Previously, on Catacombs Talk Forum...
Gamer Forge Listen Email:
My gaming question is this. When playing a wizard and creating magic items in 3.5 D&D is there a way to create those magic items without having to burn up experience points or if I have to atleast do it in a way that I don't have to burn a lot to do so?
Gamer Forge Response:
Oh, Oh! It's Magic! But it's also gonna cost you. When you're making items, DCR says:
1. Nope. It will always cost you XP.
2. But...it doesn't necessarily have to cost your own. Your DM may allow you to find a way to sacrifice someone else's XP. It's very evil, but it may be worth asking about if you're desperate to not cash in your XP.
3. If you can't sacrifice someone else, the cheapest route becomes making scrolls. They cost the least amount of your experience to make. That's why wizards begin play with the feat to do so.
Gamer Forge Listen Email:
I'm starting to play Star Wars Saga edition and I don't want to play a Jedi or a sith. What is a good class to play and why?
Gamer Forge Response:
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...DCR says:
1. The SW Saga Edition features five (and only five) core character classes, each balanced out so as not to overshadow each other. Jedi, Noble, Scoundrel, Scout, and Soldier.
2. Scoundrel features the most commonly used skill set, along with special Talents that negate frustrating penalties, suppress enemies' bonuses, and enhance your defenses and skills. As an added benefit, this class is rounded enough to fill in gaps that may be left open by the other, more specialized classes, like Soldier.
3. However, Noble is the underdog, here. They're not supposed to be the front line fighters, nor the "caster" specialties of the Jedi. But the special Talents will help your allies in almost any scenario. Also, the "Wealth" Talent straight up gives you money just for being alive. Just so that it's clear, let's put it on it's own line in bold, italic, underline:
Gamer Forge Listen Email:
We are starting a world of darkness campaign. Any advise on how to run the game since this is my first time running this system?
Gamer Forge Response:
"World of Darkness" doesn't mean "World of Confusion". When taking on this scary world for the first time, DCR says:
1. Commonality. It doesn't really matter how much you love vampires, if nobody else in the game cares about vampires. Find the level where everyone meets as far as familiarity. If your gaming group is familiar with the movie "Monster Squad", then start in a world similar to that. When giving descriptions and examples, draw from that pool of knowledge as well. On the flip side, if a player isn't connecting to what you're offering, that player has every right to not play. Respect the player's decision to show up or not.
2. Learn the core mechanic. This would apply to learning any new game system. Before you start running, you've got to understand the core mechanics. All the nuanced stuff will come with time. If you have to look in the rulebooks just to find out how to determine success at an attack, then you quickly lose the trust and respect of the players. A GM should be regarded as an authority on the subject.
3. World of Darkness is filled to the brim with it's own lore. Tap that like you would a keg in college. Each book in the system is somewhat connected, so finding lore for you campaign setting is a breeze. It looks like a mountain when put next to each other, but remember that you can just take one and leave the rest. You've gotta put on training wheels before you can ride the ten-speed.
*Bonus XP: To help get players psyched up for playing a game set in a universe closer to the real world, start with the music. If you've got a half-decent laptop loaded with music, try loading that puppy up with some tunes that might help fit the mood. Get some player input about the sorts of things they would hear in a supernatural thriller. To give that extra kick in the pants, try creating several playlists to reflect radio stations, so when characters hop into a car, have a radio station turn on and start playing. It's a little more effort to put it together, but so worth it once players begin to "get it" and feel more connected to the world that they are helping shape. For help in getting started, just turn on your radio in your own car, and scribble some quick notes on five or six random stations. Also, playing the classic Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is a great way to start. The music makes for a more personable, if not perfect, immersion experience.
This week, DCR takes a look at playing with large, powerful, and oversized weapons. When it comes to pulling out the "big guns", DCR says:
1. If your game's setting allows for ridiculous sizes, then don't fight it. If your game has anime, action movie, or comic book inspired themes, let your players have those large weapons without fuss. These settings have large weapons all over in their episodes and issues, and it doesn't make any sense to deny players access to them, especially when it heightens enjoyment of the game. As always, players should at least have a reason why their knight has an oversized great sword, or their power armor should have a giant cannon mounted on it's back. It's just extra flavor and builds connection to the character they play.
2. Speed it up! If your game DOES have huge cannons and massive damages, don't slog your game by rolling more dice. Roll less whenever possible. Figure out a system of multipliers when more than three dice are involved. (example: 3d6x10, or 1d8x4). Yes, its funny to think that your character's laser sword does 60d10 damage with each successful hit. But when it comes to keeping the pace of your game exciting, that's a sure fire way to kill the mood. To establish the devastating power of the weapon, try NOT rolling dice. Have that giant gun just vaporize its target (with good description, of course) if you feel it does that kind of damage anyway. This will build a sense of just what the character has in his/her hands, and create some great dramatic moments for your story.
3. It works both ways. If the characters get big guns, then so do your enemies. Surprise the player characters by having them face an opponent with equal firepower. If the players have a warship equipped with ballistas, then have them face another ship with some ballistas. This establishes the scale within which they work. It's not about keeping them low on the food chain, it's about keeping the food chain moving so they don't become complacent at the top. This also helps prevent the game from becoming unbalanced on one side because the players shouldn't need to feel overwhelmed or underwhelmed by their opposition. If the players want a big scale battle, then facilitate that.
Bonus XP: Macross, Voltron, and Invader ZIM are fine examples of television shows that feature oversized weapons. Final Fantasy VII, Wild Arms, and Front Mission are great video games to explore themes featuring large guns and large-scale warfare. The Iron Man, Hellboy, and any title featuring the character Lobo are excellent comics for researching giant weapons and big explosions.
Gamer Forge Listener Email:
Name: Jason the Drifter
Comments: So I have a question that is a little complicated. Now I realize most of the Gamer Forge questions have been D&D or Pathfinder related and my question is based in the Star Wars Saga Edition rules.
So here is my question. The game that I am play has had some fun and exciting moments where we have some amazing moments happen when we have failed or succeeded in the game so we have really enjoyed our game. So now I am sure your asking yourselves so what is the reason you’re emailing us then? Well that is the really difficult part because this game has been so great several of us have kind of lost track of what we set out to do.
And that is my question how do we get back on track? So let me explain what’s happened here. So we are playing in the Old Republic about 150 years before the start of the Mandolorian Wars and before the KOTOR settings. Now we have a mixed group of Jedi and various other individuals with specialized skills. The two Jedi in the group were commissioned with a task that required special skills. So they sought out the other members in our group. So we got our ship we plotted our course took flight and jumped into hyperspace and BAM! Our Astromech droid was sabotaged as it has purposely plugged in a bad hyperspace route. Thus we came out of hyperspace roughly which damaged our ship and left us in Hutt space with a damaged ship and two Jedi that aren’t really favored here. So we limp to the nearest planet, once there our ship is “Misplaced”, two of our companions were put in jail, and series of other unfortunate events. Now this was lots of fun roleplaying and getting its way out these situations.
What has got our goat is that our GM is so crafty in his story telling that we are constantly getting roped into something. Several of us want to get back to our original quest. Get off the hutt planet and go complete our mission for the Jedi.
Gamer Forge Response:
When it comes to untangling the knot of truth in your game, DCR says:
1. Perseverance. Just go with it. Remember that you can walk away from this game at any time. In the words of Captain Planet, "The power is yours." By playing, you are consenting that everything is just peachy. If you're having fun getting into all sorts of mischief, then it can't be all that bad. Or is it? You're asking yourself, "When does the actual story begin?" That brings us to...
2. Part of the "Master Plan". Maybe this totally is part of the story. It's all in the set-up for the big picture. This one may be worth sticking around for. If all this hijinks ties back to the overall storyline a year down the road, your GM deserves a medal. Remember, one of the themes of Star Wars is "There is no coincidence". Adventurers coming together is significant, regardless of how disparate those characters may be. The GM should either recognize this and work it into the theme, or already took this into account and this further strengthens our statement about medals. Have a little faith in your GM. But not without...
3. Whenever you're presented with either option "A" or option "B", always take option "C". If and when you feel shoehorned into fulfilling a role or plot, that means your GM is getting lazy. Make him/her work for their position as storyteller. Throw a few curve balls to get the creative juices flowing. Instead of running around to save the universe, pop a squat and tell campfire stories. When the GM sends you to the cantina for information, walk back outside and try stealing a speeder. (note: Dungeon Crawlers Radio does not condone nor engage in the stealing, or destruction of, unattended speeders or starships) The world(s) you are visiting and exploring move and live whether or not you are there. Make your GM make that world come alive.
*Based on the details we were given, DCR says that it's probably best to ride this out. No shortage of action and an underlying theme. Plenty of characters with a diversity of personalities. Best of all, nobody is getting frustrated with a lack of options. Final word of advice: Go kick ass, players!
DCR Gamer Forge Listener Email:
Name: Lord Abernathy
I want to say thank you for doing the Gamer Forge segment and helping us gamers.
My question is simple and yet complex. I am running a Star Wars Campaign and I am struggling with balancing the system. Everyone wants to play a sith or a jedi.
How can I run a fun game but limit their access to these character types because they really unbalance things.
Your continued listener,
Gamer Forge Response:
When in Star Wars, you play, recommend, DCR does:
1. Take a hard line. We know this contradicts one of our Ten Commandments, but it's just a lot easier. It's either Jedi or Sith. The two of them just aren't going to co-mingle for any extended period of time. UNLESS, your little Dark Lord in Training Wheels can keep up a good front. But don't blame us when the gig is up and your group explodes into one giant internal conflict. But that does give some interesting plot devices. Regardless, we think its better not to open this can of worms if it can be helped.
2. Its all about the E-R-A. Not a "g" funk era with a gangsta twist. This is era in the SW timeline. Knights of the Old Republic, Mandalorian Wars, and Darth Bane eras are all kosher to have multiple Sith Lords running around, canon-wise. Rise of the Empire and New Jedi Order, not so much. Also, if you play in the Rise of the Empire time frame, remember that your Jedi players have to keep a good cover and lay low! Or they will have a heap of trouble coming in the form the Empire and some of their Star Destroyer buddies.
3. Blending in. If your players are deadlocked and cannot reach a unanimous decision about either Jedi or Sith, then one side (Sith) will have to go incognito. Meet with those players on the Dark Side before a game session and be very clear what the consequences are if they are found out by their Jedi compatriots. Which absolutely meets the criteria for another of our Ten Commandments, "Thou Shalt Respect the Consequences of Thine Own Actions." So if they want to increase their longevity, remind them of the risks. Same goes for the Good Ol' Jedi. The temptation of the Dark Side will be magnified due to the closeness of characters, who by all accounts, should be actively trying to corrupt them.
*To go the extra mile, A Guy Named Joe recommends watching Sherlock Holmes or Oceans 11. Get some good ideas about how to overlap conflicting interests and place key story elements in a way to have seemingly innocent moments more relevant to your story. Also, both movies kinda rule your face.
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