Author Topic: Stray RPG stories  (Read 2121 times)

bayonetbrant

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Reply #15 on: November 03, 2020, 01:19:45 PM
I'm reading the 4-volume set of Designers & Dragons right now. Wow. Insanely, meticulously completist

interview with the author of the Designers & Dragons


Random acts of genius and other inspirations of applied violence.


bayonetbrant

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Reply #16 on: November 20, 2020, 11:16:50 AM
saw this one in an RPG group on FB

Quote
Several levels into a campaign, the party has infiltrated a cult stronghold, disguised as members. They meet a giant and discover he's only grudgingly working for the cult, so they convince him to help them cause problems.

The giant reveals that there's an evil dragon, aligned with the cult, in the caverns below. Party tries to recruit him but he says he can't fit through the tunnels, otherwise he'd love to kill the dragon.

Bard: "Wait, I just learned Polymorph. Could I turn him into a rabbit, then turn him back when we get there? I could do it again after the fight to get him out."

They convince the giant to go with that plan, but this story ain't done yet!

At the end of the relevant tunnel, they can see the larger chamber with a dragon in it. (Same size category as the giant, but can get through the tunnels due to its more serpentine body shape.) They prepare to attack...
...then someone had an idea.

As I mentioned, this dragon was aligned with the cult, and the party were all disguised as cultists. And they currently have a snack-sized bunny which can instantly revert to the same size as the dragon. When happens when Polymorph expires *inside the dragon*?

"You'll need to convince the giant to go along with this."

They succeed.

"It'll be suspicious if you all walk in together to deliver a small snack."

They throw a Bardic Inspiration on the warlock and send him in.

"You need to convince the dragon of your ruse."

They succeed.

"The rabbit has like 1HP, if you leave it on the floor the dragon will likely pop the Polymorph before it's fully inside."

They opt to feed it directly to the dragon, hoping for a swallow whole.

"Okay, but the dragon doesn't care about individual cultists, so make a DEX save to keep your arms."

Made it.
...
GULP
...
And that's when a dragon popped like a balloon without ever rolling initiative.

Random acts of genius and other inspirations of applied violence.


Martok

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Reply #17 on: November 20, 2020, 07:14:02 PM
Ah, fantastic!  Reminds me of the time my group managed to defeat the Tarrasque by creating a pool of water around it, and then electrocuting it to death.  :D 


"I like big maps and I cannot lie." - Barthheart


bayonetbrant

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Reply #18 on: February 15, 2021, 04:33:38 PM
https://www.facebook.com/pramas/posts/10157930471873085


Quote
I have decided to take a dive into the d20 System era, so today’s game is its starting point, Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition (2000) from Wizards of the Coast. I worked at WotC from 1998 to 2002 so I was there for the development, launch, and follow-up to 3E. I did no design work on the core game, but I was in roleplaying R&D, so I was involved in the internal playtesting, meetings, and discussions. Everyone involved in 3E got a Player’s Handbook with their name embossed on the front cover. The pictures show mine.

Now AD&D Second Edition had been published in 1989 and WotC bought the ailing TSR in 1997, so it made sense to do a new edition. The goal was to retain the core of D&D but to rationalize the rules to make them more consistent and ideally easier to learn and play. In previous editions of D&D, sometimes you wanted to roll high and sometimes you wanted to roll low. Sometimes you rolled a d20 and sometimes percentile dice. A lower armor class was better than a higher one, with the result that +3 armor actually reduced your AC. This is the sort of stuff that 3E addressed successfully. There was a core mechanic for everything. Roll a d20, add modifiers, and try to hit a target number (hence the d20 System). Armor Class would now go up instead of down. Thief skills were no longer percentile but d20 rolls like anything else. This was all to the good.

The thing to understand about WotC in this period though is it was a group of competing factions and within the company there was a lot of disagreement about the direction of 3E. I remember Harold Johnson (an old TSR hand and the designer of Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan) holding up a playtest packet in a R&D meeting and thundering, “This document is an act of hubris!” You can think of the game as the end result of a series of negotiations more than the implementation of a vision. This was not always to the game’s benefit. One of the Magic designers, for example, came in one day and said, “I playtested the game with six rogue PCs and the skill system is totally broken.” The skill system was then rewritten, despite the fact that a six rogue party is not how D&D is played. The decisions made all seemed logical enough in isolation, but the end result was a game that was just more complicated than it needed to be. Anyone who ever tried to design a high-level monster of NPC can tell you that. Because of things like synergy bonuses, the ability to add character classes to monsters, and other finicky rules, it was difficult to actually stat up adversaries correctly. The full-time paid designers at WotC had a hard time with it, which you can see from the product reviews of this period. There was a whole sub-genre of them that ran through books notating all the math mistakes. Roleplaying R&D ultimately came to rely on an extremely detailed Excel sheet that Penny Williams put together over several years, since the promised electronic tools (there was a demo CD with the Player’s Handbook) had a host of problems in development.

The long-term issues of D&D 3E are not necessarily obvious at first blush and it plays well at low to medium levels. And I don’t mean to denigrate anyone’s efforts. Many smart and talented designers, editors, artists etc. worked hard under challenging conditions. The game’s launch was a big success for WotC and there was much enthusiasm over the first new edition in 11 years. There was also excitement about an announced licensing plan that would allow other companies to publish 3E compatible material. I will get into the launch of the d20 System as a brand and license tomorrow. #CuratedQuarantine

Random acts of genius and other inspirations of applied violence.


Martok

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Reply #19 on: February 15, 2021, 06:32:57 PM
Some interesting insights there, especially for me, as I still play the 3.5 edition. 


"I like big maps and I cannot lie." - Barthheart


bayonetbrant

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Reply #20 on: March 22, 2021, 10:46:34 PM
As of 2021, WotC has now owned D&D longer than TSR did

WotC 1997-2021 = 24 years
TSR 1974-1997 = 23 years



yeah, ouch....

Random acts of genius and other inspirations of applied violence.


bayonetbrant

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Reply #21 on: April 23, 2021, 10:34:39 PM
Pholy huck   :o


https://waynesbooks.games/2021/04/18/warriors-of-mars-1974-the-rare-lost-cousin-of-dd/

Quote
Warriors of Mars released the same year as the original Dungeons and Dragons. In 1974, TSR – back when it was known as Tactical Studies Rules – published this set of miniatures rules set on Barsoom, the setting of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter pulp fiction series.

Gary Gygax noted in his foreward to Warriors of Mars:

Quote
The essence of Barsoom — the fearless warriors, the men, the monstrous animals, the geography of Burroughs’ Mars, the social customs, the weaponry — has been formalized into rules which permit the creation of whole new sagas.

The tale can be as simple as a minor skirmish between two swordsmen, or it can be as complex as the interactions which arise between several of the Barsoomian city-empires. It can be the lone adventures of a hero pitted against the harsh realities of Martian wilderness, or it can be the epic tale of a voyage of discovery aboard a small flier.

All this was not to be, however.

The book was published without permission from the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate, and a cease-and-desist order meant there would be no further print runs of Warriors of Mars. It’s quite rare today.

I created this post because I have just put a beautiful condition Warriors of Mars up for auction!

Random acts of genius and other inspirations of applied violence.


Martok

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Reply #22 on: April 24, 2021, 02:51:56 AM
Wow. 


"I like big maps and I cannot lie." - Barthheart


mcguire

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Reply #23 on: April 24, 2021, 10:13:06 PM
Wonder how much I could get for that copy of Modern Armor I've got in storage? Probably not $1500.

"Man...knowing how to use the cards properly certainly changes how I play the game" -- judgedredd