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Topics - S'mon

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at 20:44 - what do you think of players establishing facts about the world impromptu during play? Players, do you feel happy & confident doing this? GMs, do you enjoy this or dislike it?

As a GM I love it when players do it well, and dread it when players do it badly. So as a player I do it a bit more than most, but feel very wary of stepping on GM's toes.

I was struck by how very good this advice for a successful campaign from the 1e DMG still is. All my truly great campaigns seemed to have followed this formula:

There is nothing wrong with using a prepared setting to start a campaign,
just as long as you are totally familiar with its precepts and they mesh with
what you envision as the ultimate direction of your own milieu. Whatever
doesn’t match, remove from the material and substitute your own in its
place. On the other hand, there is nothing to say you are not capable of
creating your own starting place; just use whichever method is best suited to
your available time and more likely to please your players. Until you are
sure of yourself, lean upon the book. Improvisation might be fine later, but
until you are completely relaxed as the DM, don’t run the risk of trying to
“wing it” unless absolutely necessary. Set up the hamlet or village where the
action will commence with the player characters entering and interacting
with the local population. Place regular people, some “different” and
unusual types, and a few non-player characters (NPCs) in the various
dwellings and places of business. Note vital information particular to each.
Stock the goods available to the players. When they arrive, you will be
ready to take on the persona of the settlement as a whole, as well as that of
each individual therein. Be dramatic, witty, stupid, dull, clever, dishonest,
tricky, hostile, etc. as the situation demands. The players will quickly learn
who is who and what is going on — perhaps at the loss of a few coins.
Having handled this, their characters will be equipped as well as
circumstances will allow and will be ready for their bold journey into the
dangerous place where treasure abounds and monsters lurk.
The testing grounds for novice adventurers must be kept to a difficulty factor
which encourages rather than discourages players. If things are too easy, then
there is no challenge, and boredom sets in after one or two games.
Conversely, impossible difficulty and character deaths cause instant loss of
interest. Entrance to and movement through the dungeon level should be
relatively easy, with a few tricks, traps, and puzzles to make it interesting in
itself. Features such as rooms and chambers must be described with verve and
sufficiently detailed in content to make each seem as if it were strange and
mysterious. Creatures inhabiting the place must be of strength and in numbers
not excessive compared to the adventurers’ wherewithal to deal with them.
(You may, at this point, refer to the sample dungeon level and partial
encounter key.)
The general idea is to develop a dungeon of multiple levels, and the deeper
adventurers go, the more difficult the challenges become — fiercer monsters,
more deadly traps, more confusing mazes, and so forth. This same concept
applies to areas outdoors as well, with more and terrible monsters occurring
more frequently the further one goes away from civilization. Many variations on
dungeon and wilderness areas are possible. One can build an underground
complex where distance away from the entry point approximates depth, or it
can be in a mountain where adventurers work upwards. Outdoor adventures
can be in a ruined city or a town which seems normal but is under a curse, or
virtually anything which you can imagine and then develop into a playable
situation for your campaign participants.
Whatever you settle upon as a starting point, be it your own design or one of
the many modular settings which are commercially available, remember to have
some overall plan of your milieu in mind. The campaign might grow slowly, or it
might mushroom. Be prepared for either event with more adventure areas, and
the reasons for everything which exists and happens. This is not to say that total
and absolutely perfect information will be needed, but a general schema is
required. From this you can give vague hints and ambiguous answers. It is no
exaggeration to state that the fantasy world builds itself, almost as if the milieu
actually takes on a life and reality of its own. This is not to say that an occult
power takes over. It is simply that the interaction of judge and players shapes
the bare bones of the initial creation into something far larger. It becomes
fleshed out, and adventuring breathes life into a make-believe world. Similarly,
the geography and history you assign to the world will suddenly begin to shape
the character of states and peoples. Details of former events will become
obvious from mere outlines of the past course of things. Surprisingly, as the
personalities of player characters and non-player characters in the milieu are
bound to develop and become almost real, the nations and states and events of
a well-conceived AD&D world will take on even more of their own direction
and life. What this all boils down to is that once the campaign is set in motion,
you will become more of a recorder of events, while the milieu seemingly charts
its own course!

From Tenkar

So, it begs the question - how much were Bob Bledsaw and Judges Guild paid for the rights to Dark Tower? Is that money being earmarked for the floundering CSIO Kickstarter, or is it going to be spent on hookers and blow - or some other such nonsense?

News and Adverts / Mini Six Primeval Thule on Roll20
« on: March 29, 2020, 04:25:54 AM »
I've decided to run my Mini Six Primeval Thule online on Roll20 and open it to RPGsiters - - will be text-chat only at least to begin with. Wednesdays 6pm UK time.

Game web page

Anyone else currently running d6 System? I started my Mini Six Legend of the Silver Princess campaign last week, 2nd session tonight. Set in the pulp fantasy world of Primeval Thule, I'm using the Pathfinder print of Thule since it's essentially generic/rules-free aside from the appendix.

Mini Six packs a ton into its few pages, and does a great job as a cinematic action game that plays very differently from D&D. I'm still getting used to it, tweaking the rules etc. One issue is whether the magic system is underpowered for Swords & Sorcery, so I've been wondering about tweaks, eg reduce the skill dice cost for the Sorcery perk. D6 Fantasy also provides a good amount of convertible material - I definitely prefer Mini Six's Fast Static combat (rather than roll defences vs every attack) and the systems are 90%+ compatible. Mini Six's Hero Points giving +6 to a roll also works much better than doubling rolls IMO.

I've been thinking about running Star Wars d6 (1e) again for the first time in over 30 years...

I was working on these for my Mini Six Palace of the Silver Princess Primeval Thule game (three great tastes that taste great together!). Should work well for D6 in many Swords & Sorcery settings. I made some adjustments to weapons & armour stats for a more Ancient World feel, eg bows are a bit less effective.


Racial Perks
Atlantean (1) You're long lived (about 50% more lifespan than lesser men), +1 pip to Courage, Lore & Language skills. You start play with either 500 gold, or a +1 steel weapon. Your maximum Wit is 4D+1.
Dwarf (1): You're long lived, you can see in the dark, you receive +2 pips to smithing or any other craft skill and +2 pips to Courage. Your maximum Might is 4D+1 but your maximum Agility is 3D+2. You start play with a steel (+1) weapon, +1 steel mail armour, or a +1 shield.
Elf (1): You're long lived, you can see in the dark, you receive a +1 on all ranged attack skills. Cannot be magically Charmed or Sleeped. You are Immune to ghoul fever. Your maximum Agility is 4D+1 but your maximum Might is 3D+2. You have access to Silver weapons & armour (as iron), and may begin play with a silver mail cuirass or silver weapon.

Heroic Narratives & Benefits
Atlantean Noble: Urgent Command - on your turn you may spend a Hero Point to allow one ally within 30' to make a single melee or ranged weapon attack, with full dice.
Bearer of the Black Book: Remembrance - you may spend a Hero Point and 1 round studying the Black Book to recover up to 3D of Magic.
Beast Friend: Animal Rapport. You may spend a Hero Point and use 1 Action to charm any non-monstrous animal, or to call local animals to your vicinity, potentially disrupting enemies (opposed Animal Handling vs Courage).
Dhari Hunter: Hunter's Strike. You may use a Hero Point when making an attack against an opponent who has not acted yet, or is who unaware of you, to get both +6 to hit and damage (instead of choosing one). As normal, up to 3 HP may be spent on one roll.
Freeblade: Opportunist. You may spend 1 HP to make a free melee attack (at full dice) against an adjacent opponent on their turn, before or after they act.
Golden Corsair: Inescapable Strike - You may spend one Hero Point after making an attack or damage roll, to add +6 to that roll.
Guardian of the Nine: Perfect Clarity - You may spend (only) one Hero Point after making any Wit or Charm roll, to add +6  to that roll.
Ice Reaver: Reaver's Charge. In the first round of combat you may spend one HP to get +6 to initiative, +30' extra movement, and +6 to your first melee attack roll that round.
Initiate of Mysteries: Healing Blessing. You may spend one HP and use an Action to heal yourself or an ally with a touch. The target has their Wound Level reduced by one; a Wounded (-1d6) character is fully healed (ie heals 2 levels/ignoring Stun level).
Jungle Trader: Estimate Value. You may spend one HP to fully identify one magic or mundane item. You may also spend one HP per transaction to buy or sell at a +50% bonus.
Katagian Pit Fighter. Resuscitating Action. On your turn you may spend one HP when Severely Wounded, Incapacitated, or Mortally Wounded, to reduce your Wound Level by one. This does not use an Action.
Myrmidon: Inspiring Call. You can spend 1 HP on your turn to give all allies within 30' +1D on all attack rolls and Courage rolls, until the end of their next turn.
Occult Scientist. Metaphysics. You can spend a HP to add +6 to a Magic roll after the roll has been made. Up to 3 Hero Points may be spent on the roll, as usual. This also increases any damage inflicted by the spell by the same amount.
Panjandrum. Panjandrum's Example: You may spend 1-3 Hero Points to add +6 to +18 to another character's roll, not just your own.
Quodethi Thief: Thief's Feint. When you spend 1 or more HP on an attack roll, you also do +2 to the damage roll per HP spent, and you may move up to 30' after the attack.
Sacred Slayer: Slayer's Strike. When you spend 1 or more HP on an attack roll, you also do +2 to the damage roll per HP spent, or +6 damage if the target is a special enemy of your god.
Star-Lore Adept: Potent Lore. When you spend 1-3 Hero Points to boost a Magic roll or spell damage roll, you add +10 per HP spent (max +30). "Unlimited ...Power!!"
Tribal Outcast: Isolated Action. When you spend one or more Hero Points on a melee or missile attack, and no one else is adjacent to the target, you get +6 to both the attack roll and the damage roll (max +18).

House Rules
Turn Order
Initiative is by Agility as standard, but roll first then declare actions in order of initiative when acting, and turns are iterative, do not reroll Agility after the first round.

Shields add +4 to Block/Parry, not to Soak
Block Limit = 1 attacker/weapon per limb, plus any scale dice bonus (eg Scale +4D = can Block +4). When successfully Blocking a weapon attack, the defender still takes half damage if their Scale is equal to or lesser than the attacker.
Parry Limit = 1 attacker/weapon per weapon and/or shield (but a zweihander sword can Parry 2), plus any scale dice bonus. A successful Parry vs Brawl attack inflicts full damage (as per the optional combat system).
Can only Block or Parry missile weapons with a Shield (or an appropriate Spell or Perk), but the number that can be Blocked or Parried from the front is unlimited.
Static Dodge applies vs all attacks that the defender is aware of.
Full Dodge is a Dodge roll good against all attacks (even ones they are unaware of) until the dodger's next turn. The TN becomes their Dodge roll (or their static dodge score if lower) + any range modifier.

Hero Points
Hero Points can add +6 to D/B/P/s static defences per HP (max +18), as well as to dice rolls.
A Hero Point 'lucky break' must concern the PC's background, eg the apparently hostile NPC is an old friend, or the runes are in a language the PC has encountered before. Player should suggest an appropriate lucky break, the GM can add complications, or deny if wholly inappropriate.

Ability Caps
Maximum PC Attribute achievable is 5d6. Maximum PC Skill achievable is 10d6. Hero Points still apply, so effective maximum roll is 5d6+18 (ie an average of 35-36) or 10d6+18 (ie an average of 53!).
Likewise the maximum static defence prior to HP & other bonuses is Attributex3 (so Soak 5x3=15 plus armour) or Skillx3 (so Dodge, Block & Parry 10x3 = 30 plus shields etc). HPs spent still apply, up to +18 as normal (Soak 15+18=33, D/B/P 30+18=48).

Unarmed Combat
A character with no skill in Brawling halves their total Might damage (including any Wild Die bonus) in unarmed combat, unless using an improvised weapon, gauntlets, knuckleduster etc.

Armour Dodge Penalty
Armour reduces Static & Active dodge by an amount equal to half its Armour score, rounded down. Eg Armour 5 > -2 Dodge.

Thulean Weapons Damage
Axe, Great axe (2h) M+3D+1
Axe, war axe or Axe-Mace (1h) +2D (2h) M+2D+1
Club (1h) M+1D
Hatchet M+1D+1
Knife M+1D
Mace M+1D+1, +2 damage vs armour
Staff (2h) M+1D+2
Spear, War Spear (1h) M+2D (2h) M+2D+1
Sword, Long (1h) M+2D (2h) M+2D+1
Sword, Short (1h) M+2D
Sword, Great (2h) M+3D+1
Warhammer, 2h M+3D
Morningstar or Great Club M+3D
Bow. Heavy. Might +2D
Bow, Light. Agility +1D
Crossbow 4D+1
Javelin (thrown) M+1D+2

Ranges in Feet (S +0/M +5/L +10)
Bow 30/100/300
Crossbow 50/100/200
Javelin 30/120/-
Hatchet 20/60/-
Knife 10/30/-

Leather or Gambeson +2 Soak, -1 Dodge
Leather Cuirass +3 Soak, -1 Dodge
Scale or Lamellar +4 Soak, -2 Dodge
Iron Mail Cuirass +5 Soak, -2 Dodge
Bronze Cuirass +7 Soak, -3 Dodge
Shield +4 Block/Parry

Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / "The Greatest DM Alive!"
« on: September 29, 2019, 04:47:27 AM »
I thought this was a great video

Very interesting take on the 'Matt Mercer effect' and how a player can make even the best GMs feel insecure - be sure to watch the whole video.

Have you had a player tell you how much better some other GM is? How did you react?

Xoth.Net has a cool & very substantial 5e swords & sorcery free player's guide for the World of Xoth up -

Get it before it's bowdlerised! :D

So, I got my EK yesterday. One adventure (set in the Forgotten Realms) involves two homosexual gnome 'kings' who are married to each other and co-rule in tandem, only one has gone mad and imprisoned the other.

Wondering if I can/should try to make this work, or ignore it. Making them brothers might make more sense. OTOH I have had gay male NPC relationships in my FR before, but only for humans, and I presented it as tolerated not socially sanctioned. I suppose I could go with Gnomes Are Into That Kinda Thing... but I'd like it make some kind of sense. I guess neither could be a hereditary monarch - they'd have to be elected together?

I am slightly gobsmacked to discover that Wizkids is selling very nice pre primed (in grey primer) dnd and Pathfinder minis at well under what Reaper charges for a translucent blob still slathered in mould-release fluid. Wonder how they do it? Anyway just been picking up a bunch - the Shambling Mound is a particular favourite.

Hi all - I'm recruiting for a new text-chat Wilderlands S&W campaign over on Dragonsfoot, starting with Lost Man's Trail, the final adventure by Bob Bledsaw. Will run in the DF chatrooms, probably fortnightly for around 3 hours. If interested see:

In a sci fi setting of alien species it kinda makes sense!
Box arrived today, as expected it is very nice. Not sure if I will run it or strip it for parts - great value either way.

Well I had no real idea about this stuff, so interesting it gets a Telegraph article today - - guess it's a nice distraction from Brexit!

Looking for content for my 5e Primeval Thule campaigns, I have all the published adventures, they top out at 10th-12th level. Do you know of any good adventures of that level and above with a Conanesque* sword and sorcery theme? Eg pulp action horror type stuff in a lowish-magic universe, as opposed to high fantasy or typical 'D&D fantasy'. Can be for any rules system, I've pretty much given up getting anything for 5e D&D specifically. :)

I had one useful suggestion asking on ENW, which was Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun, but AIR that features hordes of humanoid monsters and will need a ton of conversion work. I've been wondering if I'd be best off converting some Call of Cthulu adventures! Or maybe Elric/Stormbringer, though that's a higher-magic universe.

*But not set in deserts or arid plains, as Thule lacks such terrain.

Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / Love my players...
« on: March 14, 2019, 06:48:09 PM »
Do *your* players do professional quality voice-acted & video  accounts of your game sessions?! If not, why not?! :D

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