View Profile: practicalm - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • practicalm's Avatar
    Tuesday, 12th February, 2019, 09:57 PM
    I don't think you have to take a magic using class if you won't enjoy it. 5th edition doesn't require that you have them and you should never stop your own enjoyment for party balance. And even then there are many different spell caster classes like bards or sorcerers or warlocks if you don't want to play a wizard.
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    Wednesday, 6th February, 2019, 04:49 AM
    The group that I'm running only plays twice a month so that helps. 1. I spend about 30 minutes reviewing what happened in the last session and what the players think happened and then decide if they had better ideas that I did. 2. Set a timeline of things that will happen if the players don't do anything on the main plot. 30-60 minutes 3. Find or make maps that will work for the main...
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    Tuesday, 5th February, 2019, 02:59 AM
    Some other sources of good Fey stories Fairy Tale by Raymond E. Feist The Fey steal children and in general they don't come back Fairy Tales were often rules about how to avoid offending the Fey and survive them Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale Another example of what happens when mortals get...
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    Wednesday, 30th January, 2019, 08:56 PM
    As long as the enemies are thinking about why and what they are there for. Goblins might not attack a party that looks like it is full of powerful adventurers but can they tell if the party is powerful? Might it turn into a negotiation instead of an attack? Can they lure travelers into an ambush? Another trick is to make an attack in one direction, to allow skirmishers to come from behind...
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    Wednesday, 30th January, 2019, 02:33 AM
    I've been using the Arcknight plastic miniatures for the NPCs/enemies. Players usually buy their own resin figures.
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    Tuesday, 29th January, 2019, 09:34 PM
    As a DM, adventuring parties in my world need to be connected to the power structure of the lands they are in. Kingdoms or city states require groups of powerful adventurers (level 5+) to be chartered (with a written agreement) and are required to give aid or service to the nobility at guild rates. It puts the adventurers into the political and social power structures in a way that creates...
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    Saturday, 26th January, 2019, 01:13 AM
    What if you had a water elemental in a human suit? A human who had been skinned so the water elemental was hiding inside and infiltrating human society?
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    Wednesday, 23rd January, 2019, 08:43 PM
    I hope you've seen this.
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About practicalm

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About practicalm
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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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Over 40
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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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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.

Saturday, 16th February, 2019

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Tuesday, 12th February, 2019

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Wednesday, 6th February, 2019

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Sunday, 17th February, 2019

  • 02:37 PM - pemerton quoted practicalm in post Rules Light Games: Examples and Definitions
    I call a game "rules light" if I can run it for players new to the game and they have all the information they need on their character sheets and single page cheat sheet. No need to browse books during character creation or during play, no need for me to handle the mechanics because it takes too long to understand it. Traveller started out pretty rules light and then supplements came.I'm a big fan of Classic Traveller and have recently been playing it a fair bit (a report of today's session is here). But I don't think it reasonably counts as rules light. Character creation can be reasonably quick and quite colourful, and the skill names generally give you a sense of what your PC can do. But the game has a lot of subsystems (for intersteller travel; for using vacc-suits; for vehicular travel; for landing small craft in inclement weather; for combat, both melee and ranged; for ship combat; for making repairs to a ship during combat; etc, etc). In our play I'm finding that, as referee, I'm carr...

Saturday, 16th February, 2019

  • 06:27 PM - Dannyalcatraz quoted practicalm in post Rules Light Games: Examples and Definitions
    Two early rules light games, Tunnels and Trolls and The Fantasy Trip (SJ Games is bring it back). These are both combat focused which make it easier to keep light. Adding other pillars adds more complexity. Traveller started out pretty rules light and then supplements came. Loved The Fantasy Trip back in the day, and was glad to hear of SJGs plans to bring it back. FWIW, though, Dark City Games is basically using the same core mechanics as TFT for their RPGs.

Monday, 11th February, 2019

  • 10:07 PM - Shasarak quoted practicalm in post Where Have All the Gamers Gone?
    The real issue that all these articles dance around is how everyone is expecting households to have two incomes. This is the cause of the disruption of the social fabric. Without someone at home to manage the house, connect to the community (PTA, churches, social groups, and local government), and help keep the family connected to the rest of the community, all of us are poorer. It's just harder to keep these connections and commitments with both adults working. If the next generation is rebelling against this then more power to them. Live on single incomes as much as possible. It's a hard thing. I was listening to someone talk about this, it is just a natural supply and demand reaction to women entering the work force: twice as many workers means each worker is worth half as much.

Tuesday, 22nd January, 2019

  • 06:27 PM - Retreater quoted practicalm in post Would you invite this player?
    I don't see how there is enough information for us to judge how to solve your issue. 1. It's going to depend on your session 0. 2. Does everyone show up all the time or will the numbers equalize as other people have obligations on some game nights? 3. What type of game are you going to run. Cinematic, High Fantasy, Gritty, Humorous? Do you have a paragraph about your game that your players have read and agreed to? This was a something that a long time regular on the Pyramid Usenet group did so players choose the campaigns they were interested in from the games he was interested in running. 4. Will you be able to get the players to have bonds to each other before the game starts? There were some Backstory cards [] that I found and it was amazing when I used them with a new group. They found their own ways to connect that bonded them as a group better than I had thought. 5. Do you really want to? Your fun is important and if you ar...

Monday, 21st January, 2019

  • 11:29 PM - evilbob quoted practicalm in post question to all: games for 8-10 players?
    Both do this by distributing the interaction - players interact with other players, rather than a singular board or GM, and without requiring a strict turn-order.Good thoughts, thank you! Tortuga 1667; Deadwood 1876; Mafia de Cuba; Sidereal Confluence: Trading and Negotiation; Secret Hitler; Formula DeAll vs. games. They sound like neat games, but they're not for us. The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen sounds interesting since you don't really need a winner; Dialect is actually co-op and sounds pretty similar so I appreciate that suggestion!

Saturday, 19th January, 2019

  • 03:07 PM - Jay Verkuilen quoted practicalm in post Worlds of Design: How "Precise" Should RPG Rules Be?
    RPG rules also have to mesh with their settings. First edition Paranoia was overly complex and didn't mesh with the expected style of play. Toon has very good rules for the setting because it's designed to be comfortable with imprecise rules. Good point, and props for mentioning Toon... 'cause Toon. I only played it once, and I'm not generally a fan of comedy RPGs, but Bub Hare, Bugs' cousin who munched on parsnips and was from a tougher part of Brooklyn got to fall down more than once. One area of rule precision for me is around character classes. I hate character classes in anything other than fantasy games (and really would prefer not to have them there either). I like HERO or GURPS for character building. I probably should support Dungeon Fantasy for my next campaign. More precise rules around building characters lets people build their characters from the start having different kinds of options. There's something breaking immersion in having a old wizard character be level 1...

Saturday, 12th January, 2019

  • 12:02 AM - pukunui quoted practicalm in post SKT - Need Ideas for Introducing Harshnag
    In general, having the players steal the giant relics from the barbarian mounds is close to the worse part of this adventure.I can see how people might feel that way - I briefly felt that way myself. However, Im not really interested in rehashing old arguments on this topic. Suffice it to say, I am going to have my players visit at least some of the mounds to recover giant relics. Harshnag should really only be used to introduce the players to the villain and then let them escape as he dies. Otherwise, he's just an overpowered NPC running with the players and takes away from the players doing cool stuff.Normally Id agree with you. This is one of the issues I have with Dragon Heist. However, in this case, the designers have kindly included some helpful advice on how to keep Harshnag from stealing the spotlight from the PCs. That kind of guidance is much appreciated. Any other suggestions?

Wednesday, 9th January, 2019

  • 09:08 PM - 5ekyu quoted practicalm in post Critical Hit Decks/Charts - I don't like 'em
    They were and are a lot of fun in Rollmaster though. So much fun.We differ.
  • 09:49 AM - Jhaelen quoted practicalm in post Critical Hit Decks/Charts - I don't like 'em
    Really it was ChartMaster. Prove me wrong!Indeed! Imho, it's unplayable as a table-top RPG but it might have worked as the core of a computer RPG.
  • 09:25 AM - Topramesk quoted practicalm in post Critical Hit Decks/Charts - I don't like 'em
    They were and are a lot of fun in Rollmaster though. So much fun. You know what, as much as I love them in Rolemaster and similar games, I must admit that I prefer my d&d games without them. Probably a matter of design and expectations, RM is built around the critical tables, and you know that when you are getting into a fight you risk losing a hand or worse. With d&d is diferent. Sure your character could be burned to death by a fireball or a dragon's breath, or killed by a finger of death, but having one of her limbs cut off? That's not really what I expect.
  • 02:27 AM - Yardiff quoted practicalm in post Critical Hit Decks/Charts - I don't like 'em
    They were and are a lot of fun in Rollmaster though. So much fun. I was corrected on this in another thread, its RoleMaster and I agree it was very fun to play.

Thursday, 3rd January, 2019

  • 03:26 PM - lluewhyn quoted practicalm in post Give Me Your Dragon Heist Tips
    I also agree there are major issues with the adventure. 2. Too much relies on the players not getting the McGuffin until the end of chapter 4. This leads to the thing I found most appalling in the adventure: If the PCs somehow act smart and are able to get the McGuffin earlier than the end of Chapter 4 through cleverness, the McGuffin itself feels like they haven't "earned" it, and attempts to force the PC to lose it and wipes their minds of the incident until they go through the full Chapter 4 sequence. This is one of the worst ideas I've seen written in a published adventure.

Thursday, 27th December, 2018

  • 07:27 PM - Jay Verkuilen 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. It can be a real problem if one or more players is participating online, too. It's hard enough keeping them engaged if there's any table talk going on.

Wednesday, 26th December, 2018

  • 11:59 PM - collin quoted practicalm in post Waterdeep: Dragon Heist - Posssible to use all four villains?
    I think it is possible but you have to have a lot of flowcharts around how each villain will react to possible PC actions. 4. More heists. I think there is a thread around on the forums to enhance the module and one is to have each villain have a Mcguffin that has to be stolen out of their hideout. This works great because now the players have to find a way to not tick off all the villains but still get everything all together. And you can encourage the players to do so without the normal walk into the building and kill everything that moves. Give each actor a goal, a set of methods they would use to get the goal, and let the PCs try to figure out who they can use and who they can let use them to get out alive. I think these are some very good points to keep in mind. You will need quite an appendix and chart mapping out who is located where, their motivation, what they will do in certain situations, etc. Also, Practicalm is correct in that someone was considering having the McGuffin move from major villain to major villain before the endgame so as to force the players to encounter all of the major villains, while also trying not to take any of the villains head-on and risk a TPK. To me, the way WDH is laid out, I think of it being designed as more of a race against the main villain to get to the treasure first. It certainly has some potential comedic beats built into it, and if you play the Autumn/Jarlaxle scenario, it is even more comical and tongue-in-cheek, imo. Therefore, I turned to some films to help decide how I might consider how to approach this adventure, and the one that I looked at the most was "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World". Now, that movie is a flat-out comedy, but is essentially the same plot being played out in WDH: a bunch of people from different backgrounds found out about a hidden treasure and it's a mad race to see who can get to it first. Along the way, the original tr...

Saturday, 1st December, 2018

  • 01:59 AM - Yunru quoted practicalm in post Spellcasting Feats
    Spell Fury turns every attack spell into an area of effect:Line spell. And increases spell stat Consider how powerful it would be to turn every arrow attack into this. Spell Surge adds area effect to single target spells. Dominate person in a crowd? Command? And giving a stat bonus as well. This is not a half feat. Consider how power allowing whirlwind attacks all the time with a melee weapon. Now do that at range. These two are mostly supposed to be balanced by how ally unfriendly they are. Or enemy friendly, for beneficial spells. Dominate person? Better hope there's no-one adjacent who's an ally, healing? Might heal the enemy too, etc. I... kinda forgot about Broach of Shielding... and Abjuration Wizards. I would change this instead to allow the character to evenly distribute damage to all creatures in the line. For example, if you had a spell that did 4d8 damage, you could do 1d8 to four targets if they failed the Dex save and the main target could maybe take 1/2 normal or...

Tuesday, 27th November, 2018

  • 10:40 AM - Li Shenron quoted practicalm in post Burning Questions: How Can I Add Ambience to D&D Sessions?
    Honestly, I've tried background music and I just find it a distraction from hearing other players. I agree it can bring a good amount of atmosphere but it never worked for me. Make sure you just didn't use the wrong music. IMXP most of the time a DM puts on some "music for D&D", they choose heavy metal or classic rock music, possibly with a fantasy twist, which is awesome music but NOT good while gaming... it's distracting as hell when not outright annoying! In addition, adventure/action movies soundtrack are another typical bad choice, unless you cherrypick the tracks, because each single soundtrack album typically includes tracks with completely different moods, so if you just play the whole album you may end up with battle music when you are in a totally non-action phase of the game, as well as with a romantic piece during a battle or horror moment... This article is an example of why one must be careful about including music in their campaign. I don't think I would enjoy playing in...

Thursday, 22nd November, 2018

  • 01:37 AM - Demetrios1453 quoted practicalm in post Maybe my expectation was off - Dungeon of the mad mage doesnt use the full maps for undermountain....
    I'm probably going to use as many of the full maps I can (I have some of the older products) and do a big map. I'm not happy with what was done with the level 1 layout. If there was a group taxing adventures, I cannot see them surviving very long as each adventuring team would tell the next about it. Unless there really isn't going to be that level of cooperation between adventuring groups. That's assuming said adventuring groups make it back to the Yawning Portal after any substantial exploration. Various encounters and discoveries in various rooms make it clear that not many do.

Tuesday, 13th November, 2018

  • 08:22 AM - S'mon quoted practicalm in post Scaling for a large group
    I make sure enemies have ranged weapons even if the stat block normally doesn't normally have one. Yes, at least give melee creatures some javelins for when they can't reach the foe. Or a troll might have proficiency in throwing rocks - 2d4 damage but a +4 STR bonus still makes it annoying.
  • 05:56 AM - CrimsonCarcharodon quoted practicalm in post A gelatinous Cube and a 10-feet corridor ...
    I would rule that there is no problem for the wizard and fighter to share the space for the time until one of them has a new turn. They are sharing a space at the end of someone else's turn which is fine. Give the Wizard the opportunity to use their reaction to step back to allow the Fighter room. That's what reactions are for. Honestly, either one of these would be the direction I went. If you want a penalty for being in the same space, disadvantage on attacks until one of the two moves, and whichever one of them goes first must move or otherwise be out of that space by the end of their turn.

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.

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