Kendal

Best Version of DnD?

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On 5/3/2017 at 5:06 PM, TheAuldGrump said:

 

But here's the thing - neither your group nor I will likely have that hard to find replacements - the cardinal sin is thinking that there is only one style of play that fits all people.

 

This is true, but only to an extent. It depends on where you live and when you work. If you don't live in an area with a high population or you work non-standard hours, both of which are categories I fall into, you'll have a very hard time finding new players or a new group. There's always the online option, but I find that online games don't do it for me in the ways that sitting at a table does. I was in a PbP for a little over a year, and while it scratched the itch it took us a year to do what would have probably taken 6 or so sessions in a sit-down game. And there wasn't the social aspect of just idle banter and jokes as we played, it was almost all business.

 

I haven't tried finding a group that plays over some VTT or Skype or whatever, but that's because until last year I didn't have an Internet connection that could handle video calls well enough. Now that I do, I have work hours that are changing on a weekly basis so I can't commit to a specific day.

 

But thankfully I've got a few friends who work around that now, and we try to play once a week even if there are only 4 of us, and one guy has to Skype in half the time if he doesn't want to drive the 2 and a half hours each way to play in person.

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I had a similar experience about seven years ago.  I took a job that required working swing shift and could no longer make it to half of the weekly sessions.  Considering the population of the entire county where I lived was 10k, the number of TTRPG players working a similar schedule was pretty much zero.

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My current reality is *I'm* one of the guys with an uncooperative schedule. At best I can make it to a game once every two weeks. Sadly the people I know best in town also mostly work on rotating shift schedules, so finding a common time and place often enough to get a game that people care about is awfully complicated.

 

I've played over Skype and such. It's workable, but not perfect. It's hard to keep your focus on the game at all times, and it's harder to get your point across when everyone else is around the game table.

 

I might try the new gaming cafe (Donuts & Dragons) that opened up. They're starting a role playing Wednesday thing. But it does feel like it falls in the "relieving an itch" category.

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Speaking as a newcomer that came with 5E...

 

Can experienced players share their personal pros and cons of any edition of D&D, Pathfinder and any other D&D clone they like or dislike? Instead of an edition war, I'm just geniunely curious what works and does not work with each edition...

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1 hour ago, BlazingTornado said:

Speaking as a newcomer that came with 5E...

 

Can experienced players share their personal pros and cons of any edition of D&D, Pathfinder and any other D&D clone they like or dislike? Instead of an edition war, I'm just geniunely curious what works and does not work with each edition...

Harder than it sounds - there is an emotional element that is difficult to ignore.

 

Basic D&D and its line (BECMI)were simpler systems - easy to get into, and easy to convert to later editions.

 

Not so great when it came to any form of skill use, aside from rogues doin' their thing.

 

1e AD&D... ... ... To this day I have mixed feelings about. The game was changing, even while in development - and there are lots of systems and subsystems which very few people actually used - even Gary Gygax skipped Weapon Speed Factors and the horrible, bad, godawful unarmed combat system.

 

Balance was poor to non existent.

 

2e AD&D was an improvement - and added some much needed systems for handling things outside of combat - but suffered from the 'don't even say demons or devils! syndrome. And some of the worst 'Splatbooks' that gaming has seen.

 

But it also had some really good settings - Birthright remains a model of world building, in my not at all humble opinion.

 

3e and its descendants is my favorite - going to a single unified skill/combat system, and becoming a lot more of a toolbox than the previous editions.

 

More complex, with systems that interlock - perhaps to too great a degree.

 

Neglecting one aspect could throw the entire campaign into unbalance - if you allow the PCs to have the '15 minute Adventuring Day' then the wizards, clerics and druids could dominate the game. But if you prevented this then the balance was good, not great, but much better than OD&D through 2nd edition.

 

Pathfinder handles it by bumping the non-spellcasting types up in power - in my campaigns, it is often the fighter that both takes and deals the most damage over the course of an adventuring day.

 

Setting wise - I cannot say enough nice things about Eberron.

 

4e... ... ... is where I have to be quiet - since I really do not have much nice to say about the game, though admittedly, that is in large part due to the really badly handled rollout and the fact that they scrapped it in mid course, and had to hurry it out in order to hit their deadline.

 

The three good things that I can say - Balance was good, scenario design was made much easier, and the idea (though not the execution) of Skill Challenges was good.

 

For the boardgames it was later used for, it was a very good game. For an RPG... it probably needed another year of work - and it really needed the online tools that it never really received.

 

I think that, in the end, the game designers had fallen too in love with their creation, and refused to see where it had weaknesses. (They kicked playtesters out if they complained about systems... and complaining about systems is part of the whole reason to have playtesters.)

 

5e... is the one that I have the least experience with. The one thing that hit me in a bad way during the playtests was skill and task resolution being... kind of weak.

 

About on par with the old BECMI system, compexity wise, up to the M but before the I. ::P:

 

Nothing against the system - I just don't play it - which is a very different thing from avoiding it. ::):

 

The Auld Grump - 4e was an exercise in how not to promote a game.

3 hours ago, Cranky Dog said:

My current reality is *I'm* one of the guys with an uncooperative schedule. At best I can make it to a game once every two weeks. Sadly the people I know best in town also mostly work on rotating shift schedules, so finding a common time and place often enough to get a game that people care about is awfully complicated.

 

I've played over Skype and such. It's workable, but not perfect. It's hard to keep your focus on the game at all times, and it's harder to get your point across when everyone else is around the game table.

 

I might try the new gaming cafe (Donuts & Dragons) that opened up. They're starting a role playing Wednesday thing. But it does feel like it falls in the "relieving an itch" category.

Watch out for the carrion crullers.

 

The Auld Grump - I would love a gaming cafe - but I have a weakness for running games in public - I have run at fast food restaurants, buffets, at the park, and in the main concourse at the mall....

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2 hours ago, BlazingTornado said:

Speaking as a newcomer that came with 5E...

 

Can experienced players share their personal pros and cons of any edition of D&D, Pathfinder and any other D&D clone they like or dislike? Instead of an edition war, I'm just geniunely curious what works and does not work with each edition...

 

OD&D: Terrible game design, terrible writing, execrable presentation, but a brilliant underlying idea that built an industry.

 

1st ed. AD&D: Essentially the same game as OD&D but somewhat better at all the things that OD&D was terrible at. At this point, other RPGs were coming out that were innovating in a wide variety of ways. Some of those ways were good. ^_^ AD&D didn't innovate in any material way, largely because it already had the lion's share of the RPG market, so didn't need to take any risks. By the full release of 1st Ed., I had largely drifted away to various of those 2nd gen games, partly as a result of what I perceived to be the shortcomings of AD&D and partly because of Gygax being Gygax.

 

2nd ed. AD&D: Same game again (still first generation roleplaying), but with more incremental improvements. By this point TSR was starting to feel the encroachment of other games that had continued to evolve and were grabbing market share by not being "the same old game". Note that quite a large part of the market wanted exactly "the same old game"; that isn't intended as a knock on AD&D/TSR. As 2nd Ed. was coming to the end of its run, financial problems caused by many interlocking issues were destroying TSR, and WotC, using the money from Magic: the Gathering, bought TSR.

 

3rd ed. D&D: Very broad redesign that basically moved D&D from a first gen. game to a solid second gen. game. WotC made some attempt to keep the feel of the earlier games, with somewhat mixed success. (Edition wars were by no means purely a creature of the release of 4th Ed.) Mechanically dense, the game tried to adjudicate most challenges with a unified mechanic. Some things worked much better than others, but most things worked without too much requirement for the GM to make things up on the fly. This edition brought me back to D&D, not because it was better than the other games but because it was good enough and it was easy to find other players. More unified mechanics, better writing and presentation, decent support.

 

3.5 was essentially errata for 3rd ed. Better balance, but the same game.

 

Pathfinder is an evolution of 3.5, intended to solve problems that arose during the extended run of that rules set. This is the game I'm playing now. Not a game for people who want clean and elegant game design, in part because it has acquired many, many rules over its run.

 

4th ed. D&D: Complete redesign with a very different design aesthetic, released to very mixed reviews. From the view of one who tried it but never seriously adopted it, it looked like it started from a game design and then bolted on the roleplaying elements that were intended to produce verisimilitude. As a game, I didn't think it worked as well as 3.5 (opinions vary, as can be seen in this thread), and it certainly didn't interest me as much as other systems then available. Had I been willing to change systems, I'd have changed to a system I liked better than 4th ed. Note that this wasn't an issue (in itself) for people who weren't switching from a different game. Not nearly as widely adopted as WotC/Hasbro had hoped, for many different reasons. All that said, for some people, it worked very well indeed. 

 

5th ed. D&D: Haven't played this one, though I've watched it being played. Seems to be mechanically much lighter than the 3.x and 4.x versions of the game. For a new player, I suspect it would be much easier to pick up than earlier versions of D&D, partly because it's lighter and partly because each of those earlier versions have had years of rules accretion. Seems to be pretty popular and it's been out for long enough now that I don't think that's just because it's new.

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I'll throw a block of text at you.  I assume you'll get plenty of feedback on 3E/PF so I'll go heavy into 4E and 13th Age instead.

 

OD&D: Before my time, literally. I've never read them.

 

1E – I've only glanced at the books so I can't give you any feedback.

 

2E – The best things about 2E were the settings and supporting material. In fact, TSR went more than a little crazy with all of their settings because it was one of the reasons the company went bankrupt. By the time it was done there were also a number of very good adventures. A person could play in these settings for years and years and not get bored.

 

My memory of the system itself is that it was a bit of a mess by the end. It had books for every race & class, a player's option series, and setting material with options and subsystems that didn't always mesh.  It also featured level caps by race/class, disallowed some race/class combinations, and classes leveled at different xp rates. While I'm sure there are some that remember this fondly, during the 3E debut presentation the half-orc paladin got a standing ovation. Seems a lot of people like options.

 

When I revisit the TSR days I take all of the wonderful fluff and drop it into another set of mechanics.

 

I'll also throw in that I have a soft spot for the painted art. I'm sure that it's in part because its what I grew up with, but those guys did a good job IMO.

 

3E Pros: Crunchy system

      Cons: Crunchy system

 

The trap in asking for pros and cons is that the same fact can be a pro for one and a con for another. 3E has a lot of finely detailed moving parts that generally work well together. Some people don't like that level of complexity; some people do. An oft cited example is the grab rules. As you read through them everything makes perfect sense, but at the end you realize you've just read 1000 words on how to grab someone.

 

The total setting material for 3E was weaker than 2E, but I didn't explore it too deeply back in the day. Dragonlance, Ravenloft, & Planescapes got a book or two while Dark Sun got a fan page. Forgotten Realms had decent support as did Eberron.

 

Pathfinder – A continuation of 3E that generally improves upon it. I would say its greatest strengths though are not the rules but the adventures and the sheer mass of players.

 

Castles & Crusades – My memory has gotten fuzzy on this, but I believe C&C is about the first OGL retroclone. I also seem to recall that it was not considered part of the OSR. Nerdy gamer classifications aside, C&C decided to take the framework of 3E and use that to emulate 1E. Put another way, they wanted to recreate the feel of 1E using better mechanics. Not having played 1E I can't say how well they succeeded in this but I generally hear positive remarks. I have the core books and they are nice light mechanics.

 

4E – 4E was different enough from 3E that what elements were pro/con depended on who you asked. I'll start with things they did that mostly fall on the pro side.

  • Redesigned monster stat blocks – These caused Robin Laws to exclaim on how brilliant they were while wondering why no one had every thought of them before. You get a nice tidy rectangle with everything you need to run a monster in combat neatly laid out. I find them a bit better than the following 5E version.

  • General layout – Made possible by something less pro below, but their layout person did a better job than 3E and from what I've seen of it, 5E. 4E feats, spells, and monster stats are almost never split over two pages.

  • Revised encounter design guidelines – Creating a balanced encounter in 4E only takes minutes, especially if you have the online tools. You have to work to accidentally create a TPK (though you can obviously create one intentionally).

  • Monster scalability – Much nicer than what I remember from 3E, and very easy to add level appropriate abilities.

  • Monster recharge powers – Randomized the old “3/day but not in consecutive rounds” powers and created some exciting uncertainty. They were also a bit of a con though because too many slowed down play.

  • Stripped out verisimilitude - Moving solidly into the opinion category, 4E completely removed the conversational tone, especially from spells. The downside was a lot of people couldn't buy into this an felt it was too gamey. The upside was a massive saving in word count that allowed more content per page and flexibility in book layout.  In a way it was probably necessary as a conversational tone would have easily added another 100 pages to the PHB.

  • Rebalanced character classes – Part of what made 4E so different than the other editions. All classes were classified under 4 main groups and then assigned abilities to allow them to fill those roles. In practice those roles had existed since the days of AD&D, but some felt actually slapping on the label was to gamey.  A secondary problem was keeping classes within a role distinct from each other.  Some of the powers in their later books were very similar to already existing ones.

  • Skill challenges – A cool idea that didn't really work. For some this also contributed to the gamey feel because they felt it turned role-playing into a formalized subsystem.  Fortunately you can use skills and role-play just like every previous edition instead.

  • Mats and minis are pretty much required – 4E went very tactical, with powers relying on groupings and relative placement. Technically you could play without minis but I don't think that's how it was designed to work.

 

13th Age – A collaboration between Jonathon Tweet (lead designer 3E) and Rob Heinsoo (lead designer 4E) that takes all of their house rules made up over 14 years of gaming together and puts them in a hardcover book. While I see the underlying framework as being 3E, it certainly overlays 4E elements as well as taking ideas from the indie-game community. It is less crunchy than 3E but still has enough options to keep many gamers happy. This games doesn't seem to get brought up much so I'll hit a few things in more detail.

  • Icons – There are a set of very powerful movers and shakers in the world that the PCs are tied to in some way.

  • One unique thing – Each player makes up something unique about their PC that likely has some kind of story potential.

  • Skills are replaced by backgrounds. If you want a bonus to a skill check, explain to everyone how being the apprentice to Horgath the Mighty taught you elven wreath weaving.

  • Fail forward – An idea that might be worth its own topic. A number of d20 DMs seem to think that a failed roll means the PCs failed to accomplish anything. A concept that has come up in previous indie games is that even a failed roll should keep the story moving forward. It just may not be in the way the PCs would have liked. 13th Age builds that idea into the system.

  • Race & class ability score bonuses – For all the applause the half-orc paladin got at 3E, Jonathan would later say that there was still a problem. Even though the half-orc could be a paladin, he wasn't really that good of one. With the way bonuses work in 13th Age, the half-orc is a good paladin.

  • Escalation die – A counter that goes up every round, giving a bonus to attack. It is designed to keep encounters from dragging on in later rounds.

  • Triggered monster abilities – The problem with monster recharge abilities in 4E was that you couldn't have too many of them or else the DM spent too long rolling dice every round seeing what had recharged. In 13th Age it was simplified by tying special abilities to the d20 roll. There is now zero tracking of special abilities. Instead they happen on evens, misses, nat 18-20, and so on. A couple good die rolls can make an easy encounter go sideways quickly.

 

5E: Just now learning, so no real opinions yet. I did the playtest, where the stated goal was to recapture the “feel” of D&D. So far my impression has been a slimmed down 3E with a few new elements thrown into the mix.

 

And now I need sleep, so any typos will have to stay in the post.

 

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17 hours ago, BlazingTornado said:

Speaking as a newcomer that came with 5E...

 

Can experienced players share their personal pros and cons of any edition of D&D, Pathfinder and any other D&D clone they like or dislike? Instead of an edition war, I'm just geniunely curious what works and does not work with each edition...

 

Here's my experiences:

 

5th Ed:  Have not touched.  No hobby funds or time for this on top of minis and paints.  Honestly, I would give it a shot, it has a nice following and the gamers I am around are giving it a fair shake compared to 4e and predecessors.

 

Pathfinder (3.75): Yes.  I love this system.  It's my preferred game as a gamemaster.  I am FAR behind on releases, so my games are lower powered than others may be. I've run this for my kids and their friends (getting ready to finish up a character for one of my boys actually today).  Also, I run a game for some work friends and my cousin that is fun, too, set in Taldor.  Since my hobby funds are limited, I limit the books used, which makes my job easier and theirs as players easier, too. 

 

3.0/3.5:  Played this for it's whole run as well.  Had a couple really good games, but 4e and Pathfinder ended this run.  I have sold/given up most of my collection.  This version suffered from little continuity of rules but was still fun if you had the right group (I did... twice).  With the right group, your power levels even when you had sub-optimal characters, everyone can shine.  Everyone understood who was playing what, and we all gave those characters their moments and it was amazing.  I played a lot of Forgotten Realms in this edition.

 

4th:  Their marketing was horrendous.  I did not like this one bit.  As I said on the first page, I made a character and ran a simulated combat, and it just didn't "feel" right to me.  I left this one out.

 

2nd: This was what I cut my teeth on, RPG-wise.  Played in Dragonlance, Planescape, and picked up Dark Sun's box.  A very late purchase was the 2e Forgotten Realms box set.  I also made my own homebrew world, and had a heck of a fun several games with it (mashing together Native American/Aztec culture with European Knightly areas with a healthy dose of Final Fantasy references, it was fun!). This one was probably the one where I was most creative and where the most creative license was given within the games.  I think that my group of friends all enjoyed themselves the most in this particular era (high school for us).

 

ADnD: I played very little of this, but it's second edition, as noted above, was my first real foray into D&D.  Played this with my father.

 

1e:  I have played several one-shots.  It was simple and fun, and the group was nice, too. 

 

Rules Cyclopedia:  Played a one shot and my dwarf warrior survived!  I was pretty happy with that, as I expected him to die given how deadly this system is.

 

Earthdawn:  This system is very different from D&D but is a unique fantasy setting and needs mentioning.  I loved the different races and how the cultures fit together.  It's a very 90's setting, but it fits and I still like the original system and 2nd edition of the game quite a bit.

 

Shadow of the Demon Lord:  I'm currently playing this game with my favorite GM.  This is a heck of a lot of fun.  I think that there are plenty of things we could do differently, but this is one game that we have so many fun RPG elements and the system is so broad that it is nice.  It's somewhere between AD&D 2e and Rules Cyclopedia for complexity, and it just hits a wonderful spot.  Sad part is that it's definitely NOT for young audiences, the art direction puts it above PG-13 and that's okay.  It's nice to be able to play a game that is really more adult in nature and that has some harsh consequences. 

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Heh, the Pathfinder Camp Out we were invited to is the same weekend as the Maine Blues Festival....

 

It is a hard choice to make - I love camping out, I love Pathfinder, and I am pretty sure that I have a few dozen ghost stories I can tell around the fire....

 

On the other hand, I also love the Blues - and have been practicing a Blues version of the All American Rejects' Move Along. (The only thing that needed changing is the pacing....)

 

But... I think that the camp out wins, over all - while Megan likes the Blues, she is not as much of an aficionado as I am. (A punk concert might have the opposite split - depending on American or European punk. Megan... likes Ramone.)

 

A baby on a camp out is better than a baby at a music festival, I think. (Who knows... maybe I can sing my version of Move Along at the campfire?...)

 

The Auld Grump

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At the mall, working on Megan's character for the Curse of the Crimson Throne. A gnomish witch, with a Deception patron.

 

Jenny has submitted her character - her character for the first try at the campaign was a dwarf rogue/ranger named Helga Coppersmith.

 

Her new character is a dwarf slayer named Elga Kupferschmidt....

 

A lot of that going on - Duncan has gone from a swashbuckling fighter to a fighting swashbuckler.

 

Molly isn't even pretending - she wants to play the same character she had the first time. (A rogue, heading for Shadow Dancer.)

 

Jon is playing a ranger with Rich Parents and Unhappy Childhood - started with 900 GP, and now has about five left, everything spent on equipment. His prized possession is a masterwork Agile Breastplate - that he intends to get enchanted at a future point.. (He was interested in playing a bard - but his wife shot him down - he cannot carry a song in a bucket. And he will role play.)

 

Julie is creating a cleric of Desna.

 

Not sure how I am going to split up the players - we had eight for the now ending Beyond the Borderlands campaign. (Hey! I had to name it something.) Six is about as many as I think I can handle for Curse.

 

Maybe a completely different campaign for Friday nights?

 

***

About another session for the BtB campaign - Saturday will be finishing off character generation for CotCT.

 

Had a fun battle with sluagh last night - which looked suspiciously similar to the Bones lemures that I used for tar zombies in the kids game earlier last week. ::P:

 

I would kind of like to see what the lemures would look like in translucent purple Bonesium.

 

The Auld Grump

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@TheAuldGrump I apparently have to stop being brief in my replies here; though I recognize that the way I phrased "Some DMs threaten to advance the plot" would lead you to believe that I am against that sort of thing in entirety.  My comment was more directed at the idea that sometimes a GM with throw out a plot hook or something and, when the players don't bite or are not interested or whatever, will continue to develop that plot in the background to spring on the players at some point.  Rather than just saying, "Oh, I guess the players aren't interested in the haunted tomb" and either dropping it or letting that thing hang undeveloped until they maybe are interested.  Worse is when a DM throws out a half-dozen and then decides that there is literally no opposition to bad guy plots for the 5 things the players don't select to get involved in. :rolleyes:  Hence my comment about "being the only justice league in the world."

 

Basically, if we're down for the Minotaur pirates adventure, don't pull some scold-y schoolmarm bull-stuff about how we should have been paying attention to the rumors you were dropping about the haunted tomb (and gnoll raiders, and hungry giants, and so on) and how now everything is terrible because we didn't.  The minotaur pirates can sack towns and carry off prisoners if we're screwing around enchanting stuff.  But also realize that sometimes the players don't care about those consequences, or calculate them as acceptable losses.  Seaside village be damned, I'm enchanting this wand.  This sort of thing was what I was referencing when I said "depending on the campaign or adventure, we wait for the spellcasters to make stuff."

 

In the Ogre bandits burning down the town scenario, the GM probably wants us to avenge the town folk or something.  We may just decide to move on, adventure elsewhere and let the Ogre bandits have this neck of the woods. (That's the feet-based version of "screw this, we planeshift to the beastlands.")  All of this really boils down to how you, as a GM, handle the players, unwittingly or intentionally, rejecting an adventure that you spent a bunch of time working on.  Cause sometimes we don't know that you spent 20 hours designing the traps and puzzles and denizens of the haunted tomb and just don't want to go there and aren't trying to deliberately spite you.

 

Lastly, you never commission someone to make a magic item if you can avoid it.  That's just an invitation for certain types of GMs to screw with you.

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On 2017-05-07 at 3:13 AM, Auberon said:

2E – The best things about 2E were the settings and supporting material. In fact, TSR went more than a little crazy with all of their settings because it was one of the reasons the company went bankrupt. By the time it was done there were also a number of very good adventures. A person could play in these settings for years and years and not get bored.

I reminded myself from the late 80s-early 90s, that 2e was the time where TSR produced some of their best *and* worst material.

 

Just thinking about the amount of concurrent settings they had at the time. Greyhawk; Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance being the main AD&D ones; and Mystara for D&D. Then Ravenloft/Masque of the Red Death; Dark Sun; Birthright; Spelljammer, etc.

 

As for game rules, who remembers Hackmaster? A retro-1st edition AD&D clone with a bunch of additional rules, inspired by Knights of the Dinner Table.

 

My group played it after a 3e campaign, to try to recapture the feeling of the good old days. Well I can tell you that rules aged horribly. Not so much a question of balance than a question of feeling constrained in not being able to do anything else outside of your specific class/skill set. After the freedom of character building 3e offered, going back wasn't as fun as expected. As players, the fact that we were now 10-15 years older since last we played AD&D probably changed our overall perception of the game.

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15 minutes ago, Cranky Dog said:

who remembers Hackmaster?

 

I still have a copy of Hackmaster 3e and Hackmaster Basic on my bookshelf!!  Fun times, but yes, the old school experience as aged.

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10 hours ago, VitM said:

@TheAuldGrump I apparently have to stop being brief in my replies here; though I recognize that the way I phrased "Some DMs threaten to advance the plot" would lead you to believe that I am against that sort of thing in entirety.  My comment was more directed at the idea that sometimes a GM with throw out a plot hook or something and, when the players don't bite or are not interested or whatever, will continue to develop that plot in the background to spring on the players at some point.  Rather than just saying, "Oh, I guess the players aren't interested in the haunted tomb" and either dropping it or letting that thing hang undeveloped until they maybe are interested.  Worse is when a DM throws out a half-dozen and then decides that there is literally no opposition to bad guy plots for the 5 things the players don't select to get involved in. :rolleyes:  Hence my comment about "being the only justice league in the world."

 

Basically, if we're down for the Minotaur pirates adventure, don't pull some scold-y schoolmarm bull-stuff about how we should have been paying attention to the rumors you were dropping about the haunted tomb (and gnoll raiders, and hungry giants, and so on) and how now everything is terrible because we didn't.  The minotaur pirates can sack towns and carry off prisoners if we're screwing around enchanting stuff.  But also realize that sometimes the players don't care about those consequences, or calculate them as acceptable losses.  Seaside village be damned, I'm enchanting this wand.  This sort of thing was what I was referencing when I said "depending on the campaign or adventure, we wait for the spellcasters to make stuff."

 

In the Ogre bandits burning down the town scenario, the GM probably wants us to avenge the town folk or something.  We may just decide to move on, adventure elsewhere and let the Ogre bandits have this neck of the woods. (That's the feet-based version of "screw this, we planeshift to the beastlands.")  All of this really boils down to how you, as a GM, handle the players, unwittingly or intentionally, rejecting an adventure that you spent a bunch of time working on.  Cause sometimes we don't know that you spent 20 hours designing the traps and puzzles and denizens of the haunted tomb and just don't want to go there and aren't trying to deliberately spite you.

 

Lastly, you never commission someone to make a magic item if you can avoid it.  That's just an invitation for certain types of GMs to screw with you.

Okay, that makes more sense.

 

In my case, at least one of the plots that the PCs were ignoring - because they were concentrating on another plotline - will advance, but slowly. Much more slowly than if they were just waiting around until their magic items come in the post.

 

So that when they are finished with the current plot then it will still feel like the world is moving along, and the risk will, well, in game, it will have leveled up along with the PCs. The evil wizard will have more and/or better henchmen, the orcs will gave conquered a town or two, and the undead will have gone and retired to Florida.

 

Though in regards to not commissioning magic items... commissioning items, in my game, seems to be one of the major ways of getting the item that you want - mostly in down time, but in the previous Curse of the Crimson Throne game the PCs had commissioned a few magic items, just before the fit hit the Shan.

 

The other tried and true method is to expect that the GM will have a decent idea of what magic items the party may want... maybe going so far as to have a not 'Sword or weapon most favored by the main battle type' or the like. (I do that, but sometimes I guess wrong.)

 

It is a lot easier than hoping that the item that you want is in the shop. (A +1 sword? No problem... a Flametongue? Not nearly as likely.)

 

So, I allowed the PCs to sneak around and pick up the items, before they fled Old Korvosa, (Strange thing - the cap on the value of magic items is lower in Old Korvosa, but the PCs trusted getting those lesser items more than the places in the main city....)

 

Sneaking around was fun, so I had no real problem with getting the players to do it. (What? We get our items and some XP! Score!)

 

The Auld Grump

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13 hours ago, VitM said:

@TheAuldGrumpRather than just saying, "Oh, I guess the players aren't interested in the haunted tomb" and either dropping it or letting that thing hang undeveloped until they maybe are interested.  Worse is when a DM throws out a half-dozen and then decides that there is literally no opposition to bad guy plots for the 5 things the players don't select to get involved in. :rolleyes:  Hence my comment about "being the only justice league in the world."

 

Basically, if we're down for the Minotaur pirates adventure, don't pull some scold-y schoolmarm bull-stuff about how we should have been paying attention to the rumors you were dropping about the haunted tomb (and gnoll raiders, and hungry giants, and so on) and how now everything is terrible because we didn't.  The minotaur pirates can sack towns and carry off prisoners if we're screwing around enchanting stuff.  But also realize that sometimes the players don't care about those consequences, or calculate them as acceptable losses.  Seaside village be damned, I'm enchanting this wand.  This sort of thing was what I was referencing when I said "depending on the campaign or adventure, we wait for the spellcasters to make stuff."

 

In the Ogre bandits burning down the town scenario, the GM probably wants us to avenge the town folk or something.  We may just decide to move on, adventure elsewhere and let the Ogre bandits have this neck of the woods. (That's the feet-based version of "screw this, we planeshift to the beastlands.")  All of this really boils down to how you, as a GM, handle the players, unwittingly or intentionally, rejecting an adventure that you spent a bunch of time working on.  Cause sometimes we don't know that you spent 20 hours designing the traps and puzzles and denizens of the haunted tomb and just don't want to go there and aren't trying to deliberately spite you.

 

A lot of this will come down to how it's handled but if the PCs ignore a quest hook, I would absolutely continue developing that plot in the background and have it spring on the players at some point.  It would be at a slower pace (ala TheAuldGrump) but it would continue to develop and even come to fruition if the PCs ignore it enough.  The thing is though, even if that nefarious plot continues to develop, it shouldn't result in an end game state for the campaign but simply become another plot hook.  

 

The evil plot coming to fruition could mean a variety of different things.  It could mean the Ogre bandits burn down a town (new plot hook - someone wants to hire them for revenge).  Or it could be the same plot hook but with the Ogre bandits fortifying themselves such that it becomes harder to defeat them in future but hey, the PCs will be more powerful as well having leveled up (the easy option as its the same plot hook as before!).  Or it could mean that the Ogre bandits fight other groups of heroes who all say to them, with their dying breath, that the bandits will eventually be defeated by the world famous party of PCs - upon which the Ogre bandits decide to be proactive and come after the PCs.  Or if the PCs decide to move to another land, I might have the Ogre bandits ultimately conquer that area of the world and then have neighboring kingdoms setup outposts etc along the border to keep them from raiding into other lands.  We never got that far but I recall some high level published adventures dealing with "kingdom" level events where the PCs would run their own barony or duchy or something.  I can imagine it would be fun to have that and then have to deal with a land of Ogres that are there simply because the PCs didn't deal with them when they were just Ogre bandits.  Either way, it all contributes to the sense of a living breathing world that I like to create for campaigns.

 

My point is that a plot hook coming to fruition doesn't have to be a bad thing.  It can simply mean that the events the PCs are dealing with are more interlinked with their own personal stories.  In the example above where the PCs have their own land, instead of dealing with some random BBEG that I have to make up, they are now dealing with an Ogre that they have possibly met or even fought before.  They are dealing with an Ogre who knows them personally and can taunt them during "diplomatic negotiations" around how cowardly the PCs are.  In the unlikely scenario where the PCs actually enter into diplomatic negotiations with the Ogres, it might be harder to convince the Ogres of the PCs good faith as the Ogre believes the PCs will run at the first sign of trouble.  That, to me, seems much more fun and interesting a campaign than simply having another "monster of the week".

 

With that said, if the PCs ignore a plot hook in favour of fluffing around enchanting magic items etc, I will give them a warning that those evil plots will continue to develop while they are fluffing around and ask them if they are sure about what they want to do.  In this situation, my expectation would be that the PCs get the enchantment started and then come back at a later time to pick up the magic item (although I would be okay with the PCs dealing with a different "lesser" threat while they got ready to deal with the bigger threat - ultimately, my point is that I don't want the PCs lounging around town for months doing nothing while they wait for their super awesome sword of awesome to get enchanted).  If the PCs ignore this warning, then the plot points tend to end up being a lot worse for the PCs as a punitive measure.  Generally, my group knew that if I put on my serious face and flat out asked them "Are you sure you want to do that?" then they knew that there were potentially going to be serious repercussions for the action that they were considering.

 

Also, it would never bother me that I spent a bunch of time designing traps and puzzles which the PCs avoided as they went for a different plot hook.  I guarantee you that those traps and puzzles, once designed, will get reused in a different adventure.

 

Also worth mentioning that I generally only put 2-3 plot hooks in front of my PCs.  Generally, they get a choice of 2-3 plot hooks or if I didn't prepare properly, they get 1 plot hook and are told OOC that I didn't have time to fully prepare so they have 1 plot hook for a short adventure now while I prepare options for the future.  There were also times where I had a published adventure I wanted to run and just told the group what module we were going to be playing.  Being completely candid, my group in those days probably preferred playing published adventures as they were a lot more polished than my own feeble attempts at adventure design (I was a LOT younger then and a LOT less experienced with RPGs :B): ).

 

With that said, if I ever DM again (unlikely), I would think about how I could plan for a longer campaign.  I've been watching Critical Role and one of the things I loved was when the Chroma Conclave showed up and I realized that the DM had been putting subtle hints to that threat over the course of the campaign.  Not enough to realize what was going to happen but enough so that a lot of things which seemed independent at the time were actually related in some manner.  It was pretty awe inspiring when I saw that.

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