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Messages - ArtemisAlpha

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1
I was in the industry more than a decade ago, first as a writer, then as a publisher. A lot of this list would have been true then, too.

But there is one thing I wanted to respond to:

Quote from: Omega;1134346

The problem is not that the books are overprice. They are overpriced usually for a reason. A BAD one.

That being the damn push for colour art and usually lots of it and the mania that this actually sells the book. Not the game. Kill this fad off and book prices would drop. But as long as publishers keep believing this lie then the books are going to cost alot more.


So, I had the opportunity to partner with a company that did two versions of their products, one with full color art, and one that was a plain text, well laid out version of the rules, but with no art. The page count on the latter was often up to 25% less. The quality of cover, paper, binding were the same - they came from the same printer. The cover of the black and white version was, if I recall, 2 color rather than 4 color.

Anyway, even though the artless version was significantly less expensive, the full color version sold tons better. I can only speak to convention sales, but our restocks for the full color version were about five times the restocks for the artless version.

And that 'fad' is why RPG books are full color - they sell better. A lot better. While you may not want them, in general, RPG purchasers do.

2
I'm another one who's run a game using these rules - and it added a lot to the game. The same group of players had gotten a bit mechanical in their combats, but this uncertainty shook things up. And, like Steven Mitchell mentioned - there were some long lasting benefits from us doing that. When we went back to using hit points (mostly to off load that bit of work from me), they mostly continued their current playstyle rather than going back to the way it was before.

3
Quote from: The_Shadow;1110179
What about Pathfinder? Is that dead these days?


I helped run a gaming convention in Dallas. It was attached to an anime convention, so getting hard numbers on who just played games would be tough - but I can speak about numbers of tables filled. We allocated 16 tables each to Pathfinder and 5e, and while the 5e tables filled their room, Pathfinder filled at peak 9 tables, and generally ran at about 7 tables playing to capacity.

Let me note that this is far from dead - at our four day convention, Pathfinder ran an order of magnitude more games than GURPS or Savage Worlds, for example, or even OSR D&D.

4
Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / Descent into Avernus
« on: October 15, 2019, 01:04:15 pm »
Has anybody picked up Descent into Avernus? If so, how good is it - I've grabbed some, but not all, of the 5e adventures, and have been happier with some than I have been with others. I've liked how Storm King's Thunder gave a ton of information about the Savage Frontier and similarly how much information that Out of the Abyss gave on the underdark beneath the Savage Frontier.

I wasn't as happy with Dragon Heist - its 25 pages on the City of Spendors spends more time on the city's ample law enforcement and how they might keep characters from being naughty than it does on how Waterdeep might be actually a good spot for characters to adventure within a city. It compares unfavorably with 3.0's City of Splendors sourcebook. Granted, that book had more pages for just the city, but most notably it has 28 pages on urban dangers. "Many monsters live in and among the people of Waterdeep--aboleth and skum lurk in the sewers, illithids and vampires prey on the populace, and beholders with legions of charmed servitors, shape-shifting dragons, and all manner of undead each pursue their own schemes. Player characters can fi nd more than enough monsters to battle simply by exploring Waterdeep's seamy underside." This seems to be suggested by parts of the Dragon Heist adventure, but contradicted in the city's descriptions.

So! Where does Descent into Avernus fall on this scale?

5
Other Games / City of Heroes
« on: April 29, 2019, 01:03:24 pm »
As an old City of Heroes player, I'm doing my bit to spread the word. So here's the least drama version of what's up: A group of fans have brought City of Heroes back on a private server that is open to logins. If you're interested in playing, check out the document link below for instructions on how to get the game client, get an account set up, and get in and start playing:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OQ68rHr_BbA9QoHEEx9atG-xZiMFKCiXZVDPQ1JvrKc/preview

Being a fan project, there's plenty of drama to be had, and almost certainly this drama is going to lead to what's left of the player base splitting up and going to servers run by the fans of their choice. But, for now, and for the first time in seven years, there's a place open for play.

6
At the time, I thought that the kickstarter was a brilliant business move. Offering a mechanism to purchase sourcebooks right there at the time of your initial core rule purchase, when people would be most primed to make such a purchase. It would also generate real, solid pre order numbers for the entire line. And, while collecting all of this money for an entire line up front, he also got the added attention to his kickstarter for how large it was - more attention, more eyes, more sales.

But the long tail isn't what it used to be in the industry. The Khitai kickstarter was very good - but still only a sixth the size of 7th Sea Second Edition. The war of the cross board game didn't fund. Did 2018 have any big kickstarters for John Wick Presents? I'm not certain, but I think the answer's going to be no. So, as much as I like Wick's writing, and the settings he's come up with - I can see how a magnificent start might have lead directly to a cash flow problem.

7
There was a time in my life that HERO 4th was my favorite system. I'd unabashedly answer polls with questions like 'if you were trapped on a island with only one game system, what would it be?" with HERO, smug in my assertion that HERO could run any kind of game. I'm pretty much done with games of that level of complexity, now.

These days, I like BRP (the Call of Cthulhu system, for those of you who don't prefer to just have acronyms thrown around) for gaming where the characters are supposed to be 'real people'. I haven't quite landed on a system that's my preference for action movie or even superhero movie level gaming.

I'm using Cypher for a superhuman level game now, and Stars Without Number for a sci fi game that's action movie level; and both have some bits that are crunchier than my group is apparently comfortable with. While it makes me roll my eyes as I say it, levelling up in Stars Without Number has been a bit like herding cats. Yes - roll your hit points, calculate your base attack bonus, spend your skill points was way more problem than it should have been. Though, that being said, I'm really liking how Stars Without Number runs, and our game is around 5th, nearly 6th level. It's handling 'action movie' kind of play pretty darn well.

8
For me, it really depends on the game and the setting. I have run supers games, and I'm currently running a Naruto-ish ninjas game (but I repeat myself), and in games like those I'm fine with, and indeed want, the characters to regularly be performing superhuman feats. I'm also currently running a Call of Cthulhu game - where the characters are decidedly very much human, and I would not be happy if they were performing at more than what we all determined was a proper level for people who were competent professionals in their respective fields. Somewhere between is the Shadowrun game I'll be starting soon - yes there's magic, yes there's people who have bodies enhanced by magic or cybernetics - but I wouldn't be expecting them to perform like the ninjas in the first game, even as they consistently outperform the "normal men and women" from my Call of Cthulhu game.

Which is all a preamble to my answer as it pertains to D&D - it depends on the campaign that I'm interested in running and my players are interested in. I've run games that we all agree will have a maximum level of 6, I've run a lot of games that just come to a natural conclusion somewhere between 8-10th level, and recently we ran a game to 12th level. It's been a long time since I've run a game that went higher than that - so empirically, I can say that in D&D we prefer our games to top out at 12th level. But in our games, we don't generally aim for a specific max level.

9
I went in for the Gearhead level. I've still got my issues with Savage Worlds, but I've been meaning to give Interface Zero a try and this seems like a good place to jump in.

10
I'm using the Cypher system for a very Naruto-like ninjas game currently, and I'm quite fond of the Numenera setting. Even if you give the system a pass, there's a ton of good ideas to be scavenged from within.

11
Quote from: BronzeDragon;1071542
Actual Campaign Settings.


A pretty big part of Storm King's Thunder is a description of many, many key locations in the Savage Coast region of the Forgotten Realms. Likewise Out of the Abyss and the Underdark beneath the Savage Coast.

Yeah, they're choosing to wrap their setting information in their mega adventures, which does include a lot of information that might not be of interest if you're just looking for the campaign setting. But the setting information is out there.

12
Rules for scaling Legendary monsters to party size.

I've home brewed these rules, and they would have been easy to include. A single creature against a 7 player party needs more Legendary Actions to scale to the action economy, and it needs more hit points to not pop like a pinata.

13
I'm not associated with any of these companies, but I'm still not sure whether I should post this in this forum or in news/adverts - but I'll go with here and welcome the mods moving it if I was mistaken.

I'm just writing to let folks know that Humble Bundle has a good collection of 5e products available for the next two weeks or so.

https://www.humblebundle.com/books/5e-fantasy-dragons-dungeons-maps

14
Another voice for Revised... and another voice for recommending Sine Nomine's other products. It's good stuff.

15
Quote from: Imaginos;1062653
Please advise what site replaced it as biggest.

I believe that both enworld and Giant in the Playground are currently larger

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