Jun. 12th, 2017 12:15 am
dhampyresa: (Default)
[personal profile] dhampyresa
Friends and I have sort of decided to try playing an RPG. We are all total noobs at this. I've played maybe 5 sessions and I'm the most experienced. The second most qualified has listened to all of Critical Role, so there's that. I'm GMing -- it's going to be a fantasy setting, most likely and I have a vague arc. Anyone have any tips for playing/GMing/etc?

Since we're not sure we'll stick with this, I'd love it if anyone could rec me free, simple systems. (The vague arc I mentionned can be made to fit any setting.)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-11 10:49 pm (UTC)
the_rck: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_rck
The most important thing, going into it, is for all of you to be clear that you're all going to make mistakes and that you'll all need to be willing to forgive each other.

I'm a bad person to recommend a rules system because I play fast and loose with the rules and can't be bothered to dig into a system. My tendency is to pick a type of dice and then decide whether rolling high or rolling low is good. 2d10s (percentile) is generally really, really easy for everyone to grasp.

Some of it depends on what you want to focus on-- Do you want a lot of diplomacy and intrigue? Do you expect a lot of fighting? Do you want magic available to the characters?

D&D is pretty widely known, and my husband says that 5th edition is available free online. He also recommends FATE as something available for free. I find both systems frustrating because neither fits the way I play or GM.

DriveThruRPG has pdfs of a lot of different games for not all that much money. If you'll have access to a laptop or something of the sort, pdfs can be a reasonable option. They're less convenient for passing around during character creation.

In terms of character creation, most game systems assume starting characters who aren't very good at anything and who then improve. That can be very frustrated for people who have ideas for characters with back story who are good at what they do at the beginning of the campaign/story. Some of the difficulty is the line between writing a story and playing an RPG.

Character creation can be time consuming. It can help if the GM sets parameters that make the characters have a reason to interact. Some players will always create characters who have no reason to be there or who have backstory that means that they'll run for the hills at the first opportunity.

For a first game, it might make sense for you to make up a backstory to apply across the board. I played in a game once where the GM told us, upfront, that our characters were all 16 years old and fresh out of the orphanage. We all had the same starting skills, equipment, and money. I think we had different statistics, but I'm not certain. Character creation took about fifteen minutes.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-12 08:15 pm (UTC)
the_rck: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_rck
I just posted about this about half an hour ago. The post is here.

Scott likes systems with very broad categories for skills so that players can come up with ideas as to how those nebulous categories might apply to a particular situation that the characters are facing and then figure out how to maximize their chance of success under the rules. Cortex Plus, for example, is set up so that a player rolls a different number of dice, depending on which of their skills, statistics, and extras they can reasonable argue are pertinent. FATE has a similar mechanic in that a player can change the difficulty of an upcoming roll by telling a story that sets things up to give their character an advantage.

I prefer systems with skills that are very specific but that allow me to let people roll against things not necessarily on their character sheet. GURPS, for example, often has skills default to a stat minus some amount or some other related skill minus some amount. (GURPS, the last I knew, had free character sheet generating software online that did the number crunching for established skills for you. Otherwise, GURPS can be beyond cumbersome because there are dozens and dozens of game supplements.) Chaosium's percentile system is set up in such a way that I find it easy to add skills and to have a ballpark idea of how a given character will do with them.

When I write, I never know quite where I'm going. When I GM, I have a few very general ideas and some names of people the characters might meet with a little bit of sense of what they might want and what they might be good at. I fill in more about the bits that the players focus on as we go along. I make up numbers that I need as I go.

Long running games work better for me, as a GM, if someone else is taking notes during the game. I give extra experience points for that and try to rotate the task. Ideally, we have a game wiki or website or something of the sort that all players can get to.

Scott prefers to have numbers attached to the non-player characters he uses. He generally has a set idea of what the characters need to do to find the adventure. He doesn't quite railroad, but if the players/characters choose to turn away from a given adventure, bad things happen that the characters only find out about much, much later. (My tendency is to have important things hit the characters no matter what else they do. I don't always make it obvious that those are the important things.)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-11 11:11 pm (UTC)
brithistorian: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brithistorian
I second [personal profile] the_rck's recommendations above. If you decide you like it an option that provides you with a comprehensive set of rules while still being free is The Gray Book, available for download at http://www.mediafire.com/file/5nzhz1ztiyx/The+Gray+Book.pdf - it's basically D&D as it existed in the mid-1980s (when I started playing). Most of all, have fun!

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-12 02:12 am (UTC)
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
From: [personal profile] yhlee
D&D is widely known but I would not call it simple. I haven't looked at 5th edition, but if it is at all like 4th edition, it's a system that is heavily biased toward combat--which is great if that's what you want to do. It can be made to do other things, but it's not optimized for them. What kind of story are you interested in facilitating, and what kind of campaign do your players have an interest in?

I would advise starting with a short adventure, say something that you could play through in one session, or a short arc for three or four sessions, and seeing how it goes from there.

I haven't used it, but people I know speak highly of FATE--FATE Accelerated looks fairly rules-light, or you could go with FATE Core, depending on your needs. It is setting-neutra.

The advice the others have given is pretty good; listen to them. :p

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-12 02:15 am (UTC)
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
From: [personal profile] yhlee
I would add, depending on how strongly your characters feel about it, for a one-shot it might be worth looking into pregenerated characters that players can choose among, which is another way of ensuring character cohesion. Lady Blackbird is a free sort of steampunky RPG that shows an example of this; Monsterhearts (not free) also does something similar. But of course if you're making up the scenario, you can always roll your own.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-12 03:38 am (UTC)
st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)
From: [personal profile] st_aurafina
I would say the most important thing for the GM to remember is that the rest of the players do not know when you're making shit up on the fly, so own it. (I am crap at this, I should take my own advice.)

And a dice app is really handy - I use Dice Ex on my iphone.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-12 07:12 pm (UTC)
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (Default)
From: [personal profile] schneefink
Lots of good advice given here. Something that I've seen come up several times on a forum, make sure the person whose only (?) RPG experience is Critical Role knows that your group's games will not be like that. The rules may be different, the storytelling style will be different, people may decide not to act as their characters so much and rather tell, etc.

Also very important, depending on session length, snacks ^^ (and speaking from personal unpleasant experience, preferably the kind that won't result in dirty character sheets...)

If you're only playing a one-shot or short story it won't be that important, but in my group it helped us enormously to have someone take notes who would later share them with everyone. (Apparently in some groups the GM does that? Seems to me that's an additional workload to how much the GM has to do anyway and kind of unfair, but ymmv.)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-12 09:12 pm (UTC)
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (Default)
From: [personal profile] schneefink
"Roll for initiative" are some of the best words :D

I hope you have an amazing time.


dhampyresa: (Default)

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