Crowdsourced RPG campaign II: Ideas and Questions

Part II of the previous discussion at  Here's a fairly concise breakdown of the previous conversations:


a) magic was real once, long, long ago. Then it faded.
b) technology took its place filling human(oid) needs since then. Now, everything is techy- modern day, Real World techy
c) technology destroys the world. Magic returns.
d) PCs are supernatural Heroes of Olde who slept when magic died, waiting a time when they were needed again. The end of civilization would be that time.


1) Post-apocalyptic setting

  • people are descendants of survivors, so their knowledge of technology is spotty.

  • PCs with pre-technology skills (tanning, blacksmithing, etc) very useful, but there will be huge holes in their knowledge (history,
    culture, science, etc)

  • Magic faded because last-ditch effort to contain a great evil. Magic returning is tied with that great evil's return (a prison shot into
    space that boomeranged back was suggested)

  • some tech still functioning; may have created odd cults or areas of specialization

  • language barrier could lead to more 'culture shock'

Magic Nation vs Tech Nation

  • tech doesn't work in one nation; magic doesn't work in the other

  • something disrupts the balance of power; PCs must restore it somehow

Alternate Real World #1: elves vs orcs

  • Goblinoids have the tecgnological advantage; demi-humans have the magic.

  • Goblinoids come to explore / conquer / exploit the demi-human lands 'New World'

Alternate real World #2: Real World, but with Magic

  • not preferred, it seems

    What scenario do you prefer, and why?  Are there any problems or complications with that scenario? Any unanswered questions?

Crowdsourced RPG campaign: Y'all get in here!

I've been wanting to do this for awhile, a crowd-sourced collectively-built campaign premise.  And maaaan this community is like Tut's tomb lately. What gives?

I have this idea for a campaign that I would like to run past the community.  And, as the title of this post implies, I would like to see people chip in and get involved in creating the theme / idea / concept.  In order to maximize the size of the sandbox and avoid railroading anyone's ideas, I will keep the basic premise as short as possible:

a) magic was real once, long, long ago. Then it faded.
b) technology took its place filling human(oid) needs since then. Now, everything is techy- modern day, Real World techy
c) technology destroys the world. Magic returns.
d) PCs are supernatural Heroes of Olde who slept when magic died, waiting a time when they were needed again. The end of civilization would be that time.

The more I think about this, the more I feel like I've heard this before.  I'm not claiming this is a new idea. Shadowrun, maybe? Exalted?  Definitely Rifts-esque.  I never played any of those systems except two sessions of Rifts, so.... not sure.  Still, feel free to chip in your ideas, critique, etc.  Let's see how this goes.

Plot without Conflict

I think my mind's actually wired for this.  I often seem to have a very negative reaction to 'drama' or 'conflict' in the games I play in - I want to try to push through them quickly, so I can get back to the roleplaying.  I don't have an interest in 'me vs them' or such.  As such, I tend to work on characters which are made to overwhelm traditional 'enemies', and have flaws and quirks which can be drawn out through roleplaying.

I think there's a few people I want to show this to.
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative

Night of the Meatheads

So my roommate and I are jointly working on a game to run at OwlCon this February.  The idea we had that my roommate has absolutely fallen in love with is Night of the Meatheads (or maybe Revenge of the Meatheads, which I like better).  While we don't have an actual plot together yet, we know we want to do something a) supernatural b) modern-day, and c) comedic.  The general gist is, a bunch of 'meathead' type characters from modern-era (say, 1970s and on) supernatural movies or TV shows come together to fight some great supernatural evil (with hilarious results, of course).

The problem is: we're having trouble thinking of meatheads.

Maybe I should explain what we mean by 'meathead'. A meathead for the purposes of this game is simply an action hero who is either not especially bright, not especially subtle, or both. So far we have as possible candidates:

- the Winchester brothers from Supernatural (they're not very subtle)
- Jack Burton from Big Trouble in Little China
Ash from the Evil Dead series
George Nada from They Live
Brock fucking Samson from The Venture Brothers

We need at least 6 but no more than 8 characters. Any ideas?

evil gm

So excited. But so sad. But so excited.

So I'm running a D&D 4e game right now. We started back on Labour Day weekend in 2009, so it's been over three years now. The characters are 29th level, and I estimate that we have two (2!!) game sessions left in the campaign. They will likely get through the next two encounters next session, and then it's the endgame.

It really is very much like nearing the end of an exceptionally good book. Part of you wants to push through and read straight to the end, because EXCITING and OMG and I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. On the other hand, you kind of want to put it down frequently becuase you just don't want it to be over yet. You want to savour every page and every word and every last comma.

That's pretty much exactly where I am with this game. I'm excited to finally see the characters reach 30th level, face their long-time nemesis, and achieve (or decline) their Epic Destinies. We've been building these characters for almost three and a half years. This is what they were made for. It's SO exciting to finally see everything come to fruition.

But on the other hand, the ending will be very bittersweet. We've all gotten so attached to the characters and so IN to all their heads. There have been marriages and children and long-lost loves reuinited and brand-new loves discovered. The characters have risen to leadership roles and changed the face of the world. They've shaped the very land, created and destroyed kingdoms, and fulfilled and thwarted ancient prophesies.

It will be hard to say good-bye. But my players have already created the next generation of characters, and I can't wait to start it all over again!

Besides, it's not good-bye forever. What's the fun of acheiving Epic Destinies and becoming immortals if you don't get a cameo or two in the next campaign? :)

Inspiration from Song or Other Sources

Need to post something up in here to liven things up some.  What, are y'all out voting or something silly like that?

Have you ever been struck by inspiration and just had a character, adventure, or whatever just come to you fully-formed?  I got an idea for a character I might like to play from a song that popped up on my Pandora earlier today.  After listening to the lyrics, this idea for a character just jumped into my head.  I think he would work really well in an Exalted game (a system I haven't played but seems interesting):

So I was wondering: what inspiration from unexpected or unusual corners have you gotten as either a player or GM?  What kind of character or adventure or whatever did that inspiration create, how did you use it, and how did your gaming group respond?

  • Current Music
    Alt Rock
Pstandard Psychic Pstance

Resolving a mutually beneficial conflict (Dresden Files RPG)

We've been playing the Dresden Files RPG based on the FATE system for a few months now, and we recently ran into a strange conundrum. One party member has a power straight from the book called Cassandra's Tears which lets him get visions of the future at the cost that people are predisposed to disbelieving him. He received a vision that he wanted to share with another player that an enemy gunman would be waiting where the PC was going. However, because he wasn't sure how to resolve it without just stating it unhindered to the party, he kept quiet which ultimately isn't really in keeping with one of his aspects and frankly limits the potential storytelling of the power.

I'm looking for how to frame a roll so that if he succeeds, he can give the answer straightfaced to the other player. A failure would probably be played out as "He tries to offer you some advice, but you brush off his rambling". The book suggests a -2 penalty when trying to convince others of your visions. However the roll itself isn't clear. My first thought is rapport or intimidation (depending on his tone) -2 vs. a social defense, but this means empathic characters are resistant to him when I feel like they should be the best judges of character. Doing the opposite and having him try to roll under their score would reward him for keeping bad social scores. Any thoughts on how to resolve such a roll?

On GM reveals

My general position as a GM is to never let the players peek behind the curtain. I like to maintain the illusion that they're actually interacting with a world, rather than stuff I'm making up on the fly. So whether they come up with a brilliant solution I hadn't anticipated, or do something I think is profoundly ill-advised, I generally try to keep a poker face and deal with it. I think that makes the game feel more "real," and if that illusion is maintained, it makes me less of an antagonist or obstacle, whereas they get to feel more like, say, dwarves fighting a dragon and less like people playing pretend with dice and paper.

But I was at GenCon this past weekend, and I had a couple of experiences that started me thinking about this. The first was in a playtest of an unreleased game called Anointed: Mantle Of The Gods. The GM had run the same scenario multiple times at different conventions, and from time to time, he'd let us know how other players had done with parts of the scenario — like the encounter early on, where we talked a frightened, hiding kid out of a tree and got useful information out of him, whereas the last group had shot him to death at the first glimpse of something moving in the woods.

The other case was a game of Dread, a horror game that uses Jenga as a mechanic, which makes for huge tension as the story progresses and things get more difficult. The way it's supposed to work is that whoever knocks over the tower dies, and then it's rebuilt, but with a bunch of pieces removed so the players start at a higher difficulty. But after three hours of play, we still had an intact tower, which we were approaching with breathless terror at every new pull. And the GM finally admitted he was supposed to keep pushing the scenario until at least one of us died, but we'd been so careful, and so successful, and through so much tension that he felt we deserved the reward of making it out alive.

In both cases, I had the same reaction: Elation that we'd done better than previous groups, but disappointment at being forcibly reminded that this was all an artificial construct that a lot of people trudge through in the exact same fashion. In the latter case especially, it felt a little like we were being handed a victory by GM largess rather than strictly earning it.

And I've been in games where the GMs have gone farther, openly admitting things like "I was expecting you all to fail at that. Now that you've succeeded, I have no idea what comes next, I guess I'll have to think about it." I hate that kind of thing — it makes whatever comes next feel more thrown-together and arbitrary than it would otherwise, and to me, it makes the GM feel kind of petty and unprepared.

I recognize that this is just a play-style question, and it has a lot to do with my feelings that a really good RPG session is deeply immersive, srs business, which is not how a lot of people play. I'm just curious where other people, as both GMs and players, fall on that scale between wanting to know how the sausage is made, vs. just wanting to eat the sausage and pretend it came from the delicious-magical-sausage tree.
  • Current Mood
    curious curious

Question for the Hive Mind: Barbarians

Having been running Pathfinder for a few months now, I've noticed something that irks me a little: The barbarian(s) in the party seem to totally dominate combat. The reason this bugs me is that I'm kinda old-school and think that the Fighter should be the best at fighting- it's right there in the name, after all. But the way the Big B is built, there's no reason why you would ever want to play a fighter.

(Note the first: I say barbarian(s) b/c I have one single class and one multi-class druid/barbarian, which is actually a really fun and effective build.)

(Note the second: I do admit that some of the alternate fighter builds from the APG and UC look really fun and effective, but I'm sticking to the CRB for purposes of this discussion.)

I tried to keep this in check by increasing the time that the character would be at a penalty between rages, but that hasn't had the effect I wanted. To me, the Barbarian should be like, say, a rocket launcher- one big boom, and then it's spent.

Now, I seemed to remember Barbarians not being all that insane before, and sure enough I was right: Rage in D&D 3.0 is only usable X number of times per day, regardless of how many rounds of it you might have.

So, finally, to my question: Should I make the rage ability work more like it did back in 3.0? I'm thinking it would force the players to use rage sparingly, without nerfing the class; they'd still have plenty of other fun abilities, not to mention that nice d12 for hit points. What I'm trying to go for is that rage should be a strategic option, not something one just gets to use all the time, if that makes sense. Thoughts?

(Note Final: I also asked myself if this was really any different than Monks and Rangers being able to do multiple attacks before anyone else just, you know, because? And I had to answer yes. Multiple attacks are well and good, but you're still just as likely to hit or miss. The stat boosts from rage not only affect how much damage you deal, but make you more likely to score a hit.)

PS: I suppose option B would be to say that the STR boost from rage applies only to damage and not to attack rolls, which seems logical to me- I've never seen someone do precision work while really hacked off, but I've sure seen angry people wreck stuff. The Players might kill me for that one, though, since it means more math.