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Friday, March 1st, 2013
7:52 pm - Crowdsourced RPG campaign II: Ideas and Questions

brother_dour


Part II of the previous discussion at http://roleplayers.livejournal.com/1619020.html.  Here's a fairly concise breakdown of the previous conversations:

PREMISE:

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.


SUGGESTIONS SO FAR:

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'


2)
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


3)
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'


4)
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?


(11 comments | comment on this)

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
1:23 pm - Crowdsourced RPG campaign: Y'all get in here!

brother_dour
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.

(23 comments | comment on this)

Thursday, December 13th, 2012
2:18 am - Plot without Conflict

tashiro
http://stilleatingoranges.tumblr.com/post/25153960313/the-significance-of-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

(77 comments | comment on this)

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012
12:35 am - Night of the Meatheads

brother_dour
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?

(24 comments | comment on this)

Monday, November 19th, 2012
12:16 pm - So excited. But so sad. But so excited.

clawfoot
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? :)

(12 comments | comment on this)

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012
12:21 am - Inspiration from Song or Other Sources

brother_dour

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):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1Zho9C9wl8

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 mood: sleepy

(1 comment | comment on this)

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012
2:28 pm - Resolving a mutually beneficial conflict (Dresden Files RPG)

wolviepris
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?

(8 comments | comment on this)

Monday, September 17th, 2012
12:48 pm - Just pinged 40th level

apestyle


I updated my resume*.



*Understanding that this is just humor. I don't actually expect to use this to get a jorb.

(10 comments | comment on this)

Monday, August 20th, 2012
11:11 am - On GM reveals

rollick
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

(17 comments | comment on this)

Friday, August 3rd, 2012
2:34 pm - Question for the Hive Mind: Barbarians

avatar_x
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.

(19 comments | comment on this)

Saturday, July 14th, 2012
12:20 pm - Grand Tour Campaigns

tarbis
Lately I've been thinking about campaign models that introduce large settings to players that have never been there before. Mostly I was considering the Grand Tour type of campaign where PCs travel from place to place in the setting getting a feel for how things work. There only seem to be a few models.

The first model is the chase. Either the PCs are chasing someone/something, someone is pursuing the PCs, or both. A campaign where the PCs are chasing someone gives the GM a certain measure of control concerning where they go next, but that can limit the PCs if they hear about somewhere else interesting that they want to see. Being chased can be bad for keeping the group together. Eventually some PC will decide that tracking two/three/however many separate will be harder for the pursuer and odds are the group will splinter. A combined model of the chase solves the problem of the party splitting, but still has the problem of the party feeling led by the nose.

Second is a quest campaign. For quests either the PCs are going somewhere known and distant, going somewhere unknown and assembling clues, or doing a rod of seven parts where they need to visit multiple locations. Going to a known, but distant location allows the PCs to chart their own course with stopovers of their own choosing. It also means that they could avoid interesting parts of the setting, because neither PC or player know that their interesting. A quest where clues need to be assembled requires a certain amount of existing setting knowledge and runs the same risks as any game that relies on solving mysteries (too many clues, too few clues, bad rolls, strange logical leaps, etc.). Collecting pieces from multiple locations will get the PCs around the setting and lets them pick the order of travel, but cuts down on their ability to take side trips to places that sound interesting.

The last model is one where all PCs are part of one group and have a superior (or superior force) that just sends them places. This will let the GM send the PCs to what the GM considers the high points of the setting, but it limits the range of logical PC types and/or prevents almost all opportunity for side trips. (Sliders had a range of character types, but none of them had control on where they were going.)

Balancing player agency with player ignorance in a new setting is a difficult thing. Does anyone have a technique or model that as worked consistently when showing players a completely new (to them) secondary world?

(14 comments | comment on this)

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012
10:42 am - One-Shot Ideas?

brother_dour
Looks like I am running a one-shot adventure for my gaming group this Sunday (well, half of my gaming group, hence the one-shot part). The problem is: I am having trouble thinking of any good ideas.

I would like to do something not-fantasy, since both our regular campaigns are fantasy.  I've been playing a lot of Fallout: New Vegas lately, so I am thinking about pulling something from there and making it into a one-shot.  Maybe something dealing with Caesar's Legion or the lunatic scientist-brains-in-jars at Big MT.  But I also have this vague idea of superheroes vs zombies: build some superheroes and let them just go crazy rescuing civilians and killing zombies, maybe throw in a zombified super-villain or two... Right now, the actual game system I will use is not important- we have several at our disposal, and I will use whichever fits the scenario best.

But ideas and suggestions are most welcome!

current mood: blah

(7 comments | comment on this)

Friday, June 8th, 2012
10:13 am - Are there "losers" and "winners" in RPGs?

thegamemistress
Just about every RPG rulebook I've read takes pains to point out early on how RPGs are different from other kinds of games - specifically that there are no "winners" or "losers."

I've encountered some people (most often when I'm GMing a game at a con) who seem to think differently, though. These folks seem to see the relationship between the GM and the players (and occasionally relationships with fellow players) as a competitive (sometimes even combative) one. I could be off-base here, but I wonder if this comes from a desire to "win" the game (whatever that means to the particular player), despite many game designers' assertions that an RPG doesn't have "winners" or "losers?"

Anybody care to opine? I admit I don't really understand, but that may just be me.

x-posted

current mood: confused

(28 comments | comment on this)

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
11:16 am - Choose your weapon

apestyle
You're going to join a 3.5 game. In order to restrict minmaxing and bloat, the DM has given a caveat: You have access to only core books and ONE expansion book. Only you get to use the spells, classes, treasure, feats, etc from that book (although other players can also opt to choose the same book as you).

Books that are off limits: Spell Compendium and Magic Item Compendium. Those are in the province of the DM and he or she may decide to use part or all of the things from those books.

So. Which book do you choose?

(34 comments | comment on this)

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012
3:05 am - No Comparison?

nerdwerds
A couple of years ago I wrote up the same character in all 4 editions of Dungeons & Dragons. I decided to recreate my experiment tonight starting with 1st edition, because I knew it was the most random, and ended up making a dwarf fighter. Each edition afterwards was simply an attempt to recreate the character from the previous edition, using the rules and character creation methods of the later edition. Here are the stats along with some notes I added for explanation for Mitch, the dwarven fighter.

(3 comments | comment on this)

Sunday, April 29th, 2012
12:23 pm - Two-Weapon Fighting

nerdwerds
I'm currently GMing a game where the system we're using doesn't actually have any rules for a character who fights with two weapons. I wanted to house rule in something, and in my research of how other game systems use dual-wielded weapons I was really surprised how this facet of combat has evolved over time.

In the current 4th edition AD&D rules I think it's addressed the worst. I can't even find a reference to allowing characters to dual-wield unless they have a feat for it, and even then the feat only gives the character a +1 to damage if they happen to have a weapon in each hand.

The 3rd edition rules are the longest, with a table of modifiers and descriptive explanations, along feats that adjust how characters wield two weapons at once. Essentially, anyone wielding two weapons suffers a -6 penalty to their main weapon and a -10 penalty to their off-hand weapon, unless they have a feat which lowers the base penalties to -4 each.

I was actually really surprised that the 1st and 2nd edition rules for this are identical. They're phrased differently, but the initial penalties and ability modifiers are the same. The primary weapon suffers a -2 penalty and the off-hand weapon suffers a -4 penalty. A very high, or very low, Dexterity modifiers will offset or increase the penalty. I'll quote word-for-word from the 1st edition rulebook:
"If the user’s dexterity is above 15, there is a downward adjustment in the weapon penalties as shown, although this never gives a positive (bonus) rating to such attacks, so that at 16 dexterity the secondary/primary penalty is -3/-1, at 17 -2/0, and at 18 -l/O."

Holy shit!
Keep in mind, 1st and 2nd edition were written in a time when feats hadn't been imagined yet. I never knew the 1st edition rules were written like that, basically because I've owned a copy of the rules forever but never actually played with them, nor read the rules from cover to cover. This has spurred my interest to see if there are other things that are wildly different from the origins of the game. But mainly I thought I would share this weird little transition over the years.
People often complain about powers getting nerfed in revisionary changes, but nobody ever points out how the rules sometimes get harder, or disappear completely.

(23 comments | comment on this)

1:25 am - Role-Playing and Format

brother_dour
So, I was talking to a friend who I used to MUCK with (laugh if you want, but for a long while it was fun. Just ask tashiro and shiftercat- they were there too).  Anyway, he and his boyfriend just started playing SWtOR on my server, and we got on the subject of role-playing games, their structure, and the differences between old-fashioned tabletop RPGs and the so-called 'MMORPGs' while I was crafting and they were leveling. And I thought it might make a good discussion here, since the community has been a bit quiet lately.

So, let's talk about classes first.  Classes make sense when you have potentially millions of players, all who have different desires and preferences, playing classes that most likely have different specializations they can go into. It is probably the easiest way to balance things- not only between players and mobs, but between classes and possibly even factions for some MMOs. That's pretty much the norm for MMOs these days. But- why do so many old-fashioned tabletop RPGs still being produced today still have classes? Aren't classes an archaic construct?  What are the advantages of classes when you don't have to wrangle millions of players (or even dozens) and the mathematics and game mechanics are extremely simple compared to what goes on under the hood of a computerized MMO?

Now, on to the second issue. Generally, I don't think there is really any such thing as an "MMORPG". There are MMOs, but they ain't RPGs. Role-playing means doing what is expected of your class, filling your class's role, and nothing more to the typical MMO player.  One possible exception: LotRO. Most people are such huge fans of the lore and of Tolkien that a lot of people role-play, or at least stay in character.  That MMO actually has 'lore Nazis' who will gripe at people who misuse public channels and report characters with questionable names.

You know, for that matter, I would not call console games like Fallout or GTA or Elder Scrolls true RPGs...to me, if you aren't playing with other human beings and you aren't staying at least somewhat in character, it's not true role-playing.

(25 comments | comment on this)

Thursday, April 5th, 2012
10:28 pm - Brand-New Gamers

brother_dour
Well.

I am within one month of finishing my master's program, and unless something absolutely unforeseen and borderline miraculous happens in that time, I'll be moving away to (theoretically) bigger, better things. This also means I will be leaving the gaming group I've been a part of for the last decade.

Now, there's no doubt that I'll miss those wacky kids. It is a good group of mature, experienced, talented role-players that will go on without me. And each and every one is a great GM as well, with some fun campaign ideas. But part of me thinks things were getting somewhat stagnant, so I am also looking forward to a change.

And that brings me to my question. Last session, we were reminiscing about a couple of very fun and promising gamers who once played with us (I live in a college town, so there was a good deal of turnover there for awhile). Those guys were new gamers, and although I can honestly say they had potential, part of the fun was just playing with new gamers.

I think it would be a lot of fun to GM for total newbies. So, I wonder: how would one go about starting a new group of entirely new gamers (adult gamers, because asking a bunch of minors to play would be kind of creepy)?   Has anyone tried this, or found themselves in this situation? What was your experience like? What tips, advice, or dire warnings can you give me?

(2 comments | comment on this)

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
6:01 pm - Avoiding First Encounter TPKs

fiat_knox
This theme seems to occur far too frequently: an adventuring party ventures forth, and on its first ever encounter stumbles across a party of kobolds.

Weak, useless kobolds.

Who hand the party their arses on a plate. TPK.

Just as there are different kinds of adventures than what is considered the "standard" dungeon crawl - technically dungeon crawls are raids, since the primary activities carried out are looting, pillaging, vandalism, theft, defilement and murder - there has to be a way out of handing a fresh party an unnecessary TPK before they've even reached the temple or tomb they set out to plunder.

The DM, GM, ST, referee or whatever the title has to ask some simple questions.

One, is this a random encounter or part of the story?

Two, if a random encounter, what does the other party want, if anything? Food? Water? Money? Or do they just want to get back home and get some sleep and grub, and maybe a little kobold fun tonight? Or do they (90%) chance not want anything to do with the adventurers whatsoever?

Three, does this other party look like they want to get into a fight with somebody? If all they want is some bed and board back home, maybe not; if they just came back from the annual Brainball tournament and they're boisterous and drunk on Kobold Bloodbeer, maybe so.

Four, if they do want to get into a fight, what are the chances of the adventurers knowing what they are doing? (First timers, maybe not).

So how do you avoid putting yourself into the shoes of The DM That Hands Out First Encounter TPKs?ooks, kill more mooks,

I've had some thoughts about this, and I've come up with some answers.

First, adventuring in a roleplaying game is not like a video game - meet the mooks, kill the mooks, meet more mooks, kill more mooks, unlock a new ability, use it against the mid level mooks, fight the level boss, start new level.

It doesn't have to be like that. Not even if the aim is to raid some temple or nest of baddies.

Second, a good DM encourages the players to pursue non-combat resolutions, and to engage in combat only as necessary - only escalating to lethal attacks when the enemy escalates.

Third, most roleplaying games have skills lists now, other than just combat abilities. Influence, trade, barter, questioning the encountered parties if they know anything about the destination the adventurers are heading for - these approaches should be made to work. They should bear fruit.

Fourth, a good GM can make the encounter significant not for this adventure but for a later one. The kobolds the party bumped into in that first encounter can turn up at a later date, where they can recognise the party. Whether they remember them for good or ill will depend on how the party and the encountered group parted company that first time - a party that swapped jokes and shared food at the campfire will be remembered far more kindly than one that ended in hostilities.

Fifth, make notes. Always make notes. Even an inconsequential encounter could be used later for some reason. Not all of them, not by any means. Just some of them.

Actually, a really good GM can spend time creating encounter parties to throw at the characters, so that he is ready for them. Whether they meet in combat or just pass by, at least they're prepared and ready for the players and their characters.

Done right, with some forethought, the Games Master can make sure that even the first encounter can be as memorable for the characters as the actual adventure - but for the right reason, and not "We got put through the mincer by kobolds before we even got to the temple."

current mood: busy

(13 comments | comment on this)

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
10:34 pm - Daylong Sessions

sutanri

My gaming group stopped meeting for campaigns a while back; we all live in different parts of the country now, so meeting up for regular sessions isn't practical. However, when we are all in the same place, we run one or two daylong sessions. Each of us has written a bit of fluff, and we try to play through one dungeon or storyline that somone's prepared in one day. Often, each DM likes to keep all their daylongs set in one world, to give the feel of things developing with each session, giving it a sort of campaign-esque feel. Generally speaking, the system used is D&D 3.5.

Basically, I'm looking for advice on making a one day session run smoothly, keeping it fast paced, making sure it doesn't feel too railroaded, that sort of thing. The difference between this and a normal campaign session is that I have all the time in the world to put into it, and I'm sort of expected to put in a fair bit. If you had tons of time to put into planning just one session, how do you think you'd structure it? Any related advice is appreciated.

Also, as an aside for any 3.5 specialists, any advice on making level-appropriate challenges? Level 6 Gestalt, three or four players, full casting progressions are banned so level 2 spells are the highest I'll have to deal with. Any tips that help with finding that optimal level of fun where challenging meets doable are much appreciated.

If it's of any relevance, the basic plot is that they are sent on a quest by a powerful spirit (a sort of mini-god, if you will) to gather information on another such spirit after he started getting some rather worrying magical vibes. They'll journey to a massive underground city to do some investigating. There is a fair bit more preamble to it than that, but I shan't bore you all.

Thanks!

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