Tabletop RPG Catch All

Inspired by my character once again rolling a 0 for their initiative this week (their initiative modifier is -1), I made a nerdcraft:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/wXFfv8S.jpg)

Better an initiative roll than a death save.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

Better an initiative roll than a death save.

It's nice that you think I limit my low rolls to just my initiative ones

I FINALLY finished my next adventure module : Technically a little follow up to Song of the Mountain, but it works as a small stand-alone side quest for Rime of the Frostmaiden or any winter horror themed game!

Good to get this one off of my "to finish" pile!

IMAGE(https://smackfolio.files.wordpress.com/2023/01/cover-colour.jpg)

How many (if any) folks here play a baseball game table top. Example: APBA, Strat-O-Matic, Replay etc. If you do play any of these, what is your favorite and why?

Due to the WotC OGL fiasco, I am busy trying to convert my table top rpg brain dump and/or reference into a presentable "how to play" state. An alpha of a "starter kit" so to speak.

Stay tuned

I've been following that fiasco really closely because I create content under the OGL. I was pretty depressed until Paizo waded in today.

Yeah. That is such an easy win for Paizo. If WotC is determined to own goal, then by all means kick them the ball.

Love the fact that the heads of Paizo were at WotC and key in developing the OGL. And that their law firm wrote the OGL.

There are two things that I am seeing a bunch of people getting confused.

There is D&D the game and D&D the brand.

Right now, the higher ups at Hasbro have given instructions to WotC to increase the profitability of the brand. This will happen to the detriment of the profitability of the game.

I am reasonably certain that this is being done over the objection of higher-ups at WotC who came up through the TTRPG-o-sphere.

Yeah, they just tweeted out that they need to rethink some stuff... I think it's too late... without some hard legally enforceable backtracking protections for folks... I think WotC is in trouble. This came out at the worst possible time as they are ramping up their footprint.

I have been anti pathfinder just because I haven't really ever gotten enough time to play D&D so splitting focus was always a net loss for my enjoyment... I think I might have to start dabbling as things switch over...

I really like D&D Beyond and the future in it I saw there with things being fully integrated over time... sharing content, getting digital books with new physical books and so on... I'm sad that we might not ever see how easy and awesome it could have been.

I love what Paizo is doing with the licensing situation, and hate everything I've seen of Pathfinder 2.0 and Starfinder.

I played through a long Pathfinder 1.0 campaign some years back, and the only way we made it work was by consciously ignoring and streamlining rules to keep the pace of play high. It got to the point where rather than figure out which of my character's little situational +1 and +2 buffs applied in which circumstances, I just tallied them all up, wrote them on my character sheet as if they all applied, and at the start of combat I'd tell the GM, "I spend a round buffing. Do you want me to declare each spell and effect, or move on to the next player?" The GM always chose the former.

If we're going to wind up doing that anyway, I'd rather just use a system that's already pre-streamlined for me. I'm glad that Mathfinder exists for the kind of player for whom the crunch is a feature and not a bug, but Hasbro's bullsh*t aside, 5e is still my preferred system on its own merits. I would love for a less sh*tty company to come along and eat that portion of Hasbro's lunch the way Paizo is doing with the licensing thing.

hbi2k wrote:

I love what Paizo is doing with the licensing situation, and hate everything I've seen of Pathfinder 2.0 and Starfinder.

I played through a long Pathfinder 1.0 campaign some years back, and the only way we made it work was by consciously ignoring and streamlining rules to keep the pace of play high. It got to the point where rather than figure out which of my character's little situational +1 and +2 buffs applied in which circumstances, I just tallied them all up, wrote them on my character sheet as if they all applied, and at the start of combat I'd tell the GM, "I spend a round buffing. Do you want me to declare each spell and effect, or move on to the next player?" The GM always chose the former.

If we're going to wind up doing that anyway, I'd rather just use a system that's already pre-streamlined for me. I'm glad that Mathfinder exists for the kind of player for whom the crunch is a feature and not a bug, but Hasbro's bullsh*t aside, 5e is still my preferred system on its own merits. I would love for a less sh*tty company to come along and eat that portion of Hasbro's lunch the way Paizo is doing with the licensing thing.

lol. I was just noting to my friend that there is enough of that crap in 5e with multiclasses. Working out the damage of a Vengeance Paladin/Hexblade is whacky enough you almost really have to write it down ahead of time.

I do get you though. Pathfinder gets a little ridiculous in that direction. More to the point, a number of folks have pointed out that even with all the "options", the "optimal" solution becomes so obvious after the first couple encounters that you rarely end up deviating from a single tactic or spell.

With all this Dnd talk I was thinking what it would take for a system to steal Dnd's crown. My thought it would require someone making their own fun system, their own virtual table top system with good content creation tools. And lastly have an option to play single player, in some lesser form to act as tutorial. For player and DM. And matchmaking. Oh and be free.

Basically you need some crazy good designers, some good programmers, and massive pile of money to burn. And I can't imagine any group of investors willing to do that.

D&D’s dominance has nothing to do with how good the game books and rules are, and everything to do with history and a massive marketing budget.

Right now there are hundreds of roleplaying games that are as good or better than D&D for whatever style of play you are into (including dungeon crawling).

MikeSands wrote:

D&D’s dominance has nothing to do with how good the game books and rules are, and everything to do with history and a massive marketing budget.

Right now there are hundreds of roleplaying games that are as good or better than D&D for whatever style of play you are into (including dungeon crawling).

I totally agree. The real issue is that for third party systems there is only two ways you get new players. A friend teaches you to play or a player gets bored/mad with DnD and tries something else. It's why I was thinking a single player system of sort is necessary. As a way for new players to learn and join the player base. Similar to how lots of video games have single player campaigns that act as tutorial for multiplayer.

Really can't imagine a system overtaking it otherwise.

DnD's success has everything to do with ease of entry. It doesn't require players to purchase anything at start. Its rules are pretty simple. And the storytelling aspect of it makes it an exercise of Calvinball most of the time. It is in many ways, more sandbox than game system.

The thing about D&D's OGL leak to me is just how inexplicably, mind-bogglingly, cosmically stupid it is. You have a community based around being creative. There is a thriving marketplace of people making stuff for your game, and, rather than trying to stamp out that community, why not try to make money off those products as well? The model I'd think of would be something like Minecraft, where you find ways to engage with other creators and put them in a marketplace. They get a cut, you get a cut, and it's a way to bring people into your ecosystem without having to do all the work yourself.

If I were WOTC/Hasbro's CEO (and I should be, hire me, I'm totally unqualified in every way), I'd release a new OGL that basically said "we suck, we're dumb, there are zero royalties, and this is perpetual and irrevocable, go to town". On the D&D Beyond side, I'd create some kind of marketplace or work with big third-party creators like Kobold Press or Paizo, and tell them "Look, D&D Beyond is a great, and it's been a walled garden, and we're opening it up. You can either sell your products on our creator marketplace, or we give you the option to sell it on your marketplace, and we'll provide some kind of open API to import your data so it can be used directly in D&D Beyond in the character sheets, monsters, and so forth. It will be seamless to the player, and we will make it easy for you to expand your market. We will take a reasonable X%, and you don't have to do this; if you want to sell PDFs and have people use the Homebrew section on DDB to recreate it, that's fine, but if you want the additional value of plugging your materials into D&D Beyond itself, we'll offer you that option."

Kobold Press does fabulous stuff. Their monster books are awesome, they've got a great book of magic items, and some of the character/racial stuff is fun looking, but, well, it's not in D&D Beyond, so I don't use most of it much. If WOTC could open up DDB to other things like Minecraft does in the marketplace, it would be a massive win-win situation, but it appears Hasbro is being run by short-sighted morons.

There are so many ways you could engage other creators and still monetize this. Selling their materials directly in a marketplace, building integrations with Roll20, Foundry, and other VTTs directly into D&D Beyond itself, and getting as many damn people paying those monthly subscriptions to D&D Beyond to hook them all before your VTT hits eventually . . . this should be easy money. Who gives a crap about content anymore? It's all about stable, monthly subscription revenue, and, if you can get those dollars, hell, let Kobold Press do their thing.

Let's be honest. This wasn't a decision made by anyone really at WotC. This was Hasbro stockholders going "we need more revenue *now*!"

Yeah, the CEO of WotC is parroting the "we need revenue" line, but her job depends on the shareholders and if she doesn't do what they want they will just replace her.

Welcome to late-stage Capitalism where profits for shareholders trump your employees and customers.

Though I do wish that people were this upset over the problems of things like sexism and racism in the hobby instead of the fact that some third-party entities will be making less money.

Yeah. This has bean counters all over it. Some business school weenie looked at the size of the market and said “moar juice for the skweezzzeee!!!!!” And figured that his $15,000/month lease in his asinine vehicle was all the justification he needed.

Oh, it's definitely short-sighted executives trying to squeeze enough dollars out of the new quarter to up their bonuses, but it's so damn stupid. There are so many options for long-term revenue here they don't care about, and this is going to utterly kill D&D's dominance. I mean, they want to build some fancy new 3D VTT with the Unreal engine. That's a huge development effort from a company without a history of serious IT work, and that always increases the time and resources you need. Throw on that I have to imagine the back-end server infrastructure is going to be a pretty significant cost, and you need a lot of D&D Beyond subscriptions to support that. Whatever content other parties are selling is an insignificant amount compared to those subscriptions, and, if you start losing them, you're screwed.

Not being dramatic, but genuinely think this is a mortal wound to the success of D&D for a number of years. I mean, sure, it's finally a chance for other games to get some market share, but I really love 5e, and it's helped keep me and my friends sane over the last three years, but I don't know how they get enough goodwill back from the community to stay where they are without somebody swooping in and buying WOTC from Hasbro to get away from this.

This Opening Arguments podcast is worth a listen before jumping off into the weeds with that Gizmodo article. It's refreshing to have this legal team break down the differences between OGLs and the misrepresentations in the article.

OA675: gizmodo's critical hit piece

Kronen wrote:

This Opening Arguments podcast is worth a listen before jumping off into the weeds with that Gizmodo article. It's refreshing to have this legal team break down the differences between OGLs and the misrepresentations in the article.

OA675: gizmodo's critical hit piece

Came here to post this as well. Well worth everyone's time to listen to a breakdown by an actual lawyer who doesn't have an axe to grind or a clickbait incentive.

hbi2k wrote:

I love what Paizo is doing with the licensing situation, and hate everything I've seen of Pathfinder 2.0 and Starfinder.

For what it's worth PF2 is a much different game than PF1. Still really crunchy but they addressed a lot of the design issues with the system, including the buffing problem you talked about. It's got its issues but it's a really tight system now.

Starfinder is still Starfinder.

My experience with PF is through the excellent CRPG’s but it taught me that the actual game is a horrible exercise in building Frankenstein like characters to build the most efficient murder bots.

Mixolyde wrote:
Kronen wrote:

This Opening Arguments podcast is worth a listen before jumping off into the weeds with that Gizmodo article. It's refreshing to have this legal team break down the differences between OGLs and the misrepresentations in the article.

OA675: gizmodo's critical hit piece

Came here to post this as well. Well worth everyone's time to listen to a breakdown by an actual lawyer who doesn't have an axe to grind or a clickbait incentive.

I'm curious, but it would be nice to know the podcast's biases before I go in. I mean, "Critical Hit Piece," solid word play, but that does look like they sure do have a clickbait incentive.

TheGameguru wrote:

My experience with PF is through the excellent CRPG’s but it taught me that the actual game is a horrible exercise in building Frankenstein like characters to build the most efficient murder bots.

Pathfinder is just an extension of D&D 3.5, and that version of D&D effectively turned into a character optimization minigame at creation, and, in order to build the most ludicrously powerful character, you'd have a particular build, and kind of be locked in at that point or you'd fall behind. The gulf between optimized and non-optimized characters was insane, and it a weird way, the huge number of options you had wound up really reducing your creativity, as you got locked into the good ones.

My limited experience with Pathfinder is that, with a lot fewer options. Also math. Lots of math.

As for that podcast, yeah, I've seen some pushback, but, at this point, you're seeing a lot of relatively large third-party publishers like Paizo and Kobold Press clearly react in very significant ways, and these people have undoubtedly run either the leaked OGL or actual communications from WOTC past their legal teams. That, to me, is telling a story, and it's a story I don't think the podcast is going to change a whole lot. I think I saw Legal Eagle has a video up on YT with Matt Colville and I'm needing to watch that one to get a feel, but we're already seeing some very notable reactions from other players in the TTRPG industry.

Regardless of the fine legal details, the hit on D&D's reputation and popularity is I'm guessing going to be pretty notable, and unless there's some serious PR work, firefighting, and very open communication, it's getting worse.

I learned about Stonetop on the fantastic +1 Forward podcast and it looks really good. Inspired by Dungeon World and Perilous Wilds, Stonetop focuses more on a specific setting, a town on the edge of a great wood, and the inhabitants keeping it going. It has some interesting city-building elements to it, and some great atmosphere. I will probably buy it eventually.

Paleocon wrote:

DnD's success has everything to do with ease of entry. It doesn't require players to purchase anything at start. Its rules are pretty simple.

I agree with the first part. But I think the ease of entry is more about how it's become familiar in pop culture, rather than actually being easy to play. It also has the "designed by committee for wide appeal" thing going on, which makes it accessible in some ways but limiting or shallow in others.

I am constantly boggled, also, by people who say D&D 5th edition is a simple rule set. It is not. It's fairly complicated and involved, and has exceptions and gotchas all through it. On top of that there's a lot of cognitive load (especially for the DM), making it hard work to actually play.

As a data point, I think I have about 150 roleplaying games on the shelf next to me, and I'd say only 10 that are equal or greater in rules complexity to D&D 5. That's my taste as much as anything (there are also plenty more very complex games out there), but it certainly demonstrates that there's no shortage of systems that are simpler.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Pathfinder is just an extension of D&D 3.5, and that version of D&D effectively turned into a character optimization minigame at creation, and, in order to build the most ludicrously powerful character, you'd have a particular build, and kind of be locked in at that point or you'd fall behind. The gulf between optimized and non-optimized characters was insane, and it a weird way, the huge number of options you had wound up really reducing your creativity, as you got locked into the good ones.

You're accurately describing first edition, and this paragraph is an excellent summary of what I didn't like about PF1 or D&D 3.5 (and why I never finished the two crpgs), but second edition really is a different beast. I'm in a second edition Kingmaker campaign right now and it's very crunchy but well balanced and designed.