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31  General Discussion / Game Discussion / Re: Disappointed with Conventional RPGs on: July 12, 2011, 09:17:17 pm
I felt the same way about LARP for a really long time, and I suppose that that type of thinking is the reason why I still don't play, but I've started playing D&D with a lot of LARPers lately, and I've learned that it's a surprisingly deep system for both roleplay AND actual mechanics.
Do you have time to go into more depth? I wouldn't be surprised to learn that LARP can be played with the same style I'm trying to use in tabletops (that is, with a focus on mood rather than on rules).

Quote from: FireFog
It was a makeshift RPG : default fantasy setting (This is not a critic, I wanted to say that the world wasn’t fully fleshed), no classes (which is a good thing for me), all stat/skill checks were done with a d20 (damage depended of weapon). Cards presented the advantage to have directly the effect of the skill/item/spell on-card for a shortened character creation time and quick reference.

There was no level system either: at the end of the adventure, the GM gave a skill card (or a trait, etc.) to each player according to what they did during the adventure.
The “loot bags” I mentioned before were small bags where the GM put some item cards where we picked randomly a card when we opened a container/stole a NPC/etc.

It was at a very beta state, and the GM planned to add a deck of themed “event cards” (depending of the location).
Yes, actually that does sound a lot like what we've been doing. The RPG isn't makeshift at this point - it has a well edited and illustrated rulebook - but otherwise the similarities seem strong. What you seem to do with cards, however, is replace character sheets. I think this is really neat. I don't know whether it really does represent an advance over traditional sheets because you can't write notes and character history on cards, and also you'd have more cards to sort out. Right now having cards for...

* weapons
* armor & shields
* ammunition (arrows, sling bullets, etc)
* food & supplies
* herbs and chemicals (for healing and brewing potions)
* special items

...makes things difficult to keep track of; things are often getting disorganized and pausing to find, say, a 30' rope card during gameplay slows things down. Then again, we dealt with that by having 1 person be Gamemaster and another person keep track of all the cards, so perhaps skills could work that way, too.

Quote from: FireFog
There seems to be a problem with your groups, I, too, wouldn't appreciate a game consisting only of kill/loot/level, and I would rather play Diablo than this.
The thing is that the rulebooks to all conventional rpgs are geared towards this Diablo style playing. Look at the gamebooks for any edition of Dungeons & Dragons and you'll find very detailed explanations for how to resolve combat, long lists of spells useful primarily for killing enemies, detailed bestiaries full of different kinds of monsters and their various combat statistics, and carefully balanced options for character advancement. Seldom will you find rules detailing the grumblings and possible mutiny of a party subsisting only on dried rations for a month, or rules on manipulating guild meetings or dinners with a noble and his retinue to improve one's social standing. People say that such rules aren't needed, and I think they're right - but ultimately, why do we need so many detailed rules for combat and character power if that isn't the focus of gameplay?

Even a game like Call of Cthulhu has very detailed rules for combat and physical actions. It's meant to be a cerebral game of mystery and Lovecraftian horror, yet the game has five physical attributes (strength, constitution, dexterity, size, appearance) and only three mental ones (intelligence, education, power). This trend persists throughout the game, so that even Call of Cthulhu is clearly written with the expectation that players will kill monsters, and then get more skills and equipment in order to kill stronger monsters.

Quote from: FireFog
(As I said several times, English is not my mother tongue and I’m not really fluent in English, so sorry if some sentences doesn’t make any sense)
I understand you fine, FireFog - if I may ask, what is your native language?
32  General Discussion / Game Discussion / Re: Zombie Pandemic on: July 10, 2011, 04:27:20 pm
I've been playing it lately. My sense of it is that it's a lot like Zombie Hunters, but instead of interesting characterization, a looming plot, and a well integrated setting, it's a lot of "pick up junk for barricading," "buy 9mm rounds," "you hit, causing 6 damage" and "Someone tagged 'The Syndicate Suxors' on the wall." This is all the boring stuff, and the game focuses on it.
Playing it more makes me think I was missing something - it's supposed to be funny. There's a lot of humor in it, particularly once you get to map 2 (which requires a lot of playing, admittedly.)
33  General Discussion / Game Discussion / Re: Disappointed with Conventional RPGs on: July 09, 2011, 08:40:28 pm
One game we hosted had a system like this with cards for items, skills and spells with colored glass markers to be put on the cards for enchantement, durability and so on... one advantage of this system is that our GM created bags of loot where we picked ourselves (randomly !) a fixed amount of cards depending of the container or monsters looted. (but not all the drop was random)
I'm interested in this, FireFog - do you feel like elaborating?

Bad GM or bad group, I guess... I don't see why D&D could not be fun... and more genreally I don't see why what you call a "conventional RPG" could not be fun !
Looking back over the course of my life, the very best D&D games I played were those where I left bored; the worst actually had a decent crew, but threw me into a depression for days. (No I'm not exaggerating; my wife was distressed to see me wandering the house saying "Stinging Shout... psychic damage? WTF?") Sitting around flipping through books, picking through dice, and deciding which game mechanics to employ to defeat my foes isn't fun for me.

I feel like there's some larger aesthetic principle at work here. Girls (and middle aged women I know of) like Twilight, right? Men and boys, not so much. Now, it's true that some male readers like Twilight, but most people outside of the target audience don't appreciate it. The fact that boys find it boring suggests that Twilight isn't really a good novel, but works because it pushes girls' buttons. Conversely, fewer than 10% of those who play tabletop RPGs are female - and of those, a significant majority are girlfriends or wives dragged along for the ride. So I think this likewise suggests that these RPGs are, generally, lacking.

No, not LARP. Definitely not LARP. So far as I can see, LARP still usually has the same rules and goals (i.e. kill monsters --> gain treasure + XP -->  kill bigger monsters --> gain more treasure + XP --> kill yet bigger monsters ad nauseum) but in addition you have badly costumed geeks running around with styrofoam weapons throwing bean bags at each other. Give me a chain saw, please - a real one, if that's OK.

Outlaw with an upgrade

 He love you long time
34  General Discussion / Game Discussion / Disappointed with Conventional RPGs on: July 09, 2011, 10:06:25 am
Remember when you were a kid, and played make-believe with your toy soldiers, or your dolls, or rocks and sticks in the backyard? Did anybody ever collect experience, or level up? Did you ever pause to flip a coin or check the dictionary?

Growing up, I noticed that the typical rpg, like all things of a civilized, long-settled people, was intricate and complex, and had lost most of the pristine essence in a maze of formulas and rituals. I've been playing around with a game that uses paraphernalia primarily for thematic effect rather than for resolving outcomes:

  • Items are represented by illustrated cards - no scribbling endless equipment lists on a sheet.
  • Character sheet fits on half a page; the other half is a "cheet sheet" containing the rules.
  • GM screen is either a forest scene, cave scene, or town scene depending on where the characters are.
  • Painted "clock" keeps track of time, showing the sun rise in a blue sky, then set in a red sky fading into starry black.
  • The dice are all colorful d6s, with one mechanic for rolling them.
  • Candles.
  • Mood music. (Classical, movie soundtracks, video games, foreign chants, etc.)

In other words, although it isn't live action - it's very much tabletop - the focus is on creating a rich, imaginative experience, like a movie does. Now, it's harder to get a game together, because the effort of designing a scenario with the right songs associated with different areas or events, coupled with the need to minimize distractions in the form of cell phones, food, and outside noise, require more advance planning. I asked another guy to take over the game a couple of times and I don't think it worked - he was used to running conventional games and didn't prepare anything or use any of the thematic tools except the cards.

But oh, the times we've had. What made me think of posting this are the attitudes of the girls in my group. When I show them conventional roleplaying games, they ask: "Why would anyone play that?" I dunno. I tried to join a D&D group recently and can't figure out why anyone plays it, either.
35  General Discussion / Random Stuff / Re: Fear Me. on: July 06, 2011, 06:16:56 pm
Welcome, newbie!
Thanks, but a bit late, mate - look at my join date.
36  General Discussion / Random Stuff / Fear Me. on: July 05, 2011, 09:16:13 pm
I am totally brutal.

37  General Discussion / Zombie Stuff / Re: BRING IT ON!!! (CAPSLOCK) on: July 05, 2011, 01:19:38 am
Dethklok, you missed one important thing: suspension of disbelief.
I didn't miss it - What I'm saying is that I'm surprised that the community doesn't just apply it. Barring some supernatural event which would take me very much by surprise, the dead will never walk the earth devouring the flesh of the living. Trying to explain undead zombies only underlines the impossibility of their existence. In fact, such explanations often backfire; just look what midichlorians did to The Force.

Also not all zombie variants are undead.

38  General Discussion / Zombie Stuff / Re: BRING IT ON!!! (CAPSLOCK) on: July 04, 2011, 05:06:52 pm
I'm often struck by how much effort this community puts into possible explanations for zombies which agree with science. Definitionally, there won't really be one: "Zombie (n) 1. The body of a dead person given the semblance of life, but mute and will-less, by a supernatural force, usually for some evil purpose."

Even leaving aside the "supernatural" qualifier of that definition, necrotic tissues can't function due to lack of oxygen. Chemically speaking, only zombies with functioning respiratory systems could supply energy to their muscles in order to move. Alternative sources of energy (e.g. solar, nuclear, "a virus," or whatever) lack plausibility (although photosynthesis might provide enough energy for the occasional twitch, if you like bright green zombies).

The only zombies that make sense are 1. those which aren't truly zombies, but rather humans with altered cognition, or 2. undead beings of supernatural origin. Given the greater immediacy of a modern day setting, and common tropes like contagious viral strains, crazy people seem to be the best bet. But don't knock magical origins for the evil undead; nothing says "zombie" quite like glowing eyes, and cemeteries are rockin' cool.

39  General Discussion / Zombie Stuff / Re: BRING IT ON!!! (CAPSLOCK) on: July 03, 2011, 02:41:24 pm
Maybe this is what's going on inside the zombies' heads. You know, this state of raving, braindead euphoria where endless streams of consciousness are the norm, and there's little genuine engagement with the world around them. People who've had near death experiences describe "the light" as a feeling of cosmic bliss washing over them - isn't zombiehood one prolonged near death experience?

40  General Discussion / Zombie Stuff / Re: Your zombie survival plan on: June 30, 2011, 06:26:17 pm
Don't underestimate surviving. When it comes to living, you can't get there without surviving, too.

(...At least, uh, most of the time? Anyway?)

41  General Discussion / Zombie Stuff / Re: My Papercraft Zombie on: June 30, 2011, 06:24:27 pm
Just for the hell of it I decided to make a papercraft template of a zombie based on the "Paper Dude" template.
I dunno. I'm not really into green zombies.
42  General Discussion / Zombie Stuff / Re: One Bullet left (With a twist) on: June 30, 2011, 06:23:29 pm
Spose you could beat them to death with the butt then slot yourself?

You could go for their temple; you're probably good at incapacitating blows from fighting zombies for so long.
43  General Discussion / Zombie Stuff / Re: BRING IT ON!!! (CAPSLOCK) on: June 30, 2011, 06:19:50 pm
44  General Discussion / Game Discussion / Re: Zombie Pandemic on: June 29, 2011, 03:00:25 pm
45  General Discussion / Game Discussion / Re: Zombie Pandemic on: June 22, 2011, 01:45:47 pm
I've been playing it lately. My sense of it is that it's a lot like Zombie Hunters, but instead of interesting characterization, a looming plot, and a well integrated setting, it's a lot of "pick up junk for barricading," "buy 9mm rounds," "you hit, causing 6 damage" and "Someone tagged 'The Syndicate Suxors' on the wall." This is all the boring stuff, and the game focuses on it.
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