. Far too many people have absorbed the assumption that comedy is "lesser", while drama is "greater". As such, a story or setting simply not actively leaning away from comedy is read as "too comedic".

Grand Lodge

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That moment when you step into a thread, and start wondering... Are you missing a marketing opportunity by not doing a streamed Signal of Scooby Doo adventure for the world to see?

Then you go back to that freelance assignment you need to finish...

Hmm

Sovereign Court

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CorvusMask wrote:

Yeah yeah, but its bit hard in some cases where the adventure rewards depends on doing specific things during the adventure. So let's say you do allow creativity, but PCs don't do exactly things adventure rewards them for despite still somehow creatively solving the scenario, that results in stuff like GM not knowing whether to award pcs or not.

Like, its not even just about stiff and railroading, just that its bit ambiguous how much GM can bend the written word in scenario to affect players' success(whether helping them or otherwise) :p Since it would be unfair to other tables if table deviation makes things easier or harder than what the written version is.

I think the guild guide has your back on that:

SFS Guild Guide 2.0 p. 13 wrote:

CREATIVE SOLUTIONS

Sometimes during the course of a scenario, your players might surprise you with a creative solution to an encounter (or the entire scenario) that you didn’t see coming and that isn’t expressly covered in the scenario. If, for example, your players manage to roleplay their way through a combat and successfully accomplish the goal of that encounter without killing the antagonist, give the PCs the same reward they would have gained had they defeated their opponent in combat. If that scene specifically calls for the PCs to receive a credits reward based on the gear collected from the defeated combatants, instead allow the PCs to find a credstick (or something similar) that gives them the same rewards. Additionally, if the PCs miss an NPC who carries a specific weapon that the PCs might be granted access to on the scenario’s Chronicle sheet, don’t cross that item off the sheet— instead, allow the PCs to find the item elsewhere as a reward for creatively resolving the encounter without resorting to combat.

The Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild never wants to give the impression that the only way to solve a problem is to kill it. Rewarding the creative use of skills and roleplaying not only make Society games more fun for the players, but it also gives the GM a level of flexibility in ensuring players receive the rewards they are due.

Now this mostly talks about nonviolent solutions to ostensible combat encounters, but I think it's reasonable to extrapolate to noncombat encounters that the PCs solve in unexpected ways.


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Hmm wrote:

That moment when you step into a thread, and start wondering... Are you missing a marketing opportunity by not doing a streamed Signal of Scooby Doo adventure for the world to see?

Then you go back to that freelance assignment you need to finish...

Hmm

No joke, I've been considering a comedy Signal of Screams for ages now.

I don't think horror adventures really translate well into most D20 systems and my players were wanting to do something more more with their characters after finishing Dead Suns. Most of the comedy would be based around the fact that they are hilariously overleveled for the adventure but all of the enemies keep insisting they should be taken seriously.


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Our campaign is pretty comedic, a bit on the Guardians of the Galaxy style, but we just love it that way...


Wingblaze wrote:

Are you saying that Firefly doesn't have it's share of comedy?

well, it IS a joke...

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Freehold DM wrote:
Wingblaze wrote:
Are you saying that Firefly doesn't have it's share of comedy?
well, it IS a joke...

Not Quite. This is a joke.

Firefly itself was a brilliant Sci-Fi television seris.

Radiant Oath

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Maybe. Doesn't make Joss Whedon and Adam Baldwin any less terrible.


The Drunken Dragon wrote:
Hold on, I’m confused. Doesn’t the CRB literally point out that item levels are a guideline rather than a hard restriction? As in, a low-level character could own level 20 items, it’ d just be a bad idea to allow that as a GM

That's the point just like in Traveller in most games having a FGMP 15 and the Power armour would unbalancing - even in the Military themed Striker games it would be OP.


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Lord Fyre wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Wingblaze wrote:
Are you saying that Firefly doesn't have it's share of comedy?
well, it IS a joke...

Not Quite. This is a joke.

Firefly itself was a brilliant Sci-Fi television seris.

I do laugh in the faces of its fans on a regular basis...

Wayfinders

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Just an observation, if you're not having fun, you're playing the wrong game. Have fun! If your idea/desire is a serious game with serious people, find them and join up. If you want to have a game where every once once in a while someone makes a comment that makes folks snork, play with them.


What you need is context, background and (believable) consequences. Once you have this and your players act based on this the slapstick comedy will be gone

I had this experience with my group. My first campaigns were homebrew, loose adventures without any context or (character) backgrounds.
The second is "Attack of the Swarm" and it's a completely different tone. Just because know they have a background, a story and most important a purpose.
Now they have this framework, they feel that their actions have consequences and this changed the tone.

Sovereign Court

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I think a lot of the "too comedy" comes from players playing kitchen sink characters. If you look at the actual scenarios, they range from pretty dark to pretty lighthearted.

So basically, you want to sit your friends down on a couch and ask "hey guys, what kind of campaign do we want to play, cuz we can take it in many directions. But it's on all of us to make it work."

Contributor

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In my opinion, Starfinder's quirkiness is its charm. It's what makes it an amazing game. If anything, I think that the Starfinder APs should strive to be more like Attack of the Swarm! and Starfinder Society. Roleplaying Games often take themselves too seriously, and it's way more fun if they don't.


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CorvusMask wrote:

Umm, again, not including all possible options isn't railroading, railroading is stuff like saying "If you destroy Camera, the guy managed to films it anyway with secret one PCs can't notice" or "If PCs searched for bugs, bad guys still managed to bug and track their ship"

That adventure went past mere "railroading" and crossed into "forcing the players to act out your NaNoWriMo novel."

Granted, the author and editorial staff had to be under a TON of pressure, but still.

Grand Lodge

I think it is mostly just the local player base. I play in society games, not home games, and probably 75% of the time the other players go hard on the comedy. They do it to a lesser extent in PFS as well...and now that goblins are a core race in PF2, the PFS2 games are getting sillier.

There are some players who are far worse than others in this regard, I have begun actively avoiding signing up for tables with one player in particular that I have identified as being super disruptive to serious play. He plays a Skittermander character that just completely derails any attempts at seriousness in SFS, and his first PFS2 character is a Goblin Bard, which is even worse.


I'd advise against airing greivences against specific players here, the community's not so big that people can't tell who you're talking about.


And to think this topic was created before Alien Archive 3, which is roughly 75% goofball.

Radiant Oath

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...How?

Grand Lodge

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I am curious about this too. I admit that my dirindi are a bit on the goofy side -- they love to laugh -- I wanted them to be about more than electricity. Still, a lot of the races have a more serious tone. I'd love the breakdown on goofball.

As for myself, I love the bits of whimsy and humor in the Starfinder world, but I don't have disruptive players. The skittermanders are goofy but team and mission oriented. The weirdest silly player character that I have seen (a witchwyrd envoy that was a professional clown that did not talk and instead held up a white board with jokes) actually kept the plot moving and helped investigate and work with the team. So, even when my players are silly, the story happens. There are moments of darkness, and tough fights and missions that do not make. But there is often a streak of weirdness in the games that I GM, and I just let it flow rather than fight it.

Radiant Oath

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I didn't think the dirindi were too silly, honestly. You gave them some seriousness too in that they appreciate and in fact REALLY pay attention to the distinction between exaggerated truth (which is okay to them) and outright falsehood (which most emphatically is NOT okay to them).

I know they were one of the first species in AA3 that stood out to me and made me go "Wow, I wanna play as one of these!"

Especially since I imagine them to kinda talk like BRIAN BLESSED! :P

Grand Lodge

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Yes, I want a Dirindi boon too! It was important to me to point out their cultural abhorrence of con artists and others who take advantage of trust. It made them more complex and nuanced.

I have thrown dirindi newscasters into my campaign mode games, though. Completely irresistible. Their hazy relationship with facts make them an interesting source for player information, as the players have to judge for themselves how reliable they are.

One piece of my turnover that hit the cutting room floor was a couple paragraphs on the Arkanen seasons of Dive, Full Breath and Half Gasp. I enjoyed it as a cultural touchpoint, but I can see that it might have added more setting complexity than was needed in a brief AA3 article. Still, my own personal head canon reverberates with those seasons, and how they affect life on the moon.

Hmm


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Ascalaphus wrote:

I think a lot of the "too comedy" comes from players playing kitchen sink characters. If you look at the actual scenarios, they range from pretty dark to pretty lighthearted.

So basically, you want to sit your friends down on a couch and ask "hey guys, what kind of campaign do we want to play, cuz we can take it in many directions. But it's on all of us to make it work."

This. It is incumbent upon the GM to talk with their players and determine what kind of campaign they will be running, *before* anyone actually creates their characters. Player John may want to play a ruthless jokester mercenary, or a cerebral scientist investigating the ethical boundaries of transhumanism. If the campaign is supposed to be a grand crusade of powered armor space knights fighting the good fight against a literal invasion from Hell? Player John needs to make a different character.

( And if *nobody* wants to play heroic armored space knights? Then you need a different campaign premise. )


Ascalaphus wrote:
One way in which Starfinder does feel a bit shallow is in the amount of wacky races that get pushed out, with just 1-2 pages of description. I'd prefer a slowdown in playable races (81 in Nethys, and ~15 more incoming with AA3), and instead focus on more development of some of these races we already have.

Exactly one of last seasons AOS had a glorious send up of Instagram / YouTube personalities


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Hmm wrote:

One piece of my turnover that hit the cutting room floor was a couple paragraphs on the Arkanen seasons of Dive, Full Breath and Half Gasp. I enjoyed it as a cultural touchpoint, but I can see that it might have added more setting complexity than was needed in a brief AA3 article. Still, my own personal head canon reverberates with those seasons, and how they affect life on the moon.

Hmm

Oooh, post details in the ‘Starfound’ thread - pretty please?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Starfinder is pretty much Guardians of the Galaxy RPG, so it kind of falls in line with the theme. There's some horror, some seriousness but also a lot of goofball. And that's also something that sets SF apart from all the other sci-fi RPGs out there.

Wayfinders

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All I can picture is some Dirindi deciding to "joy-buzzer" a Vesk...

But I guess that's not too serious either...


Slyme wrote:

I don't know if it's just the local meta, or how the adventures are being written (I've only played SFS, not home games)...but it feels to me like Starfinder comes across as too much comedy, and not enough serious space fantasy.

I was hoping more for Star Wars or Firefly, but it has felt more like Futurama meets Ice Pirates, with a side of Spaceballs every time I have played.

Anyone else feel the same, or is it just me?

It's not too comedic because the best ratio of comedy to drama is dependent personal taste?

That being said...

You hit the nail on the head.

There is intended story,tone, and style invested into every Rpg?

Guardians of the Galaxy, Final Space, and even a Outlaw Star are closer to the intent of Starfinder than what you're reaching for.

You can get what you want out of Starfinder,your just going to have work a little harder.

First make sure that your players are on board.

Set the campaign in a time and place, where people have few resources,and are under semi-constant threAt ,with little ability to just go get More of what they need or escape.

Like a small colony in the Vast or a Space station,City or bigger still a World Ship.

The challenges must be high,the enemies both numorus and strong, with the players having little ability to rest and recover resources.

Throw in a few morally questionable choices to; the lesser of two evils is still evil?

Grand Lodge

Alas, I am not the writer of the adventures...I have zero control over the content.

I also feel like certain players around here would turn even the most grimdark campaign into a 3 Stooges episode...which I personally witnessed one do in a horror themed PFS scenario. :(


Slyme wrote:

Alas, I am not the writer of the adventures...I have zero control over the content.

I also feel like certain players around here would turn even the most grimdark campaign into a 3 Stooges episode...which I personally witnessed one do in a horror themed PFS scenario. :(

I think that's a matter of the players and not the game.

However, imagery does inform expectations.

So maybe it's both, people see a bright colorful, whimsical, space opera, and think I don't have take this seriously.

Ignoring the fact that Bright and colorful, doesn't mean pleasant and light hearted.

I could also attribute the more comical or silly tone, that some of the major Actual plays that served to bring people in to the rpg space.

First impressions are lasting impressions, if your first encounter with Rpgs silly,nothing is too serious, actual plays.

Then you'd balk at somebody trying to run the game deadly serious, you walk in expecting Futurama to Guardians of the Galaxy, but the Gamemaster is giving you FireFly.

Wayfinders

Slyme, I think you are probably going to have to just ask for some other players who are like-minded to run a more serious tone game. There are a lot of folks who want the humor in their games. Just as in MTG, Heroclix or 40K, there are Meta players and those who play to relax. I worked a very high stress job before retiring and played games to relax. When I ran across someone who was determined to play Meta, I just would concede, talk with some nice folks and wait for the next game. Put the word out you are looking for serious players, those who feel like you do will help you build the group to play the game the way you enjoy. As a friend of mine says "That's why there are many flavors of ice cream" play the game so you have fun in your own way.

Grand Lodge

Right now, the local PFS/SFS group and locations I play at are working on a rotating schedule. PFS 1 week, SFS the next, PFS2 the next. I basically play SFS because even with the comedy, it beats sitting home bored with nothing to play. They used to run PFS and SFS side by side, but it often led to SFS games not getting enough signups, so the SFS GMs convinced the local officers to rotate games.

Maybe I just need to find a group running an AP on Roll20 or something, see if I can find a group who doesn't treat the game like a running joke.

Wayfinders

Best of luck to you! A game night should be something you look forward to.


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Corsair17 wrote:

All I can picture is some Dirindi deciding to "joy-buzzer" a Vesk...

Good thing replacement arms are so cheep...


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Slyme wrote:

Right now, the local PFS/SFS group and locations I play at are working on a rotating schedule. PFS 1 week, SFS the next, PFS2 the next. I basically play SFS because even with the comedy, it beats sitting home bored with nothing to play. They used to run PFS and SFS side by side, but it often led to SFS games not getting enough signups, so the SFS GMs convinced the local officers to rotate games.

Maybe I just need to find a group running an AP on Roll20 or something, see if I can find a group who doesn't treat the game like a running joke.

"Maybe I just need to find a group running an AP on Roll20 or something, see if I can find a group who doesn't treat the game like a running joke."

That is what your gonna have to do and if you run a game, make sure that everyone is on board with you.

Make sure that they understand that you want to take things seriously, that a serious take on the settings what you enjoy and can run both most effectively and enthusiastically.


Archpaladin Zousha wrote:

I'll be honest, part of me wonders if it's a matter of genre convention as well...like fantasy as a genre just appears to have more gravitas than sci-fi from my perspective. When I think sci-fi, I think of Star Wars, which has a whole lot of cheese, but when I think of fantasy I think of Lord of the Rings.

IS there sci-fi stuff that feels as serious as Lord of the Rings does? I think most people would say Dune but to me the David Lynch movie kind of undercuts its gravitas...

. Yes, lots. From Lovecrofts Mythos to Peter F Hamiltons Commonwealth Saga, or John Scalzis Old Man War, or Larry Nivens Ringworld to RPGs like Eclipse Phase orTranshuman Space, you can find Cosmic Horror, Hard Sci fi or Military Sci fi that offer the same or greater social commentary and realistic psychology as LOTR, as well as offering visions of the future that could actually be built(in fact Hard Sci Fi is my 'thing' and the MSk Mantra is about the only way I can face star finder [seriously what are the high level guns using as power sources? Kugelblitz singularities? Why hasn't some one sorted the undead planet problem with a relatavistic kill vehicle?... Anyway]) then you get into actual Futurism and Transhumanism, and a scale of megastructure that regards Absalom Station as a component, and timescales that offer serious suggestions on how a civilisation could endure until past the death of every star, and the evaporation of every black hole, and in that future, a trillion, trillion, trillion years from now. They still try to imagine stories, of what those beings would be, gazing back into an abyss of time that defies comprehension, with life spans that regard the current age of the universe as an eye blink.

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