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October 24, 1958 (59)


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An Army in the Dungeon Yesterday 05:20 AM


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Monday, 16th July, 2018

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Sunday, 15th July, 2018

  • 04:36 AM - pemerton mentioned R_Chance in post An Army in the Dungeon
    ...up the rule Cyclopedia (which is my "bible" when it comes to old D&D... I just can't research/master all the old editions, so it will have to do!) "When the DM calculates experience points at the end of an adventure, the total amount of experience points earned by the group is divided among the number of characters. A retainer gets one share of experience just as any player character does." daaaaaaaamn So Job the halfwit in charge of holding the torch and carrying the spare shovel gets full XP?A retainer in B/X or RC = a henchman in AD&D. They get a share of XP (which is then halved when it is added to their total). But hirelings do not get a share of XP, as they are mostly zero-level, and even if not (sages (who generally won't come on adventures in any event), mercenary officers) are unable to gain levels. Having read your later post with the quote from RC, I can only say that it seems confused compared to the clearer distinctions in AD&D and B/X. And having read R_Chance's post, the only thing I think that is wrong there is that there is no half-level limit on henchman/retainers. Gygax's DMG has various rules about henchman level relative to circumstances of recruitment, but no level cap that I could find on a quick scan. The PHB says nothing about it. Basic (p B21) says that a retainer (henchman) can't be higher level than the PC leader. In practice, I think the half XP rule (which is clearly stated in both AD&D and B/X) is going to mean that levels of henchmen/retainers don't exceed those of the PCs who retain them.

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Sunday, 15th July, 2018

  • 03:54 AM - Ancalagon quoted R_Chance in post An Army in the Dungeon
    There is a difference between "Retainers" / "Henchmen" and Hirelings. Retainers / Henchmen ("Special Hirelings" in the original game) had a class (like PCs). Alternatively they might be creatures of some type. Hirelings is a reference to the mostly 0 level (unclassed) NPCs. Men at arms, blacksmiths, servants, etc. Hirelings did no rise in level or gain experience. They were "zero level". This is a very good point... and yet.... (again from Rule Cyclopedia) "A retainer is a person hired by a character to help on an adventure or a series of adventures. Retainers are sometimes called "hirelings." Retainers are never characters run by players; retainers are always NPCs run by the DM" .... sigh.

Saturday, 14th July, 2018

  • 08:45 AM - pemerton quoted R_Chance in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    If you like game play springing from the die rolls you should look over Stars Without Number by Kevin Crawford. There is an incredible amount of inspiration in that book (and there is a free PDF version of it). If you don't know it, it's a Travelleresque OSR game built on three classes. There are extensive resources for different areas in books and freebies (the books tend to parallel Traveller books IV+). I robbed it blind for my Traveller game. For science fiction I prefer skill based systems rather than class based. Still it's a game I would play or GM without hesitation.I've got a couple of (free) PDF versions of Stars Without Number, but have never read it closely. I thnk Campbell on these boards is a fan. I should take a closer look at it.
  • 06:38 AM - pemerton quoted R_Chance in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    Common yes (I guess), just not my style. If my world was less... complex and developed I could see it.I don't think that player-driven RPGing is at odds with a complex/developed world. It does affect the way the development takes place. I skipped 4E but I love Traveller (especially Classic with the DGP task resolution system or Megatraveller).Well . . . if you look at my Traveller play report you'll see my mini-rant against MegaTraveller (sorry, it seems like I'm destined to be taking a different perspective from you even though I'm not really trying to be that contrary!).

Friday, 13th July, 2018

  • 01:19 PM - pemerton quoted R_Chance in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    Mystery. A lack of perfect knowledge (for the players) and the need to discover what exactly is going on. Personally I enjoy watching them figure it out when I DM. I, and my players in short, find that exciting. Not so much (for the players) if they already know. Ymmv.Solving GM-authored mysteries is not a big part of the sorts of games I run. That's not to say that there are not unknown things, but generally they're unknown to the GM as well as the players. If the player has created the story then I'd ask why you need a DM? To administer the players story? I understand that players contribute to the world and story, but (imho) the DM has more input on that than any single player certainly. Ymmv. Well, I referred to the player driving the story. That is not an uncommon approach to RPGing. The role of the GM is to frame the challenges. The games I've plaid in are not driven by one players conception of his or her character. What about everybody else? Did every one else say "we're all abo...

Thursday, 12th July, 2018

  • 10:47 AM - JeffB quoted R_Chance in post Dragon Reflections #5: Charting New Directions
    I hadn't heard that EGG was negative about T&T. Do you have a link about that? According to Ken St. Andre he was. St. Andre wrote an article on the origins of T&T and at one point he says Gygax took a dislike to him and T&T at a convention. The web address is below. I'm not certain he's correct, but it seemed to be generally understood that Gygax was not a fan of T&T. Ken also has spoken about it on one of his video interviews on T&T. Tim spoke a little about it on one of his Curmudgeon in the Cellar episodes on youtube as well. Don't recall which interview/episodes specifically. Ken felt it necessary to remove his specific "thanks for the inspiration , D&D" messaging from the introduction in T&T post 1st edition, too..instead talking about "that other game" (paraphrasing) As R_Chance said, it's pretty well known Gary was not a fan.
  • 06:20 AM - M.T. Black quoted R_Chance in post Dragon Reflections #5: Charting New Directions
    I know. It's like a Vampire, it just keeps on coming back. At the time I remember thinking the scope / range of magic in Tolkein was far larger than in D&D. D&D magic was flashy and pretty much tactical. Sauron's control of the weather and driving his troops into a frenzy was strategic. It's a different system of magic, subtler and, I think, more powerful. I do like the "strategic" vs "tactical" analogy. There is also "implicit" vs "explicit" in a way. In LOTR you don't *learn* magic, you *are* magic.
  • 05:10 AM - pemerton quoted R_Chance in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    You said "discover". If they already know what they are getting it's not discovery.My keys are lost somewhere in my house. I search high and low, eventually discovering them behind the couch. Things can be discovered that were expected to be found somewhere, at some time. It's just giving them what they want for their build. It's one think if the story says they need to find "X" item to counter the big bad. It's another to fill out a shopping list.Who decided on "the story"? The GM? What if the player is driving the story? What if the player's conception of his/her character is central to play? Why is a need to find "X" more exciting when the GM decided who the "big bad" would be rather than the player? Items do not need to be useless or totally situational either, but they should be relevant to the place discovered, the story, or a mystery (minor or major). <snip> Questing to find a legendary item is interesting. Just being handed the items is... not interesting.There ...
  • 03:06 AM - pemerton quoted R_Chance in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    Why do I hear the voice of a certain game show host when I read that?Because only a Monty Haul game would have the PCs finding magic items that the players are keen to discover? In a non-Monty Haul game, the only magic items will be Tridents of Fish Command and Potions of Delusion!

Tuesday, 10th July, 2018

  • 01:30 AM - TerraDave quoted R_Chance in post An Army in the Dungeon
    BTW There was a third category: followers. Actually for us it started out (in 1974) as a small group of PCs. They didn't have henchmen and couldn't afford hirelings. Besides, what sane mercenary is going to go into a dungeon? That's a damn sight more dangerous than a regular war :) Sometimes you made a friend (NPC) who might adventure with you at times (as an equal), but the large numbers came much later when you were strong hold building, fighting wars, etc. Henchmen were recruited at fairly high levels (for the PC). Torchbearers / human "mules" early on were unreliable, running away screaming with your light or sometimes decamping with your cash... animals were as bad. Something about the smells of a dungeon upsets them :) *edit* We were wargamers btw, straight from Chainmail to D&D. Resource management for us (in the beginning) was about food, water, and weight carried. Not henchmen or hirelings. That came later. I am sure that reflected many gamers experiences. Lots of tab...

Thursday, 5th July, 2018

  • 04:23 PM - Ralif Redhammer quoted R_Chance in post Dragon Reflections #4: Talking Tekumel
    My brother had the EPT boxed set. At the time, I will agree that yes, the alien nature of the game for me was a tough sell. I seem to recall asking why I couldn’t just play a dwarf. These days, I’d love to revisit it. But my brother lost or sold off his copy of the boxed set! As far as that reading list, there are two listings that are not explicitly in Appendix N: Algernon Blackwood Merritt’s Face in the Abyss Doing some research on Blackwood, like many others on this list, he was a mainstay of the pulps. His stories “The Wendigo” and “The Willows” seem to be cited fairly frequently. I am unfortunately unfamiliar with the author, though it looks like he was an influence on both Tolkien and Lovecraft. Edited to Add: For those like me not familiar with Algernon Blackwood, both of those above-listed stories are available free of charge for the Kindle on Amazon. More than money, I think the alien nature of Tekumel drove players away. Medieval fantasy was more familiar.

Wednesday, 4th July, 2018

  • 10:02 PM - M.T. Black quoted R_Chance in post Dragon Reflections #4: Talking Tekumel
    I thought this issue had material for the right game myself :) Yes - and many agree down to this day! I'm not sure why TSR didn't promote the game more effectivley. I've heard that their arrangement with Barker meant it was not very profitable for them, so it really needed to sell in huge numbers to make it worthwhile. But I don't have any primary sources on that.

Thursday, 28th June, 2018

  • 10:29 PM - Tony Vargas quoted R_Chance in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    First off, how big is the fireball? A rather glaring omission. The only reference is "everyone nearby", but what constitutes "nearby"? In some games that are actually designed to be played without any sort of minis, play surface or granular position-tracking, 'Nearby' or 'Close' or "ReallyReallyReallyReally Far" or the like can have jargon meanings used in place of exact measurements to help determine things like range, area, & movement. And does "everyone" include living things that aren't people e.g. a passing rat or a wizard's familiar? Barring a jargon meaning, probably anyone that matters. A passing rat would just be color (and probably just described as crisped), a passing rat that is a wizard's familiar, would take the 2d6 damage. Second off, how long does it last? There's no duration listed, so are we to default to the D&D version that's pretty much instantaneous or does the fire hang around a while?Presumably, something that gives no duration has no duration, though, agai...

Wednesday, 20th June, 2018

  • 08:57 AM - Jhaelen quoted R_Chance in post Where Do They Get Their Money, Part One
    Come on! Decimal money is so... mundane. I went with a 12 -12-12 ratio, 12 copper = 1 silver, 12 silver = one gold.Yeah, but how does it improve the game? I think, it would quickly get old having to use a calculator when going shopping. Even the Ars Magica RPG which is otherwise very accurate in presenting an authentic medieval setting gets rid of weird exchange rates to improve gameplay. Besides, if you want to be _really_ accurate, then there's no fixed exchange rates, anyway. There'll be plenty of barons, dukes, and whatever who have permission to mint their own coins. And theses coins will all be different in weight, purity, etc. Also, the 'cabbage seller' mentioned above will probably not accept any coins. He'll expect to barter cabbages for some other goods or services he currently needs.
  • 08:35 AM - Shasarak quoted R_Chance in post Where Do They Get Their Money, Part One
    I also made silver (the silver schilling) the standard currency, to make copper useful (for change) and gold useful (as a store of value with a good weight - value ratio). Yes! The silver standard is much more logical. I also tried this for a time but finally gave up in the end because every source book and adventure was written using GP. I was confusing myself and my players. :-S

Saturday, 16th June, 2018

  • 11:41 AM - M.T. Black quoted R_Chance in post Dragon Reflections #1: A New Arrival
    Yes, I did. It was the first issue of TD I was thrilled for. I was hoping it was a trend that would continue but EPT content dropped off after that with just the occasional Tekumel article. I've picked up everything Tekumel related since then (up to the current Bethorm game and the Kurt Hills sourcebook). Something special about that setting. What can you tell me about the current EPT "scene"? Are many people playing it? How do they keep in touch (facebook, google+, etc)? I know that James Maliszewski runs an EPT game that Dyson Logos plays in, but are there any other well known games out there?
  • 06:34 AM - M.T. Black quoted R_Chance in post Dragon Reflections #1: A New Arrival
    The last issue of the Strategic Review was really good (it focused on Empire of the Petal Throne) and was a full blown magazine to boot. The SR was originally a simple newletter. The first issue of The Dragon was underwhelming in comparison to the last SR. It wasn't bad it was just not as good. Of course that could just be my love of EPT shing through clouds of nostalgia :) You will enjoy issue #4 then!

Monday, 4th June, 2018

  • 11:38 AM - MichaelSomething quoted R_Chance in post Pathfinder 2 Preview: Downtime
    Pretty much. The only thing new about "downtime" is calling it downtime. From the beginning games have had activities which took place between adventures due to the time required. The codification of activities you can do is more detailed, and I'm not sure that is all for the best. I can see some PC wanting to do something not covered in their no double detailed list and being told it isn't possible :) Now this reminds me of 4th Edition. Half the point of that was to qualify things that were intangible in previous editions; and lots of people hated that...

Thursday, 12th April, 2018

  • 03:43 PM - SkidAce quoted R_Chance in post UA: Order Domain Cleric.
    That makes two of us. The ability to construct your own priesthoods to fill various religious niches in your campaign world was great. And if some were more popular than others for adventurers, that was fine... Agreed. I kinda still do this in my campaign. Step 1, any spells not in the PH are off the cleric list until taught/inspired/found in game via rp and adventuring. Step 2, make note of "banned" spells that are thematically or functionally opposed to the faith. Step 3, find a few "unique" spells for the faith. Step 3, assign religions and powers several domains. This sometimes give them special spells of other lists etc that are thematic to the religion. Its not as easy as kit basing the clerical spheres was, but since I only add/ban maybe 3 or 4 spells (step 2 and 3) its no harder than deciding the religion's favorite colors, animals, and or weapon.

Sunday, 25th March, 2018

  • 11:46 AM - Nikosandros quoted R_Chance in post Game Trade Media playtest video
    I thought I read previously that the shield could be a passive part of the AC or an action could be used to actively block or bash? Was this incorrect? From what we know so far, just having a shield does nothing. You have to spend an action every round to raise it and gain its AC bonus. If the shield is raised, you can use a reaction to block and reduce damage.

Monday, 19th February, 2018

  • 12:15 AM - JacktheRabbit quoted R_Chance in post Heroes In Shades Of Grey
    As I said in my reply to shidaku above, its really up to the DM to go the extra mile to make the system work. But then that's true of a lot about the game. One of the problems players have with the D&D alignment system is the lack of definition (as you point out), another is the justification of actions as "good" (or whatever) because it seems appropriate / useful to the player. "Well, we killed the prisoners because they might escape and commit more crimes. What's wrong with that? We had to.". Evil, even if true. It's just what I might term a necessary evil. I'm not trying to restrict behavior, just evaluate it. Where it starts out and where it goes is really up to the players -- as long as the ground rules are set. Except you are evaluating based on your opinion so you saying something is a necessary evil IS just your opinion and really does not get anywhere.

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