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  • Retreater's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:27 PM
    We're playing 5e. No matter the level, the need to run trivial speed bump encounters is a default assumption of the game. Running longer sessions or two weeks in a row just can't happen due to our schedules, though I'd love it.
    65 replies | 1740 view(s)
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  • Retreater's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:22 PM
    We've done 13th Age. Didn't go over well with the group, strangely. Was kinda the number inflation (rolling big pools of dice), still others didn't like the relationships with the Icons that got confusing with possible conflicting connections, etc
    65 replies | 1740 view(s)
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  • Retreater's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 03:31 AM
    I've been running a bit of 4e in recent years. Unfortunately the problem seems even worse with 1.5 hour trivial encounters.
    65 replies | 1740 view(s)
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  • Retreater's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 03:24 AM
    Closer to the 20-30 minute mark. Between drawing a map, ordering initiative, determining battle positions, etc, even "trivial" combats take too long when the only consequence is a few minor resources spent. But the game isn't set up for "edge of your seat, tax the party to the max" combats.
    65 replies | 1740 view(s)
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  • Retreater's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 01:18 AM
    One of the key mechanics of D&D over the years has been the idea of resource-draining encounters. You burn torches, you fire arrows, you lose hit points to swarms of mooks, you cast spells from encounter-to-encounter, you scrape by with just enough strength left in you to fight the Big Bad at the end of the dungeon. Or you camp in a "safe area," hoping your characters can recover their resources...
    65 replies | 1740 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Retreater's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 06:27 PM
    Retreater replied to OSR Gripes
    I get the appeal of Dark Soul type video games, but it's far different to restart a video game level than to roll a new character, try to make it interesting and unique, fit into a party of other players, and to contribute to an adverture in a meaningful way, when that character is no better than a kobold on paper. I understand the fun of games like Call of Cthulhu, but that's because the game...
    231 replies | 8250 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Retreater's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 08:41 PM
    Retreater started a thread OSR Gripes
    My first edition of D&D was 2nd edition AD&D, and through the years I invested heavily in 3e, 4e, and now 5e (in addition to a myriad other systems, including non-fantasy RPGs.) My friend, who is a retroclone apologist, wanted to run a Labyrinth Lord game. After rolling my character (even with the "4d6 drop the lowest" method), I came up with the worst imaginable array of ability scores: all...
    231 replies | 8250 view(s)
    6 XP
  • Retreater's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019, 02:14 AM
    Well yeah. My comments have just been on "current state of things." I'm not excited enough to rush out and purchase day one, so I'm currently passing until I get more information. And I hope to put that Playtest behind me. Not a great experience. Haha.
    128 replies | 7820 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Retreater's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019, 01:53 AM
    I disliked D&D Next. I never even tried the Next Adventures (Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle?) I didn't like HotDQ when it came out. For me, it didn't start to click until Lost Mines of Phandelver. All I can say is that I didn't like the Pathfinder 2E Playtest. I want more information before making a decision about purchasing the full rules. I'm at a "soft pass" currently.
    128 replies | 7820 view(s)
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  • Retreater's Avatar
    Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019, 12:10 AM
    I have only run the Playtest and played in a few demo events at cons, so my experience might be limited. I actually enjoyed the character creation as something different. What I didn't care for was the organization of the Playtest rulebook (which I think can be fixed) and the death and dying mechanics (which might have been clarified). What I truly hated was the three action economy for monsters....
    128 replies | 7820 view(s)
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  • Retreater's Avatar
    Monday, 1st July, 2019, 06:54 PM
    I've run a few of the published adventures, so I might be able to address them. In addition to Hoard of the Dragon Queen, I've also run Lost Mines of Phandelver (a few times, actually), Storm King's Thunder, Tomb of Annihilation (a couple times), Out of the Abyss, and Princes of the Apocalypse. Here are my quick summations of the issues with each. However, I do think that all of them are...
    37 replies | 1201 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Retreater's Avatar
    Monday, 1st July, 2019, 04:09 PM
    Of course it's my opinion. That's why I started my post with the disclaimer. And it's as close to a literal railroad as you can get in medieval fantasy game - sticking to a caravan trek. If it had been a modern game, it would've been on an actual railroad. Haha.
    37 replies | 1201 view(s)
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  • Retreater's Avatar
    Monday, 1st July, 2019, 03:24 PM
    I'm not saying anyone's wrong for liking this adventure. I'm not saying it's impossible to have fun with it with the right group and a lot of DM work. But I will say this is one of the worst published adventures I've seen in my 30 years in the hobby. Poorly balanced. Complete railroad.
    37 replies | 1201 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Retreater's Avatar
    Sunday, 30th June, 2019, 08:50 PM
    The DMG has a paragraph that states (paraphrasing): "a party can expect to roll on the treasure hoard chart x# of times per level." This sets a guideline to how many times a DM should award treasure during a campaign. However, the one time I followed this, characters were stuffed to the gills with magic items and trounced most encounters. (I wonder if my copy of the DMG is the only one that...
    18 replies | 924 view(s)
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  • Retreater's Avatar
    Sunday, 30th June, 2019, 08:26 PM
    I think there's a disconnect between player expectations (from video games and previous editions) and the tools 5e actually gives DMs. Every session I run, after every encounter, in every group I run, players always search for treasure. They look for coin, they look for potions, they look for magic armor and weapons. To date, no official published adventure I've used has addressed this. None have...
    18 replies | 924 view(s)
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  • Retreater's Avatar
    Sunday, 30th June, 2019, 07:59 PM
    Two sessions per level sounds good. We play (if we're lucky) 2 sessions a month; sometimes it's once a month. A slower progression than that would feel like the characters weren't advancing at all, with months between levels. I think XP awards by the book are fairly miserly. I will never use XP in future D&D campaigns.
    45 replies | 1871 view(s)
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  • Retreater's Avatar
    Sunday, 30th June, 2019, 07:39 PM
    Retreater started a thread Should I Roll20?
    This is a difficult topic to discuss with strangers online. I'm not looking for a heated argument. Honestly, I'm looking for information and compromise. Short story. My old college friends want to play an online game. The DM is sold on Roll20. I've bought in to Fantasy Grounds. I wasn't big on Roll20's subscription model and preferred the one-time cost of FG (and a better UI, in my opinion). ...
    2 replies | 415 view(s)
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  • Retreater's Avatar
    Saturday, 29th June, 2019, 10:57 PM
    I have a group of mostly "new-ish" players, even though they're all adults between 35-55. I've been DMing for close to 30 years, and I expect this issue is me being a curmudgeon. There are things that the players do that really slow down gameplay, and I get really frustrated. (Maybe unfairly so.) Due to our real life schedules, we're able to game only about once a month, so I like to keep things...
    22 replies | 1114 view(s)
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  • Retreater's Avatar
    Saturday, 29th June, 2019, 08:33 PM
    FATE The narrative end of the game, the attempt to codify when a GM can introduce plots and complications, it's just not my thing. DCC and MCC Get those weird dice, nonsensical charts, and character funnels out of here. Checks all the boxes for what I'd never want to play. Valiant and Shadowrun Anarchy They're Catalyst, so you know they're bad. Passing GM duties from scene-to-scene is a...
    119 replies | 8827 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Retreater's Avatar
    Saturday, 29th June, 2019, 05:05 PM
    3d6 in order, per the AD&D 2nd edition rules. Had lots of terrible characters, and took a while before we figured out that was a bad method. Changed it in 3rd edition.
    67 replies | 2072 view(s)
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  • Retreater's Avatar
    Saturday, 29th June, 2019, 04:41 PM
    I appreciate all the work you put into this post. I just want to say that in 2 out of the 3 situations, I was using pregenerated characters at a Con game (run by Monte Cook games). I had no access to selecting powers, abilities, or equipment. So the issue is ... Even if I took a Nano with Onslaught, all I can do is spam that one ability in virtually every combat encounter. I can't do...
    13 replies | 1320 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Retreater's Avatar
    Saturday, 29th June, 2019, 03:40 PM
    4e provided a core departure from the traditional D&D experience. While a player may have enjoyed 4e (which I do), most cannot deny that it was an outlier, a departure from everything that came before (and after). Pathfinder 2e seems to be less extreme of a transition from 1e (based on playing several games at cons and running a portion of the playtest). I think Paizo may find a problem that...
    216 replies | 14137 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Retreater's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 10:42 PM
    I had a conversation with one of my friends lately about how long campaigns actually last in reality (as opposed to the lofty goals of Game Masters, the ideals of players, and the intent of designers). While both of us have had outlier experiences of year-long (or two years long) campaigns, we found that in practice, it's been much shorter for an average campaign. Despite the actual player...
    53 replies | 2507 view(s)
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  • Retreater's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 06:40 PM
    I bought into the first hardcover printing and white box when they were released in the early 2000s. I ran a couple games of it, and it was a nice, rules-lite experience with a classic D&D feel. It provided a simpler, more traditional playstyle when compared to 3.5/PF and 4e D&D. However, now I wonder what role it fills against the streamlined D&D 5e. Basically, anything you could do with C&C,...
    4 replies | 439 view(s)
    1 XP
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About Retreater

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Looking for players to join Pathfinder Society or Living Forgotten Realms in the Western KY area.
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Saturday, 20th July, 2019


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Tuesday, 9th July, 2019


Wednesday, 3rd July, 2019


Monday, 1st July, 2019



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Saturday, 20th July, 2019

  • 01:39 PM - Nevvur mentioned Retreater in post Resource-Draining Model D&D Doesn't Work (for me)
    @Retreater Learn another system, teach your players, and don't look back. Okay, that's the reply no one wants, but needs be offered lest we become too narrow minded in this DnD dedicated forum. Truth is I've experienced it, too, and I'm not about to learn a new system, either. You should spend a hot minute considering it, though, because resource management isn't just a key mechanic of DnD, it's the heart and soul of the system. I've seen a few good ideas pitched already, many of them I've experimented with and can attest will edge you closer to what I think you want. 2-4 combats at higher difficulty will probably serve your needs well. Back-to-back combats with some minor narrative handling to bridge them is another approach. Enemy reinforcements arrive, the boss transforms into its true form, etc. Be careful about combining higher difficulty standards and back-to-back combats! @Xaelvaen recommends glass cannons. You can take it a step further and use 4e-style mooks. Regular monsters with...

Saturday, 29th June, 2019

  • 05:54 PM - Xaelvaen mentioned Retreater in post Numenera: Third Time Wasn't the Charm
    ...ution sites that helped. As far as the Speed/Intellect damage, I can't remember if it is something we homebrewed, or a part of the playtests somewhere, but there was an option to take physical damage to either Might -or- Speed as you saw fit. Don't know if it ever made it into any of the other rules, in that I only own the Numenera core kickstarter material. Beyond that, we also made some homebrew innovation so that Might/Speed/Intellect never took damage, and was instead purely an offensive resource for the players. Alternatively, we just gave each character Hit Points equal to each stat, and then moved the health chart to function off that instead of the 'attributes.' So like every single system we ever play, we had to have our own rule adjustments to enjoy it for any prolonged period of time. In fact, our big upset (and the reason we eventually moved on) was the limited character advancement. Six tiers with only 24 XP to advance made our typical campaign cap out very fast. @Retreater Sounds like the premades weren't very interesting. I do recall people saying the new Numenera material really cut down on the 'chosen abilities' at first level, because the original material usually had something like 3 abilities at first level, if not more. However, none of it really mattered, because in the end, Onslaught was the only thing a caster got that was really worth combat-beans.

Friday, 15th March, 2019

  • 09:54 AM - pemerton mentioned Retreater in post I keep bottle-necking the heroes (advice)
    Retreater - the DMG2 has a good discussion of "circular paths". I've sblocked a post of mine from 2010 where I described some changes I made to H2 maps to increase their circularity: For the Chamber of Eyes I did two things. First, I joined the introductory encounter (with the hobgoblins torturing the prisoner) onto the Chamber of Eyes: (i) run the corridor in the introductory encounter onto the entryway into the foyer of the Chamber of Eyes; (ii) add a secret passage exiting the NE corner of the hobgoblin chamber via a secret door and running diagonally, with staircases, up to the balcony in the Chamber of Eyes foyer; (iii) add a spyhole/arrowslit on the E wall of the hobgoblin chamber (near the barrels) looking onto the Chamber of Eyes foyer; (iv) add a portcullis that the hobgoblins can drop in the entryway to their chamber, making the secret passage the only easy path between their chamber and the Chamber of Eyes. Second, I was prepared to run the introductory encounter, C1, C2 and C4...

Sunday, 17th February, 2019

  • 01:39 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Retreater in post How Did I Become a Grognard?
    I also still have my basic D&D dice from the early 80's, the ones you had to 'colour in' with a white crayon, used them in a game on Saturday in fact! Heck, I still have my Holmes Basic 'wax dice' that came with the very very first boxed set back in 1976. Nobody will let me roll them anymore, they're completely worn out. lol. (the d6 can roll for 30 seconds easily and the most common result is 'DM decides if it is a 4 or a 6') Retreater I don't think you're a grognard man. You have fairly enlightened attitudes towards play from what I've read ;) I'd call someone a 'grognard' who steadfastly sticks to some very early modes of play and denigrates anything not crafted by the hand of Gary Gygax or at least hailing from the mid 70's when he was last a creative force in RPGs. No doubt that also dates me, lol.

Wednesday, 6th February, 2019

  • 09:57 PM - dave2008 mentioned Retreater in post 5e - Just Missing the Mark
    @Retreater Just wanted to let you know there is a conversion of 500 4e martial exploits to 5e on the DMsGuild that you might be interested in - and it is free! https://www.dmsguild.com/product_info.php?products_id=265088&it=1&SRC=Newsletter_FPW_text
  • 04:09 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Retreater in post Skill Challenges in Essentials
    I'm not one of those who holds with Retreater's despair over SCs. They work WELL, and between the DMG, DMG2, and RC the sum total of the updated advice is not bad. Basically you have, as of RC, your success threshold, which skills are considered primary, and then how many free advantages and how many difficult checks the DM is allowed to require, plus the list of secondary skills. It is up to the DM and the players to work these things into the narrative. You need a dynamic narrative, with genuine conflict which engages with the PCs goals and plans. That can be fairly simple and basic for a Complexity 1 SC, but generally it will mean some real plot engagement for most SCs. Frankly I would take the idea that you are authoring the SC in detail up front with a grain of salt. I would prefer to think in terms of Story Now style 'scene framing' type play, where the players choose the general direction and approach, and the GM brings the conflict into a scene somehow, which in this case results in an SC. TBH I don't have a radi...

Tuesday, 5th February, 2019

  • 02:47 PM - Hussar mentioned Retreater in post 5e - Just Missing the Mark
    1 .Did you buy your book? If yes write in. 2. Are you going to become so world famous that people will bid $$$$$ for a post-it of your shopping list? WRITE IN YOUR BOOKS! 3. Do think writing in your books will kill the resell value? Unless you are 2, there are too many copies out in the world so, WRITE IN YOUR BOOKS! 4. Do need the notes in one place? WRITE IN YOUR BOOKS! Homework WRITE IN YOUR BOOKS! 100 times before Friday. NOOOOO!!! Don't go to the dark side. Books should remain as pristine as possible throughout the time you use them. :D Ok, my mom was a librarian. The notion of writing in books was beaten out of me at a young age. :p Out of the criticisms by Retreater, the one I will NEVER understand is the complaint about official adventures. This is 2019. We've had 3pp adventures in the game for twenty years now. Why in the name of little fishes do you need "official" adventures. DM's Guild lists almost 3 THOUSAND 5e adventures. What more do you need?

Sunday, 27th January, 2019

  • 04:02 PM - Jacob Lewis mentioned Retreater in post In Defense of 4E - a New Campaign Perspective
    Anyway! Getting back to the original point of this thread, I wanted to share my personal experiences for @Retreater since we seem to share similar (but unique) paths. My DM origins began further back with the Basic (Red) and Expert (Blue) sets, and then progressing through AD&D (1st/2nd) until it became D&D again (3rd/4th) and ended abruptly with the NEXT (5th) re-iteration. Finding a consistent gaming group was never easy for me until 4th edition came around, but I wasn't an immediate fan when it came out. To me, the game felt incomplete as it lacked many of the traditional player classes and races. But once the PHB2 came out, I took a more serious look. That's more like it! 4e wasn't without its flaws and shortcomings, but what edition of D&D isn't? But what I saw that really shined outweighed all of it. Classes designed to be equally balanced and useful no matter what you played. Cooperative play and design became more important (i.e. players were more often building characters as a group rather than a single entity hoping for a group to support whatever they wanted to do). Encounters were easie...

Tuesday, 22nd January, 2019

  • 08:49 PM - dragoner mentioned Retreater in post Would you invite this player?
    ...t better because some DM took a chance on us and we learned from the experience. Since there is some flexibility with the group size due to absences, he's a generally known quantity, and he's enthusiastic - I'd recommend taking him on but laying down some ground rules about your group's style (particularly on the teamwork/stealing from the party thing). Sooner or later he's going to have to learn that his own personal style preference will have to be compromised with the style preferences of other people at the table, and an experienced DM coming from a generally friendly direction can help with that. Yes, I stunk as a player and GM, still do, and I have been doing it since '79. I'm always keeping an eye towards being better at both. Though with this being the seventh player, I'd be leery of adding someone that could take up over their one seventh of allotted table space. It is a hard call, and you are totally right in that we all had to start somewhere, and the final arbitrator is Retreater and if they think the cost-benefit analysis means that taking them on is a positive thing. I also agree that setting forth the parameters of the game beforehand is really crucial.

Monday, 26th November, 2018

  • 06:06 PM - hawkeyefan mentioned Retreater in post Underpowered Group Found BBEG
    Even after the dragon....however that’s handled....ifthe PCs defeat it or of they run from it, won’t the rest of the dungeon likely be aware? Based on te more recent comments by Retreater, it seems like it’s more a flaw in how the dungeon’s presented. I think that based on that, it’s a bad idea to punish the PCs for poor design. Have a group of villains come along and the PCs can get dragged into combat which then alerts the rest of the denizens. Or have them hide and overhear about the magic gear that was taken from the last group of adventurers that came through. There are several ways you can take things. I’m not familiar enough with Forge of Fury to know the whole scenario, but there are plenty of general solutions.
  • 12:57 AM - hawkeyefan mentioned Retreater in post Underpowered Group Found BBEG
    Retreater I think that if you allow a total party kill or similarly harsh outcome, what you’re essentially doing is punishing them for being efficient. Only in a game would it be “smarter” to fight every opponent in a dungeon rather than sneak past most of them and then face only the boss. Probably not a great message to send to them, especially if they’ve already expressed frustration with character death. I think you have a few options. First would be to let them face the dragon, and see what happens. You can have the dragon be overconfident and have this show by playing him in a tactically careless manner. Maybe that will help swing things in the party’s favor. You can also have the dragon be surprised that the mere humanoids were able to hurt it, and have him flee to fight another day. No dragon wants to die, and a recurring foe is a great thing to have in a D&D game. If things go the dragon’s way, you can again have him be overconfident and not finish the party off. Have him let t...

Saturday, 20th October, 2018

  • 09:52 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned Retreater in post 5E's "Missed Opportunities?"
    ...ightly less than a +1. If you need a 2 you have a 95% to succeed normally, and 95% + 5% * 95% = 99.75%, agains slightly less than +1. This is the minimum. If you need an 11, you have a 50% normally, and a 50% + 50% * 50% = 75% with advantage. That's the equivalent of +5. This is the maximum. Your +/-6 to +/-7 is outside the range of what is possible. That mean it is likely not the average. You may want to double check you math. One common mistake I've seen is working out to roll 2d20 and subtract the higher fromt he lower. That's really comparing advantage (best for 2d20) with disadvantage (worst of 2d20). It's clear if you work it out as percentages what it can be for every target. Man, these arguments hurt me because there's this weird thing where everyone tries to map a normal distribution onto a flat distribution via +/-. It's wrong in a technical way. But, I'm an engineer, so that's probably just my bag. That said, the above is the right wrong way to do it Retreater, billd91. The "bonus" that advantage applies differs depending on what the target number on the d20 is for success. It's greatest in the middle, where it increases the chance of success by 25%, and weaker on the ends where it's bit less than a 5% bump. If you need to roll a 20, advantage helps by almost doubling your chances from 1/20 to 19/400, but if you need an 11, advantage increases your chances from 10/20 to 15/20. If you need a 2, advantage bumps you from a 19/20 to 399/400.

Friday, 12th October, 2018

  • 09:52 PM - TallIan mentioned Retreater in post Doh! Killed my party with a skill challenge
    So...just something to keep in mind: At level 6, the max skill bonus a non-rogue or bard will likely have is +7. If the DC is consistently 15, then the chance of failing is 35%. Which means that MORE THAN HALF THE TIME, with maximum skills, your party will get the 3 fails before they succeed 10 times. In practice, several PCs are likely to make attempts even WITHOUT optimal skills...meaning that the chance of success falls even more. If the price of failure is TPK, I might suggest you improve the odds a bit in the PCs' favor...or provide them with options (e.g. aiding each other for advantage or something) for improving their luck. Pretty much this. I've watched many of Matt Colleville's videos and I did like the skill challenge one. Retreater has essentially set the party up for failure here and since failure was a TPK that's pretty harsh. I don't say this to be a dick, but you need to consider the chance of success and allow for other options. Did they HAVE to go that way though the dungeon? If they had another option was it clear that there was another option and that one choice was deadly (and maybe quicker) and the other choice was safer (but maybe slower). As long as the player have a choice that has good odds of success all is fine, when they have no choice but to gamble on good dice rolls you're not creating a good playing environment. If you are using a skill challenge, it's more important that it seems exciting because of how you describe the action, rather than the players feeling stressed because of mounting failed rolls. You can also pressure the players by demanding quick responses, and keep the narrative going from your end if they dither, or forcing checks that they might not like because they too...

Tuesday, 21st August, 2018

  • 12:23 AM - Chaosmancer mentioned Retreater in post Revised Ranger update
    I am curious why you think it's haughty? I can't speak for Retreater , but for me there were a few lines in his tweet that jumped out to me. "There is one ranger: the one in the Player's Handbook" "Frankly, the revised ranger helped feed an internet-fueled view of the class... I wasn't sorry to end it." Both of those... the tone I picture them said in is almost derogatory. And, while I missed whatever it was he said in 2017 about never doing an alternative class, as someone posted earlier in this thread, two years ago near the end of 2016 (09/12/2016) they were saying very different things about the state of the Ranger. Just in the first paragraph of that PDF we have "the class’s high levels of player dissatisfaction and its ranking as D&D’s weakest class by a significant margin" quoted as the reason for the revisions. And they talk about doing research and finding the class lacking back then, it's abilities rated as some of the worst in the game and people generally being unhappy with it. And you know... that is weird to me. I ge...

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Monday, 22nd July, 2019

  • 10:00 AM - Sadras quoted Retreater in post Resource-Draining Model D&D Doesn't Work (for me)
    One of the key mechanics of D&D over the years has been the idea of resource-draining encounters. You burn torches, you fire arrows, you lose hit points to swarms of mooks, you cast spells from encounter-to-encounter, you scrape by with just enough strength left in you to fight the Big Bad at the end of the dungeon. Or you camp in a "safe area," hoping your characters can recover their resources without random encounters that further drag out the game and spend more resources. Herein is the problem (for me). My group gets together twice a month, if we're lucky. We get about 3 hours of "quality" time each session (after taking out breaks, snacks, general socializing, etc.) Knowing that the majority of our time is going to be spent with "another ho-hum goblin encounter that will only challenge us by spending a 1st level spell and a few arrows" or a trap that might do 1-6 hp of damage, it just doesn't seem a good way to spend time. Any one else experiencing this? Any work-arounds? (a) Montage e...

Sunday, 21st July, 2019

  • 09:23 PM - Oofta quoted Retreater in post Resource-Draining Model D&D Doesn't Work (for me)
    We're playing 5e. No matter the level, the need to run trivial speed bump encounters is a default assumption of the game. It is? I mean, don't get me wrong you can if it works for you, but I've been running 5E since it was released and I don't think I've ever run a trivial encounter. I've had some encounters I thought would be difficult that were made trivial because of good planning and/or luck. But from an XP budget standpoint? If I think the PCs can easily defeat an encounter we just narrate it. There are times when I know the group is only going to have a handful of fights between long rests because of story reasons and every single one is deadly (partly depends on the group). But trivial? Track torches, arrows or miscellaneous resources? Ain't nobody go time for that.

Saturday, 20th July, 2019

  • 09:37 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Retreater in post Resource-Draining Model D&D Doesn't Work (for me)
    My group gets together twice a month, if we're lucky. We get about 3 hours of "quality" time each session … any one else experiencing this? The campaign I'm running meets weekly, so not an issue; the one I play in has the same frequency as yours, but is 4e, so, again, not an issue - even if we have 'long rests' or just hard-resets because we missed a session or two, and have freshly-printed character sheets, between sessions, and thus 1-encounter days, it just means a harder encounter, we don't have any e-Classes, so everyone gets to 'bring it' with their best tricks when that happens. Any work-arounds?Sure. You can standardize on daily-heavy resource classes. Drop the Warlock, Monk and the various non-primary casters and the non-casters aside from the Barbarian (with potent, daily rage). Run single dialed-up encounters at each session, with long rests between most of them. The battles can be huge, dramatic, exciting, and you can re-set between them with impunity.
  • 09:23 PM - Jer quoted Retreater in post Resource-Draining Model D&D Doesn't Work (for me)
    Herein is the problem (for me). My group gets together twice a month, if we're lucky. We get about 3 hours of "quality" time each session (after taking out breaks, snacks, general socializing, etc.) Knowing that the majority of our time is going to be spent with "another ho-hum goblin encounter that will only challenge us by spending a 1st level spell and a few arrows" or a trap that might do 1-6 hp of damage, it just doesn't seem a good way to spend time. Any one else experiencing this? Any work-arounds? Yes. I've been experiencing this since I first started playing D&D, though I didn't realize it was actually a problem until I played other games and then went back to play D&D again when 3e dropped. There is no single answer to this problem - when we run games with these kinds of limits we're basically trying to cram the round D&D peg into the square "3-4 hour time limit" hole. D&D just isn't built to be played this way - it's designed to be a resource attrition game and getting aro...
  • 04:50 PM - Blue quoted Retreater in post Resource-Draining Model D&D Doesn't Work (for me)
    Any work-arounds? The first work around is not bashing, just a truth: pick a different system that does not strongly have attrition required as a balance point in the game. There are a lot of great games out there, and finding one that fits your table is a good thing. This really isn't a bash - I love 5e. I'm just not closed to other games to meet other needs. A work around in 5e is to use one of the D&D variant to change the period of rests. If a short rest is overnight and a long rest is a week of down time, then your wearing down happens over a longer period of just meaningful encounters. Now, you may not get a long rest for several sessions - that's okay. I've run that and it works. Oh, and for true trivial fights, ones that have to be there because it makes sense in the narrative but it's not going to eat up any long terms resources? Just montage them. Go around the table and have each player describe a cool thing they do in the battle to resolve it. 5 minutes tops, pla...
  • 04:30 PM - dnd4vr quoted Retreater in post Resource-Draining Model D&D Doesn't Work (for me)
    One of the key mechanics of D&D over the years has been the idea of resource-draining encounters. You burn torches, you fire arrows, you lose hit points to swarms of mooks, you cast spells from encounter-to-encounter, you scrape by with just enough strength left in you to fight the Big Bad at the end of the dungeon. Or you camp in a "safe area," hoping your characters can recover their resources without random encounters that further drag out the game and spend more resources. Herein is the problem (for me). My group gets together twice a month, if we're lucky. We get about 3 hours of "quality" time each session (after taking out breaks, snacks, general socializing, etc.) Knowing that the majority of our time is going to be spent with "another ho-hum goblin encounter that will only challenge us by spending a 1st level spell and a few arrows" or a trap that might do 1-6 hp of damage, it just doesn't seem a good way to spend time. Any one else experiencing this? Any work-arounds? First, I pity...
  • 03:35 PM - dave2008 quoted Retreater in post Resource-Draining Model D&D Doesn't Work (for me)
    Herein is the problem (for me). My group gets together twice a month, if we're lucky. We get about 3 hours of "quality" time each session (after taking out breaks, snacks, general socializing, etc.) Knowing that the majority of our time is going to be spent with "another ho-hum goblin encounter that will only challenge us by spending a 1st level spell and a few arrows" or a trap that might do 1-6 hp of damage, it just doesn't seem a good way to spend time. Any one else experiencing this? Any work-arounds? Some work around options: 1) No combats. Focus on roleplaying, investigation, and skill challenges. Set up the events and then the next adventure can be combat heavy. Essentially avoid easy combats and focus on large dramatic combats every 2-3 sessions. 2) Streamline your turns. Simple encounters should take 5-10 min. IME. A simple encounter should take 2-3 rounds. No more than 30sec per player and DM gives you 6-7 minutes. That should be plenty of time for a simple encounter. 3) F...
  • 01:27 PM - dave2008 quoted Retreater in post Resource-Draining Model D&D Doesn't Work (for me)
    Closer to the 20-30 minute mark. Between drawing a map, ordering initiative, determining battle positions, etc, even "trivial" combats take too long when the only consequence is a few minor resources spent. But the game isn't set up for "edge of your seat, tax the party to the max" combats. Yikes! That is a big part of your problem then. A trivial encounter in 5e should take 10-15 min max. If you can't get to that, I don't know that my suggestions for making more engaging encounters will help you as they usually involve making them more difficult in some way, which also makes them longer. How many people are in your group?
  • 08:46 AM - Lanefan quoted Retreater in post Resource-Draining Model D&D Doesn't Work (for me)
    One of the key mechanics of D&D over the years has been the idea of resource-draining encounters. You burn torches, you fire arrows, you lose hit points to swarms of mooks, you cast spells from encounter-to-encounter, you scrape by with just enough strength left in you to fight the Big Bad at the end of the dungeon. Or you camp in a "safe area," hoping your characters can recover their resources without random encounters that further drag out the game and spend more resources. Herein is the problem (for me). My group gets together twice a month, if we're lucky. We get about 3 hours of "quality" time each session (after taking out breaks, snacks, general socializing, etc.) Knowing that the majority of our time is going to be spent with "another ho-hum goblin encounter that will only challenge us by spending a 1st level spell and a few arrows" or a trap that might do 1-6 hp of damage, it just doesn't seem a good way to spend time. Any one else experiencing this? Any work-arounds?Which versi...
  • 04:42 AM - Eric V quoted Retreater in post Resource-Draining Model D&D Doesn't Work (for me)
    I've been running a bit of 4e in recent years. Unfortunately the problem seems even worse with 1.5 hour trivial encounters. I usually found that once a fight got down to spamming at-wills, it was over and we just handwaved the rest. I really appreciate your position on this one though; though I play a bit more frequently than you, it's still a slog for no real (fun) reason it seems. It's a big enough problem that, after this campaign wraps up, we'll be switching to 13th Age. Have you considered that?
  • 04:36 AM - happyhermit quoted Retreater in post Resource-Draining Model D&D Doesn't Work (for me)
    Closer to the 20-30 minute mark. Between drawing a map, ordering initiative, determining battle positions, etc, even "trivial" combats take too long when the only consequence is a few minor resources spent. Yeah, if I get what you mean by trivial then that is along time. Have you tried to streamline things down, if so what worked/didn't? When we aren't playing slowly for some particular reason (off-topic conversations, snacking, brand-new player etc.) initiative order takes literal seconds to write down, for instance, whereas it used to take minutes and be more stressful. I almost always run Totm in general, but less complicated combats even more-so. Using existing maps or predrawing ones can help, or just trying to sketch quicker. Determining battle positions is easily handled by declaring "marching order" outside of combat, often just casually in description. But the game isn't set up for "edge of your seat, tax the party to the max" combats. I don't know if it's not "set up for" it, but...
  • 03:52 AM - Xaelvaen quoted Retreater in post Resource-Draining Model D&D Doesn't Work (for me)
    One of the key mechanics of D&D over the years has been the idea of resource-draining encounters. You burn torches, you fire arrows, you lose hit points to swarms of mooks, you cast spells from encounter-to-encounter, you scrape by with just enough strength left in you to fight the Big Bad at the end of the dungeon. Or you camp in a "safe area," hoping your characters can recover their resources without random encounters that further drag out the game and spend more resources. Herein is the problem (for me). My group gets together twice a month, if we're lucky. We get about 3 hours of "quality" time each session (after taking out breaks, snacks, general socializing, etc.) Knowing that the majority of our time is going to be spent with "another ho-hum goblin encounter that will only challenge us by spending a 1st level spell and a few arrows" or a trap that might do 1-6 hp of damage, it just doesn't seem a good way to spend time. Any one else experiencing this? Any work-arounds? ...
  • 03:39 AM - CubicsRube quoted Retreater in post Resource-Draining Model D&D Doesn't Work (for me)
    Closer to the 20-30 minute mark. Between drawing a map, ordering initiative, determining battle positions, etc, even "trivial" combats take too long when the only consequence is a few minor resources spent. But the game isn't set up for "edge of your seat, tax the party to the max" combats. I'd strongly encourage theatre of the mind for trivial combats and using maps only for big set encounters. Run the trivial ones more cinematically and describe their actions more. Runs much faster, and when you do pull out the map it creates variety in the players minds and they know that shizz is going down. I'd also just scrap initiative for these eno:):):):)ers and just use side initiative, but your players might not like that.
  • 03:22 AM - 5ekyu quoted Retreater in post Resource-Draining Model D&D Doesn't Work (for me)
    One of the key mechanics of D&D over the years has been the idea of resource-draining encounters. You burn torches, you fire arrows, you lose hit points to swarms of mooks, you cast spells from encounter-to-encounter, you scrape by with just enough strength left in you to fight the Big Bad at the end of the dungeon. Or you camp in a "safe area," hoping your characters can recover their resources without random encounters that further drag out the game and spend more resources. Herein is the problem (for me). My group gets together twice a month, if we're lucky. We get about 3 hours of "quality" time each session (after taking out breaks, snacks, general socializing, etc.) Knowing that the majority of our time is going to be spent with "another ho-hum goblin encounter that will only challenge us by spending a 1st level spell and a few arrows" or a trap that might do 1-6 hp of damage, it just doesn't seem a good way to spend time. Any one else experiencing this? Any work-arounds?Every statem is...
  • 02:32 AM - Xeviat quoted Retreater in post Resource-Draining Model D&D Doesn't Work (for me)
    Any one else experiencing this? Any work-arounds? I feel like this is part of the feel of D&D. The only work around is to make the encounters you do have on the harder side and shoot for 3 encounters a day with short rests in between. 4th Edition really helped avoid this, but it changed so much that I had a hard time getting enough players.

Thursday, 11th July, 2019

  • 06:38 PM - qstor quoted Retreater in post OSR Gripes
    I'm wondering "where's the fun?" in OSR games like Labyrinth Lord/Swords and Wizardry? The fun for me is playing a "stripped" down PC without all the bells and whistles of 5e/PF/d20. I started with 1e so I'm actually more partial to OSRIC than LL and S&W but I'm been playing DCC with a friend of mine lately and that's fun too.

Wednesday, 10th July, 2019

  • 10:56 PM - Quickleaf quoted Retreater in post OSR Gripes
    I'm wondering "where's the fun?" in OSR games like Labyrinth Lord/Swords and Wizardry? Using your wits to avoid rolling dice, and solving situations through creative thinking. That's where the fun is. In OSR games, when you're confronted with a challenge, you don't look to your character sheet first; rather, you look to your own ingenuity first.
  • 07:21 PM - Monayuris quoted Retreater in post OSR Gripes
    I get the appeal of Dark Soul type video games, but it's far different to restart a video game level than to roll a new character, try to make it interesting and unique, fit into a party of other players, and to contribute to an adverture in a meaningful way, when that character is no better than a kobold on paper. I understand the fun of games like Call of Cthulhu, but that's because the game is set up to uncover mysteries and fight as a last resort. OSR games seem to champion the Dungeon crawl and hack and slash style. But they don't seem to do it especially well. OSR games can definitely do the dungeon crawl, but yeah not so much hack and slash. In OSR games you don't want to hack and slash, you want to carefully plan your combats and use clever play to stack the deck in your favor. To support this, most OSR games feature rules for Reactions and Morale which tend to reduce the amount of combat that occurs in the game. The key to dungeon crawls is that the character is the avatar for the ...
  • 07:15 PM - Ralif Redhammer quoted Retreater in post OSR Gripes
    Can’t argue there. Even if, after the umpteenth time of getting slaughtered by Oceiros, the Consumed King or Ornstein and Smough, it might feel like it! But I think there’s also a context that’s changed over time. These days, I think most of us are used to (trying) to take a single character from the beginning to the end of the campaign). In the old days people had multiple characters they were levelling up in a single campaign. If you lost one character, whether to death or just being stuck waiting to heal up from the last adventure (no long rests, just 1-2 HP per day spent doing nothing), you had multiple choices for other folks to bring into the fray, right then and there. And you probably would then attempt to get the lost character raised or resurrected. I get the appeal of Dark Soul type video games, but it's far different to restart a video game level than to roll a new character, try to make it interesting and unique, fit into a party of other players, and to contribute to an advertur...
  • 07:15 PM - lowkey13 quoted Retreater in post OSR Gripes
    I get the appeal of Dark Soul type video games, but it's far different to restart a video game level than to roll a new character, try to make it interesting and unique, fit into a party of other players, and to contribute to an adverture in a meaningful way, when that character is no better than a kobold on paper. I understand the fun of games like Call of Cthulhu, but that's because the game is set up to uncover mysteries and fight as a last resort. OSR games seem to champion the Dungeon crawl and hack and slash style. But they don't seem to do it especially well. So, the bolded part is what interests me. One of the big differences, IMO, between classic OSR/1e style play and today's play (basically from 2.5e on, but especially with 3e on) is the emphasis on Chargen. I often think that a character isn't made interesting and unique in OSR in creation; it's only through play that the character becomes interesting and unique. I can create a 1e or B/X character, rolling included, in under 3 ...


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