Page 1291 - Dice and Paper

26th Oct 2019, 6:00 AM in School Raze
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Dice and Paper
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Newbiespud 26th Oct 2019, 6:00 AM edit delete
It's kind of amazing to me that tabletop roleplaying can potentially be such a unique, emotional, transformative, and transcendental experience that, every so often, you kind of have to remind yourself that "Oh yeah, we're playing a game."

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: January 27th, 2023.



ANW 26th Oct 2019, 6:07 AM edit delete reply
Poll Time

What is your favorite table top game?
Guest 26th Oct 2019, 6:42 AM edit delete reply
Easy. D&D 4e or pathfinder 1e.
After that, I like Magic:the Gathering
And in third place, I have Dominion, the board game
Cygnia 26th Oct 2019, 7:06 AM edit delete reply
1st ed 7th Sea or 3.5 D&D
Enigmatic Jack 26th Oct 2019, 7:38 AM edit delete reply
Either 13th Age or Little Fears Nightmare Edition
ANW 26th Oct 2019, 7:46 AM edit delete reply
I see someone here likes horror
Guest 26th Oct 2019, 8:23 AM edit delete reply
It's that time of year.
Guest 26th Oct 2019, 8:33 AM edit delete reply
Freebooters on the Frontier
BackSet 26th Oct 2019, 8:52 AM edit delete reply
Well, I like Traveller. But I personally prefer the character creation systems of both Castle Falkenstein and 5e D&D.

Of course, both of those may be bumped off the list by the Sentinel Comics RPG when it comes out. Who knows.
Wulfraed 26th Oct 2019, 9:31 AM edit delete reply
RuneQuest (though I've not played the new release which reverted back to Glorantha -- 3rd Edition Avalon Hill was Fantasy Earth with Glorantha a supplement volume, 2nd Edition was Glorantha only)

Haven't actually played anything in 20+ years. As a comparison, I tried to create the "same" character using 3rd edition and the new edition -- I think I spent four hours minimum rolling up the character (the current edition has one start with a grandparent and roll 10-15 years of major events in Lunar/Sartar border wars, THEN roll another 10 years with a parent, before rolling about 5 years with the character... all to get to the "starting year" for the game)
Borg 26th Oct 2019, 9:49 AM edit delete reply
Space Alert.

Oh, wait, you meant tabletop RPG specifically.
Freki and Gary 26th Oct 2019, 10:51 AM edit delete reply
There are tons of systems I like academically, but to play I’d go with something PBTA, or the West End Star Wars RPG.
Freki and Gary 26th Oct 2019, 10:51 AM edit delete reply
There are tons of systems I like academically, but to play I’d go with something PBTA, or the West End Star Wars RPG.
Anvildude 26th Oct 2019, 10:53 AM edit delete reply
I honestly gotta say "Strange Synergy". It's this old board-ish game that was illustrated by the Foglios, where you get a team of weirdos and a number of equipment/power cards that you can outfit them with, and then have a fight in an arena. It's really fun, and I've never actually seen anything like it on the tabletop again.

There's also a card game called "Kings Blood" which is ridiculous and fun, as is "The Works" which is a Girl Genius inspired card game.

I also love playing RPGs, of course, but those sorts of short-form games have more consistent enjoyment for me.
Monopoly 26th Oct 2019, 10:54 AM edit delete reply
Guest 26th Oct 2019, 1:55 PM edit delete reply
My current favorite rulesets are Pathfinder/3.5 (I started out playing Pathfinder, I have a soft spot for both of these systems because of the sheer amount of customization in spite of the many poor experiences I've had with campaigns using these systems), Exalted (lots of in-depth customization, and at it's best - for me specifically - it's about people doing the impossible, kicking ass and saving the day, which is precisely my kind of game setting), and OVA the Anime RPG (Lot's of customization, again, and the system is simple enough to accomodate for pretty much any style of anime game (and not in a, "Just import stuff from other games and reskin it for this system!" kind of way - *stares at Stars Without Number angrily*) while still having potential for rolling high numbers/dice if you know what you're doing.
Malroth 26th Oct 2019, 2:56 PM edit delete reply
3.5 or shadowrun
I also concider pathfinder 1e pretty much 3.5
Guest 26th Oct 2019, 4:12 PM edit delete reply
With the right players, teaming up to cure the world is awesome.
Winged Cat 26th Oct 2019, 4:31 PM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
Usually, whatever I'm playing at the moment.

I like way too many games to choose a single favorite.
Boris Carlot 26th Oct 2019, 5:24 PM edit delete reply
Shadowrun, but it's more an abusive relationship than love. I like it better than PF and DnD but holy crap is it flawed in a lot of ways.
Specter 26th Oct 2019, 6:42 PM edit delete reply
1. Pathfinder or Starfinder. It's what I've played the most, and they're fair when it comes to optional rules and conditions.

2. Dnd 3.5/5th. Not really among my favorites, but the favorites of my friends. Whatever they enjoy, I enjoy because I want my friends to have fun.

3. Maids. It's... out there, weird, and honestly quite cruel for some rules. But with the right people and mindset it just becomes hilarious.
RinaldoLuke 26th Oct 2019, 8:32 PM edit delete reply
I have to pick one?

Probably Masks: A New Hope

Followed by Amber: Diceless, Shadowrun 5e, Deadlands 1e, and KAMB.
RinaldoLuke 26th Oct 2019, 8:33 PM edit delete reply
Somehow, I forgot 7th Sea in originally writing this. Put it right after Amber: Diceless.
Dakkath 26th Oct 2019, 9:18 PM edit delete reply
VariousGameMasteries 26th Oct 2019, 9:20 PM edit delete reply
Lancer, 5th ed D&D, and 1st ed Scion.
Guest 27th Oct 2019, 5:46 AM edit delete reply
D&D 5e.
CrowMagnon 27th Oct 2019, 7:42 AM edit delete reply
Pathfinder, though I'll admit that I haven't played much else due to not having a proper group to play with until relatively late in life. Still, it's the system that I've had the best campaigns and characters for.
City Strider/Malkyn 27th Oct 2019, 2:52 PM edit delete reply
Goodness. I like different systems for different things.

For fantasy: Pathfinder 2e is something I've been running recently, and after the bloat PF1 began to suffer from, not having an entire Google Document of house rules is nice. Previously it would have been PF1e, because I enjoy complexity in character creation without getting into the raw cheese that is 3.5. Only 5e I play is a spellcaster, because it's the only place the system has depth.

For high fantasy/crazy shenanigans, Exalted.

If you're talking modern setting, though, I do enjoy World/Chronicles of Darkness.

For space games, I was actually very fond of Star Wars Saga Edition, a spin-off of DnD 3.5/4.0 that played much better than either, but I did also recently enjoy a Savage Worlds game set in space.
Chronic Lurker 27th Oct 2019, 10:17 PM edit delete reply
Hmmm... Favorite tabeltop RPG is probably every D&D edition excepting 4th. Also Exalted. I'm curious about the World of Darkness setting, but have never had a chance to play it.
albedoequals1 28th Oct 2019, 6:36 AM edit delete reply
Pathfinder 1e.
Kaze Koichi 28th Oct 2019, 7:19 AM edit delete reply
Joe the Rat 28th Oct 2019, 9:36 AM edit delete reply
Honey Heist.
Thomas Kemp 26th Oct 2019, 6:45 AM edit delete reply
When we play, we don't really have the Dm tell us what he's going to have us face beforehand, we like going in blind with our characters.

On the flip side, when we want to do something we will talk with us and potentially develop something to go along with our own plans. Likewise his big plot twists are usually built up with forshadowing and aren't dropped on us out of the blue. Gives us time to theorise and prepare.

One time this wasn't the case was a no-win scenario boss fight against a dude called Soraan. But while we were meant to lose, he didn't lock us into that state with magic GM powers. He'd prepared scenarios for us managing to escape or even WINNING, which could have happened as we'd come up with a great plan. But the dice didn't go our way that time, but we did manage the escape by the skin of our teeth.
Digo Dragon 26th Oct 2019, 7:20 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
And sometimes we go off on so many tangents we also forget that we were playing a game and instead are laughing about a new meme or recent good movie. It's Win-Win.
ChaosStar0 26th Oct 2019, 8:52 AM edit delete reply
Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I don't like that idea of the DM sounding things out with the players first. I cut my teeth on 2nd edition and am a 3.5 player. It just feels like sounding things out with the players cheapens the experience.
BackSet 26th Oct 2019, 8:54 AM edit delete reply
Not sounding things out with players killed every game I've been in, be it tabletop or an online roleplay without the dice and junk.
The Old One 26th Oct 2019, 9:47 AM edit delete reply
Surprising your players with stuff that involves the world and lets them participate is cool. Surprising a player with stuff that directly affects their character without some kind of consultation is less cool. I guarantee that the GM idea about the character and the player's idea about the character is significantly different and without some collaboration is a path to disaster.
Composer99 26th Oct 2019, 10:43 AM edit delete reply
I get where you're coming from, although I think that (a) people have reasonably differing ideas of what constitutes "this development is springing a mean or punishing surprise on one or more players" versus "this development is a natural or logical consequence of the world reacting to the characters' decisions and actions, whether the players anticipate it or not", and (b) there's no reason in principle why some campaign development can't be both a logical/natural consequence and a mean or punishing surprise to some extent.

For instance, Rarity being a member of a thieves' guild sets up a natural tension between her obligations to the guild and her obligations to her adventuring party.

If her decisions and actions showed a clear preference for prioritising going on heroic adventures with the other Elements of Harmony at the cost of fulfilling her guild obligations at the cost of shifting her loyalties away from the guild, it's only reasonable that the thieves' guild would be unhappy about that, resulting in the blacklisting. In that respect, I can easily see why Rarity the character would have reacted as she did (because that's her personality), but I have a harder time seeing why Rarity the player would find the move so upsetting - because, assuming she wanted the character to be in the guild, she's the one who set up that tension in the first place, and whose decisions for her character made the guild question her loyalties.

But Rarity, the player, might very well think that she was doing a good enough job staying in good standing with the guild so as not to deserve a blacklisting. And she's not wrong to think so, at least not how I recall that whole sequence going down.

So even in a campaign where the DM does all the work for determining how the world reacts to the PCs' actions, it's good to sound out things with the players, so that everyone is on the same page.

Contrast that with the way in which the DM sprang Shining Armour on Twilight Sparkle. There isn't even the case to be made that springing that surprise was a natural or logical consequence of the character's decisions or actions - it was just tacking something on to their backstory without player buy-in (to the best of my recollection).
Freki and Gary 26th Oct 2019, 10:50 AM edit delete reply
I think there’s a balance to be struck—players are both audience and customer, after all. Thus, a GM needs to provide the kind of experience their group wants: if they want to be surprised and roll with the punches, they should get that. If they ask for some warning, as in this strip, they should get that too.

To me, the primary objective of running a TTRPG is for everyone to have as much fun as possible. A group should agree on what that means to them.
The Old One 26th Oct 2019, 1:40 PM edit delete reply
In the case of Rarity, she was blindsided by the revelation that she'd been burned.
At the very least, someone of her cleverness would have an ear to the ground regarding guild politics, and so while she might not be able to react to prevent Actions against her, they shouldn't come as a complete surprise either.
It would have gone over better if GM had mentioned that there were some rumblings about her status, prompting her to start looking, then spring the blacklisting as she started investigating.
BackSet 26th Oct 2019, 8:55 AM edit delete reply
I'm not the only one who thinks that joke is a little forced, right?

Like, that's totally a joke I would make and that's why it sounds forced to me. Because all my irl tabletop jokes sound forced.
Concerned 26th Oct 2019, 9:49 AM edit delete reply
This strip seems... bitter.
Jennifer 26th Oct 2019, 11:10 AM edit delete reply
Right now, I'm messing with a number of ultralite rulesets. The current go-to is called Play the World, and is ridiculously basic, with shades of the earliest versions of DnD before it was published.

Describe a character, and give it a handful of skills, characteristics or professions, with a max of +2 on each.

Roll 2d6 for tests; 7 is "average," while 5 or less is bad and 9 or more is good. Adjust for character skills and circumstances - for example, if you're a Pilot +2, a five would be an average score. Average lets you continue but the situation is unresolved, high may be decisive, low causes negative consequences.

Characters have six HP, with suitable characteristics (Tough +1, say) adding a bit more. A light hit takes off one hit, a medium two, a heavy three. Down to zero and you're stunned, dropped, etc, but not quite dead.

That's the whole thing. I've been running it with kids on occasion, and they grok it easily.
Matiekay_13 26th Oct 2019, 3:57 PM The Games we Play edit delete reply
I have the most exparience in D&D 3.5, and that's quite fun. I've also enjoyed Fate Core & Mistrunner - those are very flexible mechanics-wise.
antiqueChairman 26th Oct 2019, 7:42 PM edit delete reply
...hahahaha! I have to admit, if I was this DM and my players had this many complaints after years of games, I would start looking for another group. As a DM I'm constantly wracked with anxiety trying to keep my campaign appealing, and if my group admitted they had structural problem with every single arc I'd run so far... I would never want to see a single one of them again. It's a lot of work to run a game and if they aren't having fun... *they* can do the hard work of finding a new group.
Freki and Gary 26th Oct 2019, 8:45 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, it IS a lot of work to run a game, but if your games alienate your group then there’s nobody to enjoy them.

The GM of this comic really just needed to ask for some feedback before getting to this point. It’s not that the players have huge problems with the way this GM organizes or runs sessions, they’re just saying that this particular narrative technique doesn’t work for them.

The group is trying to lift the burden of total responsibility off of the GM. That’s not necessarily bad.
RinaldoLuke 26th Oct 2019, 8:41 PM edit delete reply
I think this sort of thing boils down to trust.

If I am a player, I want to trust my GM that when they throw a surprise at me, it's an interesting character arc and not just something designed to cripple my character.

If I am a GM, I need my players to trust that I am working to make the game as fair and enjoyable for them as possible and that I'm working with them to create an interesting and fun experience.

One way of helping build that trust is to talk in advance out of character before shit happens. And it is *far* easier to burn trust than to build it.

And it will vary from player to player. I can have lots of fun in an RPG even if I am losing, as long as it feels like I am the one making the choices and those choices matter. My character was dying in a game and while everyone else was tense, I was like, "This is awesome. What will I play next?" And I've had GMs spring huge, story-shifting things on my character without any notice... but I trusted them to do it, so it was fun.
lolhwaet 27th Oct 2019, 5:14 AM edit delete reply
Ehhhh... I get that if the players all want to have a say in planning the story and be told in advance about major plot events so that they can sign off on them, then the DM should go along with that. Players won't wanna play if you piss them off.

I still don't agree with that viewpoint whatsoever as a player, though. You don't get to alter the code in an RPG and real life doesn't give you spoilers, so why should the DM tell you about major plot twists in advance? That defeats the purpose of being the main character in a story.

To me, the DM only owes the players two things in story terms: to honor player requests to go on specific types of adventures and to not expressly rob them of the type of playstyle they enjoy. If a player openly likes raiding pirate bases and enjoys big fights, then sure, give him the chance to do that stuff. But if you want to throw him a curveball and make the pirates not all be terrible people and thereby force the player to make some hard decisions about who he should be fighting, you shouldn't apologize for that. Players need to learn to adapt, too, and bitching too much about surprises just sounds like excuses to me.
Guest 27th Oct 2019, 5:55 AM edit delete reply
People play RPGs to have fun, and no one has fun the exact same ways, and making people uncomfortable around the table is not a good thing.

I'm not opposed to plot twists and surprise, bu there's a difference between "surprise, the previous BBEG escaped prison" and "surprise, the BBEG went to your PC's home and killed your family".
GrayGriffin 28th Oct 2019, 8:05 PM edit delete reply
You realize the players are just as important to writing the "story" as the DM is, right? Of course the author should know what's going to happen to the characters in advance. If you let the players know what will happen, it even means they can work together to make the plot twist work even better.
Guest 27th Oct 2019, 5:59 AM edit delete reply
You can do surprises while still checking if your players are ok with it.

Like "Hi Rarity, you're up for political shenanigans with the Thieves' Guild?"
DM's Choice 28th Oct 2019, 1:44 AM edit delete reply
All this talk about greater influence of player ideas and concepts on the game made me spontaneously think of the "new World of Darkness" system I'm just getting familiar with.
And now I would like to see an Equestria Girls storyline based on "new World of Darkness" rules o.o
keybounce 29th Oct 2019, 1:13 AM edit delete reply
Which episode(s) did you take these screencaps from, especially the last one?