Random RPG thoughts

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Wihzerd
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Re: Random RPG thoughts

Postby Wihzerd » Wed May 19, 2021 9:13 pm

Ikoma wrote:Lord Foul, you will happy to know you were 100% right. They figured it out all on their own. Now they are actively trying to figure out how to safely go back in and harvest a lot of the stomach acid. (I scared the ever loving crap out of them with the beasts immune system. The steadily increasing and never ending torrent of white blood cells, killer cells, and macrophages ran them out with nothing more a single vial of the stomach acid they ended up using for testing. While each cell is only a minor threat, (and the white cells do nothing more than just call for the big boys), the killer cells and macrophages are nasty when they outnumber you. There is even some awesome PC talk about how to create a safe anti-magic stomach acid 'mine' out of the beast.

Now I just have to figure out when the beast will finally wake up. At the worst possible moment, obviously...

I think that last part could use some elaboration. If the torrasque wakes up, and DOESN'T immediately go back to sleep, it is now the primary antagonistic force in the game. The end of the world might somewhat overshadow whatever mischief the fairies have been up to.

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Re: Random RPG thoughts

Postby tombombodil » Thu May 20, 2021 1:00 am

I recently read a horror short story where the Tarasque was name dropped. Apparently it's a French folklore monster. One of the things D&D took the name of and was in public domain.
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Ikoma
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Re: Random RPG thoughts

Postby Ikoma » Thu May 20, 2021 10:24 am

Wihzerd wrote:
Ikoma wrote:Now I just have to figure out when the beast will finally wake up. At the worst possible moment, obviously...

I think that last part could use some elaboration. If the torrasque wakes up, and DOESN'T immediately go back to sleep, it is now the primary antagonistic force in the game. The end of the world might somewhat overshadow whatever mischief the fairies have been up to.


Sure. First, while I have been thinking of it as a Tarrasque, I have never used the name to my players. They are calling it the beast. A few of my more D&D-savy players suspect it's a Tarrasque. So... I could make it some other (possibly homebrewed) absolutely gargantuan beast instead. Second, the sleeping beast is much, much closer to the invading forces than the player's home civilization. One possibility I am toying with is having the beast wake up on the eve of the fae invasion, when the forces of civilization realize they have drastically underestimated the fae, and having the beast essential give the PCs respite by attacking (and being destroyed by) their enemies. This both serves to highlight how dangerous the enemy is (they took out the beast!) but also serves to weaken them as well (taking out the beast takes a lot out of them). Another option is the fae come up with a way to wake - and control - the beast. Then the party has to come up with a wake to counter (and possible counter-attack). Finally, a possibility is that the beast is awoken during that final battle. Our heroes are winning and about to wipe out the enemy for real when the beast wakes up and does become the parties primary focus... allowing the fae to slip away, perhaps to come back again someday (potential sequel campaign). There are certainly other options as well.
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Re: Random RPG thoughts

Postby Ikoma » Mon Jun 21, 2021 2:53 pm

New idea for character generation for a new campaign popped into my head over lunch and I thought, why not take it to the Fear the Boot forums and get their two cents on the idea.

I've been mulling over a new character concept for a new game and I know there is an issue with standard D&D (5e) character creation.[1] And that is that the core concept of selecting a race (with it's inherent bonuses and stat increases) and combining it with a class (that benefits from certain stat increases and bonuses) means that there really are a lesser number of 'effective'[2] combinations and that means you tend to see certain combinations more frequently. You would think with nine core races and twelve core classes, there would be 108 potential combos. Made even more diverse with sub-races and class paths to liven things up. But as I thought about it, you just do not see most of those combinations at the table.[3] Normally, I don't think this is a serious issue. People play what they want. And the factors that influence what they want are deep and cultural and not normally a problem.

But what if you (you and your players) want to stretch your role playing muscles a bit? You know how it is. Some players at the table starts to fall into ruts every now and again. The one guy always plays rogue. Or you really are looking at a semi-random pool of genre-approved character templates and getting a little bored. Maybe one player has come up with a really cool outside-the-box combo but knows it will play down a level or two in effectiveness and feels pressure (real or imagined) to stick to one of the scripts. Whatever the motivation... you want to shake things up.

So here's the suggestion. Every player picks a race or class but not both. The GM then provides the player with a short list of the second choice. A short list generated with the idea of promoting unusual combinations, non-typical of the genre, or challenging in a mechanical sense. The player then gets to choose from that short list.

Before I go on, would that kind of restriction bother you as a player?

I was thinking you get three or four classes to choose from if you pick a race. You get two or three races is you pick a class. Duplicate races or classes would be removed to increase the odds of diversity. So if one player wants to play Wizard and another wants to play a Dwarf, you take Dwarf off the Wizard player's short list and Wizard off the Dwarf player's short list so that you don't risk doubling up? Is that enough of a choice?

I'm gonna keep mulling this over and will probably add a second (or third post) with a rough draft of what those short lists might look like... :think:

[1] How big a problem it is will probably seem different to different players and groups. Or even at different times. Most of the time, I don't think this is a big issue. I would imagine those of you who think this is a big and constant issue just choose to play games that don't use this kind of character creation core mechanic.

[2] Yes, the definition of effective is relative.

[3] For two reasons. Part of the issue here is certainly the culture of character optimization you have at your table. People might not want to play sub-optimal choices. But a big part of the issue is also the thematical and cultural overlap in some combinations as well. We just don't think wizard when we think dwarf. We don't think barbarian when we think halfling. Etc. In large part because there are few (if any) examples of those in the fantasy related pop culture (books and movies). You kind of have to start with the question, "What does a _dwarf_ _wizard_ look like?" for a bunch of combinations.
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Re: Random RPG thoughts

Postby Lord Foul » Mon Jun 21, 2021 5:05 pm

I don't have any cents (pun intended), but you can have my tuppenceworth if you like. :)

Frankly, I can't see the point of it.

If you have a group of players around the table who really want to shake things up and try out new and different combinations, then why not just do that... giving them each a completely free choice?

If you have to restrict it to a choice from a limited set of options that somebody has chosen for them, then that rankles, because it's no longer their choice but something that is being imposed on them.

If, collectively, you decide you kind of like the idea but not the inherent penalties you mention, then come up with a way to even out the class/race modifiers so that every combination has the same 'end total'. That might require a bit more reworking stuff, but it will take away the incentive to adhere to the standard tropes.
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Re: Random RPG thoughts

Postby Ikoma » Tue Jun 22, 2021 10:06 am

That's a very fair point. I guess I am currently seeing the process as something of a creative challenge / exercise. But I'm probably not the norm...
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Re: Random RPG thoughts

Postby Lord Foul » Tue Jun 22, 2021 12:11 pm

I guess I'm coming from the perspective where if you want to encourage a particular behaviour you need to reward that behaviour, rather than punish people for it.

In my experience, setting up a suitable reward structure will naturally result in the game following that model - players aren't stupid!

Imposing artifical strictures with no obvious benefit to the players generally ends badly. And usually quite quickly.
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Re: Random RPG thoughts

Postby Lord Foul » Tue Jun 22, 2021 12:20 pm

There is also another case that is worth being aware of, even if it is somewhat rare.

I have seen a certain amount of success with games that adhere to a stricter character policy, in order to enforce a particular setting and its socio-ethnic make-up. In such a game players may be limited to a narrower field of possible characters, because only a relatively few types exist in the setting.

That can work well, with the right group, but it feels like it's pulling in the opposite direction to your suggestion. I only mention it to acknowledge that some people actively pursue a more literary feel that is supported by strong tropes based on recognised works.

In short, people have varied motivations. Have the conversation first. :thumbup:
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Re: Random RPG thoughts

Postby Azhrei Vep » Tue Jun 22, 2021 4:40 pm

Ikoma wrote:That's a very fair point. I guess I am currently seeing the process as something of a creative challenge / exercise. But I'm probably not the norm...

I'd be into this whole setup for something presented as a short game. Something in the one to two month range. It could be interesting to mess around with. Although potentially being restricted to 'normal' races would be a bit of a drag, seeing everybody else go outside the norm could certainly be worth it.
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Re: Random RPG thoughts

Postby BottledViolence » Tue Jun 22, 2021 6:22 pm

Ikoma wrote:New idea for character generation for a new campaign popped into my head over lunch and I thought, why not take it to the Fear the Boot forums and get their two cents on the idea...


Certain characters and races go together because the attributes favor it, just like attributes favor certain careers in real life. Characters are supposed to be exceptional, so playing to your strengths makes sense. The players who want to play suboptimal characters always can, and if your group prevents or discourages that, I would address that rather than coming up with rules that may be outright forcing player to run characters that they don't want to play.

We tried to do the roll stats in order method, but it ended up having players just die so they didn't get stuck playing something that really didn't like. In the end, the players who wanted to play weird combinations did, and the ones who weren't into that, didn't.


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