Tabletop Gaming?

Archived discussion from Toril-2.
Malacar
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Tabletop Gaming?

Postby Malacar » Tue Sep 19, 2006 8:34 pm

With all the talk about PC gaming with D&D...

What are you currently playing on tabletop (if you play tabletop)?

My group just started up the Shackled City adventure path. I started running it 4-5 weeks ago now, and have actually managed to get my PC's interested enough to start up a wiki site with journal entries and such.

Of course, they lost a bit of enthusiasm last week, when I killed half the party.

Let's see... (I was already informed that I did two things slightly wrong, but neither would have affected the outcome, so rules lawyers be aware I've already been corrected on ENworld!)

-------------------------------

They're doing very well, actually. Until they decided to not heed my warning that the dungeon was extremely tough, and to take their time and plan accordingly.

The situation:
Cleric is out of spells completely. He's an Aasimar Clr1.
Sorcerer has 3 0 level spells left. He's a Chaos Gnome Sor1.
Paladin is at about 75% hp, and has used lay on hands. He's a half-orc pal2.
Bard is being NPC'd for the session, and the person has him just singing, because he's lazy.
Rogue is at about 80% hit points. He's a Whisper Gnome Rog2.

Now, they have a wand of cure light wounds, with 24 charges left. So they decide to heal a little (they were close to full hit points), before trying to tackle the 'green meanie' they were told about from Yuathyb.

They bust into the room, and spread out - the half-orc is enlarged, so he takes the lead with his longsword and shield. The rogue flanks him to the right, looking up and trying to peer around the balcony. The sorcerer is in the middle, playing it safe. Cleric is next to the sorcerer, since the little bastard has a penchant for getting in to trouble. The bard (being played as an NPC this week) is dully following, and doing nothing but singing, because the person playing him was lazy.

They inch forward, and eventually the half-orc is standing between the two balconies. He sees no danger. The rogue, though, critically succeeds at his spot check, and sees the flying 'green meanie', complete with oozing brain, and multiple tentacles. It starts to swoop down, and the rogue plinks at it.

Now, I made sure to note the creature was being defensive, and hovered 15 feet above the gnome. The gnome foolishly decides to barely move, takes no cover, and fires again. The half-orc potshots the creature, doing a good amount of damage, while the cleric foolishly is readying actions to attack the creature if it gets in range (i noted the length of the tentacles.. the ready actions were completely wasted imo), and the sorcerer flings his final spells at the thing, missing all but one, and scoring a single point of damage.

Here's where it gets ugly. Because the rogue decided not to move, he gets grabbed, paralyzed, and flown up to the ceiling for a snack. The half-orc had decided to simply be a melee fighter, and had no range weapon. The group frantically tries to plink the thing, but to no avail; the bard fires into the grapple (finally the person decides it might be a good idea to actually USE the bard) - but the bolt hits and kills the unconscious rogue. The creature drops the lifeless carcass of the whisper gnome rogue to the edge of the balcony, which bounces off the rail and ends unceremoniously dumped on the floor in an expanding pool of blood.

In shock, the group looks at me like I am crazy... I tend to be fairly lenient, but this time I promised myself to play it the way it was meant to be played.

Next, the cleric and sorcerer, up on the balcony, continue to try and plink it. The thing swoops down, nails the sorcerer a couple of times; who then smartly dives over the railing and taking the falling damage rather than dying. The cleric wasn't so bright. He got snagged, swept to the ceiling, and was made the second snack of the night. His body fell down, bounded down the stairs, and landed at the bottom in a very awkward position.

This entire time, the half-orc paladin decides to run around trying to get in range... The thing isn't stupid, so it avoids the lumbering brute until it gets smaller. When the enlarge finally wears off, the thing swoops down, paralyzes him, and starts to eat him.

It was here I decided to avert a TPK, given all the work I did to get the game going smoothly, and fudged a few damage rolls. I had made the encounter lethal, and challenging, and the creature had 3 hit points left, but luck was screwing the PCs bigtime with repeated misses. The bard actually managed to hit the half-orc, but didn't do enough damage to kill him. Finally the sorcerer hits, does 6 damage, and kills the thing... Which falls 40ft knocking the half-orc out cold.

Now... I don't consider myself a harsh GM. I gave ample warning, tons of pre-info on character builds that would be successful etc. They chose to ignore it, and charged headlong... As amusing as I find the entire situation, it nearly ruined my months of prep-work, and tens of hours of writing things out, and fleshing everything right.

My group, on the other hand, thinks I was excessively cruel. I didn't taunt them, I didn't gloat, I didn't brag. I probably went a weentsy bit overboard with the gruesome fall descriptions of the dead PCs... But I thought it was semi artistic, and rather true of what would happen.
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Postby Sundara » Tue Sep 19, 2006 8:54 pm

3.5 ed Eberron.
When poverty comes knocking on your door, love escapes through the window.

-German Proverb-
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Postby Lilira » Tue Sep 19, 2006 9:44 pm

We're starting a new 3.5 campaign in two weeks...

We challenged all the members of our game to take the rl stats test and roll a char accordingly.

*moan* My poor halfling....
~\o--Lilira Shadowlyre--o/~

You group-say 'my chars will carry the component on them if I can.'
Inama group-says 'hopefully they'll have some sort of volume discounts on ress items for people like you'
You group-say 'oh? Ya think? *giggle*'
Inama group-says 'they could at least implement frequent dier miles'

Suzalize group-says 'oh, eya's over weight i bet'
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Postby Cirath » Tue Sep 19, 2006 11:02 pm

3.5 homebrew campaign setting. Been going for about a year and a half now (this particular campaign, that is), but recently moved online when the DM and one of the players moved out of state. So far the transition has been fairly smooth.
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Postby Ragorn » Wed Sep 20, 2006 12:57 am

I'm currently wrapping up a trip through Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. If you want some funny reading, go search for my old posts on this module when I was a player. Now that I'm DMing it, it's a hoot!

Starting up an Eberron campaign soon and a homebrew, both as a player.
- Ragorn
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Postby Branthur » Wed Sep 20, 2006 3:30 am

My wife has decided to run her first campaign (normally I'm the one who has to run it..so nice to actually be able to play!). She's running us through City of the Spider Queen at the moment...just started a couple weeks ago. Thing is, she decided that her first campaign should be an evil campaign as well. :) Admittedly quite the change for me, since I only play good characters. Though even with it being an evil campaign, there's only one evil character..everyone else is just neutral and morally challenged. :P

The party consists of a Sorc/Pale Master, a drow druidess, a whisper gnome shade fighter/barb/rogue (insanely good at hiding, but can't find a trap worth a crap), and a cleric/master of shrouds (look at me, I'm playing the cleric! :P)
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Postby Oghma » Wed Sep 20, 2006 4:01 am

I currently play in two games in the same setting.

I play D&D 3.5 in Dave Arneson's Blackmoor. In that I'm playing a dwarven fighter/rogue improved trip build. This is also a "MMRPG" or what the RPGA calls a "Living" campaign, where you can take your character to conventions and play with other people who have experienced many of the same things you have.

I also play in a fantasy/D&D GURPS campaign in Blackmoor. Playing a human archer character.
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Postby Tasan » Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:57 am

Branthur wrote:morally challenged. :P


I knew there had to be some way to describe myself to people when they ask! Thanks Branth!

I played Rifts years and years ago, and thus I have no knowledge of any D&D. Always wanted to do it, but those kind of nerds and I don't get along too well for some reason :(
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Postby Iduna » Wed Sep 20, 2006 11:41 am

Tabletop D&D here aswell :P
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Postby Yarash » Wed Sep 20, 2006 12:56 pm

Are there any sites to play this over the internet? I don't know anyone irl who plays D&D.

- Mike
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Postby teflor the ranger » Wed Sep 20, 2006 3:28 pm

I believe the ultimate issue is that you decided to have 'players.' Players are the ultimate tools of campaign sabotage, defying all logic when ignoring plot devices, as well as clogging up your inbox with endless whining when they're not freezing up your tabletop with unfounded rules arguments, i.e.: "it shouldn't be that way because I don't agree with it."

Your campaign will run much more smoothly once you have no players.

One suggestion I can make that will allow the hand of the DM to move into player decisions without being forceful - if any of your characters has... i dunno, ranks in survival, every once in a while, when they're in a bad tactical situation, tell them to make a roll and dole out advice accordingly. "Something tells you that you're not going to win this fight at range."

Good luck handling your players. I suggest a plot device that saves them from the big nasty as an interim measure to get them back into the game.
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Postby Zabam » Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:53 pm

For the Table Top:

Warfare in miniature. 15 mm Ancient, Napoleonic, and ACW. Table sizes anywhere from 6'x4' to 10'x8' with nice terrain.
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Postby Gormal » Wed Sep 20, 2006 9:19 pm

Someone should run an online game with Doug and I so we get some experience. How well would that work for first timers? (I'm looking at you, Joe.)
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Postby Lilira » Wed Sep 20, 2006 10:31 pm

Online games can be kinda hard to play...

At least the ones we tried to play were.
~\o--Lilira Shadowlyre--o/~

You group-say 'my chars will carry the component on them if I can.'
Inama group-says 'hopefully they'll have some sort of volume discounts on ress items for people like you'
You group-say 'oh? Ya think? *giggle*'
Inama group-says 'they could at least implement frequent dier miles'

Suzalize group-says 'oh, eya's over weight i bet'
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Postby Cirath » Wed Sep 20, 2006 11:02 pm

Gormal wrote:Someone should run an online game with Doug and I so we get some experience. How well would that work for first timers?


I think it would be the best way to learn in your situation. You could start by reading the core rules of any system you are interested (like the D&D system resource documents for instance), but playing is, of course, going to be more informative.

Online games can work (I am in a functional one now). There are two schools of thought on the matter that I have encountered. The first is that text is the way to go (instant messages usually, or perhaps emails) because, in general, people are more eloquent with written words, and it gives players and DM both time to think between rounds. The second is that speech is essential (via VoIP programs, webcam, etc.) because it maintains the pace and personal interaction of a live session, preventing players and DM alike from getting bored or distracted.

Either way you do it, some form of visual representation (such as iScribble.net or maptools) is also important, since misunderstandings in situation or positioning can lead to heated arguments that chew up far too much game time.

Morithiel has also run a number of successful online campaigns (all via instant message), and could attest to the viability of this method.
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Postby Gormal » Wed Sep 20, 2006 11:09 pm

Mori-led adventures? I'll post the spank log when we're done!
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Postby muzishun » Thu Sep 21, 2006 3:40 am

I'm finishing up a campaign in Faerun and getting ready to start one in the World's Largest Dungeon. Looks to be a blast.
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Postby Cirath » Thu Sep 21, 2006 11:52 am

Gormal wrote:Mori-led adventures? I'll post the spank log when we're done!


No, Mori-run adventures. The spanks are intentional, and brutal. Grand fun!
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Postby daggaz » Thu Sep 21, 2006 12:30 pm

How do you manage the rolls, use a webcam or something? Sounds like fun tho, I wouldn't mind playing tho to be honest, Ive only been in a few tabletop games.
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Postby Yarash » Thu Sep 21, 2006 1:06 pm

Any chance of getting a url to one of these?
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Postby Malacar » Thu Sep 21, 2006 3:45 pm

If you're looking to play over the net, this is the best method I have found - it costs a little bit of money for the licenses, but it works fabulous.

Klooge Werks - http://www.kloogeinc.com/

You can download and check out the demo at will. There's also some tutorial vids on the site.
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Postby Cirath » Thu Sep 21, 2006 7:42 pm

daggaz wrote:How do you manage the rolls, use a webcam or something? Sounds like fun tho, I wouldn't mind playing tho to be honest, Ive only been in a few tabletop games.


AIM has a dice roller built into the chat rooms, as does the program we use (maptools, linked in my previous post and completely free). We did consider using a webcam to keep people honest, but it seemed a bit excessive when we could just use the computer roller.
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Postby Eilistraee » Thu Sep 21, 2006 8:08 pm

When I was involved with a PBEM RPG, we used this for dicerolling.

http://www.irony.com/mailroll.html

The results are emailed to whom you specify, with additional emails possible.
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Postby moritheil » Fri Sep 29, 2006 5:47 pm

Invisible Castle is another resource that is popular these days.

As Cirath mentioned, I ran a 10-person campaign for a year (number of players fluctuated between 8 and 12.) Let me tell you that tactics is really hard to impress upon people. So, at least that much hasn't changed between Toril and tabletop :P

Malacar - I don't know what the EL was on that encounter, but IME, fighters who don't pack ranged weapons are asking for trouble. You're well within your rights to mop the floor with them.
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Postby Birile » Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:58 pm

No D&D experience here either. And I agree, someone should DM a game online for us n00bs.
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Postby Raiwen » Sat Sep 30, 2006 11:41 pm

Ragorn: I think you did the best you could. Sometimes players make really bad decisions. DM's make them, too.

I'm DM'ing a group of 4-5 with a cleric character being swapped around to be played by different players. Total of 5 to 6 characters per session. I have a rules lawyer (who is an actual attorney) playing an elf sorc5, an ex-marine playing a half-orc f4/bar1, a martial arts practioner playing a water gensei monk5, and a web designer/moonlighting DJ playing an elf rog5. The dwarven cleric5 is swapped between the sorc elf and half-orc players. Sometimes another friend who is an auto mechanic plays the cleric, and I may add an NPC for support at times.

So, the elf sorc, half-orc, and monk have worked out all kinds of interesting tactics, which proves difficult for normal EL encounters for their level (EL5). However, I have learned to "divide and conquerer" as well as "whittle down their spells".

One of the things my group does that I really don't like is that they meta-game think ALL the time. So, to solve this, I have occassionaly started sending text-messages to people's cell phones at the table. They can only let the others know what's going on when it's their turn - if they are able (or want).

Another tactic I use is to randomly roll dice behind the DM screen and then scribble a note, ask a player for a stat on their character, or sometimes just make a quiet comment like, "ah yes." or "Mmmm. Interesting."

I also ask them to make spot and listen checks at random. I try to get 3-7 random checks into the session. Eventually they will learn to trust their characters.

Some players get really attached to their characters, and are really upset when things don't go right. Therefore, in order to prepare them for the shock of death, I have on one occasion used a "dream secquence" against FAR superior enemies:

The ogre barbarian screams with delight as he rips the elf's arms from his sockets. Meanwhile, as you (half-orc) lie in your own blood, barely able to hold your head up, the ogre magi approaches and begins the sacrifice by drawing runes upon your body using the blood on the ground.

As your vision goes dark, you awaken to the party standing over you trying to calm your screams. You are still in the camp with your weapons by your side. The sun is out, and all is well. It was just a dream.


Everyone had the same dream. If only they knew what was REALLY happening. Muhahahahahaha.[/code]
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Postby Gormal » Sun Oct 01, 2006 10:35 am

Birile wrote:No D&D experience here either. And I agree, someone should DM a game online for us n00bs.


I'd love it if someone had the inclination to run one of these. I'd rather it not be Eilistraee so he can do his MUD thing, but I'd love it if a couple experienced D&Ders joined us to teach us from the inside out.
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Postby Arilin Nydelahar » Sat Oct 07, 2006 2:26 am

Gormal wrote:
Birile wrote:No D&D experience here either. And I agree, someone should DM a game online for us n00bs.


I'd love it if someone had the inclination to run one of these. I'd rather it not be Eilistraee so he can do his MUD thing, but I'd love it if a couple experienced D&Ders joined us to teach us from the inside out.


So, anyone intersted? I'd like to do the whole email thing-D&D. Not DM, but play and what not. Email seems like the more viable thing.

Anyone care to DM?
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Postby Bilraex » Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:02 pm

http://www.openrpg.com/

This is a great tool for playing online, works in any OS and rather easy to use.
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Postby Arilin Nydelahar » Wed Oct 18, 2006 1:21 am

So, since no one has volunteered, who would all be interested in an email game? Jake, and anyone else? Might try to start one(Read: No DM experience..ever. :P)

but it'll be a fun experiment? PM me if anyone is interested?
Shevarash OOC: 'what can I say, I'm attracted to crazy chicks and really short dudes'
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Postby Ragorn » Wed Oct 18, 2006 6:44 pm

It's not really feasible to play D&D via email. When you're waiting on email responses from a DM and five players, a single round of combat can take a day or longer to execute. Party-NPC interaction becomes clunky, because your character can only interact at the "end" of the ongoing conversation (you can't go back to an earlier point and interject a comment), and you can only read the conversation as often as you check your email.

You can, however, run a sample combat so people can get a feel for the game engine. I don't have the availability in the next couple weeks to run a combat myself, but I can help people get their characters rolled up if interested.
- Ragorn
Shar: Leave the moaning to the people who have real issues to moan about like rangers or newbies.
Corth: Go ask out a chick that doesn't wiggle her poon in people's faces for a living.
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Postby Cirath » Wed Oct 18, 2006 11:02 pm

I have to second Ragorn on this one. I strongly suggest that you try to play in some more personal format (at the very least, an instant messenger program of some sort). There is just too much going on in a decent tabletop game for an email campaign to progress at anything but a snail's pace. The chances of losing players due to bordome at that point becomes a problem as well.

In general, in my experience at least, the more personal interaction the players and DM have amongst themselves, the better the game will be (and the more likely it is to last).

I would also suggest that if you want to try to run a session with no previous DMing experience, that you at least glance over a pre-made adventure so you can get a feel for the way things work before hand. You don't necissarily have to use that adventure, but it will most likely provide some valuable insights.
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Postby moritheil » Sun Oct 22, 2006 11:22 pm

Huh. If you guys really want to see how standard DnD is done, I'll run a PbP campaign using modules, starting at first level.

Yes, it's boring as hell to run combat at one round per day or per week, but if you're learning the ropes it gives you more time to appreciate everything that's going on.

Still interested?
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Postby Gormal » Mon Oct 23, 2006 12:45 am

Yup.

Gormal the dwarven fighter at your service!
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Postby Arilin Nydelahar » Mon Oct 23, 2006 12:51 am

Yup.

Thalidyrr, Elven Monk.

How do you want character sheets done? Like the other thread, or use that for a starting point? Do you want emails pm'd to you, or what? I know Birile will be interested.
Shevarash OOC: 'what can I say, I'm attracted to crazy chicks and really short dudes'
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Postby moritheil » Mon Oct 23, 2006 1:20 pm

If nobody minds, I'll start a thread here and post a sample character sheet. It's cool if we just use this forum, right?

Also, if you folks demand FR flavor, I might have to brush up on stuff . . . but then, at first level, the plots shouldn't be too intricate or demanding.
Yotus group-says 'special quest if you type hi dragon'

Shevarash OOC: 'I feature only the finest mammary glands.'

Silena group-says 'he was so fat and juicy..couldnt resist'
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Postby moritheil » Mon Oct 23, 2006 6:20 pm

Okay, quick update for folks not reading the nitpicky analysis of char sheets in the other thread:

- We will have a campaign by post, starting at 1st level.
- I intend to run it here on the forums, so the entire community can watch and learn a bit of 3.5 in preparation for the transition to Toril 2.0.
- We currently have a cleric and a monk.
- I will probably base this in Waterdeep. Minimal headache involved for everyone in terms of geography and political climate.
Yotus group-says 'special quest if you type hi dragon'

Shevarash OOC: 'I feature only the finest mammary glands.'

Silena group-says 'he was so fat and juicy..couldnt resist'
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Re: Tabletop Gaming?

Postby Sarvis » Mon Oct 23, 2006 6:40 pm

Malacar wrote:Now, I made sure to note the creature was being defensive, and hovered 15 feet above the gnome. The gnome foolishly decides to barely move, takes no cover, and fires again.


The guy currently DMing our Cyberpunk campaign (when he shows up) has a rule about this. If you say something stupid, he will ask you if you're sure twice. If you say yes, he will rephrase the question so as to contain a hint for a better solution.

If you fail to take that hint, you're screwed.

It works out pretty well, for anyone who isn't borderline retarded. Of course, some of the groups bests stories are about people who appeared to be, in fact, borderline retarded.
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