Tabletop RPGs in 2018

I agree with Jorn, 5E is solid. I’m one of those weirdos who actually enjoyed 4E for what it was. But I didn’t mind 5E at all, and like it significantly more than what 3rd/3.5/Pathfinder eventually morphed into (and which I still suffer from GM PTSD thanks to).

It’s fairly clean and fast, includes a few good modern story-game type mechanics (mechanical benefits for playing up character flaws and beliefs), manages to stuff in all sorts of classic flavor (albeit updated, sometimes), and does some really neat things with the in-game math that mean that there are more and (to me, at least) more interesting ways to challenge players over the course of the mythical 1-20 campaign.

It’s not perfect, and if you’re looking for a game with ludicrously in-depth customization, extremely explicit and clean rules-boundaries, or newfangled mechanics, this ain’t really it. But it’s a lovely revamp of the classic game featuring some of the best elements from the last several major iterations. I enjoy it a lot when I am rarely seeking d20-style gaming.

Yep, everything @ArmandoPenblade says is 100% factually correct. All the benefits of 2e/3e/4e with few (if any) of the disadvantages.

Also queue the Dungeon Bastard video on why edition wars are stupid.

I’ll third that response. I haven’t liked D&D this much since I first got into it in 2nd edition. 5th is great!

To expand a bit on the “not super explicit rules,” 5E returns to a very OD&D/AD&D “feel” for some spells and effects, where the description in the rules text is very narrative, or at the very least, shies away from using tons of super clearly defined game-terms/mechanics to describe every single thing.

Which has the end result of a moderate amount of GM interpretation to figure out how some of that stuff really functions in-game. Not an obscene amount, and it really is mostly restricted to spells and some abilities from my fairly limited experience running 5E, but it’s worth noting that it is not going for 4E’s Wargame/Boardgame-as-RPG hyper-specificity.

Thanks for the explanation. What I don’t have an explanation for is why I’m looking at buying all the 5e D&D books right now.

Because you are a game hoarder collector and have a problem really love your hobby.

Pat thinks about buying a seventh copy of Vietnam 1965-1975, in case alien moths eat the other six…

Have you seen that Mockman artist’s maps of classic modules, strung into an AAR narrative form like Billy running around the Family Circus Sunday edition? Here is his Isle of Dread:

The guy sells prints of his maps here

though many of them are available here and there around the World Wide Web.

OMGWTF!! The Against the Giants one is going straight into the second floor of the library in the new house. Thanks for the tip!

I mean to comment last night. This was marvelous. I read it three times. Then spent money.

I posted about them in one of the threads here- there’s a whole awesome series of them- do a search online, I find a Reddit thread listing all of them in hi res.

/me wants to see pics of Dr. Brooski’s multi-floor library. The Eastern Front wing must be a sight to behold.

Can confirm, old library was impressive. Upsizing would make it rival a small town municipal library.

Just with more Yalta and less Young Adult.

New house has two-floor library with built-in bookshelves and a spiral staircase that goes up to the second floor which has a balcony that looks out onto the first floor. If people really want pics I will send them when I have it set up.

New house also has an indoor pool. @CraigM, it also has a large room for gaming where we can play War of the Ring.

We close next month.

Yes please, that sounds glorious. My wife and I would love to have a room (that is, one room) that’s big enough to house all our books.

Man, when I get back to town next month we really should. It’s high on my list of ‘I need to try it’

Plus your copy is gorgeous. The white tree of Gondor shields, the horse head of the Rohirrim, there’s something magical about seeing them like that.

Hello all,

One year ago I started a “20 Year RPG” experiment, which I guess will run for 19 more years. :-) It was a purposeful move away from spending time tweaking and playing video games, only to have the underlying technology change so quickly, and towards building a sustainable game that can last decades.

About 6 players joined me (the number varies slightly over time), and in the last year we played 14 sessions for a total of over 200 hours of tabletop RPGs with friends. Our core group invited friends of friends, and we have slowly expanded to have a stable group of 4-5 players per session. We play for 3 hours on Thursday night, once every 2-3 weeks. (We “only” played 14 sessions because we all agreed to take a big break to play Conan last year.)

The world we play in is based almost entirely on procedural generation. The map we use, the settlement the characters are based in, the locations they explore and the creatures they encounter are all rolled up randomly. The reason this is a “20 Year” game is because I can spend time tweaking these systems, then put it in a shelf and pick it up 5 years later and it still works (unlike a video game).

We have had some memorable characters and some memorable deaths. A thief that was so dedicated to stealing a runestone from a magical glade that he didn’t care what the guardian Dryad would do to him. An evil cleric that was murdered after he chose to loot someone rather than helping them. A brave fighter that sacrificed himself to save the party from an ancient, powerful magical creature. We had 4 character deaths over the 14 sessions, so about 1 per 3-4 sessions.

The deadliness of the world, the reliance on procedural generation and the player-led sandbox all fit within the theme of an “Old School Revival” game. I reinforce that by adding old school monsters (Bulettes and Basilisks) to the randomly rolled up creatures (organized boar-people and ancient worm-things), and using old school media like the writing of Fritz Leiber and the drawings of Larry Elmore as inspiration.

We started off using a Dungeon World variant for our rule system for the first 10 sessions. It was an excellent primer to old school gaming, but after a while the overly random character generation and rules effects (murderous evil clerics as PCs, with casting failures that led to permanent statistic damage, etc) in addition to the hard (for me) to adjudicate nature of the Powered by the Apocalypse System, pushed me to design my old system, “Year of the Basilisk”. It’s based on a number of things, including Runequest and many modern OSR-clones, and we continue to refine it in play. Happy to share the system of others are curious, I plan to publish it in a few months.

We play online using a combo of simple platforms. Roll20 is the virtual tabletop. I import a few maps, add a token with a picture for be characters, and simple abstract tokens for the enemies. We use fog of war and dynamic lighting, so the character’s lanterns reveal the darkness as they explore the dungeon. We use Discord for voice. We use Google Sheets for the characters, mostly so the sheet can evolve as we refine the rules. And we use Trello for keeping notes about the world and the chapter write-ups. The player Trello is public:

I send out an anonymous survey to the players once per quarter. So far our “player satisfaction” score is 4.8 out of 5.

This sounds fantastic, kudos to a great campaign! I am a huge fan of random generation, sounds like you have it down. Do you do all your own tables or use some publicly available sources? Especially for map creation. Would like a look at the rules too.

Our Tomb of Annihilation campaign is progression, currently on day #49. The party has reached level 5, and gotten access to the Sending spell so they can contact home base. Using Messenger to send the messages. Who needs post-it notes? #2019.

So is this the current thread for tabletop role-playing games, despite the ageing title? :)

Has anyone played Shadows of Esteren? I saw it last year at UKGE2018 and talked to one of the people on the booths and liked the sound of it, but when I went back on the Sunday they had sold out. I went again this year and, after another chat to a person on the booth, decided to buy into the system.

It’s originally a French game (Les Ombres d’ Esteren), so there’s a couple of weird word choices in the translation, and it’s very difficult to actually buy the English copies in the physical form outside of Kickstarters and going to conventions (their web shops has been broken for years, it seems), so I’m not sure how wide spread and well-known it is. The introductory Book 0 (which I now own a physical copy of!) is available for free in PDF form, so maybe you’ve come across it before? A quick look on youtube shows some rave reviews:

and some horrible quality and unedited play-throughs.

Whilst I plan to play locally with my partner and some friends, I was wondering if anyone had any experience with this game? I’d be interested in hearing anything you lot know about it.

I’ve never heard of it before, but it looks really interesting.