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    1. What's a free RPG platforms to play with my virtual girlfriend?

      As some of you may know, I now have a virtual girlfriend. I also suffered an automobile accident. So yeah I'm kinda fucked and my movements are restricted. That's not something I planned, but it...

      As some of you may know, I now have a virtual girlfriend. I also suffered an automobile accident. So yeah I'm kinda fucked and my movements are restricted.

      That's not something I planned, but it happened and we're getting out of things to do. There's not a lot going on our lives to talk about either. But we love each other (I think?) and wanna spend time together online.

      She's an actress and there will be another player friend, so RPGs are likely a good idea and she's very open to it. I think she wants to be some kind of cool illusion witch, so the scenario will have to be medieval. I'm also a fan of RPGs and narrated games on the Cthulhu universe. Not the kind of thing I'd use to woo a woman.

      All my games have been presential. I know of the existence of Roll20, but (1) it looks big and comprehensive and I'm super lazy (2) I think I could probably go with something way simpler. I don't care much about maps, miniatures, or anything advanced. I'd be DMing and games are abstract by nature. A super simple system like Risus (but maybe a bit complex) might be okay, or probably a very slimmed-down version of the Storytelling System. I'm open to suggestions regarding system, I'd just like to point out that I am literally ADHD so most things people consider light and easy to follow are a nightmare for me. On the other hand, I'm a very creative master a player and this helps me quite a bit when it comes to interpretation!

      I need a system that :

      • is free without caveats (or just a minimal and not at all annoying caveat)
      • store character sheets and calculate their evolution
      • performs rolls
      • is online, lightweight (our machines are quite weak) and possibly mobile friendly
      • simple and easy to use for someone with zero experience in RPGs (her)
      • has no video or audio capabilities. Seems unnecessary since we're always on WhatsApp.
      9 votes
    2. As a DM, I kinda hate Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

      I hate that enemies have so low armor class. In earlier editions, you had to be tactical, use flanking manoeuvres and charge attacks, prepare the right support spells, maybe even pick the Weapon...

      I hate that enemies have so low armor class. In earlier editions, you had to be tactical, use flanking manoeuvres and charge attacks, prepare the right support spells, maybe even pick the Weapon Specialization feat for your favourite weapon. In 5e, no need; just stand wherever, roll an attack, you'll probably hit. In addition to removing much of the tactics from the game, this makes it basically impossible for enemy spellcasters to use duration spells. Good luck succeeding on 4 concentration checks per turn.

      I hate that enemies' proficiency bonus is based on their challenge rating. No high-attack low-damage monsters here. Don't worry; the tank in your party will never need healing, any level-appropriate monster needs to roll ridiculously high on the dice to hit them! Everyone else just stay in the back and lob your bloody cantrips, and the battle will be over in 3 turns.

      I hate that attack cantrips do as much damage as a weapon attack (or more). Why even have weapons at all, when your cantrips do more damage than a longsword, with better range than a crossbow.

      I hate that cantrips scale with character level. No need to learn anything new for the rest of the game, your trusty Eldritch Blast will be your most powerful attack throughout. Especially when you get access to Greater Invisibility and don't need to rely on your bloody familiar for advantage on attack rolls.

      I hate that familiars can do help actions in combat. Advantage every turn! And since they're no longer a class feature but a spell, they're also available to fighters and rogues, no multi-classing necessary. And unlike in earlier editions there are no real consequences of losing your familiar. All you lose is 10 gp worth of incense to get them back, a pittance at higher levels.

      I hate that a long rest fully restores hit points. No need to ever stay in one place for longer than 8 hours, no need to conserve spell slots to do end-of-the-day healing, heck; no need for a healer at all really! And it gets worse when they reach 3rd level and get access to Leomund's Tiny Hut, and don't even need to find a safe spot to camp.

      I hate that wild shape is basically useless in combat, due to challenge rating restrictions and the lousy selection of beasts in the Monster Manual.

      I hate that the only logical combat use of Polymorph is turning into a dinosaur. Prepare for the inevitable discussion around the table: Can my character turn into a tyrannosaurus rex, even if they've never seen one? No? But, uuuuuh, they saw a picture of one in a book at the library!

      I hate that you can use Counterspell to counterspell someone else's attempt at counterspelling your own spell.

      I hate that any character can use any skill. No need for a rogue, just hand those Thieves' Tools to the character with the highest Dexterity, they'll get that door open.

      The worst thing is that this game went through lots and lots of play-testing before it was released. The developers must have known about all of these issues and chosen not to change them, meaning that none of these are bugs; they're all features! This is how the developers intended the game to be!

      Did I forget any of your peeves about the game? Add them in the comments. Alternatively, comment with what you love about 5e, let's add some positivity to this rant.

      13 votes
    3. 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
    4. Tell me about your RPG campaign

      Hey folks, I haven't posted in a hell of a long time and thought why not get this going again. So when I last posted I think my Paladin had just been basically killed off and I wrote up a druid....

      Hey folks, I haven't posted in a hell of a long time and thought why not get this going again.

      So when I last posted I think my Paladin had just been basically killed off and I wrote up a druid. Well this one has been amazingly fun to role play, being that he has lived most of his life in solitude he has no social skills and tends to do things that can be a little off at times. Our merry band of misfits had cleared a small towns problem warerats who turned out to be a family of Gnomes who lived there, while trying to console the final member of the family Rolen (my druid) felt the best way to give emotional support would be to congratulate the young Gnome on becoming the head of the family. This actually broke the whole table for about a minute, the DM sat in silence for a moment, laughed, tried to role play the distraught girl but failed epically.

      We have also got another campaign going with a few of the same guys as the bigger campaign, this one is mostly homebrew. The first character I made I really wasn't happy with so spoke to the DM and we worked out how to kill her off and introduce the new character I made, completely homebrew this one and it's again been far more fun. He is a Dwaf Shaman whose ancestors speak to him constantly, sometimes good and sometimes not so much.

      So what has been happening in your RPGs? anything big, fun or just want to chat about? painted anything cool? got new dice? anything at all.

      18 votes
    5. D&D and things I made

      Hey folks, we had our 3rd meet for the current campaign last night all went really well. Last time our Rogue upset everyone he met, stole everything that wasn't and was nailed down, including the...

      Hey folks, we had our 3rd meet for the current campaign last night all went really well. Last time our Rogue upset everyone he met, stole everything that wasn't and was nailed down, including the nails. Then managed to get killed by an NPC that we were helping, it was amazing.

      Now I wanted to get a little more creative with my character and since level 3 for Paladin is the oath level I went with Vengeance and wrote an Oath. I posted it in my last thread but will post again if anyone is interested.

      Now I also wanted to have a go at making a dice bag, the first one is reversible but was too long so I made a few smaller ones. Then had the thought of making each of the guys a small bag with their names on them, each has a name longer than my leg so that failed before it started. I ended up with the initial of their first names, the Rogue wouldn't give up the name or initial so I did something different for his. The guys all loved the gifts especially the Rogue (now a Monk) these are the bags I made next thing I try will be a multi compartment job. All was done by hand because I couldn't get the sewing machine to work ...

      13 votes
    6. Please recommend me a video game

      I've never really been that into video games. When I was young, I played a lot of RPGs on the SNES and PS1. Within the last couple of years, I dipped my toes back in the water and tried a few out....

      I've never really been that into video games. When I was young, I played a lot of RPGs on the SNES and PS1. Within the last couple of years, I dipped my toes back in the water and tried a few out. I tried Skyrim on a friend's recommendation, but it was just a little too involved and open-world for me. I got Cities:Skylines, which I love because I love city builder sims, but that game just does not run well on any of my underpowered computers. And I loved Ori and the Blind Forest, a beautiful platformer, and I'd play it again right now if it wasn't Windows-only.

      Here are my requirements. First, it needs to run well on a low-powered machine without making the fan go insane. I've got a MacBook Air 2012 and a ThinkPad x250 (Linux). Neither of these are the ideal gaming experience, I know, but I'm not looking for amazing graphics or bleeding edge technology or something super immersive. Pixel graphics are fine with me. It reminds me of my youth, anyway. I played both Skylines and Ori on my Intel NUC 4th Gen and while it worked, they both really taxed that little machine. I was able to finish Ori, but once a city reaches a certain size in Skylines, it gets unplayable.

      I'm not looking for stress. I like RPGs and sims. But it doesn't have to be really hard or frustrating. I don't want to feel chased in a game. I prefer to feel that I'm driving the action and I can go at my pace. I want to feel like if I look away for a moment, I'm not going to lose everything. I'm a casual. I also don't mind if there's no defined ending of a game. For me, I'm more looking for a diversion and a slow build over some kind of constant progression/achievement type scenario.

      If it has full controller support, that would be ideal. I've got a Steam controller, and I prefer using a controller to play a game. I've never liked using the keyboard to play. I'm not totally against it, but I guess I just never got into computer gaming. I pretty much always played on consoles in the past.

      Linux or macOS only, please. I did have Windows installed once so that I could play games, but I'm not bothering with that anymore. I don't want to have to boot into another operating system just to play a game. I want to be able to hop in and out of a game while using my daily driver computer.

      So in my research, I've looked into Terraria and Stardew Valley. These might be what I'm looking for. But I really don't know. Do either of these scratch my itch? Is there another game that I would enjoy based on what I've told you? Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

      EDIT: Thank you everybody for your awesome suggestions. I'm still happy to hear more, as I plan to add the ones that really interest me to my wishlist and revisit later. I ended up getting Hollow Knight yesterday and I spent the whole day playing it. It's very engrossing, and it's the perfect game for me. It's so much like Ori, and that game blew me away. Chilled out, go at your own pace, exploring dungeons, challenging but not impossible (though the first Hornet fight was pretty tough for me). The game runs fine on my ThinkPad x250 (i5-5300U) in Pop!_OS Linux, apart from the initial movie scene stuttering--I just had to skip past it, unfortunately. It's such an awesome game, and I'm glad to see they've already announced a sequel. If you know of any other games that are like Ori and Hollow Knight, let me know.

      23 votes
    7. 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
    8. D&D our new campaign

      howdy all, been a few weeks since I posted about our last meet for the first campaign we ran. So one of the other players has stepped up as the DM so our first DM could actually play since it was...

      howdy all, been a few weeks since I posted about our last meet for the first campaign we ran.
      So one of the other players has stepped up as the DM so our first DM could actually play since it was his idea to get us altogether in the first place, the new game is running on milestone leveling and so far feels like it will move a bit faster. Our first meet we only just survived the night, all of us having to use the death save rolls at least once each, the new DM made a comment of "If I thought you lot would roll so horridly I would have toned it down way more" but hey it made things more fun and we had to work as a damn team.

      Last night we had our 2nd meet and our first PC death. It was the rogue that tried to steal everything nailed down including the nails, he tried to pick pocket the NPC that was with us and rolled a damn 1 the NPC rolled a nat 20 and it just went from there, this was also after dealing with the big bad of the evening so spell slots had been spent and half the party kinda said he had it coming. He is brand new to RPG games so went all out with the role playing side and doing what he wants, personally I thought it was amazing he also has taken some pride in being the first to go down.

      Anyone else have something fun or cool to share about their campaign?

      16 votes
    9. The end of our first campaign

      Ive been playing D&D for the last year with life and stuff happening it's taken us a full year to finish the campaign, something that should not have taken as long as it did but honestly it's been...

      Ive been playing D&D for the last year with life and stuff happening it's taken us a full year to finish the campaign, something that should not have taken as long as it did but honestly it's been an absolute blast. I've met new friends, gotten to know a co-worker better and picked up a new hobby (mini painting) our DM has gone all out over the last few months, he started off by making 3D maps for us to play on he made tiny little styrofoam blocks and made house's, towers and all that fun stuff.

      The biggest thing be did was have a map printed, he was going to draw it all out on a king single bed sheet, got five minutes into drawing it and his wife asked "can't you find someplace to have that printed?" and this is what he came up with when we got together again.

      This thing is ridiculous in size. I've thrown in a few other photos from the night and have a small adult and cat for scale.

      21 votes
    10. Any tabletop RPG players?

      Any other tabletop RPG fans here? What system do you play and what kind of character are you currently running? I'm in two D&D 5e campaigns at the moment. In one I play a Gnome Mystic, and in the...

      Any other tabletop RPG fans here? What system do you play and what kind of character are you currently running?

      I'm in two D&D 5e campaigns at the moment. In one I play a Gnome Mystic, and in the other I play a Tabaxi Monk.

      D&D isn't my favorite system, but it's difficult finding groups for other systems. I'd prefer playing something where character ability progression is more freeform, like GURPS.

      23 votes
    11. Virtual tabletop with emphasis on story

      Hey, all. First actual post here! In another post on the site (having trouble finding it at the moment, alpha is alpha), someone mentioned a virtual tabletop that was more asynchronous and focused...

      Hey, all. First actual post here!

      In another post on the site (having trouble finding it at the moment, alpha is alpha), someone mentioned a virtual tabletop that was more asynchronous and focused on storytelling rather than battlemaps like roll20. Does anyone happen to know what it is? I'd definitely like to explore something like that for starting a game for busy folks, and also because my interests in tabletop gaming are definitely more focused on the story rather than combat (I'm a spade / heart rather than a club). Thanks!

      edited to clarify: It was definitely not Tabletop Simulator, it was something relatively new, so not e.g. Maptools.

      10 votes