Way Off-Topic: Question for RPGamers

The Off-Topic forum for anything non-LDS related, such as sports or politics. Rated PG through PG-13.
honorentheos
God
Posts: 1505
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2020 2:15 am

Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for RPGamers

Post by honorentheos »

Bret Ripley wrote:
Sun May 08, 2022 11:31 pm
honorentheos wrote:
Sun May 08, 2022 7:48 pm
Zuggtmoy and her cultists are painted and ready for the big chapter-ending battle...
Nice!

We never got into painting figures, except for this one time a guy running a paladin reached 7th level (a gloriously rare occurrence) and to celebrate decided to buy and paint a lead figure to represent his character; less than an hour into the very fist session using the painted figure, the paladin died. From that point on, "painting your paladin" became 'table-speak' for any action that seemed likely to invite disaster. "Grod told me he plans to humiliate the Arch-Mage by publicly peeing in the punch bowl; hell of a way to paint your paladin."
That's an awesome story! I've found that D&D 5e is no where near as lethal as older versions...mainly because there are numerous ways to heal or bring back characters who die. I've killed PCs in the campaign but they've been brought back every time. Now they are getting into territory where the Lady of Rot is a serious challenge but they could take her out as long as the dice don't turn against them.

Your story makes me want to find an in game reason for using the phrase, "Paint your paladin", too...I've got ideas. :)
User avatar
Bret Ripley
CTR B
Posts: 152
Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2020 1:55 am

Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for RPGamers

Post by Bret Ripley »

honorentheos wrote:
Sun May 08, 2022 11:53 pm
Bret Ripley wrote:
Sun May 08, 2022 11:31 pm
Nice!

We never got into painting figures, except for this one time a guy running a paladin reached 7th level (a gloriously rare occurrence) and to celebrate decided to buy and paint a lead figure to represent his character; less than an hour into the very fist session using the painted figure, the paladin died. From that point on, "painting your paladin" became 'table-speak' for any action that seemed likely to invite disaster. "Grod told me he plans to humiliate the Arch-Mage by publicly peeing in the punch bowl; hell of a way to paint your paladin."
That's an awesome story! I've found that D&D 5e is no where near as lethal as older versions...mainly because there are numerous ways to heal or bring back characters who die. I've killed PCs in the campaign but they've been brought back every time. Now they are getting into territory where the Lady of Rot is a serious challenge but they could take her out as long as the dice don't turn against them.

Your story makes me want to find an in game reason for using the phrase, "Paint your paladin", too...I've got ideas. :)
Presumably, royalties will be involved? :)

I haven't played since 2E -- the paladin episode occurred under AD&D rules. As far as I can remember -- which admittedly isn't as far as it used to be -- we never had anyone who was 'brought back.' The best DM I ever played under was also the most lethal; we sometimes didn't bother naming our characters unless they reached 2nd level. If you made 5th level, you had something to brag about.

Say, have you ever read 'Knights of the Dinner Table'? I highly recommend it for gamers/ex-gamers -- I get a big kick out of it, anyway. In fact, after I discovered it ... some 20+ years ago, forsooth ... I became a subscriber and went on Ebay and snatched up as many back-issues as I could find. My subscription has long since lapsed, but every year or two I play "catch up" by buying the issues I've missed in pdf format. In fact, I'm about due for more catching up ...
honorentheos
God
Posts: 1505
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2020 2:15 am

Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for RPGamers

Post by honorentheos »

I'll give you 10% of the work that goes into DMing, which is a steal I'd say. :)

I hear you about the old games. Nothing was more terrifying than an unopened chest...

I quit playing/DMing about the time 2e came out. I think part of it had to do with the Satanic Panic resulting in it feeling watered down somehow. But also we moved on to other games by then, too. We discovered Pandemic, Shadowrun, Twilight 2000, and some other games plus even more table top war games about that time and it faded out.

It's been fun getting back into it, though.
User avatar
Bret Ripley
CTR B
Posts: 152
Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2020 1:55 am

Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for RPGamers

Post by Bret Ripley »

honorentheos wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 12:33 am
I'll give you 10% of the work that goes into DMing, which is a steal I'd say. :)

I hear you about the old games. Nothing was more terrifying than an unopened chest...

I quit playing/DMing about the time 2e came out. I think part of it had to do with the Satanic Panic resulting in it feeling watered down somehow. But also we moved on to other games by then, too. We discovered Pandemic, Shadowrun, Twilight 2000, and some other games plus even more table top war games about that time and it faded out.

It's been fun getting back into it, though.
It sounds like it. I'd love to be a fly on the wall at one of your games.

I stopped DMing almost 30 years ago, after the players drifted apart geographically and otherwise. Before that, it was almost weekly D&D with some Boot Hill, Top Secret, and Paranoia thrown in to add some variety. Some fun times. But, as you say, a lot of work -- I'm sure I don't have the stomach for it anymore. I think the part I miss most is 'winging it' when players took the action in unexpected directions -- off-the-cuff adventures sometimes turned out to be the best.
honorentheos
God
Posts: 1505
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2020 2:15 am

Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for RPGamers

Post by honorentheos »

Bret Ripley wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 12:25 am
Say, have you ever read 'Knights of the Dinner Table'? I highly recommend it for gamers/ex-gamers -- I get a big kick out of it, anyway. In fact, after I discovered it ... some 20+ years ago, forsooth ... I became a subscriber and went on Ebay and snatched up as many back-issues as I could find. My subscription has long since lapsed, but every year or two I play "catch up" by buying the issues I've missed in pdf format. In fact, I'm about due for more catching up ...
I hadn't heard of this but just checked some of them out. Thanks for the recommendation!
honorentheos
God
Posts: 1505
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2020 2:15 am

Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for RPGamers

Post by honorentheos »

Bret Ripley wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 1:18 am
I think the part I miss most is 'winging it' when players took the action in unexpected directions -- off-the-cuff adventures sometimes turned out to be the best.
We were discussing this after last Fridays session, too. One of the gents playing who has recently tried his hand at DMing asked how much they actually did that I expected them to do? And my honest answer is that the campaign is essentially their creation, I'm just trying to fill in what details I can before they can see the edges. I ended up building a TV map box because it is easier to have digital maps ready for multiple situations than it is to print them out, and I still probably draw half the encounter maps by hand on the spot or just run them theater of the mind if they will only last a couple of rounds at most. I have a Word doc I use for session preparation. It has on it the weather for the next couple of days, when sunrise and sunset occur, then bullets on what's going on in nearby locations where they might go. Then a few sentences describing likely NPCs they would meet by location or affiliation. I then update key events, roll some treasure from treasure tables, homebrew any unique monsters needed based on the events and locations, and that's about all the time I have.

My take on DM preparation is it falls under the sentiment expressed by General Eisenhower regarding plans. That being something along the lines of, "In my experience I've found that plans are useless, but planning is essential."
User avatar
Physics Guy
Apostle
Posts: 784
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2020 7:40 am
Location: Trading off with momentum.

Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for RPGamers

Post by Physics Guy »

I remember feeling there was a sweet spot between improvisation and planning.

Some games my scenario ran on rails, to the point where the players were almost spectators—they did things, but the things for them to do were so obvious that they weren't really choosing much. Other times I concealed the sparseness of my pre-planned world by determining that X, Y and Z would be behind the first three doors the party opened, whichever those happened to be. The players sometimes agonised over which door to choose and I sat there poker-faced. That kind of thing seemed to work all right when I did it but it was duller for me and I think the campaign would have become lifeless if I had done it too much.

Other times, though, I had too little preparation and had to make things up on the spur of the moment. For every time that led to something awesome, I think there must have been several when it led only to something disappointing. The worst of it, in fact, was probably how often a spur-of-the-moment improvisation sounded really cool at first but petered out when I ran out of creative steam.

I think I eventually found a good balance of substance and looseness, where I had some high-quality ingredients prepped in bowls on the counter, as it were, but could leave it up to the flow of the game how the things would combine. On the other hand you can't always get it right and that was fine. We weren't getting paid.
What if fire is only the first of a million such things?
honorentheos
God
Posts: 1505
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2020 2:15 am

Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for RPGamers

Post by honorentheos »

Physics Guy wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 11:02 am
I remember feeling there was a sweet spot between improvisation and planning.
This aligns with my experience as well. Players are too unpredictable so there is always a reasonable chance much prepared material will go unused. But not preparing has a tendency to result in let down moments or I improvise my way into a tough corner. My current method of focusing first on the world, then events, then people all within an area they have motive and ability to travel to meet lays the ground work. Then details that can be added, puzzles, the cool world-enriching things I let percolate during the time between, writing them down when a good one comes up. It works pretty well. I find some of their favorite sessions recently didn't include any combat, with one week in particular including a situation they intimidated their way out of it. Ruined some plans I had, but rewarded them for their creativity and wit, setting up a fly-by-the-seat-my-pants hour of game play before there was a reason to introduce an NPC I had prepared. Good times. :)
User avatar
Bret Ripley
CTR B
Posts: 152
Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2020 1:55 am

Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for RPGamers

Post by Bret Ripley »

honorentheos wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 5:13 am
My take on DM preparation is it falls under the sentiment expressed by General Eisenhower regarding plans. That being something along the lines of, "In my experience I've found that plans are useless, but planning is essential."
Yes. If you have creative players, they will drive the story in unexpected directions. And, frankly, sometimes their ideas -- often driven by suspicions of possible 'off-stage' machinations that hadn't even occurred to me -- were more interesting than what I had planned. In situations like that, you can try to plot-hammer them back onto the fairway, but they won't love you for it. Rather -- I will riff off your Eisenhower quote -- I found it generally best to take the attitude of Theodore Roosevelt Jr. on D-Day upon discovering his regiment had been landed a mile out of position: "We'll start the war from right here."
Physics Guy wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 11:02 am
I remember feeling there was a sweet spot between improvisation and planning ...

I think I eventually found a good balance of substance and looseness, where I had some high-quality ingredients prepped in bowls on the counter, as it were, but could leave it up to the flow of the game how the things would combine. On the other hand you can't always get it right and that was fine. We weren't getting paid.
That is definitely consistent with my experience. I used to try to keep a few roughly mapped-out encounters/locations/set pieces in my back pocket to dip into to keep things interesting while my mind feverishly scrambled to adjust to an unexpected turn of events. On a few occasions those things took on a life of their own and became quite entertaining side-quests, and sometimes they fell flat. Either way, it kept the dice rolling and bought me time to catch up with the players.

I think it's perfectly fine to make it up as you go along, as long as it doesn't look like you are making it up as you go along.
Post Reply