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About Kurtomatic
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Experienced GM; All D&D, Traveller, Shadowrun; Currently LFR (4E)
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Plain Ol', Tejas
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Wednesday, 27th February, 2013

  • 08:31 AM - pemerton quoted Kurtomatic in post Pemertonian Scene Framing and 4e DMing Restarted
    I get that in a true no-myth game (as I understand it), there is basically no such thing as downtime; it's all uptime, regardless if the action is "back in town" or not. If it's activity that's not particularly action-y, it can just be handwaved. If it is dramatic, it becomes the next scene, ipso facto. However, in a hybrid or light scene-framing game, is there room for a distinct notion of downtime, outside of full-on adventure mode? In the traditional notion of a D&D sandbox, downtime is not just about gear or simple money; it can include training, building holdings, recruiting allies, negotiating deals, etc. In that context, it seems to me that robust downtime is a strong instrument for character advocacy, that can in turn inform scene-framing. I try to let downtime occupy the same place that montages do in movies. I take a very high level view of it. Generally, I'll have players give me a general view of what they've been doing in between episodes. This helps me to create color and estab...
  • 06:44 AM - Campbell quoted Kurtomatic in post Pemertonian Scene Framing and 4e DMing Restarted
    I have another question if y'all don't mind. B-) There was a little discussion up thread about downtime. Now I get that in a true no-myth game (as I understand it), there is basically no such thing as downtime; it's all uptime, regardless if the action is "back in town" or not. If it's activity that's not particularly action-y, it can just be handwaved. If it is dramatic, it becomes the next scene, ipso facto. However, in a hybrid or light scene-framing game, is there room for a distinct notion of downtime, outside of full-on adventure mode? In the traditional notion of a D&D sandbox, downtime is not just about gear or simple money; it can include training, building holdings, recruiting allies, negotiating deals, etc. In that context, it seems to me that robust downtime is a strong instrument for character advocacy, that can in turn inform scene-framing. If my players spend a lot of time at the table improving the defenses of their fortified manor house, we all know what's going to happen next...

Monday, 25th February, 2013

  • 07:16 PM - Derren quoted Kurtomatic in post Yet another Pathfinder With Firearms thread
    Part of the OP's issue was making advanced firearms (which has a very specific meaning in PF) available at reasonable prices What exactly are "advanced firearms" in Pathfinder? One thing you should not forget, there is a huge disconnect between how firearms worked in real life and how they work in D20 games. In real life the advantages were either the ease of use and more easy logistics (doesn't apply to heroes) or the ability to kill enemies at range. This ability is flat out missing in D20 games because of the escalating HP higher level characters and the usually rather close ranges in which D&D combat happens. This ensures that higher level melee characters can easily close the distance to a firearm using enemy without being killed or even seriously wounded. So in the end, while advanced or even modern firearms were certainly not "balanced" in real life compared to swords, they can be when using D20 rules.

Sunday, 24th February, 2013

  • 01:06 PM - Derren quoted Kurtomatic in post Yet another Pathfinder With Firearms thread
    As an example of cheap-but-not-dominating firearms in a fantasy setting, I'm looking at running a Ptolus campaign using Pathfinder with some house rules. One of the first things I've done is create a new rarity category (this is addressing the d20PFSRD firearms rules): Declining Guns: Firearms are a well established technology that was once commonly available, but declining civilization has reduced the sophistication and availability of guns. They are still made by wealthy governments, small guilds, lone gunsmiths, etc. However, many contemporary guns have regressed to simpler designs, and advanced firearms are often treasured antiques. The tooling required to manufacture advanced firearms are highly prized and closely guarded. The Exotic Weapon Proficiency (firearms) is normally required for proficiency with all firearms. All firearms and their ammunition cost 25% of the listed price to purchase or craft. The Gunslinger loses the gunsmith class feature and instead gains the gun training class ...
  • 09:07 AM - S'mon quoted Kurtomatic in post Pemertonian Scene Framing and 4e DMing Restarted
    I bet Zon-Kuthon knows how to extract Kazovon's chocolate from Ileosa's peanut butter. /snicker I can't tell if that's obscene, racial, comedic, confectional, or all four. :p
  • 03:01 AM - Celebrim quoted Kurtomatic in post Yet another Pathfinder With Firearms thread
    Do you mind my asking what your preferred firearms rules are? There are several d20 implementations (and house rules, of course). Like many, I find the PF RAW unsatisfactory for various reasons. Not at all. Kenneth Hood is one of the too little celebrated designers for D20. He produced a brief supplement on firearms called simply that. I have a beta copy. I'm not really sure what became of the work, but if there was ever a designer who deserved more of a role in the professional development, it was Ken. His firearms rules are a little more complicated than some others, but not overly complicated and he manages to capture the feel of guns covering the entire range of their technological development and abilities very very well in a very short space. I wouldn't play a D20 game in a modern setting using any other rules.

Saturday, 23rd February, 2013

  • 09:47 AM - pemerton quoted Kurtomatic in post Pemertonian Scene Framing and 4e DMing Restarted
    Thanks very much for your time Pemerton.No worries. Thanks for wading through my wall of text! it then changes gears to a large, existential threat to the city of Korvosa, which the PCs are positioned to defend. The problem is, the story behind that threat has nothing to do with the PCs (at first), so the AP then has to try to tie the party's personal stories to the city's (through several side-adventures). The AP features a great cast of NPCs, and its their job to make you care about the city and the mysteries that threaten it. From the point of view of scene-framing play, the challenge here is that the city, the NPCs etc are placed by the GM (following the module writer), and the players have to be hooked in. Whereas the paradigm of scene-framing is the players hooking the GM - which also relates to No Myth play, with the GM creating the details of the situation around and in response to the players. Obviously scene-framing techniques can be helpful and worthwhile outside the pure paradi...
  • 09:44 AM - S'mon quoted Kurtomatic in post Pemertonian Scene Framing and 4e DMing Restarted
    However, it then changes gears to a large, existential threat to the city of Korvosa, which the PCs are positioned to defend. The problem is, the story behind that threat has nothing to do with the PCs (at first), so the AP then has to try to tie the party's personal stories to the city's (through several side-adventures). The AP features a great cast of NPCs, and its their job to make you care about the city and the mysteries that threaten it. This works for some groups, and not so much for others. One the trends in the Paizo DM forums are groups that turn out pretty ambivalent about Korvosa, and aren't invested in defending it. The plot thickeners make this even harder by making mysterious stuff too mysterious and giving players easy outs if they take everything at face value. So you end up in some cases with parties perfectly willing to let the city burn to the ground. Not exactly what the designers intended. Yeah, this is the big issue I've been seeing. I think the problem is that the ca...
  • 05:12 AM - pemerton quoted Kurtomatic in post Pemertonian Scene Framing and 4e DMing Restarted
    In this scenario, at level 1, if the PCs enter (or start in) Korvosa, old King Whatshisname is still around, and only later after establishing significant relationships with local inhabitants (some 5 or so levels later) does the excrement hit rotating air recirculator.My personal preference is that it be all drama all the time, from 1st level.
  • 05:04 AM - pemerton quoted Kurtomatic in post Pemertonian Scene Framing and 4e DMing Restarted
    I have found that players are pretty accepting of these 'offers you can't refuse' (see what I did there), mostly due to the social contract at the table. In fact, my experience as a player is by the time you've slogged your way into the 5th book of an AP, you're quite happy to see these triggers take over, because that means you are Finally Getting Somewhere. Now, I recognize that this isn't scene-framing, but scripted events do express an element of protaganism; that's what they're there for, a kind of primitive proto-scene framing device to bring the PCs into the action. I think this also meets the description of pressure, right?I've never actually played, or even read, a Paizo adventure path. But two adventure path-ish adventures I do know are Dead Gods (2nd ed Planescape) and Expedition to the Demonweb Pit (3E). These seem to rely on the players following the GM lead independently of its relationship to the PCs. For me, this is the railroad-y element. Also, they appy pressure, but (i) it i...

Friday, 22nd February, 2013

  • 06:03 PM - D'karr quoted Kurtomatic in post Pemertonian Scene Framing and 4e DMing Restarted
    No worries, I'm not advancing any one-wayism. My preferred approach is focused on achieving outcomes and bringing the largest tool box I can carry to the table to create those outcomes. That's all scene-framing provides, another tool in the toolbox. I know I said it in one of the previous threads but with all the closings, openings, closings, and reopenings it may be lost to the conversation. If the players are leading, then follow. But if they're not leading then you need to inject something for them to follow. Sitting around for hours with everyone looking at each other for a direction leads to an extremely boring game. As I've grown older, I have little to no patience for boring games.
  • 05:14 PM - AbdulAlhazred quoted Kurtomatic in post Pemertonian Scene Framing and 4e DMing Restarted
    So glad to see this topic continue to survive. /congrats A few questions I've been saving... Regarding scene-framing and protaganism: there's an old adventure design hack where some predetermined encounter (or scene) occurs because the PCs cross some (usually narrative) state threshold, and the DM springs the scene in a way that might be variously be described as It Just So Happens, By Some Coincidence, or Look Who Got Here First. We've been jacking around in the dungeon privy for the last 5 hours dissecting otyughs for loot, but as soon as we set foot in the lizard shrine, Stuff Happens. In a video game, this might be called a 'scripted event'. Paizo's APs, for example, make generous use of scripted events. They can be especially useful as icebreakers; Paizo's AP formula shamelessly leverages opening scripted events to inject the PCs directly into the main storyline (Carrion Crown's opening is particularly brilliant). However, most of the time these things are obvious, often arbitrary, story ...
  • 10:06 AM - S'mon quoted Kurtomatic in post Pemertonian Scene Framing and 4e DMing Restarted
    Is there a trap you can find yourself in with scene-framing, where strong protaganism has led you to one coincidence too many? Is there a risk of being a bit too Dramatically Correct? That seems like a valid concern to me. I think the 'one coincidence' rule (which I might have mentioned earlier) helps here: it's ok to have the villain turn out to be the Tiefling PC's mother, as happened last session in my Punjar campaign, but it wouldn't be ok to have a second improbable dramatic coincidence in the same session, or really even in the same adventure (typically ca 4-6 3-hour sessions for me). Foreshadowing helps a lot though - a foreshadowed development is 'pre-greased', it doesn't risk the same sort of friction in acceptance that an out-of-the-blue coincidence might.
  • 10:02 AM - chaochou quoted Kurtomatic in post Pemertonian Scene Framing and 4e DMing Restarted
    Is there a trap you can find yourself in with scene-framing, where strong protaganism has led you to one coincidence too many? Is there a risk of being a bit too Dramatically Correct? No-myth play in particular seems like it would be pretty unrelenting in this regard. My experience has been the reverse - you let five creative people (roleplayers) sit round and start inventing stuff and you can generate new material, new threats, new NPCs, new ideas far, far quicker than you can resolve anything. I think it's also worth bearing in mind that strong protaganism is the key for a lot of people. No-one says that when you look back what happened can't seem far-fetched, cheesy or wierd. Scene-framing, as a technique, can help facilitate the protaganism. It doesn't control the aesthetics. One outcome of procedural play is the occasional non sequitur that reminds players there are Other Things going on besides their story. Which is explicitly anti-protagonist, of course, but when fans of procedural p...

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