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OOC General D20 and Tabletop RPG Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Role Playing Resource' started by LightWarden, Mar 5, 2005.

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  1. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    Well, you can also use Orokos as a die roller/sheet storage spot, which was designed by some of the Penny Arcade forums folks so they'd have something for their games. There's also iplay4e, which allows you to tie it in to your D&D Insider account to create an interactive sheet where you can look up anything you want using the Compendium. Works well with information taken from the character builder. You can also take the information from the character builder and import it into certain frameworks for maptools, which is useful for a PbP DM who wants to move everything around on a map and take screenshots for later.
  2. Hammurabi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 14, 2007
    star 4
    All right, I've begun drafting the opening post as well as familiarizing myself with MapTool. Any good starter resource packs I should download? I've heard about this CSUAC thing but have been unable to find it anywhere...

    Also, are there any other tools I should be familiarizing myself with? TokenTool, I guess. I'm closer to having this ready - like I said, the opening post is coming along. I think some of the character stuff might have to be worked out (at least in part) over IM/PM. I'd like to make this thread as accessible as possible for people who haven't played tabletop before.
  3. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Once you know how TokenTool works, and you have Google search, you have all the resources you'll ever need for tokens. For monsters, the 3.5 SRD might still be useful for images. Otherwise, Google search for images for what you're looking for. deviantart has some ... interesting choices. TokenTool basically allows you to take any png or jpeg file, move the token's "edge" onto it, zoom in and out and side to side until the token looks right, and save it as a token which you then use in Maptools. If you've got the 4e monster manuals, just take a snapshot of an image in there, use Paint to save it as a jpeg, drag the file onto the TokenTools window, and boom, token. You can even have people pick out their own token pictures -- get them to link to it, download the image, boom, personalised token for the player.

    As far as maps are concerned, again, Google search. There's a fair number of maps out there if you make your searches generic. Maptools will allow you to put grids and grid references onto the map and then export it as a jpeg image. Maptools isn't the most user-friendly or intuitive of things to learn to use at first, but they've gotten better and better as new editions of the software come out, so check and see if yours is current. Don't think you have to delve into it any more than necessary to understand the bare basics of shifting tokens, player vs. GM view, and exporting images. Most of the program's functions are oriented towards true online sessions, and in a board system they're unnecessary since not everyone's got Maptools and the networking system can get a bit wiggy.
  4. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
  5. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    Whole lot of D&D classic CRPGs on sale for the next 36 hours or so. If you're at all interested in playing D&D on your computer, now is a great time to get in on it. Between Planescape: Torment (for story), Baldur's Gate (for the experience), Temple of Elemental Evil (for turn-based tactics), and Neverwinter Nights (for multiplayer and user modules), that's a lot of RPG, so enjoy.
  6. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    May I underline Light's post. I've not played Planescape: Torment, but it comes highly recommended. And the Baldur's Gate cycle is awesome from start to finish.
  7. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    P:T is a must play. A must play I say!
  8. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    So how about we go off the wall for a while and discuss one of the most intriguing tabletops RPGs I've seen on a readthrough?

    Basically, as most of you know I'm interested in looking at time travel RPGs. However, being the lazy sod I am, I began to contemplate the rules for how such "time police" would work, and promptly began to disappear up my own bottom. Therefore, I went to Google and began to look around for recommendations on a good system-based time travel tabletop RPG.

    This is where I first met Continuum. It's still around in pdf form though its original run seems to have largely stuttered and died, and it was never that big by the looks of it. It does come highly regarded, though: it's sort of described as "the best RPG you will read and never play." I can understand why, because it's a game where the concepts are possibly harder to get your head around than the actual rules themselves. But for all that, it is a very impressive science fiction piece that tackles head-on the various trials and tribulations that apply to time travel in fiction and gaming, and succeeds at a very immersive read and experience which could almost be plausible.

    The basic concepts are these:

    - Because time travel operates outside time, there is, in fact, never one or few time travellers. There are thousands of them. In fact time travel itself caused/causes/has caused an entire civilisation to spring up based around it -- because time travellers are not constrained by having to wait around for things to happen.

    - If you invented time travel, the first thing you would logically do would be to go as far into the future as required to find out the most efficient way of doing it. The most efficient form of time travel is when it's part of your own physical makeup. That is, your genes mark you as a time traveller, no DeLorean required. Remember that sad old Hayden Christiansen vehicle (no, not the PT) called Jumper? Exactly like that, except through time as well as space.

    - All of the various models of spacetime as represented in fiction are fallacious. Neither the "Grandfather Paradox", "the Universe heals its own paradoces", or the "You create a new universe when you change the past" are correct models of spacetime within the game (in fact the latter is seen as a very, very dangerous misconception, as we'll see.) In fact, there is, ultimately, only one timeline, only one series of events, which only continues by the application of sentient force to paradoxes when they occur. It's an elegant case of bootstrap levitation: because the Continuum exists, it therefore must be because one timeline is in place, and the one timeline creates the Continuum.

    If you do allow a paradox (which time travel is highly likely to cause) to occur, if unchecked and unhealed it literally will destroy the universe with enough time. The only reason it doesn't happen is because it is the responsibility of all time travellers to fix the paradox as it occurs. (This also turns a crisis in existence into an in-character problem as well: if you don't fix a paradox you created or which is seen as your responsibility, someone else has to/will do it, which then means the entire civilisation frowns on you for your lack of duty to the greater good.) Sometimes fixing the paradox will actually involve the creation of another paradox, again, as we'll see.

    - The civilisation that allows the universe to keep existing is called the Continuum (and no, it doesn't have anything to do with the Q.) Because it's a civilisation comprised entirely of time travellers, it exists in all time periods, from the point where humanity emerged from a previous, causality-shredding empire (roughly 16,000 BC or so) to the time of the Inheritors (roughly 4,000 AD or so) which is basically when humanity "ascends to a higher plane of existence". (Time travellers, bar the level 20s, er, the Exalted, are forbidden to go outside tho
  9. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    Honestly it's an intriguing setup but I was struck with a single persistant mental image while reading that setting.

    [image=http://www.old-picture.com/united-states-history-1900s---1930s/pictures/Locomotive-Sabine.jpg]

    And not in the "Oh, we're in a dungeon and only have XYZ ways to go" sort of sense, like that premise sounds like DM of the Rings. You cannot defy the GM - er, sorry, the Continuum - you cannot pass Go until he says so, you will not collect $200 until you say so, and so on. Basically it suffers from the problem of a lot of tabletop settings where it'd be a really stellar shared fiction universe and a not-so-stellar roleplaying game universe. Not to say it's completely impossible to avoid railroading but the sheer splendor of the balancing act would be exhausting in and of itself.

    GURPS Time Travel, by contrast, frees the temporal physics up to the GM, who can even mix and match as he sees fit or contradict himself with a "Well y'see the last time you did X which created an alternate universe which resulted in the original universe no longer being able to propagate alternate universe because the [PSEUDO-SCIENCE BOLLOCKS]ium is all out of whack! Zounds!" I dunno, might come down to preference - I like my time travel loosy goosy because you're violating so many physical laws by that point why the hell not? - and how much maintenance work the Ref is willing to put in.
  10. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    The oversight there is the presumption that infinite time travel means you have infinite knowledge or that just because the Continuum exists that all events are immutable. Doesn't work like that. Most of the time you do not have a lot of foreknowledge; thus what you don't know you can't necessarily perceive as a railroad. And your capabilities at time travel do come with limits: new players (Level, er, Span 1) can't timejump more than 1 year (cumulative) without having to rest for 24 hours, and even very powerful time travellers (Span 4) still have to rest after time travelling 1,000 years or so. Finding out (say) through personal knowledge the trajectory of Oswald's lucky shot on JFK is going to take you a while -- assuming you're even allowed to get anywhere near Dealey Plaza by random Narcissists or Continuum agents wrestling over that part of the timeline.

    And remember that whilst, from the point of view of a non-time-traveller, the clock seems stopped for you, your body's biological clock is still ticking away. You are still heading towards the ultimate consequence of a mortal life, even with the age-slowing technologies available to Span 3 time travellers that extend human life out to a good 200, 300 years or more. It isn't always the answer to "jump out, become a black belt in karate, come back and kick the guy's butt." It's not the Matrix. You still have to account for all that time spent at Mr Miyagi's dojo, and it might take you 10 years of your life -- time which, unless you're very, very careful about it, you are vulnerable since you're a standing target. And then, even assuming you can spare those 10 years off your life, if you jump back into the same moment you left, your friends and family in that time period might look at you a bit quizzically when you've gone from the age of 17 to 27 in literally a day of their time.

    Also: too much knowledge is dangerous in this game, because with too much information you risk causality's integrity - the more you know you're going to do, the more bound you are to ensure you get it just right, the less likely you are to get the loop of cause and effect round the right way, and the greater the risk you'll tell someone something that causes a paradox.

    The game phrase "Further information is not available here" is the touchstone for this concept: it's a completely neutral phrase that simply expresses that you shouldn't/can't/won't know the answer to a given question at this point in spacetime. Doesn't stop you learning it somwhere or somewhen else.

    Next thing to remember is that the causality making sense =/= the timeline being identical every time down to the last subatomic particle; if it was like that then the game simply couldn't exist at all. In the game there's a cottage industry in the Continuum putting actors -- very, very good actors, named, who'da thunk it, the Thespians -- in the place of famous people who've been wiped or erased early from the timeline so causality to everyone who remembers it is not affected. Similar with the Antiquarians, who replace objects as Thespians replace people: has the Mona Lisa been destroyed by a Narcissist? No problem; you need to either get it painted again or go back into time before it was burned and replace it with an exact duplicate. Causality's preserved, but not the precise way it happened the first time. A lot of Continuum work is along these lines.

    Also, the certainty of the universe continuing to exist does not mean you will continue to do so. Your character can die according to the timeline ... or he can die unexpectedly and thus be in receipt of so much paradox they are erased from existence in order to correct causality. Remember, the Continuum's only goal is to preserve the timeline and to eliminate frag. If your very existence involves so much inherent paradox that they can't fix it -- your father's been shot dead before he can meet your mother and nobody can figure out when or where it happened -- then the Continuum's as likely to erase you from the timeline comple
  11. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    I'm not quite sure what I think of this. [face_thinking]

    Maybe if the game itself was interesting enough, but as a concept it's firmly in "the best RPG you will read and never play" territory for me too. It's just, I dunno. It has a lot of detail and is quite well thought-out, but lacks a certain ... something.
  12. LordTroepfchen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2007
    star 4
    Continuum. Or Kontinuum, as I recall it. Hell, I played that with a few friends for a few weeks. It is a nice set-up, but it absolutely fails when it comes to player needs. Considering you need to motivate the players, you really, really needed to force people to embrace the ideas of the Continuum, because in their heart all our players were absolute Narcissts. We all wanted to save Kennedy, kill Hittler and warn our aunt her house will burn down. Jack the Ripper was our favourite goal, actually. Our GM had to keep us at bay, which ended up not working forever, so it soon turned out into a hunt through time. Us suddenly being the bad guys, him being very frustrated. The trap here is, you are actually made the true bad guy in this game, veiled by the background and rewritten into a hero. It´s subtle, but actually sooner or later a player runs out of answers, why he does not make the world better. Actually because it WOULD not break apart if you did that. That is the whole point. If killing Hitler doesn´t pose a problems per se, his bodyguards become the accomplices in killing 20 million people. I felt it was very weird and actually once we got it going, the strange morale problems took over more and more playing time, making it one of my favourite evenings. Although I am pretty sure our GM flushed his script down the toilet at some point that evening. If I recall it right it was the first time my player character got killed by another player.

    [face_laugh] It is write a game, but as with all time travel tales, you really are very much at the mercy of your players. No matter how slow they rtravel, it only makes them need time, to accomplish almost ANYTHING.

  13. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    I was thinking this over a little more (It's amazing how much constant studying makes your mind wander like crazy during your breaks), and it occurred to me that one particularly interesting selling point might be if you let players play as historical figures who were replaced by actors at some point in their time stream, enabling some kind of weird historic Dream Team thing. Winston Churchill is the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, Rasputin is a zany Russian mystic, Jengis Khan is a Mongul warlord and conqueror, and Sitting Bull is a Sioux chieftan. TOGETHER THEY FIGHT TIME CRIME!
  14. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Not that hard, since some of history's figures are deemed by Continuum's canon to be time travellers. Most notably, Joan of Arc; they faked her death by burning at the stake. Most of the voices she's said to have heard were older versions of her stopping by to tell her stuff to do. :)
  15. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    I think that one could work. While I am not familiar with the source material I actually heard good things about it. The clue might be to be limited to certain ages in the beginning and from there to expand carefully, so people can get familiar with the setting. a Kill hitler plot could be good, actually. To get it out of the way :p And there is a lot potential for fascinating player villains, because LordTs argument could work to the benefit of the game. I mean, what is better than a villain who you can understand to some level? Even sympathize with? A man trying to prevent holocaust/ stop a war / find Jack-the-Ripper could be a true tragic anti-hero.

    I had immediately an obsessed Inspector Aberline in my mind who travels back to keep more Jack murders from happening. :)
  16. CPL_Macja Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 29, 2008
    star 5
    I would play this in a heart beat if I got to use my prefered method of time travel...







    ...being on the receiving end of a Chuck Norris roundhouse.
  17. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    C-C-C-CHANGES

    So yeah, the worst-kept secret in the industry is finally out.

    (R)ejoice, (L)ament, (I)gnore?
  18. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    And then /tg/ exploded. :p

    Might be cool. My big problem - and admittedly it's not much of a problem - with 4e was that it always felt more like a wargame than an RPG. To a certain extent that's inevitable, but it'd be nice if they emphasized some of the noncombat stuff a bit more.

    Oh, and the OGL needs to come back.
  19. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Seconded to OGL. It's kinda stupid to think you can make the One System To Rule Them All, and the very fact you can mod it to hell is part of 3e's appeal, IMHO. It'll be interesting to see where they go with it.
  20. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    So anyway, while considering the idea of native dice rolling in XenForo, I used Google. And came up with this link.

    $30 to enable the feature. Do we need to have a whip round to get this, or what? :)
  21. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    Well that'll be a bugger to sell to MS. I can try, we'll see how it goes.
  22. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    If it's any help, tell MS I'll pay the thirty bucks, via Paypal or something, if it's really going to break the entire TFN budget to stretch it that far. If we're going to run system-based games in PbP out here, in-forum support for dice rollers would be one hell of an advantage, not to mention a hell of a lot less of a pain in the proverbial than linking out to invisible castle every time I want to let you know whether your DEX check was sufficiently high to result in successful nose picking. :D :D
  23. Lukes_Apprentice Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 15, 2008
    star 3
    Dice would be awesome given an idea for game I would like to GM it bring realism to fights and elements of random chance.
  24. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    For us as an RPing board it would open a world of new players, who simply cannot do their thing here. So it would be worth it. What is actually the argument against it? Might be good if we know what kind of opposition we meet, before making our own argument? Certainly the JC could use them for their games, too!

    And I know where to get us a fifty new players, if we can give them dices! :p
  25. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    I haven't pitched it yet, but I'm anticipating a counterargument of "$30 ****ING DOLLARS?!" Like I said, we'll see how it goes.:p
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