Dungeons & Dragons

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sunface
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Dungeons & Dragons

Post by sunface » Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:31 am

You may be detecting a theme between this and the CRPG thread, but I've been running a D&D game for the past 5 months with the same group of 5 players. Over this time the characters have reached levels 4 or 5 (some have played more than others) and everyone is close to levelling up.

We've been playing 5th edition. When I was a kid I played 1st and 2nd edition, and had a lot of the books. In fact, Craopo has been storing some of those for me and recently I grabbed a bunch of my old stuff from him. He was cantankerous about giving them to me, which is part of his charm.

I ran a game a year or two ago (part of Lost Mine of Phandelver, which comes with the current Starter Set) and allowed my current players to keep the XP they gained in that session. In the real campaign, though, we've played through The Sunless Citadel (originally a 3rd edition adventure, it's been updated as part of a collection called "Tales from the Yawning Portal", which I have), Against the Cult of the Reptile God (a 1st edition adventure that I own, which I converted into 5th edition and ran), and we're currently in The Lost Shrine of Tamoachan (originally 1st edition, it's also in Tales of the Yawning Portal but I've done a ton of work to improve it and to bring over the original player handouts).

We play with miniatures, which for starting players especially is the way to go. Miniatures add a layer of tactical combat to the game that "theatre of the mind" (ie, where everything happens in your imagination and is described verbally as opposed to any visual aids such as miniatures or tokens are used) can't replicate, and from my experience miniature battles eliminate a lot of confusion and fights among the players (e.g., a player gets mad because s/he thought that the monster was further away or whatnot). As part of this I've been buying miniatures and painting them here and there, which is a tedious yet strangely enjoyable pastime.

Each player has a miniature that they've either purchased or just painted one of mine. The important point is that each player has painted their mini, as I told them I wouldn't do it for them and it helps them get more into the game to paint themselves. For one miniature we cut off the old weapon and glued on a new weapon and shield, which both look good.

I've been scouring Craigslist and I'm looking to buy a cheap (~$50) used TV that's light and thin, that I can put horizontally on the TV and put battle maps on. I think this would be the best of all worlds as we can zoom out to see the full map, then zoom in to make the squares 1" and run a miniature combat on it. It's awesome that TVs from 5 years ago are super cheap and frankly I don't give as shit what the resolution is, as long as it's not heavy (plasma is out), runs hot (plasma is out), and can rest on my table. There are people who build tables with a TV mounted inside it, but it looks like that may lead to some sort of divorce so I'm not pushing that envelope quite yet.

Do you play any table top RPGs?
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Wizard in Glass
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Re: Dungeons & Dragons

Post by Wizard in Glass » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:39 am

I'm not currently playing any table top RPGs, but I did get back into painting miniatures at the beginning of the year.

I bought one of the Shadows of Brimstone core sets last Christmas to try to get a group of my girlfriend's co-workers to play something besides Catan and Cards Against Humanity. We played Talisman one time and they enjoyed it, but my girlfriend isn't very fond of Talisman because I always used to win when it was just the two of us. So her co-workers don't wanna force her to play something she won't enjoy. I saw SoB on Amazon and thought that my gf might like it because it's cooperative. I bought it. Nobody wanted to play it except me. Fortunately, you can play the game solo. Since then, I've bought a shitload of the expansions off Miniature Market along with the big Army Painter paint set.

Unfortunately, about a month later we started fostering cats and between work and the animals I haven't had time to sit down and paint any miniatures since about March. Hasn't stopped me from buying more stuff to paint, though, for whenever I find time again. Picked up the Conan board game for really cheap and I just ordered the Robotech miniature game this morning on clearance. I will, in all likelihood, never play either one of them, but they both came with an assload of cool looking miniatures (74 in Conan/34 in Robotech. Pricewise combined, I think I paid about $.65 per miniature).

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sunface
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Re: Dungeons & Dragons

Post by sunface » Mon Sep 17, 2018 10:44 pm

Were these on miniature market? Kind of curious about them, in particular the Conan one but I used to like the Robotech cartoon way back when and would be interested in a cheap miniatures mech game.

Do you use an airbrush or just normal brushes?

We have a bunch of the expansions for Talisman and have painted a few of the miniatures, but I'd like to do the rest. It would be great to have all of the figures painted for that game. The minis make it way better.

I find painting to be something I have to push myself to start, but once I do I'm glad that I did it. But I never really want to sit down to start it. I find it helps to have some music or youtube on in the background, as otherwise it's too mind-numbing.

How many cats do you have at any one time? We've discussed fostering animals but frankly looking after our one dog is a challenge.
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Grady
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Re: Dungeons & Dragons

Post by Grady » Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:40 am

I've actually just recently joined an in-progress online 5e campaign over Discord and roll20.net. Friend of mine is running it. Today will be my second session with them. It's been pretty fun. We're actually about to enter Sigil. There's a lot of Planescape-related stuff going on. I can't wait to get there. We've already run into Fall-From-Grace who apparently bought and now runs an Inn in Mechanus (the plane the Modrons are from, which is where we are currently). You know, post the events of Planescape: Torment. I'm the only player in the group who has played Planescape: Torment (other than the DM), and I'm super excited about shit we might run into, and characters we might see. None of the other players are familiar with the Planescape setting at all. An NPC offhandedly mentioned something to them about the Lady of Pain and they were like "who?". I was so amused. I'm keeping my mouth shut. Unfortunately my character doesn't know any more about Sigil or the Lady of Pain than they do. I've just been laughing and getting overly excited on occasion and they have no idea why. :D

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Wizard in Glass
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Re: Dungeons & Dragons

Post by Wizard in Glass » Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:01 pm

sunface wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 10:44 pm
Were these on miniature market? Kind of curious about them, in particular the Conan one but I used to like the Robotech cartoon way back when and would be interested in a cheap miniatures mech game.
Yeah, I bought both the Conan and Robotech stuff from Miniature Market.

The Robotech base set was their deal of the day when I posted. It's back up to $45 from the $30 I paid. They have all the Robotech stuff on clearance, but the clearance prices are still too high IMO. I've managed to grab some of the miniature packs when they were previous deals of the day (around $8). My understanding of the game is that it's not too great. The KickStarter apparently was a complete clusterfuck by Palladium Books. I basically started buying the stuff because, like you, I liked the cartoon and I was looking for cheap miniatures to butcher with my brushes. :)

The Conan core set is unfortunately out of stock on MM and I believe it is also out of print. You can still pick up copies on Amazon, but they're 3rd party sellers and it'll set you back around $90.
Do you use an airbrush or just normal brushes?
I just use normal brushes. I went with Army Painter brand for the simple fact that they are the ones that made the paint set I bought. I also have some cheap ones I bought for doing basecoats.

Painting is very relaxing for me. Once I sit down and start painting, I can be there for 3-4 hours at a time. I'm not the greatest, but I am a lot better than I was back in elementary/middle school, that's for damn sure. I pulled out some of my old Ral Partha and Games Workshop minis that were in a closet at mom's house and they were pretty rough.

I have all the Talisman 4th Ed. expansions except for the Deep Realms and Nether Realms. Haven't used half of them, but when I first heard Fantasy Flight was losing the license, I bought up the ones I didn't have before people started jacking up the prices on Amazon and Ebay. I want to paint all the figures, but I keep going back and forth on if I want to stay faithful to the character card color schemes or if I want to come up with my own.

We currently have 16 cats in the house from 2 different animal groups and our own personal pets (all time high was 23). I'm trying to get that number to around 10, but my girlfriend is a sucker for the "We're out of room at the shelter, so these guys are going to get sent to the guitar string factory unless we find someone to take them today..." lines that the shelter lady feeds her. I'll probably end making a thread about them one of these days.

Getting back to RPGs, how much different is 5th edition from 2nd? I last played about 20 years ago, but I've been thinking recently about introducing the game to my nephew (5th grade).
Grady wrote:An NPC offhandedly mentioned something to them about the Lady of Pain and they were like "who?". I was so amused. I'm keeping my mouth shut. Unfortunately my character doesn't know any more about Sigil or the Lady of Pain than they do. I've just been laughing and getting overly excited on occasion and they have no idea why. :D
Separating player knowledge from character knowledge was always one of the hardest things for me when I was playing. I was Dungeon Master a majority of the time we played, so I spent a lot of time thumbing through Monster Manual and Fiend Folio (later the abominable Trapper Keeper Monstrous Compendium) and knew the strengths and weaknesses of most of the monsters. Having to pretend like I didn't know stuff would a lot of times end up with me trying too hard and ending up acting stupid instead of ignorant, if that makes sense.

"Hey! Look! It's the Dungeons and Dragon's Ride!"

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sunface
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Re: Dungeons & Dragons

Post by sunface » Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:35 am

I use Army Painter stuff as well, simply because when I bought them it was the only brand that my local hobby store sold. In hindsight I could've paid way less by buying them online, but honestly that's all good. I find the paints to be of a good quality though like other paints I've had in the past, some of them mix/shake better than others. There's a couple of colours in particular that I find you have to shake for 5 minutes or else you get a really watery paint.

Yeah I did the same thing with Talisman, though I'm sure I'm missing 1 or 2 of the expansions. I don't think I have either of the ones you mentioned not having so you must have more than me. I finally went back and bought the woodlands, which I think was my one missing one, so I have all 4 corners. The thing is, I bought it recently thinking that it's great that I could get it for a cheap price, and it showed up in a small box and it's branded Games Workshop so I guess when FF lost the license GW just started printing the boxes themselves. This is a good thing I think. I also don't keep all the boxes for all the expansions, and still need a good insert for the game (ie something to organize the cards, minis, etc). Do you have anything you'd recommend for this? Whenever I look online I'm pretty nonplussed with what's out there. Last time I looked into it, I actually designed a lego insert and ordered all the pieces from lego, then they fucked up the order and because it took me so long to input it the first time I just never did it again. So I never got the pieces.

For painting the figures, you'd have to go card-accurate. That way the figure matches and you can find it, as I'm sure you have dozens of them. I think this is just proper. To the extent that you want to be more creative, just buy other miniatures and paint them. Plus the quality of the Talisman minis really varies, with some being much more detailed and interesting than others.

You should definitely post about your cats, that's fascinating. My #1 question: how many cats are you "allowed" to have where you live? I know a lot of zoning on even detached homes puts a limit on this. 16 may be getting up there! I'm basing this on my understanding from the show Hoarders, though it doesn't sound like what you guys are doing. ;-)

5th edition is somewhat similar to 2nd edition, but I guess I'd say it's very simplified. The main problem with 1e and 2e is that they didn't really have an overarching system for doing stuff. Like, you wouldn't use dexterity for "hide in shadows", you'd use the thief table for that. And if a fighter wanted to
"hide in shadows"? I guess you can't. For this I think 5e is based on the d20 rules (though I never really played those, outside of maybe a video game or two) in that your raw ability score (ie 3-18 or whatnot) is never really used, but rather it gives you a +/- to rolls you can make with a d20. So to hide in shadows you roll your "stealth" skill, which means roll a d20 and add your modifier, and that gives you how successful you are. This is the same with to-hit stuff. There's no big table showing your THACO. In fact, THACO doesn't exist anymore. Instead, the higher your AC the harder you are to hit, and everyone just has a modifier to hit. So a tough monster maybe has a +8 to hit, and if your AC is 15 they'd have to roll a 7 or higher to hit you. So overall, they were successful in taking everything in 2e that was a mono-rule and changed it to work as a universal rule. It ultimately creates a fairly fast paced game where you don't need to memorize a million rules. Overall, from having played 1 and 2 editions, this is better than both. Oh another good thing is that they pretty much made it that a 1st level character is probably the equivalent to a 3rd level AD&D character. Not for hit points necessarily, but for spells and abilities. You just kind of start with a character that's tougher than a 1e/2e 1st level guy. An example is "Magic missile". In 1e/2e, I think you have 1 missile at 1st level and you get another missile every 2 levels I think. So at 5th level you have 3 missiles. In 5e, the spell starts with 3 missiles, and you can cast it with higher level spell slots for more missiles. It therefore is a great spell at 1st level and never really stops being a great spell.

The basic rules are free and you can download them from the Wizards of the Coast website; you should check them out. It's only probably a 64 page book and won't take too long to read (most of that is probably spell listings).
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Grady
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Re: Dungeons & Dragons

Post by Grady » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:06 am

I've only had a small experience with 5e so far, but one thing that stands out to me is how overpowered basically every class is. At least, from the perspective of some one who mostly played 2e. But then you realize, if every class is overpowered, then none of them are. As weird as that sounds. Like, at level 1, every single character is always useful. Like sunface was saying, if you were a level 1 mage in 2e and were in a battle, you'd cast your one missile and then...go stand in the corner for the next 20 minutes? Or attempt to poorly bash things with a quarterstaff/dagger? Whereas in 5e, you've got cantrips immediately. They're spells that are ALWAYS memorized and don't take up any spell slots. You can always use a cantrip on your turn and are therefore always a useful character.

Anyway, from everything I've read and played so far, I really think 5e is pretty awesome. It took the better parts from 4e (which was kind of videogamey and kinda silly at times, but made good strides at making classes more balanced), and combined it with the best elements from older versions like 2e. I'm really enjoying it.

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Wizard in Glass
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Re: Dungeons & Dragons

Post by Wizard in Glass » Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:14 pm

I've noticed the same thing with certain AP colors taking more shaking to get a proper consistency. I've read that you can add a little stainless steel agitator ball to make mixing easier, but it sounds like a pain in the ass to have to take off the dropper nozzle for each pot. Something else you have to watch out for is making sure the balls are stainless, because if they start rusting, they can mess up the paint.

The two expansions I don't have for Talisman were print on demand card sets you could order direct from Fantasy Flight. I didn't realize that Games Workshop was going to basically re-release FF's version when they took the license back or else I would have waited to finish buying the rest of the expansions. I use a Stanely Fatmax to store my stuff. I keep all the minis and a lot of the tokens in a smaller, off brand compartmented case that I picked up cheap at either Wal-Mart or Harbor Freight.
fatmax.jpg
fatmax.jpg (145.35 KiB) Viewed 89 times
Almost all the cards fit inside the two big cups, but I've been thinking about putting them in sleeves, so I may have to come up with a new solution for card storage.

As for the cats, we live in a CDP, so there aren't any sort of town or city ordinances that we have to worry about. And there's no home owners' association in our neighborhood, so we're clear there too. Only folks who could say something about it would probably be county animal control, but they can only act if there is neglect involved. So as long as we keep 'em clean and fed, we're in the clear. We actually had folks come to our house for each of the two groups before we could begin fostering. We knew both of them before we started, so it really wasn't like we had total strangers in house passing judgement because I have curio cabinet full of robots in my living room.

Thanks for you the 5e input, guys.I will check out the rules. Hell, might end up buying my nephew the starter box for Christmas.

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sunface
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Re: Dungeons & Dragons

Post by sunface » Sat Sep 22, 2018 12:55 pm

I can't imagine getting a ball bearing into one of the army painter bottles. That's a pretty small hole... And that's what she said. Haha. Ha. Old jokes are the best.

For D&D, before you buy you should check the prices on Amazon. I bought the books from a local gaming store and everything was MSRP, which is around $60 a book. They're consistently around 50% of that price on Amazon. The starter set is really good value; it comes with dice, a very long adventure book, and the basic rules. They leave a bunch of stuff out of it - not all of the spells are there I think, and it limits the classes & races to essentially original D&D (e.g., no rangers, paladins, bards, etc, just the four main classes). But it's all good. I think even if you do expect to buy the Player's Handbook it's worthwhile just for the adventure book. THAT SAID, I really don't recommend the DMG. It used to be that some "DM only" rules were in there so the players wouldn't necessarily know them, whereas nowadays it's really a book to spark creativity. There's good stuff in there, but I find it's pretty unusual to actually bust it out at the table.

Oh and I agree with everything Grady said. The fact that characters are so powerful in 5e does create a balance problem because monsters just aren't as tough as characters, who can't really die absent stupid player decisions. My group has come close to dying once or twice, but in one instance it was because they ran into a room full of undead and got swarmed. All of the players were drunk. If you use simple tactics against monsters, for the most part they're dead in a few rounds. It's challenging to challenge the players.

What's a CDP? Is that Census Designated Place? How does that work, is there a government?

And to be clear do you actually have a curio cabinet full of robots in your living room?
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Android
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Re: Dungeons & Dragons

Post by Android » Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:07 pm

I just want to say that I also got back into the miniatures painting hobby. Mostly Games Workshop stuff, but also a lot of historical 1:72 minis and vehicles.

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