To Boldly Nerd…

Video games, pen&paper RPGs and other nerdery

16/08/2016
by Kadomi
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#RPGaDay 2016 – Day 16

Alright, here’s where the questions start getting a bit odd…

#RPGaDay 2016

The questions

Day 16: What historical character would you like in your group? For what game?

No one messes with that guy, right?

No one messes with that guy, right?

Not sure I fully get the question. As a player or GM? Oh well. I’ll randomly say that I would like to have Napoleon in my Pathfinder games. One thing that I strongly feel I lack in is exciting fights. Somehow my monsters and villains lack strategical finesse which inevitably makes fights a lot easier for the PCs than originally intended. I lack the fine strategic mind to truly challenge them. I think Napoleon as GM could probably bring great strategies to the table, and truly teach me how to make fights really challenging.

15/08/2016
by Kadomi
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#RPGaDay 2016 – Day 15

#RPGaDay 2016

The questions

Day 15: What types or source of inspiration do you turn to most often for RPGs?

Either as a player or as a GM, what kind of media or experience helps inspire you for play?

Reading, reading, reading. I follow many blogs and gain inspiration there. I tend to run published adventures, and there, I find the most inspiration on the Paizo messageboards. The thread ‘Community Created Stuff‘ in the Rise of the Runelords board is a thing of beauty and wonder. For my Numenera campaign, which is my first homebrew, there are various sources of inspiration: the Monte Cook Games blog, where they post the Cypher Chronicles, The Alexandrian blog, etc. There are also a couple fansites like the CypherCast Hub or The Ninth World. There’s even cool Twitter accounts like Wyrd of the Weird providing inspiration and adding more ‘weird’ to the Ninth World.

I recently got addicted to podcasts. They never worked for me before, but something finally clicked. I prefer GM-centric podcasts over Actual Play. In fact, the only Actual Play podcasts I follow are Fandible’s Numenera campaign, and the Campaign podcast of the folks at Oneshot Podcast, showcasing Star Wars: Edge of Empire. I find a lot of inspiration listening to other GMs, or writers, like Ken and Robin. In fact, I will post a list of my favorite podcasts soon, to give some love.

Fiction is always an inspiration too. I read a lot of fantasy and some SF, so that’s an endless source of seeing how things can be done.

14/08/2016
by Kadomi
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#RPGaDay 2016 – Day 12-14

Whoops, I was so busy that I didn’t get around to posting the last couple of days. Here’s my attempt at catching up to speed.

As always, #RPGaDay 2016 is organized by the RPGBrigade.

#RPGaDay 2016

The questions

Day 12: What game is your group most likely to play next? Why?

Lots of groups experiment with different games. Which game will you probably try next?

I’m excited for our Gamecation on the first weekend of October, a RL meetup of my Roll20 group. We’ve rented a house in Sherwood Forest, and will be there from Friday to Monday to play crazy amounts of boardgames and RPGs. We actually made an Excel list of what games to bring, hah.

We’ll be doing a face-to-face session of our Legacy of Fire campaign. One of the players, (who I also hope will start blogging here soon) wants to try her hand at GMing with running one of the We be Goblins adventures.

Trail of Cthulhu

The cover of the rulebook

I am going to run a one-shot of Trail of Cthulhu. Originally I had wanted to run The Strange, but I am not 100% sold on the system yet, and ToC looks so cool and comes highly praised. When I announced that I would like to try this system, there was excited squeeing. I am counting this as a good sign.

We also talked about running one-shots every other month instead of our regular game. I’m a bit addicted to reading various systems, and on my to-play list I have The Strange, The One Ring, Star Wars: Edge of Empire, DnD 5e, 13th Age and The Night Black Agents. I hope that one of the players will occasionally be challenged to run a one-shot, because dang, it would be fun to play now and then.

Day 13: What makes a successful campaign?

What things do you need to keep a game enjoyable and ‘good’ for the long term? 

For a successful campaign, I need to have the spark of a great story. For me, a campaign is longform storytelling, opposed to just doing random adventures. I need a string connecting everything and leaving players wondering about where the story goes. As such, the story needs to have a finale, an ending. For me, a campaign is finite.

Now, assuming you have this story, you need players who are open to it, who are excited for it. If the players don’t actually care about the story, the campaign is not successful. Players need to be engaged, committed to the story. The point here, as in all gaming is: have fun! If it’s not fun, then it needs to be addressed so that GM and players both try something else, or make it more fun.

Day 14: Who would be on your dream team of people you used to game with?

Of all the people you have gamed with in the past, who would you like to bring together to play for a specific game in a specific way?

Are gaming all-stars teams a thing? Huh. Of the games I was GM for, I would play with any of those players again. There’s not such a thing as a dream group for me. The groups are all vastly different, but they’re all fun. I do wish I could play with my friends from my hometown. When we played D&D 3e together, I ran a Mystara campaign for them, culminating in their discovery of the Hollow World. Unfortunately, that was our last session ever. It would have been fun to adventure on in there, with them.

11/08/2016
by Kadomi
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#RPGaDay 2016 – Day 11

#RPGaDay 2016

The questions

#RPGaDay 2016 is organized by the RPGBrigade.

Day 11: Which gamer that you have played with has most affected the way that you play?

Of all the people that you have gamed with, who has been the biggest influence on your style?

I taught myself how to GM. When I first GM’d, I’d never played, which made it a rough start. I have since played under a couple different GMs, and have to say that I feel I am holding up quite well in comparison. My approach is more organized and more descriptive than other GMs’ I have played with. I admit I am always a bit envious when I hear stories of players that have played under a glorious GM for years and how it’s changed their gaming, but maybe I can be such a kind of GM? I always try to emulate things that I see in action and like.

I think I admired my GM Marcus the most. He has a lot of experience with DnD 3.5 and Pathfinder, making him extremely rules-savy, and his games were always great and evocative. His home-brew world was extremely well-thought out, a very rich setting. I would restart that game in a blink if that ever happened and I could fit it into my schedule.

10/08/2016
by Kadomi
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#RPGaDay 2016 – Day 10

#RPGaDay 2016

The questions

#RPGaDay 2016 is organized by the RPGBrigade this year.

Day 10:  What was the largest in-game surprise you have experienced?

In a game as a player or as the GM, what was the most surprising event that happened?

As GM, my sessions are usually full of surprises. Players hardly ever do what you expect them to do. I try to keep things surprising, though it’s not always easy.

The biggest surprise I experienced is probably that one of my players, who also happens to be a co-worker has misogynistic tendencies. He plays a barbarian, who really likes tavern RP. In our second session ever, he proceeded to hit on the owner of their inn very drunkenly and clumsily. That’s fine. He then started spouting stuff like ‘A no always means yes, everyone knows that’  and similar lines like that when the female owner of the inn did not reciprocate. A chill ran down my spine. Since then, I have steered clear of scenes like that, and if there’s ever a repetition, I have to make sure that I don’t care for unpleasant surprises like that. It made me uncomfortable. It’s a 50-50 split of men and women in my game, I don’t need crap like that in my game.

As player, I had one session that was really surprising. In a unfortunately short-lived Pathfinder campaign, the group stayed in hiding at the headquarters of the church, and there they found splendid looking armor. This armor started speaking to my magus Thera. It wanted her to wear it (in a solo session I had with the GM). Sadly, that was the last time we played, we never managed to get together after that. The one time I have a character who is the recipient of something special, pfft!

09/08/2016
by Kadomi
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#RPGaDay 2016 – Day 9

#RPGaDay 2016

The questions

What things are a part of your ideal session, other than the actual game?

What helps make a game session go from being good toward being ‘perfect’ for you?

It’s a matter of attitude, the right atmosphere, people being in the zone. As it is, I just had such a session that I felt was perfect.

In my Rise of the Runelords campaign, the party is currently investigating a series of murders. Ghouls have appeared and seem to murder people ritualistically. Signs point at a connection to the Foxglove family. The party went off to investigate the manor, commonly known as the Misgivings. The manor is full of haunts that reveal the history of the family, and as soon as the first haunt happened, I knew I had the players’ attention. I handed out handouts with a little story, as adapted from Misroi’s work on the Paizo forums. I used Syrinscape to enhance the mood, and time just flew by. There was no combat, and I have a couple buttkickers in the party who really crave combat, and even they had fun. That makes a session perfect for me. People who are open to the story, and stay in the game.

Other than that, I also like it when the mood is good, and we share a good meal. I like to cook, so often I will use game day to cook for the whole group.09

08/08/2016
by Kadomi
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#RPGaDay 2016 – Day 8

#RPGaDay 2016

The questions

Do you prefer hardcover, softcover, or electronic books? What are the benefits of your preference?

Are PDF books better than print books? Is print better than digital? Tell us why!

Original picture from The Triangular Room blog.

Not my bookshelf, though I wish.

I love RPG hardcovers. The prettier, the better. The Numenera books, e.g. have such wonderfully high production values. I love lying on the couch and flicking through books, especially stuff like a Bestiary. However, during actual gameplay and during prep, I find PDFs way more useful. The Numenera PDFs are extensively hyperlinked and searchable, and I can copy/paste information to Scrivener or Evernote. I have an extensive PDF library and regularly use DrivethruRPG.

That Wizards of the Coast after all these years have no real digital strategy really bothers me. I mean, sure, they’re now available on two VTTs, FantasyGrounds and Roll20, but where are the official PDF files? It’s 2016, why won’t you make those available? I really don’t understand. PDFs make the game more accessible, because they are a cheap way to play in a relatively expensive hobby. There’s nothing wrong with using a PDF on a tablet at the gametable.

There’s a reason I always endorse Pathfinder even though I am not a huge fan of the actual system anymore. Everything’s available digitally, and within a short time you get access to all rules in the SRD for free. Big plus! I am sure that DnD 5e is a fine system, I hear nothing but good things about it, but the lack of digital formats is disappointing. It works for them on DrivethruRPG with older editions, after all.

TLDR: I love hardcovers, but for actual gaming and prepping, I prefer PDFs. A digital strategy is important to me!

07/08/2016
by Kadomi
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#RPGaDay 2016 – Day 7

#RPGaDay 2016

The questions

What aspect of Roleplaying Games has had the biggest effect on you?

What positive quality of gaming has influenced you the most?

I am pretty sure it’s made me a more creative person. It wasn’t like that when I gamed in my late teens and twenties. Right now, I feel it makes me bursting with creativity and enriches my life. If you compare tabletop gaming with, say, MMO gaming, there’s a much more immediate joy and impact that joined storytelling has on me than killing a hard raid boss. I also read a lot more than in previous years, currently soaking in as many RPG systems that I can (reading Trail of Cthulhu right now).

I recently listened to Talking Tabletop, an excellent podcast, and the guest was Nolan T. Jones, one of the founders of Roll20. Incidentally, did you know the platform originally was for sharing images? Fascinating! Anyhow, Nolan called RPGs the highest form of art. I am not sure I agree with him, but it definitely is a creative art, and I am proud I get to participate in it.

06/08/2016
by Kadomi
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#RPGaDay 2016 – Day 6

Coming up with peppy introductions gets harder and harder, so why don’t I go on with this very short post today?

#RPGaDay 2016

The questions

Most amazing thing a group did for their community?

This is asking about acts of charity, public or private, that a group of gamers has done for people that they know.

Is that actually a thing? I will be curious to read other replies, because I am coming up blank.

I don’t know about your gaming, but my gaming groups usually just game, in private. Can’t say I recall any acts of charity. Maybe some big name Actual Play Podcasts or streams, who do donation drives. Heck, my gaming groups aren’t even charitable in-game. 😉

05/08/2016
by Kadomi
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#RPGaDay 2016 – Day 5

Same deal, different day. I am amazed I am still writing. Maybe today there’ll be a question that won’t show my lack of actual playing?

#RPGaDay 2016

The questions

What story does your group tell about your character?

And there goes my hope it’s not another character question. There are no big stories to tell, so I’ll just go ahead and talk about my most recent characters and her interactions with the party.

In case of my halfling rogue, they would probably say she’s a lovely, charming, and slightly deluded girl. Her teacher took a very naive girl, the daughter of a halfling baker, and trained her how to be a thief. However, he didn’t call it stealing, he called it being diplomatic and solving problems. Discordia was hoping to be a member of the diplomatic corps in her kingdom. On top of her thievery skills, she was very charismatic and skilled at Diplomacy and Bluffing.

My other recent Pathfinder character Thera is a pretty awful bitch. We used the character background options from Ultimate Campaign, which made me come up with the bastard daughter of a rich merchant who fled her home to join a gang of street kids. The brute of the group, she had some skills with the sword but also magic, making her a magus. Prone to fits of jealousy, she had murdered a woman who hit on her boyfriend, a blacksmith apprentice, and didn’t feel the slightest bit bad about it. The other group members thought she was intimidating, bitchy, but also incredibly loyal.

It’s seriously a shame that game died at level 2. Our group of three street girls trying to make it in an urban campaign was really kickass and we had some excellent RP that really flowed naturally. Unfortunately, the GM dropped off the face of the Earth, but I wouldn’t mind picking it back up.