Starting a new short D&D campaign
2010-12-02 20:18:06 ET

We were all sitting around talking about characters to make sure we weren't going to duplicate classes and whatnot.

One guy settled on a Dwarf fighter of some sort, someone else decided on a Gnome warlock, and then someone jokingly suggested that we should do the "short" party that we had been discussing for a while.

So, we are all Halflings and Gnomes, and the Dwarf is our "big" guy.

The short at the beginning wasn't intended to be a pun ... it's only like 6 sessions long.

I'm painting miniatures for almost everyone.
I'm going to have a busy Saturday I think.

2010-12-03 00:55:38 ET

that's an interesting theme for a DnD party....make sure you let us know how it goes!

2010-12-03 05:31:45 ET

That's great! I still never sent you that Berserk thing to paint. Life's been so busy I just haven't had the time to even think about it.

I'm always interested in other people DM'ing other then our current one. The fights seems a bit to hard and the monsters always seem to have tactical genius. It can be really frustrating to have a DM that doesn't like to loose.

2010-12-03 08:02:58 ET

Jake: We've always thought an all gnome or all halfling party would be silly fun. I feel kinda bad for the GM - the campaign he's running is the "Tomb of Horroros" module. I'm pretty sure it's going to be a farce.

Drake: oh yeah! I totally forgot about that! I have almost no time for painting now, it really sucks.

Our last campaign was run out of a module, and a couple of fights were sort of hard, but there was, unfortunately, never any real threat. (plus, we're playing 4E, which gives you pretty much invincible characters - not necessarily good defenses or high HP, but the dying mechanic is pretty lame)
I think there has to be a very fine balance with fights - you want to feel like your characters are in danger, but they're still heroes, so they should be able to pull it off.

2010-12-03 08:23:19 ET

I think killing a character shouldn't be easy tbh and I'm glad they have the mechanic they do. Combat, in general, is a lot faster in 4e versus 3.5e. You've got a lot less HP and healing is a lot more rare. Granted you have less attacks but the overall damage output is only a little less at the beginning and medium levels in 4e.

I'd argue that the defenses in 4e are actually better then 3.5e. Caster classes have a higher AC and aren't nearly as squishy is they were in 3.5. This makes the combat caster a viable path without caster penalties (ie. wearing heavy armor).

Another thing I really like is how cheap it is to revive someone and at not detriment to the player like a loss of XP or something like that.

Overall, I think 4e controls the balance of power gamers to rp'ers a lot better then previous systems. I also like that they are forcing players to use mini's for combat.

2010-12-03 12:17:59 ET

we once had an all goblin party. It was actually the DM's idea, and it was more or less planned to be a comedy. I think the highest int score in the party was an 8 or a 9.

i haven't even looked at the rules to 4e yet. I was kind of pissed after I sank a few hundred into 3e books and they came out with 3.5. Then, before I'd even had time to play again (busy life was busy) they came out with 4e and I saw they didn't even publish the entire players/DM guide in one book and said eff that. If I ever join a group that's playing 4e, I might by the players book and then i could see myself buying them all. But I didn't feel like anything was broken in 3e.

Of course, I always prefer greater challenges when playing. As a result when I DM It sucks when YOUR character dies, but when your party of 6-8 gets into a climatic fight at the end of a major plot arc and they know going in that odds are only 3 of them are coming out of it alive, it really makes them feel like their character has overcome something - and paid a price for it.

2010-12-03 13:53:08 ET

I feel that dying in a White Wolf game is a lot more acceptable then a D&D campaign.

3e and 3.5e are a /lot/ easier to power game in in comparison to 4e. We have a few friends down here that make 2-3 characters daily and pointed it out eheh.

2010-12-03 13:59:36 ET

why's it more acceptable in white wolf?

2010-12-03 14:07:00 ET

7-10 health levels on average and healing is a lot harder in most instances. It doesn't take much to get roughed up bad. Combat tends to be a slaughter house and it's a really tough balance that you need in a game (ie. not much combat at all unless the players are dumb).

2010-12-03 14:09:09 ET

why, not what

2010-12-03 14:45:57 ET

ugh, you edited instead of doing a new post just to make me look bad :(

2010-12-03 16:14:12 ET

I don't know what you are talking about.

2010-12-03 19:58:36 ET

Drake: don't get me wrong, I really enjoy 4E overall.
I think I just sometimes feel like there could be more suspense or threat with the fights - I don't want a character to die every fight, but during the climactic battles, there should at least be threat of death. (maybe a house rule that healing doesn't start at 0?)
And yes, I do agree that magic users are FAR less squishy than in earlier versions (and much easier to use - I would never have considered playing a magic user in earlier versions, because I didn't know the rules well enough).

On the powergamer note, I find that 4E is definitely actively trying to discourage it, but by doing so I think they've pretty much errata-ed everything in the first player's handbook.
While powergamers are annoying, my issue is mainly with the GMs who don't have the balls to say "no" when a budding powergamer tries to do something stupid.

2010-12-03 21:44:28 ET

My turn!

I can't stand 4th Ed. I've been a player and I find it rather boring, I've been a GM and I wouldn't run a game over level 20. Hell, I only ran half a module (the second half of the one Chas mentioned) and I don't think I'd run another game. As was mentioned, there's nearly no threat of dying as a player making it so that you don't really worry about it (the only way that it seems likely to happen is if it's a TPK) and it's so hard to kill the players that as the GM you don't care about the fights.

That being said, I've never been a fan of D&D. It's so hard to not have it simply come down to kicking in the door and fighting the bad guy. I much prefer White Wolf games as there's actually role-playing involved instead of it feeling like a board game. I do prefer 4th Ed over 3.5, but I don't know how long that will last.

2010-12-04 05:45:30 ET

The GM is giving you the right kind of monsters then. If he threw in a few monsters that drained healing surges or gave you 2-3 battles a day with only a short rest you should be coming pretty close to dying a lot.

2010-12-04 18:21:46 ET

I can stay silent no longer! This is the only scenario that makes me feel left out. All you people and your gaming!

This will be long.

As a DM it's my job to tell power gamers they they are responsible for me having to raise the threat level. I reward good role playing, not high dps. Go play WoW if that's how you roll.

I rolled a goblin character once, modeled after Blix from Legends. He was bad ass. I wish I could play him again. I even practiced his voice and got it right.

I don't care what system is the latest, because I will simplify it to speed up roleplaying. Stopping to draw the map, declare marching order ...

I usually have players roll 2 to 3 characters with short backgrounds. The extras become npcs. In the case of player death (where sparing the player would be lame... ) if the player chooses character death to enhance the emotional level of the story, he can begin using one of his other characters with a bonus. In the form of xp or a phat loot. The death of the character resonates throughout the rest of the campaign.

Sometimes I bring them back as a villain. I am gonna stop, go home and work on my campaign material... that I'll never have players for.


Yes I am feeling sorry for myself.

2010-12-04 19:17:13 ET

Well the issue with power gamers is that there are people that don't power game in the group then they get smashed in combat so it's impossible to balance.

As a rule our group doesn't do it unless everyone does like our Dark Ages Mage game. I believe I'm the strongest character just because of how awesome a Roman Catholic mage empowered by angels can be.

2010-12-04 19:37:13 ET

Nah it ain't. In combat I have heavy goons engage them at the start of every conflict. They are specialists hired by a villain or agency to deal specifically with them. Because those characters made it a big point to distinguish themselves as massive threats... they get the rep and the attention to go with it. They will leave the non power gamers alone, because they're not on the menu, for now.

Non pgrs, I give greater access to main npcs and villains. Basically more face time.

I don't go out of my way to punish the pgrs, because I want everyone to have their fav type of char. I just write it into the story. Sometimes I'll give them a nemesis using their same build (so it's all fair). I don't have to do it a lot though. Well not at all these days.

2010-12-05 05:08:36 ET

They just don't know how to work together eheh.

2010-12-05 06:07:41 ET

True, but not every team does. Sometimes everyone's out to put together their own highlight reel.

2010-12-05 08:39:15 ET

There's a guy in our group that's like that. No matter what, his character has to be just that little bit better than everyone else but then he'll always talk about how shitty his character is. It can get really boring sometimes.

2010-12-05 08:53:04 ET

Yes, I can see why too. I like players who stay in character at the table as much as possible. You know who I like even better? Players who elevate the entire group. Some people don't voice act or speak the genre very well, and certain people know how to compensate for that, and make everyone and even bigger part of the event.

2010-12-05 09:38:42 ET

That's why it's nice in White Wolf. Player killing is a little bit more acceptable. :)

2010-12-05 09:49:01 ET

God I'm remembering the vampires vs cyborg game. It was awesome except I got stuck on the vampire team.

2010-12-05 10:45:08 ET

yeah...everything you've said has pretty much supported my long standing theory that any RPG is an AWESOME game, so long as you're doing it with AWESOME people.

I was shocked the first time I played with some people outside of my original group at how lame things were. In that group, people didn't care about plot, character development, or group strategy. It was like rolling a few dice and shouting "yeah, i killed the dark elf I'm fucking awesome!" and that was about it.

Since then I've paid more attention and noticed there's a wide spectrum of what people want in the games...once you realize that you can become a much better DM because you can start to look for what each player wants out of it. As Ruin said, let the powergamers get jumped first - they're best equipped to handle it and they'll love it. Others will get more into the mysteries and subtly of the plot. Let them be the ones who end up talking to the NCPs in town and roleplay their way into needed information. As long as they get equally rewarded for their troubles, they'll be happy too.

Then you tap the ones that like a lot of character development, and create situations in which they are forced to build deeper relationships with the other party members. This will increase the teamwork factor and the general sense of 'us-ness' of the party. Toss in the people like me who like to get tactical in fights and the party will work well together both on and off the battlefield.

I've had DnD sessions where the entire night was spent in role play without a single fight and almost no dice rolls occurring. I've had other nights where it's entirely spent in one in one incredibly climatic fight scene that despite taking so long to resolve had us at the edge of our seats the entire time.

It really is whatever you make of it.

2010-12-05 11:07:23 ET


My geek gland is leaking fluid.

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