Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Radaghast on Mon Nov 09, 2015 2:09 pm

Forest Shepherd wrote:Anyway, they're playing a Barbarian half-orc, a tiefling Cleric, a human Fighter, and a dragonborn Druid. Quite a diverse bunch on the whole!
A tiefling cleric, huh? Interesting! What alignments are the PCs?

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Forest Shepherd on Mon Nov 09, 2015 4:00 pm

Thanks Nagual. Smile

As for alignment, off the top of my head they are: 
Barbarian chaotic good, Cleric true neutral (to support revengeful kleptomania or something scratch ), Fighter neutral good, and Druid neutral good.

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Radaghast on Mon Nov 09, 2015 5:36 pm

Thanks!

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Nov 09, 2015 8:48 pm

I'm sure Petty will agree, for a DM creating stuff can be more fun that the game.- Nagual

Yup, especially on the fly as the game is being prepared- never have a story so set in stone you cant break it and remake it any old way, as at some poiut your players will break it- when that happens a DM has two choices-

choice 1- concoct an excuse or event that prevents the players doing what they want to do and ruining the later part of your carefully prepared tale or
choice 2- throw your carefully prepared story out the window and go with the flow and see what happens and worry about finding a way to get it back on track later.

Most DM's will go for choice 1 as its easiest.

But there is always a way at a later stage to rework things so that they end up back on the path they should be on- if your game ends in the Big Dungeon of Gloom and Dread it doesn't matter how they get there, or if they break the tale before then, you can always find a way to get them there in the end and put things back on track.

If you go for choice 1 and concoct a reason they just cant it frustrates players and they will quickly get the sense that they can only do what the DM wants them too- which ruins the game for everyone.

And when you improvise sections at need its a lot more fun as a DM (and a writer) as its like the writers equivalent of a musical jamming session.

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Forest Shepherd on Tue Nov 10, 2015 1:15 am

I don't like musical jam sessions. Mad

I only play off of sheet music!

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Forest Shepherd on Thu Nov 12, 2015 5:21 am

I'm suffering from some kind of malaise and my grasp on what I'm doing is slipping: what do people expect in a D&D adventure again? I can't seem to recall at the moment. 

I have encounters, NPCs, a ship, a route, travel-time, a storm, a stowaway, a pirate attack, a destination. I seem to be missing a why. What did this small kingdom on the Sword Coast send a team of dwarves and humans into the far north of the world? Why did they go to this mountain that juts up out of the Reghed Glacier and why do the adventurers now need to go find out why the party hasn't returned?
I'm thinking that this group needed to do something up there with a magical device or something that the kingdom now needs returned. This is sounding like the fantasy version of a "retrieve the weapon from the sunken Navy sub" but I can't think of a good reason for the stupid original group to go up there and why the current party needs to go find out what happened.

Ah. The king's son or something was with the party? And they were simply mapping the far north of this world for... fantasy science or prestige. "Because it's there!" Right? Razz

How is this sounding? Help me out friends.
P.S.
I don't need to know what happened up there yet, but I do need something plausible sounding to tell my D&D group on Saturday is the reason for their characters to be heading up north. Help!

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Or so you thought.
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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Nov 12, 2015 12:29 pm

I dont want to really make story suggestions- as those should ideally come form you as they will feel more natural and suited to your style.

However as a DM you can use these moments where you dont have a good reason for something to delay telling them, and make it more intriguing at the same time.

If you tell them the kings son, or some important group went there dont tell them why- but make it quite clear through the NPC's that there is a why, they just wont tell the players what it is- state secrets, mage guild handshake rules- any excuse for non disclosure will do- this gives you time to think of something at a later point and it puts your players a bit more on edge and more intrigued wondering why they can be told.
Oh and money- cash rewards and magic items are generally all the incentive most players need to go anywhere.

Its not at all necessary for the DM to know everything thats going on from the off- the trick is to build it all up as you go along- for example in the campaign I wrote up as a book the opening set up- characters arrive in a small gnome village on the edge of a swamp where there is a problem- the water levels of the swamp keep mysteriously rising in the dead of night flooding the usable land and accompanied by scary goings on, disappearances and weird noises- investigate whats going on for reward was the premise (well for 2 of the 3 player characters- the 3rd being noble form the same kingdom had other motivations).
Thats was it- that was all I had. No clue what was causing it, no idea who, or if there was a big bad behind it, if it was somehow natural- nothing but a rough map of the immediate area and a list of NPC's.

Thing is if you read the book you will see the water rising thing is just the opening catalyst for the entirety of what follows- and whilst the players did stop it happening, they didn't find out how it was happening until much later, about 3 years later in real time. But when they did and it connected everything back to the very first part of the story that sparked it all it is hugely satisfying for the players and they think you are a plotting genius, but all I actually did was make shit up at need and as seemed appropriate for 3 years. So long as you base what comes next out of what has happened it will always feel organic and natural to the players.

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Nagual on Thu Nov 12, 2015 11:30 pm

Forest Shepherd wrote:I'm suffering from some kind of malaise and my grasp on what I'm doing is slipping: what do people expect in a D&D adventure again? I can't seem to recall at the moment. 

I have encounters, NPCs, a ship, a route, travel-time, a storm, a stowaway, a pirate attack, a destination. I seem to be missing a why. What did this small kingdom on the Sword Coast send a team of dwarves and humans into the far north of the world? Why did they go to this mountain that juts up out of the Reghed Glacier and why do the adventurers now need to go find out why the party hasn't returned?
I'm thinking that this group needed to do something up there with a magical device or something that the kingdom now needs returned. This is sounding like the fantasy version of a "retrieve the weapon from the sunken Navy sub" but I can't think of a good reason for the stupid original group to go up there and why the current party needs to go find out what happened.

Ah. The king's son or something was with the party? And they were simply mapping the far north of this world for... fantasy science or prestige. "Because it's there!" Right? Razz

How is this sounding? Help me out friends.
P.S.
I don't need to know what happened up there yet, but I do need something plausible sounding to tell my D&D group on Saturday is the reason for their characters to be heading up north. Help!

No idea, but it sounds interesting. I'm not going to give you answers, you're going to do that by answering these questions:


  • What is the King? What is he up to? Why is he up to it? Is it good or bad, or a mix.

  • The Kings son - Does he have ulterior motives for being there? If so why? If not, what's his background?


  • Someone or something told the King about this mountain, and what it means. Who told them that and why?

  • Does the mountain harbour something evil, something ancient or something good something evil wouldn't want in the world. Or is it just about the money, the gold, the gems the women?

  • Did the original party ever make it there? Why not? Did they make there only to be stopped by something terrible? Or by chance?

  • Why are the Pirates attacking? Why are the Pirates, pirates?


  • Do you want this campaign to be a relatively short one or is it the beginning of something... else.?


If you even have the vaguest idea of an answer for any of those you've got enough to build on.

There doesn't have to be anything at the end, have them fight, search, puzzle their way there. Let the party guide you - they may have some interesting ideas that you can use, don't be afraid to change your direction of game if their ideas are better. Once they get 'there' where ever that may be, it could be just the tip of the iceberg as it were.

Doesn't have to be a good ending, think Star Wars Empire Strikes Back. Or maybe your players will prefer the New Hope ending style of things?


The best TV shows have a main plot running through them, but also a couple of smaller shorter story arcs, they generally are easy to pick up and follow, and not very taxing on the brain cells. D&D games are similar big main over all 'Thing' with loads of smaller 'stuff' The Thing doesn't even need to be detailed, hints and vague clues are enough. Players will form their own connections - maybe the right ones but probably not. It doesn't matter. They form links with events and that forms a collective whole and that's your story. They just don't know that you're constantly adding/changing as you go. By all means have a 'story board' or certain 'milestones' that you want or need to get to if it helps you keep track of it all.


If you don't have the answers, your players will help you - they won't know it but they will. Have faith in them, as they do in you.
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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Forest Shepherd on Fri Nov 13, 2015 3:18 am

Wow! Thank you both so much for helping get me back on track. 

The advice you've offered is just what I needed. It is both general enough to be applicable to whatever I'm planning, and pointed enough to get to the root of my current predicament. For example, I hadn't been considering just how little information I can get away with sharing. I was approaching this from the perspective of a story teller, but D&D is collaborative storytelling; I was missing the player's input! I don't need to know what's going to happen over the next few weeks, just a few bits of groundwork for this Saturday that I and the players can build upon.

Anyway, I must get back to jotting down some random tables and drawing up a chart of the sailing vessel!

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Not after forest but trees.
Where did you play on a rainy day?
Where did I eat bread and cheese?
Search inside, stay indoors,
Look up and find the secret is yours.
Your castle your fort,
Or so you thought.
The way is in four trees.
The way is in Boar in Brockhall
Under ale, under bread, under cheese.

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Forest Shepherd on Fri Nov 13, 2015 7:12 am

In other words, I was really worried because while looking over my notes and stuff I was struck by how plain and simple everything was. "This would make a pathetic story" I thought. But it's enough to simply have stuff for the players to do. They will give it depth and intrigue. The pre-written campaign I last played in, for example, has almost nothing going on in the first few episodes. A few simple ideas are put down and that's it and this is the adventure that they opened up 5th edition with!

If anything I have too much information written down!

Still, all the same, I have this nagging suspicion that we'll go through things really fast, and after a couple hours I will have run through everything I have prepared. Must be the nerves. I mean, it takes time to do stuff in D&D right? I have 4-5 hours to fill and 8 lightly detailed days of sailing to fill them with. Perhaps I need a table of random encounters just in case I need filler. This DMing stuff is tricky.  scratch

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Boar is badger, named after wood,
Not after forest but trees.
Where did you play on a rainy day?
Where did I eat bread and cheese?
Search inside, stay indoors,
Look up and find the secret is yours.
Your castle your fort,
Or so you thought.
The way is in four trees.
The way is in Boar in Brockhall
Under ale, under bread, under cheese.

-Mossflower, by Brian Jacques.
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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Nagual on Sat Nov 14, 2015 9:54 pm

Random encounters are a good filler. If you mix these with NPCs from your game, that the players may have either heard of or encountered before all the better. Doesn't have to be anyone special either. like the pick pocket from the hamlet you passed by, the farmer down on his luck they met. The highwayman they were warned about.

These sort of encounters are perfect for delaying the 'big thing mission' - maybe you're not ready or happy with what's in your head. So throw an encounter at them and let them make what they will of it.

These also let you find out how your players actually play and react to different things. Pettys group of players were very easily categorised in a short time, he could then throw things together on short notice that would have something for everyone. Once you know how players think, you can set up things for them - to challenge them. To trap them. To fool them. To reward them. To kill them.

Whatever the player do or don't do, they must feel like the end result is their fault. It was their actions and decisions that took them to where they are, for better or worse. Don't be afraid to let your players fail due to their own greed or stupidity. They will learn.

By the same token, players will try and 'beat the DM' 'us vs them' sort of thing. hard to discourage as it's natural, but as long as you come across as firm but fair, letting them get themselves into a mess and letting them sort it is one of the most rewarding games you can have.
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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:01 pm

Pettys group of players were very easily categorised in a short time- Petty

Indeed. Getting to know what it is about the game particular players like is very useful. And can insure you proivde a game with something for everyone in your group.
As an extreme example I had one player who was stat mad, but he did know the manuals inside out. For him stats were the game.
So over time I let him co-Dm as it were whilst he was playing- nothing obviously a player shouldn't know, but he could tell other players without need to look stuff up what bonuses or minuses they would have on weapons, attacks ect- this not only proved handy for me, but it gave me time to plan what came next.

Dont be afraid to use your players by letting them do stuff they enjoy. And of course using the time whilst they do it to plan things out as you go.

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Radaghast on Sun Nov 15, 2015 2:24 am

Well, it was a good run, but my party suffered the dreaded TPK, due to stupid mistakes (not necessarily my own Very Happy; actually pretty sure the main blunder was by another player) . Well, one player character is still alive, but the player is taking a break and the DM won't let a party be built around a single high level PC (whose return is indefinite in any case). Don't want to supply too many details because I can get carried away. Suffice to say, it's back to square one with *shudder* 1st-level characters.

Anyway, just thought I'd share that Very Happy

Also, good luck with your DMing, FS Cool

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Bluebottle on Sun Nov 15, 2015 3:43 pm


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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Nov 15, 2015 3:47 pm

Laughing 'what the fuck is wrong with you' shame basement! Laughing

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Bluebottle on Sun Nov 15, 2015 3:58 pm

Just a heads up. You can still check your D&D alignment here.

http://easydamus.com/alignmenttest.html

I'm true neutral. (How dull.) Razz

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Forest Shepherd on Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:37 pm

Ooof, that game really took it out of me! 

There was so much mental work involved. I had to be on my toes at all times. Even after the game ended it took me about 3 hours just to get my mind to quiet down and stop thinking.

Things I messed up:
-Voices
I did not do very well speaking through the NPCs. Most of the time I tried to keep talking to the PCs to a minimum because I wasn't comfortable with my voice and didn't have good notes own for how to physically represent the various members of the crew. 

-Combat
I didn't make the combat challenging enough. It really is true that the PCs can usually take a lot more than it's suggested that you throw at them. I also didn't play the creatures very well. They should have gotten in surprise rounds and ambushed and worked together and not spent so much time not attacking. 

They also want me to bring minis and a grid next week. Mad So there's that.

-Character involvement.
I think this one was really mostly on them because they didn't have much to work with in term of character development. It was really hard then for me, uncomfortable as I am roleplaying NPCs, to try and draw them into RP through conversation. I didn't even get to use the riddles I prepared for the session.  Banghead


Things I did right:
-Not much really. The first fight went pretty well in term of flavour, except that it was over too soon. I had one quirky and fun encounter where some storm giants float overhead of the ship right before a storm is about to hit. They were throwing a party up there and I had one of them accidentally drop a giant-sized flagon on top of the chicken coop. That was pretty funny and went over well. Smile
-There was another part where the party was all gathered in a cabin arguing over whether or not some random loot I had given them was magical: you know, meta-gaming like punks. Anyway, I had a member of the crew knock on the door and tell them dinner was ready every 2 minutes or so of actual-time. I was just enjoying myself and playing around with the scene, but they all got very suspicious and figured that the crew was trying to poison them or something ridiculous. 
So that taught me to try out random things that I enjoy, as it leads to interest for the players and entertains me quite a lot too.

P.S.
They almost killed off two of their characters as well Radaghast! Which isn't quite a TPK, but would have been pretty awful. Thankfully I magicked away the problem and got them all together again before they fought the giant crabs.

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Where did you play on a rainy day?
Where did I eat bread and cheese?
Search inside, stay indoors,
Look up and find the secret is yours.
Your castle your fort,
Or so you thought.
The way is in four trees.
The way is in Boar in Brockhall
Under ale, under bread, under cheese.

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Nagual on Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:49 pm

I can almost guarantee that your players will not have noticed anything wrong Wink
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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Forest Shepherd on Wed Nov 18, 2015 5:11 am

Bleh. I need to start getting ready for the next game on Saturday, but I don't want to.

Last week was difficult. I had this tiredness afterwards that seemed disproportionate to an afternoon spent playing a game for fun. It felt more like I had just finished a long days work and was quite put out. The players are so darn needy! I mean, D&D isn't just about the DM giving and giving and entertaining and inciting the players for hours at a time: they need to give back! They need to charge headlong in certain directions, they need to ask questions and they need to tell me what they #%$#&$# want! Extremely Crabbit  


I know I'll tap into my creativity if I just start writing things down, but I don't feel motivated at all to begin. I don't even know any of them. Why on earth should I spend several hours of my spare time in the evenings working to entertain strangers if I'm not having fun while I'm doing it?


At least I had some fun last Saturday. I just don't know what to change to make next Saturday better than last Saturday. It seems like I'll have to try harder which discourages me from beginning in the first place.
That's the thing that I hate the most, when people don't talk to you. I mean, sure, we've only just met and we might be constrained by social anxiety, but I just spent 10 hours working every night of the week getting my DM screen ready and preparing the first game session and you won't even talk to me about what you liked or disliked or make small-talk about your character or the game or anything.


Maybe I need to talk to them next time. I'll tell them that I'm not a darn movie and if they want a game that is more than us all rolling attacks and calculating loot they need to put in some work too and come prepared with some frickin' characters next time! Mad  Mad  Mad

I'm not really looking for advice about how I shouldn't do it if it's not fun; I'm just venting crabbit. If you have advice about how to vent crabbit better then feel free to go ahead.


Last edited by Forest Shepherd on Wed Nov 18, 2015 5:44 am; edited 1 time in total

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Boar is badger, named after wood,
Not after forest but trees.
Where did you play on a rainy day?
Where did I eat bread and cheese?
Search inside, stay indoors,
Look up and find the secret is yours.
Your castle your fort,
Or so you thought.
The way is in four trees.
The way is in Boar in Brockhall
Under ale, under bread, under cheese.

-Mossflower, by Brian Jacques.
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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Forest Shepherd on Wed Nov 18, 2015 5:18 am

Well that's some of my crabbit vented. 
I feel a little better.

I think it must be that I'm simply feeling lonely and wanting some human connection. I can't be upset with them for not giving me that as we've only just met. 

The stupid interns here on the farm don't really talk to me either. They make small talk (barely more than a "hello" most days) but they never invite me anywhere and don't include me in movie-nights. I'm the same age and you'd think they could at least try and make an effort to overcome my off-putting mood-swings and silence! 
I guess because I'm not at least 8 years older than them and a moron they don't want to have anything to do with me, as that seems to be the sort of guys they actually care to spend time with. I don't understand women...   Shrugging

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Your castle your fort,
Or so you thought.
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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Forest Shepherd on Wed Nov 18, 2015 5:25 am

Maybe I just don't like D&D. 

I mean it started out as a crappy sort of DM vs. Players contest of nerdy dick-measuring, and from there inspired such mish-mash horrors as World of Warcraft.  Evil or Very Mad

Why would anyone like it? It's a stupid game that stupidly only gives you hints about how to throw monsters at your players while showering gold from out of the nearest feasible location so they can go buy stupid crap that noone needs so they can go kill things and then pillage their homes so they can go buy more stupid crap that noone needs so that they can go murder everyone who disagrees with them so they can take their stupid junk and go throttle the nearest grandmother to death with said items all the while complaining their asses off that "things are happening and its someone else's fault that I'm not having fun!" 
As, indeed, was my complaint in my first group. 

And out of all this barely cognizant tripe grows an entire community of unimaginative wankers who cycle through the same boring tropes and cliches over and over and over until their minds freeze up and they must spend several hours steaming in a sauna before they can go back to it again and clutter pages full of gibberish and indecipherable riddles about fantasy creatures and their desires while throwing erasers at eachother and squirting ink on the ceiling and running with scissors up and down the stairs until they cut themselves and have to go apply band-aids at which point they make predictable jokes about proficiency with medical kits and +5 to health and splash bath-water at eachother and get sopping wet ignoring, of course, the space-heater in the corner and they shiver and raise up the thermostat ignoring, of course, the space-heater in the corner and they have hot chocolate wiithout marshmallows because they need them to use as miniatures for their next game which they are about to begin and didn't you know it was game-night and what do you mean you don't have the next part of the adventure planned and we're not going to stand for that sort of thing are we?; we sure aren't and you better never never forget it neither neither as they jump around on the couches with scissors poking holes in the pillows and laughing as I sneeze on feathers and dust. 

Fuck it I'm out!
Sofa

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Boar is badger, named after wood,
Not after forest but trees.
Where did you play on a rainy day?
Where did I eat bread and cheese?
Search inside, stay indoors,
Look up and find the secret is yours.
Your castle your fort,
Or so you thought.
The way is in four trees.
The way is in Boar in Brockhall
Under ale, under bread, under cheese.

-Mossflower, by Brian Jacques.
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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Nov 18, 2015 4:35 pm

I don't understand women.- Forest

You aren't supposed to. They work damn hard at making sure of that! Mad

I'm sorry your Dm'ing experience has gone sour. I think I know why from what you've been saying- your players are a bunch of wankers. It happens.

I think the game is best enjoyed when played with people who are already friends as opposed to strangers.
With people you already know you have lots of advantages- you have a reasonable gauge of their personalities, likes and dislikes.
Strangers on the other hand are fucking strange (clues in the name of course) so you have to make strangers friends first.

But whilst you are doing that you could always read my book and see how a game should be done Wink

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Nagual on Wed Nov 18, 2015 8:11 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:
But whilst you are doing that you could always read my book and see how a game should be done Wink

A wise man once said "While you are the creator of history, it is easy to portray ones self in whatever glorious light one wishes." well, it's as true today as it was then. Very Happy
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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Nov 18, 2015 8:21 pm

Oi do you mind I'm plugging here!!! Mad

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons (and the lesser cousins of that immense family of games)

Post by Nagual on Wed Nov 18, 2015 8:37 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:Oi do you mind I'm plugging here!!! Mad

Filthy habit. You'll go blind.
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