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oliverkinne
September 18, 2020
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oliverkinne
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Bots Up Board Game Review

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ubarose
September 17, 2020
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mezike
September 17, 2020
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boardgameinquisition
September 17, 2020
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whowhatwhycast
September 16, 2020
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September 16, 2020
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September 15, 2020
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oliverkinne
September 15, 2020
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Min-Maxing

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thegiantbrain
September 15, 2020
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Letterpress Board Game Review

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Matt Thrower
September 14, 2020
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Play Matt: Village Green Review

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GrantLyon
September 13, 2020
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September 12, 2020
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ubarose
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Short Cut to Remote Gaming Forum (29 Aug 2020)

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27 Aug 2019 15:46 #301136 by lj1983
I purchased the D&D starter box a while back, and the kids wanted to play. I was alittle reluctant, because it's been almost 15+ years since I've run anything. and the kids are a little young (5-8 yrs). but we went ahead and dove in.

Pre-Gen characters, goblin ambush, through the cragmaw hideout. they loved it. but wanted to make their own characters.

Still, I felt it was alittle much for them, and put a lot on me to keep abilities and everything together. So I went and picked up HeroKids to try with them. Basement o Rats with the group.

The twins liked it, the older two were just 'meh'. So I took the twins on a hunt for a werewolf. Which they enjoyed, but the HeroKids adventures and characters are pretty flat, so even the twins were getting alittle bored by the end.

So, I had picked up a 5e PHB and this last weekend we made characters while it rained on our campsite. and I'm really happy with how it worked out. the 'backgrounds' section had just enough inspiration to get the kids thinking alittle about their characters as more than a stat block.

I tried to point the twins at a simpler character, but one was defiant - "I want to be a druid and a dwarf". well, if that's what he wants, I can't say no to that. So we talked about how dwarves like gold and to make things, and how druids are kind of against that. So between that and reading through the 'backgrounds' he came up with a small story of how he'd grown up in a "noble" dwarven house but loved nature and being outside the caves in the mountains. and eventually left his homelife to protect the creatures of the mountains. and Thorn-Whip.

we ended up with the Dwarven Druid, an Elven Ranger, a Elven Sorceress and a Human Barbarian. The sorceress is the eldest, so she's done pretty well with spells. The sorcerer not having to "prepare" spells also helps to tone down complexity.

and when we got back from out camping trip, they wanted to jump in and play again. So I'm running a one-shot based on Matt Colville's Running the Game series (Delian Tomb). involves a pretty standard plot, with a villager being kidnapped by goblins and being used in some sort of ritual in a nearby tomb from a long-ago order of knights.

The tomb is inset into a wooded hill, with goblins guarding the entrance and a patrol wandering about outside. The ranger devises a plan to sneak above the entrance and distract the goblins while the barbarian rushes from the front, with the magic users supporting the main attack. Then use the ranger to prevent the gobbos from running into the tomb and warning the rest of the group of the attack.

Compared to our run through Cragmaw's hideout and the HeroKids stuff....I'm impressed with the tactical thinking.

Inside they find a spot where 6 goblins have setup a resting area, and the druid races out in front to use Thunderwave (he picked most of his own spells out, I just made sure he had a healing spell) to blow several of them against the far wall. Of course, that's probably made everyone else in the tomb take notice.

We had to stop there, but all the kids enjoyed it much more than the HeroKids and are itching for more. I was worried that the D&D stuff was too much, and some of it is. but allowing them to make their own character and describe them has really made it shine. Handling the mechanical stuff isn't bad at all.
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04 Sep 2019 18:13 #301383 by barrowdown
I ran the group through the Gnole House adventure for Dungeon Crawl Classics. The written goal is to stop the titular gnoles who are eating people and steal their wealth. I chose to have the group go in with almost no knowledge other than there was supposedly lots of gems here. As we are usually on the morally questionable side of classic D&D adventurers, this worked out pretty well for them. I leaned really hard into the home invasion aspects and the group (while thinking something seemed off) was progressively becoming worried they might be in the wrong. They had a lot of fun and only managed to lose one character who was saved by the cleric.

It was the last time with the cleric player (our usual DM) before he moved out of town. So tonight, we will discuss what we want to do next. I am not sure what others will suggest but if I am the DM I would like to try out Forbidden Lands, Pendragon 5.2, or WHRP 4th. Forbidden Lands looks fun and has the right mix of structure, openness and interesting mechanics. Pendragon has the massive campaign that I have always wanted to play. WHRP is the right mix of grittiness and fantasy for my group (I think). I would not mind a conspiracy/horror heavy game like Kult, Over the Edge, or Unknown Armies, but that is probably not to the rest of my group's interest. Other likely options are Shadowrun 6th World (which I would consider running) or Pathfinder 2 (which I do not want to run, but would play).
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04 Sep 2019 18:49 #301384 by Michael Barnes
I ran my super-modified Death House one shot for friends at Dragon Con and then with my newbie group.

It starts with the party at the Slaughtered Lamb Inn (yep) and getting hired by a halfling merchant to accompany him on a delivery of extremely valuable goods. On the way out, the innkeeper says “stay on the road and stay offa the moors”. (Double yep).

So naturally the merchant misreads the map and they wind up on the moors. They camp, and werewolves attack them. The whole party gets KO’d, but all see this huge Frankenstein like monster choke-slamming and pummeling the werewolves.

They wake up in an old house where two ghostly children greet them. There’s a monster in the basement and they are sleepy and hungry. The party has no choice but to help them. This leads to the gradual discovery of diabolism and cultish family history. It turns out that this was a once proud family that dabbled in “astronomical studies” until a Night Hag, disguised as a nursemaid, infiltrated and corrupted the family. The cult summoned an extra dimensional entity called Osybus, and the hag fed all of the cultists to it. But not before convincing the father to kill the mother and locking the older kids in their room where they starved to death. The Hag took on and raised the baby of the family, Walter, and he is the Frankenstein-like thing.

So lots of fun haunted house stuff including a scene where they walked into a hunting lodge and attacked three stuffed wolves, a battle with an Animated Armor, and some apparition stuff. I wrote letters for them to find that laid out clues to the story. They thought it was werewolves for the whole thing, so that red herring worked.

It wound up in the dungeon level of the house- a family crypt, a dungeon filled with ghouls and a ritual chamber where Osybus (a cross between a Shambling Mound and a Gibbering Mouther) awaited. And of course, an encounter with the Night Hag behind it all.

At DC, it just completely fell flat. We started playing late and everyone was distracted. It was kind of cool playing on the top floor of the Atlanta Hilton, but it was so chill up there it was all just a drowsy blur. They didn’t finish.

My other party though made it through and just totally loved it. They did some fun stuff, like using Prestidigitation to make some old clothes smell like the mother (her perfume was part of her manifestation) and they put them on Crunch, the Dwarf Cleric and convinced Walter that the Hag wasn’t his mom. It worked and Walter threw the Hag into the blobby god. I had them all write down a dark secret which Gustav, the father, embarrassed them all with when he talked about them when they encountered him in the dungeons (I game him Nothic stats). They completely bungled the end though- they walked right through a room with vaults labeled with the family names and didn’t put their bones to rest, despite all three ghosts asking to sleep.

So they got one of the bad endings. They walked out off the house and into...a random red hell-scape that I came up with on the fly, thinking about the end of Mandy.

I thought they’d want to start real characters after this (they are pregens) but now they want to continue this story so I’m fucked! Guess it might be Descent into Avernus for them now...

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05 Sep 2019 13:02 #301425 by dysjunct
Super pumped for this new release:

smile.amazon.com/gp/product/1689960671/

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05 Sep 2019 13:20 #301429 by ubarose
There is a problem with your link. I think this is what you were trying to link to:

amzn.to/2zTKwWy
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02 Feb 2020 13:56 #306798 by dysjunct
Ran a VOIP of DUNGEON CRAWL CLASSICS for an old group that I mostly haven't seen in about ten years. It was great to reunite. We used Roll20 for the maps and die roller, but used Google Hangouts for the video and audio. (I've had bad experiences with Roll20's native VOIP stuff -- laggy etc.)

Boy howdy was it a blast. I ran the classic Sailors on the Starless Sea 0-level funnel. Lots of weird body horror and fun creepy stuff. Only one PC death, not for lack of trying on my part. It's really about to hit the fan next session.
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02 Feb 2020 20:44 - 02 Feb 2020 21:05 #306807 by Michael Barnes
Sailors is brilliant, what a great module. Such a crowd pleaser, great choice for a “reunion” session. All of those Harley Stroh DCC books are great.

I guess I should be posting in this thread more because I am RPing a hell of a lot more than playing board games these days. I just started running Keep on the Borderlands for my formerly 5e group. We are using Old School Essentials, which is a moderned-up 1981 Moldvay B/X. I would rank it among the top 5 gaming products I have ever purchased. It’s incredibly streamlined in its presentation and it’s made to be used as an at the table reference. The rules writing is really tight - this is an easier game to learn and play than Gloomhaven by a long shot. Somehow along the way people have forgotten how simple and straightforward 1e is.

I’ve got my kids converted to 1e too. They love it.they are enjoying shaping their characters through play rather sorting through all of the options and variants that 5e throws at you. I’ve come to really dislike the the modern “podcast friendly” format of the game. The good news is that the old editions are still playable and supported.

We do a lot of no prep one shot stuff and we have an ongoing campaign...in the summer we are doing Temple-of Elemental Evil.

I’ve got a ton of incredible indie stuff. All these years bemoaning that there’s no creativity or innovation in board games while RPGs have been /thriving/.
Last edit: 02 Feb 2020 21:05 by Michael Barnes.
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02 Feb 2020 22:23 #306809 by Gary Sax
Can you explain what a podcast friendly RPG means? That's not a personal challenge or anything.

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02 Feb 2020 22:38 - 02 Feb 2020 22:45 #306810 by Michael Barnes
Heavily character-driven with a big emphasis on players making super custom ones with very detailed backstory...which is easier for actors to act/play with in shows like Critical Role. Much greater emphasis on setting and story, less of the kind of seat of your pants bullshit that comes from truly random, unscripted play. DM is more of a storyteller than a referee or judge.

Granted, all of that stuff is why 5e is the most popular D&D has ever been and I’m fairly sure that the streaming is almost 100 percent why it’s blown up...but it’s just not the same D&D I played growing up and have gotten back to playing. 1e is much more about player skill and ingenuity than character “builds” and superheroes loaded up with magic items.

1e is more about taking a bunch of fucking losers looking to get rich into an extremely deadly environment and seeing how long they can make it. Maybe the story winds up with them saving the world, maybe it just ends with a first level TPK. I described it to my players as 5e is Skyrim, 1e is Dark Souls.
Last edit: 02 Feb 2020 22:45 by Michael Barnes.
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03 Feb 2020 10:21 #306817 by hotseatgames
Is DCC pretty much like 1st edition? By the time I had gotten on the D&D train as a kid, I think 2nd edition was out.

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03 Feb 2020 10:42 #306818 by Shellhead
I played a lot of D&D 1E back in the day, but we never played the full rule system as written. There was a bunch of fiddly stuff that we ignored involving round segments, spell casting times, weapon speed, weapon length, and modifiers based on specific weapons versus specific armor classes. We weren't afraid of crunchy rules, though. We eventually settled on using a complex initiative system proposed by Len Lakofka in Dragon magazine issues #34 and expanded upon in #43. The Magic Realm combat system almost reads like a cohesive version of D&D 1E combat rules.

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03 Feb 2020 10:59 #306819 by Michael Barnes
DCC is based on 3e. It’s more complex than B/X, but still simpler IMO than 5e and definitely a step down from 4th. It uses more than just the standard 7 polyhedrals, which is fun.

Shell it sounds like y’all were playing 1e AD&D which added a lot of stuff like that under Frank Mentzer. I’m taking about the basic/expert rules (red book/blue book) that Tom Moldvay did. None of that fussy junk is in there by default, but it can be added. At that stage, damage was a D6 regardless of weapon and it was an advanced option to use a d4 for a dagger, d8 for a sword and so on.

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03 Feb 2020 11:27 #306820 by Shellhead
I started playing D&D with the boxed set that was supposed to include module B1 In Search of the Unknown. (Mine was missing, and replaced with a set of dungeon geomorphs and a set of random treasure/monster tables.)



But for most of my 1E years, we were using the AD&D books, except for the complicated combat junk. I did a close look at that red book basic set, and that rule book was incredibly organized, especially in comparison to the 1E Dungeon Master's Guide.

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03 Feb 2020 14:23 - 03 Feb 2020 15:54 #306825 by dysjunct
Re: DCC. The game's core is 3.x like Barnes says (d20+modifiers versus a target number), although the feel is much closer to early 1e than the fantasy superheroes. Lots of gonzo weirdness, planar travel, bizarre magic items, etc. Complexity-wise it looks worse than it is. Most of the book is random tables. Every spell has its own table -- the higher you roll on your casting check, the more impressive the effect. There's ten different critical hit tables (five for humanoids depending on class/level; five for various monsters), a fumble table, magic item generators, the whole nine yards.

Re: Complicated characters and backstories. I get the appeal but it's not my bag at all -- in fact I think it's a bit of a trap in some ways. At the table I see people produce characters that look superficially different on paper, but then they fall back on those superficialities instead of coming up with an actual personality at the table. One of the more revelatory experiences I've had was running Pendragon where all the PCs are literally the exact same race, class, and religion (British Christian knights) -- the players had to actually come up with characters with real character traits instead of "I'm a tiefling!" or whatever.

And aesthetically, I don't care at all for the dungeonpunk look that has been ubiquitous ever since 3.0. Every character glowers, and all their clothes are covered with spikes, straps, buckles, and other sorts of low-rent bondage gear. Nobody looks happy, or scared, or just like a normal person. Compare that to the classic stuff of Trampier or Otus -- the hapless schlubs risking certain death in subterranean hellholes because it's better than subsistence farming.
Last edit: 03 Feb 2020 15:54 by dysjunct.
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04 Feb 2020 20:53 #306846 by san il defanso
I like 5e a lot, but its main advantage, its considerable versatility, is also one of its weaknesses. It's not super well-suited to heavy narrative stuff, because it traditionally has not had a ton of emphasis placed on things like character backstory, heavy plots, etc. But it's also a little vague on any mechanics that aren't combat. Like, it doesn't really give any details about how to run a dungeon-crawl the way earlier editions did.

Not that it doesn't work really well, but you do need to be cool with the sort of game it is, and be comfortable with what it does well. I actually think the current DMG doesn't really do the system justice. It's actually a system that's really well-suited to more emergent stuff, but at a higher power-curve than B/X or Ad&D. But the DMG really tries to push you toward scripted, more epic stories. Which are fun too! But I don't think it's really where 5e works best.

Anyway, I get to be a player for the time being. My friend is DMing the 5e adventure Dragon Heist, which is an urban adventure set in Waterdeep. It's been pretty fun so far! We got ourselves a haunted manner, and it looks like we might have some more urban shenanigans to get into soon.

But not before next week! Next week I'm running my first game of Call of Cthulhu 7e. This will be using the starter set, which makes the game really approachable. If it works out well I think I will look into getting the proper book when I'm back in the states this summer.
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