To Boldly Nerd…

Video games, pen&paper RPGs and other nerdery

by Kadomi

RPG: HarmonQuest

Today, someone came to look at a problem with wet walls that we’re having (blegh) which meant I worked from home today. As my job allows for entertainment on the side, and I have two monitors, I used the opportunity to catch up on HarmonQuest. What can I say? 10 episodes later I am quite excited about this show, which is fun entertainment for tabletop roleplayers.

But what exactly is it? It’s an American show with 30-minute episodes, in which three comedians and a guest star (two in the finale) play a game of Pathfinder. As I am a Pathfinder GM myself, I was intrigued.

Actual Play/Animation-Hybrid

The comedians are Dan Harmon (Community, Harmontown, Rick and Morty), Erin McGathy and Jeff B. Davis. The GM is Spencer Crittenden, and he looks as nerdy and metal as you would imagine a GM. The Actual Play bit is in front of a live audience, and the players aren’t eating enough snacks. I once visited friends in California and played in a Dungeons&Dragons game, and ever since, when I think of RPG in the US, my thoughts turn to eating cheetos until your fingers are orange.

The cast of Episode 1.

The three main characters are:

  • Dan Harmon as Fondue Zoobag, a half orc ranger
  • Erin McGathy as Beor O’Shift, a female half-elf barbarian
  • Jeff B. Davis as Boneweevil, a goblin rogue
PCs von HarmonQuest

Die drei PCs

The guests each play an NPC and with few exceptions those NPCs do not survive their episodes. In the finale I finally even recognized a guest: Nathan Fillion!

You don’t actually see much of the Actual Play because the cool thing about HarmonQuest is, dass all actions are shown as animation. You hear the players say what their characters are doing and see the whole thing as animation. As should be expected from a cast of comedians, it’s not serious at all, and is going for the laughs.

The story offers all the tropes you could expect, as our three buffoony heroes traipse across the world to save the world, and always end up helping the villains. The grand finale of the story arc was surprisingly serious and gripping. The guest stars usually have no experience with tabletop games, but improvise quickly, some better than others. Aubrey Plaza as gnome alchemist was a real highlight in episode 5. Some jokes fall flat, some others made me guffaw.

Real tabletop RPG action?

If you expect a real RPG session, as in Critical Role, you will be disappointed, because this has very little to do with a real Pathfinder game.  All players have character sheets they consult, but you never find out what level the characters are or how many hit points they have.  The fights are pretty cool, but don’t expect to see anyone but the GM rolling any dice or initiative or anything. This is certainly owed to the format because you can only achieve so much in 30 minutes, if you want to keep the story flowing. At least I was able to recognize the Pathfinder classes of all characters (though a paladin pirate captain was weird), with the exception of James Dean, a ghostly spirit living in Fondue’s magical broadsword in episode 9.

On the other hand this means that you can enjoy this show even if you don’t like Pathfinder or have never played it. The ruleset really plays no role in this show. I was amused that Jeff B. Davis always pointedly holds up the Pathfinder core rulebook at the start of each episode. Good on Paizo for being involved while Dungeons&Dragons 5e is whittling away at their fanbase.

How to watch HarmonQuest

As non-American this is not so easy. HarmonQuest is streamed on Seeso, a comedy streaming service of NBC which is only available in the US. If you are in the US and have Amazon Prime, you get a free 7-day trial of Seeso, which is more than enough time to watch all 10 episodes of season 1. There’s also trailer for season 1 on YouTube, and the first episode is available there as well. All in all one of the weaker episodes, I didn’t much care for the guest star, btw.

If you’re not American and want to watch the rest, can only ask Google for help in locating a stream…

Seeso just announced a season renewal which I am looking forward to sometime later in 2017!

Summary: if you enjoy sitcoms or Improv, and like tabletop RPGs, you should be able to enjoy HarmonQuest as well. However, if you don’t care for sitcoms and take our hobby dead-serious, you should probably stay away.

by Kadomi

RPG: Podcast Fever

Am I the only one who ever gets crazy hype about nerdy stuff? I find a new pastime or passion, and get really excited about it, investing a lot of energy and time into it. 2.5 years ago it was playing tabletop RPGs again. I went nuts with Pathfinder. I regularly go a bit crazy about MMOs, but that passion waxes and wanes. Currently a bit on the waning side, honestly.
I still think tabletop RPGs are the coolest hobby I have, the most creative and rewarding. I started listening to RPG podcasts so I could up my game and become a better GM. Then I became interested in broadening my horizons and branching out into other RPGs. I currently have less time to game myself, and so started listening to more Actual Play Podcasts.
Podcast FeverWhat this means is that I am listening to a ridiculous amount of podcasts at this point. Seriously ridiculous. I will never get caught up, but they’re such fantastic entertainment. Because I love sharing good stuff, here’s my big list of podcasts that I enjoy listening to:

RPG Podcasts in English

  • Critical Success – This podcast doesn’t run regularly, but offers rock solid advice from GM James D’Amato, the mind behind the One Shot RPG podcast.
  • Cypher Speak – Currently on hiatus, this is a podcast about Cypher System games, e.g. Numenera, The Strange, etc. It’s hosted by the fabulous Darcy Ross, a notable female GM, and her co-host Troy.
  • Dungeon Master’s Block – This diverse podcast offers tons of great information for DMs. Interviews, world building, spotlights.
  • Fear the Boot – This long-running podcast delivers tons of great information, and it’s been doing this for a loooong time. Currently on episode 432!
  • Game Master’s Journey – The podcast that started my obsession when the host Lex Starwalker did Numenera themed episodes (also his former podcast GM Intrusion). Used to be general advice, various systems, but has become very focused on DnD 5e, unfortunately, which is too system-specific for me these days.
  • Ken and Robin talk about Stuff – The two game designers Kenneth Hite and Robin D. Laws talk about stuff. It usually involves gaming, often about their many Pelgrane Press games, but really, all sorts of entertaining things. In their own words: Stuff talked about includes hobby gaming, history, occultism, chrono-travel, food, cinema, narrative, art, politics, food, maps, Cthulhiana, and in fact any matter subject to jocular yet penetrating erudition.
  • Modifier – An interview podcast hosted by Meghan Dornbrock. She interviews game designers, and the topics and games are super-interesting.
  • Our Turn! – The only boardgame outlier here. Hosted by a bunch of girls who enjoy gaming, predominantly boardgames, but also tabletop and video games.
  • Table Top Babble – This fairly new podcast by James Introcaso is another all-round podcast with interesting interviews, game reviews, not system-focused.
  • Talking Table Top – GM Jim McLure interviews people from the RPG world, and the interviews are always fantastic.
  • The CypherCast – Another Cypher System podcast from the folks who also publish the excellent CypherCaster Magazine (my favorite RPG magazine since the original DRAGON).  Relatively new, but very cool.
  • The DM’s Deep Dive – A new monthly podcast featuring DM advice by Mike Shea, aka Sly Flourish, as he’s better known. Might have a 5e focus, but I’ll wait and see.
  • The RPG Academy – As the name suggest, the academy wants to make DMs better, and they have class style episodes, like DMing 101, Faculty Meeting and Trials of new RPG systems

Actual Play Podcasts

  • Campaign – Come for the heroic Star Wars: The Edge of Empire campaign, stay for the wacky characters. It’s a total joy to listen to Kat Kuhl, a female GM, which is still a rare thing.
  • Fandible – This podcasts runs multiple actual play games, like Shadowrun, The Strange, DnD, but I am only listening for their Longshot Numenera campaign.
  • One Shot – Big systems, indie systems, the One Shot crew play all those games, in up to 4 sessions. Great to give you an idea of how a system works, with great roleplayers on board with a heavy focus on storytelling. Loved the Dracula Dossier game run by designer Kenneth Hite himself!
  • She’s a Super Geek – Girl powah! This podcast showcases female GMs and smaller game systems. Highly enjoyable.

German podcasts

  • Ausgespielt – Actual Play von diversen Systemen, Rollenspiel-News, Brettspiele. Alles sehr unterhaltsam vom Team präsentiert.
  • Der DORPCast – Michael Mingers und Thomas Michalski, die beide bei Ulisses Spiele tätig sind, plaudern über ihr liebstes Hobby, und da es auch ihr Beruf ist, gibt’s schon sehr interessante Einsichten von diesen alten Hasen meiner Altersklasse.
  • Der Eskapodcast – Macht leider gerade eine Sendepause. Eine lockere Runde mit nerdigen Themen und sehr interessanten Interviews. Manchmal mir etwas fremd, da ich die DSA-Schiene noch nie gefahren bin.
  • OrkTalk – Der neue Podcast der Mädels von Orkig im Geschmack, plus Steamtinkerer. 🙂 Hier bequatscht man in netter Runde diverse RPGs, die man in Actual Play getestet hat. Aktuell gab’s bisher Numenera und Coriolis. Immer mal her damit!
  • Spielgeflüster – Der Podcast der Teilzeithelden, eines großen RPG-Webmagazins. Teilzeit scheint hier Programm zu sein, es hat nämlich schon länger keine neuen Folgen gegeben.
  • System Matters – Ein kleiner deutscher RPG-Verlag, der auch einen länger laufenden Podcast betreibt. So cool wie die Spiele, die hier verlegt werden, z.B. Beyond the Wall.

Gerne hätte ich noch den Podcast von Greifenklaue hier aufgeführt, aber da ich den nicht abonnieren kann ohne RSS-Feed, höre ich den so gut wie nie, was ich aber sehr schade finde.

So, jetzt geht’s weiter auf Englisch.

Podcast apps

Podcast AddictI listen to my podcasts in two ways:
  1. on Android, using Podcast Addict. It’s a great app that’s incredibly easy to use, with tons of features. I like to fall asleep listening to podcasts so I appreciate the sleeper mode, for example. I recently bought an FM-Transmitter so I can stream podcasts from my phone to my older car stereo when I drive, which is working like a charm.
  2. Grover Podcast, in Windows 10. A great free app from the Windows store. Very clean design, lets you stream online, stream to other devices or download podcasts. Not as feature rich as Podcast Addict, but it’s working fine.

by Kadomi

RPG: My games of 2017

I don’t know what it is about tabletop RPGs as a hobby. It’s incredibly fun! Also, incredibly draining at times, and if you are unlucky, likely to explode in your face.

I last blogged about my Pathfinder games in April 16. At the height of my RPG gaming, I was in four Pathfinder games, twice as player, twice as GM. Of those groups, only my Roll20 game with my gamecation friends survived.

Here’s an overview what happened:

  • The first game already fell apart in December 15, because of inter-player conflicts and general ennui with the campaign.
  • The second game I played in was super-fun, and we all got along great! It was an all-girl party, which was very RP-heavy, really awesome. However, the GM went through a really tough time last year and was out of touch for almost a year. We’re back in touch, but I don’t think we’ll pick it up again.
  • My Rise of the Runelords campaign went really well up until September. The Skinsaw Murders is a great adventure, and the Misgivings part where a party explores a haunted mansion was everything I had hoped it would be. I gave the haunted players handouts, and it really messed with them. It was great. So what happened? The group was 3 co-workers, the boyfriend of one of the co-workers and my spouse. The female co-worker changed jobs, and ultimately it turned out that preserving the friendship when you don’t see each other daily didn’t work out. We had a fight in November, her boyfriend quit our Pathfinder WhatsApp group and I have quietly let the game die. It sucks. It really does, both for the friendship and the game.
  • That leaves my online campaign as the lone survivor. For a time we were really on a roll and played twice a month but after gamecation we started fading as well. We finally had our first game of the year in early January, and have a game scheduled for February as well. Just once, I want a game to survive, and I love my players.

Game prep, my ultimate villain

Never Unprepared

I still haven’t finished reading this book

Along with the online Pathfinder campaign, I am infrequently running a Numenera game. I started with two friends and my spouse, and we had a co-worker of one of the players join in later. He’s new to RPGs in general, but took to Numenera swimmingly. He plays a curious glaive who wears a sheen of ice. He has the curious thing down so well. Numenera is a fantastic system to teach new players, IMHO.

I love the Cypher system. There’s a marked difference in amount of prep I do for Numenera as opposed to Pathfinder. For Pathfinder, I tend to prep for hours, despite running an adventure path. I have to research monsters, traps, take notes on what happens where, and research spells. I spend so much time on D20PFSRD, it’s a bit ridiculous. It stresses me the hell out. Pathfinder is very crunchy, and we’re not even using all of the millions of options that have been published so far. I decided I won’t invest into any more of the rulebooks because it’s too much. I don’t need more options, I just need a fun game where I don’t have to spend way more time on prep than we’re actually playing.

For Numenera, I prep maybe an hour. I use Scrivener, create a bunch of NPCs, figure out the challenges they’re facing, and that’s it. For hardcore crunch fans, Numenera is probably too systems-light, but I really enjoy that I can look at a monster, see the level, jot down stats and focus on RPing the challenge. The system has plenty of options, especially now that with Character Options 2 we get two additional types, the Glint and the Seeker. Excited to try those out.

One shots

As described above, I am not that into Pathfinder anymore. I think it’s not a great system for new players. In retrospect, I wish I had been able to use something more simple for my Runelords group which was all new players. I am also slightly tired of running adventure paths. It’s a commitment for years. Ending games mid-campaign blows.

I listen to a lot of RPG podcasts, which I will post about at a later time. One of the podcasts I am listening to is One Shot, an actual play podcast that tries just about every RPG system out there. Big games, indie games, they try them all. It’s vastly opened my tabletop RPG horizon, and has woken a desire to try more different gaming systems. Just one adventure, take the system for a spin, have as much fun as possible with it.

I went ahead and tried that with my online group, but kinda sprung it on them on one of my not so great days. We played Beyond the Wall, an OSR-style RPG where the party all plays teenagers in a quaint village, kinda the YA style of fantasy. I think it was alright, but could have been better. It’s probably a ton more fun if you all create the characters together at a table instead of having to take turns online. My expectation was that the joint character creation and creating the village would be fun, but it didn’t work so well. My players are welcome to comment here!

Games I want to try

I have a huge list of games I want to try as one shots. I ran it by the friends who are back in touch now and they seemed generally interested. Here’s the systems I would like to try:

  • Trail of CthulhuGUMSHOE, e.g Trail of Cthulhu and Night’s Black Agents – The GUMSHOE system focuses on investigative RP. The basic premise is that players will always find the necessary clues to solve a scenario. The focus is on what players are doing with the clues they find, not about rolling if you actually find the clues. I read Trail of Cthulhu so far, and thought the rules were elegant, and the sample scenario is fantastic. This one I am reserving for my online group, which has a bunch of Cthulhu fans.
  • Star Wars: Edge of the Empire – The remains of my Runelords group, my two co-workers, are huge Star Wars fans. My spouse is a Trekkie, so I am not sure I can get her on board here. In any case, I would like to try the beginner’s box with my co-workers. It’s about adventures in the Outer Rim, bounty hunters and smugglers, no Jedi, in the early days of the Rebellion. The game has a unique dice system that I find very narrative, so I would like to try it.
  • Dungeons & Dragons 5E – The ancestor of all RPG systems is supposed to have streamlined the way we play D20 based fantasy RPGs. I still love D20, but I want less crunch, less options, a more beginner-friendly game with less system mastery. D&D5e is supposed to be all, so I am hoping to try Lost Mines of Phandelver from the D&D starter set sometime this year.
  • Blades in the DarkBlades in the Dark – Of all the systems listed above, this is the one I want to play the most. I am currently listening to an Actual Play, and am a bit blown away how elegant this system is. Basically, imagine the video games Dishonored or Thief. Set in a slightly steampunkish fantasy setting in the mighty city of Duskwall, you play a crew of criminals who as a team runs scores and tries to rise to the top. Individual players earn XP, but also the crew levels up. The game involves heists, chases, occult mysteries, dangerous bargains, bloody skirmishes. The thing I loved most about my dead Pathfinder game was that us girls were a crew of former criminals and I can only imagine how much fun it would be to explore this again.

There are more systems I eventually want to try, including The Strange, The One Ring, 13th Age, but those 4 above take priority.

Has anyone else run one shots or are all playing classic campaigns? Would be cool to know.


by Kadomi

Flashback: September Gamecation aka Boardgame Madness

Now that I am finding the time to sit down and blog some this week, I should mention the nerdiest thing I did all year in 2016: Gamecation! Now what’s that? Right, it’s a vacation for the sole purpose of gaming our hearts out. And many games were played!

The background

As I mentioned before, I am GMing an online game of Pathfinder somewhat irregularly, which has its own blog: The Adventures of the Cactus-Slayers. I am playing this game with my wife, and three very dear friends, back from my MUSHing days. This means we go waaay back. One of the friends lives in England, the other couple lives in Scotland. While playing online is fun, thanks to Roll20 (despite technical issues), it’s just not the same as face-to-face gaming. Also, we all enjoy boardgames, and you can’t really play most of them well online. A plan was made: we would meet for 3-4 days of all-out crazy game fun times.

We chose a location in central England that we would congregate in, which means we rented a Center Parcs lodge for all of us. I can now say I have been to Sherwood Forest, just like Robin Hood. It was pretty woodsy. The lodge was pretty basic, but had three bedrooms, an open kitchen, a big table, and a couch to slouch around on. Plus a view of ducks and squirrels. Who doesn’t like that? Off to Nottingham we flew on the last Friday of September, to stay until Monday.

Boardgames played

My original plan had been to GM my Pathfinder game for a face-to-face session, and that one of the players would try to run We Be Goblins to check out the GM side of things. However, we played so many boardgames instead, and spent time cooking, hanging around and reading, and the girls went to the spa. This all meant we didn’t have time for the Pathfinder games.

We played the following games:

  • Eldritch Horror – a cooperative Cthulhu game set in the Arkham Horror universe. Instead of being limited to Arkham, you fight the mythos all over the world. Not my favorite game. Elder Sign remains my favorite Arkham Horror game.
  • Exploding Kittens – Fast-paced card game that was fun and easy to play.
  • Cthulhu Gloom – Probably my favorite game of the lot. A unique game that combines cards with storytelling. You basically play a family where each member needs to die as miserably as they can, while preventing the other players from doing the same. Sadly no German translation yet, or I would buy it in a heartbeat. To see it in action, check out the Gloom episode of Tabletop.
  • Pathfinder Munchkin – the classic dungeon crawler card game in an edition full of cards relating to the Pathfinder RPG
  • Cards Against Humanity – gosh, the people I played with are filthy! Rightly described as the party game for horrible people. Always brings the laughs.
  • Pandemic – I have blogged about Pandemic before and will do so again. Still the best coop game out there, if you ask me.
  • Alhambra – A German Spiel des Jahres that is actually one of my favorite boardgames. It’s a tile placement game where you build the most beautiful Moorish themed palace while competing for those tiles with the other players. Really enjoy it.
  • Rapidough – This party team game makes you model objects with clay and your teammate has to guess what you’re making, while the other team does the same. Every time your team loses, you get less clay. Was really fun and I really really really sucked at it. 😀

RPG time

Breaking the Numenera GM

As one of the players aptly named it: The moment you break the GM

As mentioned above, Pathfinder didn’t happen, but my wife tried her hand at an impromptu GMing session of Numenera. She ran one of the GenCon demo adventures that I hadn’t read yet, Into the Violet Vale. I think it’s an adventure that really showcases the weird side of Numenera, as we were a group of explorers who ended up in a vale full of violet flowers that really messed with us. It was great fun. The pre-gen characters were a bit lame. One of the characters was a Graceful Nano Who Talks to Machines, but there aren’t really any machines in this adventure where you could use that. Regardless, I think we all had fun, and I am hoping that my wife will GM more often now. As I also want to talk about at a later point, I am kinda into one shots now.

If you ever want to try running this particular adventure, there’s a great prep post at The Alexandrian.

Seriously, how good are these things? Melt in the mouth cheesy goodness!

Other shenanigans

I think I cooked a killer red Thai curry. We also ate tons of snacks, chocolate and there was drinking. Oh yes, much drinking.  We ate the best cheesy puff ever. Screw Cheetos, Wotsits are where it’s at!


by Kadomi

State of the Kadomi, Legion Edition

Yeah, I know, this blog seems pretty much deserted all the time. However, whenever I have time off work, I feel like blogging. 2016 wasn’t a great year, and 2017 didn’t start much better, but let’s all keep hanging in there! To revive this blog, I had originally planned to bring my friend Rach in to help me fill this blog with content, but it didn’t pan out yet, and might not at all, but we’ll see.

I’ll try to give an overview of what’s all going on with me, in my pursuits of nerdery. I’ll post throughout my vacation week to get back into the habit of writing. I have tons of stuff to write about: My Pathfinder games, which seem particularly prone to player drama; my fun Numenera campaign; other video games I am playing; my attempts at losing weight and getting in shape while running away from zombies; and last year’s gamecation.

MMOs, aka WoW Legion

You know, I keep saying it’s over, and I am done with MMOs, and then I keep going back. I really thought after my extended into FFXIV, that was it. Zero desire. I scoffed at people hanging in there through Warlords of Draenor, which I still consider the worst WoW expansion to date. I had no interest in Legion. About two weeks before Legion was released, I spent gold on a WoW token, and have been playing through tokens ever since. As far as expansions go, Legion is great. There’s tons of content for every sort of player, and they’re really adding new content at the speed of light compared to other expansions. I pretty much expect them to fizzle out eventually, but that time, it’s not here yet.

When I went back to Legion, I piddled around with choosing who would be my main this expansion. Ever since giving up my US account, I switch mains every expansion. My former main Yatalai, frost DK, didn’t appeal. I didn’t want to heal, and never liked retribution, so my WoD main Yacoran the paladin was out. I speed-leveled a mage to 100 through invasions and decided that for the first time since vanilla, I would be ranged DPS again. That plan died at level 103 after my first dungeon. I don’t know how other ranged do it, but with tab-target changes I find switching targets as ranged so stressful and so unfun that I sent my mage to live in her garrison ever since, making hexcloth.

From Stormstrikes to healing

Instead, I boosted a shaman from 60 to 100, and was ready to rock it as enhancement. Enhancement was great fun, but it never fully clicked. I never lived up to my full DPS potential and I get antsy and frustrated when I am only a middling to low DPS. She also got one of the worst legendaries and I just wasn’t happy. I toyed with the idea of going full resto but my guild had a bunch of healers, so I didn’t find my niche there.

For 7.1.5 we had some changes in the raid line-up. Two healers wanted to go DPS, and I saw a chance at bringing back my paladin, who I had slowly leveled as holy/prot. I worked hard at gearing him for Nighthold, and since release of that raid have been healing in there. My guild is currently 8/10 normal and I truly, deeply, madly love my paladin’s healing style. Our godly resto shaman raid healer wasn’t there for the last raid, and so I was able to kick some ass, getting 97th percentile for my ilevel on Spellblade. That made me very happy.

Yacoran, my Legion main

I decided I’d give him a purple mog, but have no purple appearance for the artifact, QQ.

How about them legendaries?

Of course I also have complaints about Legion. For one, the Legendary system is total crap. In theory, I find it super-cool that everyone can get powerful items, but they don’t feel legendary to me. Ragnaros’ hammer or Thunderfury, the Twin-Blades of Azzinoth, those are legendary items.  The Legion legendaries are particularly high ilevel epic items with an extra ability. On top of that there’s a vast disparity between items, they’re so very poorly balanced. You can’t make items that increase DPS by 10% and at the same time offer items that only have utility, like the faster run speed plate boots.

Maybe I wouldn’t be so bitter if I had ever gotten one of the BiS legendaries. I got nothing but legendaries that seem to be particularly common: Aggramar’s Stride, Prydaz (which is at least super-useful if not performance enhancing) or Sephuz on my shaman. The latter actually made me angry when I received it. I think you’re supposed to be excited and happy when you get a legendary item, but here I got the pre-buff Sephuz, a big DPS loss to my current rings, with an ability that would not do anything for me in raids or in solo play. I think that was the day I decided I was done with my shaman.

Why must challenge equal speed?

Furthermore, I don’t care for the emphasis on challenge=speed. I run m+ dungeons, because it’s a great way to gain Artifact Power and a nice item from the weekly chest, but I haven’t done tons of m+, or particularly challenging ones, my high score being a successful +8. My paladin also tanks dungeons, and I have never been a speed rush tank, ever. I felt excited that I cleared Karazhan last week in 90 minutes, that was super speedy for me.

Preferably, I would rather see challenge more like Karazhan, and kinda dread that they’re adding m+ mode for it in 7.2. But no one is listening to me, and so it’s all speed speed speed. I think the emphasis on speed makes pugging even worse because everyone plays in that way all the time now. M+ dungeons make me feel old and slow. Anyone remember TBC heroics? Yeah, that was more my speed.

All in all, I am super-happy with Legion, World Quests  are not boring yet, and think the 7.2 content sounds spiffy.

by Kadomi

#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.

by Kadomi

#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.

by Kadomi

#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.

by Kadomi

#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.

by Kadomi

#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!

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