Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Of the Tabletop, and other, lesser varieties.

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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby An Enraged Platypus » Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:23 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote: Seems like DnD is the domain of singles and people with low effort jobs. (ie teenagers)
I say this as an enthusiast nerd who spent the ages of 10-25 playing the game.


Not necessarily. Not at all, in fact. If you consider how many people find time to regularly go to sports clubs, or a bar, or even to play multiplayer games/ MMOs with their friends despite having full-time jobs, spouses, and n+1 responsibilities. I would bet my bottom dollar you either go to a pub/bar, watch/attend a sports game, play a sport/take a martial arts class/go to the gym or play an MMO for one night a week, and could in principle swap that free time out for a session.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:15 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:I am curious how people other than teenagers have the time to enjoy the game.
Between work, family (damn wife), responsibility of maintaining a home/cars/other, I don't see how any adult would have the time.
Easy.

1. It's just like getting together with any other group of people for a few hours on a semi-regular basis. You set a day and time, make sure it works for everyone, move it when necessary, and go from there. My Friday (though we've gone Saturday from time to time) game has had the same core group in it for.. oh god, ten years now. God, I'm old. Honestly, our set playtime is about five hours, we usually spend 2-3 of it actually playing, and the remaining time socializing. It's.. no different than watching The Game with friends, or meeting pals in a small neighborhood bar or whatever.

2. You don't roleplay the stupid shit. Buying equipment taking 3 hours? The hell? You buy your shit and get on with it. Now, if you're talking about buying a magic weapon from a particular wizard or something, that's fine. But if you're roleplaying buying a standard, no frills maybe masterwork longsword...... I mean, if you find that fun, more power to you. I nor my group do, so that's just done on the "I buy this" method, with the DM telling us what price modifiers are in place. There's.. so much more time spent doing useful roleplaying to get in good with people who may sell things that roleplaying out a business transaction is.. silly. Yes, if you buy from Havar he'll give you 25% off because you totally saved the town, while if you buy from Morika, the traveling merchant (selling the magic items) you pay full price because Morika wasn't here and doesn't care. Saves time that way to do the stupid 1-on-1 stuff that doesn't ultimately matter in a quick sort of way.

And frankly, a lot of the more involve purchases are done via e-mail between sessions. Do the rest of us care that the dwarf is haggling with the local arms merchant over an axe that needs a certain design etched into it and an extended grip with a loop so he can tie it to his belt? No. Can the guy playing the dwarf take care of all that over e-mail or text or something, and just show up next week with a "Oh, while we had that week of downtime, I bought this axe with a dragon on it blah blah blah"? Sure! Happens all the time.

3. Assuming everyone else is roughly of the same age, there is a certain amount of metagaming that goes on that you just go with and don't worry about. At age 18, 19.. we'd spend hours trying to figure out why Tom's character would want to run with the group and finally coming up with a completely logical reason that an Elven Ranger would, upon meeting two dwarves, a half-orc and a human, throw in with them and help them. And it was fun, at the time. These days, at age 30+? Shrug and the Elven PC gets in because while we could spend hours figuring out the reason, we'd much rather just assume there's a good reason and get on with it.

Similar thing with the adventure and the party and so on. In the current game, the whole thing started with the players needing a reason to take down a particular threat, and from there the city would start hiring them to do certain tasks. Now, I could spend hours figuring out why my character, with the problem solved, would continue to hang out with these people. Or I could just run with it, and in a few more sessions the reason is both because the money's better than not having a job and because these are my friends... and maybe something about wanting to keep the city going or the desire to solve the mystery or whatever... but really, a lot of it goes right back to the Metagaming Principle of - This is the adventure. The DM has certain bits of information to work with, but cannot possibly plan for every potential eventuality. So while it's fine to get off the rails now and again to look at the flowers or maybe even find a shortcut, getting on a rocket ship and blasting off for the moon is a goddamn dick move on my part. That's metagaming, sure, but it works for a smoother experience for everyone, myself included.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Ixtellor » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:58 pm UTC

An Enraged Platypus wrote:
Not necessarily. Not at all, in fact. If you consider how many people find time to regularly go to sports clubs, or a bar, or even to play multiplayer games/ MMOs with their friends despite having full-time jobs, spouses, and n+1 responsibilities. I would bet my bottom dollar you either go to a pub/bar, watch/attend a sports game, play a sport/take a martial arts class/go to the gym or play an MMO for one night a week, and could in principle swap that free time out for a session.


Yes I play an MMO. But my guild of the same RL friends that love DnD can't even find the time to coordinate doing a 'raid' togeather. Yes I watch football on Sundays, but I never really know how much, or which game I will watch that day. Maybe its the night game, maybe its the day game. Too much stuff comes up. Maybe I am the freak, but this occurs with my friends as well. "Can't make it tonight the kids sick" or "Can't make it tonight we have to have dinner at my wife's boss house".

It takes months ahead of scheduling to spend 'guy' with more than one friend at a time.
Its the regular commitment that is difficult, and only becomes a nightmare when you talk about 6-10 guys with wives, kids, and 'important' jobs.

SecondTalon wrote:Assuming everyone else is roughly of the same age, there is a certain amount of metagaming that goes on that you just go with and don't worry about. At age 18, 19.. we'd spend hours trying to figure out why Tom's character would want to run with the group and finally coming up with a completely logical reason that an Elven Ranger would, upon meeting two dwarves, a half-orc and a human, throw in with them and help them. And it was fun, at the time. These days, at age 30+? Shrug and the Elven PC gets in because while we could spend hours figuring out the reason, we'd much rather just assume there's a good reason and get on with it.


That is D&D to me. For me, and most of my group, its all about an attachment and over-arching role playing experience for a single character. I would never play a game where it was "Heres a 7th dwarf cleric named Balrock, get your spells ready".

To me D&D was a 'love affair' with the character, the concept, and that characters adventures in the imaginary world that maintains a consistant ideological and thematic experience. No, "What do you mean there is now a 'half orc assassin' in the group?". Homey don't play that, only thing I see is a dead half orc assassin, "I draw my sword".. that I bought from Jundkor the famous sword maker of Nalnathrak after agreeing to give his youngest son Brolicon archery lessons.

I realize you guys are all trying to help. Thanks for the input. D&D as I like to play it just doesn't have room in my life, and I suppose a few other out there might share the same experience.

It is good to know people are keeping it alive.


P.S. Question: Record amount of time you spent creating a level 1 character. In all my D&D years (er after the middle school years) character creation was a full day(literally) endevour.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:04 pm UTC

I suppose it depends on what you mean by Character Creation.

If, for example, you tell me we're playing a game and that we're rolling up characters in twelve days or so, and you outline the concept of what the game will be about, I'll get a couple of characters roughly done in my head, and then find out what everyone else is playing. I'll then pick the one that'll fit in best to round out the party, and further refine the character, and start thinking about personality, likes, dislikes, appearance, and so on.

But when it's time to roll up the character? I dunno.. thirty minutes, max? I've got everything else done in my head, the rest is just bookkeeping.

Ixtellor wrote:That is D&D to me. For me, and most of my group, its all about an attachment and over-arching role playing experience for a single character. I would never play a game where it was "Heres a 7th dwarf cleric named Balrock, get your spells ready".

See, for me.. I don't really care about what happened to anyone else's character before my character met them. If they want to share something, neat, I'll learn. If they don't, then I won't have a clue. I've got my character backstory down (except in the one case I played an amnesiac Warforged, but I digress) and I'll share with everyone else what is and is not relevant.... but even then, they don't really care.

What they do care about is what I'm doing now, with the party. How my character reacts to things, how their characters react, who best to pick for certain infiltration situations and so on. The shared history I have with them.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby pseudoidiot » Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:47 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:Too much stuff comes up. Maybe I am the freak, but this occurs with my friends as well. "Can't make it tonight the kids sick" or "Can't make it tonight we have to have dinner at my wife's boss house".
My gaming group consists of 6 people. Sort of 5 right now as someone has a newborn and we know he'll be indisposed for a while. Anyhow, it's pretty common that one or two people need to cancel for one reason or another. That doesn't keep the rest of us from meeting. This current group has been playing together for nearly a year at this point and there have been very few weeks where we cancelled altogether. Of the 6 of us, 3 have young children, 5 are married or dating, we all have full-time jobs, some of us have jobs that require long hours, and some of us have jobs that require occasional travel.

Anyhow, what we set out to do from the beginning is choose games and story premises that can handle regular absentees. Pretty much as long as 3 of us can make it we game. If the GM is one of the people that can't make it on a given week the rest of us meet up and do something else -- board games, card games, or someone (usually me) runs a one-shot of something.

It's worked out extraordinarily well so far. I ran In A Wicked Age for a while, which is already meant to be episodic in nature, so it worked extremely well for this situation. After that I ran FreeMarket for a bit, which also handles missing players quite well. Now we've switched to Burning Wheel, which depending on the setup can manage just fine.

Anyhow, that may not work for everyone, but I've mentioned this to other people before and it's something a number of people hadn't thought of before, apparently.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:00 pm UTC

Perhaps I should have mentioned that as well. My group is currently seven total, with an eighth who used to be able to Skype in to play, but now is on the East Coast and busy with his job blah blah blah may make it back.

Anyway, point being, so long as five of the seven can get together, we usually go ahead and continue with the game.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby An Enraged Platypus » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:08 pm UTC

D&D has mostly been kick the door down for me. It's about how amusing the traps are this week or how creative the puzzles are, and the solutions. One of my all-time favourite sessions as a player had me, an undead sourceror, trapped in an endless vacuum, with no means of casting spells or having the party find me. In the end I got out because we had looted a random Staff of Fire Extinguishing a couple sessions back, which at the time the DM ruled generated a cloud of carbon dioxide. So I made a temporary atmosphere long enough to cast more spells to put a bubble around me to keep an atmosphere in - boom, no longer silenced, teleported out.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Vaniver » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:24 am UTC

Chen wrote:Also I don't know if in general we're doing something wrong, but I found there was almost NO risk of player death in 4th.
I think this was intentional. Honestly, I prefer players to not die, because it makes it easier for everyone to invest in them. You can still have nasty things happen if people lose fights, and have fights that seem difficult but aren't deadly. (Something like "your character now has a permanent limp, -1 speed" happening when a character dies is probably better than "welp, you go to the temple and get resurrected, minus 500 gold.")
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:06 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:I think this was intentional. Honestly, I prefer players to not die, because it makes it easier for everyone to invest in them. You can still have nasty things happen if people lose fights, and have fights that seem difficult but aren't deadly. (Something like "your character now has a permanent limp, -1 speed" happening when a character dies is probably better than "welp, you go to the temple and get resurrected, minus 500 gold.")


1) Seems like being hard to die would alter the way people play and remove that incentive to be more thoughtful in your actions.

2) Resurrected for 500 gold is way to monty hall for my tastes. Death in my group was death until we hit much higher levels and even then inter-party politics frequently prevented ressurections.

SecondTalon wrote:See, for me.. I don't really care about what happened to anyone else's character before my character met them.


Why are you 'adventuring with them'. For me, my opinion, I am not going to go 'slay a dragon' with some random people I just met. In my gaming days, the only time characters were just thrown togeather is if someone died and the rolled up a new character. Then that character would be treated like a distrusted outsider. Basically the problem being, for me, D&D isn't fun without total character immersion.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:00 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:Why are you 'adventuring with them'. For me, my opinion, I am not going to go 'slay a dragon' with some random people I just met. In my gaming days, the only time characters were just thrown togeather is if someone died and the rolled up a new character. Then that character would be treated like a distrusted outsider. Basically the problem being, for me, D&D isn't fun without total character immersion.
In our current game? Because a fortune telling witch drug us all to a meeting, told us where a particular drug-dealing lowlife could be found that had wronged all of us (in my case, killed my son), and after that bit of knowledge got out the local constables decided to employ the team that had managed to track him down and bring him to justice, so the party tracked me down and.. hey, I could use the paycheck. And the perks of essentially having the Key to the City are nice too.

Also the fortune telling witch was actually dead and now occasionally talks to me because I took her harrow deck after I found her severed head in said drug-dealing lowlife's possessions.

But mostly at this point as a way at getting back at said drug-dealing lowlife's business associates.

Now, do I care what the Dwarf Couple's problem with the lowlife was? Or the fireslinging gnome? Or the creepy girl who hangs out with the... thing*? Or the priest? Not really. They helped me, I helped them, we work together when needed and do our own thing the rest of the time.

*Seriously, the description of her eidelon as I see it is Slenderman and the Cheshire Cat got together and had a kid. Creepy fucking thing.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Gelsamel » Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:53 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:To me D&D was a 'love affair' with the character, the concept, and that characters adventures in the imaginary world that maintains a consistant ideological and thematic experience. No, "What do you mean there is now a 'half orc assassin' in the group?". Homey don't play that, only thing I see is a dead half orc assassin, "I draw my sword".. that I bought from Jundkor the famous sword maker of Nalnathrak after agreeing to give his youngest son Brolicon archery lessons.


This is exactly how I play D&D and exactly why I only really ever do it play by post. It's just too hard to do it in real life and real time even if I could it's impossible to find people who feel the same way, let alone a DM who will enable it.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Enokh » Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:04 am UTC

So, I'm looking in to running an Eberron campaign, and now spend my brief moments of respite at work jotting down various idea for plots/encounters/traps etc. Some of them are just little two-sentence idea, some of them are fully thought-out deals. I kind of have this thing -- from watching games suddenly go off the rails and the DM fumbling for a session or two -- where I feel I need to have a LOT of stuff prepared. I've been in too many games where the "epic plot" or whathaveyou feels too contrived and lacking in any sort of motivation from the player's perspective unless it's a "the world is ending" plot. I also feel like low-level adventurers should go on non-epic adventures.

As such: Do any of you have encounters or plots that you feel are Iconic to D&D? This is Eberron, so I'm going for more of an action-y feel, but one of the most important rules of that setting is that everything in D&D exists in it, somehow, so anything goes. Obviously both dragons and dungeons would be considered iconic, but with Eberron I can't help but do things like Airship Pirates or Train/Lightning Rail Robberies (with the players either as would-be victims or as perpetrators).
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:15 am UTC

The Goblin-Orc-Something nastier chain is a classic. Party is drawn into an encounter with Goblins, only to find they work for a group of Orcs, only to find they work for something else..
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Coin » Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:32 am UTC

To me some kind of "Yojimbo"/"For a fistful of dollars"/"Last man standing" is a classic when it comes to D&D.
Two warring factions in a town far away from the law. Who are you going to side with? Are you going to play them off against each other? What about the people living in the town?
Plenty of room for side quests as well.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Enokh » Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:21 pm UTC

Coin: I like that! Easy to plop down on the fringes, too, in a post-Last War era.

ST: That's a bit more subtle than what I was thinking -- I was just going to go from a bunch of mooks to the "something nastier" bit. Like a large camp of strangely well equipped goblins that are led by a Beholder that hangs out in it's tent until the fighting is finished. Though, Pathfinder doesn't have Beholders, which is a shame. Or not, since Beholders were kind of a beating for their CR.

Also just had a funny idea in which there's an encounter with a LARGE number of goblins, all of which are led by an aforementioned "something nastier". That something nastier has a hat of disguise, or can cast Alter Self, and makes itself look like a goblin which jumps in the middle of the horde. Should make for some good laughs.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Will » Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:52 pm UTC

There's nothing stopping you from running a 3.5 beholder in Pathfinder; about the only thing you have to redo is its skills. Pathfinder was sortof designed that way. It might be a little bit easier, though, because Pathfinder characters are a bit more powerful than their 3.5 counterparts.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Coin » Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:46 pm UTC

Another one that springs to mind when reading about Eberron:
A "rogue" mining operation in the Mournlands. - If they get in over their head in some fight then maybe instead of killing them off they can be captured and sold as slaves there. Escape ensues.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Enokh » Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:22 pm UTC

I try REALLY hard to avoid imprisonment, unless it's by someone that they aren't necessarily enemies with -- say, the local Constables arrest the party because they're tied to so much of the shit that's happening, but the constables don't really want to hurt them because their reputation is that of being good guys, and the party doesn't want to resist too hard because they don't want to go around killing other good guys.

Otherwise, anyone with a brain would either cut the tongue out of all spellcasters' mouths, or kill them outright. They just aren't worth the trouble when it comes to mining operations. Really, any slaver should just kill anyone that has any magic item on them. Though I guess this comes down to whether or not I want my NPCs to be Genre Savvy or not.

Might have the party be put in a situation where they have to infiltrate a labor camp by posing as regular people and riding back and forth on dangerous roads until they're captured, though. That could be fun.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby BlackSails » Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:32 am UTC

Enokh wrote:Otherwise, anyone with a brain would either cut the tongue out of all spellcasters' mouths, or kill them outright. They just aren't worth the trouble when it comes to mining operations. Really, any slaver should just kill anyone that has any magic item on them. Though I guess this comes down to whether or not I want my NPCs to be Genre Savvy or not.


Who says they are willing to murder prisoners? Also, tome of battle characters are super awesome at breaking out of jail, since from inside an antimagic field they can shatter walls. (Or iron heart surge the antimagic field)
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Coin » Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:39 am UTC

After a round of Mount and Blade: With Fire and Sword in which I had to fire half my army in order to get enough speed to catch up with a courier for a special mission, I had another idea for a series of D&D missions.

Riding the Tiger - After performing a delicate service for an employer he/she hints at having a superior in need of people with tact and finesse. After agreeing to a meeting with said boss it turns out that the person requires assistance in retrieving a certain valuable parcel from a supplier. The group agrees and rides of to a another town where the agent waits. Some codeword or insignia is handed over and the parcel received with some magical seal to prevent tampering. As the group delivers the parcel to the employer it turns out that the content isn't as it should be and your employer, who happens to command considerable power (be it magical, physical or what ever is suitable to intimidate the group), also has a bad temper and directs it all onto the group. After a threatening conversation the group agrees to go find the agent again and track down the original parcel as the alternative is far too violent to consider (or if they pick "fight" they get a fun fight of some sort).

If the group chooses to accept the new mission they get sent back to see the agent, but accompanied by another of the employers goons to keep an eye on the group. Well back in the town where the agent is supposed to be it turns out that a bit of detective work is necessary. Chatting in taverns, speaking to tramps, accosting thieves or perhaps divination of some sort. If problems arise the goon can help things along. The result is that The Princess is in Another Castle, but the agent didn't leave too long ago. Back on the roads and chase the agent down, either still on the road or catching up with him/her in a village on the way. The agent, it turns out, has been bribed by a rival to the big boss who gave you the task and refuses to cooperate. If pressed, the agent will attack. Either way the team has to return empty handed. From here the chain of missions should escalate with the increasingly deranged employer enlisting the group in the vendetta against the rival, where more and more violent and/or crazy acts of sabotage, thefts, attempts at finding the valuable box etc. ensue. This is where "Riding the Tiger" becomes interesting because the missions should escalate so high that the group must ask themselves if they really want to continue doing the bidding of their mad employer or if they should risk trying to get out of the situation. Choices, choices...
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Woopate » Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:40 pm UTC

Hey all,
The D&D group I run is about to shelf D&D for a while in favor of Serenity RPG(too cool to pass up). So I've done some research on the system to find out it's weaknesses and strengths and thought I'd come over here to run my thoughts past you cool people. SPOILERED for people who have no knowledge or interest in Serenity RPG or space cowboy style systems in general.
Spoiler:
The first thing that I thought might be a problem would be conflict of roles. Multiple people wanting to be pilot/captain/first mate etc. The solution I thought up was to select roles by lottery before the actual character rolling started, having no real hard requirements on what skills or attributes your character has to have, but that at some point somebody thought they should hire you for that job. Most of my players seem pretty enthusiastic about this idea. Anybody try similar things? This is more of a generic "space opera" issue than a Serenity exclusive one.

One of the biggest criticisms I found of the system online is it's fundamental rolling mechanic, and how no matter your skill level you can still fumble rolls on even basic tasks unless you burn plot points like a mad fiend. I have a bunch of options on how to correct this, from converting the Dr. Who fundamental rolling system(purported to be easy), to just making the easier tasks become auto-successes as the characters progress.

A third issue I've read about is the plot-point banking to increase advancement points, incentivising saving plot points instead of spending them on rolls, exasperating the above problems with random rolls. I've been toying with either reducing the impact of plot point banking or throwing out benefits to saving them altogether.

Another thing that I'm a little uncertain about is how much say I should let my players have in the design of their ship. The ship plays a huge role in Serenity and this is reflected in that it gets it's own freakin' character sheet rolled the same way as any PC. Initial ideas for the crew getting their hands on a ship involve breaking into an Alliance Impound lot (they mention in the show that they auction off confiscated vessels. I decided this happens like it does where I live where they put them all in a big lot somewhere till a fixed auction date. Thing is, should I let them design the ship they ultimately take? Give them a budget and a "no external guns" rule and let them go wild? Or should I take a selection of the many many many ship designs I've found, modify them slightly (they were all previously used by criminals after all), and force the players to choose from those?

Thanks
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby BoomFrog » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:41 pm UTC

1) Sounds fine, although if you have a mix of min-maxers and relaxed players you should probably double check the relaxed players characters sheets to make sure they are at least competent enough at thier job.
2) I haven't read the rules at all but this kind of thing can mostly be solved by only asking for roles in actually serious situations. Basically yeah, have auto-success for anything that should be easy for someone with that skill. Untrained always roles. :D
3) If you don't give anything for saved points people with points left over when they refreash will feel cheated. Maybe do it like cell phone minutes and you can save plot points up to double what you start with? That should strike a balance between encoraging hording and encoraging reckless spending.
4) They will be picking a ship out of dozens available right? Ideally I'd say end the first adventure with, "You take off" (maybe end with a cliff hanger, "You take off and see two atmospheric fighters moving to intercept"). Anyway, during the first mission they will spend some effort selecting a ship to steal, maybe they look through a database, or maybe they just look around and pick a sleek looking one. Prepare a short database list of like six, and pictures so they can pick one. Then based on that let them design the ship before session 2. BUT when they finish make your own secret changes such as, "This gun is fried and will explode if fired and is useles either way", "there's secret smuggeling compartments here full of gernades and rootbeer", and crazy stuff like that. Use the secret changes to make the ship balanced to what you origonally wanted.

Hope that helps.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby halbarad » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:44 pm UTC

First session playing D&D in a while and we're sailing to a new-ish Island that's recently been discovered due to magic or something hiding it from people. Things are going well till we come across a stricken ship floating a mile or so ahead. We being the adventures decided to go investigate and possibly claim treasure for our cause (whatver that is, I'm not entirely certain but probably requires us to accuire treasure whenever possible). On board the ship we do a bit of searching around and come across some pirates in the middle of looting themselves. Our party jumps into action as more pirates burst out of another room. My Goblin Artificer decides that we need to stem this tide of enemies and throws a fireball (from a necklace of fireball) into the room they appeared from. Due to enclosed spaces and only one reasonable exit (the door the fireball went through) everyone died after I took a nice hit from the fireball and the necklace exploded, and the wizard who wasn't too far away with another necklace also exploded, and the gun powder onboard also exploded.

We all die within about an hour of the game starting.

DM decided to heavily fudge things and some unknown plot happens as I've just ruined all his carefully laid plans (as I'm sure is the entire purpose of players in games). We all wake up in various parts of a necormancers castle and stuff happens from there.

Seems like a good way to get back into D&D after a very long break (for myself at least) from playing. Next week we have access to a big pile of magical goodies to spread out and cause havoc with.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby The Utilitarian » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:51 am UTC

I'm... somewhat uncertain what the enclosed spaces would have had to do with anything.... unless you were in the room into which you threw the fireball... while wearing the fireball necklace. Which i have to say is the most extravagant suicide I've ever seen ^_^
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Coin » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:01 am UTC

The Utilitarian wrote:I'm... somewhat uncertain what the enclosed spaces would have had to do with anything.... unless you were in the room into which you threw the fireball... while wearing the fireball necklace. Which i have to say is the most extravagant suicide I've ever seen ^_^

I think that, while a fireball out in the open would spread out in a nice circle, when cast into a small compartment will produce something of a backlash as there isn't enough space to contain all of the explosion. It "spills" out if you will.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby halbarad » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:57 am UTC

Coin wrote:
The Utilitarian wrote:I'm... somewhat uncertain what the enclosed spaces would have had to do with anything.... unless you were in the room into which you threw the fireball... while wearing the fireball necklace. Which i have to say is the most extravagant suicide I've ever seen ^_^

I think that, while a fireball out in the open would spread out in a nice circle, when cast into a small compartment will produce something of a backlash as there isn't enough space to contain all of the explosion. It "spills" out if you will.


That's pretty much what happened, and to a degree what I expected to happen. I just didn't expect quite as much "mushrooming" as it were. I expected a pillar style effect from the doorway and didn't think that the fire would then blossom outwards as well.

Everyone took it well, lots of laughing at it and the DM was able to adapt pretty well so it wasn't too bad.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Chen » Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:39 pm UTC

Fireball is a 20ft radius spread (in 3rd and 3.5). It'll basically make a circle with radius 20 from the target point that spreads around obstacles. It won't get BIGGER for a confined area though. In 2nd ed I recall it could overlap itself in small contained areas and cause more damage, but I don't recall it getting bigger there either.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:58 pm UTC

Exactly. It can be blocked by walls and such, but that doesn't create a blastwave larger than it's designated radius.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby hendusoone » Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:34 pm UTC

However, if said small room was full of something explosive... say, barrels of gunpowder...

And if the hold of the ship also had similar contents...

I think you see where this is going.


But the fireball itself? Yeah, fireball doesn't work that way.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Yakk » Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:15 pm UTC

You are just trying to get early edition D&D players killed with talk like that.

33,000 cu ft of killed.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Azrael001 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:16 pm UTC

One could create an interesting canon or gun which focuses a fireball out it's front by shooting it down the barrel to the back of a closed tube. Especially if one uses the cubic feet version of it. If using a canon with a barrel area of one foot, it can shoot 6.25 miles. Smaller tubes seem almost pointless, though they'd be lighter.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Enokh » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:33 pm UTC

Wouldn't it fan out when it came out of the barrel, though, instead of going in a straight line? I'm not familiar with how old-school fireballs work. I do remember awesome stories about lightning bolts that bounce, though.

Thanks for the various ideas, folks!
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Azrael001 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:55 pm UTC

Probably, but shooting a directional fireball in a cone would still be pretty powerful.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Garrett » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:11 pm UTC

Here are some funny stories from various tabletop RPGs and also the host, Spoony, is a great example of what a good DM should be:
http://spoonyexperiment.com/category/counter-monkey/

Man, I didn't play any TRPG in like... 4 years. Not good, need to fix it.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby The Utilitarian » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:22 am UTC

halbarad wrote:That's pretty much what happened, and to a degree what I expected to happen. I just didn't expect quite as much "mushrooming" as it were. I expected a pillar style effect from the doorway and didn't think that the fire would then blossom outwards as well.

Everyone took it well, lots of laughing at it and the DM was able to adapt pretty well so it wasn't too bad.


Well, you can feel assured in what happened having absolutely nothing to do with the way fireballs work in D&D 3.0/3.5. Pure houserule.

I tell you what though that's how explosions DO work in Shadowrun and oh boy does it make mages a pain.

*make large cylinder force wall around opponents*
*toss grenade over the top*
*chunky salsa*
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby beatlesfan42 » Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:45 am UTC

First time D&D player here. Someone at my school has picked up a copy of 3.5 and we're finally starting a D&D group! Unfortunately, our DM has only DM'd once, and none of the rest of us have played beyond making the character sheets. So, I was wondering if you good xkcd forum people could toss a few hints our way to make the first time enjoyable?
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby The Utilitarian » Sat Mar 10, 2012 7:00 pm UTC

beatlesfan42 wrote:First time D&D player here. Someone at my school has picked up a copy of 3.5 and we're finally starting a D&D group! Unfortunately, our DM has only DM'd once, and none of the rest of us have played beyond making the character sheets. So, I was wondering if you good xkcd forum people could toss a few hints our way to make the first time enjoyable?

That... is a big, big question. Like... wow.

For starters I would suggest picking up a pre-generated campaign to play for your first time, it'll make things easier for your DM and ensure that the encounters are reasonable scaled to your party's levels. Accurately pegging encounter difficulty is something of an art in 3.5 since many monsters range hugely in difficulty despite having the same Challenge Rating.
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Re: gardening (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby beatlesfan42 » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:27 pm UTC

Thanks for the help! It can be a little... overwhelming... to look at the Player Handbook and realize, "Hey, these are just a part of the rules. Holy crap."
Also, maybe it's just D&D lingo (I don't think so...), but what do you mean by picking your nose? XD
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Re: gardening (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:15 am UTC

You came on board at an interesting time. A forum holiday, that lasts a week. Moderator Madness. Mod Madness.

We mess with the word filters. Things get.... Interesting.

But the altered phrase was about acquiring from a store or some such similar place, a pre-made module.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Garm » Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:13 pm UTC

I agree with The Utilitarian. Use a module/adventure. There are about a billion recommendations online. Learning the game and learning to DM and trying to create a world and make an adventure there is pretty complicated.

Don't get too worried about screwing things up.
Don't rules lawyer during a session, just figure out something that seems sane to you and play that way for the rest of the evening.
Read the DMing tips online and in the DM guide. There's some good advice for n00bs in there.
Have everyone watch this video and use it as a cautionary tale. Try not to interrupt the DM and keep out of character talk to a minimum.
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