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Messages - finarvyn

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A vague background is optional - but I actually dislike the effect of writing up a detailed backstory pre-campaign, both as player & GM. Either it just gets ignored (more likely) or you're trying to strongarm the GM into incorporating it into the game.
I agree with this. Too much background will force a player to "act  like my character" rather than act the way seems logical at the moment. I had a player the other day who had something bad happen to him and said, "my character would be taking time to deal with this," which translates into "I'm having a hissy and want to sulk for a while."

In the old days we created "background" through play. We might start with a vague concept and then add in details as the character evolves.

I grew up on OD&D and so there is a special place in my heart for that one. Both C&C and DCC have a nice old school vibe and I love them, but my group mostly plays 5E. Not a great answer since I name-dropped four different games. I like D&D with a freestyle approach, so any of the four are good for me when played that way.

I'm not at all sure that this is the kind of resource you are looking for, but my local game store sometimes gets issues of GM Magazine. It has no opinions, but just lists of products with some pictures. Covers RPGs, board games, some miniatures games, and stuff like that. Once I know that something exists, I can scurry over to the internet and search on the thing.

So like many of you I'm sure, my first exposure as a kid to TTRPGs was through Palladium, and by extension a lot of Wujcik's work and writing. I remember being 12 in 2003 and just getting into the hobby, and reading "Thinking Big" and "The Name Giver" and just being so invigorated and ready to go out and play some games.
So, I'm a person who never read The Rifter and thus haven't seen those articles. (My plan is to track them down ASAP.)

My question is: other than the two articles you mentioned, did Erick write other material for the Rifter? Is there an index somewhere to find out?

Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / Re: I don't like CR.
« on: February 23, 2021, 04:04:00 PM »
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.
I find the examples to be confusing unless I happen to have exactly the same number of characters as the example.

As others have noted, additional attacks from the four 1-HD orcs make them more deadly in many ways than the one 4-HD ogre, and it never seems like this is accounted for correctly. I assume that one could create a chart with # of characters on one axis and CR on another, and then when you cross-reference you could get a true difficulty level for the encounter, but to do that I have to get a better grasp of the examples and how to adjust for multiple characters or multiple monsters.

Love the idea in concept, but like others I just eyeball it and cross my fingers.

Phage Press or Pelgrane Press? I thought that the original Robin Laws version was through Pelgrane, but maybe Phage did an earlier one?

Gygax read a lot of science fiction, the thermal vision may have come from trying to overrationalize something that's supposed to be magic.
In OD&D monsters could see in the dark but characters could not. If a monster chose to work with the party, he lost his dark-vision. This wasn't designed to be a "realism" thing at all, but was designed to put characters at a disadvantage.

I have a copy of Forbidden Lands but have yet to play it. Based on this thread, I think I'm going to adjust map scale so that players can only travel a hex a day.

My thinking is that it's all dense wilderness without established roads and characters need to spend time exploring a hex before moving on. If you are in the wilderness and are 3-4 miles from a town it's possible that you wouldn't even know it's there. If we are talking about a monster lair or a castle you could be a lot closer and still miss the thing.

Basically, since the setting is all about exploration there's no point in sprinting though it. ;)

Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / Re: Support Your FLGS
« on: January 26, 2021, 08:44:05 AM »
One guy ran a demo of a Conan board game and it was so neat that I bought a copy, and later I found out that he got in trouble because some of the stuff he was using was from a kickstart instead of from the store so he was told not to run demos any more if he couldn't follow the rules.

If true, this is probably one of the dumbest things I've heard of a store doing. Please, don't run games at our store that results in direct sales if you use something literally unattainable from the store itself.

Especially in combination with the fee to play.

I can understand the fee (though I think that varies by city - likely not viable in the cities where people are likely to have game space at home) but once you have the nerds paying to come hang out at your store, let nature take its course and they'll buy a decent chunk of stuff.
I've seen a place that had pay to play, but every purchase (books, minis, snacks, etc.) included credit toward this. If you wanted to play in store, regular buying habits made it essentially free. If you didn't,  it was a freebie you could ignore (it wasn't transferable though except on gift purchases, so use it or lose it). Worked well enough for that store for over 10 years.
I mentioned two game stores near me. The other one has a policy much like this -- it costs $5 to play at an Adventurer's League table, but right away they deposit $5 credit into your account so that when you buy stuff that credit can come right off a purchase. Essentially, folks who buy stuff get to play for free.

I'm interested in purchasing some Wotc D&D products - like Curse of Strahd -, but I want the original products, not the reprinted ones with wokified content.
This may be obvious, but for Strahd if you find the hardback it should be okay. The edited version is from the boxed set, and I think the book included there is paperback.

Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / Re: Support Your FLGS
« on: January 17, 2021, 11:45:43 AM »
The big problem my LGS has is lots of people go there to play. But few of them spend money there.
I have two nice game stores near me, but one of them is a lot friendlier than the other.

The "bad one" is run by really nice people, but their policies are bad for business. If you want to play a game at their store they have excellent back rooms you can go to (maybe a half dozen separate rooms with doors and walls and such) and they charge something like $5 per person to play there. One bad thing is that they only let you eat (overpriced) snacks that they sell and can't bring in anything from the outside. I understand that, but it's sometimes frustrating if you only drink half of your water and want to bring it back the next time ... you need to buy a new one. Another is that they demand that any rulebooks you use have to be bought from their store, so I could spend $100 there on board games but if I want to play 5E at the store I need to have bought the 5E player's handbook from them. One guy ran a demo of a Conan board game and it was so neat that I bought a copy, and later I found out that he got in trouble because some of the stuff he was using was from a kickstart instead of from the store so he was told not to run demos any more if he couldn't follow the rules. I thought that was so unfair because the demo did lead me to buy a copy of the game, and I would have bought the KS stuff if they had been able to stock it. This same store used to have a thriving Savage Worlds group who ran all sorts of games, but the "buy it here" policy drove them all away. Again, these are really nice folks who have no idea how to run a game store. :(

I'm still looking for some kind of consensus on what makes something osr or not; some people immediately reject as osr anything that draws from 3e in the slightest...such as the template concept, vampire or fiendish or what have you...
To me, OSR is more of an attitude or philosophy than anything else. I have no problem with newer innovations in my OSR games, but I think that a lot of folks were very upset that WotC blew up D&D and redid so much to create 3E and that's why they reject any innovations from 2000 or later. I run a 5E game for my family and feel like it's very OSR in feel even though it's 5E, because of the way I run the game and the rules I choose to use or ignore.

Good luck getting a consensus, however. Nobody seems to agree on this topic. :(

As a person who got started with OD&D before AD&D was even a thing, I think that the point of rules was to provide structure. The rulebooks were a general guide and most of the time we followed what the rules said, but the stated philosophy was also to make the game what you needed so our group would change parts that we didn't like. We didn't buy the boxed set with the INTENT of throwing out the rules, but we bought the game because it provided a starting point. Back then, keep in mind that there was exactly one choice to pick from. Now, with hundreds of RPGs on the market, one might shop around to find something that fits your style but back then there weren't all of those choices.

It's also interesting to read accounts of the original campaigns, and to realize that neither Dave nor Gary actually played by the rules in the boxed set. Part of the fun of the day was having stuff happen behind the screen where the players didn't exactly know the odds or didn't have access to all of the charts. Some of the players from that time have told me that to this day they don't think they have actually played D&D, as their experiences don't exactly match what they see in the rulebooks.

My group didn't know any of this back in the day, however, and we assumed that we were "supposed" to use the rules as guidelines and then fill in the gaps as needed. It is funny to read the old editorials in Strategic Review and Dragon, and to see how they change from "don't ask me about this stuff" to "follow my guidance exactly and buy my books." :D

So I have been enamored with Highlander (The First Movie and the Live action TV Series) especially as a Tabletop RPG setting.
How would such a game work when the goal of the game is for the PCs to kill each other until only one remains?
How did the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG work? I think they only allowed one player to be a Slayer and the others took support roles.

I don't remember the Highlander TV show much, but I think there was one main Highlander for the series and other characters mostly had support roles. I would imagine that this is how a Highlander RPG would probably work.

My slant on that same idea is that 5E was (mostly well) designed to be modular but many of the modules were never developed because WotC spent too much time writing D&D fan fiction.
I think that the "modular" aspect is that you can add or remove certain components of the rules or character creation and the game still works well. For example, if one wants a really old school vibe one can remove skills and backgrounds and the game has an older feel to it. The free "basic" PDF with only a "core four" class approach shows that you really don't need all of the extra classes and class options. I think that this is what they meant, and I feel like 5E delivered something like that.

Is there any any 5E fiction? I haven't really kept up. Most of the D&D fiction that I've seen seems to be Dragonlance or older Forgotten Realms stuff.

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