View Profile: practicalm - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • practicalm's Avatar
    Monday, 15th October, 2018, 10:04 PM
    Probably too rule heavy but I find GURPS easy to run with a lot of the heaviness being in the character creation. I also like the Dresden Files but haven't run it so not sure how heavy it really is in play.
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About practicalm

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About practicalm
About Me:
I've been running RPGs since 1979. I've enjoyed a great many systems with my favorite being GURPS. I enjoy playing any system though.
Long Beach, CA
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Details of games currently playing and games being sought.

Long Beach
Game Details:
Running 5th edition D&D game with large group of players that drop in from time to time. Mix of youth and adult players.

Also running a 5th edition D&D game at work with people who have never played before. It's crazy.


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My Game Details
Long Beach
Game Details:
Running 5th edition D&D game with large group of players that drop in from time to time. Mix of youth and adult players.

Also running a 5th edition D&D game at work with people who have never played before. It's crazy.

Tuesday, 16th October, 2018

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Monday, 1st October, 2018

Wednesday, 26th September, 2018

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Sunday, 12th August, 2018

  • 07:40 AM - 5ekyu quoted practicalm in post Spellcasting - why no skill check?
    The systems that have rolls for activating spells usually have much more spells available. GURPS, HERO, Deadlands (deck of cards) and there is more customization. When you change a core part of how D&D's magic system works you start making the balance odd. Also, rolling for success should only be when failure has a meaning either in story or in simulation. Rolling too many dice with how D&D does skill checks means too many failures for routine tasks. (A problem that exists in GURPS if you force rolls for routine things). Ran Fantasy HERO with skill checks for spells for a couple campaigns - and saw the results. But there the campaign dials gave them meaning as they added in-game ways to offset the risk with time or material - so it created differences. Definitely not portable into DND directly without a lot of work.

Wednesday, 13th June, 2018

  • 08:34 AM - Li Shenron quoted practicalm in post Creating a More Immersive D&D Experience
    Maybe it is an age thing but I find too much music distracting. I've tried with different audio effects but it can be hard to hear everyone. Speaking as the DM... MUSIC I'm not big on this. It's very difficult for me not to filter out the background sounds while I'm working to weave my tale. I find it distracting, and it doesn't seem to add to my game the way it does to others. Something ambient without words isn't so bad, but I don't spend time picking music for scenes or sessions. Yes, Ambient music (e.g. Brian Eno) is the most appropriate to create a background feel without drawing attention or distracting from the game.

Tuesday, 12th June, 2018

  • 10:38 AM - Imaculata quoted practicalm in post Creating a More Immersive D&D Experience
    Maybe it is an age thing but I find too much music distracting. I've tried with different audio effects but it can be hard to hear everyone. That's why I tend to pick music that is not too intrusive. The Thief 1, 2 and 3 soundtracks for example, are great for setting a subtle mood without distracting too much from the table.

Thursday, 29th March, 2018

Tuesday, 27th March, 2018

  • 05:34 PM - Oofta quoted practicalm in post As a DM what spell / ability do you find most annoying?
    The only combo that is annoying is the great save or suck spell and the divination wizard forcing a low roll. Banishment and the save roll is a 3. DC17 Force cage and the save roll is a 5. DC17 This the players cannot do all the time but it is the one ability that is hard to plan around without legendary saves. I don't mind that the Divination wizard is a halfling with the ability to share his luck so anyone in 30 feet can re-roll a 1. That doesn't bother me at all. I even don't mind the trickster cleric with the illusionary body who then starts using inflict wounds with it after the enemy has determined it is an illusion and leaves it alone. I had forgotten about Force Cage. If the creature in the cage can't teleport they're SOL even if they do have legendary saves. A melee based creature that can't teleport? It's another "the PCs automatically win" spell. Just put them in a cage and acid splash (or some other ranged cantrip) them to death. Unless of course you rule that...

Thursday, 18th January, 2018

  • 03:53 PM - Jay Verkuilen quoted practicalm in post Don't Lose The Forest For The Trees
    I'm always very cautious around games that use a new dice or random mechanic. I worry that there are exploits in the math of the mechanic the designer didn't intend. Even old games can have unintended features due to unfortunate mathematical choices. In 3.X the way saves worked for multiclass characters who had multi-ed in classes with two good saves that were the same (e.g., Barbarian and Fighter), it was not difficult to end up totally rocking one of the save types while being slightly poorer in the other two. This happened because WotC rounded in the middle of the calculations. As anyone who's taken high school chemistry knows, this is a major no-no. They eventually published a correction in Unearthed Arcana but for most of 3.X's life cycle, saves were "wrong." Well they were wrong in the sense that they were based on poor arithmetical practice but may well have created an exploit if there were feats that substituted one save for another. I fixed it in my campaign because things like this b...
  • 03:34 AM - pemerton quoted practicalm in post Don't Lose The Forest For The Trees
    Lots of early games tried to be simulations. There were charts for everythingSome games suffered from this. Others didn't. Tunnels & Trolls is an early RPG, but its rules are easier than Moldvay Basic. And it's not at all simulationist in its design. Classic Traveller is another early RPG. It clearly has simulationist ambitins. Its rules are a bit more complex than Moldvay Basic, but are simpler than AD&D. And yet I think as a game it has far more scope than AD&D, because of the elegant way that it puts its simulationist sub-systems to work. One way it does this: instead of a chart for everything, in many cases there is simply a check difficulty number plus a modifier based on appropriate skills. And when it comes to social encounters, it skill descriptions (for Streetwise, Admin, Bribery, etc) plus its rules for reactions, law level and morale require fewer pages than the rules for reactions, loyalty and morale in Gygax's DMG, and yet cover a wider field of action and produce more determi...

Friday, 5th January, 2018

  • 06:08 AM - Sword of Spirit quoted practicalm in post What Do You Mean By "Fun" In Your RPG?
    Nicole Lazzaro has been doing hard research on the concept of fun for around 20 years so your burden of proof is pretty high. I've listened to her talks and had private conversations with her and other people about what fun is and the funny thing is all the things you are talking about are part of her exploring the concept of fun. Hard Fun or Serious Fun depending on how the creative experience changes you Easy Fun Hard Fun People Fun / Serious Fun / Hard Fun You can also refer to Raph Koster's book Theory of Fun if you want a different perspective. As someone who has made a number of video games, the craft of game making is very concerned with what fun is and how it applies to games (including table top games). Game designers needed language to describe what they were attempting to make in their games and processes for testing if the game is fun. Getting fun into games is still very much an art than a science but people like Nicole do a great job in expanding the frontier ...

Monday, 1st January, 2018

Thursday, 16th November, 2017

  • 04:42 AM - Dannyalcatraz quoted practicalm in post Xanathar's, Wizards, and FLGSes Charging For Playspace
    I'm the kind of person who buys at the FLGS at the MSRP because I've seen a couple of friends' businesses close because they can't compete with online store prices. I don't have the schedule that allows me to play at my FLGS regularly but I do pay when I do have the time in my schedule for it. That table space is space they have to pay rent on. And I don't expect drinks or food for that rent. I know that I could save money buying online but I don't because I want to support the place and my friend's business. Enlightened Self-Interest: it's a great & powerful concept. I would add, I don't expect FLGS to compete with Amazon or other online retailers. I will gladly play shelf-price at my local store, rather than online prices. But they ARE competing with Amazon in the economic sense. We can't just wish that away. Like you say, buy local. ...because if you don't, eventually there won't be a local to buy from.

Saturday, 11th November, 2017

  • 04:27 AM - pemerton quoted practicalm in post What is distinctive about fantasy RPGing? Or sci fi?
    the difference I saw between Sci-Fi and Fantasy games were players were motivated by profit more in space games and increasing their character power in fantasy games. Money was a way to buy better equipment but the character didn't usually improve where in fantasy games, players were leveling up and gaining power in addition to buying equipment.That doesn't seem like a very deep difference - just slightly different mechanics for character improvement.

Thursday, 17th August, 2017

  • 01:14 AM - Demetrios1453 quoted practicalm in post Homebrew Giant Elites
    I've used the Stone Giants elites and the Cloud Giant elites and they both gave the party a new fear of giants. The party loved the description of the Stone Giant Runecarver with his spells written into his body. I used the Cloud Giant Count for Sansuri in SKT, and my self-assured party ended up jumping out of the hole in her throne room in utter fear after thinking they could take her on!

Friday, 28th July, 2017

  • 03:39 AM - robus quoted practicalm in post Why does WotC put obviously bad or illogical elements in their adventures?
    For me the problem with Maelstrom is there isn't any clear way to exit. Sure the conch gets you there but nothing takes you back. Fine if the players wait until teleport is available but doesn't make sense for the giants without access to magic/teleport. SKT definitely requires some playing around with it and a way for the players to get some understanding of what might be happening in the Storm King's Court. Without the ability to talk to someone in the Storm King's Court who isn't trying to kill them, players are going to have a hard time putting clues together. Cleverly asked questions of the oracle can help. Villain monologging might help too. Any interesting ideas to help clue the players in that there is a blue dragon in the court? This seems like a secret only 1 person knows and the players might not ask the oracle about the dragon. I gave Iymrith blue hair as a hint to my players but they didn't make the leap. I changed her name as they already knew Iymrith's name (another silly m...

Thursday, 22nd December, 2016

  • 02:59 AM - iserith quoted practicalm in post Holiday Challenge: Vow of the Silent Knight
    I ran this with my group at work on Monday night. It was a blast. They figured out the charades pretty well and because there were more players and they were higher level I added some red-eyed, red-nosed, fire breathing reindeer (giant elk base) as well as buffing the dryads and letting the treant attack every other round. The players had a lot of fun and 2 new players joined in just for the night. Highlights are the teifling warlock getting charmed but the two characters under the tree just digging through the presents for the good stuff. One of the players disarmed another player and took their hammer to place under the tree. The rogue helping the paladin go up the tree making sure she completed her quest. The psychic damage inflicted after I thanked them for helping the silent knight. Sounds like a fun session! Thanks for playing it and telling me how it went!

Friday, 11th March, 2016

  • 12:06 AM - CapnZapp quoted practicalm in post Converting 3.xE adventures to 5E
    Direct conversion of spell casters will leave them weaker than expected. I tend to give spell casters some minions to help keep the party off them so they can cast spells. It depends on how you convert. If you take the lead from official modules, all clerics become simply Priests. All shamans and druids become Druids. All rangers and woodsmen become Scouts, or Commoners. And so on. Do note that arcane spellcasters are CR-rated much higher than divine casters (and fighters): Arcanists generally have a CR equal to their hit dice (that is, a 9th level arcane caster has 9 hit dice and is CR 9). For pretty much everybody else, half that is more typical (that is, a 9th level divine caster has 9 hit dice and is CR 5ish) Point is: if you drop the "expectations" of the module, conversion becomes dead easy. And since official modules surprisingly often doesn't seem to care one bit about CR, why should you? (In Out of the Abyss, starting characters are coupled with CR 2 or CR 5 allie...

Wednesday, 9th March, 2016

  • 10:29 PM - Kalshane quoted practicalm in post Converting 3.xE adventures to 5E
    Reducing treasure is important. Direct conversion of spell casters will leave them weaker than expected. I tend to give spell casters some minions to help keep the party off them so they can cast spells. This is very true. The AP assumes that enemy spellcasters are able to buff themselves up substantially before fighting the PCs, which doesn't work in 5E because of both the Concentration mechanic and the fact they don't have nearly as many spell slots.

Wednesday, 1st July, 2015

  • 09:20 PM - kbrakke quoted practicalm in post How many gamers ACTUALLY play in AL?
    ...used style. This works great with expeditions where everything is a small adventure in a larger world, not necessarily connected to the other adventures, but poorly for something like PotA where you really want your group to explore the world and have their decisions matter. TL;DR: If your store has high fluctuation in players, running a sandboxy story driven AP will be harder, running small bite sized adventures with a similar theme will be easier. I think you can do a lot with either, but it depends on the DM Unrealted, I am lucky to never have to deal with evil characters. I am dming at gencon, so perhaps having that wider experience will open me to the horrors of the chaotic evil player in a Lawful Evil player's clothing. EDIT: I guess my whole point boils down to consistency. When you are consistently with the same people, you have the freedom to build stronger bonds. If you don't know who will be at your table week to week it's hard to get that same level of intimacy. If you [practicalm] get the same group week in and week out they will 100% enjoy a more involved game. If you have more unstable tables than that, it will be harder, but you can pull it off with some work.

Monday, 1st June, 2015

  • 10:54 PM - KarinsDad quoted practicalm in post DM: overwhelmed with creatures
    I use 3x5 cards for each player and monster. Player cards have AC and some information including this combat's initiative value. Monster cards have stats, attacks, AC and HP. Multiples of the same monster I keep HP in separate rows. This way I can stack all the players and monsters in order by initiative and move through each card as the turn goes. But if a PC attacks a monster, don't you have to thumb through your cards to find that monster?

Friday, 29th May, 2015

  • 11:42 PM - trentonjoe quoted practicalm in post Blue Dragon "monster minions"
    I would be tempted to have lightning llamas for comic effect. (built up from their wooly coats). But lightning leopards would be good too if you want something allterative. Llama was my first thought as well......

Sunday, 7th December, 2014

  • 12:50 PM - UngeheuerLich quoted practicalm in post Party SOPs
    My party must have the same teachers. Thunder Wave, Thunderous Smite, Shatter, Call Lightning with knock back (thanks Tempest Cleric). My party brings the NOIZE. The enemy is happy to bring reinforcements to the party though. I think it's because these spells are some of the better AOE damage effects. Now that the mage has fireball we might see it get quieter. After all if the Mage starts with shatter you might as well take it to 11. Intersting... my party uses "knock" to make sure everyone knows they are there... seems a bit more polite...

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