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 Free Chat - 08/08/20
Author: /u/AutoModerator

Come here and talk about anything!

This post will stay stickied for (at least) the week-end. Please enjoy this space where you can talk about anything: your last game, your current project, your patreon, etc. You can even talk about video games, ask for a group, or post a survey or share a new meme you've just found. This is the place for small talk on /r/rpg.

The off-topic rules may not apply here, but the other rules still do. This is less the Wild West and more the Mild West. Don't be a jerk.

This submission is generated automatically each Saturday at 7 am (GMT-4, New York time zone).

– submitted by – /u/AutoModerator
 When the campaign is lost.
Author: /u/AltogetherGuy

I was running a game about saving the world from a cabal of sorcerers in the ancient north. The players raised an army, faced opposition from within and without. The party uncovered ancient mysteries and reforged forgotten alliances. The characters went from outlaws and laughing-stocks to become generals and grandmasters of the sorcerous schools.

Then last night we had our final session. The player's armies were crushed, the sorcerers fell and the back up plans were thwarted. Two of the player character's died, both sacrifices to prevent the apocalypse but the battle was lost and without further intervention the handful of liches and elves were able to fulfill their plans anyway: they revoked the magic of the gods to made a world without births, a world where evil doers cannot be condemned to suffer in hell and the righteous are denied paradise in heaven.

One player character survived to witness the slow death of the world with no hope of ever being able to raise such an army again.

It was crushing, the defeat, we played hard and created an epic tragedy. I suppose I'm so used to the players turning things around and coming from behind to win at the last second that it genuinely shocked me when it didn't happen. We played to find out and we found out, but bloody hell! Has anyone else gone though so much only have it end in utter destruction of everything they were fighting for?

– submitted by – /u/AltogetherGuy
 What’s the dumbest bit of lore from your favorite setting?
Author: /u/Nuclear_42

Sorry if this has been posted before.

I find every published setting for RPGs always has at least one bit of lore that’s just stupid. What’s the one bit of lore you can’t stand from your favorite setting?

Example: I LOVE Deadlands. But, according to the Back East: The North book, the Freemasons are working with the Illuminati and Queen Victoria to brainwash US dignitaries into returning the original thirteen colonies to England. That’s some F-tier Dan Brown knock off in my game about cowboys fighting monsters.

Anyone else got bits of official lore you can’t stand from published settings?

– submitted by – /u/Nuclear_42
 I love being the GM. I don't love getting people to agree on a date and show up
Author: /u/ptupper

I'm in the frustrating position of having three ongoing games on hold because I can't get people to agree on a date. Last Saturday, we set a date to continue one of the stories, and one person just didn't show. (She later told me she was spending the weekend with the one person she can hang out with other than her roommate, under the quarantine.)

I put a lot of work into my scenarios, and I hate feeling abandoned and unappreciated. I put up spreadsheets on Google so we can pick a date that's good for everybody, but there's always one or two people who drag their heels. I want to remind them, but I don't want to nag either.

I know that getting people around the table can be a struggle even when there isn't a global pandemic and all the attendant disruptions. But why do I always feel like I'm trying to force jello into a bottle with a baseball bat?

– submitted by – /u/ptupper
 Any games that need extremely little or even no prep on the GM side?
Author: /u/StepwisePilot

I was recently supposed to run a game, but lost all my notes for it, so that was a bust. Even when I do have notes, I tend to prefer to make things up along the way, and make something semi-cohesive out of the ideas I end up forming.

At this point, I just want a game that would be easy enough to run without any prep, or just the bare minimum of prep. Naturally I'd learn the rules and such, but am hoping for a game in which that's all I'd have to do to run something.

Lately we've been playing on roll20 due to the pandemic (We plan to meet again in person some day), which means there is plenty of time to pick and learn something. While I'm fine playing a game on roll20, my attempt to run a game on it was a colossal failure.

So, other than low/no prep on the GM side, all I want is that it have a physical copy that can be purchased, and not just a PDF. Other than that, any genre or system type is ok I guess. I'd just run past the rest of the group what kind of games they'd want to play.

(I'd exclude a certain system, since I know for a fact that some of the group I'm in hates it, but last time I said to exclude it I had a bunch of people PM me to tell me I'm an idiot for not liking it. Don't want to put up with that again)

– submitted by – /u/StepwisePilot
 Canyon, a 200 Word RPG
Author: /u/ImperatorOsiryx
– submitted by – /u/ImperatorOsiryx
 How to run Theater of the Mind. Practical RPG theory.
Author: /u/Guest_Redditor

To start, what is Theater of Mind? It is a method of running a game that takes place entirely through the language used by the players and GM. As a result, Theater of Mind inherits all the uncertainties that come with language as a medium, notably the abstraction of space. This lack of a concrete reference can make running Theater of Mind a bit tricky, especially when you are brand new to the hobby.

What to Keep In Mind for Theater of Mind

  1. What is in the space?
    • This is the contents of a room/area. Who is here? What can players see/interact with? Is there anything unusual about the lighting? smell? sound? Are they forced to hunch over because a space is so cramped? Or, perhaps, they are like ants in a much larger space.
    • It's good to have one punchy detail as it helps ground people to the location.
      • Say the PCs are walking through a forest. A line like "You pass under trees and falling leaves that curl like a grasping hand" is perfect because it communicates not only the contents of a space, but also the mood/feel of it too. My advice is prep short but punchy details because one is all you really need to colour a location. Packing a lot of details into one area is information overload, so be weary.
  2. Positioning is relative
    • Make liberal use of words and phrases like Above/Below, Inside/Outside, Hidden/Exposed, This Side/That Side.
      • Distances like 30' from X will not ground others in the space like "you are close to X". It is significantly easier to keep track of where players are in relation to important thing X than worry about who is to the left of whom. If you are looking for exactness of space, then you should look into using a grid.

Best Practices for Theater of Mind

note these are mostly for DND and OSR style games

  1. Favor the players when confusion arises
    • 'Gotcha!' moments disintegrate the trust between players and GM.
  2. Keep it simple
    • The more moving parts you have, the harder it is to keep track of.
  3. Reiterate the scene to players often
    • this will help everyone stay on the same page.
  4. Have a method for handling things like area of effect
    • Consistency here will help everyone feel like they didn't get cheated out of a cool idea.
      • example: Fireball can always hit 4 enemies.
– submitted by – /u/Guest_Redditor
 Over thinking RPG's- life balance and you
Author: /u/fearandloathing89

I like to run table top RPG's. When I am not running Dnd, mouseguard, Cthulhu or whatever it is- I read articles online, watch videos and plan my own sessions.

My wife doesn't want to hear about it anymore, and my best friend also! I think I talk about them too much.

I also over think them- perhaps I have placed too much emphasis on them...? My friends don't really care about theory (shout out to the Alexandrian!) nor do they really care about talking about our games outside of the game. (I recently made a form to understand what sort of game they would like to play next, only 2 bother to complete it).

I guess what I am asking here... should I move on? Go pour this energy into writing a book, lift weights or learning a language? Or should I find other players who really enjoy the games as much as I?

What is the balance you have found?

– submitted by – /u/fearandloathing89
Author: /u/FreakyMind122

He there,

I‘ve been a GM for a little while now and have played a self written RPG, as well as 7th Sea with two different groups. Now we have decided that we want to play Cyberpunk 2020. The rulebook just arrived today and it‘s amazing, but also a bit overwhelming. I think it‘s great that the creators of Cyberpunk put so much detail in their world but at the same time, as a GM, it is so much information to get to know. Of course I‘m trying to gather as much as possible, write much down and try to read it all, nevertheless it is just sooo muuuch to know. So do you guys have some tips how to start getting into the world of cyberpunk (as a GM)?

Much obliged,

A random german GM

– submitted by – /u/FreakyMind122
 New Fallout TTRPG
Author: /u/whiskey___wizard

I've finished the first beta of my Fallout tabletop RPG! I wasn't satisfied with the others, they were either too complex (as in they'd basically translated the CRPG program mechanics directly) or based on another, less Fallout-ish rpg system (like the d20 OGL or a straight rip of 5e). Mine has taken many cues from other roleplaying games like D&D 5th edition, but I've done everything I can (researching every game, playtest, designing towards/away) to make it an original game that feels like Fallout. Take a look and let me know what you think.

If you're interested in more information, send me a message.

Link to PDF (text-only to avoid Todd Howard's wrath):

I'm still working on the "Overseer's Guide" to help GM's create encounters, scenarios, maps, and adventures in Fallout. Stay posted for that, it's nearly done.

– submitted by – /u/whiskey___wizard
 Looking for a rules light game to play a beach day filler episode.
Author: /u/Boutros_The_Orc

Hi everyone. I am running a campaign in the Mtg setting of dominaria, and last week I hit my players with a major overload of information that I need to organize the plot hooks for. I meant to do it this week but I was hit with a 3 day streak of headaches and wasn’t able to.

Long story short, instead of putting the game on hold for a week the players have decided they want to play a non-canon beach filler episode like you see in a typical anime. Are there any games equipped to do this in a very light and entertaining way?

– submitted by – /u/Boutros_The_Orc