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Introductions

benedict139

New member
Wizard of Adventure
Faster Combatant
Adventure Builder
Hi my name is Andy and am from Boston, MA, USA. I’ve played D&D since I was a pre-teen but over the years have managed to be in only a few games. I GMed for over 15 yrs but only several times, finding it difficult to form a group for various reasons. I have run 2 successfully, a homebrew Forgotten Realms game in 3.5 and Tyranny of Dragons in 5E. My other games all fizzled early and I tend to bite off more than I can chew in picking epic-length adventure cycles. My favorite games are Mage the Ascension, D&D 3.5, Pathfinder, 13th Age and Fading Suns. My only significant experience is in D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder 1st Ed. 5E is not quite to my liking and 4E not at all, preferring both editions of Pathfinder and 13th Age.

My adventures have always lacked flair and creativity and am hoping to change that. My other hobbies are writing screenplays and fan fiction novels. At this point in my life, I feel I must improve my writing skills especially for adventures or else pick a new hobby other than RPGs, but have no idea what else to do for recreational human interaction.

I’d very much like to run a game finishing a story arc of significant length for Mage, 13th Age or Fading Suns over a few months before my adventuring days end. Groups seem to break apart much faster these days and gathering an in-person group seems very hard now, so I’m open to receiving tips about how to roundup a group for a few months. I’d rather not do an online game but more and more that seems to be the direction in which everyone’s going:(

My favorite die is d20 but feel d12 is a totally underused die.
 

JohnnFour

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Welcome @benedict139! Mage and 13th Age are on my bucket list. I've always been curious about Fading Suns, too, but don't know much about it. Is there a new edition out?
 

benedict139

New member
Wizard of Adventure
Faster Combatant
Adventure Builder
Welcome @benedict139! Mage and 13th Age are on my bucket list. I've always been curious about Fading Suns, too, but don't know much about it. Is there a new edition out?
Yes, the 4th edition was recently released and was on Kickstarter last year. I’ve read some of the books already and would like to run a game some time. But even without Covid-19 gathering a group in person seems next to impossible. So I’m not sure what to do
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
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Adventure Builder
I love Mage: the Ascension!! It is a great system for magic and very, very creative. I've also got that problem, that I regularly run adventures, but I can't remember finishing a campaign before the group collapses... maybe I concept too long campaigns? We'll find out in the course.
Welcome, Andy!
 

JohnnFour

Game Master
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Demonplague Author
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ELF

Generator Sage
Staff member
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Faster Combatant
Adventure Builder
Nice, thank you! That's one lost RPT resource that I had managed to miss earlier. :)

A question about the resource description:
If you know of any great Looking For Game services, Facebook Groups, or communities, please share a link below.
Is there a way for users to comment on resources? I didn't find a way.

If there isn't, how about if I create a forum thread for that, and you link to it in the resource description? This way anyone on the forum could add to and update this information.
 

JohnnFour

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Hmm, weird. I thought there was a reviews section.

That would be great @ELF thanks!
 

dm.ant

New member
Adventure Builder
Hi everyone! Anthony here from NYC. I've been playing D&D since around 3.5 or so, bit of pathfinder, skipped 4E and then eventually came back for 5E.
Starting DMing 5E last year as a change of pace and because it sounded fun (it really is fun, but also stressful sometimes). Looking to level up my skills with adventure building and campaign planning.

Also would like to branch out into other systems at some point - I'd like to run a sci-fi/cyberpunk adventure for my group but still trying to figure out what system to use. Unfortunately shadowrun is too crunchy and my group doesn't really enjoy PbtA type systems. I guess the biggest challenge is to get them to actually switch systems, so I'm looking for something that will not be too difficult to learn (holy grail? does this even exist?).

Fav die is the d12, with the d4 coming up a close second.
 

ExileInParadise

RPG Therapist
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Adventure Builder
Hi everyone! Anthony here from NYC. I've been playing D&D since around 3.5 or so, bit of pathfinder, skipped 4E and then eventually came back for 5E.
Starting DMing 5E last year as a change of pace and because it sounded fun (it really is fun, but also stressful sometimes). Looking to level up my skills with adventure building and campaign planning.

Also would like to branch out into other systems at some point - I'd like to run a sci-fi/cyberpunk adventure for my group but still trying to figure out what system to use. Unfortunately shadowrun is too crunchy and my group doesn't really enjoy PbtA type systems. I guess the biggest challenge is to get them to actually switch systems, so I'm looking for something that will not be too difficult to learn (holy grail? does this even exist?).

Fav die is the d12, with the d4 coming up a close second.
DMing is a lot of fun and I've been learning a lot great stuff here from everyone on how to get more fun out of it.

For sci-fi, I am sketching out an article for how to get into sci-fi GMing and RPGs so feel free to lean on me for advice there.
My short answer for getting into sci-fi is give Cepheus Engine a look - it's freely available in SRD form, and has a lot of commercial support from some interesting designers... and builds on a classic sci-fi 2d6 roleplaying going back to the 70s.

For cyberpunk, take a look at the Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit.
It's a D10/D6 system not TOO crunchy - with a huge wealth of support behind it like Shadowrun has.
The Jumpstart gives you a starting set of pre-rolled characters, a starting adventure, and 3 more adventure seeds, along with rulebook and worldbook explaining what's up and how to run it. My first time noob RPer group at work did fine with the Jumpstart Kit, especially after I broke it down and walked them through each piece before session zero.

And... d4 is my least favorite die for 2 reasons: magic users only started with that many HP when I first rolled one up... and because they are MURDER to step on in the dark! See "Caltrops" in your player handbook. *grin*

So, it's glad to see the d4 getting some love here.
 

JohnnFour

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@dm.ant Maybe pitch a one-shot. Then play and pitch another. Then another. As players get through the learning curve, they'll stop fighting the system and start looking for gameplay opportunities. And one-shots don't feel as threatening as a campaign switch. Once you get'em hooked, offer the campaign option.
 

BoramereWrath

New member
Faster Combatant
Ok. You're just going to have to believe me on this. I'm not paid for this opinion, and I don't get any reward or anything....I'm just going to say it because it's true for me.

"My adventures have always lacked flair and creativity and am hoping to change that."
I really do like being on the email list over at https://www.roleplayingtips.com and look forward to the weekly emails. They are interesting, just the right size to consume easily enough, and if nothing else gets those creative juices flowing. They have several "free" tools that are good for any game, so pick them up as well. I also like system-neutral and OSR things being put out by Creighton Broadhurst over at https://www.ragingswanpress.com there are a lot of free things to sample over there as well which helps with descriptive and interesting things to build imaginative encounters with.

"My other games all fizzled early and I tend to bite off more than I can chew in picking epic-length adventure cycles."
Many of us GM's have been there and done that. We learn to take smaller bites. We learn to let the players often end on a "win" or "high note" many times so that they enjoy the game and can handle the losses and downturns when they come. Sometimes we can string some smaller encounters together rather than launching an epic-length adventure until the players have found a comfortable stride with their characters which makes them happy. Keep enjoying the shared story with your players and friends. Enjoy!!
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Faster Combatant
Adventure Builder
My adventures have always lacked flair and creativity and am hoping to change that.
As @BoramereWrath said, creativity is just so much background knowledge that you have the ability to choose. If you want to describe a door e.g. and at once several cool ways to describe the door pop into your mind, that means that you are creative. The only way to acquire that ability is to be able to imagine that. Thus, you have to read a lot about doors (and be attentive about it) and your brain needs to make those connections for the priming effect to kick in. In addition, you need an imaginative mind, i.e. the ability to imagine in strong and clear pictures. While the first condition is strengthened by movies and books alike, the latter is only strengthened by books.
A friend of mine always complained about a low ability to imagine things while trying to become a better player / GM. It was great that he saw his problem. We tried to strengthen it by making him read good fantasy books.

Many of us GM's have been there and done that. We learn to take smaller bites.
Great tip, @BoramereWrath! I have the same problem and will try to follow your advice.
 

Maskoz

New member
Wizard of Adventure
Adventure Builder
Hello all, Name is Lee/internet name Maskoz (EQ days), I live in North Carolina in the USA. I have a DnD 5e game campaign that just his the two-year milestone and we are currently playing through a bastardized Red Hand of Doom campaign. We just finished that battle of Brindol last Sunday at level 10.

We play on Foundry VTT, we use google meet for communication, I use dungeondraft for maps.

This is my first course in improving my skills and looking at areas to constantly improve. I plan to play both DnD 5e and Cypher system. I will be ripping the world of Rifts from palladium and using the cypher system to make that world come to life.

My biggest issue this past year has been relying on maps to describe the area to the players instead of describing with the sense and then allowing the map to fill in the blanks. I have also spent A LOT of time on maps this year. Turning an evening to basically be a "show and tell" of the maps that I have created and less of the world around them.

Goals:
I want to specifically get better at "green box text". Succinct and important information in bite-size pieces for the players.
I want to create more memorable NPCs.
Continue to build memorable locations where interesting combats occur
Continue to utilize AoO monster stat philosophy, but continue to grow outcomes, to streamline combat on my side.

Fav D is the D10s. The only way to make it to 100!
 

ExileInParadise

RPG Therapist
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Adventure Builder
My biggest issue this past year has been relying on maps to describe the area to the players instead of describing with the sense and then allowing the map to fill in the blanks. I have also spent A LOT of time on maps this year. Turning an evening to basically be a "show and tell" of the maps that I have created and less of the world around them.
Welcome!

That big old issue would make a great thread of its own for you to start crowd-sourcing approaches to try to resolve it.
And, I do know there are some posts around on how to do exactly what you are looking for with using senses to describe things.

Goals:
I want to specifically get better at "green box text". Succinct and important information in bite-size pieces for the players.
I want to create more memorable NPCs.
Continue to build memorable locations where interesting combats occur
From personal experience, I can definitely say you are in the right place for these specific goals.

Several of Johnn's specific tutorial videos aim directly at these goals as well as many of the Roleplaying tips.

Also, heading to the https://roleplayingtips.com/archives page and use your browser search for example topics should net you a few directions to explore right away.
 

dm.ant

New member
Adventure Builder
DMing is a lot of fun and I've been learning a lot great stuff here from everyone on how to get more fun out of it.

For sci-fi, I am sketching out an article for how to get into sci-fi GMing and RPGs so feel free to lean on me for advice there.
My short answer for getting into sci-fi is give Cepheus Engine a look - it's freely available in SRD form, and has a lot of commercial support from some interesting designers... and builds on a classic sci-fi 2d6 roleplaying going back to the 70s.

For cyberpunk, take a look at the Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit.
It's a D10/D6 system not TOO crunchy - with a huge wealth of support behind it like Shadowrun has.
The Jumpstart gives you a starting set of pre-rolled characters, a starting adventure, and 3 more adventure seeds, along with rulebook and worldbook explaining what's up and how to run it. My first time noob RPer group at work did fine with the Jumpstart Kit, especially after I broke it down and walked them through each piece before session zero.

And... d4 is my least favorite die for 2 reasons: magic users only started with that many HP when I first rolled one up... and because they are MURDER to step on in the dark! See "Caltrops" in your player handbook. *grin*

So, it's glad to see the d4 getting some love here.
Awesome, thanks for all this info. Will be very helpful.
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Faster Combatant
Adventure Builder
First of all, welcome, Lee!

My biggest issue this past year has been relying on maps to describe the area to the players instead of describing with the sense and then allowing the map to fill in the blanks. I have also spent A LOT of time on maps this year. Turning an evening to basically be a "show and tell" of the maps that I have created and less of the world around them.
When I switched to VTT (Roll20) last year the same happened to me. But I got frustrated real soon, as it became more and more map creation, moving little icons on maps and tactical discussions than roleplaying. It became something different and I didn't like the development much. Thus, I thought and read a lot about how to increase roleplaying again on VTT. Result was that I came up with about 20 different points to do, but only 2 were the most important changes:

  1. I didn't use maps anymore. I insisted on videos by my players.
    By insisting on videos of my players (and of course myself) it is more like when we met at a table. By this, I increase the immersion and people get unspoken cues which they normally wouldn't and it is more of a community thing than just another online game. It changed our games drastically.

    Just a short side note: Often I put the PC's icons with their health and status bars in one corner, because it reminded the players of the current condition of other PCs. Also, they were linked to the character sheets and there was a small icon with a summary of what happened before. Sometimes I used a background picture to set the mood, sometimes I used it as a rough 3D map, but mostly I didn't bother anymore and concentrated on the important things.

  2. I let the players roll their actual dice.
    A part of the fun is the physical sensation and the emotional thrill to roll a die.

By moving from maps to videos, I moved away from 3rd person view battlemaps towards 1st person view theater of mind GMing.
There is a great analysis by @ExileInParadise, where he points out between the lines that...
  • Using a map creates a 3rd person view on the PCs, which leads to a player's point of view during the game. It will lead to more outgame tactical discussions, which is typical for a wargame.
  • Not using a map (but theater of mind) creates a 1st person view out of your PC, which leads to a PC's point of view during the game. It will lead to more ingame engagement, which is typical for a roleplaying game.

I haven't said this before, but this reminds me strongly of Glenn Blacow (1980): 4 Aspects of Role Playing Gaming, in: Different Worlds #10 (Oct 1980), URL: http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/theory/models/blacow.html.
In his still convincing analysis he differentiates between the following 4 aspects (not player types!) (summary by me):
1610575558869.png

The common roleplayer is a mixture of all of these aspects and I wouldn't judge any of them for tending to someting different than me. This simple overview helped me notice, which elements of the game lead to more of this or more of that type of game. This said, in combat scenes maps color your game "wargamey" and lead to more outgame tactical discussion. If you know that, you can control it better, I believe. It is not necessarily a "problem", but a style of game.


I want to create more memorable NPCs.
There is a thread specifically about creating memorable NPCs: Most Popular NPCs. Check it out. I got into much detail describing there how I would create memorable NPCs and give many examples. I hope it helps you.
 

JochenL

CL Byte Sprite
Staff member
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Adventure Builder
Gamer Lifestyle
That big old issue would make a great thread of its own for you to start crowd-sourcing approaches to try to resolve it.
Yes, please!

First of all, welcome, Lee!


When I switched to VTT (Roll20) last year the same happened to me. But I got frustrated real soon, as it became more and more map creation, moving little icons on maps and tactical discussions than roleplaying. It became something different and I didn't like the development much. Thus, I thought and read a lot about how to increase roleplaying again on VTT. Result was that I came up with about 20 different points to do, but only 2 were the most important changes:

  1. I didn't use maps anymore. I insisted on videos by my players.
    By insisting on videos of my players (and of course myself) it is more like when we met at a table. By this, I increase the immersion and people get unspoken cues which they normally wouldn't and it is more of a community thing than just another online game. It changed our games drastically.

    Just a short side note: Often I put the PC's icons with their health and status bars in one corner, because it reminded the players of the current condition of other PCs. Also, they were linked to the character sheets and there was a small icon with a summary of what happened before. Sometimes I used a background picture to set the mood, sometimes I used it as a rough 3D map, but mostly I didn't bother anymore and concentrated on the important things.

  2. I let the players roll their actual dice.
    A part of the fun is the physical sensation and the emotional thrill to roll a die.

By moving from maps to videos, I moved away from 3rd person view battlemaps towards 1st person view theater of mind GMing.
There is a great analysis by @ExileInParadise, where he points out between the lines that...
  • Using a map creates a 3rd person view on the PCs, which leads to a player's point of view during the game. It will lead to more outgame tactical discussions, which is typical for a wargame.
  • Not using a map (but theater of mind) creates a 1st person view out of your PC, which leads to a PC's point of view during the game. It will lead to more ingame engagement, which is typical for a roleplaying game.

I haven't said this before, but this reminds me strongly of Glenn Blacow (1980): 4 Aspects of Role Playing Gaming, in: Different Worlds #10 (Oct 1980), URL: http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/theory/models/blacow.html.
In his still convincing analysis he differentiates between the following 4 aspects (not player types!) (summary by me):
View attachment 937

The common roleplayer is a mixture of all of these aspects and I wouldn't judge any of them for tending to someting different than me. This simple overview helped me notice, which elements of the game lead to more of this or more of that type of game. This said, in combat scenes maps color your game "wargamey" and lead to more outgame tactical discussion. If you know that, you can control it better, I believe. It is not necessarily a "problem", but a style of game.



There is a thread specifically about creating memorable NPCs: Most Popular NPCs. Check it out. I got into much detail describing there how I would create memorable NPCs and give many examples. I hope it helps you.
I will totally steal that for my new online campaign!
 
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