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The character creation rules used for The FlailSnails Jousting Tourney are cruel and harsh.
Knight Name: Sir Walther von Klingen Player Name: Alex Schroeder Class/Level: Fighting Man (Bachelor) 1 HP: 6 AC: 5 Str: 11 Int: 10 Wis: 9 Dex: 9 Con: 8 Cha: 4 Horse: Medium Warhorse Armor Worn: Mail Hauberk Shield Type: Reinforced Kite Shield
Squire Name: Ulrich Class/Level: Fighting Man 1 HP: 4 AC: 5 Gear: Scale Mail, Wooden Round Shield, Sword, Dagger
* * *
My wife saw me create my knight and enjoyed my mumblings so she wanted to create a knight as well, and so here is Sir Aliduke, in honor of her first knight in our Great Pendragon Campaign… Good times!
Knight Name: Sir Aliduke de Giez Player Name: Claudia Frei Class/Level: Fighting Man (Mercenary) 1 HP: 6 AC: 5 Str: 9 Int: 16 Wis: 10 Dex: 9 Con: 6 Cha: 11 Horse: Riding Horse Armor Worn: Mail Hauberk Shield Type: Reinforced Round Shield
Squire Name: Wendel Class/Level: Magic-User 1 HP: 3 AC: 6 Gear: Dagger, Spell Book with Sleep and Read Magic
Retinue: 2 Filthy Peasants you pay to guard your camp.
Ich verwende für meine langstehende Kampagne Labyrinth Lord und habe meine Hausregeln in einem kleinen Dokument gesammelt: Hellebarden & Helme. Vor ein paar Tagen habe ich meinen Spielerinnen und Spielern einen Vorschlag geschickt.
Ich studiere wieder mal an den Magierregeln rum. Insbesondere geht es mir um das Lernen der Sprüche am Morgen. Im Adventure Conqueror King System ist das ganz einfach fallen gelassen worden.
Für Elfen und Magier gilt: Die Anzahl Sprüche, welche man am Tag zaubern kann, sind das «Repertoire» der Elfen und Magier. Aus ihrem Repertoire können sie alle Sprüche jederzeit zaubern, solange sie noch «Slot» frei haben. Das wäre auf alle Fälle für Anfänger leichter zu verstehen. Diese Auswahl der Sprüche am Morgen wird gerne vergessen und als Spieler ist es immer wieder mühsam, wenn man die falschen Sprüche gelernt hat.
Im Adventure Conqueror King System wird das sehr schön beschrieben: «For an arcane spellcaster to have a spell in his repertoire, he must keep track of complex astrological movements and star signs that are constantly changing; he must daily appease various ghosts and spirits that power certain dweomers; he must remember and obey special taboos that each spell dictates. All of these strictures, and they are many, can vary with the season, the lunar cycle, the caster’s location, and more. Having a spell in the repertoire is thus an ongoing effort, like maintaining a friendship or remembering a song. Mages may collect spell formula from many sources, but only the most intelligent and learned arcane spellcasters can maintain a repertoire of more than a few spells at a time.»
Für Kleriker habe ich eine andere Idee. Mir passt eigentlich der Fokus auf die biblishen Sprüche nicht. Mir schwebt vor, den Klerikern je nach verehrten Göttern andere Sprüche zur Verfügung zu stellen. Um beim «Repertoire» zu bleiben: Ich stelle mir vor, dass je nach verehrter Gottheit ein anderes Repertoire zur Verfügung steht. Ich bin mir noch nicht so sicher, wie das aussehen wird. Vielleicht so: Heilen Leichter Wunden wird von einem Dämonenlord nicht zur Verfügung gestellt. Böses Entdecken, Magie Entdecken, Gesinnung erkennen, das sind vielleicht eher Sprüche für Geweihte der Mitra (Ehrlichkeit, Schwüre). Schlangenzauber ist vielleicht eher was für Set. Ich würde dann also eine spezielle Liste für Freya Kleriker zusammenstellen.
Was meint ihr dazu? Meine Hoffnung ist, dass es etwas einfacher wird für die Spieler, und ich hoffe, dass es so mehr Sinn macht, wenn Kleriker via ihren Göttern eigene Spruchlisten bekommen. Ich gehe eigentlich davon aus, dass sich für Logard & Co. nicht viel ändern wird, weil die Sprüche, die er zaubert, sowieso der Freya zugerechnet werden.
Nachdem ich nun die Antworten meiner Spielerinnen und Spieler erhalten habe, zeigt sich, dass nicht alles so einfach ist, wie ich es mir vorgestellt hatte.
Generell waren sich alle einig, dass dieses Auswählen der Sprüche am Morgen mühsam ist. Deswegen werde ich dies wohl einfach fallen lassen. Die einzelnen Sprüche müssen nicht am Morgen gelernt, sondern durch beten, Sterne beobachten, Bücher studieren, usw. wird das ganze Repertoire aufgefrischt. Davon kann man nun alles zaubern, solange man die jeweilige Limite noch nicht erreicht hat.
An den Klerikersprüchen ändern wir vorerst nichts. Ein Votum war, dass das Ändern der Spruchlisten im laufenden Spiel für den Charakter seltsam wäre. Ein weiteres Votum war, dass ja auch den Göttern unliebsame Sprüche gezaubert werden können sollen. Vielleicht, so ein Gegenvorschlag, auf höherer Stufe? Dieser Gegenvorschlag passt mir aber irgendwie nicht. Zu kompliziert?
Vielleicht muss man die elenden Kleriker als verhunzte Van Helsing Charaktere ja einfach im Spiel lassen. Vielleicht war es sowieso ein Fehler, aus den Klerikern auch gleich Geweihte zu machen, welche einen Gott verehrten, einem Gott dienten. Meine aktuelle Lösung für Paladine gefällt mir besser: Wer will, kann sich einem Gott verschwören und bekommt dann, je nach Stufe und Ruf, nach und nach ein paar wenige übernatürliche Fähigkeiten. Das sollte doch eigentlich reichen, denke ich.
Etwas Hintergrund zur Entstehungsgeschichte der Klerikerklasse gibt es auf Havard’s Blackmoor Blog. Da sieht man eigentlich schon, dass die Kleriker eine spezifische Entwicklung waren, um die Untoten zu bekämpfen, welche sich in der Kampagne von Arneson ausbreiteten.
Schon habe ich Lust, die Kleriker ganz abzuschaffen, oder sie zu “Van Helsings” zu machen. Vielleicht ist das natürlich die Lösung. Die jetzigen Kleriker lassen wir einfach so, wie sie sind, aber wir gehen nicht mehr davon aus, dass generell alle Religionen Kleriker benötigen.
Ein Votum war, dass Kämpfer immer langweiliger werden, je flexibler und vielfältiger die zaubernden Klassen werden. Das will mich nicht so recht überzeugen, obwohl es auf den ersten Blick plausibel wirkt. Das wichtigste Gegenargument scheint mir zu sein, dass dies nur bei Kämpfen ein Problem sein sollte, und Kämpfe eigentlich kurz sein sollten. Das Ungleichgewicht sollte also auch nur von kurzer Dauer sein. Ausserhalb der strengen Würfelregie kann sich ja jeder beliebig gut einbringen, weswegen in meinen Spielen manchmal Charaktere der Stufen eins bis acht miteinander auf Abenteuer gehen.
Dann kommt es auch auf das Verhältnis von Anzahl Kämpfe pro Tag an. Wird mehr gekämpft, gehen die Sprüche bald aus. Wieviel pro Tag gekämpft wird, hängt nun aber von Spielern und Spielleiter ab. Das führt mich dann zum generellen Problem der “Balance” (Scheinwerferlicht, Handlungsfreiheit, agency). Mir scheint das schwer zu messen, abhängig vom aktuellen Abenteuer, irgendwie auch beeinflussbar durch die Wahl der Questen, und auch wählbar durch das Spielen dieser und nicht jener Klassen. Deswegen sehe ich im Moment noch keinen Grund, diese Erleichterung für zaubernde Klassen durch einen Nachteil auszugleichen.
Ganz Konkret zur Kampfkraft allerdings: Solange Kleriker keine spitzen und scharfen Waffen verwenden können und solange Schwerter die wichtigsten magischen Waffen sind, werden Kämpfer immer einen Platz haben. Das ganze Theater mit den stumpfen Waffen hat eigentlich nur diesen Vorteil: Es dämmt die Anziehungskraft der Kleriker etwas ein. Woher diese Idee in der christlichen Tradition kommt, findet man in diesen Artikeln zum Thema Odo, dem Bischof von Bayeux…
Es ist nicht einfach mit diesen verdammten Klerikern! Bald packe ich mein DSA Abenteuer Ausbau-Spiel aus und lese das Kapitel über die Geweihten nochmal.
Also, dort steht: vier allgemeine Wunder (Essen, Trinken, Mut, Heilung) sowie je drei spezifische Wunder, welche von dem jeweiligen Gott abhängen.
We signed a new contract! Starting in October, we’ll be living in Altstetten. It’s still within the city limits, but no longer as central as that. The now flats are being built at the moment. This is what Google Street View is showing…
Recently, I wrote the following on Google+:
Sometimes I feel like the constant chatter of social media is reducing my creative output. While I’m on G+ or Facebook or Twitter or IRC or even reading and answering mail, I’m not producing things. Somehow my education taught me to value so many other things over the talking about things. The creating of things. The reading of books. Hiking. Perhaps this devaluation of talking about things is not a healthy attitude. In addition to that, there’s the lingering doubt about my willingness to do these other things. If I did not have computers to connect me to all the people out there, would I really be doing these other things, or would I just play on my console, or sleep, or eat?
When it comes to role-playing games, for example: I see all those great pictures people are drawing, and great tables people are writing, and I nod my head and scroll down, and read and nod, and—whaaat, game in 2h and no prep!?
It’s totally true that I don’t see myself as a lone creative person. I need discussion, mutual enthusiasm, a little competitive outdoing, sharing, positive feedback and all that for my creative endeavors. Unfortunately for me, social media provides this, as well as backbiting, acerbic commentary, put downs, cynicism, banter, cat pictures, ranting, and more. I haven’t found a way to control this extra information, however. I need some to feel the bonds of humanity, to experience friendship and joy, to build that social net that will help me when I’m down, talk about my feelings such that I don’t bury them deep within me, but it also distracts me, takes away my ability to focus, allows me to procrastinate… So I think I need a structure like The G+ Hour or aggressive filtering, or a change in lifestyle to find a way out. No longer young enough, when my desires exceeded my ability to digest it all, not yet old enough, when hopefully my wisdom will put it all into perspective automatically…
This is an alternative to the various encumbrance rules out there. It works as follows:
There was a huge disturbance in the force, recently. D&D 5 got published and Zak Smith and the RPG Pundit were credited therein. One of the posts summarizing the issue I read was On the D&D5 Credits Controversy by Gary N. Mengle.
As far as this post is concerned, I’m not so much interested in the peculiarities of this affair, I’m more interested in how we could get here. I think the key to understanding the causes of the problem are to be found in this comment by Zak Smith on a private post on Google+:
I was reading the comments on a public Google+ post by Rob Donoghue. The question being discussed was how to disengage from a hurtful discussion. Viktor Haag had just provided an example where person A said something, person B contested it and asked for proof and person A decided to disengage. Now A is angry and feels assaulted by B, and B is angry because A simply left the discussion instead of offering a fair discussion of the accusations. Anna Kreider then offered a different example where person A said something ambiguous (“I have mixed feelings about a thing”) and person B then attacks A for saying all sorts of things they felt this implied while A keeps maintaining that they never said any such thing. So now I started wondering. Why do these things happen? Rob Donoghue said: “Causation is complicated and multi-faceted, nuance is critical and perfect information is impossibly rare. Discussing something under those limitations requires trust and good faith. They must be entered with an interest in finding insight, not right answers.” I think that’s a good position to start with, but it doesn’t explain the vitriol that I’ve been seeing. The rest of this post is the comment I left on Rob’s post…
I can’t help thinking that part of “The Internet Problem” of communication spiraling downwards (as has been the case ever since flame wars erupted on USENET) is the inability of ordinary people to perceive the Internet as a very public space. In the old days, it was hard to say something in public. You basically had to find a publisher and print stuff. It could get heated if you stood up in a town hall meeting and said the wrong thing. But these days, anybody with Internet access can speak in public, and they—we, all of us—are unaware that “there be lions.” We are unaware that public speaking has always come with a distinct understanding of our freedoms and the limits thereof, and of the potential consequences. There’s defamation (libel, slander) laws, copyright laws (intellectual property, digital copying and distributing), and these laws are there to offer recourse for the most problematic aspects—but they don’t offer recourse for most of our actual problems. Our actual problems are often much smaller. That’s how I explain what has been happening: Person A tells their friends that they really don’t like what B has said and done (and they use strong language because they have strong feelings and they feel amongst friends) and person B says “you can’t say X on the Internet in public, to damage my reputation for ever and ever!”
Now, if person A feels that their reputation is being attacked in public, it’s only natural that they want to defend themselves. In public, there is no disengaging from such a discussion because person A has the support of the law. It’s the law that says person A can defend their reputation. If person B then feels harassed because they are being contacted by phone or they are receiving letters to their physical address, then they need to understand, that as far as the law is concerned, there is no difference between life “online” and “real” life. The law only cares about defamation.
To provide you with a different example. I run a site and it attracted spam. One of the links posted linked to a Swiss site. I made fun of them and because this other site is ranked highly by Google, my statements were soon the number two hit for the company’s name. I soon got contacted and told to take it down or face charges. Do I feel they are spammers? Yes I do! Did I take it down? Yes I did. There was no way to disengage without going to court or retracting my statements.
Given that speaking in private and speaking in public has such different consequences, and given all the various ways in which we are now able to publish our thoughts, and given our lack of practice, I think these conflicts are unavoidable, every now and then.
Were you taught about copyright, defamation, and all those laws in school? I sure wasn’t! I was taught to type. I was taught to open my mouth and I was not told about the foot I was soon going to put in there…
I don’t know how to resolve this. I think we need to develop cultural norms to handle this, and we aren’t there yet. I want to talk to my friends like I want to. I want to reach out to strangers and make more friends, and talk to them. The Internet makes this possible. I’m always on the verge of forgetting that so many things are in public, in writing, apparently forever. I may make troubling mistakes. The Internet makes this possible, too.
When it comes to publishing on the Internet, we had to develop cultural norms. Does Information want to be free? How will be pay game developers? Journalists? How will we make sure that our computers will do what we want instead of just doing what their vendors want? And we aren’t there, yet. When it comes to speaking on the Internet, same problem. How do we curate our circle of friends? How about the shades of publicness, social media friends, lists, circles, groups, communities? How do we make sure that our statements will not stand forever and ever? How will we read the deep history of people we talk to, hire, befriend, marry? We aren’t there, yet.
What I took away from all those years on the Internet was being more careful about what I said. At first I felt like a coward. Afraid of comments on my own blog, I was. Then I felt like a hypocrite, wanting people to be open, wanting to feel free, but not ranting like I used to. Was I betraying my ideals? These days I take a legalistic approach. I tread lightly because I’m in public. If I can’t stand the heat after nailing my blog posts to the church door, I’m not going to post. Yes, it’s sad. I will still rant and rave amongst my friends. But online, my friends aren’t Google circles and Facebook friends. Even though the audience appears to be limited, there is no intimacy. This communication is not ephemeral. It’s basically in public.
Some people commented and said they agreed. I wrote that from what I heared Germans in Switzerland say, many like it here as well. I love the Swiss system. And the weird thing is: the Swiss Federal Constitution of 1848 “was influenced by the ideas of the constitution of the United States of America and the French Revolution.” (Emphasis mine.)
I just finished listening to the latest bunch of episodes about the American Revolution and the drafting of the United States Constitution, and the List of amendments to the United States Constitution, at the Revolutions Podcast. Excellent material if you’re into podcasts at all.
When I read the FP article, I felt disappointed because of its shallow analysis. What about Exportweltmeister and the price the Germans paid, stagnating wages? What about the discussions of the 5% hurdle after recent elections? What about the historic justifications for the Senate in order to convince smaller entities to join the federation? These can be an important issue in heterogeneous federation like Switzerland (there was a time when each canton had its own currency)—and possibly also of interest for nations after a civil war (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lebanon, Syria) or countries where so many regions strive for more autonomy and the state is always in fear of breaking apart (Spain, Italy). So yes, the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany is great. But the US has its United States Bill of Rights, and a Constitutional Court, and that’s great. In contrast, Switzerland allows its citizens to easily amend the constitution, but there is no constitutional court, so sometimes issues linger for years before appropriate laws get passed! So it would seem to me that the US has all the tools it needs. I suspect it has mostly a broken process. Something needs reform, but I’m not sure that the German system is a good place to start looking.
For a while, my character generator used a name list based on German saints and an English list of saints. Later, I switched to a different list of names but now I feel that maybe I should have kept it.
So, I’m posting it. 1664 items… I dunno, roll 1d1664? Or help me pad the list in order to get to a nice number? Or put the list into a random name generator of your liking. There is no copyright attached to this list of names. I added it to the Names section of Choose Your Own Generator.
Never ran a fantasy role-playing game like Dungeons & Dragons before? Get yourself the D&D Basic Rules, Labyrinth Lord or the Basic Fantasy RPG (or any of the other role-playing games out there). Find some friends and volunteer to run a game for them. Here’s some excellent advice by Greg MacKenzie which he left on a Google+ post by Davin Asiala. I made some slight edits, too.
The important thing to realize is that unless you have a command of the material, an overview, you may have difficulty getting a sense of where it is all going. You are also treading in someone else’s footsteps. My personal advice is reduce your scope: make your own 6-10 room dungeon, and roll up the monsters for each room.
My early adventures went something like this: The adventurers start out at a local tavern where they meet. They hear a few rumours about some horrible hole and are offered either a guide to the spot or a map for a few coins. At which point they set off for the entrance. When they get there the guide leaves and they enter the dungeon. Now note that I provide no obstacles, save that for the dungeon.
You should have a few words of description for the entrance to set the mood. Each room should have a description and may or may not have a monster 1 in 6. The dungeon should be on one sheet of paper. The idea here is to make sure there is something to do. You don’t have to be terribly original here as the game takes on its own life as you play it.
The monsters should have treasure, and make sure to allocate a few magic items among the treasure. You want the players to gain experience points and get a taste of the good things, those magic items. The players should find a shut door for example, listen, try to open it, let the players make Strength rolls to open the doors, your giving them something to do and it involves them. If there are monsters inside, roll for surprise, and initiative to see if the players or monsters go first, and then follow the rest of the combat sequence for the player and monster groups. You will need those combat sheets to make your life easier. When you conclude each round of combat you re-roll for initiative. You can continue until one side or the other quits.
Because these are new players, and monsters aren’t dumb, you can decide if the monsters run away if things go against them or if they fight to the death, try to bargain, etc. Players inevitably fight to the bitter end when they should withdraw. Remind the players when they are low on HP that it might be wiser to run away. Running away is highly under-rated. In any event the monsters don’t have to follow the players beyond the entrance of the dungeon, making for a scary chase when you are low on HP.
If the players defeat the monsters they should be rewarded with treasures… Now what I am really suggesting here is not a give away, players have to earn these things, but in order to allow yourself and the players to get a sense of what the game is about it won’t hurt to be a little liberal with treasure starting out.
When you make your dungeon you can allocate monsters randomly by the tables, but if something is really nasty move it to the farthest point away from the entrance and put in references to it in the dungeon. Kobolds have scrawled on the wall “Go Back end of Kobold Territory”, or players might hear, “wait until ugly finds out” if the monsters are allied with whatever it is. As the GM, you have the decision to place monsters. I usually pick the worst one, and go random from there.
- stick with the basics
- know your combat sequence
- know the dungeon
- learn to improvise as you go along
Let the players clear the place out to give them a sense of accomplishment.
Improvisation is all about giving the monsters some personality. You can swipe references from film or novels. The players will know them. Juxtapositions are useful does the Orc leader behave and talk and sound like a film gangster? “Gimmie all your coins and I’ll let you go see…” Is one of the Orcs dumb and getting it wrong like one of the Three Stooges? He turns around a sets off a trap, a giant stone rolls through the middle of the room. Is one of them a coward like Ichabod Crane? Have fun with it.
Allow the players to make several trips to and from the dungeon as they may have to heal up before trying again. New players won’t complete this in one go. Compress the time takes, reset hit-points and spells, and carry on the story from that point so many days later. The tavern or village is a sanctuary where nothing should happen at this early juncture.
Some of their characters will be killed, that is part of the game. Re-rolling a character in the middle of the game is a pain for the rest of the players. It may be wise to have a spare on hand to hand out. I usually found that at the start of play, if players are rolling up characters that will eat up a good hour of the play session but it is absolutely essential to building the player-character relationship.
In short: Small dungeon, not big on plot, just players vs. monsters, hidden secrets, and traps. That’s how we did it. Just keep the action going if you can.
Players often go to the tavern to hire help. These non-player characters you play—or you can allow a player to role play one when their character is killed. Players will sometimes simply take over the non-player character for their own use.
When you describe something always have it end ambiguously, e.g. “When you hold your torch in the room you see that this is a 30 x 30 room with a stack of 10’ poles in the southwest corner. Nearby in the south wall there is a small round 2 inch hole in the stonework.” This sort of thing leaves all sorts of questions in the players minds, what are the poles for? Do we insert one in the hole, and if we do what might happen? Is it a trap? Nothing might happen, unless you find all of the other holes and put the poles in, then a secret room opens. Or the thing might set off a trap, release a monster, reward the players with treasure etc. Even when they fight orcs or goblins they might find a key when they are defeated and searched, what is it for? Always leave something open ended. Players will hang onto that key in the hopes it opens something long beyond when it may have been useful just because of the mystery.
– Greg MacKenzie
Greg MacKenzie also runs the website Busy Game Master.
Gregor Vuga recently asked on Google+, “Is there a need for a new fantasy setting? What’s the appeal of published settings for you, if any? What’s useful about them? Even if you don’t use published settings, what would make you take a look at it?”
I wish all those new referees to have a great selection of settings, each catering to different sensibilities. As for myself, I already run a long-term campaign and thus I don’t really have a need for new settings. But what are the needs of beginners? Art, inspiration, fans, forums, so many things beyond the simple text.
If it’s a mini-campaign setting like Qelong, I can fit it into my campaign world (which is what I have done), just like adventures.
If the setting comes with a small package that can be played as a one-shot at a convention or at my indie nights, then that’s cool too. Things like Lady Blackbird, for example. That is, where rules, setting and adventure are so short, they’re one. All in one document to be experienced in three hours.
I document my long-term campaign setting as we play. It’s mostly for my players, though. Who else would want to read it? It’s too big, idiosyncratic, not enough illustration, not well organized… The campaign wiki has 489 pages. I don’t want to repeat the mistakes that so many others have made before me and publish a long and sprawling book that will not be read and used.
Thus, given how little need there is, what remains is inspiration for others, sharing ideas in order to have more ideas. What works and what doesn’t work. A conversation about the setting. I guess that’s what I’m mostly interested in.
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