View Profile: Vyvyan Basterd - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
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About Vyvyan Basterd

Basic Information

Date of Birth
September 6, 1970 (48)
About Vyvyan Basterd
Running OSRIC on Friday nights
About Me:
I've been DM/GMing for 30 years. Update 7/23/13 - Starting an OSRIC game once per week on Friday night. I've run all editions of D&D except OD&D plus Shadowrun, Earthdawn and many other games I've probably forgotten about over the years.
Antioch, IL
Age Group:
Over 40
My Game Details

Details of games currently playing and games being sought.

Game Details:
Our group varies in age from mid-twenties to mid-forties. We get together as friends first, gamers second. We hope that anyone we invite to play has the capacity to become friends also, so hard-core gamers would probably feel more comfortable in another group. We get together normally on Friday evenings from 7pm to midnight. If we plan to play a different day (usually due to holidays) we discuss it as a group beforehand. We are all working adults and understand if someone can't make a game here and there.


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Wednesday, 5th June, 2002
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My Game Details
Game Details:
Our group varies in age from mid-twenties to mid-forties. We get together as friends first, gamers second. We hope that anyone we invite to play has the capacity to become friends also, so hard-core gamers would probably feel more comfortable in another group. We get together normally on Friday evenings from 7pm to midnight. If we plan to play a different day (usually due to holidays) we discuss it as a group beforehand. We are all working adults and understand if someone can't make a game here and there.
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Sunday, 28th June, 2015

Friday, 7th March, 2014

  • 07:26 AM - pemerton mentioned Vyvyan Basterd in post The Illusion of Experience Points that Everyone Disbelieves
    ...agree with you about all the "ignorance of code" stuff. I'm not even sure how that's meant to work - apart from anything else, there are (to the best of my knowledge - I'm not much of a logician or mathematician) formal proofs that show that if the only data you have is a finite set of points, then there are indefinitely many rules that will generate that dataset. You are working with a more liberal notion of "story" than I am. I am prepared to allow that, in playing ToH or WPM, the notion of "story" has little work to do. Yes, participants describe imagined events - mostly in the form of actions their PCs take (for players) or consequences that happen to those PCs (for GMs), but this is not story in any rich sense of that term. (Much like a weather report is typically not much like a story in any rich sense of the term - contrast "It was a dark and stormy night . . .") But what I think is fundamental to RPGing, that differentiates it from boardgaming - and on this point I think Vyvyan Basterd is in agreement - is that the game situation is defined first and foremost not in mechanical terms (ie by reference to the formal rules for taking "moves" in the game) but by describing an imagined situation ("You are standing in front of a hill that looks like a skull. You have heard that the treasure of the lich Acererack is within.") In a boardgame like Cluedo or Talisman, in a computer game, in many wargames, that stuff is just fluff - it excites the imagination of, and enthuses, the participants, but you don't have regard to it in actually playing the game. But in an RPG that stuff matters to the game - hence we have a notion of how things are in the gameworld , which it itself relevant to making "moves" and thereby playing the game. When people say "In an RPG you can do anything you want," this is the feature (in my view) that they are getting at: that the imagined fiction actually matters to resolution. (This is also why Justin Alexander and others characterise 4e as a tactic...

Friday, 21st February, 2014

  • 02:20 PM - Ahnehnois mentioned Vyvyan Basterd in post The Illusion of Experience Points that Everyone Disbelieves
    Let us review a little of what we have. We are playing a game (a term the definition of which seems to be slightly at odds with common parlance, so must be approved and as such we shall try not to rely upon), where we take on roles of elves and dwarves without creating any sort of fiction... WTF??? Sorry, but I am a mere human being - I require some explanation as to how this circumstance can ever arise.I don't understand this either. Even very early D&D games posit fantastical locations, assign each player to a person within those locations, and describe events that happen. Setting, character, and plot, the components of a narrative, are all there. A lot else can change, but I don't understand how any D&D game could lack these elements. I also don't see how the idea of a game precludes any of that. Whenever Vyvyan Basterd, pemerton, Balesir, and me all agree that your argument doesn't even make sense, that's saying something.

Thursday, 20th February, 2014

  • 12:51 AM - pemerton mentioned Vyvyan Basterd in post The Illusion of Experience Points that Everyone Disbelieves the word in the second of those senses, although - because an RPG also involves imaginary events an imaginary people - their usage is not too far from the first sense either. I'm not denying there are individuals who want to play storygames. I'm one of them. I'm not being absolutist when I deny absolutist ideologies like "all games are stories" and "playing a game is telling a story". I don't know what a "storygame" is. I'm talking about RPGs, such as D&D, Burning Wheel, Marvel Heroic RP, etc. And you are the only one going on about "all games are stories". No one else on this thread has asserted that. They have asserted that all RPGing involves fiction: because all RPGing involve imagined events and people that are invented and untrue. I'd suggest RPGs haven't been designed for your approachWhich RPGs are you talking about. Here's a short list of RPGs from the late 70s through mid-80s that I am very confidenty have been widely played in roughly the sort of way that I, Vyvyan Basterd and other posters are describing: * Traveller; * Call of Cthulhu; * Runequest; * Rolemaster; * Chivalry and Sorcery; * Bushido; * Dungeons & Dragons (B/X); * AD&D (especially post-Dragonlance). I'm sure plenty of other games I'm less familiar with could be added to that list.

Wednesday, 16th October, 2013

  • 06:39 PM - Bullgrit mentioned Vyvyan Basterd in post The Young Ones
    I remember seeing The Young Ones on MTV back in the 80s, and I remember liking it. I was just reading the Wikipedia article on it, and laughing almost literally out loud. Especially the character descriptions. As I'm reading the text, I'm remembering the episodes, and I'm really impressed at the writing. Vyvyan Basterd: In the episode "Flood", he develops a potion to transform a person into an axe-wielding homicidal maniac. He claims "it's basically a cure... for not being an axe-wielding homicidal maniac... the potential market's enormous!".(We have a poster here with the handle Vyvyan Basterd :-) Did you ever see this show? It's only 12 episodes total, from almost 30 years ago. Bullgrit

Monday, 23rd September, 2013

  • 03:58 AM - Challenger RPG mentioned Vyvyan Basterd in post How to Teach a GM to be a Player?
    ...r I've forced most of my players to play just about every RPG I can get my hands on. Some of my fellow GMs tend just to prefer D&D. @Sword of Spirit : I totally agree with you. Thanks for the great suggestion about asking the GM what can be done to help out. The next time I'm a player, I think that's a fine thing for me to try out. I'm also a kindred spirit when it comes to problem solving. I also have a pretty hard time sitting quietly when the GM is distracted for what seems like half an hour. On one occasion, I was known to have created and played out a 15 minute subplot with another player while the GM was up to something else. When the GM found out what had happened, the GM wasn't terribly impressed. I still get ridiculed for that, and it was years and years ago. @Luce : Another great idea. Playing a different system sounds like it could work really well. Some players turned GMs have a favorite, but I think it would be something good to try out. @Orius : I tried. :P @Vyvyan Basterd : Kudos on that. I've been called a terrible player on more than one occasion, and sometimes by players who I really respect. I have to admit that I sometimes earn that title. As for attention span, I guess I've also had that problem. In one particular game, I actually became less and less engaged in the game until the point where I stopped reading (an unrelated book) and wandered off. It was actually kind of embarrassing seeing as I'd begged everyone to play, but I just couldn't keep my focus on the game. Throughout the 5 hour session, I was a 0-level farmer the entire game forced to be a servant to a crazy old wizard. Apart from failing miserably at the basest of tasks, I wasn't really allowed to do much. I guess you could say I was spoiled by playing 1st level heroes all the time, and that it was a great role-playing opportunity. However, there wasn't even a single battle in the entire time I was playing (and I'm still 0-level in that game as far as I know). The other players enj...

Saturday, 14th September, 2013

Saturday, 17th August, 2013

  • 04:35 PM - Ahnehnois mentioned Vyvyan Basterd in post Are we fair to WotC? IP. When I said D&D is not Hasbro's I wasn't referring to the name, but the game itself. If you never spend another dime on D&D, that's fine, but you have no right to complain if the game's development goes in a direction you don't like. You are no longer supporting the game; the guys trying to make a living by keeping the game alive need to look at the tastes and opinions of people who are spending the money if they want to keep putting out products. And I want them to keep putting out products.I do't buy that. My reasoning above still stands in that the part of the gaming community that pays a significant amount of money is only a minority and is not the only part that matters, and in that I once was and could be again one of those people with relative ease. You think that the NFL only cares about people who buy tickets? No, they care an awful lot about their TV audience, many of whom don't pay them any money directly, but who are very much part of their business model. *** Vyvyan Basterd Pretty much agree with that.

Thursday, 25th July, 2013

  • 10:54 AM - pemerton mentioned Vyvyan Basterd in post Legends & Lore: Roleplaying in D&D Next
    ... I think GM discretion over the latter is a fairly important part of the mainstream roleplaying experience. If players get to frame their own challenges, and interpret their own consequences, it can be hard for them to apply enough pressure to their own PCs to keep things exciting! I think GM discretion over the former - like what is the mechanic for grappling a troll, or resolving a jump, or talking to a stranger - tends just to lead to a poor gaming experience, as players cannot declare actions for their PC with any confidence, and hence in practice either (i) retreat to those areas of the system which do have reliable rules, like combat, or (ii) give up protagonisim and essentially "play along" with the GM's game. Which is why a lot of players feel the shift into D&D Next is putting too much power back into the DMs hands. Like being able to arbitrarily decide what counts as good roleplaying and give out benefits because of it.I think the key issue here is "arbitrariness". Vyvyan Basterd has pointed to comparable systems (eg Milestones in MHRP) which aren't arbitrary (and don't necessarily have to be GM-adjudicated at all). The broader issue of "DM empowerment" in D&Dnext is one I'm not sure about. I have a certain fondness for flexible, portable and robust action resolution mechanics. (4e skill challenges are one example, though perhaps not the best.) Stat checks have the potential to be one part of that. But other stuff is needed too, like guidlines on setting stakes and establishing finality of resolution (which is what hit points do in combat). At the moment I feel that that is missing. Without that, I think the same issues I mentioned above will tend to occur: either (i) retreat into combat, where hit points do establish finality; or (ii) surrender protagonism and just go along with the GM's thing.

Tuesday, 23rd July, 2013

  • 06:29 PM - I'm A Banana mentioned Vyvyan Basterd in post Legends & Lore: Roleplaying in D&D Next
    It's all very vague and nebulous -- it's hard to tell what this actually looks like aside from the DM saying "get Advantage on this roll because this guy is the guy who killed your mom" or whatever. Which, yeah, that's a codified thing that DMs all over the world are going to do, so good. Banking it and passing it along both seem painfully metagame, but Mearls also used the word "scene" a few times, so clearly Mearls is clearly quite comfortable with playing the metagame. Which is odd in the context of talking about roleplaying, because roleplaying and metagame are kind of at different ends of an axis, and are potentially mutually exclusive (as Vyvyan Basterd 's anecdote seems to support). Which means that the more tactical and high-level the mechanic gets, the less effective it is at encouraging people to act as their characters (I suppose unless your character is into neuro-linguistic programming, or has Asperger's or something). I'm fond of how scalable this seems to be: you never have to hand out advantage on a check, but maybe you hand it out ALL THE TIMES. I do think linking it (or something like it) to a reward for doing something self-destructive or problematic for the adventure makes a lot of sense. That way, you're not getting rewarded for doing what you'd do anyway, you're getting incentivized to do something you know is a bad idea, but you're rewarded because it's going to make the game more fun, and it's going to encourage you to remain in character. Perhaps the "flaws" Mearls mentioned play into this. It's an OK start, they just need to make sure that they remember that, as much as they all love the metagame, the best RP...

Friday, 12th July, 2013

  • 04:11 PM - Majoru Oakheart mentioned Vyvyan Basterd in post Wandering Monsters: Monster Mashups
    Sure. But then those rules were adopted for an individual table. Having One Kind of Orc hurts the ability to adapt orcs to your own table, because it limits the diversity of published orcs and reinforces the concept that only one orc is meant to be used in D&D. I agree with Vyvyan Basterd There were "one of a kind" Orcs in 1e, 2e, 3e, and 4e. Periodically there were variants published for specific worlds, but we've never had a bunch of alternate Orcs(or even the implication that they WERE alternate Orcs).

Monday, 14th January, 2013

  • 04:05 PM - Neonchameleon mentioned Vyvyan Basterd in post Non-D&D /Pathfinder RPGs
    ...urt that it has some superb advice for running this style of game in the book. Monsterhearts Does the idea of making the bloodiest, sexiest, best HBO teen drama ever sound like an absolute blast? Simple rules, and holding strings on half the other PCs while they hold strings on you? Skins where every character is about their fundamental flaw? And it can literally be paid for by Good Deeds. Dread How has no one mentioned Dread and its Jenga Tower of Tension yet? The tensest one shot horror game it's ever been my pleasure/fear to play. I'll let @Piratecat sell this one Fiasco It's a fiasco. Two hours of things going catastrophically and entertainingly wrong for all characters involved. Simple to play (but remember the post it notes), fits any setting Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Best comic book superhero roleplaying game ever. (Note: Comic Book Supers - if you want Superheroes In The Real World look somewhere else). Simple rules, flexible, and both evocative and draws description. @Vyvyan Basterd has made the pitch. Dogs in the Vineyard Rising tension on a foundation of "What stakes are you prepared to risk to win this?" @steenan has got here first. Generic Games GURPS Steve Jackson's Generic Universal Roleplaying System - a very simulationist, slightly gritty, and highly detailed system designed to cover anywhere and anywhen and with sourcebooks to back it. In fact the beauty of the game isn't the game itself, but the care and attention in the massive range of sourcebooks. With incredibly rare exceptions (Pendragon springs to mind) if there is a GURPS sourcebook of a setting and a roleplaying game focussed on that setting, the GURPS book will be better written and researched, and presented towards having adventures in that setting. That said GURPS fetish for simulation occasionally gets the better of it. The GURPS vehicles book includes formulae such as the power of the engine in horsepower and the weight of the structure being based on the square of the cube root of the ...

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Friday, 7th June, 2019

Tuesday, 11th April, 2017

  • 08:03 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Vyvyan Basterd in post Survivor Swords: FLAME TONGUE WINS!
    Life Stealing 0 - SMASH EVIL MAGIC!!! RARWARR!!! Nine Lives Stealer 0 -- Entropy dragon slain!::Rejoices that both the Stormbringer and Mournblade wannabees are out of the running:: +1 Basic Sword 15 Defender 17 Dragon Slayer 10 Flame Tongue 21 Frost Brand 21 As self-appointed Handicapper General, I declare the two thermal swords equal... Luck Blade 13 Sharpness 20 Vorpal 20 ...and the two dismemberment swords, too.

Friday, 7th April, 2017

Friday, 10th March, 2017

  • 05:17 AM - AaronOfBarbaria quoted Vyvyan Basterd in post Save Your Campaign with the Tomb of Horror
    I had at least one friend at 12 years old that would have punched me in the face if I gloated about killing the whole party.Yeah, that's absolutely how kids I knew growing up would have acted too. Especially my cousin, who is a few years older than me and was one of my first players. He'd punch me in the arm just because I was winning when we played Super Nintendo games against each other.

Friday, 3rd March, 2017

  • 10:42 PM - lowkey13 quoted Vyvyan Basterd in post Survivor Iconic Artifacts: Sword of Kas WINS
    I didn't realize so many preferred generic to a named brand. [emoji12] I know. Some of these artifacts sound like they are being sold by some off-brand con man. Hey, come on up! I got yer artifacts right here! First, we have this marvelous Axe. You might think to yourself that it's just a regular axe that any woodsman would use, but ... NO! It's a dwarvish axe! Yeah, that's right. DWARVISH! How many coppers would you spend for a Dwarvish axe, huh? But wait, there's more! It's not just any Dwarvish Axe, it's ROYAL! Yep, you heard me right. This friggin' Axe, here, it was owned by a Dwarvish Lord. You, you there, I know you're a little skeptical, and you're thinking, "Yeah, right. Which Dwarvish Lord owned that sorry axe?" Hear me now and believe me later- it wasn't just one Dwarvish Lord ... it was all of them! That's right, this is an Axe of the Dwarvish Lords! And it can be yours for the low, low price of 2 silver pieces. ...and if you act know, I have a special offer. Look at this Rod. Th...

Wednesday, 15th February, 2017

Thursday, 19th January, 2017

  • 07:17 PM - Mad_Jack quoted Vyvyan Basterd in post WotC's 2017 Convention Schedule Includes New Hascon, No GenCon
    Rhode Island!? Yeah, most of us will see you there Hasbro <\sarcasm> Actually... Providence, RI is the biggest "event" city between Boston and New York, and punches well above it's weight class as far as culture, arts, music and conventions of all kinds go. The RI Convention Center is regularly booked for huge national-level events - the RI ComicCon has gotten to be just as much of a monster as the others. Outside of the Convention Center, Providence is also home to the yearly NecronomiCon for H.P. Lovecraft fans (Lovecraft lived there) and has twice hosted the national Rocky Horror Picture Show convention. It's a wise financial move to hold HasCon there since it's the hometown of Hasbro itself. (Hasbro has major mojo with the city - the Hasbro Children's Hospital is internationally known.) Since it's going to be drawing fans from not just D&D but also all the other Hasbro properties - most of which are much bigger than D&D, it's quite likely it'll draw people from all over the upper eastern quad...
  • 10:58 AM - Mecheon quoted Vyvyan Basterd in post WotC's 2017 Convention Schedule Includes New Hascon, No GenCon
    Rhode Island!? Yeah, most of us will see you there Hasbro <\sarcasm> I mean their head office is there, plus one of the better Botcons was there... Oh who am I kidding, I just hope Hascon can live up to the legacy of Botcon. Because us Transformers fans are ravenous
  • 09:19 AM - DM_ quoted Vyvyan Basterd in post WotC's 2017 Convention Schedule Includes New Hascon, No GenCon
    Rhode Island!? Yeah, most of us will see you there Hasbro <\sarcasm> As a native of the Ocean State I am very excited for this personally. Hoping one day the symbols of Hasbro around the state will include more WOTC, maybe get a Tiamat statue rather than just the potato heads.

Friday, 26th February, 2016

  • 08:06 PM - megamania quoted Vyvyan Basterd in post [Thread Game] D&D Monsters A-Z
    in case we're not counting it, here's a Xerichou from Darksun and in case we are, here's a Yaggol from Dragonlance Did the Xerichou already

Friday, 29th January, 2016

Monday, 25th January, 2016

Thursday, 1st October, 2015

Tuesday, 29th September, 2015

  • 09:40 PM - buzz quoted Vyvyan Basterd in post Chicago Gameday 42 is October 17 at Games Plus in Mt. Prospect, IL
    Glad you spoke up, it would seem like begging if I did. :D Begging is acceptable! Seriously, if you, Reidzilla, or MrF frequent communities where fans of your games converge, let them know about your events! I did a quick post over at, but I'm sure there are other venues in which the words can be spread. (I would't want to come off as a spammer by joining them just to pimp Gameday, though.)

Sunday, 20th September, 2015

Monday, 29th June, 2015

Friday, 12th June, 2015

Friday, 20th March, 2015

  • 06:20 PM - buzz quoted Vyvyan Basterd in post Chicago Gameday 40 is March 21 at Games Plus in Mt. Prospect, IL
    There's a strong chance Laurie won't be there tomorrow. We're on day three of a very sick 9 year old crying nearly constantly for mommy. My aches and pains would appreciate Earthdawn not being at a tall table. Dang! Seems like everyone has been sick these last few weeks (myself included). Here's hoping you guys make it and your kid feels better.

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Vyvyan Basterd's Downloads

  Filename Total Downloads Rating Files Uploaded Last Updated
Curse of the Crimson Throne Guide
5E conversions of new rules introduced in Paizo's Adventure Path Player's Guide for Curse of the Crimson Throne.
298 0 1 Sunday, 10th November, 2013, 05:16 AM Sunday, 10th November, 2013, 05:16 AM
Hand of Fate
A multi-genre storyteller game that uses the Tarot deck for character creation, plot development and conflict resolution. The event was a supernatural horror mystery set during the Siege of Leningrad.
86 0 1 Friday, 8th November, 2013, 03:49 AM Friday, 8th November, 2013, 03:49 AM

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