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What ROLE-PLAYING have you been doing?
If they are teen/tween or up, you might as well run B/X, but younger than that, something rules-light is probably best. MAZE RATS (made by the designer to play with his 5th-grade students) or the aforementioned KNAVE (same designer, but better OSR compatibility). Or HERO KIDS or TOE.
Playing an rpg on Discord is okay. He had a camera feed set up and pointed at a big game table with a map and miniatures. He and his girlfriend were there and on laptops. Another local player was present via internet so he wouldn't need to drive across town. They could all talk via microphones in their computers, while I had to type my messages. One of the other players eventually switched to messages, because he didn't like the way his microphone was working. I'm a really fast typist, so it wasn't much of a hinderance. I learned how to use the dice-roller function, but this was mostly a role-playing interlude and there was no combat. I played a doppleganger, but the other player characters knew that. The story involved planning and reconnaissance for a heist during an upcoming masquerade. The host seems to be a vampire, and has some connection to a local drug dealer/pimp/rogue who is selling a highly addictive blood-based drug. Like any rpg session, sometimes I was very involved, and sometimes not at all, and it was easy to tab over to Facebook or newsites while sort of listening in on other conversations in the game. Discord would ping me whenever there was a new message or picture posted there while I was at another site.
Even though I haven't seen this friend in ages, I felt like I was almost reading his mind during game. He would give a very faint wisp of a clue, and I would know immediately and precisely what was going on. By the time an NPC ditched me just after turning a corner into an alleyway, the first thing I typed was "I look up to the sky to see if I spot either a fluttering bat or billowing mist." It wasn't that he had DMed much for me or vice versa back in the day. We actually tended to both DM for our own groups of players, but sometimes compared notes. And we read a lot of the same books and comics back then. Anyway, it was moderately fun, and I will probably play with their group from time to time.
I just got the Labyrinth Adventure Game, a new thing from River Horse (they did the cool Terminator board game last year and the previous Labyrinth/Dark Crystal games that were bad). This book has blown me away. It is an extremely simple RPG (like, just over the complexity of a Fighting Fantasy book really) with an amazing format. The Goblin King (GM) keeps track of everything on a sheet. There are 200 or so encounters and they are sketched out in a very OSR style (light on text, lots of tables, lots of room for improv and bespoke story elements). They are mostly written by Ben Milton, who does the Questing Beast reviews on YouTube, with some guest spots from Patrick Stuart (Deep Carbon Observatory), Matt Ward, Alessio Cavatore (both Warhammer), and others.
After each encounter, you roll and add to the progress to determine where to go next, with the possibility of random encounters or events along the way. The goal is to reach the center (duh) in 13 hours and get "something" from the Goblin King. The players determine what this is when they make a character.
Characters have no actual stats. Things they are good at and bad at, maybe some equipment. It's a 2D6 versus DC system. If you have a tool, situation or trait that makes a roll advantaged, you get a bonus. Or you might get hindered and have a disadvantage. The end. That's the whole system, thanks.
It looks absolutely brilliant and thoroughly accessible. The book is just marvelous, with lots of new Froud illustrations and little cut-out in the pages where you can store the two custom owl dice that it comes with. Three bookmark ribbons. And it is styled like the book in the movie, which is just a lovely touch.
It was just like $28 too...can't wait to try it out.
Another day I suppose.
BillyBobThwarton wrote: Just a follow up on my last post. Decided to stick to the board game slot rather that delve into AD&D. That left me the 5E slot. Stressed myself out getting through work that morning, ate a junky lunch on the way there, paid my parking, hiked a ways, found the room, met three nice folks, but the DM never showed.
Another day I suppose.
As a form of gaming, role-playing is fundamentally fragile compared to boardgaming. When the DM is a no-show, there is no game. Or if too many players miss a session, the game probably gets put on pause. But if it had been a board game slot, you would have likely played a game.
My son had a friend over and he wanted to play...I said “cool, well make you a couple of characters”. He was like “doesn’t it take a long time, my friend said it takes hours”. He was dungeon ready with 2 characters in 10 minutes.
My main group is TOTALLY into “character emerges through play” now. And as the DM, it’s so much more fun than trying hit a bunch of forced notes or beats from character backstories.
There are some official OSE pregens that are a lot of fun- look for the Rogues Gallery on DTRPG.
Stonehell is incredible. I’ve just done bits and pieces of it for one shots but it is so well laid out and easy to run with NO prep. Lethal as hell though. I like the setup before the prison a lot, but it can take a while to actually get into it so if you aren’t looking at a longer campaign, consider just putting them right in it.
Something else to consider is troupe play. I am all about this now in every game I run. I don’t have any regular players with less than 2 characters. It encourages you to not hold back (as character death doesn’t “eliminate” a player) and it also increases the field of options available for the player. And, a lot of older adventures are for high player counts (I think Saltmarsh supports up to 10-12 characters). Another effect is that instead of getting hirelings (which can be fun) you have full characters on the roster.
But this is still on sale, and it is all of the core materials you need. The individual PDFs cost more. There is a 2nd printing of the physical book coming but it will sell out with the quickness.
dysjunct wrote: Looking at OSE, there's a ton of stuff on DTRPG. What's the best starting point?
The Rules Tome is the full ruleset in a single PDF/volume. Those can alternately be purchased in five smaller books: Core Rules, Genre Rules, Cleric & Magic-Users Spells, Monsters, and Treasures. There are also a couple other Advanced Rules books to essentially port the game closer to an AD&D kind of format, if you want.
If you're going with PDF the Rules Tome is all you need. I'm not sure I see the appeal of buying five separate PDFs, that seems more like an option for buying in print.