Leonidas

Pay to Play

I’m seeing more ‘Pay to Play’ type of TTRPG either online or in-person (with more people getting vax and local govt. lifting restrictions).  Pay to Play is where players pay the DM/GM to play in a RPG game. You may also lump in RPG Gaming cons in this category as well. In general, I’m not a fan of pay to play. We typically play with friends, and I don’t see why I would charge friends or even acquaintances to play. Trying to make a quick buck off someone doesn’t feel right. We do have people chip in for group pizza order or bring a dish for pot luck or BBQ events

However, some folks are running games online or at public locations like game stores with game sign up and strangers. I’m not sure if they are charging to play to make money / profit, to cover book / service costs (like Fantasy Grounds or Roll20), game maps/minis/accessories, or their personal prep time for game.  If you are charging people to play in your game or campaign, I hope that you are bringing value and unique elements to the game. Having played or GM a certain game for several years or knowing the games rule set doesn’t qualify as unique value to me. Lots of people could qualify for those criteria.

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Posted by Leonidas in Dungeon Masters, Game Masters, Opinion, 0 comments

Adventure Modules: Layout, Organization, Adventure Hooks

                                                   

As a DM, you can choose to write your own adventures, run a pre-written module, or combo by homebrewing up a full adventure with mini pre-made scenarios for your game session. I tend to use pre-written modules as I don’t have time to write up my own adventures, but I do try my best to weave a connecting backbone / overarching story line to try to connect the different adventures together for the player’s campaign.

 

This article is not directed at open hex or dungeon crawls.

 

One challenge I have is the transition points in the adventure module and connecting different locations together. Why do adventures want to goto next location? How do they find out about it? What is the hook? How does level 1 connect to level 2? How do you get to that secret section of the caverns? This is especially annoying when there are key pieces in the adventure that need to be found in a certain location that lead into the next location. If you don’t go into this one secret room in the tomb, you won’t find the map to get to the haunted castle. To get to this tomb, you need to talk to this one drunk guy in the tavern that’s only mentioned in like 1 line of the module. If its not a critical piece, I just make up something and create an adventure hook. Sometimes there might be several leads that will get you to the tomb, but they are scattered all over the module. 

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Posted by Leonidas in Campaign Ideas, Game Masters, Modules, 0 comments

XP Rewards / Other Rewards 

XP Rewards / Other Rewards 

In RPGs, how do characters get more power, spells, better skills?                                         Usually by level advancement.

People act on what they are rewarded and punished for. In game, they will make decisions to maximize reward and minimize punishment. 

Rewards usually revolve ultimately around:

  • Gaining XP: Defeating monsters, finding treasures, completing quests and adventures.
  • Getting Magic Items or Other unique items: Getting magic and unique items to help build their character out.

XP is doled out for Defeating Monsters (killing, out smarting, getting around etc.) with most parties defaulting to killing monsters if they can. The more powerful a monster is (either HD or special features), the higher the XP. Finding treasure (1 GP = 1 XP) is another though there are variations on how to count: counting everything that you find, counting only what you can carry back, counting only what you spend or donate out. Challenging adventures or quests can also result in more XP upon successful completion. Continue reading →

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OSR vs. Modern RPG Tabletop Games:  Pros/Con

OSR vs. Modern RPG Tabletop Games:  Pros/Con

D&D has become more popular than I would have ever imagined in my youth. This is great for the RPG tabletop industry and RPG gamers. However, 5th edition of D&D / Fantasy is by far the most main stream. I grew up playing AD&D 1E, B/X, and BECMI primarily, and then Call of Cthulhu (1E-3E) with some Warhammer 40K – Rogue Trader mixed in. Today, our group play mostly OSR game/systems. I have played 5E and do enjoy it too. 

There appears to be a pretty hardline with old school gamers in disliking 5E and Pathfinder / 3.5E. As with anything, there is a balance and OSR and modern systems (post 2000’s) both have pro/cons pending your gaming group preference. The strength of one system is the weakness of the other pending preference. Continue reading →

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DM / GM Prep and Game Aids

DM / GM Prep and Game Aids

This article is about being a DM/GM and some basic prep/game aids that will make your life easier and more organized when running the game. We all have busy schedules with work, family, and other obligations so having some basic tools and systems in place will help you enjoy gaming vs. spending time during game doing prep work or looking for basic info. For many folks with busy schedules, game time is their only personal time and time to escape. Maximizing that time is important.

If you play online with like Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds, those platforms already have many things prepped for you like dice, character sheets, maps, managing combat initiative, monster/enemy stats etc. which is great. There are still things that you need to manage or if you play pencil/paper, you’ll need to manage yourself. Continue reading →

Posted by Leonidas, 0 comments

Roll & Play: The Game Master’s Fantasy Tool Kit REVIEW

Roll & Play: The Game Master’s Fantasy Tool Kit REVIEW

I recently did a KickStarter for Roll&Play’s Game Master’s Tool Kit. This is a review of that product, and I paid for it with my own hard earned dinero. No sponsorship was involved in this review.

What is it?

System Neutral – Fantasy aid for GM’s to fill in background details about scenes and encounters. Its written by Sam Bartlett in the UK, and it first product from his company Roll & Play. The 94 page guide helps fill in details with tons of tables (that you can roll randomly on or just pick) to help enrich the game. There are lot of other resources to help generate like tavern names or NPC names (which this has), but this guide also adds a lot more other details in areas like festivals, supernatural patrons, revival side effects, bargain spell scrolls, etc. Continue reading →

Posted by Leonidas in Dungeon Masters, Game Masters, Reviews, 2 comments

Digital RPG books vs. Physical RPG books

Digital RPG books vs. Physical RPG books

I love books. I love the feel of them, the weight, the smell of old paper, the sound of the crack of the opening of a book for the first time. I have a lot of books on the shelves. I also have a lot of comics. All this stuff takes up a lot of space. It drives my partner nuts on how much stuff I had. As e-books and digital media became more popular, I began to purchase more of my readings via digital vs. hardcopy. (yes, Amazon has made it really too easy to buy crap.)

 

Photos: not my bookshelves but the shelves of the other contributor of the blog. Continue reading →

Posted by Leonidas in Books, 0 comments
Dice for RPGs and Boardgames: Different types, science, collecting

Dice for RPGs and Boardgames: Different types, science, collecting

Dice, Dice, Dice.

We love dice. All shapes, colors, designs, materials. We have polyhedral dice with standard numbers for roleplaying games as well as custom ones for board games. So many possible combinations and sizes. Dice rolls make or break our characters and actions in the game. The thrill of making a savings throw or a critical roll drives the excitement and fun of the games. I remember the first set of light blue / grey dice I had that came with the Basic D&D set as a kid. I carefully colored in the numbers with a white crayon and re-filled in the color once a year after the color wore out. Nothing fancy, but we were fascinated by the d4 and d10 type of dice as kids.

If you are first getting into RPGs, there are several things to know. Continue reading →

Posted by Leonidas in Dice, Dungeons & Dragons, Game Mechanics, Gaming Groups, 0 comments
Different RPG Player Types

Different RPG Player Types

There are many different types or styles of Players. Some change it up based on the characters they are are playing, type of campaign they are in (1 shot vs. long campaign), or who they are playing. (ongoing friends vs. convention strangers).

Diversity of Players

As in all things in life, diversity is important. If you are a racist fascist, pls piss off now as we will not engage in a debate on diversity. Diversity can be styles of play, age, work background, gender type, ethnicity, novice or experienced. Game groups oftentimes are friend groups before becoming a game group so probably have some commonalities already. However, making sure there is diversity in different areas of the group will make the game more interesting and carry the story line better. More diversity gives more possible solutions to solving problems, coming up with new options, new and different looks to the same situation. Continue reading →

Posted by Leonidas in Dungeons & Dragons, Game Mechanics, Gaming Groups, Live Play, 0 comments
What happens when you don’t have the core 4 classes?

What happens when you don’t have the core 4 classes?

So you are about to start a game session….. Everyone wants to play a fighter type character. Or the Bard and Healer can’t make it to game that day. One session we only had 2 fighter types and a rogue in a particularly nasty dungeon where we desperately needed a paladin and cleric for healing and undead encounters. We got mauled and had to escape the dungeon. Mission not completed.

It happens that you may not have the core 4 classes (Fighter type, Healer/Cleric type, Thief/Rogue type, Magic user type) at every game due to one thing or the other. If you are about to enter a deep dungeon or extended campaign, you will need all the core classes represented. Loading up on healing potions or healing poultices will only get you so far. So what to do? Continue reading →

Posted by Leonidas in 5th Edition, Dungeons & Dragons, Game Mechanics, OSR, Swords & Wizardry, 0 comments