The Role-Playing Game Thread!

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Herb Roflcopter
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The Role-Playing Game Thread!

Post by Herb Roflcopter » Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:52 am

This thread is for those who engage in role-playing games. My personal favorite is Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, but anyone is free to post about whichever game they're into.

You can post ideas, anecdotes from past games, useful links, whatever floats your boat.

I'm going to post crazy stories from my campaigns, but to preface my first one I need to post what is called, "The Ones Table"

(for the uninitiated, GTFO of this thread.)

(I kid, I kid. When you enter combat with monsters. you roll a 20-sided die to determine if you strike a successful blow, depending on how strong you are, how advanced you are, and how tough the monster's armor is. An optional rule is that when you roll a "1", something bad happens to you to reflect the chaos of combat.)

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As you can see, you might lose your weapon, it might break, or you might end up hitting one of your own teammates!

Well, in one campaign of mine the Player Characters invaded a castle and for some reason, elected to split up. This made the adventure harder, as you would have a single player marching into a room and facing multiple enemies designed to face off against a party of six!

One of the fighters decided to storm the guard tower! He went up to the top and found himself surrounded by about 20 guards. Undeterred, he pulled out his magical two-handed sword and started hacking away gleefully. He diced up about a third of them until he finally rolled a 1!

His sword flew out of his hands and tumbled off the tower. Without breaking his rhythm, he unsheathed his backup sword (also magical, but not as powerful) and proceeded to slice through the remainder of his foes... until he rolled another 1!

Losing that sword over the edge as well, he settled for killing everyone else with his bare hands. Once he'd finished, he announced, "I'm going down for my swords!"

So he made his way down to ground level and found his original sword in the hands of a patrolling guard... who was quite dead, as he was killed by the second falling sword impaling him when he bent over to pick up the first one!

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Cousi
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Re: The Role-Playing Game Thread!

Post by Cousi » Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:21 pm

I love it. Truly an effect with that signature Baz humor. Well done!

I loved Advanced D&D (AD&D to us acronym prone geeks) but I moved onto GURPS by Steve Jackson games. Similar concept of 'critical hit/miss' except instead of polyhedral dice, you use 3d6 to determine everything. Whereas AD&D and all subsequent editions are class based, GURPS is points based so there's more leeway in creating characters.

Anyway, I created a setting called Geis that I use in GURPS (a major drawback/feature of the system is you have to create your own settings because they provide only an outline of a setting) that is still being updated as thoughts occur to me. It is fairly detailed already with something like 10,000 years of history, several kingdoms/empires, organizations, orders and whatnot. One of the Big Bad Guys is a group called the Kol Draahl. They had literally taken over the entire known world at one point and enslaved the populace for about 1000 years (actually it's 1275 but the characters and probably most of the players don't know that) before a big uprising finally ended in a massive bloodbath that destroyed the Kol Draahl to the last person (or did it?).

We play weekly and one of the players asked if they could play during the rise of the Kol Draahl. No problem says I. These players have been playing in the setting for about 2 years at that point and they knew how the Kol Draahl operated; namely subterfuge and spies creating political infighting before a large military force came in and swept aside the now-divided defenses.

Their mission, given by the Church of the Creator: gather a spy who had escaped the clutches of the Kol Draahl. The party was headed by a Holy Warrior dedicated to the Pillar of Truth; she could sense when someone was telling a lie. They find their spy; a bitter, angry and violent guy named Ghost Cat. They protect him from numerous assaults by Kol Draahl forces, scared locals and turncoats within their own armies. Finally they bring Ghost Cat to the Church headquarters, political neutral ground. It had taken them several months to get to this point. None of them really liked Ghost Cat but that wasn't the mission; they had to ensure he survived to pass on the information to the assembled royalty.

Once they arrive, they find that even the Church has been infiltrated by spies. They battle even more of their own people to keep Ghost Cat alive while the leaders of several kingdoms come together to plan a unified, organized defense against the Kol Draahl, something the villains have never faced before.

At the dinner welcoming the royalty of eight kingdoms, Ghost Cat poisons the food, killing all present and decisively driving a wedge between the populace and the Church. At the same time, magical portal opened throughout the city and the might of the entire Kol Draahl army poured fourth.

The payoff of the players reactions when they realized they played a pivotal role in what they now understood to be the single most devastating action of the Kol Draahl that resulted in a thousand years of slavery was priceless.

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Herb Roflcopter
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Re: The Role-Playing Game Thread!

Post by Herb Roflcopter » Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:09 am

Cousi wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:21 pm
The payoff of the players reactions when they realized they played a pivotal role in what they now understood to be the single most devastating action of the Kol Draahl that resulted in a thousand years of slavery was priceless.
That's brilliant! :)

I actually have a similar story, although not as epic in scope.

first, a little backstory about the campaign: The action all took place on a large island called Gelnor, this is the map:
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I'll call your attention to the southern central portion, where you'll notice the area marked, "The Wastelands"- when we started the campaign, I simply stated that The Wastelands are mystery; no one knows what happened there. The only thing anyone knows is that a terrible cataclysm occurred a very long time ago before the island became colonized.

This was all during 1993-1995. I had no plan to explain what happened, but used the story as an excuse to display my photos of Yellowstone National Park whenever one of the PCs wandered close to that area.

Image

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We were able to reunite most of the players for a reunion adventure around 2013, and for the plot- I told them an old enemy who had escaped their blades had managed to hide on the island, some 200 years earlier in time! So, the party used a time portal to track down this foe and engage him in a beautiful area they had never seen before.

At the climax of the final battle, the villain tried to detonate a gnomish nuclear device to destroy the party, but they managed to escape back to their own proper timeline seconds before the explosion... and when they returned, they realized what had happened all those years ago to create The Wasteland.

It's not often you get to pay off something you set up twenty years ago. (Not 20 game years, 20 ACTUAL years!)

I'm nothing if not patient. :twisted:

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Cousi
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Re: The Role-Playing Game Thread!

Post by Cousi » Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:11 pm

You know Baz, we might have to do some sort of online game at some point. I like the way you think and plan. :ugeek:

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Herb Roflcopter
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Re: The Role-Playing Game Thread!

Post by Herb Roflcopter » Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:29 am

Cousi wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:11 pm
You know Baz, we might have to do some sort of online game at some point. I like the way you think and plan. :ugeek:
Muchos Gracias. :)

Although I can't take all the credit- I strongly believe a campaign is only as good as its players. Luckily, I game with a buddy who tends to dominate the game (in a positive way, he doesn't step on anyone's toes or bully his way into things- he just leads and everyone else just follows) with his well-developed character backgrounds and leadership qualities. Generally, the campaigns start with the PCs being "for hire" until they make their mark in the world, after which they start going on adventures of their own choosing, setting their own goals. This buddy is excellent for building the world around him. No one else objects, they just know following him is going to lead to wealth and glory.

On a side note, I do love how I've been able to employ digital technology to improve my gaming skills. I used to hand-draw and color playfields where combat took place. Now, I use Photoshop to create layouts for characters to kick ass.

Here's some examples, a bridge over a lava-filled cavern and a small chapel for hand-drawn, and a garden path and mud-pit for Photoshop designed:
Image

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Cousi
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Re: The Role-Playing Game Thread!

Post by Cousi » Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:22 pm

As the kids have gotten older and started joining my gaming madness, our group has increased in size. I had received a large battlemat for a birthday a few years back. Naturally, I had to use it. Unfortunately it was much too big for our little seating for six kitchen table. After a friend moved, she gave us her 6' long table so now I had room for the whole mat, so long as I didn't mind the players using it for a placemat.

I did, I really did mind that. A lot.

I then toyed with the idea of creating a game table. Given I don't have a garage or many tools, I decided to make a table topper. Here it is in the game room.
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Here it is in action with the Firefly boardgame.
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Here is a pic of the characters' ship on the battlemat.
Image
Last edited by Cousi on Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Herb Roflcopter
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Re: The Role-Playing Game Thread!

Post by Herb Roflcopter » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:05 pm

Cousi wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:22 pm

I then toyed with the idea of creating a game table. Given I don't have a garage or many tools, I decided to make a table topper. Here it is in the game room.
Image

Here is a pic of the characters' ship on the battlemat.
Image
Oh, that is a beautiful setup. :)

I wish I could have one of those in my house, but no room. Anyway, we usually game at another guy's house- it's easier for most of the players to get to his place than mine.

The dry-erase maps are something a friend of mine uses when he DMs sometimes. I got into the habit of using custom-made walls; about 30 years ago a buddy made some sturdy little walls from plaster and he colored and textured them with care- I had them until about ten years ago when I left them at another buddy's condo where we were gaming; he and his roommate split and the walls got lost in the shuffle.

Now I use miniature wooden walls made by another friend. Not as nice, but they do the trick. They won't crumble or break as easily, either.

Also, the ship layout reminded me of a place that sells plastic maps, here's their ship design:
http://arcknight.squarespace.com/shop/digital-airship

I bought a pack of their spell effects for wizards, but haven't had a chance to use them yet. I'm running a cleric in one campaign, and the campaign I'm DMing has no wizard in it!

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Cousi
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Re: The Role-Playing Game Thread!

Post by Cousi » Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:36 pm

I love watching geek craftsmen at work. Black Magic Craft has a wonderful channel on youtube where he shows how he makes his walls and props. I use GURPS, not D&D which uses a hex-map instead of squares. There are pros and cons to both. I usually just draw out the walls, etc on the dry-erase map and I use shrinky-dinks for the player characters.

My phone has a shitty camera so excuse the artifacts in all these pics.
Here are some of the earlier ones:
Image

Here are some in action, surrounded by generic 'bad guy' counters. Oh noes!
Image

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Cousi
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Re: The Role-Playing Game Thread!

Post by Cousi » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:46 pm

Apparently the image links broke on an earlier post so I had to fix them. Then I felt guilty that the thread was going a bit off topic so here's a gaming story to assuage my guilty conscience.

I don't often do a TPK but this one was worthwhile. While living in Massachusetts, we met weekly with a bunch of the local high schoolers for gaming. It was a good time; they were all good kids and much fun was had. Then we learned we'd be having to move to Utah and that fun was going to come to a close. I had already starting making adjustments to the game world, expanding an idea I had and I wanted to reward the group for our fun over the past few years.

The setting was when the Kol Draahl were making a comeback. They had crawled out of the Madlands and were bent on taking over the continent of Mologan. The PCs were all conscripts of the Seven Kingdoms army that had banded together and deserted only to fight alongside their former fellow soldiers. They had stolen a skyship named the Wolf Wind and were enjoying themselves mercilessly attacking the Kol Draahl and harassing their supply lines. Courtesy of the group's mage, they always seemed to know the most opportune time to strike for the deadliest effect. None of the players thought much of it; divination magic don't-cha-know.

That was when they were attacked by three of the deadliest members of the Kol Draahl forces; a Myde Laethe, a Zoraban and an Ahlan. These are the elite special forces of the three 'branches' of the Kol Draahl army. Those three individuals alone wreaked havoc on the group of seven. They had the group on the ground and backed onto their heels. There was a rather dramatic confrontation between the Zoraban (a psionic) and the group's mage. Suddenly, the Zoraban pulls off her mask and starts shouting at the mage "why!? Why did you betray us? Why did you leave me!?"

It was then revealed that the party mage was a Myde Laethe spy. He had been implanted in the enemy's army to observe and report and do mischief only if the opportunity presented itself. Once the party had gone rogue, he had been unable to report back to his command structure due to the steps the party had taken to secure the Wolf Wind from scrying and other forms of magical or psychic communication. The more the spy spent time with the PCs, the more he decided that his original purpose would not satisfy him so he turned. (If this sounds similar to the Ghost Cat story I told earlier, well, I did say that was a known modus operendi. This takes place three or four years before the whole Ghost Cat scenario.)

I had the initial idea about four months before the reveal. I spoke to the player about it roughly a month or so after, because I had worked out the game mechanics for it. The players' reactions were epic. "Fuck you. You're an asshole. That's awesome." "Holy shit." "I can't believe neither of you told us anything outside of the game play." "Holy shit." "I've never seen anything like that. That's fucking awesome." "Holy shit."

But we weren't done yet. Naturally they don't trust the turncoat. They lock him in the brig of the Wolf Wind and continue their fight. They pump him for information that he gives willingly. Then the Kol Draahl destroyed the Seven Kingdoms in a single, massive, orchestrated strike not unlike the Ghost Cat scenario. Well, the Windwolves (as they had taken to calling themselves) refused to stand for it. They wanted to plan a devastating strike against the Kol Draahl, one that would at the very least hold them in check if not destroy them utterly.

So they spoke to the traitor. He told them that the Kol Draahl depend on four mana geysers (fonts that spewed magical energy on a predictable schedule) in order to have the raw power required to make their magical items and power their strongest spells. If they were to destroy one, the Kol Draahl would not be able to continue their campaign until they found another way or were able to replace it, both of which were very unlikely. The question stood 'how do they destroy the mana geyser?'

The setting of Geis had no moon, instead it had an Arc. It used to be a moon until about 4,000 years ago when the moon was shattered and was slowly turning into a ring around the planet. The captain of the Wolf Wind knew about this and mentioned it. They decided they would deplete the mana geyser by using it to rebuild the moon. They made a perilous journey to learn more and to prepare for the undertaking. The fact that I let them take as much time as they wanted and never said "no" to anything they wanted to do did not deter them in the least.

Preparations made, they launched their attack. They infiltrated one of the Kol Draahl's most secure bases. The effort cost them characters they had gamed with weekly for over two years, but they finally reached fruition of their planning and forever changed the world of Geis by re-creating the moon. They loved it.

As the last character fell, he had a vision of the future of the world they had saved; a large dragon suddenly raised it's head and a smile played across it's face as it said "Finally. We are free."

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