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    1. Online Scythe gaming group

      This thread is for organizing a group to play Scythe online. Everyone mentioned has either been in my specific thread about Scythe months ago or mentioned it elsewhere. I FINALLY got around to...

      This thread is for organizing a group to play Scythe online. Everyone mentioned has either been in my specific thread about Scythe months ago or mentioned it elsewhere. I FINALLY got around to getting the Steam version in addition to the Invaders from Afar dlc since it was a bundle.
      I'd love to get a Discord group started so we can all finally play together and ultimately shoot the shit and have some fun.
      Also I couldn't figure out how private messaging works which is embarrassing but this is way easier, anyway.
      If this gets enough traction in the next couple of days I'll make us a discord group and we can go from there as far as scheduling goes. I'd also be open to other games if the group wants to do so. 🤘
      @0d_billie
      @guissmo
      @Beowulf
      @Notcoffeetable
      @TreeFiddyFiddy
      @ocdbear
      @AugustusFerdinand
      @TownshipTeleporter
      @clerical_terrors
      @KapteinB
      @Spongey

      11 votes
    2. Any books for a beginner Go player?

      Discovered Go not too long ago, finding it quite enjoyable. I know there's plenty of reading material out there, but I'm unaware of what exactly would be worthwhile, especially for someone who's...

      Discovered Go not too long ago, finding it quite enjoyable.

      I know there's plenty of reading material out there, but I'm unaware of what exactly would be worthwhile, especially for someone who's been dabbling around at it for 3 months at most.

      Grateful for any and all suggestions!

      15 votes
    3. Any Kult players?

      I have never played a tabletop RPG before, but was absolutely fascinated with this Kult playthrough that the YouTube algorithm decided to show me for some reason. I watched the whole thing! The...

      I have never played a tabletop RPG before, but was absolutely fascinated with this Kult playthrough that the YouTube algorithm decided to show me for some reason. I watched the whole thing! The "gnostic" backdrop the lore has is spellbinding.

      It's hard to gauge its popularity just from YouTube videos, but I'm curious to know if anyone on Tildes has played it, and if so, what your experiences have been. And do you know of any TTRPGs that are similar? Vampire the Masquerade, maybe? My friend group isn't into this sort of thing at all, but maybe I can persuade them...

      (In case you manage to miss the copious warnings at the start of that video, Kult's themes are quite graphic. Fair warning!)

      6 votes
    4. How to end a level 20 D&D campaign with a bang

      -----UNDERMOUNTAIN SPOILERS----- -----HALASTER BLACKCLOAK SPOILERS----- I've been playing and DMing D&D since the late 70s. Most of my campaigns have been homebrew worlds with my own rulesets. But...

      -----UNDERMOUNTAIN SPOILERS-----

      -----HALASTER BLACKCLOAK SPOILERS-----

      I've been playing and DMing D&D since the late 70s. Most of my campaigns have been homebrew worlds with my own rulesets. But as with many of us, the pandemic became a personal golden era of online gaming with friends around the world, especially with the old classic modules and Roll20.

      This campaign began simply enough. It was called Thug & Thugger, and it only had two players. I told them they were thieves who stole from other thieves, interrupting the thefts and taking what they wanted for themselves. And it worked fine for the first 7-8 levels. But then we got ambitious and I sent them on a Spelljammer ship into the Phlogiston. There, they found the protection of an elder goddess who had been imprisoned and needed them to rescue her. But in the course of their rescue, things went sideways and instead of being murdered by Nalfeshnee and Hezrou demons, the elder goddess in a last gasp to save her heroes sent them "somewhere random."

      Where they landed was the seventh level of The Dungeon of the Mad Mage in Undermountain. Not only that, but the demons had been compelled to be their familiars and... once they figured out their scale issues... all of them were no more than nine inches tall. The characters discovered that they couldn't go up any floors, only down. If they were going to survive this, they would have to conquer all 23 levels of the dungeon. Now, I'm well aware that this plot sounds like it came out of the diary of a 12 year old, but ultimately what we wanted was a campaign that finally took players all the way to the end and allowed them godhood after level 20.

      With all our play these last few years, the schedules of daily life had defeated nearly every campaign. That was why we only had two players. And that was why we shoe-horned our narrative arc into the only module we could find that would get the players to 20.

      The first five floors or so were an absolute bloody blast. They were immensely overpowered, despite being only nine inches tall, and they went through entire hordes like a buzzsaw. After the near-death challenges of the Phlogiston it felt like a victory lap. And as the DM I was fine with it, knowing their bully ways wouldn't last. At a certain point, one of their foes banished the Nalfeshnee (which was a massive loss--those things are stupidly powerful) and they regained their former physical height.

      Then it was a fight. The two characters were a warlock/bard and a ranger/monk. Both fought well in the magical dark without disadvantage. That was their main strategy: cast darkness and then wade in. It worked for most of the levels and against a wide variety of enemies, especially since the vast majority of spells require you to "see" your target. But then the monk started spamming stunning strike and they got back to running the table on me. Dungeon of the Mad Mage was written before stunning was a thing, so not a single foe had resistance or immunity to it. He would burn through the legendary saves of nearly any bad guy and still have extra ki points left over.

      They leveled and leveled again. They also became clerics to appropriately worship the elder goddess. Their bag of holding filled with gear and each action or attack became as convoluted as a Disney contract. The number of saves, reactions, buffs, etc. that needed to be accounted for on every move was something I won't attempt again without an AI assistant. As they approached the final battle, I realized that I needed help.

      One player had told me that another friend group of ours had tried the year before to take on Undermountain but that campaign had fallen apart. So I secretly texted the DM of that group with a proposal: Since you know this campaign so well, I need some assistance for the end. He happily agreed.

      On the day of the final battle, the players were locked in combat with Halaster's most senior minions. Suddenly, the Mad Mage himself arrived. That's right. On the Zoom channel, someone new joined. Someone named Halaster. He appeared in a wizard robe and fake white beard, wielding a scepter he'd bought on Amazon, with a screen behind him generated by AI to look like Halaster's lair.

      My players lost their minds. They thought I was just going to put on a corny voice and be Halaster myself. No no no. But this wasn't to be just a cameo. I told the new player to legitimately have Halaster kill them. I wasn't looking for a happy ending. And as the DM I wasn't going to be anything but the referee, adjudicating what had now become a PvP situation. Two players against the Mage. My two players finally realized what I had in store for them. This was a serious no-holds-barred fight to the death.

      The Halaster player is also a legendary game designer in his own right, a video game designer turned executive who has worked on many games we all know. He called in several other legends of the industry to help him figure out his moves. I even handed him the gift of cursed gloves I'd tricked the monk into putting on several levels before, which made his stunning strikes against Halaster something he needed to roll on the wild sorcery magic table.

      And they still beat him and won their freedom and the freedom of their elder goddess. But man was it a battle. They withstood his meteor storm and made saves against his most potent spells. At the end, the bard only had 3hp and nearly everyone else was dead.

      But we did it! We finally finished a level 20 campaign. And now we know we never need to do that again, lol. It became so unwieldy and slow after about level 15 that it felt more like work than play.

      We look forward to starting over with simple characters who do simple things. The monk will be the DM this time, leading me and the other player in the Lost Mines of Phandelver. And each of us will try playing two simultaneous classic characters this time: me a dwarven cleric and elven illusionist, he a half-orc fighter and wood elf rogue. At least we know our schedules work.

      24 votes
    5. How to make this a fun djinn fight for relatively new players? (Bryan: Stay out, I know you're out there)

      I'm working on a new boss fight for a 5-person level 8 party of fairly new people. I wanted to give them something completely different, so I figured a fight on a small 20x20 circular rooftop with...

      I'm working on a new boss fight for a 5-person level 8 party of fairly new people. I wanted to give them something completely different, so I figured a fight on a small 20x20 circular rooftop with a stealthy djinn might be fun. I'd love to hear thoughts on how to make this a good time. My main idea is to force the party to figure out creative ways to find the djinn, since they don't have any way to see invisible creatures in their normal set of abilities. Things like throwing sand in the air, or holding ropes between each other to detect the silent wind motion as he moves around. Stuff that is more flavorful than a normal straight fight.

      I'll also be throwing players off the roof, forcing them to make agility saves to grab hold of ropes that are on the edge of the building, then strength checks to pull themselves back up. Have some moderate injuries occur if they roll badly. What suggestions would you have for me to make this a fun fight?



      Izel, Guardian Djinn

      Large Elemental (Air), Lawful Neutral


      • Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
      • Hit Points 152 (16d10 + 64)
      • Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft.

      STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
      18 (+4) 22 (+6) 18 (+4) 16 (+3) 20 (+5) 18 (+4)

      • Saving Throws Dex +10, Con +8, Wis +9, Cha +8
      • Skills Insight +9, Perception +9, Stealth +10
      • Damage Resistances lightning, thunder; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
      • Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion
      • Senses truesight 60 ft., passive Perception 19
      • Languages Auran, Common
      • Challenge 12 (8,400 XP)

      Elemental Demise. If the djinni dies, its body disintegrates into a warm breeze, leaving behind only equipment the djinni was wearing or carrying.

      Innate Spellcasting. The djinni's innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 16, +8 to hit with spell attacks). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:



      At will:

      Mage Armor: You touch a willing creature who isn’t wearing armor, and a protective magical force surrounds it until the spell ends. The target’s base AC becomes 13 + its Dexterity modifier. The spell ends if the target dons armor or if you dismiss the spell as an action.

      Greater Invisibility: (Concentration) You or a creature you touch becomes invisible until the spell ends. Anything the target is wearing or carrying is invisible as long as it is on the target’s person. The target can attack or cast spells without becoming visible.


      3/day each:
      > Wind Wall: Requires concentration. You create a wall of strong wind on the ground at a point you can see within range. The wall is up to 50 feet long, 15 feet high, and 1 foot thick, or a ringed wall up to 20 feet in diameter, 15 feet high, and 1 foot thick. It lasts for the duration, blocking arrows, smaller creatures, gases, and fog.
      > Lightning Bolt: You release a bolt of lightning that arcs toward a target you can see within range. A line of electricity 100 feet long and 5 feet wide blasts out from you in a direction you choose. Each creature in the line must make a Dexterity saving throw, taking 8d6 lightning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

      Actions

      Multiattack. The djinni makes two scimitar attacks.

      Wind Blade. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d8 + 6) slashing damage plus 5 (1d10) lightning damage.

      Windforce Blade (Enhanced Multiattack). If Izel hits a target with both attacks during his Multiattack, the target is pushed 10 feet away from him.

      Whirlwind (1/Day). As an action, Izel transforms into a whirlwind for one turn, moving in a straight line up to 60 feet. Any creature in the path of the whirlwind must make a DC 16 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the creature takes 18 (3d12) bludgeoning damage and is thrown 15 feet in a random direction and knocked prone. On a successful save, the creature takes half damage and is not thrown or knocked prone.

      Legendary Actions

      Izel can take legendary actions, choosing from the options below.

      Wind Push. After every enemy's turn, Izel rolls a D20; on a 13 or higher, he uses the wind to move that enemy if they are within 60 feet of him. The target must succeed on a DC 16 Strength saving throw or be pushed 15 feet away from Izel and knocked prone.

      Wind Buffet. Izel creates a small burst of intense wind around himself. Each creature within 10 feet of Izel must succeed on a DC 16 Dexterity saving throw or take 17 (3d10) bludgeoning damage and be pushed 10 feet away from him. Using Wind Buffet breaks Izel’s concentration and ends his turn.

      Lair Actions

      • At the start of each turn, roll a D20. On a 10 or higher, all creatures on the battlefield are pushed 5 feet in a random direction determined by a d8 roll. This unpredictable movement simulates the chaotic nature of the winds that Izel commands.
      23 votes
    6. "Twisted Gods" - few RPG concepts for an inspiration

      I invite You to read and discuss, and if You have Your own "twisted gods", feel free to share! In RPG and fantasy, we are often faced with a situation where the existence of gods is an empirically...

      I invite You to read and discuss, and if You have Your own "twisted gods", feel free to share!

      In RPG and fantasy, we are often faced with a situation where the existence of gods is an empirically confirmed fact, rather than a matter of belief. Two extremes can be distinguished in the representation of these entities (note – I do not claim that all creation adopts one of these two extreme points of view). On the one hand – the trend adapted by e.g. most of the settings for D&D – gods are personification of certain values professed by people, not infrequently they are even „born” from the faith of mortals or at least derive power from it/are shaped by it – gods described as „good” are simply good in the conventional sense of the word, they sincerely care about their followers and you know what to expect from them. On the other side, we have motifs that can be considered taken from Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythology – the gods are incomprehensible, distant beings, completely unconcerned with human worldviews and so-called „good and evil”, mostly indifferent to humanity (and if by chance their paths intersect with humanit’s ones, humanity is screwed) – at the same time, it is not uncommon for most mortals to be unaware of their existence, instead worshipping imaginary, more anthropomorphic deities tailored to their emotional needs.

      In this article, I wanted to present deities standing somewhere in the middle – entities whose goals, yes, are not fully understood by mortals, but nevertheless close enough to human morality that worshippers can find some commonality (real or imaginary) with their patrons. These gods are usually directly interested in some way in the lives of their worshipers – although not necessarily in the way those worshipers would like. At the same time, I wanted each description to contain a hook, an important point where the devotees’ understanding of the deity diverges from its real nature – and whose discovery could be a significant twist.

      1. Mother of Peace

      The Religion of the Mother of Peace, or the Cult of Harmony, is a strictly pacifist religion. Strictly and absolutely. No violence is allowed, ever, anywhere, in any situation. If you see a psychopath murdering children with an axe, you have no right to use force to prevent him from doing so. You cannot stun him, disarm him, knock him over, or even grab his arm. At most, you can ask him to stop, try to distract him, or stand up to the blow to give the children a chance to escape. Why do people follow such religion? First, the philosophy appeals to some – in the real world, Gandhi said something like „applying the eye-for-an-eye principle will make everyone blind.” – Followers of Harmony believe that violence begets violence, while peace begets peace. If they consistently turn the other cheek and don’t resist evil, they will stop winding up the spiral of violence and constant revenge and eventually evil will disappear naturally. Second – following the path of Harmony brings concrete benefits. Holy priests, who have long been non-violent, receive healing powers from the Mother of Peace – but they only work on other followers, so the policy of „I do violence, and the pacifist priest of Harmony heals me” is impossible. To use healing, you need to sincerely renounce violence – which, on the one hand, reduces your chances of survival in an encounter with hostile beings, on the other – if you come out of it alive, all your wounds will be healed, plus you gain protection from natural diseases and other threats. Third – the priests of Harmony preach that those who live and die, observing the principle of non-violence, will be taken into the bosom of the Mother of Peace after death, who will give them happiness incomparable to earthly suffering – so it is „profitable” to trade your life in exchange for heavenly pleasures.

      The religion of the Mother of Peace may be perceived differently in society. It is possible that the authorities are avtively against it – it makes the subjects unwilling to fight, which reflects on the combat power of the state. Or perhaps they support it, seeing it as a tool to pacify potential rebels? Ordinary people may regard the Children of Peace as annoying lunatics – or treat them with deep respect. Even if healing powers may not work on „infidels,” after all, the Children may be able to help them in other ways – such as using conventional medicine (while remarking „Join us and you’ll see real miracles!”).

      Well, what is the catch? Yes, the Mother of Peace actually exists. But her goal is by no means to create a utopia where people can live in happiness and peace. Her goal is to weaken the population of a given world/planet/country. When a sufficient portion of the population is transformed into followers of Harmony, for whom the use of violence – even for defense – is unthinkable, and even if it were thinkable, they would became too weak to use it, the time for reaping comes. The True Children of the Mother, hordes of bloodthirsty, voracious creatures, come out to prey and consume the pacified people. The devoured people continue to make prayers to the Mother, who continues to appear from time to time, assuring her followers that this is the final test and whoever perseveres without putting up a fight against the monstrous invaders will be saved.

      During the course of the game, players may encounter followers of Harmony. It would be good for the GM to present them as something more than detached hippies, to make the players start to wonder if they are right. Maybe they’ll come across a reformed bad guy – e.g., a psychopathic follower of the god of murder who massacred a village of Harmonious heretics, but their indomitable will and serenity in the face of death made him convert and join them? Or more life-like – a husband who stopped beating his wife and children and is now an exemplary head of the family? Players can act as defenders of persecuted Harmonists (although this will involve some ambiguity – „Harmonists are decent people, but without people like us, who are not afraid to get their hands dirty, thay would survive”). They can have discussions with the priests about the legitimacy of pacifism. Maybe one of the player characters will start thinking about becoming a Harmonist after his career as an adventurer ends? The more sympathetic players become to the cult of Harmony, the more shocked they will be to discover indications that the Mother of Peace may be a much darker entity than it appears. At first, they may trivialize rumors like „Harmonists are actually a fifth column preparing the world for an invasion by dark forces!” as typical denigration of the new religion by the old clerical establishment. But as time goes by, the evidence will become stronger and stronger… Until finally there will be an invasion of the True Children that the players will have to face. Or maybe they will have the chance to prevent it, and will face the dilemma „Whether to believe the critics of the Harmonists and obstruct the great ritual, which, according to the Harmonists, is supposed to help bring universal happiness, but in fact open the gates of the dark dimensions…. Given that in order to do so, we will have to massacre a crowd of unarmed civilians, including women and children?”

      The Mother of Peace is portrayed by her followers as a goddess with, one can easily guess, maternal qualities. Perhaps even as a pregnant woman? This is a play on the ambiguous nature of this entity – the presumed spiritual mother-protector of the followers of Harmony, and the actual fecundator of the swarm that will consume them. Players may come across disturbing references to „the coming of the True Mother’s Children” in sermons and hymns – priests may (sincerely or not) explain that it’s such a metaphor, that it’s about the era when people truly dedicated to peace will come.

      1. Enemy of Superstition, Destroyer of Magic, Defender of Normalcy

      There are many arguments that are made against magic. It is source of obscurantism, superstition and charlatanism, a way to fool people. It violates the natural order of things. It is the work of demons, leading to possession or by destroying the veil of the worlds to demonic invasion. It is the theft of the power due to the gods, a manifestation of human pride. It distracts people from giving honor due to these gods. It brings madness, sucks the life out of the environment, causes the risk of explosions or other side effects. Leads to inequality, as mages can exalt themselves over ordinary people. Or something.

      Depending on the setting, each of these accusations may or may not be true. But that doesn’t stop the Defender cult from preaching them. Inquisitors and witch hunters roam the world, collecting magical artifacts, books and even arresting anyone who manifests magical talents. No, they don’t burn them at the stake. All items and people associated with magic go to the Bottomless Wells located in temples – supposedly the only way to effectively annihilate them. Importantly, the hunters are ordered to take mages alive if possible and throw them into the wells – supposedly a mage eliminated in the wrong way turns into a wraith, or something like that. Inquisitors are aided in this work by the magic-blocking powers provided by the Defender.

      Witch hunters can be treated by the people as terrifying villains – or as heroes. The reason for the latter attitude is not necessarily solely propaganda and „fear of otherness.” It is possible that the land has actually suffered a lot at the hands of mages – perhaps it has just liberated itself from the rule of an evil sorcerer and his disciples, or it is fighting a fierce battle against a nation that uses magic in a fierce way. It would be worthwhile for players to see some of the negative effects of magic use with their own eyes, so that at the very least they would develop doubts about whether the Defender’s followers are wrong.

      What is the truth? It’s easy to guess that the Defender is not concerned with defending the innocent from witchcraft. But neither is he driven by any other selfish yet high-minded motivations along the lines of „magic takes the glory away from the gods.” The truth is that for the „Defender,” magic is just darn tasty. Bottomless Wells are portals leading directly to his insatiable maw. It’s possible that the founder of the Inquisition managed by some miracle to communicate with this entity and make a pact „I will provide you with food, you will lend me and my disciples your anti-magic powers, which you use to safely digest objects radiating magic – and we will use them to incapacitate mages.”

      What will happen when the players reveal the truth about the Defender? Maybe the inquisitors will be furious that their holy crusade turned out to be nothing more than feeding an inter-dimensional monster, they will turn their backs on their god, to which he will react with rage (not because of his violated dignity or some other irrelevant value, but because of the vision of being cut off from a steady supply of grub), through one of the wells he will enter the world and the players, along with the inquisitors, will have to face him? Or maybe the inquisitors will react with a shrug of the shoulders and the statement „So what if the Defender is not a noble god, but a voracious monster. Magic is still a threat, and he is the best means to eliminate it.” Perhaps, using the method of the cobbler Skuba (Polish legend), players will toss a special object emanating „toxic”‚ magic into one of the Wells, which will poison the Defender?

      1. Truthsayer

      God of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. People swear by his name. He is also worshipped as the god of justice and knowledge, so judges and scholars worship him. Lying brings his curse.

      The Truthsayer doesn’t lie about himself – in fact, he wouldn’t be able to even if he wanted to (and he definitely doesn’t want to). The problem is that the people themselves have sung too much about him. As I pointed out above – he is the god of truth and ONLY truth. Justice does not matter to him, it is a totally foreign concept to him…. If he helps the investigators uncover the machinations of the villains, it is only so that the truth will come out, but he does not care whether the result will be the administration of justice. He might as well help the villains discover the heroes’ forays and subterfuges. As for acquiring knowledge – yes, he assists scholars in their research, in order to reveal the truth. However, if a scholar spins unsubstantiated speculations and hypotheses (which happen to be contrary to the truth), even in good faith – he draws the wrath of the Truthsayer. Simply put, untruths make the Truthsayer suffer. This applies to any untruth. Also fantasy. If the Truthsayer’s followers perform a ritual to increase his presence in the material world, they will bring a terrible calamity. From now on, the curse will fall on actors and poets, on anyone who utters a harmless lie like „You don’t look fat in that clothes,” „I’m not mad at you,” or „I’m on my way out,” as well as anyone who uses deception (no, the Truthsayer doesn’t care about the nobility of the cause – if you put on camouflage to sneak under the headquarters of the bad guys and rescue their innocent hostages, you are a hideous LIAR and deserve to be punished). Bah, people in ordinary conversations must be careful not to use metaphors and phraseological compounds. A Truthsayer may even go so far as to seek to eliminate words like „nice,” „tasty” or „good” – after all, they are subjective, and what is not objective truth, is a LIE.

      Good player characters can help prepare a ritual to summon the avatar of the Truthsayer – after all, „God of Truth” sounds like a decidedly good dude, right? At some stage, they may realize that the world of absolute truth will be something terrible (maybe some conversation with a philosopher?) and try to torpedo the ritual. Maybe they will be able to accomplish this in advance… Or maybe the avatar will already begin to pass into our world? Then they will succeed in playing him off by pointing out the paradox – people summoned him because they believed he was the avatar of goodness, justice and knowledge – if he exploits this ignorance of theirs, he will benefit from lying, and this would be unacceptable. Or a character with an exceptionally high bluffing skill or the like might try to spew a tale so full of lies and absurdities that the avatar of Truth will go berserk just from listening – but a half-hearted success will only enrage him!

      For the Truthsayer, as an antithesis, I would see a god of lies and fantasy – not the typical sinister „Prince of Lies” in the style of the Christian Satan, or some malicious trickster, but a deity whose motto is „Such is the world! A wicked world! Why is there no other world?” (B. Lesmian) or „Be guided in life by such foma (harmless lying) as will give you courage, goodness, health and happiness” (K. Vonnegut), who lies not for some selfish purposes, but because he firmly believes that lying IS GOOD. The real world is cruel and unfair, lying helps to endure it and achieve at least a little happiness – through escapist fantasies, small daily lies „From tomorrow I will take charge of myself and achieve something!” „You look nice”, „Don’t worry, you’re not a failure at all” through big lies like „Good is always rewarded and evil is punished”. In this arrangement, both the god of lies and the god of truth would be morally neutral in practice (both can assist followers in certain situations, but at the same time pose a danger – the god of truth mercilessly punishes anything that is not the absolute truth, the god of lies can entangle you in a web of delusion) – but in theory, it is the liar who is driven by more altruistic motivations and loves mortals.

      1. Prince of Blades, Lord of Sharp Angles and Edges

      Centuries ago, the Prince of Blades was worshipped as a deity of war, or even slaughter. Legends say that he made the claws of his worshippers – and even their teeth and nails – exceptionally sharp and dangerous to enemies. And the legend is true – albeit the Prince was never a god of war. He is the personification – or perhaps the source? – of all sharpness. He doesn’t care about crippling anyone, although that’s mostly a side effect, he just wants things to be sharp. Or rather – in passing, by his very existence, he makes them so?

      Let’s say there is a place where strange phenomena occur. Babies are born with long and exceptionally sharp claws and fangs. Swords and axes made by local blacksmiths are famous for their exceptional sharpness (maybe the player characters just came here to get their hands on them?). Why go. There is a temple of the Prince underground, and its influence radiates to the surface. Cultists come to the town to unearth it – they believe in the Prince in his aspect of the god of war and believe that this will help them triumph over their enemies. When they realize their goal, they are met with a surprise. The cultists are transformed into living avatars of sharpness. Invisible blades cut them so as to eliminate all contortions (a head clipped to a cube is not a pleasant sight), their hands turn into scythes, and in their brains all thought of their own is replaced by a single imperative – cut! What’s more, the Prince’s influence is more and more visible in the neighborhood – everything becomes sharper. The most visible effect from a mechanical point of view is that all weapons (edged weapons to a slightly lesser extent, but also) deal more damage. But as the influence increases, even rubbing clothes against skin starts to be painful, then every touch hurts, until finally the very movements of air cut the skin. If players don’t close the temple, the effects can be really nasty. It is possible that earlier players encountered a strange artifact – a sponge ball. If they didn’t get rid of it, it will turn out to be a „statue” of Our Soft and Oblique Lady, the opposite of the Prince, which what him will mitigate the effects of opening the temple. The battle will take place not between good and evil, order and chaos, or other abstract constructs, but between Sharpness and Softness.

      1. Mistress of Natural Instinct

      A goddess of wildlife, her followers preach the need to return to a life in harmony with nature and reject the defiling influence of civilization. Oh, it would seem – another „mother Gaia” with a pseudo-ecological cult. The thing is, the Lady is not at all measured by the fact that people are poisoning rivers and cutting down forests, as her followers believe. What she doesn’t like is that they are rational. Reason, consciousness, morality, are evolutionary dead ends. They only multiply pain and suffering. Do animals – much less plants – waste time and resources on some foolishness like art? Do they risk their lives and the lives of others for abstracts like honor? Do they suffer from offended dignity, boredom or lack of meaning in life? People simply combine too much to be happy. The return to nature is not primarily about rejecting technology (although that will probably be a side effect of it), but liberating people from the unnecessary baggage of excess thoughts. Let them become like animals – free, innocent and amoral. This is the purpose of the Lady, which is not grasped (possibly except by the high priests) by her followers. Yes, during ecstatic rituals some of them fall into a trance, during which they walk on all fours, howl and growl. And the priests are able to bring this trance on their enemies… But are the followers ready to accept the truth that, according to the will of their mistress, this is how life should be, forever?

      Rest of the book is avalaible here, for free: https://adeptus7.itch.io/twisted-gods

      5 votes
    7. Is there interest in a board game-focused Discord server?

      Edit: Well, given there's already a vaguely positive reception to the idea, I've went ahead and set up the server! It's by no means a finished product yet, but it's at least a start! Here's the...

      Edit: Well, given there's already a vaguely positive reception to the idea, I've went ahead and set up the server! It's by no means a finished product yet, but it's at least a start!

      Here's the link: https://discord.gg/FqArkERU2U

      About a year ago, I was running a pretty active, small community board game server and it was a lot of fun until most of the regulars got busy with life.

      After that, things happened and it fell by the wayside, but my time here with Tildes makes me really want to bring it back, I just wanted to gauge interest first. The idea is that anyone could set events, anyone can invite people, etc. Obviously, it wouldn't be an open server, but one in the same vein as Tildes, but in board game community form.

      Specifically, things like hidden role games and other more complicated games really feel like they shine when there's a solid group of regulars that are able to teach newbies how to play.

      (And selfishly, this would be a great way for me to learn new board games, as well)

      23 votes
    8. GMs: Collaborative worldbuilding

      GMs: do you have any gaps in the worldbuilding of your setting that you're looking for help filling? Post them here! In case it wasn't already clear, I need help as well. My setting is a...

      GMs: do you have any gaps in the worldbuilding of your setting that you're looking for help filling? Post them here!

      In case it wasn't already clear, I need help as well. My setting is a near-future hybrid of Shadowrun and Cyberpunk, in 5e. There are two major gaps. First, in my setting North America has fractured into a handful of nations - but the middle part split into a radioactive wasteland and a loose coalition of city states. What locations might be concealed in the wasteland? (A fallout vault-like society living in the NORAD mountains of Colorado?) Which city states would have survived and what would their character be?

      I also need ideas for more megacorporate factions.

      Here is the work in progress for the setting, if you're interested.

      Help me and I promise I'll help you!

      13 votes
    9. My experience making maps when I run games or: How I learned to start worrying and hate city maps

      While there were conversations about this in the past, those were much more generalized. Now, I personally don't have issues creating world maps, regional maps, or 'battle' maps, as it were, but...

      While there were conversations about this in the past, those were much more generalized.

      Now, I personally don't have issues creating world maps, regional maps, or 'battle' maps, as it were, but when it comes to city maps... I'm consistently at a loss. That said, I don't want this to just be me begging and whining into the void about how I can't find something that I prefer to make city maps in, so here's what I've used and would recommend over the past 15 years or so:

      Of these, I definitely recommend Wonderdraft the most. I think if you put in enough time and effort, Photoshop can turn out better (and most detailed), but if you're interested in a style that Wonderdraft has support (and assets) for, it's pretty much perfect. It's a one-time cost, has been getting consistent updates and support since it was in beta years ago, and the community assets are pretty much unending. The one caveat to Wonderdraft is that if you want to make an absolute behemoth of a map (like I'm apt to do), it will eat some serious resources and can begin to lag, due to how it handles each individual tree/mountain/path as a singular, editable asset.

      Campaign Cartographer is an oldie that I tried about ten years ago, had some success with (mostly in how it designed continent outlines and things), but just didn't feel like it had enough malleability to create things the way I saw fit.

      • Region/Continent Maps: Wonderdraft, Photoshop, Inkarnate

      I think everything I said about world maps applies here, as well. I haven't used Inkarnate in the better part of a decade, but I know the free version was very limiting and there were some concerns about the company 'owning' anything you created in the program. That said, a brief look at it now makes it look like a more closed-off version of Wonderdraft, but with a subscription instead of a one-time purchase.

      • Battle Maps: Dungeondraft, Photoshop, a plethora of generators that I can't even begin to remember dating back 10+ years

      Before Dungeondraft, I pretty much hated making maps for combat. Early in my GMing 'career', I would just have a blank canvas on Roll20 and draw on details as it was needed, and eventually I just pivoted completely to theater of the mind for all of my combat. And then Dungeondraft rolled around, and it was pretty quick to export from there, incredibly quick to import to Foundry (with a module), and Just WorkedTM. Before that, I did occasionally try and make things in Photoshop, and would follow tutorials from time to time, but it was all just so time-consuming, and with a lot of asset hunting if you wanted consistent art style and detail to what you were doing. It was just so much.

      Which, of course, brings me to...

      Ah, the problems. So, I tried to make city maps in Wonderdraft, but it's very obvious that it was built for a larger scale, and there are a lot of 'hacks' (or workarounds, I guess?) you need to do to make it work, and it can be frustrating and very time-consuming, as there's nothing there to really automate the process at all. For example, Wonderdraft has this beautiful 'paint brush' for assets such as trees or mountains that will 'spatter' them across a set radius, with a set density, etc. This is very helpful for something random like forests, but essentially useless for placing buildings. Dungeondraft is a little better in this regard, but has the opposite issue: Everything is too 'small' and focuses on more grid-based, rigid design, given that it's built for, well, dungeons. And battle maps in general.

      I purchased City Designer 3 (along with a big pack of Campaign Cartographer add-ons) as part of a Humble Bundle a while ago, and I kind of enjoyed it, but it really felt like the amount of effort required wasn't worth the end result, which - at best - would be using art assets designed to give the feel of the maps from D&D 5E. And even then, that limited the asset options because it didn't seem like there was a lot of additional third party support for the program (which is definitely showing age). That said, it's the only one I've used that seemed able to handle good building placement along roads, able to do it automatically. That said, Photoshop?

      Probably the best time I had making city maps. I had to stylize them, but with enough ingenuity, good knowledge of automation (through recording Actions), and following some art style tutorials, you can make a "cheap" city map that's able to have a lot of variation. If you're interested in map design in Photoshop, I highly recommend the tutorials of Jonathan Roberts, who is very much my 'gold standard' for map creation. Unfortunately, he doesn't really update his site any more, and some of the tutorials show their age, but all of the content there is still great.

      Then, we have generators. The ones linked above are the best ones I've found, though the city ones leave a lot to be desired as far as graphics and specific details go. But the village generator for small towns and the like? Beautiful. It's genuinely just a perfect little generator if you don't care all that much about the specifics of the map. So, for most towns and villages, it's fine. But what if it's a town built up against a mountain, that sprouted up around a mine? Well... that's not gonna work. What if it's a town that's split on two sides of a river, protecting passage? No such luck. A swamp town, or one in tree-tops? No, not really gonna work all that well.

      And just last year, I was turned towards AI generation here on tildes, thanks to @atomicshoreline and his fairly extended description of how to set things up. But, I eventually gave up bothering him after my old video card kept having VRAM issues with only 8GB.

      I have seen some very good city maps made in Inkarnate, but I don't know that I'm interested in something that has a yearly subscription, and I can imagine it being very frustrating long-term to invest in something that I've seen issues with in the past.

      So, all of this is to say that I really enjoy making detailed content for my world, but I've always had issues with cities. There's just so much content that needs to be hand-placed in almost every program, and even an un-finished city has taken me well over a hundred hours in Dungeondraft, and that was with me still actively hating looking at it..

      So, if anyone has other suggestions, I am quite literally always searching for new ways to make city maps, and I've tried just about every suggestion given to me at least once, often to the detriment of my bank account.

      Oh, if someone can think of a better title to this post and wants to change it, please be my guest. I just wanted to contribute my knowledge and recommendations, rather than just throw a "give suggestions" post out into the ether, and wasn't sure how to phrase that.

      25 votes
    10. Any tips for games for two or more players?

      Hey, I would love some recommendations for games that works well for just two players but would also work with more. I’d like to get less screen time and think tabletop games would be great for...

      Hey, I would love some recommendations for games that works well for just two players but would also work with more.
      I’d like to get less screen time and think tabletop games would be great for that purpose.
      Do you have any recommendations for games you’ve really enjoyed, thank you!

      16 votes
    11. How to preserve a 9000 piece jigsaw puzzle?

      I just completed this puzzle (although it's missing 1 piece, which I wrote to them to see if they can replace because the alternative would be to buy a 2nd copy and shift through 4500 pieces to...

      I just completed this puzzle (although it's missing 1 piece, which I wrote to them to see if they can replace because the alternative would be to buy a 2nd copy and shift through 4500 pieces to find the one I need). I want to hang it on my wall!

      Edit: Found the missing piece!!!

      Right now it's on my living room floor (pencil for scale) on 9 pieces of poster board that I taped together. But, I am not sure if this is the best surface to permanently attach it to. Does anyone have any recommendation on how to glue/seal this & mount it?

      I also want to apply some kind of protective coat in addition to just gluing it together/to something to prevent damage, so if the method to do that is different from the method to mount it I'm also interested in that.

      23 votes
    12. Feedback on boss monster for tonight's DnD session

      Hello tabletop peeps! I have completed a monster design for my first ever boss creature, and I wanted to get some quick feedback. This is all based on a previous post where I got ideas from y'all,...

      Hello tabletop peeps! I have completed a monster design for my first ever boss creature, and I wanted to get some quick feedback. This is all based on a previous post where I got ideas from y'all, here: https://tildes.net/~games.tabletop/1cjn/designing_my_first_dnd_boss_fight_with_a_giant_mimic_5x_lvl_5_characters

      Players are a group of 5 lvl 5 characters, fairly magic heavy and lower hp overall.

      The boss creature is a mimic that appears to be a large stone fountain with blood in it. If a PC touches it or stabs it, then they (or their weapon) will be grappled for the start of combat. At that point, the mimic will sprout 6 tentacles that each can travel up to 40ft from the main body and wield a weapon. All tentacles will operate on the same turn as the main body.

      Healing Pool in the boss room

      The boss room is a large room with a pool in it where blood is mixed with water that has flowed over a magic crystal to produce a healing solution. The idea is that the PCs will figure out that they can either heal themselves by dipping into the pool, prevent the boss from getting close to the pool, or that they can break the magic crystal to prevent the boss from healing. Several of the boss abilities reference this pool.

      Mimic main body:

      STR 16 (+3)
      DEX 10 (+0)
      CON 20 (+5)
      INT 16 (+3)
      WIS 12 (+1)
      CHA 8 (-1)

      HP 200
      Main body loses 20hp if a tentacle dies

      Armor Class: 13
      Speed: 15 ft
      Proficiency Bonus: 2
      Damage Resistances: None
      Immunities: Poison, Acid, Sleep, Charm

      Abilities

      Harden: Cannot take other actions, harden body to stone and increase AC to 18, as well as resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, slashing, cold, fire
      Spew Blood: Begin charging up blood, PCs can see mouth direction. At the beginning of next turn, spew acidic blood in a 180 degree arc for 30 ft. Deals 3d6 acid damage, half damage on DEX 14 save. Mimic main body cannot do anything on its next turn as it recovers.
      Chomp: +5 to hit. 1d12+3 piercing damage
      Charge: If no arms are left, it will spew blood from the back and charge at a target. Increase speed to 45ft, and deal (+5 to hit) 4d6+3 bludgeoning damage to a target. Dex15 save for half damage.

      Sword Tentacle (x3)

      HP 20
      Armor Class 13
      Speed 30 ft
      Damage Resistances: None
      Damage Immunities: Poison, Acid

      Abilities

      Harden: Cannot take other actions, harden body to stone and increase AC to 18, as well as resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, slashing, cold, fire
      Heal: If the healing pool is nearby, soak arm in the pool to heal it fully, and heal the main body for 15hp. Alternatively, resurrect a different defeated tentacle instead of healing self or the main body.
      Slice: +5 to hit. 1d8+3 slashing damage

      Shield Tentacle (x1)

      HP 20
      Armor Class 13
      Speed 30 ft
      Damage Resistances: None
      Damage Immunities: Poison, Acid

      Abilities

      Harden: Cannot take other actions, harden body to stone and increase AC to 18, as well as resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, slashing, cold, fire
      Heal: If the healing pool is nearby, soak arm in the pool to heal it fully, and heal the main body for 15hp. Alternatively, resurrect a different defeated tentacle instead of healing self or the main body.
      Shield Bash: +5 to hit. 1d4 + 3 bludgeoning damage
      Defend: As a reaction, give disadvantage to an attack when an ally 5ft away is attacked

      Crossbow Tentacle (x1)

      HP 20
      Armor Class 13
      Speed 30 ft
      Damage Resistances: None
      Damage Immunities: Poison, Acid

      Abilities

      Harden: Cannot take other actions, harden body to stone and increase AC to 18, as well as resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, slashing, cold, fire
      Heal: If the healing pool is nearby, soak arm in the pool to heal it fully, and heal the main body for 15hp. Alternatively, resurrect a different defeated tentacle instead of healing self or the main body.
      Heavy Crossbow shot: +2 to hit. 1d10 piercing damage

      Handy Tentacle (x1)

      HP 20
      Armor Class 13
      Speed 30 ft
      Damage Resistances: None
      Damage Immunities: Poison, Acid

      Abilities

      Harden: Cannot take other actions, harden body to stone and increase AC to 18, as well as resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, slashing, cold, fire. Cannot harden when grappling a PC.
      Heal: If the healing pool is nearby, soak arm in the pool to heal it fully, and heal the main body for 15hp. Alternatively, resurrect a different defeated tentacle instead of healing self or the main body.
      Grapple: +5 to hit. Grab a target, they can avoid it with a DC16 strength saving throw. If the target is successfully grappled, they can escape with a DC14 strength save at the start of their turn.
      Squeeze: If a target is grappled, squeeze them for 1d6+3 bludgeoning damage.
      Throw juice: If the healing pool is within range, scoop up a handful of purple juice and throw it at a skeleton to resurrect it.

      Potential Adds

      There are two skeletons in the room that can be resurrected by the Handy Tentacle with it's "throw juice" ability, should the fight is too easy for the PCs or they are hanging back too far. These adds are Boneknights from page 6 on this link: https://www.gmbinder.com/share/-Mv5UKsPhrHkBqSf9vo1

      Conclusion and Questions

      Is this a fun boss? I aim to have the tentacles each fighting a different person, so I don't think I'll wipe the party out too quickly, but I know of the mystical "action economy" and I might be overdoing things.

      Also, how do I rate the CR of such a creature? And how much gold should a party earn for such a fight? Thanks for helping out a new DM!

      20 votes
    13. Any Pokemon TCG players here? I just got into the game and I feel a little lost

      So I was wondering through a book store and I found the Greninja ex Battle Deck, which I thought looked really cool, and I've always wanted to own a Pokemon deck, even if I don't have anyone to...

      So I was wondering through a book store and I found the Greninja ex Battle Deck, which I thought looked really cool, and I've always wanted to own a Pokemon deck, even if I don't have anyone to play with.

      I learnt the deck is meant for absolute beginners and that it doesn't stand a chance against meta decks, but I expected that (it's the same for Yu-Gi-Oh structure decks, you usually need to buy 3 and add a bunch of staples to get something slightly competitive).

      Now since I can't play with anyone IRL, I hopped on Pokemon TCG Live, scanned the deck's QR code and built a better version of the deck using this video from LittleDarkFury. Except I replaced 2 Starmie and 1 Staryu with 1 Comfey, 1 Pyukumuku and 1 Lapras because I don't have anything else that synergizes, and I ran out of credits. (I can share the decklist if needed.)

      Mostly because I dumped all my credits into building a Giratina Lost Zone deck because I felt cocky and then I realized I have no idea how to play it. That was a mistake.

      My problem right now is that I feel really aimless, I have 2 decent decks but I can't really seem to get the hang out of them. I do understand their main win conditions (get Giratina VSTAR out, respectively get Greninja ex out) but besides that I don't really know how to play them. It does feel like I just need to get a bunch of games in, to see what decks other people play, and what situations I need to adapt to.

      Locally there are no game shops I could go to, but I would have loved to play with someone IRL and have them guide me through everything. This means I'm stuck with online resources, but most of them are aimed at players that already know the game.

      What do you think I should do? I'll keep playing games in hopes something will click with me, but until then, I'd appreciate some guidance (feel free to ask me anything in case I didn't give enough information).

      13 votes
    14. Does anybody play Scythe?

      I'm basically very new to complicated tabletop games but I've been in love with this game for well over a year now but it's really hard to find people that want to play it multiple times with me...

      I'm basically very new to complicated tabletop games but I've been in love with this game for well over a year now but it's really hard to find people that want to play it multiple times with me (physically) because the setup and learning process takes 30-45 minutes for the average new-ish player. I just learned (today) that there's also an online component to it. If anybody else loves this game I'd be down to start an online game with you and your friends if they'd like to.

      Edit No.1: I don't currently have a way to access steam but I should soon (assuming the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 can run games). If so I will DM everyone on here :)

      Edit No. 2: I had no idea that this post would get this many comments (5 at the time of this edit). I'm very glad that my niche nerdy interest resonates with people. Whenever I get my lil computer/tablet thingy I wanna make a group chat thingy (maybe discord, never used before) with y'all so we can set up some games together. Looking forward to our future games.

      14 votes