September 28th, 2004

coffee frog
  • waiwode

Just an errant observation about taverns.

A comment spurred by an earlier thread.

Okay. Tongue-in-cheek Real-life check.

You're in trouble. Someone has stolen your wedding band, and if your wife sees it missing, you're in trouble. You're willing to pay $100 to get it back.

How many of you run into a pub to find investigators?

Where do you go for help?

coffee frog
  • waiwode

Notes on Fantasy HERO

To hell with you, mediaprophet for sticking this idea in my head. I was going to cross-post this to the championsrpg community, but most of them are here anyway.

So, instead of just owning Fantasy HERO, I started to read it. :)

There are some pretty neat ideas crammed into the magic section, particularly along the lines of buying spells either as Talents or Skills, limited by Fringe Benefit Membership Levels, and/or Active Point Totals, etc. Essentially, allowing a character to build a grimoire or sorts, instead of one attack, one defense, a movement and a sensory spell (which, under the old Fantasy Hero system was all many Arch-Mages could afford).

Currently I'm working on a number (I'll say eight for now, but the number is neither relevant nor fixed) of "Colleges."

The idea is to give each college a "theme & method."

The goal is to create a world where a number of Colleges strive for political (and magical) dominance.

The 2 things to avoid: Elemental schools & "form" Schools (ie, a Conjuration school versus an Evocation School, to borrow some familiar D&D terms).

What you can help me with (and this requires no familiarity with the rules!): Come up with a rough framework for me. A couple ideas strung together.

Two and a half examples:

Mournhold College
Their founder walked the realms of the dead for a century, and returned with dark lore best left forgotten.
Strengths: Aid & (past) divination spells. (Summoning "possessing spirits" to give strength, or to aid knowledge). Spells that drain or weaken the living (but no transfer, death not vampirism).
Weaknesses: Travelling spells, spells that effect non-living materials, including the undead.
Feel: Ash & bone, chilly breezes and unholy howls.
Dress: Mournholders normally dress in off-white (bone) coloured robes, and in public wear thin gloves and silk "skull" veils.

The Green and Purple College (and a kudo goes to Jack Vance for this school).
The lore of lost Panaguria, of the gleaming cities of glass and bronze, survive in this school's strange nigh-weightless metal tomes.
Strengths: Wards and walls. Destructive rays. Enchanting auras that enhance items.
Weaknesses: Sensory or stealthy spells, charms and spells that effect the mind.
Feel: Flashy displays of green and purple light. Shining glyphs annd sigils swimming across enchanted items.
Dress: Voluminous and richly embroidered robes and sashes ... featuring green and purple.

The Alembic School
Not a college, although they put on the airs of one, the Alembic School is a loose collection of Alchemists and snake-oil salesmen.
Strengths: Potions and philtres of great expense and only minor efficacy.
Weaknesses: Anything magical.
Feel: Like swallowing a Bromo and stove grease.
Dress: Gaudy costumes and paste bangles, to appear wealthy and successful.


(no subject)

I'm not sure which thread it was (but you lazy bums can find it on your own), but whatever one where we were discussing flashbacks was the one. Anyhow, I was amazed how a lot of people's reaction to the whole concept of flashbacks in roleplay hinged on the "but if it's a flashback, then the players know their characters can't die" concern. (That was totally paraphrased, but you get the idea.)

And there have been many people in various threads who have voiced opinions that the gist all falls to support the theory that "for the game to matter, the characters' lives must be at risk".

Now, I'm not looking to get into another argument of "well, if I know my character will live, all accomplishments seem cheap".

I'm just wondering, what does the people here really think? Have I just run into a particularly vocal faction here in this community, or is their philosophy that prevalent in gaming?

Now, undoubtedly, someone will assume that b/c I'm advocating non-threatening-to-PC-lives stuff, that I'm about handing the PCs all the rewards on a silver platter, or I should just stay away from dice-based games totally - trust me, I've been gaming for over a quarter of a freakin' century, I like dice-based games, and my games can be very dangerous - but I'm not into games where characters drop like flies.

My thoughts:

1) You can have other things happen to characters than death. Dismemberment, injury, maiming, exile, social ridicule, pariah status, the list goes on.

2) Especially in situations like flashbacks, you can arrange it so that the PCs are able to gain information, or even items, that will help them in the present day part of the campaign. So, if a player has the mentality "ah, this doesn't matter, it's a flashback", they'll miss out on gaining things to help them later on.

3) I just don't believe in letting the dice ruin things. Nothing happens in a game I run unless I let it happen. As a great GM once espoused, "My beach, My wave."


EDIT 8:22PM: Okay, let me make a couple clarifying statements before anyone jumps to conclusions:

1) I have never run a campaign where no PCs died. Never. I've been running games for about 20 years, and never once has a campaign ended without at least one PC dying.

2) I'm not advocating any sort of mamby-pambyness. If a player is stone-f'ing stupid, then I'll let their character die. If they sacrifice their character to save someone/defeat the villain/let the others escape with whatever item they need to save the day, then the character will die.