Friday, February 5, 2016

Kickstarter: Tavern Tales

When it comes to fantasy role playing, most of the big names are fairly crunchy following the D&D and Pathfinder molds. While games like FATE do offer a more cinematic take, it does so through the lens of a universal game system. Tavern Tales by Dabney Bailey is looking to change that.

To steal from the Kickstarter page:

Tavern Tales is an exciting new fantasy-themed roleplaying game that follows these principles:
  • Stay simple, intuitive, and tactical
  • Emphasize customization
  • Enable well-rounded characters
  • Think cinematically, not mathematically
  • Grow with ongoing content updates
Tavern Tales is a player-driven, cinematic game that empowers you to play the way you always wished you could play. Have you ever wanted to ride a fire-breathing dragon, but you couldn't because the rules won't let you? Tavern Tales throws that out the window! You can build virtually any character imaginable. 
The folks behind the Kickstarter reached out to me about plugging the project, and it looks interesting enough I figured I'd at least spread the word. So maybe head on over and see if Tavern Tales is a game you'd be interested in helping out.
Oh, and if it does catch your fancy check out this competition on reddit. Win, and a character you make will appear in the official Tavern Tales release complete with official art. Other prizes include designing an item or object, or getting your character mentioned by name in the book.

Discussion: Do You Track XP?

How much XP does your current character have in them? If the GM wanted to bring someone new in at 75% of your XP could you tell them an amount? Is it written down somewhere, or would you have to re-work your character's build out to figure it out?

As a GM, how strong as your PCs? How much XP do they have? How much XP have you given out? Where will they be in three sessions? Five sessions? If someone new joined the game and you wanted them to be equal to the weakest PC, could you do it or would you need ot check with the PCs and rebuild characters?

Do you track XP? If so, why, and has it helped?

I started tracking XP a short while ago (with the start of my Star Wars game iirc.) Now on every new character, and in every new game, I keep track of how much XP I've given out to my PCs or earned as a player. it lets me double check my own math, and helps us catch errors when people have under or over spent on something.

At present, two of the three characters I play have fully tracked XP, and one does not because that game started before I kept track. I find myself regularly wishing I did track the XP that character had earned, because I use the totals so much in my other games.

In Esteren it helps me track how much XP I've lost buying back survival points from fighting (a lot...has to be near 40 XP at this point.) In L5R it lets me double and triple check my math. In my games I run it lets me catch when a player under or over spends, and also to plan accordingly for what I can expect my PCs to face because I know how much XP they have on them.

It works for me. How about you?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

How Much XP To Give Out

On Monday I talked about how you're doing XP in your game all wrong. Today I want to talk about how much XP you should be giving out. Unfortunately, since every game uses a different scale and system for XP, I can't just be like "seven. You should give out 7 XP every session and you'll be good" because, well, if I was getting 7 XP per session of D&D or even something like Deathwatch or Dark Heresy, I think I'd leave the game and give the GM a lot of angry glances.

With that in mind, my goal is to talk about how to come up with a plan for giving out XP, and then - hopefully - you can give out the right amount. I will, however, share the numbers I've come up with for my L5R game and my Star Wars game using FFG's system. Feel free to copy, comment, or critique as you will.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Delayed Post

Due to some technical issues today's post will be up tomorrow morning. Friday's post should be on time. Sorry about the delay!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Why You're Doing XP Rewards All Wrong

Forgive the click-bait nature of the title, but after having a number of discussions with friends and friends of friends about XP rewards in games, and seeing umpteen million discussions about XP rewards online over the history of GM and table top RPG advice, I figured it might be worth it. XP is a toouchy subject for a lot of GMs. There is a lot of confusion over what is, in actuality, a fairly simple mechanic to represent player character growth. Now, like most things in RPGs the abstract nature of XP makes it weird at times, but that confusion is mostly self inflicted.

With all that in mind, here are some reasons why you, or someone you know, may be doing XP rewards in their game all wrong.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Your PCs Should Get To Feel Powerful

One of the common irks I have with a lot of the GM advice you see on the internet is the almost knee jerk reaction most GMs/advice givers seem to have about ways to take away things from the PC. Someone posts asking advice on how to handle their PCs recent acquisition of 500 million dollars and half the responses boil down to "take it away from them" or "punish the PCs for this." If someone posts asking advice on what to do because the player built a character who is nigh untouchable in combat, most advice is on how to bludgeon through the character's defenses and make them feel pain.

I admit, sometimes it is tempting, and I have my own share of knee jerk reactions. But I feel a lot of advice down this line doesn't get it. While, yes, you need to be able to challenge your players that doesn't mean they shouldn't ever feel like they won. I mean, it's ok for your players to feel powerful and like they've grown in strength. Today, I want to talk about that.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Kickstarter: Era the Consortium - Shadow War

Every now and then I get requests from companies to help plug their product. Frequently these requests go unheeded. Why? Well, a lot of them aren't about anything this blog is about. When it is about a table top RPG though, I at least check out the product. Sometimes the game isn't something I'm particularly interested in. Other times, I'm really on board and think the world looks really cool.

Today is one of those days.

I learned about this Kickstarter when someone from Badass PR (great name for a company, by the way) dropped me an email about collaborating on something. Intrigued, I checked out the email and the two follow ups with information on the product. The game is a table top RPG of the Sci-Fi vein.

What intirgued me about this one though, is what the expansion is about. Shadow Wars are one of those things that always make me take notice. It brings up images of spy versus spy combat, with crack commando teams and all sorts of other zaniness. And that is what this appears to be about.

The art they're hosting also looks very pretty, and further sells a deep sci-fi world and the "shadow war" feel this expansion is about.

So, follow the link, take a look, and if it looks good to you maybe drop them a few bucks and add a game to your collection!