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Messages - Fizban

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RPGs / Re: Anecdote Megathread
« on: April 01, 2012, 07:20:20 PM »
I ran a Mage game once where a character got his brain so badly fried by a magical accident involving electricity (caused by another character - that was a crazy game) that he lost all sense of feeling.

If you know Mage or WW generally, you know you have seven health levels, and the more hurt you get, the more of a dice penalty you get? Well, since he couldn't feel any pain, he lost the dice penalties. But since he couldn't feel anything, he had only a very vague way of measuring his health (ie count all your limbs, work out how much of that blood is yours etc). So because he was a Son of Ether, he invented a gizmo that was like a biometric scanner that would give him a description of his health, sort of like the HUD in Half-Life, so when he got hurt it would go "*beep beep* light bruising to left leg, sprained ankle".

Of course, when he had to fight a Black Spiral Dancer werewolf, he his HUD was going "*beep beep* Massive internal injuries" "*beep beep* Severe laceration of femoral artery" "*beep beep* blood pressure lowering" "*beep beep* left foot crushed" etc, and so he eventually turned it off.

RPGs / Re: Anecdote Megathread
« on: April 26, 2011, 05:43:11 PM »
In the game I ran last night, I had to think up a mini quest on the spot, because the main player for the evening (who had his mage test) didn't turn up. But I had a couple of old players from the game drop in for a cameo, which meant that in the party, I had a worshipper from each of the members of the good pantheon. So I figured, worshipper's challenge! Set the party five tasks, one that represents the beliefs of each god, and reward them for acting appropriately, and doubly so if the correct worshipper was the one who came up with the correct response.  The test itself was a crab catching competition - biggest crab wins.

So far, the worshipper of Wisdom went the wrong way to where the crabs were; the cleric of Holiness bribed an official; the cleric of Justice suggested robbing another competitor for their crab; and the cleric of Nature suggested dragging the crab upside down over a rock shelf. The worshipper of Mercy has yet to act so contrarily, but they haven't finished yet.

This is normally a really conscientious group - I don't know what brought out the crazy last night.

Have never rage-quit a game, although have assisted polite mutinies twice now.

I had someone try and rage-quite my game only a few weeks ago now.  After a few emails, though, it turned out it was nothing to do with my game, more to do with personal troubles, and they came back as if nothing had happened.

RPGs / Re: "11 Strange Questions from the D&D Sage Advice Column"
« on: March 30, 2011, 02:13:58 AM »
Question 9 -  and I thought the DM just got to choose the kind of pizza!

RPGs / Re: Obsession for Gamers, from Old R'lyeh
« on: March 15, 2011, 07:24:00 PM »
Metagame-wise, I wouldn't have a problem with a die roll, but my game is one of those that you describe, where people are more invested in their characters, and doing things that would be against their character's desires (even in metagame, like assuming they come to a reasoned decision, but for the sake of expediency we roll a dice) are generally seen as second-best solution.  Players want to roleplay it out, players get to roleplay it out!

Having said that, in the session last night, they took my hint, and were much more well-ordered, and in my opinion, had a lot more fun acting like a team than like a troupe of mass-debaters.

RPGs / Re: Obsession for Gamers, from Old R'lyeh
« on: March 14, 2011, 01:09:58 AM »
I had a situation like this come to a real head in my D&D game last week.  My game has expanded to eight players, and almost each one of them had a direction that they wanted to pursue.  So rather than just come to a quick decision about which one was obviously the most urgent priority, they spent two and a half real hours arguing about what to do.  The thing was, everyone was pretty much in agreement about what to do, but just what order to do their actions in was the sticking point. 

So in punishment, I have labelled their group the "Sisterhood of the Stationary Pants" for their inability to do anything beyond sit around nattering like a bunch of ladies in a sewing circle.

RPGs / Re: Anecdote Megathread
« on: March 13, 2011, 11:24:19 PM »
So, talking about superhero games makes me want to tell a short story about the last superhero game I ran, using a system of my own design (the mechanics for the non-superhero bits I stole from a game called Kill Puppies For Satan).

The important characters at this point were Simon Saez (a council worker with the ability to summon doorknobs and use them to open doors in anything); John Doe (a grifter with the ability to swap the minds and bodies of people and animals); and Nick Berman (a local government mayor with the ability to create objects out of thin air).  The other two members of the hero troupe (with the ability to control electricity, and grease and oil respectively) were off on another adventure.

All of the superheroes had a secret shame/flaw to balance out their powers.  So any doors Simon created burst into flame after an indeterminate period of time; John had developed a psychosis after a couple of centuries of swapping his brain into other people's bodies; and Nick Berman was the mayor of a local shire and couldn't let his superpowers be known.

The job of the three was to create a diversion in a mechanic's shop office, where illegal immigrant slaves were being stored in a container in the yard.  The reasoning, plan and execution of the group went like this:

We need somewhere to park the car.  What, we can't find a parking spot?  That's okay, it's a weekend, we'll just drive the car up to the local primary school, Simon can create a marge door in the wall of a classroom, and we'll park in there.

Now, how are we going to get into the mechanic's shop to create a diversion?  We can't just walk in - let's transfer our minds into the minds of those galahs over there and fly in (meanwhile making sure our bodies, now with galah minds, are safely locked away in the classroom).

Let's fly into the mechanic shop and see if we can find the slaves (this they actually accomplished!).

But how will we make a diversion? "I know," says Simon, and without another word flies into the office of the mechanic's shop.  The workers are of course a little surprised at the fact that a galah has just flown into their office, but they assume it must be domesticated, and lost.  They offered it a cracker, and the galah responded, "Ooh, yes please."  Now they were intrigued.  One actually pulled out there mobile phone to film the cute bird.  But the distraction had only just started.

The galah continued in its squawky conversation with the workers, answering their questions and seeming like a really well-trained bird.  Then the galah decided to really get the show on the road, and said, "Watch this!" before Simon the Galah decided to summon a doorknob in full view of the workers - by coughing it up.  The galah coughed up a full-size glittering crystal doorknob, which bounced once before rattling across the desk the bird was perched on.  The workers were a little shocked at this point, not really sure what to make of this display.  A galah had just come into their store, held up a pretty good conversation, and then coughed up a doorknob much larger than the parrot's head. 

The other superhero-cum-galahs were perched safely in the rafters of the shop, boggling at this diversion, but eventually decided that it would be a good plan to exist the store while the people's attention was fixed on this fixtures-producing avian.  Upon hearing his companions leave, the final galah said, "Vote 1 for Nick Berman!" before taking to wing and flying out of the store itself.

Upon returning to their car, they found their human forms perched up on school desks, squawking away and flapping their arms about.  John quickly transferred their minds back, before they jumped in the car and drove off, just in time to look in the rear vision mirror and see the primary school burst into flames from the magic garage door that was installed.  Ooops.

And for icing on the cake, when the heroes got home, they saw this on the 5 o'clock news:

[Sondra at the news desk] Thanks, Gil.  In other news in Eastwood, a fire broke out at the Eastwood Primary School today.  While no-one was hurt, as it is currently school holidays, fire investigators were surprised to find a secret garage-style door entry into the classroom which had caught fire.  Also found in the classroom were tyre marks from an as yet unidentified vehicle.  Investigations are continuing.

Finally, we'll leave you tonight with the viral youtube video that is sweeping the nation - Berman the talking Galah!  Apparently this video was also filmed in Eastwood today, making for an exciting day out in Sydney's East.  I'm Sondra Hayward, for Channel 10's First at Five news.

[Ending music with galah dancing around, saying 'hello', 'help me', being given a rice cracker and saying, 'thank you', before asking those around if they like Nick Berman, and then saying, 'Oh, yes, watch this' and coughing up a door knob, and saying 'vote 1 Nick Berman', as well as some footage of Mayor Berman saying, "I don't know that galah, but it obviously knows a thing or two about politics."]

RPGs / Re: rpgs you hate and the reasons why
« on: March 13, 2011, 08:55:58 PM »
I wrote (read: stole most mechanics of) a simple Superheroes game whereby the players chose their superpower, and powered it through use of XP.  They basically had to fill in a little thing on the sheet, "For 0xp, I can..., For 1xp I can..." etc up to 5xp.  So for example, one character had the ability to create doorknobs for free, and then could attach them to to something and pull them open like a door, for XP depending on the size of the door and the thickness of the thing the doorknob was attached to.  Since we used candy for xp (my favourite was fruit tingles) people would seek to spend their XP pretty quickly (you got XP by playing your character or making the story push forward).

It seemed a lot to do with setting for my guys.  People who came up with powers that tried to game the system found that they weren't having as much fun as those whose powers were more light-hearted and fluffy (eg Disco Inferno, whose powers were something like, For 0xp I can make any musical device play funk; for 1xp I can make my gun shoot louder than anyone else's gun... up to for 5xp I can force all people in the area to take part in a choreographed dance scene like a musical).  Also, since each character had to pick a secret shame/flaw for their character, which was basically designed for me to use against the players if they were being dicks, those with cheesy powers just found that their secret shame came up constantly, whereas those who chose quite nasty flaws to begin with had a good chance of being able to mitigate them by their own actions.

Was a great, fun system to play for a few laughs, sort of like an icebreaker game to get people into the idea of roleplaying, before thrusting a more complex system at them.

RPGs / Re: D&D 4th ed > 3.5
« on: March 10, 2011, 08:34:26 PM »
You see, at least 4>3.5 is mathematically believable.

What's really disturbing is that in D&D editions, 2>3+3.5+4!

RPGs / Re: Trail of Cthulhu
« on: February 24, 2011, 09:17:23 PM »
Australia is a deadly fucking place without any supernatural stuff.

Don't forget dropbears, upstones, and hoop snakes.  They hadn't all been hunted to rarity back in the 1930s, so people died a lot more regularly from attacks, instead of the odd tourist who gets taken out on a bushwalk.

RPGs / Re: EXP Free is the way to be...
« on: February 20, 2011, 10:05:38 PM »
I think it's a great idea.  Instead of "Dailys", call them "Plot Reserved Ass-Kickings" (PRAKs), and mark some combats as non-PRAK encounters, as a note that the difficulty level of the encounter is not sufficient to warrant cracking open the PRAKs.

I might even suggest this to our 4E DM, as he's managed to push us into a stupid dungeon where we don't need to eat, and can basically sit inside it for as long as we want, and there is no reason for us not to rest after every piddly encounter.

Should the players exercise some of their own restraint and not rest every 30 minutes as if they all have post-combat narcolepsy?  Of course.  But failing it, marking encounters as not worthy of the heroes cracking out their mega attacks on grounds of story seems like a pretty reasonable control.

RPGs / Re: Making Maps/Designing Worlds
« on: February 20, 2011, 09:09:05 PM »
Because I come up with a lot of stuff that happens in my games on the fly (because we all know that players are as good at following links from A to B as a cat in a bag on PCP) I find that having the world pre-built - with histories for races, and even large cities, with an understanding of the theology of the various gods, and stuff like that - is really helpful for making snap decisions about who NPC X is they've just met, what his/her/its motivations are, and where he fits in with the general pattern of things.

That way, you don't have people in the middle of a place they shouldn't be sticking out like sore thumbs and making people ask "What's he doing here?"

RPGs / Re: Gaming Music
« on: February 17, 2011, 08:22:55 PM »
I ran a Feng Shui con game a couple of years back, where I just collected a bunch of music that I thought would be good for the general background of each scene (so modern Chinatown with a bunch of classic Chinese pop hits, the netherworld with freaky electronica, and ancient China with lots of simple traditional Chinese music), and then I just had a big collection of upbeat classic fight music for the fight scenes (lots of movie stuff like Battle Without Honor or Responsibility, the one from the Matrix etc and with Kung Fu Fighting thrown in there for good measure).

It worked okay.  I got one comment from someone saying they thought it was distracting, and no other comments.

In the 4E D&D game we play, the DM has a running loop of one or two soundtracks which I honestly just tune out, as I don't feel they add anything to it.

For a game like CoC, or run in a pulp era, I can see the benefit of running music if people walk into a club or a speakeasy or something, and for setting mood for scary bits, but I think you have to choose wisely when to do it, and have an easy way of making it run - because nothing breaks the mood more than fiddling with technology.

RPGs / Re: Anecdote Megathread
« on: February 13, 2011, 04:32:52 PM »
Ahhh, Rod of Wonder.  In a game I played once, a fighter received some sort of limited wish as a boon for completing a quest, and their wish was for a Crossbow of Wonder.  I thought, what the hell, and with a pop, there appeared the crazy crossbow.

The party's next quest was to hunt down a vampire that was preying on the inhabitants of a town.  Now, vampires in this game were suave, sophisticated, and moved in Matrix time when violent.  This one was watching from the roof of a building, and using subtle magical effects to make the party's evening rather unpleasant.  At one stage, the sharp-eyed ranger of the group spied the vampire upon the roof, and whispered to the fighter - figuring that if they both shot at the same time, perhaps they'd get lucky and stake it through the heart with an arrow or crossbow bolt.  So, holding a normal conversation, they suddenly whirl around with the ranger yelling 'Fire!' and shoot.  Of course, the ranger, with his fantastically high archery skills, missed.  But the fighter, who I think had only recently scored a proficiency with a crossbow since receiving her shiny new toy, managed to score a hit, which was followed up with a bright purple flash, and noise which sounded like a cross between a shriek and a quack.

Wondering what went on up there, the fighter turned to the dwarf and said, "How much do you weigh?" <scrabble to look at character sheet> "Ummm, I don't know." <grin> "Wrong answer - I fling the dwarf onto the roof."  Another successful roll saw the dwarf being nodwick'd up onto the roof, where he found a large, angry, waddling Emperor Penguin.  As large and angry as it was, it was a damn sight easier to subdue than a vampire, so they tied it up and brought it to the town's mayor for their reward.

They walked into the chambers of the town hall, pronounced to all and sundry (not many, since it was quite late at night by now) that they had captured the vampire and that it would haunt them no more, and produced a restrained penguin. Their reward was, oddly, not forthcoming.  They told the story about the magic crossbow, to which the mayor shook his head and said, "I don't believe you."  The wizard of the group retorted, "Look, I'll prove it - I dispel magic on the penguin."

Now, strictly, polymorph magics aren't so easily dispelled.  But as a DM, I like to reward stupidity with pain, so I let this one go.  The dispel takes effect, the penguin turns back into a very angry vampire, who quickly breaks free of his bonds, bullet-times a half-dozen attacks around the room causing general mayhem, tips his hat, before promptly becoming a mist and flying out the window.  No doubt the party would have been more useful if they hadn't left their weapons outside the mayor's chambers so they could approach him.

Speaking of vampires and crossbows, that reminds me of a novel exploit which happened whilst I was actually playing.  My low level cleric at the time, Hasluck Greybane, was likewise hunting down a vampire in a city with his companions, who chose quite stupidly to split up to find it.  Having spied it at some distance, Hasluck did the only thing he was really equipped to do at long range, and fired his crossbow at it.  Natural 20!  "That's got to stake it," says I, but we were playing 3.5, and the DM, not wanting her big boss to fall so easily, responded, "Well, no.  You haven't even confirmed the critical yet."  Never say that to the dice - natural 20. A crestfallen DM nods quietly, "Fine, your crossbow bolt lodges right in its heart, staking the vampire, paralysing it as it falls to the ground."

My cleric's dump stat was charisma (He was only about 18 years old, but wore a fake beard and tried to convince everyone he was a learned prophet, and preached at people constantly from a scroll which he wrote himself).  So when the time came to go and tell the story of his success, no-one would listen to him.  But the party member he was with was a sorcerer, and when he began to spin the tale of Riley, the Sorcerer who saw someone take down a vampire with one shot, the crowd was eating out of his hand, (natural 20) "Really?  You actually saw someone do that?  Tell us more!  What was it like to see someone take down a vampire so skillfully?  Did you blink, or have your eyes open the whole time?  What did it look like?  Wow, I hope my kids grow up to see something great some day."

This actually happened a second time, when Hasluck destroyed a second vampire later down the track, with a well rolled searing light ritual - now Riley could tell the story of how he had seen someone - always the nameless someone - kill two vampires single-handed!  And of course, no matter how loud and squeaky the protestations from Hasluck ("It was me!"), the crown was always cheering for Riley, the Observant.

RPGs / Re: EXP Free is the way to be...
« on: February 03, 2011, 08:31:45 PM »
You are not a freak; this is the way I run all games regardless of the system.

So how do you run non-level based games like WoD or Shadowrun - do you just say, "Ok, you have been using your driving skill enough.  You get a third dot in drive now"?  I'm curious, because that is certainly an interesting way of doing it. 

And another question, do you XPless people find that your players get a bit petition-y about "It's time we got a level", or "Hey, I've been using magic for ages now, give me more occult skill"?

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