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Got a chance to play with @jaedmcon Roll20 tonight, and that was a lot of fun. Thanks again for GMing.

Honestly I was pretty nervous playing in a group of randoms for the first time, and I was probably a lot quieter than I really planned for in the non-combat parts. But overall it was still a good way to spend a Saturday and it was a really chill group. Playing a druid for the first time was mechanically pretty fun, even if animal shapeshifting takes a willingness to self-micromanage. I was happy to get to work in at least one use of it in a weird way out of combat, even if I kind of struggled otherwise to find my RP legs.

That guy playing the ranger rolled like an absolute God. I think he had 1 miss the whole session.

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Oh man thanks so much for playing. I was totally stressed about it sucking, mostly because of the technology and my inexperience with it getting in the way. I did learn a bit about what I like and don't like about Roll20.

I love GMing. I think what I really love is creating games and spaces where people who want to play can play, and have a positive experience. I think of the five, we had three players who had little experience to no experience playing a game. One character had tried to play 3-4 times prior, and she said each time they never finished the game. Last night was the first time she ever hit something in combat. That shit made me so happy.

I thought everyone got to have one or two cool moments, and I was shocked at how quickly everyone gelled together.  Definitely my favorite experience on the platform so far. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Here's a question for my D&D peeps @jaedmc and @Death From Above and others...What is your opinion on campaign storylines? Do you prefer something original or something put out and sold by WotC? If you've played an existing campaign, do they feel more cohesive and make more sense from level 1 through whatever level you get to?

I think part of my issue is that it's hard to get into the original story my friend came up with because there's too many wacky and weird character names and I don't know what we're doing or the why for why we're doing something isn't that strong. Maybe I'm too used to Gloomhaven and the storyline for that game where you're being lead towards "bosses" to fight. Are campaigns from WotC better in that regard in that the story is clear or the characters are a little more familiar?

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So here's the situation: We're never in any danger. At all. Ever. Never ever. We've just steamrolled through everything and I told my friend the GM that he needs to make this shit more difficult because if we're never at risk for dying then it's kinda boring. There's just no stakes involved if you feel like a god. And he always says he uses this one website to determine how many monsters to use in each part of our campaign and it's set to very hard, but we've casually strolled through it all. Is that normal? Before this session it had been a couple years since I last played D&D, but I remember us barely surviving some adventures.

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That doesn’t sound correct, in general.

Perhaps recommend that he refers to some WOTC-created content for assistance with details, such as names that seem more acceptable, cohesive story design and stakes that get the players invested and add real risk?

he can apply lessons from their content to his own creations to deliver a more engaging campaign for you players.

Edited by ctapley
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15 hours ago, Craig H said:

Here's a question for my D&D peeps @jaedmc and @Death From Above and others...What is your opinion on campaign storylines? Do you prefer something original or something put out and sold by WotC? If you've played an existing campaign, do they feel more cohesive and make more sense from level 1 through whatever level you get to?

I think part of my issue is that it's hard to get into the original story my friend came up with because there's too many wacky and weird character names and I don't know what we're doing or the why for why we're doing something isn't that strong. Maybe I'm too used to Gloomhaven and the storyline for that game where you're being lead towards "bosses" to fight. Are campaigns from WotC better in that regard in that the story is clear or the characters are a little more familiar?

I read the fuck out of modules and written campaigns. I mine them for encounter concepts and maps, and story ideas. And I don't limit it to just the WotC 5e stuff. I read old Dungeon Magazines and some Dungeon Crawl Classic modules. The big campaign I'm running now started from The Secret of Bone Hill which is a 1e mod that I updated to 5e. While I was retooling it I came up with tons of story ideas to go beyond the module, which took the players to 5th level. Once the players exhausted it, I had plenty of original stories that I'd developed from what the players were into.

So I coasted on that for a while, and whenever I found a reason to I'd insert a written adventure when it made sense. So say they're looking for their Macguffin and it's in a wizard's tower. I just grab an adventure with a wizard's tower and insert it into my world, replacing the adventure's macguffin with mine.

I guess the answer is: I love doing both. I like taking the cool ideas other people have playtested and inserting them into my world, but I love having an original story that we(me and the players) shape together.

As a player, I've played with people who run from written adventures and it's a mixed bag. I think some DMs worry about deviating from the source for fear that they'll break something. Or maybe they aren't inspired by the source material to add their own flavors. My wife ran Hoard of the Dragon Queen for me, and we both became frustrated with it early on because I didn't know how "off the rails" I could go, and she didn't know how "off the rails" she could "let" me go. So then we felt a little constricted. But then she started inventing shit for the game, and those elements mixed with the material in the book made it much more enjoyable. But it certainly has a big story with dragons and a war, and the players find themselves caught up in it. 

Right now on Roll20, I'm playing through Tales of The Yawning Portal with a DM I've never met with players I don't know. Tales From the Yawning Portal is like an anthology of different adventures, ordered in a way where a group could play through them from level 1 to something high. But there isn't really anything connecting them, that's up to the DM. I think what I find unfulfilling, is that we seem to just be playing through maps like a video game until we "win". There doesn't seem to be much story or hook other than "we're playing through the adventure we signed up for."

 As far as you DM goes, @ctapley's suggestion is a good idea.

Another idea would be for you and the other players to get together and look at some of the WotC adventures, like Curse of Strahd. Vote on the one with the story you think is coolest, pitch in a couple of bucks and buy it for the DM. Give it to him as a present and tell him you guys would like to play it. Then you get a cool story you're interested in that's been heavily playtested and refined, and the DM gets a little more structure to help him improve his skills. 

 

 

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The thing that intimidates me about pre-made modules, from the perspective of ever running one, is I feel this need to actually learn all the pre-written lore. I fear that I'll miss out on some key plot detail that ends up causing a big moment to fall flat down the line. On the other hand, having someone else pre-assemble dungeons for you isn't all bad either. But I definitley do feel like with a pre-made module I'd feel pressure to get the script right.

From the player side I'm not really sure I could point to a ton of difference from either homebrew or premade, per se, in the experiences I've had. I think a lot of it just has to do with what the GM is comfortable with.

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  • 3 weeks later...

We picked up the Call of Cthulu Starter Box a couple weeks back and really dug it. I honeslty havne't read much Lovecraft, but the concept of the game and horror in general really appeal to me. 

The set does a great job of leading you through the mechanics by taking you through a choose your own adventure style module. MY wife and I made a character together and took turns making decisions and rolls. You play this before you really read any of the rules. After that you can go through their truncated rule book before hitting up the quest book, which has three adventures.

The choose your own style introductory adventure was pretty fun, and we came out of it understanding pretty much most of the mechanics. 

I decided to try and run one of the modules in the third book for my wife(the first of the three is for a single investigator). This shit is so easy to run, I literally read through the adventure once while my wife made a character, and then when I was finished I ran it, with little problem. It's really very simple.

So if you were thinking about getting into that game I highly recommend it. It's only like 25 bucks and comes with dice/character sheets/ pre-gens/ and three adventures, four counting the solo intro one. The rules aren't nearly as detailed as the core rules set, but it's certainly a cheap and easy way to get into the game if you're not sure if you'd like it or don't have the cash.

Speaking of choose-your-own adventure, we picked up the EVIL POWER MASTER game, and I really enjoyed it. Played it with the kids and their grandmother, and we had a blast. The dice rolls can get really hard. I think our first play through we died really quickly(so it's accurate to the books). There's a little strategy that you don't think it's allllll luck, but it's very luck heavy regardless. 

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Pathfinder 2p books are on sale at Amazon. I picked up the core 3 books even though I'm probably a year or two away from playing Pathfinder at best but the ridiculous level of customization has me interested. 

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11 hours ago, jaedmc said:

We picked up the Call of Cthulu Starter Box a couple weeks back and really dug it. I honeslty havne't read much Lovecraft, but the concept of the game and horror in general really appeal to me. 

The set does a great job of leading you through the mechanics by taking you through a choose your own adventure style module. MY wife and I made a character together and took turns making decisions and rolls. You play this before you really read any of the rules. After that you can go through their truncated rule book before hitting up the quest book, which has three adventures.

The choose your own style introductory adventure was pretty fun, and we came out of it understanding pretty much most of the mechanics. 

I decided to try and run one of the modules in the third book for my wife(the first of the three is for a single investigator). This shit is so easy to run, I literally read through the adventure once while my wife made a character, and then when I was finished I ran it, with little problem. It's really very simple.

So if you were thinking about getting into that game I highly recommend it. It's only like 25 bucks and comes with dice/character sheets/ pre-gens/ and three adventures, four counting the solo intro one. The rules aren't nearly as detailed as the core rules set, but it's certainly a cheap and easy way to get into the game if you're not sure if you'd like it or don't have the cash.

Speaking of choose-your-own adventure, we picked up the EVIL POWER MASTER game, and I really enjoyed it. Played it with the kids and their grandmother, and we had a blast. The dice rolls can get really hard. I think our first play through we died really quickly(so it's accurate to the books). There's a little strategy that you don't think it's allllll luck, but it's very luck heavy regardless. 

CoC really is one of the best RPGs ever made.  The SAN (sanity attribute) deterioration and death rates can make for some incredibly good games, win or lose.  I also have Delta Green in PDF, which is great too...

Edited by ctapley
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Picked up Star Wars Outer Rim recently, as I was looking for a light game set in the SW universe to play with my 13 year old and my wife... haven’t played yet but looks decent enough.  

Finally got my hands on the Edge of Extinction expansion for Exodus: Proxima Centauri and so glad I did.  Adds asymmetry and improves the game ten-fold.

A few Kickstarters have arrived but have not tried them... looking forward to drunken games of Throw, Throw Burrito though lol

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  • 2 weeks later...

This should be of interest to some folks

Johnny Chiodini - formerly of Eurogamer (and still being Dungeon master for the OXtra folks) - and some other folks are starting a website/YT channel devoted to tabletop games.

In the video above - there is even an acknowledgement that it will be somewhat like the old Wil Wheaton Tabletop show (though Dicebreaker seems to be covering all angles of board games)

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  • 3 weeks later...

I feel for you homie. Worst thing I have to worry about is cancellations. 

D&D Beyond really helped me lock into warlock. I am going to DM for the first time soon and then a friend is going to run Hoard of the Dragon Queen and then Rise if we enjoy hoard. I'm likely going to try doing Death House (read it, love it even if the basement is murder with the monsters listed) and Curse of Strahd (much like warlock as a first character, I'm diving into the deep end) before doing a homebrew campaign I've been thinking about since getting into D&D. Between actually playing/prepping, Critical Role, and 3d printing, D&D is my life. 

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Honestly my biggest Roll20 gripe is that Wizards of the Coast are greedy shits so it counts for actually nothing if I own a physical book or a PDF I still need to buy it again at list price to unlock the features there. If I actually do go in on running a campaign I am going to end up buying the Player's Handbook, Monster Manual, Xanathar's Guide, Volo's Guide, and Tomb of Annihilation all specifically on Roll20.

Also I am quickly discovering I actually have no fucking idea how to do a lot of the GM-side shit there, I need to run a tutorial or two. Maybe I should be smart like Jae and find some one-shot to run a few times before I try to get an actual long term group that I'd be GMing for. Or it could fade into nothing again like most of my plans.

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Yeah, that's one thing that pissed me off. I bought a handful of the books and then we got into using Beyond but you have to but everything through there to use in character creation. I had some extra money and waited for one of the many sales they ran and eventually got the legendary bundle. It should all be going through wizards of the coast so you can use that bundle on any of their licensed websites. Horseshyit. 

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