Archive for the ‘Game Theory’ Category

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Pondering Wild Magic in D&D 5E

9 August, 2019

Wild?In my current D&D (5th Edition) games, I have two wild sorcerers, one in the Down and Out in Taren Kost adventures and the other in my learn to play game on one Friday night a month at Tyche’s Games.  So, I have been looking at wild magic in D&D and finding it . . . dull.

You can find the current wild magic table here and the effects range from “you accidentally kill the party” (07-08, fireball centered on you or 13-14, confusion centered on you), to nice for you (71-72, resistance to all damage for the next minute), to “you don’t get to have fun for the next in-game hour” (save or be polymorphed into a sheep for an hour) to “what? why?” (95-96, you and everyone else in 30′ become vulnerable to piercing damage for the next minute).  But they are both weirdly specific and static and do not give a sense of wild and chaotic magic, at least, not to me.

So, I am going to just go more free form and flexible.  I will use a deck of cards whenever a wild magic effect is triggered and the roll to trigger will be the spell level or less on a D20 when casting a spell, more powerful effects should be more likely to trigger.

My basic idea is:

  • Black card, negative effect (Spade, affects wild mage, Club, affects someone/thing else)
  • Red card, positive (Heart, affects wild mage, Diamond, affects someone/thing else)
  • Joker, draw twice more.

The higher value of the card, the greater the effect. Designed to be very free form and flexible.  I will post how it works out but it will be at least a week before I get to use it.

Notes: Image from a search for “chaos magic” and is “Veuve Clicquot HQ, Reims, France” by Matt Hamm is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

 

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Player Expectations, Game Reality and Killing Characters

22 July, 2018

So, about every four weeks I GM a Learn to Play D&D (Fifth Ed) session as part of Tyche’s Games‘, our local game store, Friday Night Initiative program to teach RPGs to people.  This last Friday was one such session, it had four players, three of whom had played in my games before and one new player to D&D as well as my games.

What happened?Everyone generated starting characters and it was decided that everyone knew each other, so they were starting as a group,  The initial adventure had them following up on a mystery in the town they were in, two teenagers had disappeared in recent nights.  They set a trap and they managed to lure out the creature and then chase down to its lair in the basement of a house.  That all went well and the monster was dispatched in a brutal and noisy battle that, in usually D&D fashion only took about thirty second in the game world and the kidnapped teenagers were found and recovered.  However, the house owner had no idea what was happening and shouted down “what is going on down there?” after the fight ended.

One player at first made a jokey reply (“We’re naked don’t come down.”) and then when the house owner showed up at the top of the stairs, tried to use a Persuasion skill roll to get him to come down.  Note that this was just after sounds of combat and the player character was holding a battle axe, so even though the player rolled well for the Persuasion skill, the house owner would not come down but was willing to keep talking.  When the house owner said that they would go to the authorities, the player tried Intimidation and the house holder ran, again even though the player rolled well (17ish) because that what you do when someone with a weapon threatens to preform violence against you.  The player seems annoyed that his “good” rolls did not allow him to control the situation (i.e. the actions of the NPC).  Now, it did not matter as the the important part was the rescue and everything else was glossed over in the glow of saving the teenagers and the monster being defeated, as it should be.  Escalating the situation with the house owner was an unnecessary digression, I just tossed him in for color, and no reason to have it distract from the game as a whole.

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What Character Archetypes do you enjoy playing, reprised.

24 March, 2017

We were discussing what character types our current group tend to gravitate to, so I thought I would repost this article and see what people think of it (almost seven years later):

The Naive Expert / Talented Innocent

Who to be today?This is one of my favorite character conceptions, someone who is very, very skilled in a specific field but naive about the greater world.  These character are very good at what they do and very confident of their own abilities in their field and totally lost once they step out of that narrowly defined area.  They are usually young and without much in the way of social or combat skills, at least at the start.

Why play this archetype?

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Encouraging and Inspiring Players

18 February, 2016

Though that I should make an attempt to contribute to this month’s RPG Blog Carnival “How do you inspire your players?” hosted by Roleplaying Tips.

Inspiring players is often a challenge and part of the answer for a GM has to be:

GM something that Inspires You.

If you are excited and involved with the game and its world, it will be easier for the players to become inspired and involved in it.  If it is your passion, people will feel that and respond to it, just do not become too proprietary, no vision of the perfect campaign survives contact with the players; The world will both shape and be shaped by player action.

Communicate and Share what Inspires You.

Part and parcel of the first point, but let your player know what inspires and excites you about the game you are GMing.  If there are movies or music that communicate ideas about your world, share them, put together a Pinterest board (or use some other site) to share images (I have one for the Sea of Stars, another for Petrichor and for other games and genres including the Noir Revolution campaign).  Anything that helps put you all in the same mental landscape for the game.

In my experience, communication between GM and players (and between players) is what makes  or breaks campaigns.  So, talk, share, debate, build castles of the imagination together.

Not a long post, but I hope helpful.  Now, go and inspire people.

 

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Shadowrun Campaign Pitch – Unusual Solutions Inc (USi)

16 June, 2013

Unusual Solutions Inc (USi)

“We solve your problems.”

The characters are recently promoted/head-hunted/blackmailed on to one of the field teams of USi.  USi is a specialist micro-corp that deals with unique maintenance and repair solutions.  They have offices worldwide and a small staff of permanent employees but a large portfolio of freelancers.

The Seattle branch is located on the 13th floor of the Caulder Building, a nondescript tower block overlooking the docks.  In fact, they rent the entire floor and use it to host an ever changing host of temporary companies and start-ups spun off from USi.

Maria “the Wall” Wallenstein-Haines runs the Seattle office.  “The Wall” is a former Munich Valkyries (Women’s Global Combat Soccer League) goalie who retired after losing her left leg for the third time.  She has been with USi for six years after a brief stint in Sadler-Krupp security.

Shadowrun – Unusual Solutions Inc (USi)

Welcome to USi where “we solve your problems”, a specialist microcorp with global reach.  We will work with you to resolve your maintenance and repair problems no matter how unusual.

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Playing In Other People’s Worlds – September Blog Carnival

28 September, 2012

This is part of the September Blog Carnival: Running Games In Established Settings kindly hosted by Dice Monkey.

Generally, I do not play in established settings, early experience with the Forgotten Realm left a bad taste in my mouth for such for D&Dish fantasy games and since then I have been fairly aggressive about building my own worlds and settings.  Same for superhero games, I love supers but the existing worlds (DC and Marvel) are so bogged down in their own convoluted histories that they are near unplayable for me.  I want a world that in mine and, because it is mine, I understand how it works.

Now, there are two exceptions to this, Legend of the Five Rings and Shadowrun, both of which I have run off and on since each of they released.  We will look at them in reverse order:

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Pondering Alignment, in the D&D / Pathfinder sense

14 September, 2012

So, we have been messing around with the D&Dnext playtest and we have a new player in that group, both of which led to a discussion of alignment in D&D (and similar games) and what it means.  These sort of debates is why my Sea of Stars campaign (which uses Pathfinder rules mostly) just ditched alignment entirely.

However, I thought that I would post up about what the various D&D alignments mean to me, I am making no claim to universal applicably in this, but this is how I interpret them:

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