Character Death Makes For A Better Game

I like to run a deadly game. This is common with folks who play older editions of Dungeons & Dragons and other Fantasy Role Playing Games. I am not cruel or looking to kill your characters when I do this. There is a great deal of misunderstanding when it comes to this subject. I really enjoy a deadly dungeon, and encounters that the players have little to no chance of surviving if they go in swinging.

PC DeathIn newer editions it seems that there is emphasis on putting your players against monsters that are rated at a combat level that they can defeat in battle. I am not a fan of this. I do not want the players to defeat every opponent in battle. I also do not like to give a lot of experience points for killing monsters and NPC’s in game. The tendency to kill characters does not correlate to a combat oriented game in the philosophy of running a game for me, it is quite the opposite. Combat heavy games tend to be those where death is less likely.

There are a few reasons I prefer to run games this way. For starters I am not a big hack & slash gamer. I can get bored of combat quick. If your solutions to the problems ahead of you are just to kill whatever I find the game becomes monotonous. If I have done my job right as a Dungeon Master in a game, then my players will be invested in their characters and wish to stay alive. If they realize that death is an option and fear what they are going up against there is a tendency to look for solutions for problems besides killing. I have had better game sessions that have been spontaneous and unexpected and engaging from my players or myself as a player trying to avoid the possible fight and combat and trying unique plans.

Continue reading →

Posted by Logar The Barbarian, 1 comment

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.

Continue reading →

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

Kickstarters for August 2021

I just wanted to take a moment and highlight a few kickstarters going on right now that I am backing. If you would rather listen to the podcast on these kickstarters you can find it on spotify at the Wobblies & Wizards podcast.

Kinless Solo Viking Adventure For Mork Borg

First off we have Kinless, it is describes as a solo viking adventure for Mork Borg. I’m not certain if that means it is an adventure to play with one PC & DM or an adventure to play solitary, but I will likely try to use it on a night we don’t have everyone show up for game and I have just one player. This one is being put out by Chris G. Williams who put out the Explore Dungeons Zines. I am waiting for the delivery of the 2nd issue and have had the 1st issue which is a great zine that I will likely cover in an episode of the podcast in the coming weeks. So, click here to go to kickstarter and back Kinless.

Continue reading →

Posted by Logar The Barbarian, 0 comments

Free Dungeon

Here is a free dungeon sketch. Go ahead and play if it if you are looking for a free dungeon. Populate it and have some fun. This is a sketch I did to throw a dungeon on the background of the header on the Blog here, so I figured I would put the full sketch of the dungeon out there for people to enjoy.

 

 

Posted by Logar The Barbarian in Adventures, Dungeons, Free Game Stuff, 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. 

Continue reading →

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

Welcome to Wobblies & Wizards

For the last year we have been posting over at tabletoproleplaying.com. We have decided to move the blog here to wobbliesandwizards.com. The name change is largely because the old url was pretty generic and we felt that this name defines us a bit better. While not all of our players and contributors are Wobblies, quite a few in my game group over the years are and have been. We talked about naming our game group back when we were still meeting in person, and it ended up getting named after what I named my WiFi here at the house, Wobblies & Wizards. Most of our players who are not wobblies have at least had agreeable leanings towards the wobblies and similar ideologies, so it worked. I also feel that today where so much is changing socially it kind of draws a line in the sand where we stand. I’ve been a wobblie for about 10 years now.

I have played RPGs since the late 80s and some of us here perhaps even longer. We tend to get into a lot of Old School Revival (OSR) games. We also love to explore new, obscure and independent games as well, so I will try to have more on those types of games on here as well. My latest obsession in RPGs has been RPG zines. Some of the best content out there right now is being put out by independent creators either through print on demand or in Zines. Some of the distributors out there where zines like this are showing up like Exalted Funeral also sell some really great political literature as well, so it is a scene I am really appreciating right now.

As you are checking this out go have a listen to the Wobblies & Wizards podcast. Right now it’s just me rambling about RPG stuff alone, but hopefully we can change that and bring some others in to join here in the near future.

 

Posted by Logar The Barbarian, 0 comments

Final Thoughts On Palladium and Rifts

If you missed the previous posts I made earlier this week, I have been posting about Rifts and Palladium Books all week. Check out the posts that lead up this this final post of the week:

I Love Palladium Role Playing Games

My Defense of Rifts

The Player Characters of Rifts

The Palladium System

The Palladium Megaverse

Palladium’s strongest point is by far the world building they did with Rifts and the endless possibilities available in their game system. At the end of the day, I do not know if Palladium will go much further than they have already gone if they do not change directions. They really have not changed much in the last 30 to 40 years. Palladium still does things in a style that is not very in line with what is currently popular. For those of us who have been playing RPGs for a long time now a lot of that might not matter as much, but in a market where game books are flashy and full color on every page this is not the most popular. I prefer Black & White print in books, that is not the current trend, but Palladium books have kept with the same B&W printing style they have always used. I appreciate that. Continue reading →

Posted by Logar The Barbarian in Palladium, Palladium Books, Rifts, 0 comments

The Palladium Megaverse

Continuing day five of my defense of Rifts and Palladium series I want to touch briefly on the many other Palladium RPG’s that exist. If you missed the previous posts I will have a list linking each one in the final post tomorrow.

Now, Rifts seemed to gain popularity for Palladium becoming the flagship title coming out over the last 30 years. It certainly had a certain appeal to me and the people I was playing with at the time in the 90s, but it was not the Palladium game that I played the most. I was really into comic books and we had a lot of enthusiasm about drawing our own comics and making our own comic book world that was inspired by all the comics we had grown up reading and were still reading. Heroes Unlimited was Palladiums Super Hero RPG and we played the game constantly. After every trip to the comic shop we would often come back with more inspiration from what we were reading. For about a decade there myself and the little group I played with switched off building up this world with all sorts of characters intertwined with each other and building a larger Super Hero Universe. It was great and remains very memorable to me as one of the most involved and dedicated games I have ran or played in. We did not keep the same Game Master running the game, we often took turns running games and dabbling in this world we were creating. Continue reading →

Posted by Logar The Barbarian in Palladium, Palladium Books, Rifts, 0 comments

The Palladium System

Oh, here is one of the biggest points of dislike and conflict in the real world over Rifts. This system has a lot said about it. I have issues with it, but this is going to try and focus on what is positive about the system. Let me start by saying that as someone who appreciates simple streamlined RPG systems, this is not that. But, at the core there are a few simple familiar mechanics that most gamers will pick up on quickly and keeping them simple in Palladium can be helpful. The two elements that are dominant in the system are skills and combat.

Combat is D20 based. You roll a 20-sided die and try to roll high enough to hit. Often this is not done to a static number but can be opposed through parry and dodge by the opponent you are trying to hit with an opposed D20 roll. That means instead of a base AC of 10 like many editions of D&D the base sort of becomes the opposed roll with the bonuses added to it. Now, it gets more nuance than that, but this is essentially the bare bones of the mechanic.

Skills are also a familiar mechanic for many long-time gamers as they are percentile based. In Palladium you get a lot of skills, and you get a base percentage for those skills. You will roll a D100 or roll percentile, essentially rolling two ten-sided dice with one assigned to represent tens and the other to represent ones and they are read as a percentage number of one to one hundred based on that. To succeed at a skill check in a Palladium game you simply roll under the percentage of the skill that you are checking. I strongly encourage you to only use skill checks where there is something on the line, not for every time a character attempts to do a thing. Situations of combat or where the task might be more difficult, and a reasonable expectation of failure would impact the game are times you would make a skill check. Continue reading →

Posted by Logar The Barbarian, 0 comments

Player Characters In Rifts

The Players have more options of what characters they want to play in Rifts than any Role Playing Game I have encountered to date. This is the nature of the setting, and it rises from the history of the game. So much so that many Game Masters might limit what is allowed in game a great deal, or a more adventurous GM might just go for it all. I suggest if you are starting out to keep is simple.

I love that with Old School Essentials or Swords and Wizardry you can have a character rolled up in minutes instead of hours. I love that I can create characters for Free League Year Zero games in literally ten minutes of less. Palladium characters take time and one of the biggest barriers to the game is just getting a character completed and ready to play. I will put it out there, rolling up a Rifts character takes a long time. On the other hand, most of the modern editions of D&D from third edition on up and Pathfinder also are overly complex in character creation. They are so complex I am hearing often how folks just do not roll up characters anymore in the manner they once did but are relying on software to do it. If we are taking character creation into consideration, I would say there is a big difference from simple systems like OD&D clones or the Year Zero Engine, but not modern crunchy popular editions. One of the things I have noticed people find frustrating is writing up the skills. Palladium is very skill heavy and each skill must be looked up, read, written down and some calculations will likely go with each one. This I think has been the biggest barrier for the system. But, I do strongly believe it can be worth it if you are looking for a good long lasting campaign.

The Classes are often referred to as Occupational Character Classes or O.C.C.’s. And Rifts has a ton to start with across a wide spectrum. Many of these O.C.C.’s or Racial Character Classes (R.C.C.’s) are quite unique to the settings and the system. While there are classic classes you will recognize from other fantasy or sci-fi games there are many more that are not found elsewhere. There are also very specific unique variants of many classes. The Rifts Ultimate Edition breaks up the O.C.C.’s in 6 different categories. Continue reading →

Posted by Logar The Barbarian, 0 comments