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September 20, 2021
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Quick, Simple Fun: High Society

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September 15, 2021
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September 14, 2021
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Play and Pass

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September 13, 2021
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Karuba Board Game Review

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September 08, 2021
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Mariposas - a Punchboard Review

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September 07, 2021
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Paring down

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September 03, 2021
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Earthenwar Review

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D&D sales jumped 33% last year!

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15 Mar 2021 12:34 #320586 by Shellhead
I like D&D. It wasn't my first rpg (Gamma World), and it wasn't the rpg that I played the most as a teenager (Villains & Vigilantes). But it was the dominant game, and nearly every guy of a certain age in the early-mid '80s tried it at least once. I played a fair amount of AD&D (1st) and then came back many years later for some D&D 3.x.

About 20 years ago, I worked at a place that didn't provide coffee to employees, so I took a few coffee breaks every day, going downstairs to a convenient coffee kiosk. The guy manning the kiosk every day was always dressed like he going to a rodeo: high-heeled, pointy-toed cowboy boots, belt with huge buckle, and a bolo tie. (He didn't wear his cowboy hat indoors, but kept it near while he worked.) It wasn't a uniform or costume, he just liked to dress that way. Because he was close to my age, I once impulsively asked him about D&D, and spend the rest of my coffee break listening to him go on and on about his paladin character.

From 2012 to 2016, I ran a bi-weekly 3.5 campaign for a group averaging 7 players. It was a lot of fun up until around 10th level, and then it became an increasing hassle to play. The party discovered the five-minute workday, so there was an excessive amount of downtime each session. My detailed tactical maps tended to get flooded with creatures and monsters summoned by the player characters as meat shields. The fighter and rogue types started feeling like sidekicks, while the casters were often frustrated by the increasing number of creatures with magic resistance. By the fourth year, I was starting to feel burned out. I occasionally think about running again, with a low-level campaign for fewer players, but I still vividly feel that sense of burnout. I would like to think that a less rigorous set of rules like 5th would lift some of that burden.

From the sidelines, it feels like there are two D&Ds today. There is the very polished, mainstream D&D of 5th edition, and then there are the various OSR clones that often feature wildly creative and sometimes grotesque settings and adventures. I'm more drawn to the weird stuff, but I suspect that my likely players are more vanilla in their tastes. I was originally planning to roll out a Carcosa hexcrawl campaign in late 2020, but that got de-railed for the obvious reason, plus I also misplaced all of my Carcosa materials and notes while doing some major home projects in 2019. I need to ruthlessly purge a lot of stuff in storage to find what I need, but that process is a bit painful due to my hording instincts, so Carcosa remains lost for now.

I'm surprised that YouTube videos would lure new fans to D&D. I have tried watching some, and even the pornstars of I Hit It With My Axe couldn't get me to enjoy watching D&D on YouTube. It tends to be just like watching a real world D&D session with strangers: lots of talking, a bit of dice rolling, and the occasional movement of a miniature on the table. Somewhat more interesting than watching paint dry, but not by much.
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15 Mar 2021 21:09 - 15 Mar 2021 21:10 #320641 by san il defanso
Every now and then I get curious about picking up a book for Pathfinder 2e, about which I've heard nothing but good things, but what always holds me back is that I'm just not a very attentive DM, at least in terms of prep. I don't want to have to sit there precisely tuning different mechanical dials to make sure things are balanced, and that the XP curve is okay, or whatever. My impression is that both versions of Pathfinder and 3.5 were quite demanding on that count.

Obviously the designers of 5e want to give the impression that the current edition can hold up to the same rigor, but in truth one of the things I enjoy the most about it is that it is extremely forgiving of "close enough" DMing. You really don't need to sit there tuning out precise encounters, or developing detailed scenarios that require neatly drawn maps. You can get by mostly with just coming up with "situations" for your players, and depending on how you run it that'll do the trick.

Actually, if I could change anything about 5e, it wouldn't be mechanical. Instead I would change the way the game presents itself, to emphasize that how you run the game is often more important than how you design for it. I would put in more about how to properly pace sessions, about how to come up with a half-dozen solid "situations" that could be combat encounters, or interactions, or whatever, and how to minimize prep. Right now the game makes it sound like DMing is way more of a chore than it actually is.
Last edit: 15 Mar 2021 21:10 by san il defanso.

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15 Mar 2021 21:26 #320644 by Michael Barnes
Pathfinder 2.0 is garbage. I’m playing in a game my friend is running and I have to bite my tongue lest I complain the entire time. It’s so overly complcated it almos lt feels like parody. The mechanics are absolutely no fun, every combat encounter is drawn out with lots of fake depth and character sheet gazing..and those character sheets are only slightly less complicated than.a 1040. I think we all kind of hate it but nobody wants to be the jerk.

It is a game fit min maxers and optimal build players as well as for those who think that the character sheet and all those numbers are Holy Writ. It’s for folks who are scared to just make shit up for fear of losing balance or verisimilitude.

A lot of it is just straight D&D. Just made more complicated and cumbersome. I gave it the benefit of a doubt but it is a total pile of shit.
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15 Mar 2021 22:12 #320659 by san il defanso
It seems to me if you want that level of control in an RPG, RPGs really might not be for you.
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15 Mar 2021 22:41 #320662 by Shellhead
D&D players often have trouble adjusting to Call of Cthulhu at first, because they have this expectation that every encounter is suitable for their current power level.
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15 Mar 2021 22:55 #320663 by Sagrilarus

Michael Barnes wrote: Pathfinder 2.0 is garbage. I’m playing in a game my friend is running and I have to bite my tongue lest I complain the entire time. It’s so overly complcated it almos lt feels like parody. The mechanics are absolutely no fun, every combat encounter is drawn out with lots of fake depth and character sheet gazing..and those character sheets are only slightly less complicated than.a 1040. I think we all kind of hate it but nobody wants to be the jerk.

It is a game fit min maxers and optimal build players as well as for those who think that the character sheet and all those numbers are Holy Writ. It’s for folks who are scared to just make shit up for fear of losing balance or verisimilitude.

A lot of it is just straight D&D. Just made more complicated and cumbersome. I gave it the benefit of a doubt but it is a total pile of shit.


The key to good role playing is knowing which rules to ignore when. Once you have that worked out . . .
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16 Mar 2021 00:09 #320668 by barrowdown

Michael Barnes wrote: Pathfinder 2.0 is garbage. I’m playing in a game my friend is running and I have to bite my tongue lest I complain the entire time. It’s so overly complcated it almos lt feels like parody. The mechanics are absolutely no fun, every combat encounter is drawn out with lots of fake depth and character sheet gazing..and those character sheets are only slightly less complicated than.a 1040. I think we all kind of hate it but nobody wants to be the jerk.

It is a game fit min maxers and optimal build players as well as for those who think that the character sheet and all those numbers are Holy Writ. It’s for folks who are scared to just make shit up for fear of losing balance or verisimilitude.

A lot of it is just straight D&D. Just made more complicated and cumbersome. I gave it the benefit of a doubt but it is a total pile of shit.


I thought maybe it wasn’t going to be as bad as the character sheet made it look. I then saw that one of the feats in the core book was for improved sense of spell when raging. I decided that was not anywhere near what I wanted from an RPG. I have a fear that the next campaign (in the group I play in, but not run) after we work through the published Alien material will be Pathfinder 2e.

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16 Mar 2021 07:16 #320670 by jason10mm

Shellhead wrote: D&D players often have trouble adjusting to Call of Cthulhu at first, because they have this charming fantasy that ANY encounter is suitable for their current power level.


Fixed that for you :)

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16 Mar 2021 14:04 #320704 by HiveGod

Shellhead wrote: D&D players often have trouble adjusting to Call of Cthulhu at first, because they have this expectation that every encounter is suitable for their current power level.

Q: How many hit points does a shoggoth have?

A: ALL OF THEM
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16 Mar 2021 14:42 #320705 by fightcitymayor
It might jump even further this year, as July brings us the first ever Magic The Gathering set that takes place in a D&D world. Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. It will replace the typical "Core Set" that would have been released this summer, and will lean towards the same entry-level, casual-centric buyer.

As per usual, WOTC plays its cards close to the vest and you won't know details before they want you to know them, but it might be a pretty big deal in multiple gaming communities, what with both properties being at all-time-high interest levels and profits.

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16 Mar 2021 14:56 #320706 by Shellhead

HiveGod wrote:

Shellhead wrote: D&D players often have trouble adjusting to Call of Cthulhu at first, because they have this expectation that every encounter is suitable for their current power level.

Q: How many hit points does a shoggoth have?

A: ALL OF THEM


The first time I ran a Call of Cthulhu adventure that included a shoggoth, the group was a mix of new and veteran Call of Cthulhu players. When I described the truck-sized amoeba slithering towards the group, the veterans ran away. The new guys were excited to finally play an rpg with guns, so they shot at the shoggoth until they died.
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