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The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

All discussions regarding Board, Card, and RPG Gaming, including industry discussion, that don't belong in one of the other gaming forums.

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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by AWS260 » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:07 am

Someone try this and report back.

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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Blackhawk » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:19 pm

My group was supposed to be launching our Masks (PBtA) campaign this week, but we have a player that will be moving that day. I prefer to have everyone present for the first session due to the way the characters' interconnections are established during creation. I have another player (my exish) joining the group the same day. She's played some D&D, but not since the early 90s, and not a lot then.

So instead, I'll be running one or two playbooks of Fiasco. I've only played once myself, so I'm having to get my head around the system right now. It's my hope that it will be a good bridge between our previous mechanics-based RPG systems and the more improv/story based systems I want to focus on going forward. I just hope that it doesn't overwhelm my new player.
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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Blackhawk » Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:43 am

The Fiasco game went beautifully.

The Masks game did not. I fell flat on my face as a GM. For one thing, while I know comic books, I have no experience in running games based around comic book tropes. The larger issue, though, is that I have a really hard time grasping social interaction, human nature, and emotions. And Masks is built off of all of those. You don't take damage, you take emotional states. You gain Hopeless, or Insecure, or Guilty. Much of the story is about the characters dealing with each other and being manipulated by adults, some benevolent, some not (teachers, parents, even villains.) It's all about pulling people strings, manipulating their self image and emotional states.

For an autistic GM, it's like a blind man trying to GM blue.
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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Blackhawk » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:32 am

My group was completely willing to switch to something else - in this case Dungeon World. Both it and Masks are built off of the same set of rules (Apocalypse World), but what they do with it is night-and-day. I'd strongly suggest that if you're looking to try out Powered by the Apocalypse engine RPGs, don't start with Masks. I had no idea how obtuse it was. Learning Dungeon World is so much easier, and not just because of the concepts. The way they're explained, the way they're used, is completely different. DW handles them in a straightforward manner, while Masks makes them extremely... abstract?

Masks is a great game, don't get me wrong, but if PbtA is a canvas, then Dungeon World is impressionism, while Masks is abstract. You look at DW and say, "Ah, this is a fruit, it could be an apple, pomegrantate, or tomato, it is undeniably a fruit!" You look at Masks and say, "This is... red, with... a swirl and one corner?"
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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by AWS260 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:32 am

I just stumbled upon the charming Dungeon of Encouragement. Trigger warnings: Facebook, memes.

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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by wire » Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:30 pm

I had been playing Pathfinder Rise of the Runelords adventure for the past year with a Meetup group. We met every two weeks on a Saturday and we slowly lost people as we went along. After three sessions in a row with only myself and the DM being available he deleted the Meetup page and the adventure is over. My Investigator was just starting to get good. He had a ton of skills so was useful for knowledge checks and being able do roguish stuff but fighting wise a bit of a lightweight until level 7, which I had just made.

The bright side is the DM also hosted a Friday night game with different people and he invited me and I'm now trying to figure out how to play Shadowrun 5th Edition. That is one complicated game using a crap ton of 6 sided dice for everything. Having played the PC games I have a good understanding of the setting (being from Seattle it's fun seeing the futuristic side of it) and how the roles work. The rules are another matter...so many of them.

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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Blackhawk » Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:11 pm

I played a few sessions of RotRL, until the GM handed us a TPK (killed us all.) It's been on my shortlist to run for a while (although not in Pathfinder - maybe 5e.)
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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Smoove_B » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:56 pm

Over the summer I picked up a starter copy of the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG system. It's a ~50 page booklet given as part of Free RPG Day, seemingly done annually and I was mainly interested in it based on some reviews I'd read. While I've played a half a dozen or so PnP RPGs, my ties are closest to the D&D "Red Box" era of games and subsequently AD&D. This system was allegedly created out of a love for RPGs in the 70s and 80s and based on what I've read, it certainly feels like it - and not just because he has some of the same D&D and AD&D artists contributing to the book.

The one really interesting thing I like is that when you start a new campaign or adventure, the players are all supposed to roll up 3 level 0 characters, with a high reliance on random die rolls to determine skills, race and starting items. The general philosophy is that the game is best when there's complete randomness in creation as players will really have a stronger connection to their characters that survive and actually make it to 1st level and declare a profession. The system is very much against min/maxing and seemingly created to force creativity. It's not something I'm used to seeing but after processing it a bit, actually think it's a great idea.

The one thing that surprised me is the table-based nature of resolution. In this sense it reminded me a bit more of MERP or Role Master where you're rolling dice for spells or critical attacks and checking against a table to see the exact result. I always liked that in MERP so to see a version of that in a D&D-like system is pretty cool as well.

Anyway, the DCC system has apparently been around for a while in various forms, but as I just heard of it in the last year, I figured I'd mention it.

I didn't realize it either, but the author has apparently partnered with WotC to convert classic adventures to the DCC format. Into the Borderlands combines B1 and B2 and he's currently working on The Isle of Dread (X1).

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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Blackhawk » Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:22 am

To be honest, random characters were the thing I always hated about early D&D. The guy who hated clerics, but really, really wanted to try a ranger would always end up with high Wis, low Dex characters and be forced to play something that didn't resonate with them. The core of a good RPG, to me, is the connection of players to their characters and how that comes out in the story. Forcing someone into a character they don't like because the dice said so doesn't appeal to me.
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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Smoove_B » Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:01 am

Normally I'd be with you completely, but the way it's structured all players start at level 0 and you're given a random non-hero related profession, gear, and some money. Assuming you survive your first dungeon adventure you then get to pick your hero class (unless you're a dwarf, elf or halfling). In this way it feels like it would be more developed as you're adventuring as a nothing first - answering a call and ultimately developing into a hero.

I dunno. It's not identical to the D&D random character creation. I wish the quickstart rules were free to share so you could see what I'm talking about, but the does have a $2 PDF online (I have a print copy). I think I like it because my most memorable characters weren't ones that I created in a certain way from the get-go. Instead they were characters that started out rather nebulous and ultimately developed into something based on how the campaign unfolded. I did have to start with a class, but they were non-traditional in execution based on the campaign circumstances.

But sure, for someone that really, really wants to play the game as a Halfling Ranger, this system isn't going to work.

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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Daehawk » Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:47 pm

The amazing deluxe commemorative edition of The Art of Dungeons and Dragons is out today
Today marks the publication of the $100 Dungeons and Dragons Art and Arcana box-set, which contains a 400-page retrospective of the classic art of D&D, a reprint of the notoriously hard Tomb of Horrors module (designed by Gary Gygax to challenge the most overpowered characters), and frameable lithos.
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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Smoove_B » Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:48 pm

Didn't get the commemorative edition, but the regular one is en route!

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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Blackhawk » Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:05 pm

Huh, that's cool!
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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Smoove_B » Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:28 am

My copy arrived yesterday and it's ridiculous. If you have any connection to D&D or AD&D from the 70s and 80s, add this thing to your holiday wishlist. Anything and everything art related is inside. Video games, module sketch work, calendars, toys, video games - it's completely awesome.
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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Smoove_B » Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:34 am

I picked up a retail copy of Kids on Bikes as I was intrigued by the idea:
The Adventures of Kids on Bikes take place in small towns at any point in history before:

Everyone had a camera phone that could catch video of a Ghost
Use GPS to track a Homicidal Maniac roaming around town
Research an old creaky house in seconds using Google

Kids on Bikes takes place in a more mysterious time, where anything and everything *could* happen.
Not surprising, it has some strong ties to pop culture (the title alone should make that obvious). The rules are slim and the overall design isn't something I'm used to. Not only are the rules mostly a framework, but the narrative is player driven (not GM-driven). There's nothing wrong with that, it's just not what I have experience in running or playing.

All that being said, I do like how they give you so many story "hooks" - both for the players and how the players might know (and feel about) each other. The edition I have included about 20 or so story prompts, created for areas all over the United States. Again, they're really broad outlines of small towns that have an overview of the unique things about them, some rumors and local characters and places of interest. I think there is a full-fledged module they're working on now that is to be printed in 2019, but I haven't looked too deeply.

Anyway, I'd definitely recommend checking it out if you're looking for something quick, lite and a bit seasonal. :D

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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by MonkeyFinger » Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:10 pm

Blackhawk wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:05 pm
Huh, that's cool!
And only $76 on Amazon right now for the Deluxe Dungeons and Dragons Art and Arcana box-set. :think:
-mf

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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Isgrimnur » Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:30 pm

Silver - 2k

Autobots and Starfleet officers — we fight together!

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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Blackhawk » Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:17 pm

That is an incredible deal.
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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by IceBear » Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:47 pm

Smoove_B wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:01 am
Normally I'd be with you completely, but the way it's structured all players start at level 0 and you're given a random non-hero related profession, gear, and some money. Assuming you survive your first dungeon adventure you then get to pick your hero class (unless you're a dwarf, elf or halfling). In this way it feels like it would be more developed as you're adventuring as a nothing first - answering a call and ultimately developing into a hero.

I dunno. It's not identical to the D&D random character creation. I wish the quickstart rules were free to share so you could see what I'm talking about, but the does have a $2 PDF online (I have a print copy). I think I like it because my most memorable characters weren't ones that I created in a certain way from the get-go. Instead they were characters that started out rather nebulous and ultimately developed into something based on how the campaign unfolded. I did have to start with a class, but they were non-traditional in execution based on the campaign circumstances.

But sure, for someone that really, really wants to play the game as a Halfling Ranger, this system isn't going to work.
Goodman Games (makers of DCC) are awesome and I actively support any of their Kickstarters. I remember pledging $25 for their 4th printing of their DCC core rules and getting this gold leafed tome thicker than all three core D&D books plus some "freebies" they threw in....9 modules, GM screen, dice bag, DCC pencils and a few other items I'm forgetting now.

I too prefer creating the character I want to play as opposed to going by random rolls but on the other hand I've got a ton of systems for that and with the way the funnel works you can kind of protect the character that you want to play anyway. Plus there's this awesome tool for quickly generating a whole stack of level 0 characters.

https://www.purplesorcerer.com/create_party.php

I play it as a palate cleanser from more "serious" modern games when you want to play something feeling like it's the late 70s / early 80s again. The only thing is you really need some Zocchi dice with the d14, d16, d24 and d30. They give you how to roll those with the standard dice but it's more convenient to have a set

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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Smoove_B » Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:08 pm

I did back the DCC Annual from them when the KS ran in October. I'm looking forward to getting a copy. I really like the rules and the fact that he uses TSR-style art (by using the same artists) hits me right in the feels. Even if I never actually play it, I do enjoy the reading of the rules...like a weirdo. :)

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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Zarathud » Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:28 pm

Just signed up to run at least 2 Paranoia sessions at Origins Game Fair, using the latest mission "Truth or Dare." It's like a Philip K Dick adventure.
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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by IceBear » Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:19 pm

Smoove_B wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:08 pm
I did back the DCC Annual from them when the KS ran in October. I'm looking forward to getting a copy. I really like the rules and the fact that he uses TSR-style art (by using the same artists) hits me right in the feels. Even if I never actually play it, I do enjoy the reading of the rules...like a weirdo. :)
Check out their Keep on the Borderlands and Isle of Dread books. They talk about the history of these famous D&D adventures plus include the original and updated modules plus a 5E version of them. Reading the Isle of Dread one really got my nostalgia train running

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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Smoove_B » Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:22 pm

I picked up the re-write of the Keep on Borderlands simply for the nostalgia, yes -- it's fantastic. :D I didn't realize he was also doing the Isle of Dread so I'll look for that as well, thanks.

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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Cylus Maxii » Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:57 pm

What are your experiences about getting back into gaming after a long hiatus? Especially, what about GMing after an extended break?

So here's the story:

I'm thinking of starting a Traveller campaign. Some of my old gaming friends have expressed a lot of interested in playing - if I were to GM again. In fact, they have been hinting that they want me to get back into running Traveller ever since I moved back to Denver (5 years ago).They miss our old core group dynamics, Traveller, and my GM style. But I am out of practice as either a player or a GM. I haven't RPG-gamed at all in about 3 years. It’s been longer since I've run any game. And it’s basically been 15 years since I ran a good ongoing Traveller campaign (spanning years). But I've been wanting to GM and have been developing some pretty interesting campaign ideas over the last several years.

There are basically only two people who GM in our old circle - myself and my best friend. We are both pretty good (or at least I used to be). He primarily runs D&D campaigns with occasional departures into old Beer & Pretzels, casual, RPGs like Gangbusters, or Villains and Vigilantes. He has also dabbled at running Traveller in the past. He was the main GM here when I was away in TX for almost a decade, and has run sporadic games the last 5 years that I have been back. He gets very little opportunity to be a player. Let's face it, he's getting burned out as the GM, and his games have become more and more sporadic. Its definitely been my turn to GM for a while. I have run other stuff like Paranoia, Gamma World, TMNT, RIFTS, even some GURPS back in the day, and of course D&D. Traveller has always been my forte when GMing. I like playing lots of genres, but typically have always run Traveller (Sci-Fi) as a GM. It suits me.

I bought the new Traveller system that came out after Mongoose Publishing picked up the rights about 12 years back. They are also the current publishers of Paranoia. MGP has done a great job with the newest Traveller version. I should know, I have owned every Traveller System over the last 40+ years that it has been around. I still have books for most of the versions, even if some are on DVD or re-print- compendiums. I even have the old GURPs Traveller book and the D20 Traveller book. I'm very familiar with the current MGP system that is based on the original rules. I have probably 90% of the books and supplements that have come out over the last decade. But I haven't run it. My friend ran our last Traveller group because they got all excited about playing again when I moved back to town and introduced them to the newest version. I was busy trying to get settled and he volunteered to run something off-the-cuff. It only went about 4 months (maybe 10 sessions). Still, I have players who also like the new system.

I had been hinting, for several months, at starting a regular weekly game this year. Of course I was hinting at starting one last fall but was still working on getting my house back together. I also have several years of accumulated campaign ideas and also written notes for a setting I am developing using the Traveller rules. Recently my friend and I were talking about sci-fi conventions and he mentioned an old cosplay persona he had partially developed for a Star Trek Federation Marshall (frontier lawman type). I mentioned that a modified version of that character concept would work really great in a Traveller setting, and that has resulted in a lot of excitement and several calls to discuss developing the ideas. He has even generated a couple of versions of the character. The other potential players have begun to call as well...

TLDR - I've got some good ideas to run a fairly long Traveller campaign. I have the gaming system and am familiar. I have a few interested players who like the system. I have some developing momentum in getting a group together. But, I am pretty intimidated about running a game when I'm a decade+ out of practice. Any comments?
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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by IceBear » Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:43 pm

I have never gone more than a few months without GMing but I personally feel it's like riding a bike and you'll quickly get back in the swing of things...I say go for it

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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Smoove_B » Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:47 pm

I can't help, but I can relate. I've been "pressured" to run an A&D adventure and as soon as things calm down, I'd like to. I've been reading and re-reading all the stuff from my D&D closet (no, really) and it definitely all came flooding back. If I was trying to run something I didn't know or I was going to play with all new people, that might be a different story, but I'm also hoping once the rust falls off, it will indeed be like hopping back on a bicycle.

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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by IceBear » Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:00 pm

RPGs are a social contract - everyone is there to have fun and tell a shared story. As long as everyone is aware that you are "rusty" and understanding and willing to give you some time it'll be fine. Old timers will understand and newbies don't know the difference :)

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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by hentzau » Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:52 pm

AWS260 wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:07 am
Someone try this and report back.
Critical Role plays Crash Pandas.

I about peed myself laughing at the end of this damn game.
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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Cylus Maxii » Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:05 pm

IceBear wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:00 pm
RPGs are a social contract - everyone is there to have fun and tell a shared story. As long as everyone is aware that you are "rusty" and understanding and willing to give you some time it'll be fine. Old timers will understand and newbies don't know the difference :)
Agreed.

The core, starting group would all be people I've known 30+ years and who have had me as a Traveller GM for multiple campaigns. One ran 100+ sessions. So I guess it won't be much of a problem.
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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Smoove_B » Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:10 pm

D&D Stranger Things starter set:

Image
Stranger Things themed Dungeons & Dragons: embark on an exciting Dungeons & Dragons adventure, Hunt for the Thessalhydra, "created" By the character Mike from the Netflix original series, Stranger Things

Detailed rules, adventure book and game dice: The exciting adventure book and colorful rulebook contain tons of information on how to play the game, strategy, and tips for players to advance a character beyond the Fifth level, plus 6 Polyhedral dice so you're ready to play
Stranger Things character sheets: play as a favorite stranger things character
Includes 2 Demogorgon figures: The game includes 2 Demogorgon figures, one that players can paint and customize
Somebody in the promotions department deserves a raise - very smart.

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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Blackhawk » Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:58 am

<nerd hat>
Why in the world wouldn't they include a copy of the 1984 Grenadier Demogorgon miniature? The one that jumped up to $300 on ebay after the show? The thing probably costs a buck to make, and people would buy it just to get their hands on the miniature reprint.
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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Zarathud » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:02 am

There was a Grenadier miniature project on Kickstarter which reprinted the Demogorgon.
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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by hepcat » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:18 am

hentzau wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:52 pm
AWS260 wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:07 am
Someone try this and report back.
Critical Role plays Crash Pandas.

I about peed myself laughing at the end of this damn game.
I'm just now seeing this and the equipment table alone had me in tears almost. :lol:
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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by hentzau » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:44 am

hepcat wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:18 am
hentzau wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:52 pm
AWS260 wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:07 am
Someone try this and report back.
Critical Role plays Crash Pandas.

I about peed myself laughing at the end of this damn game.
I'm just now seeing this and the equipment table alone had me in tears almost. :lol:
Seriously, Hep. Watch the video.
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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Blackhawk » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:00 pm

Zarathud wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:02 am
There was a Grenadier miniature project on Kickstarter which reprinted the Demogorgon.
I remember that. It shows how much appeal that miniature has because of the show, and suggests that it would be an excellent selling point for the set!
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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Paingod » Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:22 am

I'm a very rusty GM trying to run Pathfinder for my kids (7/10) and my sister decided she wants to try the next time the boys hang out with her and my mother for a couple days. There's a strange resurgence of nostalgia coming back... I haven't done pen and paper in 24 years. Still have every book, magazine, and even a lot of old hand-made materials to work with... in addition to things like Pathfinder and Starfinder that I accumulated because I liked them, even though I had no one to play with.

It's almost painful to feel the gears churning again - but so nice to sit down and spend three hours crafting a small dungeon. I'd all but forgotten how much I loved creating worlds in these games.

I wish I could get the wife to sit and play, but she won't even try. Shame. It would be a good family activity, and the kids are already engaged.
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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Redfive » Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:52 pm

Just an idea for those of you getting back into it after years.

About 14 months ago I found myself DM'ing and new 5E D&D campaign after literally 20+ years off. I was very intimidated but also excited, especially after reveling in the awesomeness of 5E.

I decided to set the campaign in the same world that I had begun creating back in the late 90s but I simply advanced the time in the world for match real life. I used our PCs from before but they were now 20th level NPCs with all the power and influence that goes with.

It really helped me to jump start the story as well as provide NPC quest hook support for the new party.

Fast forward to now and the party is averaging 11-12th level and into their second run in The Underdark. Great experience so far and our Friday night session is about to start.
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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Blackhawk » Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:12 pm

Right now I'm working on a conversion of Golarion (the Pathfinder world) to D&D 5E. I'm tired of the Forgotten Realms. I've got decades of good memories there, but the world never seems very deep or varied. The nations and cultures are vaguely defined. You can travel from Sembia to Cormyr to the Dalelands and never notice anything changing. I love it, but it has a certain 70s fantasy vibe to it, very black-and-white, very 'family friendly.' Good guys are good, and good nations are full of good guys. Bad nations are full of bad guys in black cloaks twirling mustaches. The politics, wars, and intrigue are very... light. But there are lots of valleys full of monsters and green hills with villages.

I've got my own world I've been working on off and on for almost 30 years, but it is way too big of a project for someone with the kind of obsessive organization habits I have. Golarion seems like the way to go, and it isn't that big of a project to set up. Tweak the races, add a few backgrounds, define how the classes align with the PF archetypes. That's about it.
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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by Blackhawk » Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:50 pm

A Facebook group I belonged to recently asked members to post about the props and GM aids they use in their games, with pictures. I thought I'd share here, too, in case it might be useful for someone.

First off, for D&D 5E, I found the inspiration system... uninspiring. It didn't have any flavor, and since you only ever get one at a time, people were loathe to actually spend it when they had it (thus having zero.)

I replaced it with a system of my own design inspired by several other systems I've played. At the beginning of each session, each player blind-draws two tokens from a bag. They have a variety of benefits, some stronger than standard inspiration, some weaker. On one side is a bonus, on the other is flavor text. The weakest is 'Boon', a simple +1 that can be applied to any roll (there are 10 of these in the bag.) The strongest is probably 'Adrenaline!' that lets the player take a full extra turn (there are only two of these in the whole bag - it'll only happen once every few sessions.) There are 15 different benefits, and the average bonus is a little weaker than plain inspiration.

They earn them the same way they'd earn inspiration, although I'm a little more free with them than the standard system. The thing is that they discard them all and draw new ones at the beginning of the next session. Since they earn them more easily, and since they don't carry over, and since they have more than one, there is no real incentive to hoard them.

Here are the tokens by the draw bag. They're simple wooden disks, painted with 'chrome' spraypaint and written on with paint markers. A friend who borrowed my system used popsicle sticks with the effect written on one end, kept end-down in a cup for people to draw from. The system has been playtested quite a bit with several groups and DMs over several years.

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In case anyone's interested, here's the breakdown of tokens in the bag:

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Next up, my rolling tray. Well, more than that. See, I like to roll in the open, where my players can see. But what's the point at a large table when only a couple of them are close enough to actually read the dice? So I went out and got two clear-sided trays sold as drawer organizers (so the dice are visible through the sides), fitted the bottom of the unlined one then picked up several sets of giant Koplow dice. The dice are visible from everywhere on the table.

For an extra bit of drama, I added a light-up d20 for combat rolls. It flashes bright red when it rolls a 20, which always draws cheers or groans from the table. I included a standard d20 for scale.

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Hopefully this isn't too many of these. I also run a lot of Savage Worlds. Not everyone is familiar with it, but it is a great rules-medium game, a little lighter than 5e. It uses cards for initiative and everyone has an extra d6 that they roll with every skill roll called a 'wild die'. I believe strongly in theming, and Savage Worlds is setting-neutral. I've played it for fantasy, western, sci-fi, post apocalyptic, superheroes, everything. I have a whole collection of card decks in order to be able to use theme-appropriate cards for every setting, plus stacks of d6s for thematic wild dice.

Here are a the cards and dice I use for sci-fi games. One of the card decks is clear, by the way, if it isn't obvious from the picture. The other was a Kickstarter set (they're actually black-light sensitive with hidden designs, although I haven't really used that in any games.)

The circuit dice are Q Workshop. The 'metal' dice were just some I picked up at GenCon somewhere.

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Ok, last one. Hope I'm not overdoing it. One of my favorite settings for Savage Worlds is Deadlands. Think old west meets supernatural horror. It uses a special token system that has players blindly drawing colored poker chips from a bag. In addition to the 'knucklebone' dice and faux-dirty playing cards, I made a thematic fringed buckskin bag (yeah, real buckskin) for drawing from. It really pushes the atmosphere in-game.

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Re: The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

Post by hentzau » Fri Mar 01, 2019 1:09 pm

I don’t use many props, but I did create some potion of healing bottles with the appropriate number of D4’s.

At Winter Fantasy a few weeks ago, one of the DM’s would hand out fun sized candy bars for Inspiration points. You couldn’t eat them until you used them.
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