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About themensch

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  • Birthday 12/03/1971

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    Laurel, Oregon, United States of America

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  1. themensch

    XP for Missing Players?

    Well, I play in three groups that do that right now. Generally, if a person doesn't show up, they don't get XP, period. It doesn't matter if their plans change at the last minute or just couldn't make the one date that worked for everyone else that we set weeks ahead of time. We really try to accommodate everyone's adult schedules but it is our belief that if this is important enough, people will commit to it. I met with a quorum of GMs this weekend to discuss this topic and we all shared this opinion - and by far this has been the norm since I started doing this back in the innocent days of the Carter administration. Now, I'm not telling you how to be or how to play, and at the end of the day, who really cares about fake points? If you enjoy playing with people that get feelings hurt over this, then by all means cater to that. But I ask you, what does player C think, the one who canceled plans to make the game consistently and doesn't let anyone book over the time slot? Should they get even more XP? Do you feel they could get disgruntled over it because they put forth effort where others did not? Sure, we all say "the reward is the game!" but that sure looks different in this context - and still implies XP is for those that show up. Your "consolation prize" is that you were off doing something more important to you than gaming. What do my groups do when someone can't make it? "The Force/a wizard" did it. It's different in every situation, but the character doesn't act, nobody but the player plays their character, and we just overlook it. Thus far no continuity police from the spacetime continuum have shown up to make me stop. Oh I dunno, seems like there's still some meat on this bone that we can gnaw on. Mostly gristle though.
  2. I agree with your assessment and I've often wondered after the latter point about making the same complications more difficult as characters increase in skill - to me that seems like a no-no, for the same reason you state. I've opted to do as you suggest and increase the count of minion groups (for real fun, give them Adversary) and all of a sudden, a squad of 8 stormtroopers it a threat again. In order to combat the ever-creeping escalation of difficulty, I try not to frame the challenge from a variable point of view -- e.g. "This would be easy for the slicer but hard for you" -- because that defies the very nature of the dice mechanic. Instead, I like to add additional challenges in the form of timers and environmental factors.
  3. Thanks for your answers - I only have one remaining comment/question: when I mentioned a static environment, I should have been more precise - I was referring to your static challenges that you set in front of players to watch them squirm. That was my confusion - you don't change things to better suit the story and the success of the PCs? My apologies for the confusion, it was early for me! I'm a firm believer in a gaming world being a living thing.
  4. I think overall this is a solid plan and I do similarly at the onset, but how do you deal with players flailing due to option paralysis or over-analysis? How do you provide opportunities for the 100-XP character that's just joined a group of 400XP characters? It's all well and good to create something static and "let them figure it out" but I find that sometimes PCs need a leg up, so that's where this sort of refinement comes into play. I think everything we do should be focused on the story with the ultimate goal of table enjoyment, I think that's everyone's intention and we all get there different ways.
  5. I'm no statistician but there's a lot of fud out there surrounding these tests. Some claim it's of no significance, others claim it is. I only have my own experiences to go off and I'm inclined to suspect something is up, but I can't prove it.
  6. Well, I'll recall a recent game in which I played a face character in a D&D game that was practically worthless in an environment filled with undead. Of course that is my problem and my build but I also chose to play in a more structured environment where it's not easy for the GM to adapt to my character despite his great skill. So I feel like this isn't something everyone can solve all the time. I would never ask to change the "officially sanctioned adventure" that the rest of the party is suited to. At the end of the day I realize this is primarily my fault, a little of the GM's fault, and considerably WOTC's fault. For me though, I don't have that problem in this system, running or playing. I am not constrained by any leagues. My problem is that my dice are imbued with the Dark Side.
  7. themensch

    Am I mistaken...

    For a minute I read that as "most unpleasant" and thought of a few other groups, but you said "most unpleasable" and I think you might be right there.
  8. I absolutely agree with your first point - this is communal storytelling. We get the gestalt when everyone participates. The second point - PCs not finding a place in the story - is a little harder to quantify, as this one seems to be a failure in communication between GM and Player. However, it's not uncommon for players to develop malaise over a character after some time, I know it happens to me despite my best intentions. Communication solves this, or a break. The third point - anyone can try anything - is core to this system, and in my opinion a great reason we can have interesting PC groups.
  9. You blame the target numbers, I blame shoddy dice manufacturing. I haven't yet tested the entropy on mine, but I think I should. When I use an online dice roller I knock it out of the park for my big-XP skill rolls, but as soon as I use dice, it's more often a brigade of failures. I mean honestly, how can an Ace Pilot with 4 yellow dice to fly manage to bungle it at speed 1 every-stinkin-time?
  10. Are those spellbooks worth money? I bet they are! This does happen in all RPGs, but this specific RPG can encounter this a bit more because the archetypes aren't as rigid as some others. I like to build my encounters from both ends - first I set a scene in my head and kinda throw it together, then I throw the PCs in and envision how they will interact - it should be pretty obvious right away if there's a deficiency. Of course the #1 rule of GMing is "no plan survives contact with the players" but that's why everything is a bunch of bullet points and vague notes to quickly remind me when the time comes. Now, this is the tricky part - variety. I don't like to always have the slicer running to a terminal or a face cowering behind a crate until it's time to talk. Rather than repost, I'll direct curious readers to this thread where we hashed this out at length: I also advise all encounter designers to at least read O66's THE LIST for essential encounter design tips, vetted at thousands of tables, some near you!
  11. This is an essential task and it's not done if it's not done this way. "Sitting it out" is not usually fun and not usually an option. This isn't necessarily going to be fixed mechanically, since it seems like OP's players have characters that share foci and a quick table chat with the players could help alleviate that. In-game, were I faced with this again, I would do what I always do - add environmental factors that provide far more opportunities for players to do things than they could possibly accomplish in that time, then set a time limit to get it done. This tactic scales well, to boot, but would become tiresome quickly if used too much.
  12. Thanks for all the great ideas, everyone! I am by no means finished consuming, so more is always welcome. I am definitely not in my wheelhouse here. Now, had they chosen the touring band route, well....
  13. I had some time behind the wheel today to think about this and I think you're dead-on. Of course there will be known courses and tracks in a galaxy this large, but the aspects of a rally really make for an interesting theme. I think this story can support multiple types of races and frankly this just blew the door wide open for potential here. Thanks!
  14. No worries there, I'll be catching it all right.