Volume 2 Issue 84 – Letters to the Editor II

Intro – 00:00.000

Sage advice – 21:31.608

Email 1
From Matt

Hey folks, I enjoyed your podcast very much. I was a big fan of the Forgotten Realms, but it seemed at some point in the late 90s – they seemed to abandon playing material in favour of historical material. They went a little overboard in terms of detail. Eric Boyd did an admirable job, but I would have preferred some epic Night Below-esque campaigns set in the Realms. The high magic aspects of the Realms can annoy some players, especially Greyhawk vets, but as a DM you have control over all that. Take what works and leave the rest.

Email 2
Hello there from sunny Kent, south east UK, and from the most haunted village in England – namely, Pluckley!

Guys, I gotta say thanks very much for doing a really great job with the podcasts! Its really good to hear people who are still obsessed with such a great game.

I must say I stumbled upon your site through fluke more than anything. I fell upon an OSRIC net page/campaign review by someone with whom I went to uni. This guy had moved to Japan and his name popped up on google since I was trying to find him. However, it wasn’t through his work – his name was associated with an old DnD review of some old campaign/module. I followed this link and eventually got to your site. I must say I was intrigued since I knew DnD had been updated with 4.0. I followed my nose and started listening to your podcasts.

First, let me say I’ve been listening to them all – it’s very calming and almost therapeutic to listen to you guys while I work. They’re bloody great and you guys obviously have a great chemistry! I can’t say I understand all the stuff you talk about – it goes over my head sometimes. What fascinates me is the seriousness you give to a completely fantastical invented world and gaming system. It’s extraordinary and taps into the old fascination I had with the game, as well as FRPG’s in general, back in my early teens. I love the monster section particularly and was amused to find that you could defeat a Beholder with a standard room-fan used for ventilation. Those mini-gerbil men (?) were hilarious too.

Secondly, let me say that your site inspired me to look up the old games, and also, gaming groups in London. I was a little apprehensive about this at first since I thought these groups were pretty tight-knit and may be a nervous in accepting fresh meat to the grinder. Also, it had been, like, 15 years since I had last played! Anyway, I wrote to the group organiser and he told me to come along. It just so happened that I was in London that weekend, and having been to a beer-festival the previous day, I was in enough of a hung-over state to throw caution to the wind and say fuck it – let’s meet some new people! I went in and couldn’t have been welcomed by a more enthusiastic and warm bunch of guys and gals! Please give a shout out to the London gaming meet-up who play at The Ship pub near London Bridge on a Saturday afternoon.

We played The Version that Should Not Be Named. I was intrigued by this since you lot across the Pond hate it! I was determined to experience this for myself. I would agree that the imaginative side of it has been minimised. DnD has been turned into a board game to some extent – it reminded me a lot of the board game Heroquest. This has presumably been a WOTC decision to stay competitive with other wargames-minature companies such as Games Workshop etc. I also didn’t like the D20 game core mechanic much and the number of additions to dice rolls was a little bewildering – I loved THAC0 back in the day! All those tables and numbers – it was crazy. Crazy but good. I would also agree with the fact that the characters are like computer game sprites with the myriad of powers, minor and standard actions etc. However, this system I thought still worked fairly well – combat situations did drag a little but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The guys I played with agreed that the game had changed – some of them though hadn’t played any of the older editions, the babies!

I must say my favourite game was still Basic DnD. If you haven’t done it already (I’m still listening to pod-casts from 2010), could I ask for a small examination of the basic rules on your show? Just as a small aside? I know it’s not ADnD but still, its still part of the evolution. To be honest, it was always the artwork that hooked me to the edition I liked the best. Those Elmore paintings are still fantastic and still conjure up the magic that I felt when I first played. I also like the 2nd ed ADnD revised-black covered books. Awesome.

Playing 4.0 made me examine why I loved these games. It was the artwork and also the love for History and English as academic disciplines. This was mixed with the rush I got from rolling dice and chasing odds. As a teen this was a heady mix of adrenaline and imagination. I get the kick of chasing those odds now by playing Texas Hold’em poker (don’t worry, I’m not part of GA!!)– I found that with the 4.0 system, it just wasn’t the same – there was no connection between the character/miniature and the player and so I just didn’t care if my miniature “died”. Due to this, my character did some really crazy shit! Maybe this was what was supposed to happen – its more heroic and less “real”. This is more in line with WOTC character system I guess. Whatever the case, my Ranger was a lunatic and my last five minutes of the game, much to the amusement of the elder players, was spent de-earring my foes to make a necklace (vis-a-vis Universal soldier with the muscles-from-Brussels, Van Damme!) in homage to my god Kord (I have no idea…). There’s always time to role-play when roll playing. Hellz yeah!

Anyway, I digress. Keep up the good work. I’m still listening and will continue to do so. If you can direct me to any old school games in Canterbury, Kent, UK, I would be much appreciative (and when I say old school I mean DnD, ADnD, Traveller (WEG) and Star Wars d6).

From an old-schooler with his head still in the clouds, I raise my glass to you and say cheers, and may all your hits be crits!

Tom

Email 3

Hello guys,
Newer listener, first time writer to the show. I have been catching up on the older shows, because I enjoy your takes on 1st edition. I think you all do a bang up job, and while I dont agree 100% of the time with your insite, I think you all have a great deal to bring to the table.

When I listened to issue 10 (way back), I found it curious when the issue of spell scrolls came up. Two questions regarding spell scrolls and their use still remained.

1. DM Vince stated that he had a group of low level characters find and use scrolls, but their party only consisted of a fighter, a monk and a thief. I am wondering if I missed a rule for this somewhere. I consulted the books, and found that the only spell scrolls usable by all classes are “Protection Spell scrolls.” I have always had the idea to allow any class to use healing spell scrolls but have not allowed it due to the rules concerning them. How do you guys go about allowing spell scroll use by character classes that are not clerics or mages or thieves over 10th level? Is there any way to circumvent this rule by following other rules, maybe magical items etc? (other than DM fiat.)

2. Secondly, I have trouble putting a price to spell scrolls and potions in my games, as well, where do they get them, not every general store stocks such items. The players always want to purchase them before they enter the dungeons, especially if there are no clerics or mages. Is there a compiled list I am missing that lists the basic prices for purchasing spell scrolls and potions, or is there a rule associated with the purchase of such items?

Thanks for you help, and always keep up the great work. Keep it old school and keep it fun!!

DM-Del

Email 4

Dear: RFI Staff

I am a Dungeon Master down here in Florida who DM’s for a few amateur groups. I always find that, in a beginner group, there are always the players who will assume that all of the adventures come from the “old man in a rocking chair”, the”kindly bartender”, or the “shadowy figure in the corner”. So I have found a fun way to counter these guys. Whenever they enter a tavern there is a man sitting in the shadowiest corner with his hood pulled up, his feet propped up on the table, and an untouched beer in front of him. This guy is a dummy set up by the tavern master to mess with any newbies in their town. If the Pc’s actually go and talk to him he does not respond. If the Pc’s tap on his shoulder or engage with him physicaly his pumpkin head will fall off and the whole tavern goes into laughing fits.
I love this method of brining into new players into the game. It gives them a touch of the humor that can go into a game and lets them know that not everything is exactly what you expect 🙂

Now that I have given you a bit of my fun stuff to do I would like to ask a question.

In my least experienced group of players we have two players that are playing a Cleric and a Paladin. They are both males and play female characters 😛 and of course (being the inexperienced players that they are) every time we encounter any kind of male antagonists (everything from a Shop Keeper to a Kobold) they attempt to seduce their opponent. It annoys me because they spend to much time trying to seduce their enemy and it absorbs to much of any kind of serious storytelling that can happen. I’ve expressed my annoyance towards them for they but they continue to annoy me. Can you give me any kind of help as far as letting them know that if they continue they will probably die.

Thanks To All…..By the way I love your show and am listen to them as fast as I can; because, to be honest, (almost) everything you guys say is extremely useful to my games.

Keep Up the Awesome Work

Sincerely
DM Grimsythe

Email 5
In issue 33 about magic users (timestamp 30 minutes) you discuss the magic user and some of the other things they can do to support the party more than just casting spells.

Re: information gathering: As a DM I like to separate the type of research a magic user can provide for the party to be different than that of the Cleric (who’s research centers on the Divine or esoteric) or research provided by the Thief (who’s knowledge often centers on StreetSmarts or the seedier side of life, or the current clack and rumors of the area) while the MU specializes in the ancient and the arcane.

The magic users knowledge is extremely valuable, because it often provides that background history that most adventures begin with. About who and what happens in the far distance and near distant past. Anything that might have been archived in a book somewhere, or a library, or a roll of records. Magic users usually have greater access to city records, libraries, private libraries, or professional scholars. The other classes rarely have this access.

Although the cleric may seek divine wisdom from his superiors within the church, it will always be recorded with a bias or slant of his deity. And retrieval might be limited by the church on that facts they want to provide to the characters, since they will always limit the information provided to a deities interest (with certainly little interest in the party, who are merely chest pieces in a greater celestial game) in any information they provide. This is not to imply that the information from a deity is not useful, only that it is extremely biased.

While the theif has information gathering on the seedier side of town, and can learn the current clack, it will always be rife with mis-information and speculation from which he has to draw his conclusions.

But the magic user, on the other hand, does primary research from books, scrolls, libraries, educated scholars, and has much greater access to Scholarly research. Unfettered by the church, most speculation removed by scholarly research, the magic user can often bring to the game any information the DM wants to submit to the party, he can slip to the magic user a piece of paper, which the player can then offer into the shared story of the game. So if the magic user spends a little time, effort, and money to pursue research in the front end of the adventure, I in turn provide much more leniency to his inquiries during the game session. If a due roll is involved, then I give as much as a +5 bonus bases on research effort in the Pre game.

I personally much prefer the magic user to offer the story background and research things, then for me as the DM to always be the one offering the narrative or information. This often gives the magic user very high standing within the average PC party, and become sometimes one of his primary duties, more than just the casting of spells.

So let’s not forget, the magic user is often more than the sum of his spells.

Thanks from all your fans on your dedication to this craft, it is wonderfully entertaining to hear from you guys week after week.

Daniel

Email 6

Re: episode 33 unmatched users.

I noticed that when you are discussing MSP’s are being disrupted from casting a spell during combat, that it is virtually just being touched or jostled allows his spell to be disrupted.

This seems to be entirely too easy. Therefore my game, at least one point of damage have to be successfully made against the magic user in order for his spell to be disrupted.

Although this next part is just a house rule, I also allow him to overcome damage with combat casting assumed to be gained by leveling and adventuring experience.

A damaged MU can still get his spell off despite being damaged under the following formula:

When the spell is complete, If he has been damaged in any way, he must roll less than his LEVEL on a D20; if successful, then He can gain a Save vs Paralyzation to complete his spell with a NEGATIVE modifier equal to the combined damage received from all sources at the time the spell is complete. (sometimes there are multiple sources damaging the MU)

Although not guaranteed, Young inexperienced mages it is not very likely, but it does reward mages who level and gain greater experience and have learned how to cast spells and combat situations. Even when magic users are high level, sometimes the damage inflicted at that level by opposing forces is great enough to give him no chance at all. But we all dream of those special cases and it just as exciting as a crit for a fighter when it does work!

Daniel

Email 7
Message body:
Hey guys, I just found your podcast and I have to say I’m hooked. I’ve recently started playing 1st and 2nd edition again.

I wanted to run a game for my group, honoring Gygax, running the Temple of Elemental Evil.

I wanted to use Gygax only and Gygax approved books only. Books like Dungeoneer’s Survival Guide and Wilderness, Greyhawk Adventures, all come after the TSR fiasco. But were some of those approved by Gary considering some of his close friends worked on them?

Sorry for the oddball question, but we really wanted to play a dedication like game to the man who brought us so many years of fun.

John

Table Manners – How to design and play a Dragonborn character 1:02:16.388

Outro 1:19:31.207

1 comment on “Volume 2 Issue 84 – Letters to the Editor II”

  1. John

    Haha! Awesome! Thank you RFI for posting and discussing my question on the podcast. Once again, you’ve provided some great advice and knowledge. This made my day!

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