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The Randomness of the Pen and the Paper

All discussions regarding Electronic, 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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