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  • Showing only topics with the tag "ask.advice". Back to normal view
    1. Esoteric tabletop gaming rules review

      Players are understood to be sharing a cake. How much cake do you want? Be fair. Anyone who has had the least gets to size the next piece. Don't finish the cake! Is this plausible ttg rules text?...

      Players are understood to be sharing a cake. How much cake do you want? Be fair. Anyone who has had the least gets to size the next piece. Don't finish the cake!

      Is this plausible ttg rules text? Do you recognize the instructions?

      7 votes
    2. esoteric board game rules templating review, please

      I'm working on a card game that would arrive to your home without a rulebook, but I'm having a comprehensibility problem. Below is some basic rules text for this game. If you had enough time to...

      I'm working on a card game that would arrive to your home without a rulebook, but I'm having a comprehensibility problem. Below is some basic rules text for this game. If you had enough time to decipher the below, do you believe you could understand its meaning? Are there any words which are too obscure?

      Join a game by selecting a central objective from among its currently apparent contests. Catch a turn from wherever to start playing then describe your plan aloud to the group. If anyone agrees that your plan is valid (legal?) then they can accept you into the game as their second. Anyone else who wants to join at this point may also join/rejoin as your teammate.

      Contests are tensions between two scales which can be described by consensus. For example, imagine I'm 1v1 with Ah while you are on a team with Bo and Ci against Du. Imagine Du sees that the tide is not in their favor, and decides to jump ship to the other game. They may do so at any time by admitting they want out of their losing position and describing which team in the other game they would like to swing over to join (My team or Ah's.). Bo, Ci, and you are left in the boat without an opponent. This may cause a crisis (see "Crisis Card").

      Farewell, I am off to prepare lunch for a child.

      4 votes
    3. My first DnD character died. What should I do next?

      I've been playing a Tomb of Annihilation campaign with some friends the past few months, and we are all relatively new players (each of us having played about one campaign before). As far as I...

      I've been playing a Tomb of Annihilation campaign with some friends the past few months, and we are all relatively new players (each of us having played about one campaign before). As far as I know this is the first time any of us have been in a campaign where a PC dies. My level 4 wizard was suddenly and violently killed by a flesh golem.

      None of us are exactly sure how to proceed, and there's some disagreement. A few of the people in my party think that any new character should be a level or two behind the party in order to further dis-incentivize dying. I personally think that is too harsh, and luckily it seems like we are reaching a consensus that my new character should be the same level, but I shouldn't be able to play as the same race and class.

      This seems more or less reasonable to me, although to be honest I really enjoyed playing as a wizard so I wouldn't have minded doing so again. I'm mainly curious to hear how you all handle character deaths, and any tips you might have for making a new character mid-campaign.

      10 votes
    4. Tips for making a first DnD character?

      I'm starting a virtual campaign with some friends soon, and this is my first time making a DnD character (I have DMed once in the past when we were all starting out). I'm super excited and just...

      I'm starting a virtual campaign with some friends soon, and this is my first time making a DnD character (I have DMed once in the past when we were all starting out). I'm super excited and just kind of delving in now and finding all of it very fun.

      We're going to be playing the Tombs of Annihilation campaign which I understand can be a difficult one for beginners. I am right now leaning towards making a Wizard character since I think that is most in line with my irl personality and would be easiest to roleplay, but I'm kind of overwhelmed by the options available to me!

      Does anyone have tips on ways to stay organized and make sure I'm building a balanced character? Common pitfalls to avoid for a beginner? Tips for playing a wizard? I'm open to any and all suggestions, both about character design and newbie tips in general.

      11 votes
    5. Combat-less TTRPGs with stat depletion?

      Combat appears to be an important facet of most RPG systems out there, including ones embedded into the games themselves. Seems fair to say that most RPGs have combat as a major, dedicated part of...

      Combat appears to be an important facet of most RPG systems out there, including ones embedded into the games themselves. Seems fair to say that most RPGs have combat as a major, dedicated part of their gameplay: stats like weapon damage and armor resistance are tracked and augmented by enhancements and skills; there are special game states and (for videogame RPGs) controls that separate combat from non-combat; combat serves as one of the major sources of XP for character growth.

      There's probably a good few examples out there of games that tried something different that I haven't even heard about. Disco Elysium does "combat" through skill checks in the few instances that it does tackle physical encounters. Griftlands uses card-based actions for both combat and social encounters, each having their own separate decks and "health" values.

      What I've been looking for was the kind of a system that doesn't take combat for a special game state. A system where the simulation extends to assimilate combat as just... a thing that happens because you're in danger – or looking to be the danger.

      To understand where I'm going with the next bit, you should know a couple of things about Frontiers.

      Frontiers is an episodic story about a group of friends playing a homebrew from-first-principles tabletop RPG system. The system, so far titled Frontiers RPG 'cause I'm very original, deals away with or reimagines much of the classic RPG trope library.

      One thing that differentiates Frontiers RPG is having 20-some traits for characters, where each trait is an abstracted statistic representative of a character's distinct natural-performance categories. For example:

      • Instrumentation determines how well the character naturally operates simple and complex technology
      • Visual Space determines one's eyesight and, consequently, the ability to model the geometry of an environment or an object in the head (because apparently these things are linked in the human brain)
      • Biomechanics determines how well does one's muscles perform under stress
      • Presence determines the strength of the vibe the character gives off naturally; the vibe itself could be intimidating, commanding, or inspiring, depending on said character

      Traits are tracked on a low scale:

      • −10 is the lowest possible for any living creature with any amount of agency.
      • −5 is the lowest any human could possibly get without outside intervention, and means the person is unable to perform in this area completely.
      • 0 is average human performance.
      • +5 is the best a human being could naturally achieve at their peak.
      • +10 is the epitome of human potential when amplified with hyperadvanced technology or supernatural effects.

      This means that when someone with Presence +1 enters the room, people can't but notice, even if they don't concern themselves too much with the person. When it's someone with Presence +3, however, most will stop what they're doing for a few seconds and pay attention to what the person is doing. Presence +5? The party stops when the person enters the room: they inspire this much awe and respect (or fear, depending on the person). Characters with high Presence naturally make for excellent leaders, teachers, negotiators, and point-makers.

      There are no dice rolls. Each challenge has a difficulty rating on the same scale as traits, which is how the outcomes get determined: either by checking the trait itself or the average of a set of traits (which are sometimes conceptualized into skills and sometimes only exist as checks). For example, if your character's Conditioning (representing physical endurance) is +1 and the challenge is a short jog (difficulty 1), they succeed without a problem.

      What makes this system not entirely deterministic is stat depletion. Each trait value above 0 grants the character 1 point of the trait. These points may be used to assist oneself or another character in a challenge if the challenge is of higher difficulty than their trait would normally allow to automatically succeed in. Points are regained at rest, up to the maximum of trait value points: e.g. Instrumentation 2 grants you maximum of 2 points you can have on your character at any given time.

      What I've been working with for a few months was HP-like stats derived from specific traits:

      • wounds for physical damage, derived from Conditioning
      • willpower for mental stress, derived from Volition
      • stamina for physical performance, derived from Stress Response

      (Having willpower as a stat works because for normal humans, D&D-like adventures would inevitably take their toll. Seeing people suffering may damage the will of a high-Empathy character, but then, everyone would suffer from seeing their loved ones in danger. Seeing a giant fucking monster would certainly make you consider your life choices. Persevering through emotional and mental challenges where your willpower is mechanically limited – a person can only take so much within a limit of time – is an underexplored, underdeveloped field of roleplay, and it fits into the story thematically.)

      This naturally geared itself to combat-as-special-state. Abstracting "health points" only makes sense when the only thing that matters is whether you're able to fight further. To this end, I figured that at a certain level of wounds, all traits would take penalty (to simulate being beaten up and stressed from combat) until such a time when the character receive proper care and rest.

      Lately, however, I came upon a way to streamline the system and make it "wider" (i.e. not just combat/non-combat simulation): use the trait points directly. This approach enables the player by allowing them to use their whole potential in all manners of situations, and have said potential used against them if they're facing a challenge their ability does not allow them to surpass.

      • rather than exchange punches in a bar fight, you can use your Executive Function – your thinking-on-your-feet – to distract your opponent and sucker-punch them while they're looking away
      • in a fistfight, character may use their Coordination to deflect a blow – or two points to direct it in a specific way: for example, to harm their proximous ally
      • before approaching the bench in order to testify, characters may use their Empathy in order to read the room and understand what sort of an appeal would work best
      • seeing an atrocity committed would take a point away from the character's Volition; if they have none left, they may faint, become disstressed (receiving a malus to all checks of a particular nature), or even become catatonic (unable to act coherently until snapped out of it or well-rested)
      • being shot by a scared youth may take a point or two of the character's Conditioning, but because they're still standing, they could use Volition to "not fucking flinch", which gives them a temporary bonus to Presence that they can use to interrogate with greater success or otherwise use the youth's capacities

      This works, at least on the surface, because it reflects the potential traits grant almost exactly. Someone with Conditioning 0 may be able to take a punch, but it would leave them seriously disoriented or may even inflict lasting damage (broken rib, dislocated jaw etc.); meanwhile, another character with Conditioning 4 may be able to get shot with a pistol and still function to a degree. Someone with Inner World +3 should find it little trouble to jot down a short story to tell their children before bed, while someone with Inner World 0 would find it impossible to come up with a logo for their new product even with intense consideration.

      What I haven't yet figured out is:

      • how to handle such "shooting above one's head" attempts for trait values lower than 0 (which is encouraged for challenge and roleplay reasons)
      • how to handle situations where all points are depleted and the player still wants to try a difficult thing that's just above their character's level
      • whether players should receive more than one point per level of trait, or even see points granted scale with value (Engineering 3 → 1 + 2 + 3 = 6 points total)

      The system is not perfect, but it's hella interesting, and I'd like to pursue it. If it leads nowhere, at least I explored. What I'm looking for from this topic is review of the concept of stat depletion and its potential implications. Assume that the rest of the system is perfectly viable and feasible unless its parts directly contradict or hamper the system as a whole. What problems can you see with this section? What benefits can one derive from it?

      5 votes
    6. How to start a DnD campaign with your friends?

      Times are tough and isolation is getting to everybody, we've been playing some easy jackbox games with my friends on Google Hangouts, when the idea came to me: Why not start a DnD campaign? I've...

      Times are tough and isolation is getting to everybody, we've been playing some easy jackbox games with my friends on Google Hangouts, when the idea came to me: Why not start a DnD campaign? I've never ever played one, just watched some Youtube (Geek and Sundry, Mathew Colville), and definitely never though about hosting one until now.

      After looking around, there are a lot of cool resources for running one, Roll20 seems to be the most popular and praised for ease of use. Rules are very well written into it and all the tools needed to deal with the mechanics are in. So technology-wise I think we're set.

      Now I have a lot of questions on how to get an adventure running. Do I just get an official DnD guide book, do I just rip off the White Orchard level from Witcher 3 to start off or do I come up with some generic fantasy land? I'd like to run a small adventure in one night, just to get a taste of it and maybe branch it off later if everyone is up for it.

      For characters I think it would be easier for me to come up with 8-10 pre-generated ones for a group of 4-5 people (with specific people in mind) to tailor it a little bit for my group, but still present some variety, while smoothing the learning curve and lowering the barrier to entry. Feels like a decent idea.

      I'm still not sure where to start with this expansive world and I'd love to hear for seasoned DMs an players here on Tildes. How did you start your first game, what was the setting? How do I gently introduce players to mechanics? How do I deal with unpredictable situations?

      And most importantly, how do I make sure everyone is having fun?

      18 votes
    7. Any tips for painting miniatures?

      My D&D group mostly used Lego for the longest time, but we recently decided to give miniatures a shot because we were adding more people and I only have so many minifigs to share (unless you want...

      My D&D group mostly used Lego for the longest time, but we recently decided to give miniatures a shot because we were adding more people and I only have so many minifigs to share (unless you want Stormtroopers in your fantasy setting, that is!). A few weeks ago we met up to paint our miniatures for our new campaign and I think that was the most relaxing, calming thing I've ever done. We all sat in silence basically, noobing our way through the painting process and we had a lot of fun.

      My character is a sheltered rich southern man who sounds a bit like a mix between Colonel Sanders and Foghorn Leghorn. He's a sorcerer and despite how is mini ended up looking, he does not cast bubblegum -- https://imgur.com/fr4tc6Z

      But anyway, looking at it now there are some obvious spots where I messed up and certainly some things I'd do differently now. But until I'm able to get my hands on another miniature, I was wondering if anyone here had experience with painting miniatures and would be able to share some advice?

      11 votes
    8. Has anyone done a Play-By-Post game? Tips?

      Has anyone done a play-by-post (PBP) game? Where you play online not in some service like Roll20, but in a forum structure (like Reddit, the Paizo forms, or, hey, here)? I'm thinking about...

      Has anyone done a play-by-post (PBP) game? Where you play online not in some service like Roll20, but in a forum structure (like Reddit, the Paizo forms, or, hey, here)?

      I'm thinking about starting a PBP game of Pokemon: Tabletop Adventures somewhere (maybe Reddit or Discord, not sure), but I'm not sure if I want to create maps for the whole thing. When I was working on my homebrew 5th Edition campaign, the thing that annoyed me most was map creation (mostly overworld, but since this is Pokemon and I know where I'm basing it off of, I don't have much trouble with that). I'd only use "maps" for combat (more like I'd use a combat grid that I steal off of Roll20).

      Would anyone here that have either run games in a PBP format or just GM'ed games in general have any tips for doing something like this?

      10 votes
    9. Tabletop RPGs with kids

      Has anybody had much experience playing DnD or other tabletops with children? I've been toying with the idea of making a fairly straightforward and simplified RPG using Story Cubes and GURPS that...

      Has anybody had much experience playing DnD or other tabletops with children? I've been toying with the idea of making a fairly straightforward and simplified RPG using Story Cubes and GURPS that kids can get involved with easily and have fun playing. I'm specifically aiming to play with my daughter (8) and my niece (5) on a big family holiday in August, though I see no real reason that this couldn't work with adults as well.
      Essentially, the conceit would go along the lines of each player rolling a limited number of story dice to help with character creation and such. I'd ask the players a few simple questions about their powers (for example, are you more of a wizard or more of a warrior?) to get some basic stats stats together (STR, DEX, INT, CON), and then use story dice myself to quickly improvise a short one-shot session.

      Does anyone have experience playing with kids, and if so - any pointers? Am I being too ambitious about children's ability to imagine stuff in this way? If so, are there any good systems out there that are good for young people to pick up and get stuck into roleplaying with?

      9 votes
    10. Any advice for a first time DM?

      I started playing D&D a few months ago at adventure league, and I've had a ton of fun. The problem, however, is that more of my friends want to come with me than there is room for at my AL table....

      I started playing D&D a few months ago at adventure league, and I've had a ton of fun. The problem, however, is that more of my friends want to come with me than there is room for at my AL table. The solution is obviously to host my own game, so I got the starter pack and DM guide on amazon(D&D stuff is heavily discounted right now!). We decided not to use the premades, and I've already helped most of them build their own characters.

      Anyway, this will be my first time playing as the game master, and many of my friends first times playing D&D at all. Any advice to make it a smooth and fun experience?

      19 votes
    11. Going to be running a GURPS Infinite Worlds campaign in a few days. Any tips? Suggestions? General RPG ideas to steal?

      I've run a number of one shots before based off GURPS Lite, and I've come to like the system and its versatility. So, I've taken the next step and drafted a couple interested players from the one...

      I've run a number of one shots before based off GURPS Lite, and I've come to like the system and its versatility. So, I've taken the next step and drafted a couple interested players from the one shots into a campaign.

      Essentially, it's a 150 point campaign in the Infinity Patrol setting, based one of the alternate timelines (Gernsback) developing world jumping tech, and the PCs being one of the first teams assembled from said world to scout out and investigate other timelines. The overarching plot is going to be them defending their world from incursions from Centrum and Homeline and building alliances with other parachronically enabled third parties, like Merlin. The main plot hook is going to be a series of kidnappings, by parties including the Homeline Mafia, Reich 5 Nazis, and Centrum. Because of the nature of their travel, all Quanta are accessible by the party, but not as easily as by projector/conveyor. The worlds they're going to be visiting run the gamut from high fantasy to hard science fiction.

      Now that background info's out of the way, basically what I'm asking is: are there any interesting items, characters, or plot beats you've used or seen used in tabletop games that could fit well into this kind of story and setting? I want to put some originality into the worlds they visit so they all feel alive and memorable, and side quests and artifacts are a great way to do that. By no means am I interested only in GURPS stuff, the nature of the system makes it pretty easy to graft in stuff from others.

      9 votes
    12. If a campaign gets fully derailed, how should the DM/Players handle it?

      In the latest DnD 5e session, we basically invalidated about 10 sessions of prep, due to jumping over a lot of plot points. Should the DM have railroaded us a bit, or was it a good decision to...

      In the latest DnD 5e session, we basically invalidated about 10 sessions of prep, due to jumping over a lot of plot points.

      Should the DM have railroaded us a bit, or was it a good decision to just let us say fuck it, and do what we want?

      21 votes
    13. What is the best way to add a growth mechanic to Dungeons and Dragons?

      There isn't really a great mechanic for learning skills and languages in dungeons and dragons. This makes it a bit lacking if there is a certain amount of off-time between adventures and missions....

      There isn't really a great mechanic for learning skills and languages in dungeons and dragons. This makes it a bit lacking if there is a certain amount of off-time between adventures and missions. It would be cool to think some sort of mundane dnd. Like mini-games in video game RPGs that make your character a little bit more personal. A quirks mechanic, that adds a certain way your character acts in the every day or what your character normally does. The risk is that it could turn into too much of a dice roller and the players might engage less with the story. What do you think?

      9 votes
    14. Tabletop RPGs. How to start?

      Hi guys! I've always being curious about tabletop games, RPG, DnD and so on. The fantasy, creativity and engagement always interested me, but I've never met anyone who played it and never being...

      Hi guys!

      I've always being curious about tabletop games, RPG, DnD and so on. The fantasy, creativity and engagement always interested me, but I've never met anyone who played it and never being involved with it (I'm in São Paulo, Brazil, btw).

      So, to be direct, does anyone has any tips on how to start? I know there are "internet based" tabletop sites/communities, but I don't know how it works.

      I'd appreciate any direction! Thanks!

      11 votes