RPG Primer and Old School Playbook

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Jered Taikith
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Re: RPG Primer and Old School Playbook

Post Fri Sep 26, 2014 11:40 am

Solomoriah, I was reading through the latest Rev in the part where you describe the difference between Old School and New School and how New School GM's go to the rulebook to look up a rule to cover a situation. It reminded me of a scene in the original (I think) Gamer's movie where one of the players decides to use a ballista to kill a former npc party member in a bar without being noticed. The GM dutifully looks to see if the rules forbid it and, after finding no rule covering the situation, dutifully allows the player to carry out his absurd plan. I think I'm still cleaning coffee out of my nose from laughing so hard at the total botch. To paraphrase a quote from an old movie (Battle of Britain where veteran pilots are watching a newby trying to land a Spit): "You can teach monkeys to GM better than that! Anyway, I think that scene illustrates your point magnificently.
Jered Taikith
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Re: RPG Primer and Old School Playbook

Post Fri Sep 26, 2014 12:03 pm

Ok. Finished reading Rev 7. A couple of things came to mind.

First. I know, and respect, your views on world building. For myself I like to think of world building as writing from the viewpoint of a ten year old kid (or whatever age it is that kids have to be to have a very general knowledge of the world about them). The kid doesn't have a knowledge of the important dates in the development of the Roman Empire but the kid does know the basics of the country he/she lives in, what other major world powers (though they might not think of it that way) there are and how they feel about the country the kid lives in. The kid has a basic idea of his/her nation's culture, what they believe in (be it atheist, agnostic, believer), etc.. To me, it's important for characters to have at least a basic knowledge of the world they are in so they can role play their characters and not be cardboard cutouts. Just an idea.

I also agree with the whole "keep it simple" thing. All the stories I've read by people who try to get fancy with their world building by adding in alien things to give it "character" end up having to use up a lot of space in their story to keep that world's "character" continually fresh in the reader's mind. Plus there is the headache of making sure these differences in that world and ours hold together because sure enough, if they don't, they are doomed to one day be sitting at a signing table explaining to some overly smart fan why it is that their world's rifle with a range of 200+ miles and a sight that allows over the horizon accuracy just didn't kill the bad guy that way instead of waiting around 'til he got close enough to use his sword (Barsoom anyone?).

Second. You mentioned briefly at the beginning about the use of Charisma. I might suggest a passage somewhere that goes briefly into the concept of how reaction rolls work and also how Intelligence and Wisdom checks work.
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Re: RPG Primer and Old School Playbook

Post Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:38 pm

Jered Taikith wrote:Solomoriah, I was reading through the latest Rev in the part where you describe the difference between Old School and New School and how New School GM's go to the rulebook to look up a rule to cover a situation. It reminded me of a scene in the original (I think) Gamer's movie where one of the players decides to use a ballista to kill a former npc party member in a bar without being noticed. The GM dutifully looks to see if the rules forbid it and, after finding no rule covering the situation, dutifully allows the player to carry out his absurd plan. I think I'm still cleaning coffee out of my nose from laughing so hard at the total botch. To paraphrase a quote from an old movie (Battle of Britain where veteran pilots are watching a newby trying to land a Spit): "You can teach monkeys to GM better than that! Anyway, I think that scene illustrates your point magnificently.
You have to admit though, it was much more hilarious that way. ;)
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SerGavin
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Re: RPG Primer and Old School Playbook

Post Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:46 pm

Cleaning coffee out of your nose months later Hilarious. :D
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Solomoriah
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Re: RPG Primer and Old School Playbook

Post Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:34 pm

Jered Taikith wrote:To me, it's important for characters to have at least a basic knowledge of the world they are in so they can role play their characters and not be cardboard cutouts. Just an idea.
I'm not sure the distinction would be all that useful to newbie GMs; and more importantly, doing it my way is easier. I'm trying to lower the barriers to entry as much as possible.

You can always add stuff, but you can't get back time you've spent on something.
Jered Taikith wrote:I also agree with the whole "keep it simple" thing. All the stories I've read by people who try to get fancy with their world building by adding in alien things to give it "character" end up having to use up a lot of space in their story to keep that world's "character" continually fresh in the reader's mind.
Indeed. And making your world too weird is a novice writer's mistake. The weirdest worlds are those that are almost like the real world, or almost like the common view of that sort of world. Something that's almost Tolkein, or almost Oerth, for instance. Star Wars is just space opera without the Force.
Jered Taikith wrote:Second. You mentioned briefly at the beginning about the use of Charisma. I might suggest a passage somewhere that goes briefly into the concept of how reaction rolls work and also how Intelligence and Wisdom checks work.
I might. I might not. Depends a lot on whether I think of a compelling reason.

I'm not trying to teach people things they can learn from the rulebook. I'm trying to teach them the things that most people learned from that "older cousin" that Angry DM spoke of. Things they learned at the table.

What I really need is someone who just very recently learned to play... someone who remembers a bit more clearly than I what was hardest to understand when they first played. That's who I need reading this.

Or better yet, someone who has not yet begun. My actual target audience.
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Jered Taikith
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Re: RPG Primer and Old School Playbook

Post Fri Sep 26, 2014 10:04 pm

Goal being to reach new people?

Social Networking sites.

Youtube.

Make a cell phone app.

That's where young people spend their time these days.
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Solomoriah
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Re: RPG Primer and Old School Playbook

Post Sat Sep 27, 2014 5:47 am

Yeah, but not the point. It's not about reaching them, it's about helping them.

I get emails from time to time from guys who got the rules on Amazon.com and don't understand what to do with them. That's what this is about.
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Jered Taikith
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Re: RPG Primer and Old School Playbook

Post Sat Sep 27, 2014 7:33 am

I actually meant using those outlets to push out the info you're putting into the book but that's ok. Didn't mean to irritate you. Sorry. Oh and thanks for the all the fish.
-1warrior
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Re: RPG Primer and Old School Playbook

Post Sat Sep 27, 2014 8:49 am

Solomoriah wrote:Yeah, but not the point. It's not about reaching them, it's about helping them.

I get emails from time to time from guys who got the rules on Amazon.com and don't understand what to do with them. That's what this is about.
Solo, if you are ever interested in doing any of the stuff Jered talked about, I might be able to help you with it. After all, the Angry DM did talk about some of that stuff (in regards to WOTC's lack of being able to do such things).
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JoeCarr28
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Re: RPG Primer and Old School Playbook

Post Sat Sep 27, 2014 9:41 am

I've been giving it some thought and I'm really not sure about the statement "The Game Master is always right". I think it's open to misinterpretation. Taken at face value (which is how a newcomer might take it), it doesn't bear out any of my real-life play experiences, either as a player or as a GM. I also think it comes across as too autocratic - that it fails to acknowledge that a successful game is a collaboration between the players and the GM.

I think Moldvay nails it better in the Basic Rulebook with "The DM is the Boss". A good boss will always listen to and consider the opinions of others, but ultimately has the final say. That's what I would consider to be a good way to play. As Moldvay goes on to say "A good DM talks about problem areas with the players and considers reasonable requests by them. The players should realize, however, that the final decision is the DM's: not theirs, and not this booklet's!".

As a related aside, it struck me when researching this post how much of the Primer content is actually in Moldvay, albeit in a more abbreviated form - the play example, the sample dungeon, the "Dungeon Mastering as a Fine Art". Perhaps an argument for including some of this stuff in the 3rd Edition of the Core Rules?
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