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Topics - Ratman_tf

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Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / Random failure.
« on: May 03, 2021, 08:28:43 PM »
I like to think that my scenarios are challenging but fair. The player characters can figure a way through, and I definitley don't begrude them their victories.

But sometimes I think things get a little too easy, and I wonder about random failure. Not TPK silliness, but say, for a hypothetical example, the characters best efforts still only puts them at a 50% chance of success. The map was a fake, the guards randomly decide to check the closet they're hiding in, whatever.

What think you? This really bugs my "player agency" part of my thinking, but then sometimes you just don't get a fair shake no matter what you do.

A phenomenon that shows up in video games especially but also in TTRPGs is the idea of doing stuff for other people. "Fetch me some toilet paper, that I might wipe my ass!"
There's nothing wrong with "quests" for others, but it removes/assumes a couple of things.
Determining why the thing is important. The king has a nasty ass, and wants some toilet paper to clean it up.
Finding out that there is toilet paper to be quested for, usually in a determined spot.

I like the idea of player characters determining their own needs and finding ways to fulfill them. They care more about a task if it's a task they decided to do out of their own motivations. "Why are we getting toilet paper for the king again? Doesn't he have a servant to do that for him?"

But it seems to require a lot more prep work. Creating a situation where there is a need, a desire to fill that need, the tools and information to pursue the goal, etc, etc.
It's so much easier to just say the king needs some toilet paper, go get it if you want to adventure today!

Anybody got any ideas on more streamlined ways to generate self-directed adventures?

Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / Faction as Race.
« on: April 25, 2021, 07:00:12 PM »
So, I was aware of the GW game Necromunda, but considered it that skirmish game where dudes with orange mohawks blast each other with shotguns and has some RPG aspects like levels and skills.

I saw the latest starter box, Hive War, and there's a faction on the box that isn't a guy with an orange mohawk and a shotgun.

And I'm like, hmm. those guys look interesting, and I do a bit of reading on the different factions in Necromunda.
It got me thinking, there's factions that are big and tough, and factions that are wiry and sneaky, and oh hey, those seem a lot like racial archetypes from RPGs.
What think you? Are factions a viable alternative to races for some settings? The thug faction recruits tough dudes, and so they get a bonus to STR to represent this, etc.

Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / Detect Evil
« on: April 06, 2021, 07:39:02 PM »
Let us rehash this old chestnut.

How do you run Detect Evil in your campaign? Does it only detect innate evil? Can it ever be mistaken? Is it used as a justification for slapping some sod in the head?
Are people on the ball about having a spell cast on them, and consider it an invasion of privacy?

I never liked the idea that a pretty low level spell could divine someone's nature, and potentially short circuit a mystery. The Ravenloft setting just threw up their hands and said 'It don't work! Stop that!" Even so, if it does work, is someone justified in killing someone because a magic spell caused a red buzzer to sound off over their heads? Or merely imprisoning them because they're generically "evil"? Does any kind of due process enter the picture? What's to stop a cleric from saying that they detected evil in order to get at someone they don't like?

In looking up how 5th edition does it, I note the latest version only detects supernatural evil. That's a bit more my style.

Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / Daydreaming
« on: March 26, 2021, 03:55:21 PM »
Random brainfart for your amusement.

Thinking about GMing, I often find that getting in the same kind of mental state as daydreaming is very helpful to "unclog" the mental pipes.
If the world is still existing and things are happening with or without the characters input, then the GM finds themself in a kind of computer's role of "running the simulation".
But honestly, to do it like a computer would be far outside a person's conscious capacity. Every tree chopped down, every visit to the outhouse, every coin spent in a town. Nobody got time for that.
So I let my subconsious handle that. I go into a daydreaming state and just think about the campaign for a while. What's happening that's cool? Is there a festival coming up? What the hell did that Ettin just eat? The good ideas actually get used, and the less useful ones go back into the mental hopper to cook for a while longer.

Anyone else do something similar?

In my experience, it tends to be all or nothing. Few times will the party leave a downed party member behind, and retrieving a downed party member contributes to the death spiral they're already dealing with. So retreat tends to be all or nothing, and usually at the start of an encounter when the character all have a chance of getting away sucessfully.

So, how do you handle retreat? Do you?

Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / I don't like CR.
« on: February 23, 2021, 06:30:35 AM »
I've tried using CR with Pathfinder, 4e and 5e, and so far, I wind up ignoring it or trying to reverse-engineer it to make sense to me.
My usual stumbling point is that the system assumes a party of X characters and one monster as it's base value. And I rarely use just one monster in an encounter. So I'm almost always having to apply some kind of modifier.

Anybody like it? Using it sucessfully?

Media and Inspiration / Gina Carano fired by Disney.
« on: February 11, 2021, 01:59:58 AM »

Fuck you, Disney. Whether you think her tweet was accurate or dumb, it's hardly worth firing her over. Unless you're a bunch of yellow bellied grovellers who will collapse under any internet pressure.

Well, I was planning to run D6 WEG Star Wars over christmas break, but it looks like we're not going to have one of the two players, so that's a bust.

But I put the outline for the adventure together today. And goddamn, Stormtroopers RAW are hot garbage! I needed some non-Stormtrooper guards mixed in with the Stormtroopers, and even army guys are better than Stormtroopers!

I would have really liked to run it RAW, but if I run this, I'm gonna have to do something about the Garbagetroopers. I understand the arguments that the Stormtroopers are generic mooks, but I feel they should be more of a threat than a typical soldier-guy.


Creating an exit strategy?

I like to house rule. Usually there's an aspect of an RPG that bugs me, or I think I can do better.
But lately I've been thinking. I ran 2nd edition a while ago, and had a few pages of house rules. This did create some confusion at the table over what the book said and my house rules.
So I've been much more reluctant to use house rules, so as everyone at the table is on the same page (pun time) over what the rules are.

What say you?

Other Games / Why I haven't bought the new Battletech stuff.
« on: November 23, 2020, 06:37:04 PM »
I gaze with wistful nostalgia at the pretty new Battletech stuff, but when I'm tempted to buy it, I remember my biggest complaint about classic Battletech.

Bigger is better.

Under the classic rules, the bigger Battlemech usually wins. This makes sense, from a perspective of bigger is better, but it means whole weight categories of mechs are relegated to scouting and running away when they find the enemy, to call in their bigger brothers.
Logistics can put somewhat of a limit on this. You can't field an Atlas if you don't have any, but logistics is usually best simulated in some kind of campaign, where you have a finite set of resources and mechs to field.
This limits the variety of mechs you're likely to see in a game.

So I pass on the new boxes, but not without a bit of regret. I did have a lot of fun with the game, despite my dislike of that aspect of the game.

Just a bit of a vent. And I'm hoping to give Alpha Strike a try eventually and see if it makes it easier to field mixed weight categories.


Ok, I hope he's ok. But between this, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Joe Biden, I'm wondering why there are so many people in government with one foot in the grave.

Media and Inspiration / Dune trailer
« on: September 09, 2020, 07:01:09 PM »

Looks great. Sounds terrible. Lots of pointless dialog that doesn't mean anything. I can only hope that none of that shit except the Gob Jabbar scene are actually in the finished film.


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