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Andi Lennon
October 21, 2020
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When Theme Meets Emotion

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Episode 56 - Two's Company

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Short Cut to Remote Gaming Forum (29 Aug 2020)

Since remote gaming has now become a significant part of how we play board games, we have added a short cut to this forum in the menu on the left.

× Use the stickied threads for short updates.

Please consider adding your quick impressions and your rating to the game entry in our Board Game Directory after you post your thoughts so others can find them!

Please start new threads in the appropriate category for mini-session reports, discussions of specific games or other discussion starting posts.

What ROLE-PLAYING have you been doing?

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18 Nov 2013 14:24 #165422 by Jason Lutes
Okay, time to roll up some Villagers! Here is the thread .

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08 Dec 2013 17:55 #167100 by DukeofChutney
played another session of FFG's Star Wars edge of the empire today. We did about the first 3rd of the Out Rim, module.

I enjoyed it, but more due to the players than what i think the actual content of the module is. The thing is, is it Star Wars? The plot is that after some shinanigans around a Naa Shadaa esc space station you leave known space and search for a long lost ship. This is fine, but the plot, npcs, and most of the content could easily just be reskinned to Traveler just by changing names and stats. Nothing in the story is unique to star wars. Star Wars is a core inspriation to almost any vaguely pulpy sci fi, but it does have things that make it star wars. Maybe you need the threat of an evil empire, or something to do with the force to really make it work. I've been invited to play Rogue Trader (traveler in 40k setting) a few times, and have always declined. Arguements such as, but you can leave 40k space and do anything have often been used to persuade me. imo if your going to use a setting, you should really play to the strengths and uniqueness of that setting rather than trying to leave it. Settings to me often end up just feeling derivative of the source material whilst failing to live up to the greatness of that source. I prefer looser non ip source material personally.
Also it seems a little linear and scripted to me. There were a fair few entertaining scenes and i am enjoying the sessions, but i wouldn't gm this material myself. Fortunately with good players and an imaginative GM most rpgs can become entertaining.

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09 Dec 2013 19:00 #167169 by moofrank
A quick survey of some of the recent RPGs I've been playing or sampled.

1. FFG Star Wars. I'm not a big Star Wars fan, but I think the system is kind of wonky. It is a stripped down Warhammer 3rd sort of. The problem is it all comes down to sticking together 3 or 4 different systems to add or subtract die and symbols. It all feels very static and restrained, and even loses the awesome crit deck which helped WH along a bit.

2. 13th Age. This is my favorite new school D&D. More than Pathfinder. At its core is the player-friendly D&D4 engine, but without a need for miniatures, and combat that runs pretty quickly. It also keeps the wacky 4th short rest/long rest instant heal thing which I like a lot. The character classes are quite variable in how many rules they have. Barbarian and Paladin are as easy as an old school game, while the Sorcerer and Cleric get complex and rule intensive. Monsters are a BREEZE to run and create. And the world lends itself to a somewhat improv running style.
The downsides: after about 5th level, the powers seem to get less interesting. And the spellcaster focus on combat means that traps and tricks are sort of handwaved over, so it would be hard to do a crazy puzzle solving dungeon like S2.

Apocalypse World: I've yet to try dungeon world, but have given this an outing. It is brilliant, but COMPLETELY alien. In practice, you roll 2d6+stat, 10+ is a success, 7 is a success with complications. And everything else is bound up in the details and character-specific playbooks. Everything about the game focuses on the player, and the level of improv is quite high. Mercifully, Dungeon World gets rid of AWs weirder elements (sex with other player characters is fairly important in AW and gives experience). The base system is perfect for short campaigns or one shots.

DCC: A bag of crazy. We did a funnel which was a lot of fun. At the core, it is pretty much AD&D with saner math, a streamlined system with a few extra tweaks to make things fun. Then the things you rarely do run into the realm of insane. Spells have long, psychotically random tables, every possible die is used, and it just looks fun. Worst problem: combat creep. HP goes up fast, damage doesn't. (This is behind my love of 13th Age. 5th level characters in 13th Age are terrifying, and Dan topped our latest record with a 216HP fireball.)

Numenara: We only played this briefly, but I think it might be my choice. The world is awesome. Total Greg Bear kind of stuff. The game system is fast, simple, completely new. It reminds me of the Paper Mario RPG, with fixed damage, and tiny amounts of damage. There are also a few different pools of spell/ skill points to manage. On top of that, everyone is a combination of 3 primary skill ladders which make up your character. One is a base class (Fighter/Mage/Rogue), one is a skill/perl sort, and the other mixes up epic and mystic powers.
Also, there are tons of one use magic items called Cyphers that you chew through. Enough that there is a deck of them available.
The end result is like a more interesting and serious Gamma World. There is a fair amount of crunch, but so consistently presented, that it is a breeze to grasp. They are working on other worlds for this system, and frankly, I would never look at D20 again.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Shellhead, Rliyen, allismom3, Mr. White, DukeofChutney

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17 Jan 2014 13:23 #170073 by Saul Goodman
So per the discussion earlier on this thread I convinced my regular group to give up Pathfinder for bit and try out Dungeon World. It actually didn't take much convincing. One of the people in our group was so excited about this prospect that he volunteered to read all the rules and start us off on a campaign as GM. Last night was our very first foray.

We spent the majority of our session learning the rules (this didn't take long at all - there's very few "rules" players need concern themselves with. Especially players who have played other RPGs), building our characters, and having a quick little introductory adventure to start off the campaign.

With such limited to exposure it's hard to say what I think over all, but my first impression of it last night: I liked it very much.

Jason Lutes wrote: veterans of other systems will have some adjusting to do. The game puts the emphasis firmly on "the fiction" over mechanics, suggesting that players just describe what their characters do and leave it up to the GM to interpret their actions in game terms. It's not that players shouldn't learn the rules (which are dead simple, though a conceptual challenge for some), but that they shouldn't put the rules ahead of the story. The other thing that can be hard to get used to at first is that DW asks the players and GM to build the story together. It's not necessary, but it really is a great part of the game.


This absolutely took adjusting to, even with our group where min/maxing has always been frowned upon. Not weighing out your decisions based on optimal and suboptimal effects is a tough habit to break. But go with the fiction. Funny cause the smaller details I've put into characters in the past was always flavor (as much as I wanted it to be otherwise) but Dungeon World rewards it, incorporates it, and elevates it. Whereas Pathfinder/3.5 took the stats and tactical parts of first edition D&D and made it the emphasis of the game - with a small eye on the narrative. Dungeon World comes at it from the reverse. Fantastic.

I am curious though to see what sort of staying power it has after a few months of regular play. As my friend pointed out - if we had been playing Dungeon World all along and someone introduced us to Pathfinder we'd probably be so excited to finally have a RPG that has clearly defined rules and tactics for everything. For now though I can't wait for the next session to see where the story goes.

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17 Jan 2014 14:10 #170079 by stormseeker75
There's got to be a happy medium in there somewhere.

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17 Jan 2014 22:20 #170121 by Rliyen
In between doing Mutant Chronicles playtesting, I got my players into the BSG role playing game. So far, it's a big hit. They've finished two "episodes" and are going on the third at the end of the month.

To date, I've had them follow in the footsteps of the Galactica, getting comm chatter from Adama to regroup at Ragnar but they're unable to notify the ship that they're still alive. So, when they get to the station, the Galactica's already gone and the station's been blown to hell.

They happen to run into (not literally) another civilian vessel late to the party, the Sister Josephine. They also run into (again, not literally) the same problem that the Galactica had. Namely, Cylons waiting on the doorstep and the battlestar having to run interference for the civilians to give them enough time to jump away.

The next episode is two weeks after the fall of the Colonies. The battlestar has been jumping to sectors around the Colonies to elude been found by the toasters. So far, it was quiet. Then, they make a jump and suddenly they're surrounded by unknown vessels. The battlestar's about to fire, but the Sister Josephine visually confirms that at least one of the vessels is actually a civilian ship.

As it turns out, the Orthrus has found what's left of the civilian fleet that the Pegasus encountered and subsequently raped. Needless to say, the civilians are not too happy with the military. So, the commander offers to get the ships jump capable by sacrificing some of their equipment. From there, it gets a bit worse (a mutiny by one of the civilian vessels, with hostage taking) then it gets better (rescue of hostages a success), and then worse again (Cylon Raider jumps in and scans the fleet). It ends on a good note.

Log of what's happened so far and the cast of characters on Battlestar Not Galactica

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09 Feb 2014 14:36 #171595 by Green Lantern
I wasn't aware of a BSG game. Care to share some details, Rliyen? What's the system like and do you guys enjoy it?

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09 Feb 2014 15:03 #171599 by Green Lantern

moofrank wrote: A quick survey of some of the recent RPGs I've been playing or sampled.

1. FFG Star Wars. I'm not a big Star Wars fan, but I think the system is kind of wonky. It is a stripped down Warhammer 3rd sort of. The problem is it all comes down to sticking together 3 or 4 different systems to add or subtract die and symbols. It all feels very static and restrained, and even loses the awesome crit deck which helped WH along a bit.


Not sure what a crit deck is but the system does account for critical hits. There's a random chart for them when a character suffers a nasty wound. Is that what your are looking for or am I way off the mark? I am by no means a master of the rules but my group is trying to learn them and have some fun with the more narrative dice mechanic.

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09 Feb 2014 15:08 #171600 by Green Lantern

DukeofChutney wrote: Started a game of FFG's Starwars Edge of the empire. I'm playing rather than GM'ing which is neat.

The dice system does a lot of the weight lifting for the game and makes the GMs role a lot easier as they simply just choose dice to set difficulty rather than estimating numbers and probabilities. The rule book is a complete mess and really hard to reference. Hopefully FFG will get better at organizing rules in their later games.


Good luck with the new campaign and keep us posted. I am very interested as a fellow GM looking to use this system.

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09 Feb 2014 18:54 #171609 by DukeofChutney
we've had i think 3 sessions since i made my last post on Star Wars Edge. The campaign is now on hiatus until the core book drops as the gm want so transfer things over. Our general conclusion is that its a near game but there are only so many smuggler run stories you can rinse out before you realise you are playing traveller rather than star wars.

I've started (im gming this time) a campaign of Mutant Future in the mean time. I've ditched the traditional Fallout setting for a cross between Nausicaa Valley of the Wind and the Cryptic Comet game Armageddon Empires. Also i've stolen the main plot hook from a Philip K Dick Novel and am running the game as an old skool Hex Crawl.

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09 Feb 2014 19:32 #171612 by tscook
I've been reading a copy of 2nd edition Runequest I picked up a while ago and I am impressed with the system's style for its age (old school BRP held up really well?). Might do a variant of the hex crawl with a more point to point style. Maintaining the feel but a little easier to track.

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09 Feb 2014 22:37 - 09 Feb 2014 22:38 #171614 by Green Lantern

DukeofChutney wrote: we've had i think 3 sessions since i made my last post on Star Wars Edge. The campaign is now on hiatus until the core book drops as the gm want so transfer things over. Our general conclusion is that its a near game but there are only so many smuggler run stories you can rinse out before you realise you are playing traveller rather than star wars.


Waiting for the core book to drop? Are you guys using the beginner game and waiting for the core book to release? I figured it was available everywhere by now.

Never played Traveller but have heard that's a very rules intensive system. If that's the case then Edge of the Empire sets itself apart in that regard. I am loving how rules light it is despite being a FFG product.
Last edit: 09 Feb 2014 22:38 by Green Lantern.

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10 Feb 2014 09:08 #171631 by Shellhead
Still running my D&D Ptolus campaign. I ran a variety of one-shot adventures for the early levels, but have been coasting since then on two major adventures. After 36 sessions, the average party member is now 9th level, and the highest level character is 11th level. Still have four of the eight original players, plus two more recent recruits.

The style of this group would annoy me if I was one of the players. They spend a lot of time coming up with complex plans that often quickly fall apart in the field, then they rush through sections of dungeon to encounter as much as possible while their minutes per level spells are still active. So their big plans fail and their hurried improvisations sometimes get them in worse trouble, which is definitely entertaining for me as the DM. About 95% of the action is taking place on decent-looking pre-printed maps that I either bought for the campaign or downloaded from one enthusiastic fan's site, so my players sometimes get so excited about exploring that the party scatters and triggers two encounters at once. More fun for me.

There is one fairly annoying guy in the group. He is the oldest player, by more than a decade, but this is his first experience with role-playing. But he can be petty, whiny, loud, argumentative, and selfish at times, and at least two of the players that left the game left because of him. But my closest friend in the group was the one who brought him in, and his clear enthusiasm for the game somewhat makes up for his antics.

I did an insane amount of prep work for this campaign, because I found the prospect of running a 3.5 game to be somewhat intimidating, despite my past experience with both 1st edition and also GURPS. 19 months into the campaign, and I still do a fair amount of over-preparation, though in a pinch I have found that I can now handle some impromptu combats without slowing down much.

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10 Feb 2014 09:38 #171639 by DukeofChutney
The next core book, Age of Rebellion.

Traveller now has 5 editions. The 1st edition is no more rules intensive than Edge of the Empire. But when i say traveller i mean more conceptually the whole genre of games that it spawned. Edge of the Empire for me, just doesn't have quite enough star wars in it at the core story level.

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10 Feb 2014 10:48 #171646 by Green Lantern
If you are looking for lightsabers and Force users in your Star Wars games Edge of the Empire will certainly disappoint, but if Star Wars tales represent smuggling, thuggery, scraping a living on the fringe and avoiding the MAN it delivers in spades.

Is Age of Rebellion supposed to deliver a different rule set? If not I don't see why you guys are on hiatus unless EoE is played out for you.

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