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Improving VTTRPG

Cognisant

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First problem is the art style, as someone pointed out the town was a 2GB download, that's completely ridiculous, takes too long to load and was likely the reason some people kept dropping out (lack of RAM or connection timed out). Furthermore if I need an asset (such as a lever to open a gate) I had to buy it, I can't just draw it myself which brings me to the final issue. The assets aren't expensive but what I can do is dictated to me by the assets I have which makes designing the scenarios/story very counter-intuitive.

The best solution I've come up with thus far is to use vector based images in a simpler style such as the art of the "Order of the Stick" webcomic, except that style doesn't really work for a top-down view, although then again there's no rule saying the game has to be present from that view. A side-scrolling view may seem limiting but the four degrees of freedom still exist, just that instead of being north/south/east/west they become up/down/left/right, and when you walk by a building you'll be able to see where the damn doors are which I feel was a feature my yet nameless town surely lacked.
 

redbaron

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Based on last night.

Larger groups of enemies, or stronger ones. We pretty much just steamrolled the few enemies entirely that were there.

More linear plot. I know you want to keep the RP element and that's fine, but I think there's a rather varied level of experience between us. It's a few of us first time playing any TTRPG at all and first time playing it on the Pathfinder ruleset for others.

Honestly I thought the dungeon part was top notch. Well designed really. Just needed stronger/more enemies.

Initiative rolls: I think you need to make a macro that incorporates all our base initiatives and just do the roll for us. It's a real bitch trying to go through chat logs and figure out who is first etc.

Turn based movements in combat. Generally you have movement restrictions based on speed and the like. One square being 5ft and generic move being 30ft (6squares). I'd say that combining this with simplified initiative roll would make combat much less chaotic, plus it allows for things like ambushes or funnelling enemies into hallways (or being funnelled) etc. Also you can't move through an occupied square in combat without an acrobatics check.

I have read a decent-ish amount about the combat system, and I could help it move along smoothly on the next session if you like? I felt like we could have made it so much more awesome so I don't mind helping to direct combat as pseudo-DM while we're familiarising with rules still.

Other than that not much I can think of. It was actually even better than I expected at all from the first session :)
 

Kuu

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Or you could just draw the top down view like it was an actual plan, CAD style, in vector format. There's tons of free resources of people and furniture for design in vector format, not necesarily for RPGs but it works.(Though there sure are for RPGs too http://www.redkobold.com/dungeon-map-symbols-vector-format-v1-0/). Traps and monsters would require some interesting digging, but i'm sure there's decent free resources somewhere too (eg, http://opengameart.org). Any raster image you find could be vectorized anyway, in a wide range of qualities and complexities to suit the desired style.

Also, how the hell is the town 2GBs? That number is ridiculous for the size/amount of graphics...

I did a quick search for some dungeon layout tools if illustrator/inkscape isn't your thing:

http://www.mapeditor.org is free and multiplatform, but the documentation is lacking and I'm not sure you can get vector output. Then again, it's free so anyone can try. (Found a quicktut here)

http://pymapper.com/ is also free, seems development is not as active.

http://donjon.bin.sh/d20/dungeon/ Here is a nice set of online random generators (Initiative tracker, plot generator, NPCs, traps, pickpocket loot, treasure, magic items, encounters and dungeons, etc...). The dungeon one generates doors, traps, and monsters per room, has decent amount of options and although the graphics are very basic, you get high-res, and pdf export with dungeon details (though for some reason the graphics are raster).
A large map in high res using a fancy crosshatch turned out around 4mb; using the standard barebones style it's around 160 kb... I liked slate myself.

http://www.rptools.net i didn't bother to check it out because i got lazy

http://pyromancers.com/main/ browser-based, easier than the ones below due to line tools, exports jpg and pdf, tile selection interface might be kind of awkward.

http://www.dwarvenforge.com/mapmaker/ similar to the above, exclusively tile based

http://www.yeoldemapmaker.com simple browser-based mapmaking tool, exports jpg, limited in size.

http://davesmapper.com random generator, much more limited


Changing the mechanics to not-top-down could end up being more trouble in the end. Everyone moves on the ground plane, sidescrolling forces people into a corridor-like place where melee would be a disaster, etc... In short I think that's a terrible idea.
 

Hadoblado

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Holy shit Kuu MVP.

How did you find all this?
 

Jennywocky

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My biggest issue was simply the Initiative problems, which lead to confusion over who is getting to do what and when.

If there is an app that would allow Cog to make multiple dice rolls and add modifiers to each roll, as someone suggested, and then order the rolls, he could just with one button click roll everyone's Initiative w/ modifiers and have it all sequenced, and then just walk through the order. Having everyone roll their own and having to the sequence them was definitely was confusing.

I also found a bias towards the party members who have no problems just leaping in on voice and verbalizing what they are doing. For the members who are more verbally quiet, since the Init situation wasn't working, they had trouble making sure they got to take their turns / do things. I was far more successful when I changed my personal style and started talking over top folks -- then I ended up getting my turns. But it's kind of awkward. I think in general playing online without all those visual cues you get in a RL game does make the play cycle harder to implement.

All that being said, I had a lot of fun and hope everyone enjoyed themselves. Thanks to Cog too for running the whole thing and doing all the prep work.

PS. I also think the ranger's sword was not large enough, and I expect it to be upgraded into something more suitably gargantuan by next adventure (hopefully a 3H or 4H greatsword).
 

Kuu

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Holy shit Kuu MVP.

How did you find all this?
Knowledge (Google) = 20 ;)

On retrospect though, most of that software seems awkward, limited, and requires you to find a ton of tiles, and then force you to use that. Most of it is abandonware and hasn't been updated since 2009 :ahh:

The random generators are good, but if I was the GM for the mapmaking I'd definitely use Sketchup. It's free, learning curve for 2d map layout is pretty low and you can make any shape you desire, it comes with a decent default texture set and sketchy lines, can be exported in various formats, has a large model warehouse from which you could nix furniture and creatures for free. And of course you could use any arbitrary texture on it, besides any tiles you can get.

Last but not least, it can be useful for any generic 2d / 3d modelling so learning its basics is a better time investment than a specific RPG mapping tool.

This guy seems to have made an entire 3D "tile" set for RPG mapping in sketchup. Could be useful.

I did a quick doodle with default textures and some props from the above link (no tiles, just props) https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15201559/tmp/kuusdungeon.jpg The layout itself can be done in a couple of minutes.
 

Blarraun

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My thoughts on what could be better:

Initiative based turns in combat and convention based turns out of combat, so that every player has a chance to declare an action before someone else progresses the story.

There is no need to draw maps of non-combat locations, instead we can have a description and we can ask about the details, which cannot be placed on the map anyway. If there would be a combat phase (in the unusual location), we could fight on a simple AxA square grid without anything fancy, as it is very unlikely and speeds up the process of designing location, while placing more emphasis on the roleplaying and imaginative elements instead.
From experience, I haven't seen locations other than world maps, or potential combat/mechanics zones mapped and if there was any need for this, a simple sketch would suffice.

Combat and encounter difficulty do not necessarily require more enemies, instead the enemies need to be smarter and their basic tactics should be corresponding to their intelligence. For example, having to fight humanoids, it should be pretty obvious for them that their survival is more important than reckless charging on our frontline players, I wouldn't be surprised when some of the goblins escaped or tried to find more friends. Creating more intelligent and cunning opponents while giving them magical abilities and more power per unit is a great way to increase the challenge. We could after all be ambushed, followed by a group of scouts, they could deny our resources or try to surround us when we enter a treasure room, there are many possible scenarios of creative use of units. Clever opponents can also act outside of combat, trying to gather information against our party, turning other NPC's hostile, denying our objectives, etc.

This is where another mechanical GM could be useful. For example during combat, Cog could think about the tactics and priorities the opponents have, while the other GM would make sure that all rolls are correct, the damage is properly calculated and the general combat mechanics are working, this would greatly enhance the potential complexity and pace of the encounter. I am fairly experienced with d&d 3.5 mechanics and I would need to read a bit on the pathfinder system to be able to perform as the "mechanics GM" during the upcoming meeting.

Generally one of the good ideas for starting players and for simplifying the progress is to provide the party with a "guide" npc, who wouldn't be useful in combat, however would provide insights and suggestions as to what actions are possible or what objectives can be achieved, while being the central element of the plot. Such as the person we need to save or escort somewhere.
 

redbaron

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Blarraun said:
For example during combat, Cog could think about the tactics and priorities the opponents have, while the other GM would make sure that all rolls are correct, the damage is properly calculated and the general combat mechanics are working, this would greatly enhance the potential complexity and pace of the encounter. I am fairly experienced with d&d 3.5 mechanics and I would need to read a bit on the pathfinder system to be able to perform as the "mechanics GM" during the upcoming meeting.
I also wouldn't mind doing stuff like this for combat. I was noticing during the combat that a lot of things were missing in certain ways. Attacks of opportunity, certain checks for making successful flanking maneuvers and their related bonuses, as well as certain things to do with charging and also CMD checks to make that were a bit overlooked.

In all the chaos of the initiative rolls I didn't want to bring anything up that would confuse the situation even more. In any case I think this is a good idea in that the GM controls the enemies intelligently, while a certain player makes sure that rolls and associated checks are being done correctly.
 

Cognisant

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Larger groups of enemies, or stronger ones. We pretty much just steamrolled the few enemies entirely that were there.
Honestly because it was the first session and I didn't have a clue what I was doing I was specifically trying not to kill anyone, I can't imagine anything more frustrating than losing a character to a fumbling DM, of course as I get my shit together that will change and I'll start coming up with scenarios designed specifically to kill off characters in interesting ways.

More linear plot. I know you want to keep the RP element and that's fine, but I think there's a rather varied level of experience between us. It's a few of us first time playing any TTRPG at all and first time playing it on the Pathfinder ruleset for others.
Initiative rolls: I think you need to make a macro that incorporates all our base initiatives and just do the roll for us. It's a real bitch trying to go through chat logs and figure out who is first etc.
Yeah initiative and combat was a complete mess, I didn't have the macros ready, I knew only the most basic rules, I couldn't keep track of whose turn it was and yeah, total clusterfuck.

I have read a decent-ish amount about the combat system, and I could help it move along smoothly on the next session if you like? I felt like we could have made it so much more awesome so I don't mind helping to direct combat as pseudo-DM while we're familiarising with rules still.
If you know the system better than I do feel free to abuse it, e.g. remind me of every saving throw/bonus you get and don't remind me of anything that works against you, so if I kill of your character next session it will be despite my incompetence not because of it.
 

Cognisant

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Changing the mechanics to not-top-down could end up being more trouble in the end. Everyone moves on the ground plane, sidescrolling forces people into a corridor-like place where melee would be a disaster, etc... In short I think that's a terrible idea.

I dunno, I do see your point, the character tokens won't scale if you move them up & down the field so the depth of the space can't be too great without making some people look huge. Also there could be issues with people covering up each others tokens but that already was an issue so I don't see any real loss or gain there. Now the advantage of a side view is that it makes vertical combat much more intuitive, there could be scaffolding to climb on, ledges above, tunnels bellow, things hanging from the ceiling, and y'know it clearly looks better even with my shitty 5min MSpaint drawing above.
 

Cognisant

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My biggest issue was simply the Initiative problems, which lead to confusion over who is getting to do what and when.
I have watched videos of other people's games and they seem to stick to turn based play throughout the entire game with the initiative re-rolled for each encounter and the each character's intuition score deciding the order outside of it, this appears to work much better, I just need to be more organized.

This guy seems to have made an entire 3D "tile" set for RPG mapping in sketchup. Could be useful.

I did a quick doodle with default textures and some props from the above link (no tiles, just props) https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...uusdungeon.jpg The layout itself can be done in a couple of minutes.
Very impressive, but I'd still be reliant on pre-made tiles.

This is where another mechanical GM could be useful. For example during combat, Cog could think about the tactics and priorities the opponents have, while the other GM would make sure that all rolls are correct, the damage is properly calculated and the general combat mechanics are working, this would greatly enhance the potential complexity and pace of the encounter. I am fairly experienced with d&d 3.5 mechanics and I would need to read a bit on the pathfinder system to be able to perform as the "mechanics GM" during the upcoming meeting.
I have very mixed feelings about this, on one hand if you were to track the initiative/hp/movement/rolls of the PCs to ensure it's all rule abiding and flows better I'd be glad for the help, it would certainly free me up to do more stuff in the background, however there is a conflict of interest and in a properly ran game I would be constantly asking you all to make listen/perception checks and whatnot so I should really be the one in control of whose turn it is and when their turn is over.
 

redbaron

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I think side view is abysmal for table-top and turn-based RPG games. The main thing to do with objects is really just for the purpose of cover saves and line of sight juking ranged enemies. In that regard top-down is superior since it's very much easier to identify which objects are not part of the natural floorspace compared to side-view.

As for tokens being covered up, if we're playing by the actual combat rules that doesn't happen. They go adjacent at best and so in a top-down view you have no covering.

When it comes to intuitive combat I don't think it even matters when the game is turn-based. There's no mechanical skill involved in jumping onto ledges and whatnot when you're moving tokens - you just roll a dice and you either pass...or trip and fall off the ledge :p

I don't inherently hate side-views, but they just make this kind of game so unnecessarily chaotic. You might say side view looks better, but the other side of that is the fact that top-down is clearly easier to navigate.

Blarraun said:
Initiative based turns in combat and convention based turns out of combat, so that every player has a chance to declare an action before someone else progresses the story.
Also just wanted to +1 that from Blarraun because I think that's a great idea.
 

Cognisant

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When it comes to intuitive combat I don't think it even matters when the game is turn-based. There's no mechanical skill involved in jumping onto ledges and whatnot when you're moving tokens - you just roll a dice and you either pass...or trip and fall off the ledge
That's not what I mean, rather just as top down makes figuring out of sight line easier (although if I remember correctly you wanted to shoot though a building at one point) a side view makes vertical combat easier, so for example if you were in the town and looking at the buildings from the side Nesselde could have climbed onto the roof and it would have been apparent she was above everyone else. Likewise when Kasitt sent his eidolon down the drain shaft rather than me switching to another screen and describing what his eidolon saw he could have just gone down a hole and there would have been a whole level beneath you.

Dungeon design wouldn't really be that different, you could still look at the whole thing as one great big map except north/south will be up/down so rather than having sprawling flat levels with stairs/ladders leading up/down there would be a sprawling side view (like an ant farm) with many offshoot doorways.

So really it works out to be the same thing just sliced up vertically instead of horizontally, the advantage of which being that you could enter a massive cavernous room with say a giant demon in it and it would actually tower over you. There could be multiple entrances to this room on multiple levels with rope bridges spanning between them so you could snipe at the creature or leap onto it as a surprise attack.

Line of sight could still apply except now you can be attacked from above, below, and there could still be stuff that you could take cover behind, I mean in the top down view I still need to tell you if whatever prop in the room is tall enough to provide cover.
 

redbaron

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I won't deny that it sounds awesome in a perfect world :p

In the end you're the one who has to DM all this stuff. For the sake of making it as simple and streamlined as possible, I'm more thinking along the lines of Blarraun though:

Blarraun said:
There is no need to draw maps of non-combat locations, instead we can have a description and we can ask about the details, which cannot be placed on the map anyway. If there would be a combat phase (in the unusual location), we could fight on a simple AxA square grid without anything fancy, as it is very unlikely and speeds up the process of designing location, while placing more emphasis on the roleplaying and imaginative elements instead.
The dungeon part was really really cool so I don't want to take anything away from that. I only speak for myself when I say this but I felt like the endless number of options we had in that town was overwhelming and sort of promoted confusion. If others disagree I hope they do say so, but I found the first hour or so thoroughly confusing.

*I know it was me who did it...but I felt like one of the biggest immersion killers was when I spoke out of turn as the witch was meant to be conversing with a demon in a language I obviously was not supposed to understand (huge derp by me).

So I think to sum up generally what I'm trying to say is that "Less is more". I pretty much echo the same sentiments as Jenny and Blarraun - the only issues I had were to do with the general confusion and chaos surrounding combat and story-progression.

Which really just involves you making a macro for initiative rolls, and me keeping my big mouth shut when Jenny is speaking to demons...oh and maybe not trying to pickpocket members of the party for the sake of giggles :phear:

If you want to side-view you can...but I think it's going to be a colossal headache and possibly increase the risk of you having an anneurism for various reasons if we try and play Pathfinder horizontally. I mean, you need to have fun too or this won't continue - my improvement is basically that you should make this easier on yourself so that it's fun for everyone including you as the GM.

Essentially:
- Sort out initiative rolls
- Turn-based movement during combat and exploration of areas
- Movement is based on PF rules e.g. 6 squares for light/no armor, 4 medium etc. (I've been reading up on all this stuff, so I'm more than happy to make sure people's options and consequences of certain actions are clear at all times during combat)
- Turn-based RP during important story progression parts

This pretty much guarantees immersion, co-operation, imagination, and gives everyone a fair go - if you have that it doesn't even matter what scenario or how cool the environment is. Everyone will have fun (including you), it will be easy for you to GM and these sessions will continue.
 

Absurdity

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I'm glad we're getting all the bugs worked out before I start playing. :D
 

Cognisant

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..oh and maybe not trying to pickpocket members of the party for the sake of giggles
You must be kidding that was hilarious for me.

I won't deny that it sounds awesome in a perfect world
I just tried making a small map that way, it's easy enough to draw and if I'm doing a OotS level of detail I'll be able to build a huge world very fast, although adding the grid messed with my head until I stopped trying to put it in perspective.
 

Blarraun

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When it comes to providing the correct visualisation of depth/width/height on the map, the Isometric Projection is the one most versatile when scaling 3d to 2d enviroments.

Personally, side view is more confusing and more difficult to perform tactical operations with.
To note, I had no problems listening to your descriptions while Sky was exploring the dungeons, because I was drawing everything you mentioned on a piece of paper, as I am used to this sort of thing. (To be completely honest, I would need to have a piece of paper and something to draw with in my inventory and while I usually have, this time admittedly I didn't have enough $, let's say that I made a mental image of it.) Splitting action is often necessary, when each player has to run errands and equip, meet friends in the city, etc. No need to draw it all or show every player on a single map.

Cog, having two GM's is nothing out of ordinary, you could look up the examples of this online and I only want to mention how our group consists of 7-8 individuals, much more than the standard maximum of 4 players and one GM. One of the reasons it was chaotic and I think that even experienced GM's have problems with this many players, one of the main issues is redirecting attention so that every player can act and communicate with you, with four players it is 25% of GM time for everyone, eight gives 12.5% of game time.

What can a supportive GM do, for example help other players create their characters, help them level up (adding stats, feats, etc.), check mechanics and combat, respond to game related questions from other players, while you can dedicate to all other elements. I suppose the prime requisite for that to work would be your trust.

It could also be useful for this purpose to have a VoIP with a multiroom option, such as Teamspeak, where when required, we could split and not disturb others listening to the explanation, etc. It is also useful for secrecy between the player and GM related to their history/hidden motives.
*Looks warily at Jessa*
 

Cognisant

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Btw have you lot decided how to split the loot yet? :D
 

Jennywocky

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It could also be useful for this purpose to have a VoIP with a multiroom option, such as Teamspeak, where when required, we could split and not disturb others listening to the explanation, etc. It is also useful for secrecy between the player and GM related to their history/hidden motives.
*Looks warily at Jessa*
Oh, that hurts.
Such unwarranted mistrust hurts poor Jessa dearly.

But I think private channels would be very useful. :D
You know. Just in case.
 

Kuu

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Very impressive, but I'd still be reliant on pre-made tiles.
Perhaps I wasn't clear enough.You could use tiles (like those linked), but you don't have to.

Ideally one outlines the layout on paper, finalizes on the computer, and styles it last. Tiles forces one to style simultaneously while laying out, it's a drag. It's like hardcoding style in HTML instead of using CSS. There is absolutely no need for tiles.

You could freehand everything in sketchup without problem. A barebones freely drawn layout like the below shouldn't take longer than 20 minutes if you have the overall scheme planned in paper.

[bimgx=460]https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/15201559/tmp/kuusdungeon2.jpg[/bimgx]
If you insist on side or iso views, it wouldn't be bad for a a specific encounter / situation. We could switch around. Anyway:

Total time: 9 minutes. (Took me longer to make this post than to model that.)

Think about it.

Likewise when Kasitt sent his eidolon down the drain shaft rather than me switching to another screen and describing what his eidolon saw he could have just gone down a hole and there would have been a whole level beneath you.
So really it works out to be the same thing just sliced up vertically instead of horizontally, the advantage of which being that you could enter a massive cavernous room with say a giant demon in it and it would actually tower over you. There could be multiple entrances to this room on multiple levels with rope bridges spanning between them so you could snipe at the creature or leap onto it as a surprise attack.
I think the thing is this is an VTTRPG, not a MMORPG. It's more of a tell don't show kind of deal. We could entirely abandon fancy visuals and complex combat mechanics and have a largely-conversation-based game not too different from the RPG threads in here. The essence of the thing is to craft a story with rich descriptions so we can imagine it without having to see it.

oh and maybe not trying to pickpocket members of the party for the sake of giggles :phear:
Oh we all know you just couldn't resist getting your hands on my assets. Everyone saw you checking out my armor earlier...
 

Absurdity

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I think the thing is this is an VTTRPG, not a MMORPG. It's more of a tell don't show kind of deal. We could entirely abandon fancy visuals and complex combat mechanics and have a largely-conversation-based game not too different from the RPG threads in here. The essence of the thing is to craft a story with rich descriptions so we can imagine it without having to see it.
Yes, this is what I'd like out of the whole effort, as it's what defined previous TTRPG campaigns that I've enjoyed on both sides of the table (player and GM).
 

The Gopher

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Yeah it's a huge group, probably partly why the town part was so confusing everyone had different ideas and no leaders. (although another reason why it was confusing was) Maybe you talk fast or maybe I have ADHD but despite trying to concentrate I lost the plot very quickly. Maybe it was because I was sick that night but a TL;DR version could help at the end of major plot points. :D (Pretty sure Both RB and I got lost as to our objective at least)
 

Cognisant

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Maybe you talk fast or maybe I have ADHD but despite trying to concentrate I lost the plot very quickly.
Yeah I was speaking quickly, but there wasn't really a plot either, I was trying to create a sandbox environment in which the plot is whatever the players want to do and I see that it didn't quite work, you were all looking for a story to derail (being INTPs) so you proceeded to sift through the sandpit looking for the rails. If an ENTP like myself was in the party I would have captured the ghoul, stuffed it in a barrel, painted the barrel red & white, tied a rope around it with a slip-knot to keep the barrel shut then removed the iron bands so the rope was the only thing keeping it shut, wrapped the rope around the barrel, placed the barrel on its side and kicked it down the street (so the rope unfurled as it rolled) until the rope ran out and I pulled it, thus undoing the slipknot.

"Ghoul I choose you!"

Depositing a very angry ghoul in front of two very confused guards :D
 

Jennywocky

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I think the chaos of all the players talking over each other at once makes it difficult to sift out plans like that (since the conversation is all over the place to start with). When there are designated orders / windows of space to speak for each player, you might see more actual playing in-game rather than out-of-game.

I had to talk over people a number of times about my wanting to talk to Demon Lord in Abyssal just to be heard and I almost just gave up. I think the total lack of structure invariably limits contributions. I know it sounds ironic that to have flexible play, you need some degree of structure, but IMO it's still true.
 

Cognisant

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What I was thinking was "Order of the Stick" style avatars like these:

On a "Dungeon Blitz" style background:
The background wouldn't be to that level of detail but it shows you what can be done with a vector art program, the same program (Inkscape to be specific) being used to create the avatars.

Buuuut *sigh* if the pictured cave was four squares deep and there were four players standing on them to form a wall their avatars would have to be layered properly or it would look weird and stopping to re-layer avatars would just be pointless nonsense.

However I REALLY WANT those OotS style characters because it's the perfect level of detail, enough for interesting characters and environments but not so much that I can't whip up something in Inkscape in <1min. Furthermore generic characters in OotS look just like everybody else and if I make them out of modular parts I could whip up hundreds of them in an afternoon.

So what about something like this:
The dungeon/town/whatever is viewed top-down in that common sense defying seeing five sides of a cube at once way while everyone's character occupies a square (the red) which their avatar projects out of. Sure it's not a perfect solution to the overlap problem but you can rotate your characters and since from the top-down view no direction is up or down it doesn't matter which way they're orientated. Unless we want to determine which way the character is facing by the avatar's orientation, but even then if all of you formed a line heading in the one direction there's no reason why you all have to be facing directly forward, with 45* degree rotation either way everyone's avatar would be accessible and they'd barely overlap.

Yeah? Yeah? C'mon surely somebody will take my side :D
This is so much better than poorly resized square pictures.
 

Cognisant

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I think the chaos of all the players talking over each other at once makes it difficult to sift out plans like that (since the conversation is all over the place to start with). When there are designated orders / windows of space to speak for each player, you might see more actual playing in-game rather than out-of-game.

I had to talk over people a number of times about my wanting to talk to Demon Lord in Abyssal just to be heard and I almost just gave up. I think the total lack of structure invariably limits contributions. I know it sounds ironic that to have flexible play, you need some degree of structure, but IMO it's still true.
No I absolutely agree, we should stick to turns and have a "speak if spoken to" rule for speaking out of turn and I could devise some kind of conch token to place on each player's token (or under their character's feet) so everybody knows whose turn it is.

Edit: And if someone has something to say that they really need to blurt out right away they can either visually signal it by rotating their token or saying their piece in the chat box.

Although people having parallel conversations in the chat box does make it harder to keep track of rolls...

Maybe we should have another chat room open so people awaiting their turn have a out-of-game lobby to chinwag in.
 

The Gopher

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See I would totally do pokemon Ghoul's but the party size is large causing conversation issues like Jenny mentioned.

(what I meant by lost the plot is I had no idea who had the scroll, who was invading and who's side we were initially on) so yeah the reaally basic plot. I don't mind the sandbox aspect at all. It shouldn't be an issue going forward as I won't be sick and have the gist of it now. :D

The chat-room was mostly used for banter, which I think would be the type of thing normally role played if it was a small group or in a physical world. However with the new conversation style it should be better.
 

Cognisant

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(what I meant by lost the plot is I had no idea who had the scroll, who was invading and who's side we were initially on) so yeah the reaally basic plot.
I was supposed to send everybody a pre-game explanation of where they were, what's going on, who hired them, what they were hired to do, etc.

I was critically unprepared, one week was never going to be enough.
 

Blarraun

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Yeah? Yeah? C'mon surely somebody will take my side :D
This is so much better than poorly resized square pictures.
The visuals aren't appealing to me. I am used to seeing a green symbol "D" and imagining an acid elder dragon. I prefer to read the text descriptions of creatures rather than identifying the pictures and trying to find any important information there.

The graphics from OoTS are comical and won't help in introducing more serious roleplaying.

As Kuu mentioned, we are not playing some sort of computer game, nor we are trying to get close to it. We have vast possibilities and descriptions are a base resource to get our internal graphics engines working.

I always had my players describe how they look at the introduction and graphics tend to enforce restrictions on the possible events, just when you mentioned being unable to use a lever, because you woud have to buy the package for it. Tell us there is a lever and explain what happens with it, as simple as that.
 

Cognisant

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Well I'm drawing a cartoony dungeon with vectors so I'm not stuck buying ever more tile sets just to get a handful of tiles I need and so your browsers don't keep crashing on account of the amount of image data floating around half of which is under an overlap so you can't even see it anyway.

And I'm doing NPCs/enemies in the OotS style so I can create a character generator for myself and have a town full of people/orcs/goblins/elves/whatever made in one night rather than scouring the web for pictures of random medieval looking people, and furthermore so generic opponents don't stick out so much.

Now considering by the time the game comes around I'll already have the character generator making six more OotS style character tokens won't take me more than 5min so they'll be available and you can decide whether you want to use them or not.

 

Hadoblado

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Gah... apparently I never finished the post I was meaning to slam down like... on Sunday... I gtg to work now, but I'll try to finish it off either tonight or tomorrow.
 

Cognisant

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Is the problem that you consider trading your image avatars for a OotS style ones a downgrade, that I can totally understand, you found those images yourselves and so they may have some sentimental meaning to you so if you want to continue using them I'm not going to stop you, do what makes you happy.

But something has to be done about the tile set problem if for no other reason than because it's causing browsers to crash, that's just not acceptable.

Using Inkscape I can draw my own top down tiles and if the art style is cartoonish I can do it quickly which means more content for you, more variety of content too since I won't be restricted to pre-made parts. This also goes for the OotS style enemies and NPCs, when I made that Karina one I also made half a dozen ears and several hairstyles so now if I were to change the colour of her clothes, skin, hair and the shape of her ears & hair I could already have several dozen characters of different races (elf, orc, human, goblin, undead) in just an hour or two.

I know it all sounds unnecessary and time consuming but I'm actually trying to save time by making the most of my effort.

Yes the side scrolling was a bad idea, I know when I'm wrong.
 

redbaron

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Like Blarraun says, by giving graphics that force you to see characters a certain way it just ruins the immersion as well as limits imagination in regards to what is possiblse. I'd rather just look at a bunch of tokens on a black and white grid than a cartoony dungeon.

You could cut several dozen characters in an hour down to five minuted by making them a bunch of circles and letters :p

Only thing I really care about is that the top-down grid works in terms of scale. Remembering that standard move is 30ft and one tile is 5ft. I was actually surprised that the dungeon you made was literally perfectly proportioned. You could just do something like that again, keep the same scale but retrofit to whatever engine or program you want to use.

I like the idea of simply role-playing towns and non-combat, and then having very basic (in terms of graphics) dungeons to explore.

That way content can be created at will - you don't have to show us the trap - it's not a video game. Just put a red X in the tile(s). No need to get fancy - that's what our brains are for. You can tell us that we've seen a deadly pit trap, and our imagination does the rest.

It's up to us to turn that little red X and the DC5 acrobatics check into detail. We shimmy past the trap in the dim light of the Ranger's torch, desperately hugging the wall to avoid it. We look down and see the bones of less aware or nimble adventurers when suddenly - glittering! One of these poor impaled sods was carrying gold and what looks like enchanted weapons.

So suddenly that scenario becomes a whole lot more interesting and full of choices by virtue of imagination. Now we have so many options to take. Do we send the ranger down on a rope to try and retrieve the gold? Who else has good dexterity or skills in acrobatics? Can anyone disable the spikes from up here to make it safer? Is this going to be worth the risk?

All spawned from a little red X on black and white tiles.
 

Cognisant

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Like Blarraun says, by giving graphics that force you to see characters a certain way it just ruins the immersion as well as limits imagination in regards to what is possiblse.
By the same reasoning tabletop games like Warhammer40K would benefit from replacing the models and terrain with flat tokens on a paper sheet.

I see what you're getting at but your example did nothing to convince me, whether I use a big red X or a drawn pit I can tell you there's corpses and loot at the bottom either way and if the level of detail of the pit was so low that the corpses would only be visible as brown squiggles I doubt their omission would be noticeable.

Only thing I really care about is that the top-down grid works in terms of scale. Remembering that standard move is 30ft and one tile is 5ft. I was actually surprised that the dungeon you made was literally perfectly proportioned. You could just do something like that again, keep the same scale but retrofit to whatever engine or program you want to use.
As intended.
If my 25# post wasn't clear let me say it again, I've given up on doing isometric or side views for the map because I realize it just doesn't work.

Although if you're worried about the OotS style characters messing up the scale bear in mind the guards/goblins/ghoul/ghost were all 4x4 on the grid, you just didn't notice because the images themselves were properly scaled.

I'm done wasting time arguing about this.
 

Jennywocky

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Wow, srsly?
All this detailed arguing over the grid?

Aside from the large file size (2Gb seems insane for what we were looking at), I haven't really give it much of a passing thought since the game. It seemed like a low-priority item as long as we can track where we're going and know where people are.

I don't care what tokens we use either. I even downloaded a little tutorial and art program for how to make OotS avs if we want them.
 

Blarraun

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By the same reasoning tabletop games like Warhammer40K would benefit from replacing the models and terrain with flat tokens on a paper sheet.
You are making the mistake of comparing a miniature wargame with a roleplaying game.
Certainly you need the unit models or tokens to play a wargame accurately, where you are forced to place tens to hundreds of models and a part of it is the process of painting your models and making works of art from them.

What we were mentioning, was that you can say that there are 5 guys, instead of designing 5 models and showing them to us. You could give us any detail by explaining how they look, if this fits your playstyle.

For every element you want to introduce to the game, you would have to prepare some form of graphical representation for it to be usable and instead, you could tell us there is this stunningly beautiful Norman Church and we could imagine it. Why would you limit imagination to the set of map-making tools then?

I understand that it could be not something that you prefer to do and instead of writing and drawing you prefer to rely on a toolbox, which is fine, I will give up on mentioning this idea.
 

Cognisant

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Because the OotS style is known for its lack of detail and if there's something you need to known, want to know or that I can't whip up in under five minute in Inkscape I will just fucking tell you about it!

This is really starting to piss me off because you're making a problem out of nothing, there is no problem, using vector graphics won't inhibit me from doing anything and it won't exclude you from adding details with your imagination but it solves some problems last session had and now my only problem is that you're wasting my time.

I swear this is the same problem this forum's administration has, people who are just compelled to make a problem of themselves for the fucking sake of it and I know the moment I play the DM card someone's going to get on their high horse and say "oh they're just trying to help, you run the game but people can still have their opinions" and yes that's true but c'mon people for fucksake take a step back and have a little objectivity, I'm being harassed over nothing here.
 

Blarraun

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I'm done wasting time arguing about this.
It was not my intent to make it into an argument or to try to convince or to cause harm. I may lack proper skills to achieve the correct tone or message. These were my thoughts on the matter and could be felt or regarded as repetitive or forceful, however, I wasn't expecting any specific action from you.

I won't waste your time trying to explain how negative your response is in my perception.
Because the OotS style is known for its lack of detail and if there's something you need to known, want to know or that I can't whip up in under five minute in Inkscape I will just fucking tell you about it!

This is really starting to piss me off because you're making a problem out of nothing, there is no problem, using vector graphics won't inhibit me from doing anything and it won't exclude you from adding details with your imagination but it solves some problems last session had and now my only problem is that you're wasting my time.

I swear this is the same problem this forum's administration has, people who are just compelled to make a problem of themselves for the fucking sake of it and I know the moment I play the DM card someone's going to get on their high horse and say "oh they're just trying to help, you run the game but people can still have their opinions" and yes that's true but c'mon people for fucksake take a step back and have a little objectivity, I'm being harassed over nothing here.
It is helpful that you point out that enough was said on the matter.

Next time you consider my response as harassment, bear in mind that what I post could very well have a different, or no specific goal, while I will avoid ignoring your sensitivity to the best of my ability.

I understand that there is no way I can expect of you to mind my inability to convey properly, while I also see how it then cannot be expected of me to perfectly explain what I mean. It rather relies on our mutual respect and desire to understand.

As things stand, it might be better not to say anything so that it won't cause harm. No hidden motives were intended in this message, I apologise, I can delete this message when requested or when it is found negative.
 

redbaron

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So can we assume when there's a gap between sessions that this is idle time where our party could purchase new items/upgrades? Or will you provide time for that in sessions?

I wouldn't mind doing stuff like that between or at the start of sessions. Doing at the start and making it turn-based might be cool since we could consult one another for ideas and work together to optimize loadouts.

Doing between would be easier though.
 

Kuu

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[bimgx=500]http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/original/11/118094/3819722-7889677539-36970.jpg[/bimgx]

Unrustle your jimmies m8. Nobody's harassing you. You make a thread about improvements, is commentary not to be expected? (this. is. intpforum!) If you didn't want feedback on the graphics / avatar style then you could have just never mentioned it at all, just gone and done it.

It all boils down to: we'd rather you focus on plot and fluency of interactions than visuals, but if you think you can do it all without issue well it's your choice and privilege.

It would be real useful if you could set up those HP bars on our tokens, like the roll20 intro videos have. Also between all the talking and echoes I was terribly confused at the start on what happened and why people wanted to get out of town. Why are the characters motivated to work together if they don't even know each other, and why motivated to that goal? Also, if there's a war and the town is under high security, why would a bunch of adventurers be allowed in? :confused: Also why is the war being fought, who's winning, etc... would be nice to have some backstory.

(It would be nice to get that pre-game explanation even if it's one week late).

BTW I still don't know what my HP is supposed to be. :cat:
 

Blarraun

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It would be real useful if you could set up those HP bars on our tokens, like the roll20 intro videos have. Also between all the talking and echoes I was terribly confused at the start on what happened and why people wanted to get out of town. Why are the characters motivated to work together if they don't even know each other, and why motivated to that goal? Also, if there's a war and the town is under high security, why would a bunch of adventurers be allowed in? :confused: Also why is the war being fought, who's winning, etc... would be nice to have some backstory.
This kind of stuff is great for storytelling. It can be our job to explain why each of us wants to cooperate with the rest and why do we trust each other enough. We could make a presentation while we are peacefully sitting by the campfire and there is a time for reflections or we could do while travelling on a mission, or even to post a pre game interactive play by post preparation with dialogues.
BTW I still don't know what my HP is supposed to be. :cat:
From what I understand we are taking full HD with levelup.
For a 2nd level alchemist your hit points are your maximum hit die (result of 1d8, highest being 8) times your level plus any bonuses from constitution/other with every level.

In your case it is 8 + bonus con x2 = 16 + 2x con

To note, this health system (from Path/DnD) is being criticised for its linear increase of vitality, where there are no such improvements in reality, even as personal strenght and ability increase.

For example, a Barbarian with a d12 hit die becomes increasingly tough, so tough in fact that on his 10th level, having 120+hp, he can survive full damage received from a 36 meter / 120 feet fall being 12d6 and still stand. At 0 HP, he would be disabled, but still free to move around and drink ale.
There is an optional rule about Massive Damage.
Damage exceeding half of your HP, with 50 being the minimum, can force you to roll a fortitude saving throw dc 15 and die upon failure.
10th level barbarian has a +7 bonus to fortitude, so his dc is lower than 8.
I wouldn't mind doing stuff like that between or at the start of sessions. Doing at the start and making it turn-based might be cool since we could consult one another for ideas and work together to optimize loadouts.

Doing between would be easier though.
It can be in a form of play by post. It could be an important factor that the town is besieged and there is very little spare equipment, or that all the best quality gear is being used by the defenders. There may be food shortages, or undersupply causing price spikes, water could be poisoned, etc.
 

Cognisant

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Perception
All players will be required to roll for perception every turn, this determines the likelihood of noticing something during your turn (traps, secret passages, enemies observing you, important details of your environment) and I will not openly say what you perceive, rather I will copy/paste a number of relevant short paragraphs into the chatbox and you will receive a message that only you can read, whether you wish to relay this information accurately or in its entirety is entirely up to you.

Rolling for perception every round ensures I don't alert you to the presence of a trap or someone watching you by asking you to roll for perception and with macros it won't slow us down much anyway, also I won't inform you of a trap until you're right in front of it (because it would be weird if you knew about a trap around a corner before you actually rounded the corner) unless it's enemies waiting to ambush you in which case you may still hear them even if you don't see them.

If you put your token in a trap after rolling a high enough perception to have seen it I will move your token out of the trap, the assumption being that you saw it before you walked in there, it's not like I can say "stop" while you're moving your tokens because they effectively teleport from my POV.

Knowledge
I will tell you when to roll whichever knowledge skill is relevant and based upon what you roll I will copy/paste to you whatever it is that your character knows that you don't, again whether you wish to relay this information accurately or in its entirety is entirely up to you.

With all this in mind please do not use the roll20 chatbox to talk during someone else's turn as it will make it harder for me to keep track of their rolls and harder for them to read the results of their knowledge/perception checks.
 

Cognisant

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Shop
Sometime (probably Monday) I'll release a list of items/weapons/armor available for sale so you can all spend your gold and trade in your loot without everyone else having to sit around on game night/morning/midday/whatever waiting their turn, of course you'll all need to figure out how the loot will be divided before then.

Actually it would help if I appraised the value of the items first... coming soon.

Bank
Lords are responsible for making judicial decisions and running the local economy which means Lord Falcon fulfills a bank like role in his fiefdom, in terms of risk I would recommend leaving the majority of your gold with him, it's not a 100% sure bet that when you return to the surface he will still be the lord of the town and your assets won't have been seized by whoever took over in his stead. However the town is secure and even if it wasn't seizing assets is a really dickish thing to do and most freshly appointed lords would think twice about taking the savings of a bunch of combat capable adventurers who could pop out of a manhole in their town at any time.

Whereas in the depths of a dungeon anything can happen...
 

Kuu

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Are we still game for this weekend?
 

Absurdity

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I hope so. I re-rolled Cain as a paladin.

Who doesn't love a lawful-good Half-Orc? :D
 

Jennywocky

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I hope so. I re-rolled Cain as a paladin.

Who doesn't love a lawful-good Half-Orc? :D


Shop
Sometime (probably Monday) I'll release a list of items/weapons/armor available for sale so you can all spend your gold and trade in your loot without everyone else having to sit around on game night/morning/midday/whatever waiting their turn, of course you'll all need to figure out how the loot will be divided before then.

Actually it would help if I appraised the value of the items first... coming soon.
Any updates on this?
 

redbaron

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Was wondering if I could re-roll as a fighter. Have character sheets and everything ready to go, but it's no problem if it's a hassle. Was mainly thinking for reasons to do with the party having pretty much only one melee class.
 

Jennywocky

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Was wondering if I could re-roll as a fighter. Have character sheets and everything ready to go, but it's no problem if it's a hassle. Was mainly thinking for reasons to do with the party having pretty much only one melee class.
You seemed to do as fine as a fighter at level 2, wielding that sword. But human fighters get a buttload of feats, you can do some pretty crazy stuff if you know how to make a tight focused build.
 

redbaron

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You seemed to do as fine as a fighter at level 2, wielding that sword. But human fighters get a buttload of feats, you can do some pretty crazy stuff if you know how to make a tight focused build.
I was okay in melee but that's only because it's low level. Once you start to get to level 5+ and enemies get stronger, Rangers really become specialists at ranged combat. I'm sure Cog is going to make our enemies tougher :p

That said I don't really mind. It would just be nice to be able to go with a class that's a lot more adept in close quarters. I didn't really count on us having only one person capable of melee. Although we also don't have a rogue or other stealth class...so Ranger fills that void. Ultimately I don't care.

Also yeah, I've been looking at all the different options with all the extra fighter feats...you can pull of downright ridiculous stuff :phear:
 
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