VR: Peasant Competency Levels

One of the unfortunate things about filming video responses for my Youtube channel is that I tend to do them in an off-the-cuff manner, this is great for getting an unscripted and spontaneous feel to the video, however it does mean that on occasions I tend to forget things and only think about them after I’ve just spent an hour or so editing the video.

The same thing happened recently when I filmed a video response to the following video OSR Gatekeepers: I do not fear death by Your Humble Gamesmaster:

I filmed what I believed to be a fairly comprehensive response to the video in question, you can see my video here:

It was only after the upload had finished that I thought ‘Oh sh*t I forgot to mention the bit about peasant power levels in the video’ – now I’m not going to go back and record the whole thing again to cram that part in so I thought that I’d write a brief blog about it here instead.

The Humble Gamesmaster makes the point that peasants or commoners are often seen as being particularly weak in OSR style games, particularly when in funnel play or in comparison to characters who actually have levels in a more normal PC class (fighter, thief, mage, etc); this is a very valid point, I do have a few issues with it though. After thinking about it for some time, I realised that my main issue was based on an assumptions that I’d made about D&D and OSR style games:

  • Adventurers spend a lot of their “off-screen” time practicing their skills.

I’d always imagined that the fighter spent a lot of their off-screen time practicing combat whilst the thief was out engaging in nefarious activities, the mage was obsessively studying spells and the bard was playing their lute or whatever it is that they do when they’re not annoying the rest of the party and trying to grab some abilities from pretty much every other class.

The Humble Gamesmaster makes the point that peasants or commoners in a standard pseudo-medieval D&D world wouldn’t be weak, they would lead hard lives working the land, I certainly think that’s true, however, I’ve always seen the difference between commoners and PC classed characters in D&D as being akin to the difference between a fitness fanatic and a trained soldier in real life, sure the fitness fanatic might be fit and in reasonably good health, however they don’t exist in the constant state of readiness that the soldier does, knowing that s/he could be shipped out at any moment to face danger and death.

So let me know what you think, are commoners weak in your world or do they have some untapped wellspring of inner strength?

Reflections on the UK Games Expo

It’s been a few weeks since I was at the UK Games Expo, a yearly gaming convention that takes over the Birmingham Hilton hotel and a signficant amount of the Birmingham NEC, I’ve been a few times and always look forward to seeing a lot of the UK people I game with online “in the flesh,” this was my first year actually GM-ing at the convention though.

I was asked by Lloyd Gyan–Modiphious game advocate, RP Hipster and general great guy–who I game with a fair amount, to help him and a few others run Games on Demand, essentially the idea being that people who haven’t prebooked into a game in advance can rock up, buy a quick ticket for a game from the desk and then stroll down the room where we are and jump into a game. This is a great idea because the pre-booked games sell out pretty fast, perhaps you weren’t sure if you could make it, or perhaps you came for something else but are interested in this roleplaying thing that people have been banging on about, well if that’s the case you can still get in a game on demand. Continue reading

My Prep Dilemna

As anyone who has gamed with me will tell you–when it comes to running RPGs–I like to do my prep, some people can pull off amazing sessions with little to no prep and that’s absolutely grand, more power to them, however, I’m not blessed with a particularly good memory so it buoys up my confidence to know that I have notes prepared concerning what has already occurred in a campaign and what might be about to occur. However, this has left me with something of a dilemna recently when it comes to the prep for my Heart of Darkness Star Wars campaign and my Dungeon World campaign; both campaigns are recorded on my Youtube channel meaning I’ve got the actual play videos that I can refer back to in order to update my notes.

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RP Rambles: What I love about roleplaying

Telling Stories

I’ve been giving a lot of thought recently to my future and what I would like to be doing with my life, and however I look at it I keep returning to the idea of writing–and in particular storytelling–as something that I find both very gratifying and extremely important to me. Storytelling is one of the main reasons that I got into RP-ing and, no matter how my GM-ing abilities and gaming experience may have changed it’s that central desire to tell a story with other people that keeps bringing me back to the game time-after-time. Continue reading

Moving 3Brothers D&D 5E Campaign Notes

Previously my 3Brothers campaign notes have been stored using Obsidian Portal, by and large I’ve found it easier and user-friendly to create the campaign wiki, etc in OP, however due to Google Hangouts seemingly eating up all of my bandwidth when I’m running a game using it (as most of my TT games are run nowadays) using it during a session has been very problematic, which is unfortunate since that’s when I really need to check my notes.

So this weekend I’m transistioning my notes onto a Tiddlywiki that will be hosted on my dropbox account, since I will be able to use the dropbox version saved on locally on my machine and not have to rely on the scraps of bandwidth Hangouts leaves me.

At some point in the next couple of days I’ll be removing the campaign from Obsidian Portal, from that point on anyone wishing to see the campaign wiki can access it at this link (and previous OP links will become inactive):

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/129688634/3Brothers%20TW/3Brothers%20TW.html

The Tiddlywiki is already active but not all of the information has been moved over yet.

Blogging Update 29/04/2016

notepadI’m sure those of you who read my blog or keep up with my Youtube channel have noticed that my output has fallen off drastically in the past few weeks, well don’t worry, I’m not abandoning the blog or making RPG related videos or anything like that.

Recently I’ve started up a new job which involves me working later and driving further, as I’ve been trying to learn new systems I’ve also had less spare time in dinner hours, etc to write blog posts. The time that I have been able to spare (when I’m not spending time with my wife) has mostly been taken up with preparing for or running games.

At the moment I have a number of games that I’m involved in:

  • Shadow of the Century playtest games that I run every Friday.
    My own 3Brothers D&D 5E campaign that runs bi-weekly on Sunday.
  • A series of Star Wars one-shots (currently using the FFG rules although I might be trying some using my FAE Hack soon) that normally run on Saturdays.
  • Thashif Muran’s Dresden Files campaign that alternates on Sunday’s with my D&D campaign, in which I play Murdoch a detective who has been overtaken by the spirit of the fallen angel Arioch.
  • Jenny Green’s Dresden Files campaign on alternate Monday nights where I play Syd, a crotchety aged punk who happens to be a lycanthrope and is determined to fight against the man.

So as you can see a lot of my time is actually taken up with gaming and the other free time that I used to write blog posts/make videos has gradually become trimmed down to almost nothing; I’m confident that once things have settled down a bit that I’ll manage to re-organise my time to begin creating vids and making blog posts again, it might not be the same volume as before though.

I’m also considering using more stuff recorded in audio format, since I can record these when I am driving (I wouldn’t want to record video whilst driving but I can talk without getting massively distracted) or when I have a spare moment. I think the audio format whould also cut down the amount of time I spend messing around with cameras or editing afterwards, I would never have believed how much time (even relatively simple) editing takes up.

So to sum up, I might be quiet for a bit (aside from my actual play vids) whilst things settle down and I re-organise, but I’ve not forgotten you all, once I’ve worked out how best to fit my creative output into my current schedule I will be back.

Angels and Devils/Demons

There’s always been loads of demons and devils in D&D and other similar fantasy games, in D&D devils are normally described as being servants of Asmodeus and/or denizens of the Nine Hells, with demons being chaotic denizens of the Abyss. Angels normally get fairly short shrift TBH, described as errand boys for deities. Continue reading

How I prepare for a Star Wars one-shot

Sam posted in the Tide of Change group saying that it would be useful to see how some of the GMs prepare for their sessions, so over the course of the weekend I’ve maded this video outlining the process that I go through to create a Star Wars one-shot.

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