How did you get into DnD?

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Re: How did you get into DnD?

Postby Daeruin » Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:41 am

I have actually only played DnD one time. It was a pretty horrible experience, but due more to the GM than the game.

I was an RPGer for a long time before that, though. I got into MERP and Rolemaster through my older brother when I was in fifth grade. I love the Lord of the Rings, in fact I'm a complete and utter Tolkien nerd. I grew to love the Rolemaster critical charts, and I love detailed damage systems. Taking hit points is boring. Getting your leg severed is cool.

MERP is pretty much all I did for many years. Oh, I played a few brief games here and there. I did the old Star Wars RPG (the one with the d6 system), a couple sessions of Paranoia, some Marvel RPG here and there. My first exposure to a d20 game was actually Alternity, but we only played it once or twice. I also tried a couple times to start a Wheel of Time game without success. For a number of years, I didn't play much at all due to all my gamer friends moving away or just being too busy. I finally got my wife's brothers and father into roleplaying due to their interest in the Lord of the Rings, and they had a couple of friends who had roleplayed before. We did a fairly long MERP campaign but then I had a few kids of my own and just didn't have time to GM anymore.

Then about five years ago I came across the Riddle of Steel. I can't even remember how I first heard of it, but it really got me pumped to roleplay again, especially since I was reading George RR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series and TROS seemed like a perfect fit. I started four separate games that all fizzled because of scheduling problems or my own lack of time. Finally, after fifteen years of GMing for all my friends, I convinced someone else to give it a try. Honestly, I'm not that great of a GM, but I'm usually the only one willing to do it, and if that's what it takes to get some RPG in my life, I'll do it.

We were all fans of Wheel of Time, and I think the only reason I convinced my friend to try being GM was thanks to the Prophecies of the Dragon campaign book he could follow. That campaign is finally over, and I have a healthy dislike for standard d20-based combat. So when they all conned me into being GM for a Pathfinder game, I just had to find something to make combat fun and interesting again. Enter Codex Martialis.
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Re: How did you get into DnD?

Postby Galloglaich » Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:14 am

Song of fire and ice is game of thrones right? MERP is... Middle Earth Role Playing game? I never heard of that... what is that like?

G.
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Re: How did you get into DnD?

Postby Daeruin » Sat Dec 18, 2010 7:13 am

Galloglaich wrote:Song of fire and ice is game of thrones right? MERP is... Middle Earth Role Playing game? I never heard of that... what is that like?

Yes and yes. MERP is basically a simplified version of Rolemaster built for Middle Earth. Did you ever play Rolemaster or do you know much about it? It's a percentile system. The whole system is quite crunchy. The combat is skill-based, so you have to learn skills with different groups of weapons before you can use them. You roll d100, add your skill bonus, and look up the result on a chart for your weapon cross-indexed with the opponent's armor type to get damage. They have five different levels of critical hits, which is another roll and chart lookup based on attack type (slash, puncture, bash, etc.) to get a detailed wound with additional hits, bleed effects, and so forth. There is no aiming for specific body parts, but the critical hits specify where the blow lands. So every now and then you'd get a result that didn't make a lot of sense, like a back blow when you have your back to a wall. Even so, I like knowing where my characters are getting hit, and the weapons and armor were quite detailed. But it still comes down to turn-taking hack'n'slash most of the time, with your defense simply being a statistic and maybe an armor bonus. I love systems like Codex and TROS where you can take a more active hand in your defense, and where movement actually plays a role in the battle.
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Re: How did you get into DnD?

Postby Arkon » Sat Dec 18, 2010 9:41 am

Galloglaich wrote:Yeah I think they had a problem with GURPs that everybody just always tried for critical hits to the eyes or whatever and it kind of broke the combat system.

The same thing happens in Fallout. Except that unlike in GURPS, it's pretty difficult to blind opponents.
In Fallout it's way too easy to acquire shooting skills needed to consistently hit people in the eyes. I don't know how it's in GURPS.
Though, in melee, I remember reading an account on an ARMA site where a knight regularly stabbed people through visor with his pollaxe.
I don't think it would work with shooting, though.

Galloglaich wrote:I could have sworn the Baldurs gate game I had a few years back was 2E, but maybe it was ... I think it was part of the series, something called Icewind dale? Does that ring a bell?

Yes. It's a hack&slash game but somehow it has more roleplaying than Baldur's Gate. I guess it's because a part of the team that made Fallout 2 was working on it.
...
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Re: How did you get into DnD?

Postby Galloglaich » Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:24 pm

I kind of liked it, I think I played through the whole thing... but it was a little bit too kiddified / klingon and of course the combat system had it's limitations.

I'm a computer programmer and I always wondered why people didn't put in much more realistic combat into games like that. Role playing games like rolemaster (or "rollmaster" as some people mockingly called it) emphasized all that hit location and greusome details of damage that people like so much, but I always felt that it bogged down a pencil and paper game with too many die rolls and too many charts. And of course they tended to be based on SCA / Ren Faire ideas of combat rather than anything historical. But with a computer program you could easily add all those charts and little details of critical hits and bleeding and etc., it can all be in the background and wouldn't get in the way at all. But nobody seems to have done it.

I would make a system like that myself but the software language I work in is not really ideal for games, and more to the point is so expensive I can't afford a license (where I work my boss owns the license, and I can't use the work license for private fun stuff like that unfortunately), and I haven't ever gotten around to learning any of the other major programming languages. I did make this very in-depth lifepath character generation system though with an old license... it is kind of a game in it's own right and rather addicting. If I can ever sort out the software licensing situation I'll publish that one day it's a lot of fun.

There is another fantasy RPG computer series that a lot of people I know really liked, it was from the perspective of a 1st person shooter more, I think it was around in the 1990s. Morowind or something? I never quite had the time or patience to get into it but I'd like to give it more of a serious try one day, it looked interesting. It's very "high fantasy" though which I think maybe put me off a little bit.

And then a long time ago back in the 1980s there was one set in the Medieval Holy Roman Empire, realistic and decidedly low-fantasy, it was a text based game but what little I saw of it was really great. I think it was a German game. I'd like to do a modern graphical version of that one day.

Speaking of pen and paper games, have either of you ever looked at Warhammer FRPG? (either the original or current versions?) Or Burning Wheel?


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Re: How did you get into DnD?

Postby Daeruin » Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:24 pm

I've never seen Warhammer, but I have a copy of Burning Wheel. I like the system in general, especially the lifepath character generation. But I just can't get over the combat scripting. It does a good job simulating the chaos of combat, but I can't stand the idea of having to choose my actions 3 turns ahead. So if my opponent decides to attack two turns from now, but I've chosen to attack, too, I can't change my mind. At all. Drives me crazy.

I've never been into computer games, so I can't comment on any of those. Your computer chargen system sounds intriguing. I'd love to give it a try. What game is it based on?
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Re: How did you get into DnD?

Postby Galloglaich » Sat Dec 18, 2010 7:04 pm

Daeruin wrote:I've never seen Warhammer, but I have a copy of Burning Wheel. I like the system in general, especially the lifepath character generation. But I just can't get over the combat scripting. It does a good job simulating the chaos of combat, but I can't stand the idea of having to choose my actions 3 turns ahead. So if my opponent decides to attack two turns from now, but I've chosen to attack, too, I can't change my mind. At all. Drives me crazy.


Yeah I never understood that either, I have the rules and like them especially the lifepath character generation and I think he handled both Orcs and Elves better than any other fantasy RPG I've ever seen. But I have never played the game. Jake Norwood who did Riddle of Steel is a friend of mine from the HEMA world (and from TROS, which I did some writing for) he loves Burning Wheel and tells me the 2nd version is much better, but that scripting thing definitely throws me off since I'm a stickler for combat. I'd like to try it though, maybe next time I see him at the HEMA tournament in Houston next year.

I've never been into computer games, so I can't comment on any of those. Your computer chargen system sounds intriguing. I'd love to give it a try. What game is it based on?


I'm not that into computer games either, especially computer RPGs games, though I used to like them a long, long time ago. Every once in a while I'll find one that I'll try for a while.

My game is very loosely based on OGL but it really isn't based on anything really, I kind of adapted it for the Codex, the idea ultimately is to go through your characters life (to whatever quitting point you want to end at) in any one of about 15 different historical and fantasy cultures (and you can move from place to place within your lifetime), and then when you are done you could run it through a filter which would convert it into say, a Codex / OGL character, a pathfinder character, a GURPS character or whatever, though you would have to be willing to bend the rules a little bit. For example the classes in DnD and their relative restrictions for Skills and Feats.

You can start anywhere from 1st to 4th or 5th level, depending on how old you want to be ... older characters have more skills and experience but lower stats especially Str, Con Dex etc.. You can get hurt or even killed going through your lifepath, certain vocations (jobs you do as you go through the system) are more dangerous than others. You can also end up with social problems, brands for crimes being exiled etc.. The idea is that you wouldn't advance as fast in the character generation system as you would in playing your character, because you aren't living quite as heroic of a life, but you do still advance over time.

I also borrowed a lot of magic in it from all kinds of other games, notably Ars Magica, so I couldn't use that in anything I published unless I worked out something with them.

It's a lot of fun to play with though, all my friends like it, but right now I don't have any way I can distribute it even 'unofficially', it is on an old version of this software which I don't even have the installation disks for anymore, and it's set up in a 'toolkit' (development) copy which doesn't compile executables, you need a runtime. They don't even sell that version of the language any more.

But they are supposed to be coming out with a new free 'lite' version of this language which you can distribute next year so I may be able to convert it to that or rewrite it in that. We'll see.

G.
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Re: How did you get into DnD?

Postby Ioannes » Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:33 am

Daeruin wrote:I've never seen Warhammer, but I have a copy of Burning Wheel. I like the system in general, especially the lifepath character generation. But I just can't get over the combat scripting. It does a good job simulating the chaos of combat, but I can't stand the idea of having to choose my actions 3 turns ahead. So if my opponent decides to attack two turns from now, but I've chosen to attack, too, I can't change my mind. At all. Drives me crazy.

I've never been into computer games, so I can't comment on any of those. Your computer chargen system sounds intriguing. I'd love to give it a try. What game is it based on?


I dislike Burning Wheel's armor mechanics and combat mechanics. There is literally no way to get 'inside the decision cycle' that is so important in real combat. I certainly don't script out what I'm doing that far ahead in a fight -- and I can always change my mind. BW reminds me too much of rock, paper, scissors, except you have to preplan your pattern of rock, paper, scissors.
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Re: How did you get into DnD?

Postby Daeruin » Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:41 am

Ioannes wrote:I dislike Burning Wheel's armor mechanics and combat mechanics. There is literally no way to get 'inside the decision cycle' that is so important in real combat. I certainly don't script out what I'm doing that far ahead in a fight -- and I can always change my mind. BW reminds me too much of rock, paper, scissors, except you have to preplan your pattern of rock, paper, scissors.

Exactly!!!! It makes no sense whatsoever. Drives me absolutely crazy. The one thing it does do well is simulate the chaos of battle. I think I could stand it if you only had to script out one action at a time. From my point of view as a non-fencer, non-fighter, I'm often totally awed by how fast people can move a sword, but not only that how fast they can make decisions. I mean, I know people can do it, because I've seen it, and I know about telegraphing and such. But to my imagination, it's not much of a stretch to say you might not be able to both see and react quickly enough to respond. In that case scripting one round ahead, without knowing your enemy's move, might make sense and even be kinda fun. Maybe you could even make it a little more sophisticated by limiting the kinds of moves you can make following particular moves. So you'd have a rough idea of what your opponent was capable of based on his last move, plus your own reaction would be similarly limited, and things would be somewhat predictable.

OK, now you can chime in with your knowledge based on experience and let me know if that makes sense to you or not. :) Off the cuff, I kinda like it.
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Re: How did you get into DnD?

Postby Galloglaich » Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:54 am

As a fencer, I can say I'm also awed by how fast people can move their swords and how fast they can make decisions. Being able to do both in time to save your life is what defines fencing. (and all martial arts.)

That is what the Martial Pool kind of represents, if you watch HEMA tournaments, you will notice that beginners tend to do only one thing. Block, or strike, or move, but rarely more than that. So aggressive ones just walk up and hit each other without blocking, double-kill. An intermediate fencer will do two things,. Block, then strike for example. But they forget to move or block again. This is how you also see tons of double-kills. An advanced fencer, of whom I'd guess there are about maybe 100 in the whole worldwide HEMA scene (out of maybe 10,000 active practitioners) they will do three or four things. They will move, strike, block move again, and strike one more time. Or some other combination.

Being able to do just that much requires that you train quite a bit, you have to do a lot of drill and a certain amount of full-contact sparring to burn-in the techniques so that you can do them the second you think about them; rather than thinking about them, trying to remember how to do the technique right, getting confused about your position caused by your bad footwork and then getting hit before you did anything. Gradually you build up pieces that you can use in your fight, like the moves a chess piece can go. You get the pawn moves first, then maybe the knight, the bishop etc.

Right now for example I have 3 of the 5 mastercuts down pretty well, I have three effective blocks, one is a hangen, one is the 'correct' absetsen, and one is a zwerchau. I have a handful of other tricks, the nachriesen, sprechfenster, I am very good at fuhlen so I can do a few other things from the bind. But if I had all 5 mastercuts really solid I would probably double in effectiveness.

As for what you are talking about, I think it is a good observation, though I think the Codex already mimics this to a large extent with the Martial Feat progressions and the Martial Pool. Unless you have Free Dice from some situational MF you get pretty predictable pretty quickly. Which is also how it seems to work to me. Maybe I'm making an incorrect assumption that fencers learn techniques piecemeal, maybe training was better in the day, but I notice some of this has to do with body types and psychological profiles of people. I am an aggressive guy, I like krieg (melee range in the Codex), alot of other fencers including some very good ones (like Jake Norwood and Anders Linnard) hate krieg and fight in the onset and abzug.... while some others like Axel Petterson love it as much as I do.

In other words I think the options everyone has at that particular point in the fight will always vary by the individual, rather than having a standard suite of them like in TROS.

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