Pen & Paper RP or LARP Talk

I don’t wanna derail the basses thread too much now and as there are some responses purely about DnD/RolePlaying I respond here.

I was always very outspoken against digital assistance and I personally don’t even like a grid map with figures except for fights. It messes with the flow in my opinion.
We rotate our GMs as to not put all the work on one person and also so players see the different perspective and one of our more frequent gamemastering players always wants to bring in computers and technical stuff. I am okay with him using the laptop for notes, pictures, maps and ambient sound but that’s it. He’s also too rule-focused for my taste but I’m okay with it - the diversity of playstyle makes the cohesion of the group.
And of course the remote sessions due to corona. They were okay but just as with teaching - meeting in real life is just better.

As the other GM/Player who is more on my side of style regarding role playing - keep the flow, play your roles and see what happens agrees with me: Evil does not mean stupid.

Evil does not mean that I go around slaughtering the group I shared adventures with and am emotionally connected to. He just has a relatively dark past growing up with pirates and this resulted in him enjoying power. Not the power a King has but a the power a torturer has over his victim. I shall not go into further detail about that.
It is really fun to play something facetted as my bard actually behaves like the chaotic neutral bard most of the time in front of the group and people.

In our last adventure I had talked to the current GM and she agreed that I can do a prepared side-adventure in the session to follow the urges of my character. So I have written out the story of talking to the shop clerk and gathering information about the shop owner. He has no family and barely or no friends, just visits the shop at midday after his meal and uses the back entrance accessible through a back alley - all while Stedd was sounding like he just wants to meet the owner to haggle because the clerk wasn’t authorized to do so.

Stedd happy with that information decided as the shop owner as his victim so I made a shopping tour of disposable clothes and different tools. Stedd also recently studied a book about humanoid anatomy intended for healing purposes but… well knowledge is knowledge anyway.

Next day Stedd sets up his trap by walking into the back alley and making the impression of just practicing - not really performing so it doesn’t seem weird he’s alone in a back alley. He doesn’t want to be heard, often stops melodies abruptly, restarts them and tries a different note… you guys know what I’m talking about. But as soon as the shop keeper arrives he starts to play for real and fascinates the shop owner. Once Stedd is sure the shop owner is fascinated by him he proceeds with a suggestion spell and tells the owner that he found a strange wooden object on a clearing in the forest that produces weird sounds when you blow into it. (The shop was a “curiosity item” shop - got magical artifact strings for my lute from there :relaxed:) Stedd gets the owner to get his cart and they drive into the wood. A mile or two away from the village they stop and stedd says the clearing would be a few hundred meters into the woods. The guy goes with Stedd and Stedd stops to grab into his bag and put, with the hands in the bag, poison onto the needle in order to knock the owner out.
Of course that’s when I roll a natural 1 (which is critical failure)
So Stedd pricks himself in his own poisoned needle and loses consciousness. GM was even so kind as to allow me a saving through but I failed that too.

Unconscious Stedd gets picked up by the woodworking wrestling Vampire of the group. Yes - you read that correctly. Although the woodworking might be partly an excuse to go into the woods to hunt. Stedd is the only one who knows he’s a Vampire (as far as I and Stedd know) and did not yet at this point in the story.

As Stedd wakes up he joyfully and full of relief thanks the Vampire because he has no idea how he got there and just assumes he was saved from a terrible nightmare and then continues to take care of each little quabble the group has. It’s weird. He does not see himself as leader. He does not want to be leader. But by now he is leader. It could be because he honestly doesn’t care and just wants to get on with it. Somehow everyone talks to him privately and trusts him. Weird.

So even though we have different alignemts or even because we have different alignments it is possible to keep the group together without plot holes or betraying my vision of my character and it also adds more facetted play with internal group conflicts which I always enjoy the most.

Might be the players then…
I have some fairly negative experience with evil caracters in our group :sweat_smile: But I must say that I consider our group to be very tiring at some times. We are six players, all over 40 with everything that implies… Add some powerplayer attitude for some and the mess will unfold :rofl:
However, we’ve had some “good” experience playing online during confinement, apart from the technical quirks and connexion issues.

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In my day, which was so long ago that “GMs” were called “DMs”…and DOS was the dominant OS on the PC…

We never used computers during game play, but it was an attempt as a help for character sheets. We never liked the pre-printed ones from TSR, as they were expensive, and we thought ours were better anyway. Initially we used notebook paper, then I learned to type and used an old Royal portable. We calculated stats for hits and misses, etc.

So, we had the bright idea about using the PC to build character sheets (gameplay was all on paper and graph paper, no figurines or anything like that)…but we were so fascinated by our PCs ( I had a 286 and my buddy a PC/XT) that we started to build a BBS instead, and we got more and more busy and D&D (or rather AD&D as it was properly named back then) went by the wayside. Also we weren’t too fond of the stuff that was coming out at the time (new Players Handbook, new character classes, etc.); it just wasn’t the same. But for a 3 or 4 years it was our passion and we had such fun!

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Yeah okay. Different times. Internet access was widespread and we had more of a problem on deciding/standardizing the sheets so you don’t have to search for the values everytime you hold the character of a different person in your hand.

“These character sheets suck.”
“Yours suck!”
“Mine are the best! I get everything on one DinA4!”
“I don’t want it on one - I wanna have places to write stuff.”

I started with “DSA” but I guess it’s again more specific for German people. It’s called “Das schwarze Auge” (“The black eye” - in the sense of a literally black colored eye. Not someone creating one with a fist.)

Yeah, I think for DnD it’s officially still Dungeon Master, but GM is just the general term you can use for any system. At least that’s how I use it.

We play 3.5 as the voices outspoken against 5E are numerous and I don’t care at all. The system I enjoyed the most is Liquid which was created by some students as an open framework for roleplaying. Have a world you wanna role play in without a system? Use liquid. I had so much fun as game master for discworld adventures. Then again I just love the discworld and Terry Pratchett.

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Yep! In my day it was literally “theater of the mind” and what we saw was in the pages of the Monster Manual. Still have my dice! (pretty chipped up)

Sounds like the game has moved on and perhaps gotten better since the early 90’s. Nowadays I just don’t have time I did back in the 80’s; barely enough time for bass!

Love the German references; I spent all that time learning in college, so it’s gratifying to be able use it once in a while! Never got super proficient with it, but I can read it, and my pronunciation is pretty good. I just can’t converse because I am too slow. I have a tough enough time with English!

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It’s just since computers were around every other role player created his own personalized character sheet and shared it online so there was a plethora of character sheets to chose from for common systems. There is still only one official sheet per DnD Edition.

I am so lost.
I have no idea what I just read.

What’s a Stedd?

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His DnD character’s name :wink:


Oh, ok. Now I feel just as lost, but got that clear. It’s ok, I don’t need explanation for all of it, it was an interesting read tho.

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I tried to make it accessible but maybe I assume too much as I’ve played roleplay games for years.

It’s just a story in one of our adventures in which Stedd, who is a chaotic evil Bard enjoying torture, tries to find the next suitable victim. He gathers information, lures his poetential victim away from town and then to check how good he succeeds at using the poisened needle I rolled the dice and had the most unfavorable result thus Stedd rendered himself unconscious and gets picked up by another group member.

Overall it was an example that there are ways to find cohesion within the Pen and Paper group although not every character is either neutral or good.


“To roll a critical fail” is probably too much jargon for the non-DnD aficionado.

… aaand you just edited that out. :wink:


Good point! Fixed it, thanks.

Not sure anyone will read this WoT but maybe someone is interested or bored enough.

The session today:
Stedd got seasick (actually airsick as it was an airship) and he was the only one to get seasick in the storm which is kind of unfitting as he was the only one who really spend more than just a single journey of time on a ship but eh… Maybe the difference between seaship and airship current threw Stedd off. Who knows? Well we land on a floating island and most of the people are some humanoid birds. Some really bird-like with talons beaks and feathers and others more human like.

When we landed Stedd let the rest of the group go first because he wanted to explore for himself and didn’t feel well as he still was seasick. Although my natural 20 + 4 constitution roll allowed Stedd to somewhat recover he decided to look for a Spa or a thermae or something. He found one but it was closed so he did what everyone else would do in this situation: go to the whorehouse and get a massage there. He chose the most human looking of the 3 available ladies of negotiable affection.
After asking the price and getting to know that a massage is 3 gold and happy end is just additional 2 gold pieces Stedd paid the 5 with a shrug.

He still stayed for a while as it was not really a shady establishment and served food too and then went on to the next tavern in order to rent a room.

As he entered the tavern he was irritated by the music as he was not able to clearly tell where the source of the music. Fascinated by the design of the tavern he keeps looking for the source of the music and notices after a while that the musicians are on the top floor and somehow - he is not sure how (GM explained it but it’s too complicated for me to explain in english) the whole Tavern acts like an isntrument body… or natural amplifier. The sounds get carried and distributed everywhere in the tavern. Fascinated by this design Stedd does not even notice the group already sitting on an upper floor and eating. Keeping his eyes up and looking for the musicians - as they aren’t really presented very openly - he walks up the building. One party member greets him but he does not even notice. After seeing at least some of the musicians and where they play he goes back to the barkeep and rents a room for himself.

Giddi somehow managed to rent a 4-bed room for him and the 3 female party members but cuddled with his recently received magical hammer. He can throw it and steer it to a certain amount.

Next morning Stedd also talked to the musicians and had a look at their instruments. Overall they tended to use more woodwinds than string instruments compared to what Stedd was used to but not at all sharp or distrubing - they created a relaxing sound. So Stedd had a closer look at something that was a bit like a Panflute but not exactly and then went on to Finn, the woodworker, and asked him to build one for him.

As we bought weapons with rune sockets last time we went to look for some useful runes that can be applied to our new weapons. (Our GM was of the opinion that we didn’t have enough loot/equipment for our level so this adventure so far seems like a bonus level where you can get cool stuff for yourself)
Elandra, our fighter, got a rune of vampiric grip (temporary life steal) for her gauntlet
Giddi, our wildcard, upgraded his hammer so he can call it back after throwing it.
Stedd, our bard, got a rune of transformation (limitations: small, normal, big size and 2 uses per day, holds 30min)

Once Stedd had his sword with the enchanted rune he immediately went to the other tavern in town, transformed into a hot redheaded femmé fatale with 110-60-90 measures and went to play in that tavern. He made more money than usual that day. I wonder why.
(After me mentioning the measures my girlfriend questioned the possibility of those numbers but both other women at the table agreed that it’s possible)

The day after that he went to a tinkerer and asked him to create a glove for him with retractable needles that automatically get tinted with poison. Yes - Stedd learns from his mistakes. Obviously the poisoned needle approach was not foolproof enough.

After everyone has done his shopping and upgrades and stuff we should have been on our way to some ruins to look for a professor who might know more about how we even got to this plane because the whole party got teleported at once and doesn’t even know why.

But like any good role player we ignored the plot hook for some time and played around with our toys.

Namely with Giddis hammer as we wanted to test things out. I told Finn to cut me a wooden board I can place on the hammer. So Giddi climbed up a tree, left the hammer on the ground and I placed the board on the hammer. Giddi called his hammer and the board got thrown away sideways.

Okay next approach - bury the hilt of the hammer into the dirt, put the board on the hammer so it doesn’t rotate but will go straight up instead. With this approach Stedd decides it’s worth a try, casts Featherfall onto himself, steps onto the board and tells Giddi to call his hammer up. Giddi calls the hammer, Hammer, Stedd and Board go up completely as planned and Stedd even does a salto before landing again. We played around a bit more to test thing out and after a while e tried to devise a transportation system for it. It should be possible to build a custom cart that has a place to fixate the hammer on the back, Giddi sits in front and calls the hammer - the force of the magic pulling the hammer should be enough to propell the cart forward. I am really interested to see how the GM will let this one blow up in our faces. Probably with a hammer in our face but who knows for sure?

And that was our session from the perspective of the charming & fabulous Stedd Lautenfein


Admittedly, a bit of both.

But after reading that, I am a bit air / sea sick myself.
Maybe not so much sick, just mentally overloaded to the point my spinning head gives me the feeling of said sickness.
I have so many questions that I am afraid of the rabbit hole asking them will send us down, so I will just follow in overwhelmed air sea sick bliss.

Th3 only question I dare ask, is one I have a high possibility to knowing the answer too. By high probability, I mean like 10%-20%

What is GM. It is not your General Manager, so I am assuming it is your Game Master? :man_shrugging:t2:

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GM/DM = Gamemaster/Dungeonmaster

Short explanation: We sit around a table with pen and paper. One GM and the rest are players. We get our situation/surroundings described by the GM and decide what to do. Then the GM either rolls or decides what the reaction is to our actions.

Longer explanation:
(S)he is basically the omnipotent and omniscient narrator and decision maker of the story. There are rules and there are dice rolls but in the end the GM has absolute power.
That said it is the job of the GM to make the experience enjoyable and for a lot of role players that means: free choice. Not stuck into a road of the plot one has to follow.

For example when you have to steal something for some reason or another (let’s just assume it was stolen and you and your party are trying to get it back) there are endless possiblities of how to go about that.
Seduce a guard?
Straight up sneak in and steal it?
Magic guards away from their post? (with bard magic - fascinate & suggestion)
Party doesn’t believe the item is stolen and thinks the guy who has given the assignment should be taken care of insome way?

As said the possibilities are near endless of how to go about it but once the players said what action(s) they want to take it is the GMs job to decide and narrate the result. Sometimes GM uses dice to decide a specific outcome but (s)he also has the authority to just decide.

I won’t deny that every question you have probably is a bit of a rabbit hole but if there is interest I would be glad to explain things and would try to keep it to the surface mostly.

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Thank you, for now I will stick to the script, and ask as questions arise. Thanks again for good, general explanation, which explains a lot, only some of which I kind of knew.

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No Problem.

Some of the questions even may be because I just started in a middle of an adventure we already have begun but I did not bother to explain where we are and how we got there as this would have drawn out the story even more.

We are in some kind of parallel universe or different dimension, called “plane” in DnD due to previous events.
Thus the floating islands, weird bird people and the only body form we already know are Genasi which is probably best described as “Elemental”. Those things are not normal or usual for the characters we play. They are used to trolls, gnomes, orcs, humans, dwarves, elves, drows…

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