Tabletop RPG Catch All

Wizards has release a nice portion of their back catalogue in PDF form over at RPGNow, including a bunch of material from 4E.

Also accessible at http://www.dndclassics.com/

Which, as someone pointed out on Twitter, means that 4E is now considered "classic"

Well, when you spend the better part of a year publicly working on "D&D Next" can do that to ya...

Trachalio wrote:

Also accessible at http://www.dndclassics.com/

Okay, I can't figure out that site. Is it by Wizards? If so, very cool to acknowledge that a sizeable part of their fanbase wants to stick with their editions - may as well continue to sell to them.

With 4E the problem is going to be the digital services. I need my character creator and searchable index.

jlaakso wrote:
With 4E the problem is going to be the digital services. I need my character creator and searchable index.

+1

As bad as v1 of the 4E character builder was, the v2 made some improvements. Eliminating downloads was good, limiting it to 1 user at a time per account, and using Silverlight were bad.

I'd love to see them open it up once they officially sunset 4E. Hardly any of the stats will be compatible with D&D Next.

jlaakso wrote:
Trachalio wrote:

Also accessible at http://www.dndclassics.com/

Okay, I can't figure out that site. Is it by Wizards? If so, very cool to acknowledge that a sizeable part of their fanbase wants to stick with their editions - may as well continue to sell to them.

With 4E the problem is going to be the digital services. I need my character creator and searchable index.

It's being run by RPGNow (they sold PDFs of Wizards products before they got pulled by Wizards for unknown reasons). In fact, the PDFs that people had bought back in 2009, but then couldn't re-download them post 2009, can download them again. Which says to me that they were only de-listed, and not completely removed.

MikeSands wrote:
The Quiet Year: Really good. It's a very strange sort of rpg. You don't have characters as such, but you narrate a year in the life of a post-apocalyptic community, creating a map of all the significant things in and near your community. You take turns, drawing a card which you have to interpret (most have a choice of two events that happen), then take an action: have the community start a major project, discuss an issue, or introduce something new on the map.

Mother of God *remove sunglasses* that's sounds like a dream game for me. I must play this.

Falchion wrote:
MikeSands wrote:
The Quiet Year

Mother of God *remove sunglasses* that's sounds like a dream game for me. I must play this.

After compiling numbers, turns out The Quiet Year was the most-played game at our games on demand event. Six games over two days!

Also cool is that some were facilitated by people who had only played it once before, earlier in the con (the book has you read out the rules at the beginning, so it's very easy to pick up).

Falchion wrote:
MikeSands wrote:
The Quiet Year: Really good. It's a very strange sort of rpg. You don't have characters as such, but you narrate a year in the life of a post-apocalyptic community, creating a map of all the significant things in and near your community. You take turns, drawing a card which you have to interpret (most have a choice of two events that happen), then take an action: have the community start a major project, discuss an issue, or introduce something new on the map.

Mother of God *remove sunglasses* that's sounds like a dream game for me. I must play this.

Sounds sort of like an RPG built on King of Dragon Pass.

wordsmythe wrote:
Falchion wrote:
MikeSands wrote:
The Quiet Year: Really good. It's a very strange sort of rpg. You don't have characters as such, but you narrate a year in the life of a post-apocalyptic community, creating a map of all the significant things in and near your community. You take turns, drawing a card which you have to interpret (most have a choice of two events that happen), then take an action: have the community start a major project, discuss an issue, or introduce something new on the map.

Mother of God *remove sunglasses* that's sounds like a dream game for me. I must play this.

Sounds sort of like an RPG built on King of Dragon Pass.

OOH.. I was already interested in Monster Hearts from the same publisher (Buffy-esque angsty monster/teenager romance RPG)

wordsmythe wrote:
MikeSands wrote:
The Quiet Year

Sounds sort of like an RPG built on King of Dragon Pass.

Kind of, but you bring a lot more to it as players: you have similar events, but of course you interpret them however you want, rather than selecting an option.

Monsterhearts is also very good, but I can't convince my regular group to try it. Two players absolutely refuse to revisit messy teenage relationships, no matter how cathartic it might be

If you are even remotely interested in FATE, I'd certainly recommend taking a look at the FATE Core Kickstarter. For 10 USD, you'd be getting 12 PDFs, which include the FATE Core rules (available immediately upon pledging at the 1 USD level).

I'm in for $10, and thus far I find it completely worth it. It has just the right amount of crunch for my, and my groups, tastes without getting bogged down in minutiae.

I'm in at the $30 level. I can never have enough physical RPG books

McIrishJihad wrote:
I'm in at the $30 level. I can never have enough physical RPG books :)

They sucked me into more. I am quite keen on the stripped-down version of Fate, too.

They released the "Fight Fire" draft this week. It immediately made me want to start a firefighters game, so that's a recommendation. Cool stuff: serious fires get written up as if they were an NPC

I jumped in at the $30 level a while back. Second RPG I've backed. I also did tremulus a few months back and my group has actually played it a few times but I'm not sure if I can get them into Fate as well. They're primarily Pathfinder players and I've only been running stuff while our main GM was out after his wife had a baby. They're already getting antsy about getting back to Pathfinder.

Tanglebones wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
Falchion wrote:
MikeSands wrote:
The Quiet Year: Really good. It's a very strange sort of rpg. You don't have characters as such, but you narrate a year in the life of a post-apocalyptic community, creating a map of all the significant things in and near your community. You take turns, drawing a card which you have to interpret (most have a choice of two events that happen), then take an action: have the community start a major project, discuss an issue, or introduce something new on the map.

Mother of God *remove sunglasses* that's sounds like a dream game for me. I must play this.

Sounds sort of like an RPG built on King of Dragon Pass.

OOH.. I was already interested in Monster Hearts from the same publisher (Buffy-esque angsty monster/teenager romance RPG)

Wait, what? KODP came out in what, 1999? I don't think A Sharp made any other games.

TheHipGamer wrote:
Wait, what? KODP came out in what, 1999? I don't think A Sharp made any other games.

Joe Mcdaldno, publisher of The Quiet Year, also designed Monsterhearts. No new stuff from A Sharp

TheHipGamer wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
Falchion wrote:
MikeSands wrote:
The Quiet Year: Really good. It's a very strange sort of rpg. You don't have characters as such, but you narrate a year in the life of a post-apocalyptic community, creating a map of all the significant things in and near your community. You take turns, drawing a card which you have to interpret (most have a choice of two events that happen), then take an action: have the community start a major project, discuss an issue, or introduce something new on the map.

Mother of God *remove sunglasses* that's sounds like a dream game for me. I must play this.

Sounds sort of like an RPG built on King of Dragon Pass.

OOH.. I was already interested in Monster Hearts from the same publisher (Buffy-esque angsty monster/teenager romance RPG)

Wait, what? KODP came out in what, 1999? I don't think A Sharp made any other games.

Joe Mcdaldno, the guy who made The Quiet Year, also made Monster Hearts (not KoDP)

Tanglebones wrote:
TheHipGamer wrote:
Tanglebones wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
Falchion wrote:
MikeSands wrote:
The Quiet Year: Really good. It's a very strange sort of rpg. You don't have characters as such, but you narrate a year in the life of a post-apocalyptic community, creating a map of all the significant things in and near your community. You take turns, drawing a card which you have to interpret (most have a choice of two events that happen), then take an action: have the community start a major project, discuss an issue, or introduce something new on the map.

Mother of God *remove sunglasses* that's sounds like a dream game for me. I must play this.

Sounds sort of like an RPG built on King of Dragon Pass.

OOH.. I was already interested in Monster Hearts from the same publisher (Buffy-esque angsty monster/teenager romance RPG)

Wait, what? KODP came out in what, 1999? I don't think A Sharp made any other games.

Joe Mcdaldno, the guy who made The Quiet Year, also made Monster Hearts (not KoDP)

Alas. (Although Monster Hearts sounds interesting!)

MikeSands wrote:
TheHipGamer wrote:
Wait, what? KODP came out in what, 1999? I don't think A Sharp made any other games.

Joe Mcdaldno, publisher of The Quiet Year, also designed Monsterhearts. No new stuff from A Sharp :(

Well, except for the iOS release of King of Dragon Pass.

...I may have to upend my current roleplaying group's schedule to play The Quiet Year.

So I'm running Pathfinder this evening, picking back up a 2-year running campaign that's loosely following the Rise of the Runelords adventure path. For this evening's game, and inspired by the excellent Graham Walmsley book Play Unsafe (http://www.amazon.com/Play-Unsafe-Improvisation-Change-Roleplay/dp/1434824594), I've gone from a rigorously prepared set of notes and stats to only a few bullet points on what might be fun.

The group ended the last session having bested a major foe, in a clocktower in the capital city. The session will start with them being surrounded by city guard, demanding that they throw down their weapons and surrender. We'll take it from there; my goal is to say "Yes, and..." a whole lot, with some rough plans to incorporate a prison riot and escape, the reintroduction of a character from a year ago, a ride through the wilderness, and perhaps some early encounters with the ogres that have overrun a frontier fort. No real clue how to weave all of that together, but in the spirit of Graham's book, I'm only holding these ideas lightly in my mind; we'll see what the story and session provides, and take things as they come.

I'm increasingly in favor of this style of play, and of allowing for the story to emerge as a collaborative exercise, rather than something I've pre-planned. Even with sprawling sandbox-style plots, the prepared approach feels stilted and often mechanical, and it's of little fun on my side of the screen. It's a bit unnerving to sit down with little pre-assembled content, but paradoxically, those are the games that often run the most smoothly in practice.

Big fan of that style of gaming as well. Which is a large part of why I am a fan of games like Fate and such that mechanically tie into a more player defined and emergent narrative.

I just really love Fate.

thejustinbot wrote:
Big fan of that style of gaming as well. Which is a large part of why I am a fan of games like Fate and such that mechanically tie into a more player defined and emergent narrative.

I just really love Fate.

I've been toying with it in the monthly Call of Cthulhu game that I run. I've yet to really nail it; the group feels that the game is a bit slow, and I think there's a transition in progress between the mechanical gameplay that you find in traditional fantasy gaming and what I'm aiming for with a storytelling-based approach, and it not as smooth or as comfortable for everyone as I might have hoped.

I toyed with Burning Wheel for a bit, and while I love the ideas that are introduced there, the mechanics are far too complicated. Basic Roleplaying (BRP) is a great system for all of this, and is my current favorite, but it's a big ask for my group to abandon their Pathfinder characters just because I'm doing something different. Baby steps, I suppose.

TheHipGamer wrote:
thejustinbot wrote:
Big fan of that style of gaming as well. Which is a large part of why I am a fan of games like Fate and such that mechanically tie into a more player defined and emergent narrative.

I just really love Fate.

I've been toying with it in the monthly Call of Cthulhu game that I run. I've yet to really nail it; the group feels that the game is a bit slow, and I think there's a transition in progress between the mechanical gameplay that you find in traditional fantasy gaming and what I'm aiming for with a storytelling-based approach, and it not as smooth or as comfortable for everyone as I might have hoped.

I toyed with Burning Wheel for a bit, and while I love the ideas that are introduced there, the mechanics are far too complicated. Basic Roleplaying (BRP) is a great system for all of this, and is my current favorite, but it's a big ask for my group to abandon their Pathfinder characters just because I'm doing something different. Baby steps, I suppose.

Burning Wheel is the example I hold up when people say that all narrative heavy games are also rules light. That is a dense rule set. But almost every rule in it pushes the narrative forward, forcing tough and interesting choices by the characters and defining both the characters and the world around them. It really is a beautiful thing, just really difficult to wrap your head around.

Gremlin wrote:
...I may have to upend my current roleplaying group's schedule to play The Quiet Year.

It's a one-shot, should only take about 3-4 hours to play through (the game has a definite end).

So it shouldn't upend things too much!

MikeSands wrote:
Gremlin wrote:
...I may have to upend my current roleplaying group's schedule to play The Quiet Year.

It's a one-shot, should only take about 3-4 hours to play through (the game has a definite end).

So it shouldn't upend things too much!

Well, it's mostly because I was already planning to run a one-shot of Fiasco, and then Dungeon World and maybe Shock, plus the Mouse Guard campaign.

thejustinbot wrote:
TheHipGamer wrote:
thejustinbot wrote:
Big fan of that style of gaming as well. Which is a large part of why I am a fan of games like Fate and such that mechanically tie into a more player defined and emergent narrative.

I just really love Fate.

I've been toying with it in the monthly Call of Cthulhu game that I run. I've yet to really nail it; the group feels that the game is a bit slow, and I think there's a transition in progress between the mechanical gameplay that you find in traditional fantasy gaming and what I'm aiming for with a storytelling-based approach, and it not as smooth or as comfortable for everyone as I might have hoped.

I toyed with Burning Wheel for a bit, and while I love the ideas that are introduced there, the mechanics are far too complicated. Basic Roleplaying (BRP) is a great system for all of this, and is my current favorite, but it's a big ask for my group to abandon their Pathfinder characters just because I'm doing something different. Baby steps, I suppose.

Burning Wheel is the example I hold up when people say that all narrative heavy games are also rules light. That is a dense rule set. But almost every rule in it pushes the narrative forward, forcing tough and interesting choices by the characters and defining both the characters and the world around them. It really is a beautiful thing, just really difficult to wrap your head around.

I love Burning Wheel, as both a player and a GM. It can be a bit intimidating (particularly character creation) but the core of the system is actually relatively simple while still having the mechanical crunch to keep systems-focused players happy. You really only need the first seventy pages or so for most of the game, and can introduce the minigames gradually, if at all (Duel of Wits is amazing once the players can handle it, though Fight still has a steep learning curve).

And it lets you have that super-strong narrative focus that my group of players is really looking for. Some of the best sessions I've seen had the big moment be an intense debate between two of the player characters, or the fight where my greed-driven dwarf ignored his left hand being crushed to use his right hand grab the jewel-studded crown off the Nazgul's head.

I've run two Fate-based campaigns (Diaspora and Dresden Files) and I've contributed to the Fate Core Kickstarter, but the tagging-aspects part of the system just doesn't seem to click as well with my players, or at least not enough to make it sing.

The big thing that both FATE and Burning Wheel let me do as a DM is no-to-low prep for throwing new challenges at the players, challenges that really get at who the characters are as people. Instead of having to carefully balance all of the mechanical factors, I just need to find something that touches on what the characters' Beliefs are and throw it at them: some of the best NPCs barely needed actual stats because the beliefs they were acting on were paramount. (Aspects let you do comparable things mechanically in FATE.) But the hard rule systems are there to fall back on, and you can easily let the players build a session around any one of the subsystems or skills.

My RPG group started a game of this new Star Wars Edge of the Empire. I hadn't really heard anything about it before we started. It's from Fantasy Flight Games and uses a dice system similar to the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying 3rd edition (some info on that here).

Gremlin wrote:
Well, it's mostly because I was already planning to run a one-shot of Fiasco, and then Dungeon World and maybe Shock, plus the Mouse Guard campaign.

Makes sense, "several one-shots" is a lot more disruptive

I have a serious hard-on for Burning Wheel, but my problem is not knowing anyone local that really wants to focus on "character driven narrative" :/

I've run The Sword for the group, and no matter how I tried to explain Beliefs, no one really go it. They wouldn't even get into a Battle of Wits between two of the players. And it ended with the human getting his legs broken.

I've tried running a few other games, like Fiasco, but the group just doesn't get it. By the second act, the whole thing had dissolved into "my scene is me and you, and I kill you". ::headdesk::

They all say "we don't want to be on rails" and "we want PC-driven stories", but then they never live up to it. They all sit there, looking at me as the GM/leader and going "please sir, can I have some more story driven down my throat? I just want to hit things and make them bleed and not have to think too much".

Phew - feels good to get that off my chest...

McIrishJihad wrote:
They all say "we don't want to be on rails" and "we want PC-driven stories", but then they never live up to it. They all sit there, looking at me as the GM/leader and going "please sir, can I have some more story driven down my throat? I just want to hit things and make them bleed and not have to think too much".

Phew - feels good to get that off my chest...

Yes, some people just don't like playing that kind of game. Some groups love it, some groups hate it. There are people I'd never invite to join my gaming group, not because I don't like them but because they just don't want to play like that. Burning Wheel has enough mechanics to gradually help inexperienced players take advantage of the deeper narrative stuff, but if the players are just flat out not interested there's not much you can do.

I will say that playing story-play-heavy games has taught me a lot of thing that can be back-ported to more traditional roleplaying. A lot of it is things like getting the players to define things in the world (which depends on the players wanting to), but there are some GM-focused things that I borrow everywhere.

For example, one of the rules I love most about Burning Wheel is that you have to define the consequences of a roll beforehand, with the failure being something interesting that still moves the game along. So you don't fail to pick the lock and are stuck staring at the door, you fail and make enough noise to alert the guards...or your failure roll lets you pick the lock, but destroys the lock so it's obviously been tampered with. Keeps the game moving narratively, even as the player's original plans are thwarted.

McIrishJihad wrote:
They all say "we don't want to be on rails" and "we want PC-driven stories", but then they never live up to it. They all sit there, looking at me as the GM/leader and going "please sir, can I have some more story driven down my throat? I just want to hit things and make them bleed and not have to think too much".

Phew - feels good to get that off my chest...


Sadly, some people say this when in reality they want only the illusion of railless, PC-driven play.