Monday, December 13, 2010

Chapter 12, Page 2 The Fantasy Starts

Have sword, will travel.

There are some things that your typical gamer doesn't think about. Like the cost of living, how to find work, things that affect them in real life but they don't expect to come up in a game. Obviously, they never had Dad as a game master.


Dan ( said...

The anime "Spice and Wolf" touches on this very point. The characters' financial ups and downs are intimately interwoven with their adventures (adventures that mostly fall into the "I knew that we shouldn't have taken this short cut" type).

I remember being disappointed the last time that I played D&D, because we wound up not role-playing our characters' shopping for supplies. But then, I suppose that I was probably about the only one who felt that way; everyone else seemed to just want to get out there, slay some orcs, and plunder the corpses for a few lousy coins.

Robert said...

It sounds like he's almost as twisted a GM as I am. Heh heh heh.

Rob H.

Brigid said...

@Dan: What's the fun of just killing random monsters? It's a lot more fun when you have local politics, economics, religions, and a paycheck to work around.

Plus, it gives the adventurers a chance to say, "Why can't we just have a simple dragon to slay?"

@Robert: Quite likely. I shudder to think what sort of adventure the two of you would come up with.

Dan ( said...

My point exactly. I prefer the more cerebral (for lack of a better word) adventure myself, and want to scream and pull what's left of my hair out when my coworkers tell me how they "know all about RPGs" because they play "World of Warcraft".

I blame it on video games.

Dan (Croatoan5376@Yahoo.Com) said...

And while I'm thinking about it, did you ever wonder what sort of job description "adventurer" is? In the real world you'd probably be called a polymath or renaissance man (woman) at best, mercenary, soldier of fortune (my money's on this one), or vigilante at worst.

Of course, rescuing Damsels in Distress and slaying the odd pesky dragon or sorcerer/sorceress will go a long way towards improving even the wort scoundrel's reputation (if you doubt me just watch any Disney movie). XD

Brigid said...

@Dan: Oy vey. *headdesk*

Mercenary is probably the closest real world description of a typical rpg pc. At least the way things ended up in Dad's campaign.

Hmm. Steal from the royal palace, beat up the army, destroy portions of the local infrastructure, and rescue the princess. Yeah, definitely the kind of guy you want to have as a son-in-law. :P said...

Well that's pretty much the way things played out in "Shrek". As I recall, the king wasn't exactly overjoyed to gain an ogre for a son-in law. But unless I'm very mistaken he had bigger things to worry about, having turned back(?) into a frog by the sequel's end. How exactly do you explain that to your wife? ("Honey? You know how you said you'd always love me no matter what? Well, about that embarrassing little secret I mentioned? Funny thing, really...I'm actually an amphibian...")

And were you intentionally describing "Tangled" right there? Or did it just work out that way? :D

Brigid said...

@Dan: I have got to see the Shrek sequels at some point. lol

And, yes, I was somewhat intentionally describing Tangled there. :P I mean, really!

EdorFaus said...

This makes me think of a GM I know, who got somewhat infamous for making up his own devious traps and creatures, and inflicting them on his players... Which basically meant they had to not just fight, but think as well, not to mention have a healthy dose of paranoia, to get out of (or preferably avoid) the situations.

I remember hearing of one game in particular (I never really played myself, but watched sometimes (these games were played over IRC)), some years back, that had a creature so paranoia-inducing in the players that the fear carried over into a different game with completely different characters, that had no IC reason to even suspect such a creature existed...

The creature? Phase Kobolds.

Yep, you got it - kobolds that could, IIRC as a move action, phase in from or out to some other plane, that the players had no access to (couldn't see/hear/etc), and with enough smarts to use it effectively. I think they had a limit of just a few (couple?) times a day, depending on their NPC level, but with a decent-sized group (where some start out on the other plane)...

The party encountered a group of such kobolds (without knowing what they could do, I assume), and started fighting them... which got quite difficult since they tended to phase out before dying, and to phase in in unexpected(or just nasty) locations, with weapons ready...

In another game, a little later, (some of) the same players (but different characters) were tracking a different creature (a kind of bear I think? I don't really remember), when its tracks suddenly stopped. Their reaction? "Phase Bears!!!" and setting up a defensive position... completely forgetting about the level-1 spell "pass without trace", which they *should* be familiar with. :P :)

Brigid said...

@EdorFaus: I'm almost afraid of letting your comment be seen, since it might give Dad ideas.

Wow. Talk about nasty monsters. (Also lol at the party's reaction to the disappearing tracks.)

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...

Quite a discussion thread here.

One more nugget: I didn't think of this, but wish I had.

A GM, introducing a new world, had clearly done a good job of fleshing it out with interesting details.

As the players' characters interacted with various merchants, sages, and the like, they learned that dragons were unheard of. Sure, there were stories about dragons, but they were just that: old stories from days gone by.

A few ignorant folks might actually think that dragons existed: but even the most modestly learned sage knew that there were no such things as dragons.

Then, turning the corner on a mountainous path, the adventurers saw a huge, reptilian, winged - thing - that breathed fire at them.

Turns out, the sages were wrong.

EdorFaus said...

@Brigid: sorry about that. :)

@Brian: hehe, nice one.

Of course, depending on the GM and players, that kind of foreshadowing can make it obvious what they're going to encounter... But then again, that's just part of the fun. :)

You know what I only just now realized? The abbreviation for "Phase Kobold" is PK, which (at least in some MMORPGs) is usually used for something else (a high-level PC that goes around killing other PCs, aka Player Killer)... I suppose the result of meeting either can be similar, though, so it's probably appropriate. :)
(IIRC the party I mentioned before ended up running away from the PKs and having to resurrect at least one member.)

Brigid said...

@EdorFaus: ;P

You know, I wouldn't be surprised if that abbreviation was on purpose.

Robert said...

The kobolds are also based off of an old Dragon Magazine story that was in one of the Editorials, I believe: Tuckers Kobolds. These were "ordinary" kobolds who possessed no inherent magical abilities. Instead, they possessed significant and insidious cunning, and a mean streak a mile wide. Here's the editorial on these vicious critters. This was before Second Edition, I believe. It was long before the third edition introduction of classed monsters and the like. Merely "ordinary" koolds. And they had the players running scared.

I managed to do this to my players twice. The first was with the Goblinkin, a species I created to replace the various goblin species under one elemental insectoid grouping. These guys used reserves and flanking maneuvers, and were so feared just by the rumors of them that when an army of 2,000 of them showed up, the 12th level party gave them a huge bribe to invade a different kingdom rather than risk losing half of the party fighting them. (A later encounter in a new campaign resulted in the death of one of the primary characters; I had several players pissed off at me because I refused to allow a Paladin do a full move and then Lay On Hands (3.5 edition) to keep that character from reaching -10 HPs and dying. (This happened during marital difficulties which resulted in a divorce and the breakup of the gaming group. The player whose character died was the husband who the others ultimately abandoned, along with me, because the wife was better-liked by them.)

The second time was during the epic Night Below variant campaign I was running... when I had a sizable group of Drow elves attack the party in an ambush. The first attack was a Disintegrate spell vs. the NPC priest, killing him outright (which was my main reason for the ambush - I'd realized I had created the NPC to compete with my friend's character and decided to kill the Marty Stu character before the players had reason to realize the character was over-the-top). Twin fireballs right on top of the group also softened them up enough that, despite killing several of the Drow, the group retreated because they believed their position was untenable. The irony was that every single Drow was lower level than even the weakest NPC in the group (there were several), and most of the Drow were cannon fodder firing crossbows into the party's midst. I'd kept track of how badly people had been hurt, and outside of one outright Disintegration (which, again, had been planned in advance) none of them were really in danger of dying.

But boy did they think they were. Heh heh heh.

Rob H.

Brigid said...

@Robert: That sounds epic. Wow. hehehe

Dan ( said...

Heck, even simpler (but more mean spirited) than Phase Kobolds: back in the first edition of the AD&D game, the Fiend Folio introduced players to the dreaded Nilbog (Goblin spelled backwards). It looked and behaved exactly like a normal goblin, except that any attack made against it - magical or physical - had the exact opposite of the intended effect. Which meant that the more it was wounded in battle, the more hit-points it gained. Imagine encountering an armed party of such creatures. :P

Brigid said...

@Dan: Figure that out really fast and start spamming cure on it? Yikes.