Role-playing games

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Re: Role-playing games

Post by Eldorion on Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:37 am

Forest Shepherd wrote:It is rather a one-sided conversation in here these days, but I wanted to mention that I'm starting up a Call of Cthulhu campaign this next weekend. Lovecraftian adventures in the new year!

Wish me luck. The players are going to start out in 1923 London. They haven't told me their character ideas yet, but hopefully they make an entertaining bunch.

I hope it goes well for you guys, Forest! I don't have any personal experience with Call of Cthulhu but I'd imagine it's an interesting change of pace to RP in a more modern setting.
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Re: Role-playing games

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:52 am

{{Ive read a few Lovecraft novels and short stories, never done an RPG though- sounds interesting as a setting however- how do you deal with madness? (given its so central to much of Lovecraft) is there like a saving throw for when you encounter a cthulhu style creature to see if a player keeps hold of their reason?

Im guessing if your doing Cthulhu you are pretty grounded already in his works, but I like this series of youtube vids on his lore, might be useful- }}


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Re: Role-playing games

Post by halfwise on Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:42 am

i've only read The Color Out of Space which I think Lovecraft himself considered his best work, and it sticks with you. Unfortunately his books were never popular in bookstores, which means his books don't float around much in used bookstores where I usually pick up such things. But I see he's well represented on Amazon, I need to pick up some stuff by him. Suggestions are welcome.

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Re: Role-playing games

Post by Forest Shepherd on Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:41 am

I have the Complete Works, a hard-cover in slip-case tome, I don't think you can go wrong with that.

Thanks for the suggestion Petty, I'm not a pro on Lovecraft lore: I've just read some of his work. It is a nice change of pace from fantasy Faerun. 1923! Europe! So much to see! So much to do! So many black-shirts in Italy to avoid!

There is a mechanic called Sanity that works much like hit-points. When assaulted by some gruesome sight or faced with Eldritch horrors, one rolls for Sanity. A success means one loses less of one's Sanity. If you lose too much Sanity in one day, you go temporarily insane and might pick up a phobia or mania. If you drop to 0 Sanity you are permanently insane, and become an NPC.

The more one knows about the Cthulhu Mythos, the less sane one becomes. It's all downhill basically.


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Re: Role-playing games

Post by Forest Shepherd on Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:39 pm

I broke up with my gaming group a couple months ago. It sucked.

But I've been freed up to read a lot more since then, and I've been reading through a dozen different RPGs since then, even buying several that I liked. I've been reading: The One Ring RPG (it stays very close to Tolkien's lore, I approve!), The Black Hack, The White Hack, Burning Wheel, Torchbearer, Dungeon World, World of Dungeons, Streets of Marienburg, and my favourite so far: Dungeon Crawl Classics.



DCC is kind of an Old School system similar to D&D. The d20 is the most common die, you choose a class for your character, etc. But it also has a lot of aspects to it that are refreshingly different from what D&D has become over the last twenty years.

For example:
-Play usually begins with 0-level characters (1st level is the standard in D&D), and players are encouraged to have two or three characters: the game is rather deadly, and it's expected that a player will lose one or two characters by the end of the first adventure. I believe this is called a "funnel" adventure, as in, you know, it funnels a group of 15-20 PCs down to a handful. It's meant to simulate the idea of a group of foolish villagers exploring a menacing locale in a desperate bid for riches or glory. It's delightful.  Twisted Evil
-Although the d20 is used for most rolls, the system also utilizes the d3, d4, d5, d6, d7, d8, d10, d14, d16, d24, d30, and d% (d100 that is). For someone like me, who is very used to the sight of a d12 or d8 or d4, this is like getting used to weird-looking dice all over again.
-There are tons of critical fail and critical success tables.
-Magic is very random in how powerful it is, and inherently corrupting to those who use it. For example, when casting a spell one rolls a die with some modifiers, and then compares that number to a specific chart for that spell. So that if I choose to cast a traditional D&D spell like fly and roll a 1 on the die, the spell "misfires" and the wizard might sink into the ground six inches or have all his belongings flying away from him (leaving him naked and unarmed as he chases down his clothes); if I roll well then I can fly for a short period, or grant flight to a few friends as well; but with an incredibly high result (achievable only by a large group of wizards or an exceptionally powerful magician) one can achieve results like sending an entire geographical object flying through the air, for a period of time up to years, or permanently!
-In addition, every time a wizard learns a spell they must roll on a table to see how the spell is uniquely cast by them.  

Obviously, this sort of result is very difficult to achieve and most of the time the caster will simply achieve flight for himself or those nearby, but the fact that the game makes it possible to grant permanent flight to an entire castle or mountain is something I haven't seen in any other system and really stokes my creativity.
But more importantly than these mechanics, the game also emphasizes the importance of creativity that can go beyond the limitations of the ruleset. If a player wants to be able to breathe underwater, for example, then the book encourages the GM (or judge, as they are called in this system) to create a quest about, say, sailing to the Merman king and offering him a perfect pearl.
It's hard to describe, but after the relative blandness of a system like 5e I find the quirkiness and relaxed tone of this game to be very refreshing. The game seems designed for people like me who are tired of the neatness and cliches of modern D&D. While it is very crunchy in terms of all the random tables it has for critical hits and fumbles and spell-casting and other things, it's not crunchy at all in terms of rules or character creation.

The book also has charming artwork throughout, with these dorky little cartoon strips here and there. After the gloss and glamour and verisimilitude of 5th edition D&D's artwork, I like the black and white down-to-earth quality of these illustrations.











Oh, here's one my favourite images in the book. It shows the stages of a wizard's corruption, an unfortunate side effect of seeking too greedily for unholy power! (You might have to scroll out to see all of this and the image below.)



Not that the book and it's hundreds of supplements don't have colourful artwork as well. Some of it is a real delight, like this piece that's inside the front cover.


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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: Role-playing games

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Mar 26, 2018 4:01 pm

{{{MERP is ood, can recommend it- and the modules are excellently written and researched. Worth a read on their own if your Tolkien fan even if you dont play the game, they are a good size with loads of chapters, background, history ect well worth the money. Some great art in them too.









Heres a pdf of the Rohan module-  https://rpg.rem.uz/MERP%20-%20Middle-Earth%20Role%20Playing/realms/MERP%20-%20Realm%20-%20Riders%20Of%20Rohan%20%281985%29.pdf}}}

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Re: Role-playing games

Post by Forest Shepherd on Mon Mar 26, 2018 6:27 pm

I'd heard of MERP before, but never read over it.

That supplement is like a textbook in its detail, very thorough. The detail itself seems accurate, and I like the descriptions of the landscape. I didn't see a proper map of Rohan though, only partial ones. The problem is that I can't imagine wanting to keep track of that much setting information before running a game in it. I'm too lazy!

A good fantasy setting, to me, is one which is evocative and inspiring, but in which I have free rein to move things around. So while I can imagine using a module like this if I felt like I needed a specific detail, I'd much rather just find a high-res map of Rohan, re-read The Two Towers and Beowulf, and jump on in.

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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: Role-playing games

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Mar 26, 2018 6:45 pm

{{{ I completely agree Forest- as a Dm I would rather create my own setting than borrow one, besides although I understand a player wanting to be 'in LotR's' its not really what they want in a game- what they want is something which reminds them or feels like or has that atmosphere but which is new to them.
I recommend MERp more for the depth of the modules- as its broken up into regions campaigns take place in- like Angmar, Rohan or Moria each module is like a handy reference guide to each place. Even if you never play they are not bad to have your Tolkien reading collection }}}

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Re: Role-playing games

Post by Forest Shepherd on Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:00 pm

Yeah, like for inspiring the appropriate mood or flavour.

Hey we'll have to add them to Eldo's list of required Tolkien-related reading. Smile

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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.

-Mossflower, by Brian Jacques.
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Re: Role-playing games

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:16 am

{{The three I own are certainly in depth enough to count as a proper Tolkien read- they break down everything relevant to the region the campaign is from into time periods- with detailed descriptions of who was alive in those times, major events of the period, the landscape, climate ect- and though I would never consider myself a Lore Master I always found the detail to be accurate and to draw on Tolkien wherever a source exists. And where it does extrapolate for game purposes- say dwarven technology in Moria in its heyday which includes detailed descriptions of elevator systems, pulleys and winches and counter-balances, use of tracks for carts comlete with turntables ect are well fitted to their settings and time periods without ever feeling too alien to Tolkien's vision. }}

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Re: Role-playing games

Post by Forest Shepherd on Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:22 am

Interesting, I've never come across a detailed description of dwarven mechanisms in Middle Earth. The closest would be in Lord of the Rings Online, which had an expansive... expansion for Moria. It included some stuff about how they used great mirrors to bring in light from outside, and had elaborate systems for moving water about the mines as well.

Looking back at that cover artwork for Moria, I think I know where Jackson and Co. got their ideas for a certain series of stairs in Khazad-dum!

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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: Role-playing games

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:37 am

I think I know where Jackson and Co. got their ideas - Forest

{{Yeah same place he nicked a lot of his visual ideas from:Bakshi's film- that Moria image is a painted backdrop from the Bakshi version}}}

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Re: Role-playing games

Post by Forest Shepherd on Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:58 am

Oh, so that's why it looks familiar! I didn't recognize it at first.

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Re: Role-playing games

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:19 am

{{{ Hers a link to the pdf on the Moria module (seems to be a re-release of it with a different less cool cover but a quick glance it seems to contain the same info as the version I have) there is a chapter on dwarven technology}}

https://www.scribd.com/document/12664063/Mines-of-Moria-2nd-Edition

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Re: Role-playing games

Post by Forest Shepherd on Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:43 pm

Hm. That's interesting.

Hey the dwarves make tessellations apparently:



There is perhaps too much magic going on in Moria, from the sound of it. Is that right? Glowing magical stones, devices with magical or mystical properties used and valued by the dwarven-workers? Hmm.

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Look up and find the secret is yours.
Your castle your fort,
Or so you thought.
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Under ale, under bread, under cheese.

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Re: Role-playing games

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Apr 01, 2018 10:34 am

{{Its one of those grey ares in Tolkien (one not involving horses fortunately!) the books talk of 'shining lamps of crystal hewn' and other hints that the means by which the dwarves lit Moria was not just by fire and torch light and may have been at least in part magical. There is also the issue of 'magic' items- weapons and items forged by the dwarves which have some particular property (are the fireworks used by Gandalf from Dale just mechanical or are they also magical?)- similar to elven smiths are these abilities just attributes given to the items over time according to their history and use? Or are they actually some form of 'magic' imbued into the weapon or item as its being crafted by the smith?

In the books its fine to leave this sort of thing vague- but if you are getting down to the nitty-gritty needed for a game than the DM needs to know how these things work in detail- what their attributes and stats are, how the powers work or were gained. In short it has to answer a lot of questions about the minutae of the world that Tolkien never gives answers to.

I think from a game perspective it all depends what sort of player party it is and the type of game they like playing- the amount or lack of magic encountered on such a campaign can, like everything else, be tailored by the DM to the player group.
And as a game world magic is pretty nebulous in Tolkien yet its an expected part of a fantasy game mechanic- so I think the way they do it here for example is far less intrusive, and far more an attempt to be in keeping with Tolkien whilst stretching some elements of his work for game reasons than say, LoTR's online having you fight giant spiders in the woods of the Shire as a gameplay element compromise, which just ignores Tolkien or Shadow of Mordor with its wraith magic ect (and entire plot in fact).}}}

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Re: Role-playing games

Post by Forest Shepherd on Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:54 am

I've found a Tolkien RPG that is very faithful, beautifully-illustrated, well thought-out, with solid game-play! The One Ring

http://cubicle7.co.uk/our-games/the-one-ring/

I got a couple of the source-books, and am really enjoying reading through them. The default setting is in Wilderland, five years after the Battle of Five Armies, but they've expanded the playable range of the game into Eastern Eriador and as far as south as Rohan.

It's really good. The mechanics have been built from the start to feel like Tolkien's writing, and it's obvious: this doesn't feel like D&D in Middle-earth. A character can suffer the same madness that befalls Boromir, a first encounter with the ruler of a people can go well or poorly depending upon how well the party respects custom, and special significance is placed on the difficulties of a long journey. There are mechanics for Shadow Corruption and Hope, skills like Riddle, Song, and Awe; but I particularly enjoy the published settings and adventures. The writing is evocative, the adventures feel right, and overall they go a long ways towards explaining how everything is connected and filling in the less well-known portions of the world with authentic-feeling characters.

One thing the game does that I really appreciate is base adventures on things like the song (or was it a poem) that Sam sings (or recited rather) about the Old Troll who gnaws on shin-bones... by having an adventure set around an Old Troll who raids the burial mounds of Bree-town for well-aged corpses. Or another adventure, "The Marsh Bell", is inspired by "The Mewlips", a Hobbit poem from The Adventures of Tom Bombadil.

The Shadows where the Mewlips dwell
Are dark and wet as ink,
And slow and softly rings their bell,
As in the slime you sink.

You sink into the slime, who dare
To knock upon their door,
While down the grinning gargoyles stare
And noisome waters pour.

Beside the rotting river-strand
The drooping willows weep,
And gloomily the gorcrows stand
Croaking in their sleep.

Over the Merlock Mountains a long and weary way,
In a mouldy valley where the trees are grey,
By a dark pool's borders without wind or tide,
Moonless and sunless, the Mewlips hide.

The cellars where the Mewlips sit
Are deep and dank and cold
With single sickly candle lit;
And there they count their gold.

Their walls are wet, their ceilings drip;
Their feet upon the floor
Go softly with a squish-flap-flip,
As they sidle to the door.

They peep out slyly; through a crack
Their feeling fingers creep,
And when they've finished, in a sack
Your bones they take to keep.

Beyond the Merlock Mountains, a long and lonely road,
Through the spider-shadows and the marsh of Tode,
And through the wood of hanging trees and gallows-weed,
You go to find the Mewlips - and the Mewlips feed.


I was hesitant at first--the idea of running an RPG set in Middle-Earth just felt inappropriate somehow--but I've warmed greatly to the idea, and plan on getting a game going some time soon.

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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: Role-playing games

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:24 am

{{Never played One Ring Forest (though I am sure I had a board game of that name long ago!)- but certainly looks promising, and sounds very interesting. Let us know how your game goes with the system Nod }}

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Re: Role-playing games

Post by halfwise on Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:53 pm

Never got into Adventures of Tom Bombadil, but that Mewlips poem now gets me tempted. Seems to be fantasy inside fantasy, for I'm pretty sure the Merlock mountains are nowhere in Middle Earth!

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Re: Role-playing games

Post by Forest Shepherd on Fri Oct 26, 2018 6:22 pm

Maybe they're the Misty Mountains. Some silly Hobbit confused their proper nouns, methinks.

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Boar is badger, named after wood,
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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: Role-playing games

Post by Eldy on Fri Oct 26, 2018 10:51 pm

halfwise wrote:Never got into Adventures of Tom Bombadil, but that Mewlips poem now gets me tempted.  Seems to be fantasy inside fantasy, for I'm pretty sure the Merlock mountains are nowhere in Middle Earth!

The bolded is a pretty good description. TATB is presented as a collection of Hobbit folklore, so the contents of the poems aren't meant to be understood as retellings of literally true events. It's possible to search for the "real" inspirations behind certain elements, though. Tolkien's included commentary is thus fascinating from a faux-anthropological perspective--he points out instances of Elvish and Gondorian influence in the preface and you can keep your eyes peeled for this sort of thing throughout. With that in mind, it's very possible that (as Forest mentioned) the Merlock Mountains were inspired by the Misty Mountain, as the poem seems to make reference to Mirkwood as well and both were in the vicinity of the traditional homeland of Hobbits before their migration to Eriador.

All that said, the poems are a fun read in and of themselves and it's not necessary to dig deeper to get something out of them. Smile
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Eldy
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