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Advice to a GM new to RQ and Glorantha

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2 hours ago, Thyrwyn said:

I disagree with the idea that this is a D&D mindset (the summer my friends and I all learned to play AD&D we killed off close to 200 characters). I think rather this a mindset of inexperienced RPG players in general, who have probably only played D&D, and probably only with DM's who are also inexperienced.

These are people who have played D&D for decades. It's not inexperience, it's an over abidance of the same experience.

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45 minutes ago, creativehum said:

I also think there is some confusion in this thread.

Everyon is focusing on system, when in fact many of the issues here come down to scenario design. Or, more generally, styles of scenario play.

Yes, but system tend to influence styles of play. 

 

46 minutes ago, creativehum said:

 

The issue with the tiger had mother really to do with system.

The player heard the GM mention a tiger and assumed he was suppose to pursue it. Why? Most likely he had played in games in which if the GM mentions so,etching he is supposed to pursue it.

Actually quite the contrary. The player in that adventure, was a samurai who was on a mission for his daiyo. He had no reason to divert from his assigned duty to go chasing tigers.

 

Where system cones into this is that D&D players assume that anything that appears in the game is "balanced" for their characters and thus scaled to their capabilities. I've had similar results with dragons, with people warning the PCs about a dragon, and even having it marked on the map. So what happens? The PCs go off to kill a dragon, with unfortunate, but predicable, consequences. 

 

I've been watching one D&D group all summer long that have playing an adventure where the group repeatedly goes into the lair of some giants, kill a dozen or so, retreat, heal up, replenish their magic, and do the same thing again and again. That the giants keep doing the same thing over and over despite the fact that the strategy has been consistently unsuccessful amazes not only me, but the players as well. The DM however,  just considers it all good "game balance". 

 

Back when I was running Star Wars I had to repeatedly remind the longterm D&D players that no matter how experienced they got, they'd never equal a Star Destroyer, and that they could always stay and fight. 

 

The thing that's so maddeningly about all these thing isn't that they happen, but that the players never accept that their approach wasn't the right one under the circumstances, and would do the same thing all over again the next time around. 

 

 

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39 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Yes, but system tend to influence styles of play. 

I agree 100% and often make this point.

Quote

Actually quite the contrary. The player in that adventure, was a samurai who was on a mission for his daiyo. He had no reason to divert from his assigned duty to go chasing tigers.

I have no idea how this information changes my guess as to why the Player had his Samurai become distracted from his daiyo's mission to chase the tiger.

Quote

Where system cones into this is that D&D players assume that anything that appears in the game is "balanced" for their characters and thus scaled to their capabilities. I've had similar results with dragons, with people warning the PCs about a dragon, and even having it marked on the map. So what happens? The PCs go off to kill a dragon, with unfortunate, but predicable, consequences. 

You're making a bunch of assumptions when you say "D&D." Encounter balance does not exist in original Dungeons & Dragons, B/X D&D, and most retroclones published in the last 15 years. I understand that later editions of the game have rules and mechanics for balancing encounters -- but it isn't the definition of "D&D."

I've been running a Lamentations of the Flame Princess (based off B/X D&D) campaign on and off for two years with my Monday Night Group.

The players know there is no encounter balance. They know they're hear rumors and monsters will come at them or they'll encounter guardians in front of treasures... and I have no one iota of concern if they can handle the creature in a standup fight. It is up to them to decide if they want to pursue a conflict; it is up to them to come up with clever plans and strategies to bring the odds of survival into their favor. They pursue rumors and goals as they wish. I have no agenda or expectation or what they will do or what conflicts might arise or what plans they might create. I know they their PCs can die. And the Players know it too.

The game has gone great. The players have been having a blast. And, importantly for this thread, it does not play at all in any manner along the lines of "D&D" as you have described it. This is not to say people don't play D&D as you have described it. Simply that the your description is not the only way people use the game.

All we can is "When people play D&D, sometimes the DM balances the encounters, and sometimes the DM does not balance the encounters. Different groups play the game different ways."

I suspect such a statement is going to come as a shock to a lot of people on this forum. All I can say is... it's true.

Edited by creativehum
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as @creativehum said : balance has nothing to do D&D. There have been guidelines to help DMs balance encounters since 3rd edition, but they are suggestions and guidelines. Any DM/GM in any system at any time can wipe out the entire party. Even in D&D 5e, even following the guidelines. You just have to string enough encounters together that exhaust the party's resources, or choose monsters or terrain that disadvantage the party, or anything other number of ways. I used to play in 3.5 game where the DMs had to practically double the CR of every encounter in the Living Greyhawk scenarios just to challenge the party. No one in that game expected any encounter to be "balanced". Almost every other player in that group only played D&D - no other RPGs - they all knew that balance was a myth. It's not the system - it might be certain players' experience with the system, but it's not the system.

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As an addendum (as this is a thread about advice for starting a campaign, albeit a campaign of RQG) here is a blog post about how I introduced my group to my Lamentations of the Flame Princess campaign.

Note that the group contained people I knew, and people I found from a Meetup page I set up for the game. The players range in age from early 30s to early 40s. (I'm early 50s). None of them had ever played any edition from before AD&D 2nd edition. (The game we were about start playing were based off B/X D&D, so it was unlike most RPGs they had played.)

Here is the email I sent out to the six players before the first session:

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Lamentations of the Flame Princess is part of the Old School Renaissance of RPGs. A clean and sleek version of the early Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set, the game focuses on exploration, danger, and weird fantasy. The setting will not be Tolkien-esque, but a warped 17th century Europe where the strange and magical is rare, inexplicable, and invasive.

OSR games in general, and Lamentations of the Flame Princess specifically, work from principles that are different than a lot of game in recent decades. In general…

  • The Referee has environments and situations, not a pre-planned “story” of any kind
  • Players drive things forward with their choices
  • The game is dangerous. The Referee is not there to kill your characters, but neither is he there to protect them. Dice are rolled out in the open. Death is part of the game. (Luckily, new characters are easy to roll up!)
  • The situations you encounter are not “balanced.” You might want to avoid encounters, you might want to flee encounters, and if you choose to engage them you’ll want to have the PCs manipulate the fiction toward your advantage (Short hand: Think of conflicts as asymmetrical warfare, not as engaging in a sport.)
  • In this kind of play the Referee presents the players with an environment that is as solid as possible, that would continue existing if you weren’t there.

I tried to be as clear as possible about what kind of game the Players were getting into. And in the first few sessions I reiterated and expanded on some of the points. I gave fair warning to the Players (again, none of whom had played this kind of game before) so they could make choices based on the kind of game were playing rather than simply knocking their heads in the hopes they'd learn their lessons.

The blog post itself goes into greater details on these matters.

Edited by creativehum
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1 hour ago, creativehum said:

I agree 100% and often make this point.

I have no idea how this information changes my guess as to why the Player had his Samurai become distracted from his daiyo's mission to chase the tiger.

Because as a Samurai he should have put his duty before the distraction.

 

1 hour ago, creativehum said:

You're making a bunch of assumptions when you say "D&D." Encounter balance does not exist in original Dungeons & Dragons, B/X D&D, and most retroclones published in the last 15 years. I understand that later editions of the game have rules and mechanics for balancing encounters -- but it isn't the definition of "D&D."

Yes it did. Just look at the old AD&D module and you will see that they were all "balanced" for a particular level. Anything and everything in an old TSR AD&D was "balanced" as a obstacle that the party could overcome in a straight fight. It wasn't a well defined (or even as well thought out) in older editions but that was more due to a lack of understanding in how the game worked. Back in original D&D there was a problem with thieves passing fighters because the designers didn't realize what the thieves lower XP cost to level would mean at higher levels. In D&D you have to have some degree of "balance" just because the game system favors level so much. 

I'm not saying that a GM shouldn't tailor adventures to the abilities of the PCs, but I am saying that not everything in the game world should be automatically limited based on the PCs capabilities. For instance, you don't limit the height of any building or cliff based upon the level and experience of the PCs. Instead you go with the assumption that the PCs won't go a jump off an 100 foot high cliff. 

1 hour ago, creativehum said:

. Simply that the your description is not the only way people use the game.

No, it not the only way to use (I'd have said play) the game. But then you and your players run and play other games. I think if you went a grabbed a bunch of  people who haven't played RQ or some other game besides D&D, you'd see a lot more of the stuff I've mentioned. 

 

1 hour ago, creativehum said:

All we can is "When people play D&D, sometimes the DM balances the encounters, and sometimes the DM does not balance the encounters. Different groups play the game different ways."

Not so much. Again, it's not the game per say, but the mindset of the die-hard D&D players (and DMs). The reason why I mentioned here is that a GM running RQ should be aware of this if he is bringing D&Ders into a different RPG. 

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I'm tapping out... because Atgxtg is talking about AD&D... and I referenced games published before AD&D. And Roko Joko is making claims that are flat out wrong if anyone bothers to look at the encounter tables in OD&D. We're not talking about reality anymore.

If anyone is interested in the rules of early RPG play I suggest looking at the actual text. It's interesting stuff.

Edited by creativehum
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8 hours ago, creativehum said:

I'm tapping out... because Atgxtg is talking about AD&D... and I referenced games published before AD&D.

Hold it. Back when I first chimed in about the hazards of the "D&D" mindset when bringing D&D players into an RQ game you went on for several posts before claiming that "game balance" was a recent thing and not part of old D&D or the retroclones the have popped up in the last 15 years. So we went back to AD&D, where it existed (Wilderness encounter aside). Now you retreated all the way back to the OD&D White Box edition, where, once again, it existed. 

Now it is certainly definable in the old White Box set as 1) it was the the first RPG (or close to the first) and was breaking new ground, and 2) they only had so much rom to try and cram in the entire game. 

8 hours ago, creativehum said:

 

And Roko Joko is making claims that are flat out wrong if anyone bothers to look at the encounter tables in OD&D.

I did, and Roko's not wrong. If you look at the encounter tables, the level of the dungeon determined which tables you rolled on for monsters, which in turn were groups by hit dice. The goal was for most encounters on Level X to be with monsters with X hit dice. And that was the same basic method used in AD&D, too.   Yes, it was possible to occasionally run into something that completely outclassed you, especially if the party was low level, but it was pretty rare, especially considering the size of the typical D&D party back then, with hirelings and henchmen.  

Where you have a point is with OD&D and even AD&D's Outdoor encounter tables, which were entirely random in their distribution, to the point where, back in the old days we used to say that all the farmers had to be 12th level rangers just to be able to go out and tend the fields. 

8 hours ago, creativehum said:

We're not talking about reality anymore.

I think you are in denial.

8 hours ago, creativehum said:

If anyone is interested in the rules of early RPG play I suggest looking at the actual text. It's interesting stuff.

I can cut and past the original encounter tables, if you like. Of particular interest are the MONSTER DETERMINATION AND LEVEL OF MONSTER MATRIX which groups monsters by Hit Dice to a particular depth of the Underground (or dungeon). The distribution is such that the top levels of the dungeon will be populated mostly by low hit dice monsters, and the deeper levels populated by high hit die monsters. 

And if you want to go even father back I can dig up CHAINMAIL. The whle "balanced encounter" thing more of a wargaming thing, and where it comes from.

 

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4 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

Yeah, this has really strayed beyond the realms of useful advice to the OP.

The first posts about the hazards of bringing D&D players into RQ (or any other RPG) didn't. 

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6 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Hold it. Back when I first chimed in about the hazards of the "D&D" mindset when bringing D&D players into an RQ game you went on for several posts before claiming that "game balance" was a recent thing and not part of old D&D or the retroclones the have popped up in the last 15 years. So we went back to AD&D, where it existed (Wilderness encounter aside). Now you retreated all the way back to the OD&D White Box edition, where, once again, it existed. 

Again, I see no point to continuing this conversation in this thread. But regarding this passage of your post, which seriously pisses me off, I think if you look back at my posts in this thread you will find you have conjured a fantasy of your own making. 

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1 hour ago, creativehum said:

Again, I see no point to continuing this conversation in this thread.

Okay. The point for it was made some time back. 

Quote

But regarding this passage of your post, which seriously pisses me off, I think if you look back at my posts in this thread you will find you have conjured a fantasy of your own making. 

It wasn't my intention to piss you off, but I believe I can back it up with quotes from your own posts. Maybe we should take that to PM? Or just drop it?

Edited by Atgxtg

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Well, I appreciate all the advice in this thread. I'm sorry it went a bit off topic but I know the intentions of everyone involved were good.

To end this in a more positive note, I will say that it's a real pleasure, as someone totally new to the setting, to discover Glorantha and RuneQuest as I'm reading the material and the rules. I'm quite enjoying myself! :) 

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