Saturday Six: 2011-01-15

Between work and my masters thesis, I’ve had a hell of a week. When I got home last night, I just didn’t feel like posting the Friday Five due to exhaustion. I’m sorry for making you wait a day, so I’m throwing in a bonus link this week. Enjoy!

Converting a D&D economy to the silver standard

I love history of pretty much any kind, but I’ll admit that I haven’t spent much time studying the currencies of past civilizations. However, the words posted over at the RPG Athenaeum speak to me quite a bit. It only makes sense to use silver for coins and reserve gold for the very wealthy or used as trade bars.

The 5×5 Method for Antagonists

Need a quick antagonist for your game? Mike over at Sly Flourish has some great advice on how to crank one out in just a matter of minutes.

Hot Button: Rerolling Failures

This post really got under my skin. Not because I disagree with John, but because I agree with him so strongly. The examples that he used, I’ve seen before. It’s rare that I’ve allowed a reroll of a failure. There basically has to be zero consequence for the failure and ample time to recover from the botched roll in order to do it again. There’s been many a time a group has had to wander away from a locked door, gain some experience, increase their skills and return back to the door to try again. Yeah, it sometimes sucks that the group has to do this, but I never design my dungeons and/or adventures in such a manner where the entire storylilne will fall to pieces because of a single bad roll.

Undead Make the Scariest Villains

I’m linking to this post by Ameron because I couldn’t agree with him more! In the RPG system that I’ve written (oh I haven’t mentioned that before, have I? Huh.) there is a fear system in which most abnormal, horrific or just plain terrifying creatures have a fear check required upon meeting them. All undead have a fear check required. My players were, at first, shocked when they were faced with walking skeletons and zombies and had to roll a fear check. Their astonished responses went along the lines of, “But they’re just zombies!” My response was, “They’re the walking dead! Nothing is more terrifying than that.” I wish I could have explained it better. Ameron hit the nail on the head.

Goooood Roleplaying

Like Alexis, I want players at the table that want to be there. I used to get that all the time, but in the past few years, it seems like we’re more there for socializing and hanging out than taking the game seriously. I love the people that I game with to an extreme because they’re really good friends and have been for years and years. We’ve had conversations recently about taking the game more seriously and keeping the table talk to a minimum. Tonight will be the first time we’ve gotten together since we’ve had these email conversations, so we’ll see how that goes.

Into the Unknown

What’s better about adventuring than wandering into unknown realms and discovering new things to explore and learn about? Not much. Sure gold, shiny treasure and cool loot is helpful, but I’ve always been more intrigued by the exploration than the collection of goods. That’s just me, though. However, this is not the point of Chris’s post. He’s talking about the habit of game designers in leaving things open ended for the GM to “fill in the blanks.” Many GMs don’t have time to fill in the blanks. If they did, they wouldn’t be running pre-canned modules/adventures/campaigns. Yeah, there are reasons for leaving these blanks, which Chris uses the word “malarkey” to describe those reasons. I’m not sure I entirely agree with Chris on that assessment, but I do think that every effort to make a fully-fleshed environment should be taken by the game designers. There will always be gaps in the descriptions (gray box or otherwise) and that will lead players to questioning those gaps. These questions will lead GMs to scramble and have to make up stuff on the fly. How bad is this? Not too bad, I don’t think. I just depends on how far away from the published material’s storyline the players wander.