Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - sgtslag

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 6
Second Edition AD&D / Re: Why Can't Druids Turn Undead?
« on: October 14, 2019, 10:14:23 AM »
I found the published Specialty Priest rules, in the expansion rules volumes, to be excessively limiting.  I ignore them, writing my own Granted Powers, choosing my own Greater and Lesser Spheres, choosing my own limits.  The official guidelines seemed to make the Specialty Priests unworthy of play.  The tools are there, in the original PHB, the DM just needs to run with them, IMO.

For example, my god of rivers, lakes, and seas, grants his priests the ability to shape-shift into various aquatic animal forms, getting progressively larger, as levels increase.  I allow Specialty Priests to wield weapons handled by their deity, but I am nowhere as restrictive as the expansion books suggest.  I have a god like Athena, but from my own mythology.  She allows her clerics to wear any type of armor, they can swing a long sword, as well as shoot a long bow.  They are heavily restricted in alignment, which restricts their behaviors.

Essentially, I create Specialty Priests which are fun to play.  I cannot tolerate the "generic Cleric", of 1e rules...  The Specialty Priests are so varied (only really developed as needed -- too much work to flesh things out which might never be played...), in my game, that people really look over the Granted Powers, and the granted Spheres, to decide what deity they want to play a Priest of.  It might not be "balanced" (a nebulous term, which, frankly, I believe is more a myth, than a reality, in 2e rules).  Balance is not my primary goal.  If I wanted a truly "balanced" set of rules, I would play 3.x, or 5e.

My goal is to create great role playing opportunities.  When my players bring up gross imbalances, I listen, consider, and I adjust, if possible, and reasonable.  My players appreciate this, very much.  They help shape the game, and the rules.  It is an incredible amount of work, but it pays in the end.  My players are very creative.  It all gels really well.  YMMV.

The Specialty Priest rules in the PHB, are really incredible, if the DM is willing to invest the time, and effort.  The tools are there, for the DM to create their own mythology, pantheons of deities, for creating unique Specialty Priests, which are all radically different.  I have one deity who is LG, but she allows her worshipers to be CG and NG.  This allows her to push her agenda, without limitations.  As a DM, it means I don't need 200-300 deities to flesh out, to allow PC's more options in alignments!  It would be better if the deity were NG, but I chose to make her LG, initially.  It works for me, and my players.  It also creates role playing opportunities for players who might worship the same deity, but have slightly different views, and alignments, but they worship the same deity.  If desired, I could even change the Granted Powers and Spheres allowed, based on the PC's alignment.

The basic PHB Specialty Priest rules are extremely powerful, and infinitely varied.  I believe the 2e designer staff felt they were too powerful, so they attempted to reign them in, in the expansion volumes of rules.  They went entirely too far, IMO.  Try comparing the spell abilities of the original, PHB, generic Cleric, compared to the spell lists of the Specialty Priest examples in the expansion rules volumes.  The differences are staggering...  So much so that I really can't see anyone wanting to play a Specialty Priest, as opposed to a generic Cleric, due to the limitations on the Specialty Priest examples -- they have so few spells available to them!  Cheers!

I'm curious how many OSR DM's use miniatures in their games.  Do you use pongs (flat, circular markers, with/without images printed), or something else for tactical demarcation on a board?  What type of terrain, or board, do you use?  This is a query on RPG's, not fantasy miniatures games, please.

I use miniatures (I also play 2e BattleSystem, and 2e BattleSystem Skirmish, so I have numerous armies of figures for those, but they serve in my RPG sessions, as well).  I sometimes use a mixture of Battlemat with 3-D terrain pieces (guard towers, for example, sitting atop the mat).  I have 2-D dungeon prints, mounted on vinyl floor tiles, cut to size, but these rarely get used (sad, as they are quite pleasing to the eye).  I most commonly use my Chessex Battlemats, both square and hex, with miniatures, but nothing but ink marks, to map out the terrain.

I only resort to the mini's and mats, when things become tactical.  Otherwise, we use Theater of the Mind, along with graph paper, and a pencil, to map out the dungeon.  Once we begin using miniatures, the flavor of the game changes to more like miniatures gaming.  For tactical combat, I very much prefer mini's, and some sort of terrain (usually the Battlemat, as this is the fastest, most efficient mapping method, as well as the most versatile).  You?  What do you do, in your RPG adventures and dungeons?  Cheers!

I have quite a lot of notes, dating back to the 1990's.  My group of players quickly learned that NPC's met today, will come back in the future, at some point, so they began taking copious notes, so they could remember people, places, and things.

Fast forward to the 2000's.  My son is playing an Elf Templenaught (Specialty Priest, in my game -- they're all Specialty Priests...).  His Elf serves the same deity as one of my players from the 1990's.  She, too, was an Elf.  One of my players from the 1990's is part of my current group, which includes my son's PC.  I shared with my son how much his PC reminds me of the gal from the 1990's.  The guy who came forward, from the 1990's, wanted to play his same PC, so I said, "OK, he suffered a weird magical explosion, which propelled him 300 years into the future, which is the date this game is running at.  We'll cover the details when, and if, it becomes relevant."

My son says to me, one day, "Wouldn't it be neat if my character was the son of Ronje', the Templenaught from the 1990's?!?!"  I say, "Yeah, that could be a lot of fun.  I could mess with Chuck (Plays the mage PC who was catapulted 300 years forward in time)..."

Chuck can be abrasive, and even abusive, in a joking manner, towards other PC's, in the game.  He did this almost to the breaking point, with Ronje', back in the 1990's.

The current PC group ended up visiting an Elven Kingdom, which my son's PC is an ambassador for, to several nearby kingdoms, and a valued member of the Royal Elven Court.  I described how the group meets a female Elf, wearing a hooded cloak -- they can't see her face.  I described how Chuck's PC feels that the female Elf is strangely familiar, but he can't place her.  Finally, she removes her hood:  it is none other than Ronje'!!!  She is now around 500 years old.  I speak on her behalf, recounting that she remembers him, from centuries earlier.  He pales a little.  She regales the King and Queen with stories of how he was insulting, and even degrading towards her, 300 years earlier (she is now very old, and a very respected, and honored, member of the Royal Court).  My son relates how Chuck's PC rushed to his fallen brother's side (Ronje's other, now dead, son...), to fill potion bottles with his blood for making Potions of Longevity (Elf blood is a key ingredient, per the 1e DMG)!!!  Chuck has now turned ghost white:  he realizes instantly that his PC is about to be killed for crimes for which there is no escape from...  He is squirming in his chair because he knows what he has done, is terrible, and unforgivable, atrocities against the entire race of Elves -- the entire Court of Elves gasped at the tales of his misdeeds!

Ronje' (played by me) grants him forgiveness; my son also chooses to forgive him, as executing his PC would cause irreparable harm to the gaming friendships, and Chuck would never be comfortable playing with us again.  He was visibly squirming in his seat, for several minutes.  He knew there was no way out; he knew he had behaved very, very  badly, in the 1990's, and in the past 8 years of gaming with his current group.

In some ways, I would have very much enjoyed giving his character what he deserved, and it would have cleaned up a mess I created by allowing him to bring that character forward in time -- it was a moment of weakness, on my part, which I have regretted for over a decade.

I wish I could say that Chuck has learned his lesson, and his behavior has improved.  Unfortunately, it has improved only slightly.  Next time, I doubt that I will be so gentle with his characters.

To be honest, we have used the notes from the 1990's a few times.  The current PC's have revisited "dungeons" from the earlier campaign as they cropped up in the story-line again!  The 1990's group visited a sunken city, built by the ancient race, which was plunged deep within the earth by the gods as punishment, 3,000 years earlier.  They were searching for two artifacts; they found a third, which they had not known existed.  They were extremely disappointed to have to destroy it:  it contained magic spells from the god of magic, which he had shared with the ancient race.  It contained spells beyond 9th level.  They had to destroy it, without looking inside of it -- it was forbidden, and the penalty was death, from a bolt out of the sky...  I remembered that they were too late to find the one artifact which they had been sent to find and destroy:  a group of evil Templenaughts had visited the sunken city, two weeks ahead of them, running off with the artifact.  The PC's later visited the site where the Templanaughts had taken the artifact to, and they were able to destroy it there.

Then, in the 2010's, the current group needed to re-visit the same sunken city, for different reasons.  They were not searching for artifacts, but if they discovered any, that would be a real boon to their main reason for going there.

It was eerie to re-visit that adventure site, for both me, and for Chuck, who gamed it back in the 1990's.  I spruced it up, and I created a map of it, which I had not needed, the first time:  I described it using ToM only.  This time, however, they needed a tactical map.  It also had been embellished with features which I never had in the 1990's.  It was a lot of fun to re-use it again.

I had to ask Chuck for his notes from the 1990's, because I could not remember the fate of one particular artifact:  I needed to know if he and his 1990's group recovered it...  He found his notes, and he had documented the discovery, and the destruction, of the artifact in question.  I doubted its truthfulness, at first, but as I re-read his notes, I recognized my deviousness, in how it had been hidden, and I vaguely remembered the adventure, as he had written it.  His 25-year-old notes closed a door for me, as I had been plotting on bringing that artifact to the forefront of the campaign.  Alas, it is gone.  I'll need to come up with another, equally dangerous, and frightening plot device to scare the <bleep!> out of them...  Cheers!

Second Edition AD&D / Re: Why Can't Druids Turn Undead?
« on: August 20, 2019, 01:45:03 PM »
I agree.  This has bothered me since I started, back in 1980, with 1e rules.  I tried addressing it with cleric players, at times, but it made the situation uncomfortable for most.  I chose to drop it, most of the time.  It has come up a few times, in my 2e games, since 1990.  Some players will refuse to heal, or render other aid, to non-believers; sometimes they ask me about whether a cleric of their deity would heal someone who worships god A, or god B?  These are fantastic role playing opportunities for all of us.  I explain the relationships between the various gods, and what they would think of healing someone else's follower.  It typically depends upon the relationship between the two deities, themselves, as to how their followers would/should react to a healing request from another god's follower.  I am fine with that.  These role playing sessions help define the mythology to a more granular depth.

One Specialty Priest has Dimension Fold, which folds two points on the map together, allowing the Priest, and his friends, to step through a gate, which puts them anywhere on the same plane, instantaneously!  It is an uber-powerful spell.  He has used it to win friends, and influence them, dramatically:  "Oh, you would like to visit the Elven Kingdom, 300 Leagues away?  Are you ready now?  Let's go!"  "Would you like to visit your homeland, 800 Leagues away?  We can go now, if you like..."  He is a sort of travel agent.  His fellow players assume (wrongly!) that he will transport them if they ask...  He won't, unless it benefits him, and his deity.  Otherwise, they're on their own! He will take NPC's on trips, at the mere suggestion they make, unknowingly, that they would like to visit whatever place.  He transports them, to win their friendship, and to gain a favor from them, in the future...  He is good at influencing people.

In 2e, with Specialty Priests, this is potentially more complex...  Not all of my Specialty Priests have access to the Healing, or Necromantic Spheres!  One player's Priest does not have any healing spells, whatsoever!  One fellow player remarked, "You don't have healing?  What good are you?!?"  It's been a running joke for years, now.  He is very good at gathering information, however, which makes up for no healing.

In one adventure, his PC was out, and they were trying to run down an assassin who tried to kill their Emperor.  The guy who asked, "What good are you?!?!", was struggling to track down the assassin, when he suddenly said, "We need <Specialty Priest w/o healing> here now!"  He knew that the non-healing priest could have identified the assassin, handily, and been able to track him down, with ease.  He was very frustrated as he watched the assassin escape their pursuit, rather easily.

Clerics in 2e rules, can be role playing drivers, movers, and shakers, depending upon how you handle them.  The Specialty Priests make 2e rules unique among all the other versions of the game rules, thus far.  Sooo much potential...  Cheers!

Second Edition AD&D / Re: Why Can't Druids Turn Undead?
« on: August 19, 2019, 04:14:51 PM »
This is an old issue which was addressed by Dragon Magazine/TSR staff, as I vaguely recall, back in the 1980's-1990's.  I could be entirely off, but I believe their answer was that undead are unnatural, and Druids are nature (natural) priests, who have no control over the un-natural things of undead.  Basically, undead are so totally outside of their powers, that they cannot affect them, at all, except with damage-dealing spells.

If someone can correct me, please do.

For my campaign, I run strictly Specialty Priests (I abhor the "Generic Cleric" concept from 1e rules...).  For my god of death, one of the Granted Powers of his clerics, is that they Turn Undead at two levels higher than they are; they also cannot control the Undead, they can only destroy them, as they are an abomination.  He, like the Anubis example above, is livid with Undead escaping the Underworld (known as, Gram Nar, which is Icelandic for, Angry Corpse).  If he had his way, each and every mortal soul would be contained, forever, in the Underworld, with none going to the new version of heaven (long, complicated mythology).

He is decidedly evil, and angry at the other gods, who stuck him in his position as gatekeeper of Gram Nar.  His Clerics also use fear, intimidation, and a healthy, ongoing scheme of coercion to bring Humans into line, worshiping him, as they rightfully should, blah, blah, blah...

Designing Specialty Priests for each god in your pantheon is a complicated, challenging, blast!  It really makes the Cleric class come to exciting life within your individual campaign world.  It creates incredible role playing opportunities, as well.  My mythology is so full of strife, conflicts, and open hatred, among the gods, their temples, and their Priests.  Bread and butter for my players to enjoy.  My game world's mythology permeates every aspect of the PC's lives.  It is so intertwined in nearly everything they do.

If you examine historical European medieval history, you will see how religion permeated every aspect of their society.  You will further see how much it influenced their very existence.  That is what I try to achieve within my game world.  My players love it, with several of them running Specialty Priests, of different gods.  It is challenging for them, and for me.  It makes for fantastic games, stories, and memories.  It really helps make the game world come alive for all of us.  My players are heavily invested in the religious-political intrigues of my game world, that they come back hungrily, to each session to dig into the issues, to thwart their enemies, to change what has been wrought by evil Priests, to establish things the way they ought to be.

My one son tells me that I've ruined him for playing in other campaigns with other GM's.  They don't typically use political intrigues, let alone religious intrigues.  In other games he has played in, people brag about their character sheets, and what wonderful toys they possess.  He shares epic tales of intrigue, how he and his party thwarted coups, won wars by recruiting allies, organizing armies, convinced Kings to join them in their causes, etc.  He understands the concept of "the power of flesh", over the "power of steel", as portrayed in the first Schwarzenegger Conan movie, with Thulsa Doom.  He pursues the "power of flesh", over grabbing magic items.  His PC was framed for an attempted assassination of his Emperor, and because of his connections with numerous Kings, and nations, six countries were willing to go to war, to avenge his wrongful execution, if it occurred.  I call that true power -- greater than any artifact, or relic a PC might possess.  That whole mess came about, due to religion, within the game.  Cheers!

Classic D&D / Re: World of Greyhawk 1980, Combat Computer 1983
« on: August 01, 2019, 09:41:40 AM »
It is two circles, one smaller than the other, which are connected with a brass tack, in the center.  You rotate the upper circle to the number rolled on the attacker's d20, for To Hit.  Then look at the edges to locate the character's class, and level marking, to see what AC they successfully hit.   (I think...  Haven't used it since 1989!)

This was a device designed to free DM's from the 1e DMG tables and charts, for combat.  It actually did speed it up, but only marginally.  There is definitely a learning curve associated with using it.

I laminated mine, with Clear Contact Paper, from the hardware store.  It saw a lot of use in my games, during the latter half of my senior year in High School, and it saw limited use until 1989, when 2e rules were published.  It was much easier to hold it in your hands, rotate it to show the results, than to squint, lean over your tabletop to see the charts listed on your DM's Screen, or to look at the combat tables within your DMG...

It was published in Dragon Magazine, in color, on card stock insert pages, as something readers could cut out, and use.  It was a huge development, IMO.  Most DM's loved it.  I really hated looking up each and every combat roll, in my DMG, to see who hit what.  A great many of my gamer friends did not read Dragon Magazine, so they only heard about it when I showed it to them -- many tried to buy it off of me!  Remember, photocopy machines were not commonplace in 1983, and they were all B&W back then, when you did find one.

When THAC0 came out, it was a challenge to wrap your head around, but it was sooo much better than rolling dice, looking up class, level, and number rolled, on tables and charts, in the DMG.  Give me THAC0 over the Combat Computer, any day...  Cheers!

Other Games / Re: Gamma World 1983
« on: July 29, 2019, 07:52:40 AM »
Ahhh, I remember it well!  Played it in the early 80's.  The charts we rolled on, to see if we could figure out technology devices without killing/maiming ourselves...  Strange, funny, frustrating, but fun!  Enjoy!  Cheers!

General Discussion / Re: Prophets of White Dwarf?
« on: July 08, 2019, 12:54:26 PM »
Computers have their place, but the AI is still in its infancy.  For that reason, I think TT RPG's will continue for decades.

There is no AI which can emulate an imaginative DM -- not even the HAL9000:  "What are you going to do, Dave?  Attack, run, or surrender?  Remember, Dave, the Computer is your friend..."  "Dave" needs to remember that the HAL9000 was originally developed to run the PARANOIA RPG.

Poor "Dave":  the HAL9000 also controls his Smart House...   :o

LOL!  Cheers!

General Discussion / Re: NTRPGCon 2019
« on: June 05, 2019, 08:15:12 AM »
Too long of a drive...  Located in Tropical Southern Minnesota.  Have fun!  Cheers!

I stumbled across a link to a phone app which allows you to catalog your items (any items), with a photo.  The app would allow you to share your inventories with others.  I thought, "How perfect for sharing my mini's collections, so my friends won't need to ask me if I have X and Y mini's/terrain pieces for a fantasy battle they are planning!"  Then the rubber hit the road of reality...

The app, in question, is only written for Apple iOS.  They promised to offer an Android OS version -- two years ago, but it still is not available.  I found other apps, for my Android phone, but they do not allow me to share with others.

A friend suggested I do it with Excel.  I have more than 10 armies, each consisting of 20-180 miniatures, each.  I need a catalog, with photo's, and detailed information, in each entry.

I also need to catalog my collection of RPG books.  I have two copies of a couple of expansion rule books, in my collection, because I didn't realize I had a copy already.  Really want to have something on my phone, to consult, before I bid on e-Bay, or order from Amazon/DriveThruRPG/etc.

What would you suggest?  I could use OneNote, and other MS programs.  Wondering what the hive-mind thinks...  Remember, it needs to be usable on a cell phone (Android preferred, but Apple iOS compatibility as well, would be ideal -- my friends, who I wish to share my files with, have both types of phones).  Cheers!

General Discussion / Re: Writing Adventures
« on: April 15, 2019, 12:33:25 PM »
With commercial modules, I tend to go off script (or my players lead me off script with their actions and decisions...), pretty quickly, most times.  I find that reading the boxed text, no matter what, tends to be boring for everyone at the table.  I typically paraphrase it, in my own words.  Of course, once we go off script, it tends to become a free-for-all.  My campaign world is not scripted, so I can't go off-script with that.  Using published modules to fill in blanks, however, can be fun, and rewarding.  By the time I am done running a published module, though, most would not recognize it.  We tend to go way outside the lines, as published.

To me, this is a very good thing, typically.  Running a series of modules, however, can create continuity issues if an original NPC dies, but needs to come back in the sequel adventure.  Still, there are ways of dealing with this "challenge".  This often takes you even further afield of the published script...  And that makes it even more fun, and more personalized for you, your game world, and your players.  Cheers!

Kickstarters / Re: The City of Great Lunden Kickstarter FINAL HOURS!
« on: April 15, 2019, 11:33:56 AM »
I've been using The CSIO since the early 90's; I switched to using Tarantis, by Judges Guild, as a base of operations for my D&D game group, back in the early 2000's.  A city setting, IMO, is the ideal "base camp", for land-based characters.  My versions of CSIO and Tarantis, only share their maps with the original settings, in my rendition of them, in my campaign.  I made them my own, entirely.

Cities require a large investment from the GM, if they plan to use them.  This is a worthwhile investment of time, effort, and learning, though.  When it becomes "real", to your players, you will know that you have achieved your goal.  I've found that an adventure is around nearly every corner, on every street.  I love my city-based campaigns.  I also love globe-trotting, with my players, but it's nice to come "home", to the city.

This looks like an awesome city base, for a campaign.  The old JG cities are hard to beat, even today; this appears to be a serious contender against JG...  I wish them well.  Cheers!

General Discussion / Re: How to grow the Forums
« on: January 04, 2019, 10:28:15 AM »
I passionately HATE forums like FaceBook...  It is designed to virtually force you to visit it multiple times each day, to avoid losing a conversation/topic, as it scrolls down the page as new topics are posted...  I can't stand such a crappy approach to try to force participants to log into their site slavishly.  Forums are the only thing I will utilize.  I refuse to become a zombie-slave to FB, or any other social media machine.  YMMV.  Cheers!   ;D

Second Edition AD&D / Re: 2e Bard: What is your experience with this class?
« on: November 26, 2018, 01:28:42 PM »
Thank you, both, for your replies.  It would seem that Bards have not been overly popular as a class.

I recently found some YouTube videos which are collections of sailor songs, likely from the Renaissance period; few have instruments accompanying them.   After listening to them for a while, I realized it would not be terribly difficult to change the words, to come up with campaign-specific lyrics to use as a Bard player.  I could learn around six songs which I could then change the lyrics on, and sing.  I might even get the other players to join in for a chorus, after they learned the tunes.   ;D

Not everyone would care to sing at the gaming table, period, but it intrigued me.  I've performed singing, before, even an acapella solo, so that part would not bother me.  It was coming up with relevant lyrics, and a tune (acapella, as I don't play any instrument).  Still, it would be difficult, aside from the singing parts, as I don't really find the class very interesting.  It would require a DM who would go along with my antics, as well...   :o  Cheers!

Victorious / Re: Temporal Damage = Kinetic Damage?
« on: October 23, 2018, 02:00:01 PM »
Thanks, DMMIKE, for confirming my experiences with Dragonsfoot forum!  I left it after a couple of years, due to their, "Thou Shalt Only Play Our Way...", attitude.   :o    Nice to know I was not mis-reading their attitude.  Cheers!

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 6