Tuesday, August 31, 2010

D&D 4E - The Tabletop Video Game?

Sorry for the lack of posts. I've been busy. Work, sketching, playing games, going out and to be honest, the drive just hasn't really been there as of late to blog.

What I do want to talk about is, the shift of my view on D&D 4E. I started my venture into tabletop RPGs with 4E. From what I saw skimming through books and hearing about in the previous editions - mostly 3.5 and Pathfinder references - the aspect that I didn't like were the blandness of encounters for non magic users as 90% of the time, it seemed like their only option was "I swing at him with my sword, axe, etc". This is the double edged sword. While mechanically it's boring, the responsibility of keeping one's imagination going is left to the DM and player.

I have never played an MMORPG before. My incline to 4E probably comes from the tabletop wargaming side of things. Now while I do enjoy roleplaying, I realize that the majority of the time, my experience with 4e is that of a narative encounter. And that's cool. 4E does combat really really well. Unfortunately, when I look at the mechanics that they tried to sum up for other things like skill challenges, it generally seems very very clumsy. Once again, it comes down to the story telling abilities of those at the table and imagination along with our own little house rulings in hopes to veer off from what seems sluggish to us game mechanics.

So with that being said, I've been drawing more and more inspiration from video games for Paper Legends. I intend to make it feel like a game. My players know this and have been gung ho about it. I've implemented a power meter that gets racked up as players dish out and take damage. Hand out RP bonus power ups in the form of coins and sometimes crazy stuff happens that doesn't quite make sense but we can do it because it's a GAME. While it can be a cop out for reasoning, it definitely gets the imagination flowing.

So far it's been great and with this particular group it works. All but one of them have played or are playing MMORPG's, tabletop wargames and/or Magic: The Gathering. We come together to collectively play out a story of Die Hard in a fantasy-ish setting.

I'm writing this post because awhile back I felt a bit frustrated with trying to get more story elements into our games and trying to coax a bit more of it out of my players. I got over this after talking with one of my players while going to McDonald's when I realize that I should be playing 4E to its strength and accept that most of our players were not natural actors or storytellers. I'm hoping to play to their quirks and if I put the right hooks out there, maybe they'll pressure me to come up with more plot twists.

I do want heavier roleplaying opportunities to come up and I'll let that grow on its own or I'll search for it in other systems like Mouse Guard or Cartoon Action Hour.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Paper Legends: Session 3.1 "I Choo Choo Choose You"

A month and a half has passed since the Firebugs dealt with Thalos Calgaron. With no real assignments aside from trivial little surveillance jobs, the group spreads out doing their own thing. Thor Frostfang continues to win in Fireman Tim's arena generating much buzz and keeping the gravy train flowing. Vincent Moren, pleads with Ayana and she agrees to turn the deceased Puppy's into a Zombie Kobold. Ulfr trains with the Rangers to expand on his tracking skills. "Dave" and Bellows work with R&D on prototype equipment along with Bellows receiving new arms to replace the set that Vincent dismantled. Korgath builds his congregation to Helmuth, god of gambling and "other good things" in the arena and establishes him as the patron deity to many of the fighters.

Fireman Tim assembles the team for a new assignment. A wyrmling was recently sold in a secret auction to a wealthy individual and the Firebugs have been hired to be the insurance policy. Not comfortable with the standard security that might be on the train and wanting to keep things low key, the Firebugs will have to sneak on board the train unknown to all including the train's crew. With no more information than the time of departure, the cargo and that the carriage which the precious cargo will be transported in is modified with special shock absorbers, the Firebugs are left to figure out how to handle the rest on their own.
The group heads to the train yard to survey the area. With being so caught up in the pit fights, Thor decides to take his time and enjoy himself with his new lady friends that he met at a local bar and inn. After the "festivities", he sneaks himself onto the specified box car and after getting bored, he heads back to the hotel. He knows his way in and will return tomorrow well before departure time.

Ulfr's does the old "sneak on board as a worker" routine. He wanders in casually, checking out the shift schedules for the next day and steals the largest set of railroad work attire that poorly covers his Goliath frame.

Vincent Moren purchases pig iron and alchemic fire before making his way to the rail yard's office building by which he buys his way onto the train by bribing an employee to sneak him on board. With plans taking shape, the Firebugs wait for tomorrow's departure.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I Am Not Dead. Just Been Busy And/Or Distracted.

I'm so far behind on session notes or little snippets of bright ideas due to fiscal year end with work. In July, there was only one day in that month that I did not stop into the office. But I'm on salary so no literal overtime pay. I'm just going to take some Fridays and Mondays off here and there to make long weekends and not eat into the vacation pay.
So between that, being tired and playing games, it hasn't left much time dedicated to blogging. I'm hoping to remedy this soon. So I'll be putting things up this week.

Happy gaming! You'll get your fix of Kok'ed Dice soon. I promise. Serious. I'm on a horse.