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Vestij Jai Galaar

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  1. Like
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to Dayham in Star Wars IX Teaser... Don't screw this up Disney.   
    I don't think he's upset about anything, he's just evil. Sheevy is evil, he knows it, and he loves every second of it. I would like to know just what the **** he was looking for in the unknown regions tho. . .
  2. Like
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to Xcapobl in The Dark Side of Sandbox   
    Jokingly I would run, what you might call a sandroad. Take that as you will.
    It does involve the aforementioned prepping an X amount of potential plots and storylines, with options for reskinning them. Investigating a crashed starship can be done on Tatooine and on Hoth, though each has its own flavor and problems. Wampas instead of Dewbacks. ice pirates instead of tusken raiders. That sort of thing. Sometimes the stats are known, at other times any appropriate set of characteristics will do. A clone trooper is a storm trooper is a sith trooper is a mandalorian foot soldier etc. In the end they are all simply minion level mooks with armor and a blaster rifle.
    Now, I must say that the amount of free sand on the road does shift with the theme of the campaign. When we have a session 0 in which everybody wants to play some form of Alliance military personnel, there will be a lot more railroading, in the fact that they are subordinates who get orders and missions. Not the freedom to just hop into their freighter and aim it at the second star to the left. And even when there is more box than road, such as with a bounty hunters campaign, you can still provide that road after the players made a choice. If they choose to take up on bounty X and not bounty Y, then following through bounty X can be quite a narrow path if the GM lays out all the appropriate clues, and they players follow them.
    It helps to have a bunch of generic adventure material, which can even be reskinned at a whim. Star Wars is fantasy at its heart, with sci-fi elements. That generic adventure idea about a princess followed by imperial sith troopers and their commander as their evil sith lord wants to force the woman to marry her... could just as well be a daimyo daughter followed by ashigaru led by their evil samurai overlord for a rival daimyo... could just as well be a corporate heir appearent followed by members of a private corporate army and their lieutenant for a competing CEO... could... You get the point. All that from the simple generic idea "important woman followed by armed mooks and leader for important guy with an agenda".
    I like a mix between sandbox and railroad, both as a player and as a GM. The freedom of choice (or illusion thereof) makes me feel like I am indeed the protagonist of the story, not some random schmuck lifted from the masses to perform X and Y. Unless the campaign theme would make that freedom seem odd, like a military campaign with hierarchy and structure. Of course, even that can be rather open ended. So I am an Alliance operative that needs to infiltrate some military base and retreive plans for some spherical weapon of mass destruction. Yes, I am in a military setting and have my orders. But then what? Total freedom in how to achive the mission parameters.
  3. Like
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to Mark Caliber in The Dark Side of Sandbox   
    As a player, I'm also a big proponent of the Sandbox style of playing BUT that's because as a player, I'm expecting to invest more time and energy into the game.  Not because I need a GM who can do improvisational work.
    I would expect to do more homework on the setting, understanding relationships of the key NPC's, etc.  And that's because as a Sandbox player, if I'm going to have my PC make a mark and make decisions that affect the world, I have to be more participatory.
    I have found that Sandbox campaigns that don't work, fail to do so because the players don't do the homework and don't commit the time and energy to be immersive participants in the campaign.
    One of the things that I find being paramount to the success of a Sandbox campaign is for the players to communicate PC's future actions and intentions so that the GM can prepare for those plot thread.
    The other thing that I find, as a GM, is that sandboxes actually take more effort and preparation work, not less.
    OKay now from the GM perspective.
    I'm kinda NOT running a sandbox now in spite of my strong desires to do so.  Part of that has to do with the fact that there are a LOT of grains in this box and the players are unfamiliar with most of those grains.  And so is the GM!
    The campaign is also a military campaign where the PC's received missions from their commanders and they go out and and do the assigned job.  Nice and easy, no?
    However, part of working in this particular Sandbox, there are other events unfolding, and fortunately for me, most of these events are well documented so I have that crutch to help me out with.  But I also have to keep in mind what other factions are doing, even when the PC's don't directly intereact with those factions, and I have to figure out how that in changing the box, in case the PC's happen to drop back into that area.
    However, the PC's do have a spaceship (or two actually) so there's nothing to stop them from going off track.  And they've done that on occasion.  (And with two ships they can REALLY spit the party . . ..  But they haven't done that yet  ).
    I think studying the principles of sandbox RPG's can be valuable.  There are times that the players will just up and decide to take initiative and lead the plot in a different direction.  Knowing how to deal with that can help in these instances.
  4. Like
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to HappyDaze in The Dark Side of Sandbox   
    Sandbox is certainly more feasible with fewer players, and I also agree with the poster that said sandbox games take a long time to get up to full speed. With larger groups of players or a game not planned to last more than a few months of play, I would never go with a sandbox-styled game. Also, regardless of the number of players, I wouldn't do sandbox if those players didn't already know each other fairly well, preferably both through previous gaming and from IRL interactions away from the gaming table.
  5. Like
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to Rimsen in The Dark Side of Sandbox   
    My experience so far is that the more players, the harder to keep up the freedom. The different motivations (player and character) and playstyles clash and a lot of time the players can hardly agree which way to take. 
    I need to take account every player AND character to make sure I can hook in everyone to the sams story for different goals.
    On the contrary, playing alone with my SO, she is so hooked on the sandbox, I start to be afraid, she will have problems with more structured games when she rejoins the group. 
    However, I have to prepare extensively (and I really enjoy this part of GMing) for both styles. I admit, the sandbox for me needs a bit more  work, to always have some wildcards I can throw in when the situation needs it, be it plot hooks, obligations, recurring NPCs (good or bad) and places, relations - well mostly modular world building.
  6. Like
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to warchild1x in The Dark Side of Sandbox   
    I run a fairly open sandbox style myself: Lots of loose threads put together in a patchwork of stellar successes and epic fails. Like Tramp says, even in a Sandbox there needs to be some prep work.  It may not be as extensive as a Linear campaign or a Theme Park but it still needs to exist.
    To extend the metaphor: My sandbox has a frame to contain the sand and an list of toys that can potentially be used to play with the sand. Over there in the corner I've added a water feature and I brought a bunch of toys to play with. Heck I may even have built a sandcastle or two. But just because I've done all this doesn't mean that anyone is going to play where I want. More than likely they'll end up off in another corner making something completely different (or playing in the corner the cat has used as a litter box).
    The nice thing about sandboxes is that I can usually take all the toys, sandcastles and prep work I've done, reskin it to suit the direction the players are going in now and still have a fun adventure.
    I usually drop about 4 or 5 plot hooks (that I've done minimal prep work on each idea) in front of the players and let them decide which to go with. Whatever they choose, I have enough of an idea of what will happen until the end of the session to run with it and then for the next few sessions, there's more rigidity of play (and more prep work) until the adventure ends. Once it ends, we're back in the sandbox but with the history of their actions determining the next choice. The great thing about a sandbox is all those unused plot hooks can always come back again in the future.
    In my opinion, Sandboxes become more organic the more they're played with. That history of choices (good and bad) shapes the whole play area and makes it easier for a GM to add/manipulate and the players drive the story because they're involved. That Black Sun Vigo they double crossed 3 systems back is very likely going to hunt them down and demand payback (or their lives) so maybe let's not take that high profile job this week until the heat dies off.
    As for the "Dark side" you mention. Sandbox does not mean Carte Blanche. You're the GM, it's still your box and you built the frame so if people are going to play in it they need to understand the rules of what they can do or can't do. Set the expectation up front but also get feedback from the players as to what they want and then come to an agreement. That's a session 0 conversation. If it doesn't happen, then you'll get pretty much all the problems you listed. If people aren't having fun or the desire to change the style changes down the road, you as a group can always revisit it together.
  7. Like
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to Tramp Graphics in The Dark Side of Sandbox   
    Even Sandbox campaigns need prep work, even if it's simply "world-building", and developing the NPCs to fill that "world". In fact, I'd say that's a huge amount of prep right there, and of utmost important. 
  8. Like
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to Archlyte in The Dark Side of Sandbox   
    For about 5 years I have been experimenting with total sandbox play, a method of GMing in which almost no prep is done and the players are given complete freedom to choose what the game is about. A friend of mine had been championing this way of playing for some time and I felt that he had great arguments, so years back I wanted to try it myself. To run sandbox games like that you also need to allow for a high degree of Player Agency. The character concepts, how they are played and all of that is a factor in letting them be self-determining. So a lot of GM executive ability is tossed away.
    In my younger days I'd always been more of a Theme Park GM, a guy who enjoys prep to a high degree and enjoys having players go through the content, so I had to go against a lot of my instincts to try and be a full Sandbox and Emergent proponent. But I pushed on and became a convert, and bowed at the statue of Player's Rights and Anti-Prep.
    Thing is, over time I started to notice a few things that emerged from running/playing games this way. I noticed this from both sides of the screen so when I say Players and GM I am talking about multiple people from multiple play groups. Not a large number of groups, 8+ groups with some turnover in each group. 
    Players seemed to not have any end of thirst for control. The line between what was theirs to determine and what was the domain of the GM was endlessly blurred and it seemed to encourage finding the line and crossing it. This actually killed several games.  The Enjoyment of Control made the players fear the loss of that control. A strange phenomenon occurred where the players would often balk at a situation if they felt it did not conform to their expectations. When adversity would occur or when told No in Session 0 the players would sometimes become angry and challenge the GM over even basic things.  Analysis Paralysis: When faced with an infinite number of choices I noticed that at times groups would come to a halt. The worst aspect of this to me was that sometimes the plans would seem to have little relation to the situation as described. Several people ride in a car and each has a steering wheel but only one has gas and brakes and a map.  Everything was Improv, so it was all First Draft quality. When everything is flux you get very good at coming up with content on the fly, but this content always lacks editing and revision. A good GM can make improv look like it was planned, but it is always stream of consciousness and if you are trying to make it seem as though you are on top of it you have a time crunch. You cannot take your time to review what is about to happen and how it connects to everything else.  Improv is a great skill, but it isn't everything.  Players asked for Structure. Both verbally and with their inability to act at times, the players wanted the GM to provide them with a cone of choices, a funnel that connected infinite choices with the ones most apropos for the situation. They wanted to be able to enjoy a story sometimes, not just always determine the way things happen.   
    I started to realize some of this, but my friend argued that I was just a horrible Railroader who was backsliding. I came to the conclusion that though my friend is extremely intelligent, he was wrong. I think that the hobby functions best when there is a balance and flexibility to what all of the participants do, and recognition that the GM is the unifying perspective in a situation where everyone's subjectivity can potentially cause chaos. I refer to it as the Tao of Role-Playing. I came up with this a while back, but didn't fully embrace it until recently. It is the idea that each situation is its own thing and must be reckoned by the needs of that situation. At times you need to railroad, at others you need to let the players steer the game. Each thing as it is appropriate for the situation. 
    My games began to get better and I felt better about them. I noticed that the players lost some of their control but they also seemed to be very engaged and were more active. One of my players said he could tell the difference and felt like things in game mattered more somehow. 
    I still love sandbox and consider it a viable thing, but I am not afraid to theme park within my big sandbox now. What experiences have you had in your games with varying control and doing less or more prep? How did it work out as a whole for you and your groups? 
  9. Like
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to Vorzakk in Star Wars IX Teaser... Don't screw this up Disney.   
    Yea; it's good know that you can slaughter countless people, torture your daughter, and blow up an entire planet; then get completely force-forgiven just by murdering your boss whom you were already planning on killing anyway.  
  10. Like
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to Stan Fresh in Star Wars IX Teaser... Don't screw this up Disney.   
    Eh, I hope not. Dude's a murderously violent psycho stalker incel type. The movie better not tell people watching it that what he did in the last couple movies was some beautiful cry for help that the women in his life that he killed and hurt should respond to. That would be messed up in all kind of ways.
  11. Like
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to themensch in Star Wars IX Teaser... Don't screw this up Disney.   
    I think the thing I'm looking most forward to is the constant reminder of how so-and-so hated such-and-such, and then getting nasty about it at every opportunity. 

  12. Haha
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to Stan Fresh in Star Wars IX Teaser... Don't screw this up Disney.   
    Dude, Luke was never going to pick up those power converters.
  13. Haha
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to HappyDaze in Star Wars IX Teaser... Don't screw this up Disney.   
    I'm sad that I remember it at all. I blame Netflix for making the available to me for such a low opportunity cost. Hopefully this one won't make it to Netflix and I'll have another layer of protection in my times of boredom. 
  14. Like
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to Khazadune in Star Wars IX Teaser... Don't screw this up Disney.   
    The movie can't make up for Episode VIII's failures on every level and complete derailment of the Saga, still I hope things get better, at least it's not in the hands of Rian the Johnson.
  15. Like
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to Desslok in Star Wars IX Teaser... Don't screw this up Disney.   
    People who are down on the "goofy titles" like Attack of the Clones or Phantom Menace completely miss the point. Those are exactly the types of titles that the old Republic Serials used - titles like Mystery of the Rocketmen, Descending Doom, and The Purple Death. And if you divorce yourself from 30 years of nostalgia, The Empire Strikes Back is just as cheesy as The Phantom Creeps.
    I'm not feeling the vibe here.
  16. Like
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to Rithuan in Star Wars IX Teaser... Don't screw this up Disney.   
    Idk, I never really thought about how much did I care about epIX until today. Apparently, I lost a lot of interest after epVIII.
    And a return of "The Senate" makes epVI even more irrelevant.
    Good to see Lando, but I would love to see Chewie on command and Lando as co-pilot. Let's subvert the expectations and give the Wookiee the falcon.
  17. Like
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to Nytwyng in Star Wars IX Teaser... Don't screw this up Disney.   
    C’mon...it’s Abrams. And Star Wars. When has either needed a logical reason to include a cool image like the hero “surfing” towards (whatever) on top of an enemy ship? Triple 😝
  18. Like
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to Arbitrator in Star Wars IX Teaser... Don't screw this up Disney.   
    As much as I dislike the title, it's not as if Star Wars doesn't have a history of using really basic, almost corny titles. "Revenge of..." "Attack of..." "...Strikes Back."
  19. Like
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to Arbitrator in Star Wars IX Teaser... Don't screw this up Disney.   
    I felt nothing for the trailer until that laugh. Suddenly I'm actually more than a bit hyped.
  20. Thanks
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to Yaccarus in Star Wars IX Teaser... Don't screw this up Disney.   
  21. Like
  22. Haha
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to penpenpen in Trends, Statistics, and Predictions!   
    It must mean that the expression "Wizard!" in this context emphasizes the singular as comparative measure of quality, meaning that "Wizard" would be a fraction of something "Wizards".
    Personally, judging from previous products, I'd say this book would be more likely to be along the lines of of at least three coasts worth of wizards in quality.
    I feel confident that I totally did not overthink this in any way, and am certain that such a pointlessly convoluted and humorless dissection of a joke will not itself be taken as a joke by anyone.
  23. Haha
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to EliasWindrider in Trends, Statistics, and Predictions!   
    No wizards made the 3 immediately previous editions of the game, before them it was west end games.  This one is made by fantasy flight, it even has their logo on the cover in the picture 😎😁
  24. Like
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to Dr Lucky in Trends, Statistics, and Predictions!   
    Someone on Reddit is reporting that the Specs are:
    - Clone Officer
    - Clone Pilot
    - Clone Trooper
    - Jedi Knight
    - Padawan
    - Force-Sensitive Outcast
    - Republic Navy Officer
    - Republic Representative
    - Scavenger
    No other details yet...
    Edit: Sorry, I got excited. This is probably more appropriate in the RotS thread.
  25. Like
    Vestij Jai Galaar reacted to CeilingSquid in Trends, Statistics, and Predictions!   
    Holy crap, I really HOPE we can get a shipping notice relatively soon on Rise.
    I can further corroborate, the swrpg reddit has photographic proof...it DOES exist!
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