Tabletop Roleplaying Games (D&D, Pathfinder, CoC, ETC.)

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BlazikenLover

Cock lover was taken
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Dec 18, 2019
I don't think the Paizo guys will be able to do PF3 as 5.5/5.75 like they did with Pathfinder 1. It'd be somebody who is already big in 5E and can step in if 6E is too big of a divergence and people don't like it. Paizo had the credibility to do Pathfinder 1 from Dragon and Dungeon material for 3rd and 3.5 so it'd have to be people and groups considered to put out good stuff for 5E doing that.
Am sure someone will beat Paizo to the punch, there are already a few projects like Advanced 5e far into development, not to mention the amount of people doing compendiums of their house rules, homebrews and alternative classes.
 

Kabuki Actor

Posthumous Grooming Victim
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Judge Dredd

Senior Layout Artist
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Aug 23, 2018
My time as a DM might be over.

You might remember my previous campaign fell apart after two months of having to cancel due to absent players. I wanted to run a West Marsh style game in August (though I never used the name West Marsh as per @Ghostse 's advice). There was a lot of interest when I pitched the game in July, but so far no one has actually signed up.

I have my own opinions why, but I've been told that it's because it's summer and people don't want to play DnD during the summer. I thought I'd ask before I retire from DMing.


Am sure someone will beat Paizo to the punch, there are already a few projects like Advanced 5e far into development, not to mention the amount of people doing compendiums of their house rules, homebrews and alternative classes.
Are any of them any good?
 

Ghostse

Gorilla Channel Executive Producer
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My time as a DM might be over.

You might remember my previous campaign fell apart after two months of having to cancel due to absent players. I wanted to run a West Marsh style game in August (though I never used the name West Marsh as per @Ghostse 's advice). There was a lot of interest when I pitched the game in July, but so far no one has actually signed up.

I have my own opinions why, but I've been told that it's because it's summer and people don't want to play DnD during the summer. I thought I'd ask before I retire from DMing.

My player who I had to fire had actually gotten me wondering if I had lost my touch as GM due to constant fights about rules, and as this was following our PF munchkin losing his shit because he had to actually play the game. I was about ready to write off campaigning and just stick to one-shots, but the rest of my group expressed an enthusiastic wish to continue. I did and life has been much better.

My advice?
First, your peeps have a point: its August. School is starting, everyone wants to get that last bit of summer in. I'm not sure the age range of the people you're recruiting, but I'd say try again in mid-september, classes should have started and everyone should be settling into routines again.

Second, your mistake was you pitched a campaign/on-going thing. Don't do that. Pitch them a mega dungeon - no more commitment than a couple sessions. When that's done, then do another one; when someone asks if they can bring over their character from the previous one shot, say "Oh, sure, I guess that's alright" as you duck behind the GM screen to hide your smile.

Third, my brother you need to chill. You need to get some distance and relax, calm your shit down. You're feeling hurt and ego's battered, this means that things that you would normally just roll with are going to irritate the piss out of you. You need to step back and recharge - find a new group of players, join someone else's game, or leave RPGs along for a bit till you're yourself again.

Fourth, dude your friends sound like flakes and you need to get better ones. Accept they are going be as reliable as Soviet automobile build by muslims and maintained by slavs and work with it, or find other people to do things with.


And speaking of taking advice, I remember someone in this thread mentioning a system that told GMs to "never have it be the PCs fault when they fail" - which was a poorly phrased way to say (when you dug into the direction a bit more) "When the PCs don't succeed on a roll, think of reasons unrelated to their CHARACTER'S prowess that it didn't work". I'd do that before when it made sense, but I've been making a conscious effort to have things like Natural 1s, and missed attacks be the result of environmental conditions or enemy actions, and its really made things feel more 'heroic'.
Only thing I've been having trouble with Cleric prayers.
 

Corn Flakes

Battle Creek's Finest
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Trying to pitch a grand campaign to today's crowd is kind of a nonstarter. Start small and to the point, and if the players get interested in what you've got going on you can turn it into a proper campaign.

West Marches campaigns in particular are a very niche, quite advanced way to do it. Most people don't want the sort of total freedom a West Marches campaign implies. For one, they have to be very familiar with the setting, or at the very least be curious enough to pelt the GM with questions. Most players just want a simple story they can follow, lots of things to kill and interesting setpieces to experience. A few people have a lot of drive when playing RPGs but in my experience most people just want to react to what the GM brings them.

And speaking of taking advice, I remember someone in this thread mentioning a system that told GMs to "never have it be the PCs fault when they fail" - which was a poorly phrased way to say (when you dug into the direction a bit more) "When the PCs don't succeed on a roll, think of reasons unrelated to their CHARACTER'S prowess that it didn't work". I'd do that before when it made sense, but I've been making a conscious effort to have things like Natural 1s, and missed attacks be the result of environmental conditions or enemy actions, and its really made things feel more 'heroic'.
(Editing to avoid a doublepost.)

It's funny how everybody says "you missed" when you fail an attack roll, when in truth they should be saying "you push the offensive but the orc manages to parry your blows and lets out a beastial growl before swinging his own grotesque sword in return" or "your spell ricochets against the blackguard's shield with a shower of sparks". Missing entirely is just one outcome, and it should be reserved to automatic failures (natural 1s) or special occasions like missing an attack of opportunity (the enemy was out of range already), because your presumably competent character suddenly (and often repeatedly) whiffing is just demoralizing. Particularly against high-AC targets, you're not missing turn after turn: the target has his big-ass shield up and you just can't find a good opening.

Combat isn't just "you hit" and "you miss". Without a narrative, however briefly stated, it's very easy for people to lose interest or just treat it like a boardgame instead of an RPG. It also makes it so the turns don't just drag on and blend together.
 
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Judge Dredd

Senior Layout Artist
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Aug 23, 2018
I'll take these out of order because some are related
Second, your mistake was you pitched a campaign/on-going thing. Don't do that. Pitch them a mega dungeon - no more commitment than a couple sessions. When that's done, then do another one; when someone asks if they can bring over their character from the previous one shot, say "Oh, sure, I guess that's alright" as you duck behind the GM screen to hide your smile.
I can try, but I doubt that'll work for game where the entire premise is exploring a vast wilderness. I can't exactly limit it to "explore one guys back yard". Best I could do is have it be a one shot dungeon with a hex crawl to find the entrance, but the appeal of each is different.

Third, my brother you need to chill. You need to get some distance and relax, calm your shit down. You're feeling hurt and ego's battered, this means that things that you would normally just roll with are going to irritate the piss out of you. You need to step back and recharge - find a new group of players, join someone else's game, or leave RPGs along for a bit till you're yourself again.
I'm chill.

My concern is/was that RPGs are going the way of board games. I got into board games around 2008 or so when you had a boom in euro games like Pandemic, Catan, Power Grid, and Dominion. By 2016 the novelty had worn off and while I liked board games, more and more people slowly lost interest. The real life pandemic killed what little following remained and my game collection has been gathering dust since.

After the two month hiatus followed by a lack of sign ups was making me think that people were done with RPGs and I was too autistic to take the hint.

Fourth, dude your friends sound like flakes and you need to get better ones.
Yes, but that's easier said than done. Most communities seem to have fallen into their own little cliques. Even RPG Discord servers with LFG channels get lots of hype but little follow through.

I'm not sure the age range of the people you're recruiting, but I'd say try again in mid-september, classes should have started and everyone should be settling into routines again.
I'll take basically anyone who'll play. So far my players have varied from 20-40, but most are around 30. It's why I bring up adulting as a major problem with scheduling.

Part of the reason I wanted to run a West Marsh campaign was to get around this consistency problem.
 

The Ugly One

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It's funny how everybody says "you missed" when you fail an attack roll, when in truth they should be saying "you push the offensive but the orc manages to parry your blows and lets out a beastial growl before swinging his own grotesque sword in return" or "your spell ricochets against the blackguard's shield with a shower of sparks".

Everybody says "you missed," because after the first 4 or 5 times you come up with a cool description for a die roll, you are just wasting everybody's time. There are dozens of d20 rolls every night, I can't be bothered to come up with an engaging description for each one.

Just a minor correction to this. It was Buck Rogers William's brought/forced onto TSR since she owned the rights to the characters. I believe the right's filtered down from her grandfather (John Dille). who published the original story.

Since Williams owned both TSR and Buck Rogers, she was basically writing a deal with herself, and surprise, she gave herself ludicrously favorable terms. TSR paid Williams royalties for every Buck Rogers item printed, not sold. It was not a cash advance, either. She got a full royalty, cash in hand, merely for having TSR run that shit off the press. The trick was coming up with money to have TSR pay her, and that's where Bank of Random House came in. It's also why they never had cash to pay their printer; Williams was pocketing it all.

After WotC bought TSR, they found warehouses full of unsold product. They got it financially right-side up and profitable within a year. There was nothing stopping Williams from making the company profitable other than her own greed.
 

Sumptinsfuckey

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Feb 8, 2022
I'll take basically anyone who'll play. So far my players have varied from 20-40, but most are around 30. It's why I bring up adulting as a major problem with scheduling.
I feel you. I had a consistant group but I had to go back on the road. Now im trying to find an online game but everything on roll20 seems woke as fuck.
 

Ghostse

Gorilla Channel Executive Producer
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Nov 4, 2017
I'll take these out of order because some are related

I can try, but I doubt that'll work for game where the entire premise is exploring a vast wilderness. I can't exactly limit it to "explore one guys back yard". Best I could do is have it be a one shot dungeon with a hex crawl to find the entrance, but the appeal of each is different.

Don't make the game about exploring the vast wilderness... at first. You need to boil the frog.

Here's what you do. You pitch your one shot "The Tomb of Fu Qu Yu".
Generations ago the Sorcerer-Warlord was said to have risen to power via the blackest of the dark arts - dealing with devils, binding souls into fell artifacts, forcing unlife onto the previously hallowed dead. He had terrorized the region - laying waste to all who resisted him, soaking the earth with the blood of entire lineages for the smallest slights. Before he was put down by a party of great warriors of light, Fu Qu Yu cursed everything that lived in the valley, and swore he would return after a thousand years to take his revenge. His corpse was bound in holy rites and was placed in a tomb that been built by his acolytes who insisted on being entombed with him. The area has been taboo ever since, avoided by all.

But now travellers and traders now report lights in the sky over the location of the tomb. Unnatural sounds wailing through the neglected forest. Lumbering dark shadows stalking them from the trees along the trails. Livestock, and now children and hunters have gone missing, never to return. The local Baron knows this is all superstition feeding itself, but the town elders insist that the curse of Fu Qu Yu has reared its head, the ancient evil has slipped its bonds, and something must be done before they are once again plunged into blood and darkness, and they must be appeased or risk the region falling to rebellion.

And there is your mission: The doubtful Baron has charged you with the mission: under take the long journey to the ancient tomb, investigate the happenings, and dispatch any threat should you find it.


maybe have some pregen characters, or ask people for what they want to play - the world is open enough you should be able to accommodate any background you should want to accommodate.

Then you ease them into wilderness exploration & softskills.
You turn the journey to the tomb into a series of checks - good results give the party advantages where they arrive well rested, if they dumped overland travel skills, they arrive beated, bloody, and exhausted.
Your talky characters, give them a chance to say how they used their soft skills in the last town to get them provisions/intel/etc.
Basically Oregon Trail, Fantasy Speed Run. Don't spend more that 30 minutes of session time getting there - if you have amenable players, sort that shit via Email/Discord/SMS/WhatsApp/Parlr/Carrier Pigeon before everyone even sits to the table.

Then everyone goes and explores the tomb of Fu Qu Yu.

End of the session/end of the megadungeon, thank everyone for coming. Get feedback. If this seemed like something people like, do an interest check for The Black Caverns of Xest Ube. Rinse and repeat on the intro. Keep doing this a couple times, and then start opening up the exploration phase go more choices.
You boil that frog slowly and you'll find your core of dedicated players and you'll have tricked them into a fairly normal campaign inside a year.

You said everyone is having adulting issues, which means they will say "yeah! I want an open world where I can do anything I want! No quests! No rails!" but they will really want is "I want to show up and not think too hard. I want to be told what to do and where to go, but I want to made to feel like it was my choice to do that. I might not want to be rail-roaded but I definitely want to be doing 80mph on the interstate. I don't have the mental energy to have to make too many choices, especially ones that make me really have to think about it".

My concern is/was that RPGs are going the way of board games. I got into board games around 2008 or so when you had a boom in euro games like Pandemic, Catan, Power Grid, and Dominion. By 2016 the novelty had worn off and while I liked board games, more and more people slowly lost interest. The real life pandemic killed what little following remained and my game collection has been gathering dust since.

Gathering dust is what board game collections do.

Which I hate to advocate giving Trannies of the Coast any money, but I just finished doing the Tomb of Annihilation adventure system boardgame with some friends. Its solid.

Everybody says "you missed," because after the first 4 or 5 times you come up with a cool description for a die roll, you are just wasting everybody's time. There are dozens of d20 rolls every night, I can't be bothered to come up with an engaging description for each one.

Yup. I'll add narration when its novel or there's a crit hit/fail, and sometimes sprinkle flavor, but I don't want to have a five minute narrative sequence time someone touches the dice. Especially since we're doing 4e - jesus we'd still be in the first dungeon if we did that.

Just when there is something notable that happens, I try to focus more on how enemy action or the environment has thwarted the players.
 

Corn Flakes

Battle Creek's Finest
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There's a big playing field between "you missed" and "a five paragraph description of why you missed". Simply saying "the orc blocked the arrow with his wooden shield" or "the kobold managed to just barely dodge your swing" takes three seconds tops and it keeps the game from devolving into just throwing numbers around. That's what my GM does and it does a good job of holding people's attention. He also likes to sprinkle in clues about what we're fighting as we go, in case there's a vulnerability or weak spot we haven't figured out on sight. It helps our combats don't drag very long.
 

The Ugly One

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There's a big playing field between "you missed" and "a five paragraph description of why you missed". Simply saying "the orc blocked the arrow with his wooden shield" or "the kobold managed to just barely dodge your swing" takes three seconds tops and it keeps the game from devolving into just throwing numbers around. That's what my GM does and it does a good job of holding people's attention.

We fought ten ghouls, a wight, and two gargoyles last time. There were at least 20 die rolls every round. I don't need to hear dozens of unique descriptions of a ghoul swinging his claws in order to stay engaged with the game because I'm not suffering from some version of ADHD, and I'm pretty sure by ghoul attack #15 or so, it's taking longer than 3 seconds to come up with a brand new way to say the ghoul hit you, roll a CON save.

Flavor text is appropriate when it adds something unique, not when it's goblin arrow #2,798 in a group that's been playing together for the better part of a decade.

He also likes to sprinkle in clues about what we're fighting as we go, in case there's a vulnerability or weak spot we haven't figured out on sight. It helps our combats don't drag very long.

Orcs and kobolds don't have vulnerabilities or weak spots. Neither do ghouls and gargoyles, for that matter.
 

eternal dog mongler

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Yup. I love me some 4e, but if the party enters combat, that is pretty much all you're doing that session. This is actually less of a problem if you run a campaign that plays to 4e's focus - namely set-piece tactical battles with a navigable meatgrinder where soft-skills come into play, leading to a big show down. EVERYONE, players and monsters, just had too much HP & healing available.
This is why I really liked Rolemaster and am sad that nobody really runs it anymore.

The open roll system meant there was a real risk an enemy could just ball out and kill you at any time, so avoiding combat or setting yourselves up in a way where you could end fights very, very quickly was the best route to go. The longer shit dragged on the more likely something was going to go horribly wrong.

It also had a cleric spell that completely destroyed someone's soul making resurrection impossible, so...yeah it was pretty brutal.
 

Anonymus Fluhre

A book holds a house of gold.
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The Ugly One

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Who the fuck has a character where thousands come to their funeral? Who the fuck has the gold for that? Just fireball my ass after giving me last rites and continue on. I'll fill out a new character sheet in a jiffy.

Shit like this is why religion is a joke.

Did anyone read the article? Russell Moore is a liberal "Christian." He likes to "both sides" in the sense of, "the right suffers from deep evil, like thinking countries should have borders, but also Stalin was bad, this makes me a centrist." Somehow, D&D caused the Jan 6 Unauthorized Capitol Tour.

Senior argues that January 6 is the distillation of this role-playing fantasy: “The angry, howling hordes arrived as real-life avatars, cosplaying the role of rebels in face paint and fur. They stormed the Capitol while an enemy army tried to beat them away.”
 

Wormy

I just wanted to play my friggin wargames....
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I thought he was a Shaman. Was everyone getting his class wrong, then?
There isn't a Shaman class in 5e is there? Besides, sounds more accurate than calling him a nature Cleric.
 

Gingervitis

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Maybe I’m just retarded, but now I’m thinking. How come later D&D editions don’t have domain play or mass combat? I look at BECMI, 0e, 1e, and (to a lesser extent) 2e, and I’m wondering why the local lord can’t just give us a plot of land for our heroics like in the old days?
 

Spergetti

Unoriginal Lurker
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Maybe I’m just retarded, but now I’m thinking. How come later D&D editions don’t have domain play or mass combat? I look at BECMI, 0e, 1e, and (to a lesser extent) 2e, and I’m wondering why the local lord can’t just give us a plot of land for our heroics like in the old days?
I really like that stuff too, but I haven't found a group of players that shares that interest so far. I'm not sure if WotC dropped that stuff due to lack of interest, or if newer players are just unaware that you could do that kind of stuff in their games because WotC dropped it. Part of the issue might also be that most games don't get past low-level play, and domain stuff just doesn't become relevant until your group gets to mid or high-level play.

If you want some 3rd party books that add some really good rules for domains and mass combat rules for 5th edition, MCDM has produced two books, Strongholds and Followers and Kingdoms and Warfare, which have rules for these respectively.

 

The Ugly One

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Maybe I’m just retarded, but now I’m thinking. How come later D&D editions don’t have domain play or mass combat? I look at BECMI, 0e, 1e, and (to a lesser extent) 2e, and I’m wondering why the local lord can’t just give us a plot of land for our heroics like in the old days?
It never really took off back when it was a thing. What most people wanted to do at high level was take dimensional portals into new realms to kill the gods, not manage tax revenue.