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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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Over 40
My Game Details

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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Games That Changed How We Play Friday, 17th May, 2019 11:37 PM


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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, 23rd April, 2019

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Monday, 18th March, 2019

  • 08:19 PM - Aiden_Keller_ quoted practicalm in post Waterdeep: Dragon Heist - Which Season is the Best Story Arc? [Spoilers]
    The whole chase scene is ridiculous as there are many ways a group of 3rd level characters can mess with the moving of the Stone and I did something completely different and much more like a It's a Mad Mad World movie where every group was grabbing and moving the McGuffin around with illusions, fake stones, misdirection, invisible imp familiars, and more. I also liked the catch-22 of the main Summer villain (Cassalanters) because I was able to play him as someone who was trying to buy his way out of the deal he made without letting the players learn of the full price of the deal. It made him sympathetic for a few sessions until they dug around the for the truth. It really is ridiculous...VERY hard to pull off well... Love the movie reference....that is also how I see the campaign...not so much a Heist (Ocean 11)....but more like a mad scramble! The Cassalanters could EASILY become a villain the characters show sympathy towards!

Saturday, 9th March, 2019

  • 10:43 PM - uzirath quoted practicalm in post New monsters book for Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game
    GURPS is definitely complex on the character generation and world building One of the things I love about DFRPG is that it simplifies both of these things. Not only are the templates quite easy to use, but they printed a booklet of sample characters. I've used many of these in my pickup games so that we can sit down, grab a pregen, and start playing within five minutes. Even with totally new players, I find that it's easier to teach them the game by playing, so rather than explain how the character sheet works, I'll throw them into a series of basic encounters, each one featuring a particular mechanic: skill rolls, quick contests, melee combat, ranged combat, spells, etc. This not only teaches them the rules, but they also embark on their first adventure. Many players (including the author of the game) share additional sample characters on the DFRPG forum at Steve Jackson Games; most of them are indexed in this thread. As for world building, that's always a daunting task. GURPS can be ov...

Wednesday, 6th March, 2019

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...

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