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Saturday, 21st May, 2011, 05:56 AM #21
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
I agree that the 3E and 4E systems often create too much complexity. I don't think E6 is the only solution to that. And I definitely don't think that you will ever find a fantasy RPG that appeals to everyone.
One of the FLAWS in 3.5e was that you could be a generalist. You could be a PC that was a good melee fighter who could heal, cast arcane spells and find traps. I shared a table with a few of these twinked out one-person-party PCs. No fun.
I firmly disagree with the notion that one absent PC makes for a TPK. It just makes for a challenge: an adventure that builds perspective and character.
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Saturday, 21st May, 2011, 01:21 PM #22
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
I agree with the post, and its something I've been struggling with in my own game. I've dropped d20 and started playing Savage Worlds because of the complexity factor. I'm tired of the hyper-specialized characters and all the time spent on just trying to play the game by the rules.
As to inviting new/one-shot players, we did this in the last session. Two players from another game dropped in and they were able to grab a pre-gen, and get into the game with no problems. They grasped the game within minutes and were playing with not having even looked at the rules book previously.
My goal now is to focus on trying to have the game run without using the character sheets. I want the players to envision the characters acting based on what is going on in the game and using the rules only to adjudicate those actions. I really want to get away from the boardgame and focus on the roleplaying, but I know its going to be an uphill climb. We've spent way too many years looking at the battlemat and our character sheets to determine what we do.
Last edited by Kestrel; Saturday, 21st May, 2011 at 01:29 PM.
Sunday, 22nd May, 2011, 06:38 PM #23
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Judges Guild recognized the power creep early on as a game breaker. Bob's solution? Change the experience points table to slow the rate that characters gain levels. The result, a basic D&D game that plays very much like an E6 game today.
Another option, especially for the more complex modern games, i.e. 3.x is character multi-classing. Have multi-class characters be the norm and single class characters (and npcs) a rare exception.
Fighter/Clerics Fighter/Thieves Fighter/Wizards or Fighter Sorcerers and wizard/rogue combos make for a much more interesting characters and a much more interesting game. Advanced games use some prestige classes to create this effect, and new prestige classes that round out characters and give them a wider range of abilities will help to create homogenous characters more adept at handling a wide range of characters.
There are plots and storylines that do make it much easier to integrate new and visiting players into a campaign, among these:
The Army Campaign, where the players are marching with a vast Army into unexplored or enemy territory. Each session the players undertake a "new" mission for the commander.
The Extended Family Campaign where the players are members of a clan or tribe. The players have obligations to fulfill for the benefit of the clan, more importantly though, they have obligations to look out for each other.
The Great Migration/Resettlement Campaign, where the players are part of a large group that have traveled into new territories and are exploring, looking for suitable locations to settle in.
Each of these basic storylines lend themselves well to allowing one-shot opportunities for play by new players, and it's also easy to include infrequent but recurring visits by one-shot players that decide to return and participate.
Sunday, 22nd May, 2011, 06:44 PM #24
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
For the GM, the character sheet would include all the crunch detail, the numbers, the exp, the precise desciptions of feats, equipment, magic and treasures.
For the players, the ability scores, their background, their training, a brief description of their talents as well as some notes on who they know in the social hierarchy.
Sunday, 22nd May, 2011, 06:46 PM #25
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
...duplicate post? How did that happen?
Last edited by GameDaddy; Sunday, 22nd May, 2011 at 06:48 PM. Reason: duplicate post
Monday, 23rd May, 2011, 04:28 AM #26
Magsman (Lvl 14)
I have to say that, while I agree with some of the general ideas in this post, I really disagree with the idea that GMs should focus on the core story of the game.
I play RPGs in order to have a wide variety of stories. Furthermore, IME, most players put it a significant amount of time learning rules systems. If GMs focused on the core story of the game, they would have to teach players a huge variety of rules systems. It is far, far better to adapt well known game to create the type of campaign that the GM wants to run. As a counter-point, I've been playing for over 25 years and - for the last half of it - it has been the exception for the "core story of the game" to match the core story of the campaign.
I think the better advice is to make sure that (1) the players understand what the core story of the campaign is, and (2) that the players want to play that core story.
Thursday, 26th May, 2011, 08:36 PM #27
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Thanks for the post!
Interesting post, and a very good read.
The concepts you raise here are things that bear a great deal of thought--a number of them, in my experience, can sneak up on you and mess up your game before you realize it's happening. I would encourage every DM to consider these points, feeling free to agree or disagree as appropriate for an individual game.
I am a firm believer in "DIR = customized for your game." The game is going well when you and the players are happy and fulfilled. Gamers vary widely in their expectations regarding RPing, railroad vs. sandbox (personally, I agree with the skeleton plot + adaptable story concept), generalist vs. specialist, etc., etc.
In my experience (and I've been a DM about two thirds of my life now), the key to running a good game is to know your players and be able to adapt to their needs and expectations.
Friday, 27th May, 2011, 03:48 PM #28
Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)
Stepping back, it may not be a problem that 3e allows either approach, per se. Rather, it's an issue with players who don't all get on the same page about the type of game they want to play and the style of PC they want to have. So, I'd add a caveat to advice on specialization/generalization of any strip: harmonize your approach with the rest of your players.
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- Doctor Impossible
Wednesday, 8th June, 2011, 10:18 PM #29
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Thursday, 9th June, 2011, 02:29 PM #30
Novice (Lvl 1)
The Game I Run: Vampire: The Masquerade, Revised Edition.
How I Streamlined It:
1. Only two books were canon at game start: the Revised Core and the Guide to the Camarilla. Material from any other sources was hearsay at best, malicious gossip at worst. Along those lines — no clanbook material that hadn't been reincorporated into those two books.
2. Mass combat in Storyteller can be a grind. Mass *anything* can be a grind. So I repurposed the Extended Action rules into something akin to the Skill Challenges of 4E… except that it apparently works better. Used them to handle 8 players in a great debate, a grand ball, and a "fox hunt."
3. Specialties let you "peg" a die from your pool — 4-dots is an auto-6; 5-dots is an auto-8. Two specialties and a Willpower means that a specialist can often get a complete success without needing to roll in their area of expertise, which moves things along and gives a feeling of competence to boot.