Anyone playing D&D (or other RPGs) these days?

Get thee to

Lots of add-ons, macros and such from the community. Takes some setup for the DM but really makes a game move once you’re playing.

Ahh very interesting, I’ll have to dig into that. Thanks.

I’ve been playing in a campaign of the Swedish rpg Mutant for roughly six months. Mutant is set in an apocalyptic far future, many years after a nuclear war has scourged the lands and mutated both people and wildlife. Pure-blooded humans emerged from their secure vaults and have rebuilt civilisation, but much has been lost. Technology is on a 19th century level, though artifacts from the past can still be found and fetch high prices. Mutated humanoid animals serve as the working class, serving in factories and workshops while the pure-bred humans act as the nobility. Mutated humans that could pass for pure-bred are shunned as they could pollute the pure-blooded.

Grimdark, right? Well, not exactly. The game setting can be a bit grim but the tone of the game is very comical. An old plastic chair is a treasured ancient artifact fit for a lord’s manor. A gun-like object found while venturing deep into a forbidden zone can be practically anything, and your GM won’t let you know until you try to fire it. The bent cop you need to investigate is a mutated pig, and so are his colleagues. Warrens of mutated rabbits have declared war on all meat eaters, and so on.

The campaign, which has been going on for eight months now, features a motley band of adventurers who have no real reason to stick together except for fun and profit. A few players have joined and dropped out, characters have left, but the group has remained. The most obvious fact about the characters is that they are not nice people, they are in fact downright antagonistic towards eachother. Part of it is the class society the game takes place in. The noblemen of the group are more than happy to delegate the gruntwork to the lowest-ranking party member, who happens to be my character. And naturally I try to get back at them in any way an underhanded servant can try to inconvenience his social superiors.

The best moment of the campaign stems from when one of our players had to miss three sessions because he had to work late. We needed an appropriate excuse and since he had made a visit to a brothel in the previous session we all thought that having him come down with a horrible venereal disease was a good idea. So his character, a noble big game hunter, was stuck in his room and sick with fever while the rest of us went adventuring. While he was sick we all made sure to stick him with the bill for whatever we did, knowing he was in no position to argue, and then left town without him. Taking his horse with us, naturally. When the player came back he was treated to a half-hour solo adventure where he had to find out what the hell was going on, dodge creditors, find some transportation, and then ride after us. We still give him crap about his venereal disease in character every now and then. He makes sure to take all the credit and use the rest of us as disposable grunts whenever possible. I love it.

I just ran a one-shot with some buddies in a Western setting using the Savage Worlds rules and had a ball. They designed a motley band of characters, including a 4 foot Russian dwarf who is hideously ugly but has a big heart and tries so hard, a guy whose torso is normal sized but whose arms and legs are freakishly long, is amazing at gambling, and is a kleptomaniac, and another dude called only The Engineer, whose amazing skill at gadgets is dubbed ‘MacGuyver’ in the rulebook.

I had a whole scenario designed for them to have to catch a speeding train loaded with ghostrock, which thins the border between this and the Spirit World (causing hauntings, visitations, and more) that was to culminate with a battle against a terrible gang on the speeding train, which was heading for a broken bridge over a deep canyon. Of course.

Of course they get some dynamite and blow the tracks before the adventure even gets started, sending the locomotive plowing into a cliff face.

Nothing went as planned and we all had a ball. There were also zombies, men hopping from galloping horses to a speeding train, and all manner of goofball acrobatics as they raced up the length of the train trying to find the strongbox and steal all the money.

Players are wild and unruly, and are wonderfully fun.

I’m surprised at how many people are playing D&D. Of about ten games I know of only two are D&D, and all those players play in another non-D&D game.

I’m currently playing in a Savage Worlds game based on Gene Wolf’s Book of the New Sun series. It’s quite combat orientated with a lot of the characters quite gimped out now. I’m rolling for criticals now and will generally re-roll normal successes because we need the high level damage. I’m playing a brothel Madam, who’s so rich has time for adventuring. She has a huge loyalty to “her girls” and tries to recruit more of them genuinely believing they’ll have a better life.

We have one PC that’s shared amongst us. He used to be a follower for a guy who has since dropped out of the game. The PC was totally non-combat orientated and needed a follower to do his fighting, i.e. the PC was a judge and the NPC was his bailiff. After months of the NPC being treated like crap by the PC we eventually asked what the NPC’s name was, and how it was strange he didn’t have a name. Somehow he ended up with the name Shaft. Now he’s developed into a pimp like character with the ability to bed women, low born and noble, with a pimp cane and a vicious back hand he instills fear and desire into other men.

That campaign is coming to an end, and I’ve said I might be willing to run the next one, I don’t know how much I have for it, but I have the basis of a Traveller story laid out. Hopefully it’ll work out.

I’m going to my gaming societies convention this weekend, check it out. It should be a good laugh. It’s probably the biggest gaming convention in the country at the moment, getting about 500 people. And with wargamers preregistered at about 70 people, the wargaming tournaments is going to be bigger than anything anyone or GamesWorkshop has ever run here. Good stuff.

I miss my regular group - but we’ve all moved on (mostly in a geographic sense).

Having worked behind the counter in a game store I’m wary of the ‘post a message on their board’-approach to getting a new group.
But with the large group of people I’m connected/reconnected to on Facebook (one of my old players write children’s fantasy and another illustrates Magic cards), perhaps I should just ask them, if anybody have a group and a spot?

To Hanzii

Do you know about the yearly event (It’s in danish - sorry!)
The group I’m playing with (right now:Space 1889), are there every year. It’s a place to meet complete stranger for a single game of either table-top RPG or boardgames.
It’s always in october, so it’s a bit of a wait, but it’s an idea worth looking at.

At the moment we’re just starting a new campaign in the Millennium’s End system. It’s a modern-day setting that uses 2xD10 (percentile dice) for all roles, and has more skills than you have ever seen. One character dumped his remaining 10 points into Dental Surgery for example.
The biggest reason I love this system more than any other is the “detailed time” concept. In D&D you have actions and turns, and everyone goes in initiative order. This rarely changes unless you perform an action that purposefully changes your position, such as ready action or whatever. You’re also allowed to discuss tactics, strategy, or coordinate to get flanking bonuses assuming your GM isn’t a complete in-character or nothing guy.

Millennium’s End however does it in a way that’s so addictively fun, and potentially catastrophically bad (or incredibly good). At the start of detailed time, there is no out of character communication allowed at all that’s related to the game. You can’t discuss the previously-discussed strategy, you can’t direct people to kill someone specific, you can’t help, nothing. This is actually in the rulebook. Then, each turn, everyone writes down in one sentence what they do, something that must be a) possible in-game and in-character and b) achievable in approximately 5-6 seconds. This is then hidden until everyone is finished. The DM does this for any relevant NPCs as well.
When everyone is done, all the actions are revealed and all happen at once. So if I lean out from my cover to see if anyone is there, and some enemy shoots at my cover, I will get shot the face. If we’re trying to communicate and I write down “use radio: this is GloriousMess, in position” but someone else also wrote the same, the radio is garbled (or one person gets there first based on their character’s ‘Speed’ stat and the other gets cut off). In hand-to-hand combat the Speed, body mass factor and training determines more often what happens, and it’s great to have rock-paper-scissors events to see what happens in a fight.
I remember one game where we had to infiltrate a government surveillance bunker (think 24 season 8 and CTU’s entrance) and two of us went in via a ventillation duct. We found two security guards and got into hand-to-hand with them. I wrote “duck”, DM wrote “punch face”, I ducked. I then wrote “nut punch”, DM wrote “body tackle” and since my speed was 0.9 and the guard’s 1.1, I nut punched him before he could react. Fight over as my next action was “punch face” which did around 15 trauma levels and knocked him out.
However, my squad mate was having a proper fight - alternating “block”/“kick” with the DM’s “block”/“punch” etc, neither of them landing a blow because of high fighting skills and total guesswork. They then punched eachother at the same time and knocked eachother out, and I’m left standing there with three bodies and no communications with the other players (radio blackout). Shit.

Anyway, the twist this time, as we’ve played M’End before and used the default setting each time, is that it’s in a vaguely Firefly-esque universe. There’s an adaptation of the rules for 2300AD and our GM has tweaked it slightly so that it has more of a Firefly feel to it, at least initially. We’re pretty much at the mercy of our employers at the moment, flying to various colony worlds and doing contracts. It’s great fun - I’m the pilot, and as such the group leader. The group leader gets double the pay of each member upon successful debrief, which is lovely. A new ship-grade auto cannon for the bow? Why yes, that sounds lovely. The first session was just to get re-acquainted with the rules and the changes, and to do a quick train robbery. Yup, as in Firefly train robbery. Fantastic fun!

As a side note we used to play D&D before this. The previous campaign which ended last year had me as the DM, and it was going quite well. We had people around 4th-5th level investigating an inter-city war, getting involved with one side or another, and generally being pawns of a greater plot involving our favourite dark skinned elves. During that campaign we had a player with us who always took the slightly radical approach to one thing in particular, which usually ended up with hilarious characters. This character was actually a Bard, in a bee costume. Yes, bright yellow and black. He was the party leader, and declared that the rest of the party must have coloured armour or clothes like his.
So there I was, trying to work out how an inter-city war would be stopped by four lunatics dressed like bees led by a gigantically under-qualified Bard (2 ranks in Perform) with a huge ego. Pity it ended really.

edit: holy shit, wall of text. Does it show that I like pen & paper RPGs much?

Our system & setting are home-made. It’s a bit difficult to describe…

The setting is a tidally locked moon with permanent day & night sides. The human('ish) and only player race are colonists, who long ago managed to supplant the day-side ecology with one that could sustain them. The local ecology isn’t poisonous, but can’t.

The colonists have regressed to a 1200-1600s state of technology, and are no longer aware that they are colonists. Nor are the players, currently. But I’m trying to clue them in.

In the very long term, humanity will become extinct if nothing changes. The native ecology is recovering and reclaiming the globe ever faster. But a great many means exists to avert that fate. The biggest obstacle is ignorance of the fact that it is happening.

Presently, humanity is divided into 12 realms, with fairly different types of organisations. Trade between them is limited and largely handled by the two human religions.

Divinity doesn’t exist in the setting. One of the religions revere The Observer, an orbiting and fully functional colony ship. The other reveres The Captain, whose actual name is lost to history. Both are quite sincere and nobody has any idea they’re basically Cargo Cults. The players included, for now.

Magic talent is a bit weird & very cliché in the setting. All native life is talented in some fashion, some of it very much so. Less than 10% of humans develop any degree of talent. Virtually all human talents are women, and a useful degree of talent is so rare in humans that less than a handful currently exists in the world, and only two are known.

Human culture universally considers the dark side evil. As magic is very closely associated with the native ecology, most human talents are exiled to the twilight (where they get killed or starve to death). The ones that aren’t exiled are the few who manifested talent as small children and managed to come to the attention of the more magic-friendly of the two religions. They’re instead recruited into the clergy and the followers of that religion considers their talent divine (the other religion disagrees, of course).

Over the last couple of decades, the other sapient race on the moon has finally regained the numbers and wealth to concern itself with more than basic survival. Humanity believes this race of sapient dark-siders exists, but knows it in much the same way Vikings knew Lindworms existed. They’re mythical creatures. So much so that a human might not recognise one.

On the human side of things, the ongoing persecution of the talented, and the encroaching native ecology has created a situation of too many young men and too few natural resources. The mother of all causes of war.

Being terribly religious sorts - the human society is very much inspired by the dark ages - the pretext will of course be religious differences. But unlike the in the real world, neither religion wants war in the setting. Both are almost as much merchant houses as they’re religions at this point, and see anything that may disrupt trade as a threat.

The campaign just started, so the goals aren’t too clearly defined yet. The most notable thing they’ve done so far, was burgling the third most wealthy family of the realm they’re in.

At the end of our last sessions, their future plans had been narrowed down to starting a crime syndicate, starting an academy for mad inventors, or launching an expedition to the twilight to find a dark-sider. I think current consensus is the expedition, but they have a few more days before I need to start preparing whatever they decide. I hope they change their minds, though. If they enter the twilight, I don’t think they can prevent the war, and I’d like them to.

Anyway, I didn’t mean to write a novel so I’ll stop here.

That sounds pretty cool Disconnected. Ambitious too!

I like it Disconnected! Especially how you have a background that’s hidden from the players and drives much of where the world is. It will make it fun when seemingly unconnected facets of the world start to click together.

I’ve been playing Shadowrun 4th Edition again. The 20th Anniversary book is fantastic and the ‘missions’ structure is great if you can’t get the same group of people every game, but still want your actions to have some effect on the storyline.

i currently have three games going.

the first one is a 1st edition ad&d game, where i play a neutral fighter. There have been times when someone has threatened us, but since it isn’t in the immediate interests of our party to fight, my fighter will take two steps back if the rest of the party decides to attack. He is the guy who GETS THINGS DONE and tries to keep everyone on track for our various quests rather than tackling incidentals. He’s kind of tough to play because the initial response is still “KILL EVERYTHING”

the second game is Shadowrun. Our first game is tomorrow, where I’ll be playing the hacker of the bunch. I haven’t played Shadowrun since 1989 when I absolutely loathed it, but I figured I owed it a chance again. The new hacking stuff is kind of out there, but thankfully i do VoIP engineering in real life so I can at least grasp what they’re trying to do.

The third game is a totally casual B/X D&D clone I run for some friend where we get together every few weeks and I DM essentially a ton of noobs who had literally never played before they met me, but now really enjoy it and look forward to our games. I try to put my own stamp on the cultures of the monsters and try to make certain that fighting isn’t the only way to solve problems, but so far they have really liked the combat aspects of things, even when I’m slaughtering them for their mistakes.

I’d love to play more, but it’s hard to find places to play in NYC

Y’all just be grateful for your freedoms.

D&D Musical premiering tomorrow in in the Berkshires!

That’s like an Onion article. Also, how is the issue of whether the guy was a D&D enthusiast from his youth a matter of court opinion?

Thank you. And yes, it was ambitious. Way too ambitious, actually.

One can’t have a realistic human-alien game setting. I haven’t quite come to terms with the fact myself, but a fact it is. The knowledge requirement is simply too extreme, as is the amount of it a human can’t process intuitively.

So yes, I was a bit overly ambitious there, heh.

In terms of scale, the setting is tiny compared to any prefab D&D setting. The day-side land area is slightly smaller than Spain, the habitable parts much smaller still, and all of humanity is just one million individuals.

The project, however, has been fairly massive. I think the page count of the set-in-stone bits is in the 400s. It’s insane and in principle counter-productive to running a campaign. Fortunately it works for us. Besides, it’s the only way I know how to get away with writing crap fiction and inventing weird societies :)

@ Kael, you can do much the same in any setting, using a secret future time line. I recommend it, but with the following reservation:

Because players rely entirely on information provided them by the GM, all information about current events will seem to have personal significance in the eyes of the players.

Keep that in mind. A good way to make the setting a bit more vivid, without confusing the players too much, is to settle on a handful of different locations and NPCs the players know or know of, and tie them together over time with a handful events along the lines of small personal triumphs & tragedies (dead uncle, new nephew), legal and career changes, and similar stuff the players can’t easily connect to whatever they’re doing, and can’t easily confuse with something they should take an interest in.

As someone who thinks Spirit of the Century would be about just right for my group, is there anything I should know before pulling the trigger? It’s kind of old, and I’ve been out of the RPG loop for a long time, so if there’s another pulp game that’s better I’d love to hear about it.

Ah, love reading about these games. Haven’t been in one myself for a while. I still have my Twilight 2000, Traveller, 2300AD, Dark Conspiracy (can you tell my group dug us some GDW?), MERP, GURPS space, and Car Wars on the shelf should my gaming group ever decide to reconvene…

I was part of a D&D 3/3.5 group for several years. My favourite character (let me tell you about my character) was a swordsage, towards the end of the 3.5 era. We did the Age of Worms adventure path, and I joined in at 17th level. Sort-of game writeup is here.

When 4E came out we switched over, and did the WotC modules in sequence. I retired due to moving away, but we got to ~14th level while I was there. Good fun was had by all.