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12:00 AM
There are some really interesting themes possible with them.
They're psionic warforged (ish)?
Yeah, basically.
completely different base flavour, but that's generally how they work out
Point of order, should I ask you three to prepare 2 characters each?
I thought we were doing the group character preparation thing?
12:10 AM
We are.
@C. Ross - Shardmind is a race that came into PHB3, out of one of the Monster Manuals I think. You'll find it in the Character Builder if you have that.
Basically I'm thinking about asking everyone to sit in 2 chairs instead of one, so that we can end up with a final party of 5
OTOH, 3 is ... sufficient.
I thought you were doing a PC also, since you started off with a race suggestion.
Eh. I'll have everyone pass their sheets to the left when I go home tonight (however we operationalize left here) If we get a 4th or 5th, it'll be fine, if not, it'll be fine
No, GM participates as part of the methodology to give x+1 choices to x people.
Question: How does this methodology technically assist in creating a balanced party, any more than one in which everyone generates their own character? Strictly speaking, you could theoretically end up still having x+1 strikers.
12:16 AM
:4116 Balance is more than 1 role each. It's also a party that has unified goals (from and RP perspective) and is designed to work around each other.
Frankly, a party of 5 strikers designed with the other 4 in mind is far more balanced than 1 each created in isolation. I predict fewer functional problems in actually accomplishing goals.
4e design philosophy centers around a functional and cooperating party. I predict that this method will be one way to create one.
It'll be interesting to see play out, I suppose.
Yeah. That's why I'm testing it.
And if it doesn't work, it doesn't work, and we'll go on to the encounters to find and test other questions.
Well, if you think we need to beef up the party, I'd be willing to take a shot at multi-playing.
Well, inasmuch as each character will have what amounts to group control (not sure how well that will work) ... ::sigh:: Thank you for offer. At the end of the day, I'll let you know if I want you to take a second seat.
No problem.
How are we going to handle long-term character management? Centralized storage location for dnd4e files?
For that matter, what are we using for a map? (Pardon if I've missed a thread where this was already figured out.)
12:21 AM
:4126 I'll render everything up in CB and throw it on iplay
iplay... never heard of that one.
:4127 Map.... dunno. We've got threads for that. If we can test a tool from them, awesome. If not, google spreadsheets.
it's kinda awesome.
Not quite as awesome, in practice, as the i4e app, due to internet lagginess
But fairly awesome.
The combat manager looks interesting.
It's quite usable. I use it when running and I have few complaints.
Well, I'm signed up on iplay4e now. Were you going to create a campaign for all of us to join there, then?
Oh, and I may or may not have one or two other people that could join. I've made them aware of the game, at least.
12:32 AM
:4137 Ayup. Once the characters are up.
:4138 Fantastic, thank you.
One is the friend of mine who DMed the game with the goblin and the pit trap. The other is his brother, who played the Dragonborn.
:4141 Cool :) They are aware that this is effectively playtesting and may have some funky things going on?
Heh... if not, they will be. I'm sure they'll be fine with it in any case.
For everyone, @CRoss, @Iszi, @EricWeilnau Are you OK with the rough social contract that I laid out? That this will be looking at playtesting elements from answers on the site and may involve group based control of characters? While I'll keep RPing open, I think we'll leave significant RP elements (outside of a skill challenge I have in mind) for a different session.
Sounds cool to me. By the way, was the question of "PG-13" ever definitively answered?
12:38 AM
:4145 Nope, But I'll be treating it as PG-sided in any case. No bloody descriptions, etc..
It's not quite bunnies and burrows, but we won't have any assassins reaching tendrils of shadow into hearts and shouting Kalima either.
Ok. Good to know. Too bad we can't add a FAQ for this room. (Or can we? There seems to be more and more about SO that's new to me every day.)
::shrug:: I'm treating favourites like an FAQ.
Star stuff that you think everyone should know.
Oh, like that?
@RMorrisey Welcome
12:40 AM
Welcome, @RMorrisey... to my dungeon...
hey, guys
I always loved that line from Men in Tights.
you guys are running a 4e game?
Another -victim- participant?
4e encounter, to playtest answers from the site.
Not sure what exactly that means. Got a link or example for me?
12:41 AM
There will be elements of group control of characters, because running an asynchronous game is painfully slow.
er, what is that a reference to?
I imagine we'll be seeing a lot of Wall of Fire in here. Hehe.
I should say, what do you mean by playtest answers from the site?
::whimpers:: Happily, we'll be starting at level 1, to test the methodology.
and how is it going to work?
@RMorrisey Well, for example, I'm testing group character creation from my answer to the balance question right now.
After that, I'll run a fairly generic encounter to make sure that the venue works, then we'll start looking at situations where answers could use some falsification.
I've got some skill challenge things I /really/ want to try as well.
12:44 AM
I don't really know 4e well at all, and I don't have a PHB (although I do have a MM, for some reason). Not sure if I'm cut out for it
:4170 Oh, I'd very much like your participation then
You're not steeped in the "everyone knows" that we are.
4e is pretty easy to pick up, I think. It's the first RPG I've played.
4e is /really/ easy to play simply.
d20 + modifer versus number for everything.
everything else is explored through play.
Which brings up another question... how are we rolling die? Honor system?
Um, however you folks like? Physical dice are fun, the die roller built into this is also fun. I'll start with the assumption that you aren't cheaters and if necessary, will perform statistical analysis after the fact.
12:46 AM
when is the game (encounter?) actually going to be run?
Honour is important to me.
It's asynchronous. We'll start after the characters are developed with a round a day.
Trying to coordinate real time across the world is not something I want to do again.
@RMorrisey There's not really so much of a "when". Sort of play-by-email-ish, but in this chat room.
TBH it sounds like a strange and cumbersome format for an RPG to me, but I am willing to give it a try. So can I start making a character?
:4184 You are welcome to participate in this experiment with us. The first thing to do is to agree to the social contract, then state a race. as per the first posts.
link me?
12:51 AM
@RMorrisey See the starred posts to your right.
Hrmm, there has got to be a better way of doing this.
Oh well, lunchtime. Back in a bit.
@BrianBallsunStanton Lunchtime? I thought you just had breakfast/
This is what I see:
Good morning everyone. I'll be running a nice simple prepublished 4e adventure with group control of the characters to start.
To start with is the ever fun character creation. Considering that there's a thread on this exact topic, I'd like to experiment with my suggested methodology. Minimum participation is 3 people. Deadline for expressing interest is... monday.

C. Ross
@BrianBallsunStanton Can you link to the thread?
For everyone, @CRoss, @Iszi, @EricWeilnau Are you OK with the rough social contract that I laid out? That this will be looking at playtesting elements from answers on the site and may involve group based control of characters? While I'll keep RPing open, I think we'll leave significant RP elements (outside of a skill challenge I have in mind) for a different session.
@RMorrisey Those are the posts we're talking about.
Where is the social contract he's talking about?
12:54 AM
@RMorrisey There's no real "contract" per se. Just the baseline expectations he laid out in those two posts.
@BrianBallsunStanton In the interests of facilitating international participation, it's come to my attention that it would be better for us to express dates and times (when necessary) in UTC. Example, the "Monday" deadline for race selection.
@Iszi I can't find the thread about character creation that is mentioned. "Character creation" doesn't produce any posts made by Brian in the first... 60 search results, and it doesn't show up on the first page of his profile
Throw me a line here. I was not in chat 2 or 3 days ago when this was planned. =/
@RMorrisey He summarized it in the second post. I'll find the thread for you though...
in The Back Room: Table 1 - OOC on Role-playing Games Chat, Oct 16 at 0:36, by Brian Ballsun-Stanton
Q: What is the optimal way to design a well balanced party

Pat LudwigConfession - I just TPK'd my group....again. One of the reasons that has been identified is that while the party is composed of 5 pretty well optimized characters, as a party they just aren't in sync. Examples: The warlord grants basic attacks, 2 others don't have good basic attacks 3 charact...

And, correction: Summarization was in the first of the starred posts.
Ok, I would consider myself a Tactician-type player. I am not sure, though, if I necessarily want to be the official party leader. I assume Leader is a character archetype in 4e? Which classes are available that fit the bill?
1:08 AM
Well, as Brian had mentioned, the characters will be controlled by the group in order to facilitate progression of the game during asynchronous play.
Also, at this point, we're only selecting character race. Character role will come in the next step as part of the class selection.
Why race first, then class? Brian's answer seems to suggest picking character role based on player role, then picking a good race to optimize that class. Am I supposed to start a new question for people to help create a character?
Come to think of it, I'm not sure why Brian said race first. Typically, when one is creating their own optimized character, they go for class first and then race. Although, the Character Builder does have you do race first as well.
This is like the underwear gnomes' approach to gaming.
Step 1: Discuss social contract
Step 2: ?
Step 3: Profit
Yeah, there's definitely going to be some kinks to work out along the way. Given the nature of this game, that's a fair given.
1:24 AM
Not to be a nuisance, but maybe a traditional forum format would be better suited for this kind of game? It feels like the only way to make this viable is to post a question for each character for character creation, and post a question for each character for each turn. I would much rather see a real-time game take place in the SE site chat
Fortunately the SE site chat doesn't require real-time participation, as it's a persistent room. The full history of the room is available to everyone whether they were in the room the entire time or not.
As far as the characters go, Brian has said that he'll be posting the fully-fleshed characters in iPlay4e.
(When they're done, of course.)
The parent site really wouldn't be an appropriate place to post questions regarding a game that not everyone is participating in.
Ok, I am going to take some initiative then and get the ball rolling...
In Brian's answer to the balanced party question (see the starred item, on the right), he suggests that the different character roles be chosen based on player roles. I therefore propose that each player should try to identify their player role, and post it here in chat. I am calling myself a Tactician.
Ah, but that would only be applicable when each player had their own character. As stated in Brian's earlier posts, all the characters in this game will be group-controlled.
1:34 AM
The post identifies three character roles: Leader, Striker, and Tactician. That means we need at least one player who can fill each of these three roles, right?
If we have more than one player per character role, that's OK
err, Leader, Striker, and Defender
Good... afternoon
welcome back
@BrianBallsunStanton You've got some catching up to do.
Read up.
I'm trying to clarify the "group-controlled characters" concept.
1:36 AM
Functionally speaking, we're choosing races first because we're not making characters for ourselves,we're making characters for the group and then everyone will principally control one character (but not exclusively, depending on what we decide)
as I said before, I don't understand why we are choosing a race before class?
The pattern is: if you're OK with the contract, the next step is to choose race. Pass "sheets" to the left, then choose a class that fits the current sheet under you, pass again, ...
You're not choosing a class for yourself, you're choosing a class for the character in front of you at the time. This is a collaborative effort.
If I said class first, the reaction would be far closer to "what is my favourite class that I want to play" rather than "what's an interesting class for this race?"
Ok, I didn't understand that there was a rotation. I thought that each character would be designed by a committe of whoever wanted to contribute to that particular character role. Maybe you could state the rules a bit more clearly?
Because this is rotating, we'll have a roster of characters that everyone's had input on, and therefore are far more of a party than those created individually.
I was trying to follow your checklist
1:40 AM
Ah. Yeah, I proposed about 3 different bloody things in that thread.
and if I remember, I think I can save a block of chat and then bookmark it? We'll see.
--- start of block ---
This current exercise has two objectives: to test the "optional group creation" method proposed in the balanced party thread and to assess the viability of this venue as a way of playtesting answers given on RPG stackExchange.
here is the methodology that we will follow:
1) Agree or suggest changes to the current social contract: That this will be looking at playtesting elements from answers on the site and may involve group based control of characters? While I'll keep RPing open, I think we'll leave significant RP elements (outside of a skill challenge I have in mind) for a different session.
2) To articulate your interest in this process, state a race that you would like to see in the party. Be advised that you may not end up playing the race you suggest, as people will be able to pick and choose from completed characters.
Ok. I propose putting a dragonborn character into the party.
3) Once all participants have stated a race, sheets will be passed "to the left" (I'll articulate a table order) and people will then choose an "interesting" class for the race in front of them. Participants are advised to select according to some compatibility, as a race that has no stat boosts connected with a class is quite difficult to play.
Methinks someone's already chosen Dragonborn, but no reason we couldn't have two.
4) Once players have identified classes, and class features. sheets will once again be passed to the left and players will select 2 backgrounds out of the 6 possible from any valid background source.
As part of this step, the group will have to agree on the nature of their adventuring party.
5) Step 4 is repeated once, so that two different players have input into the character's backgrounds.
6) With race/class/theme chosen, all sheets are then reviewed by everyone to make sure that they can form a consistent party. Once validated, all members of the group "choose" one character to play and to further flesh out. In this instance, they will be considered a primary player for the character, but not sole, depending on the rules we hammer out for the encounter after this process is completed.
7) Once people choose their character, they then choose whether they want the "default good" powers, a short list to choose from, or to choose from a long list. for default and short list, the GM is responsible for presenting a list of powers that fit with their requested tastes. For the long list, the GM is responsible for vetoing or buffing powers that are underpowered. Repeat with feats.
7a) Instead of choosing powers directly, players may instead describe "moments of awesome" that they would like to do. The GM is then directed to figure out how to fit a power to their moment of awesome.
--- end of block ---
now, lets see if I can't somehow save that whole thing
Ok, awesome =) now I understand how this works
1:49 AM
Maybe try copy-pasting all of it into one long post and we'll favorite it?
Or, are there character limitations?
Please pin that.
how did you do that?
click room, click bookmark conversations?
click room, click create new bookmark
1:52 AM
cool, thanks
Current table: Brian (DM) Half-Elf, Eric Dragonborn, CRoss, Gnome, Iszi Shardmind, RMorrisey Dragonborn
also, I'll be using google docs quite heavily, because they Just Work.
In fact...
I'm gonna change mine since there's already a dragonborn
I'll play a tiefling
or suggest one, rather
@BrianBallsunStanton So, I'm guessing that's the right-to-left player order?
1:54 AM
And let's pin that as well?
also, if you want, drop your address in google docs chat and I'll add you as a proper collaborator
That's one of those good question, Iszi. That order is clockwise, and passing is clockwise, so ... it should work, and I'll take the race of the last person
I added myself to the share
cool. As is intent.
It looks like chat which relates to collaborating on character creation will happen from this point forward in the google doc
It's not saved there
oh ok
1:58 AM
I'm not much familiar with Google Docs, so you'll probably have to educate me some.
This is the saved transcript, so I'd prefer real chat here, but one-off questions are fine there.
ok, np then
It's basically like microsoft word, but with a slightly more limited feature set, and it has good real-time collaboration
yes. I'm using it for my dissertation, it's that good.
I use google docs too for stuff at work
And now, the coffee gods are calling for me.
So, bbiab
2:01 AM
What's the optimal/suggested party size for 4e?
4/5 I believe. That way you have at least one for each role, and some overlapping coverage.
I've successfuly run with 2, mind you
but 5 is what all the adventures are specced for
@CRoss Welcome back
2:07 AM
@CRoss Please join the google doc.
The coffee gods of spoken. And they are most merciful.
have, in fact, spoken.
Ok, so let's try to get one more player. Anyone have an unsuspecting friend that can be roped into this little adventure?
Maybe they live in spokane? :)
@Iszi "Join"?
2:08 AM
Note to those accessing the google doc: Anyone can view, but you need an invite to edit. If you want an invite, all you have to do is ask in this chat
um, point of order, the reason why I didn't do it that way is some people may not want to state their e-mail in a permanent forum.
IMHO, the honor system works both ways. We don't spam your e-mail, you don't run amok and wreck our game project
I don't see any harm in making it open-invite, as long as we are liberal with the invites
I guess I'm not sure if SE has a private message functionality?
It doesn't, as far as I can tell, which is what I'd be using otherwise.
Ok, so maybe you're right then, we should open it up
@RMorrisey We don't want people putting e-mails in this chat.
Or, for that matter, the Google Doc.
Anyone on the web can view both.
2:14 AM
Anyone who has put themselves on the google doc share has their e-mail address visible
:4322 yeah, but it's not trivially spiderable.
::sigh:: I wish google docs had a slightly better permissions system. I've run into this problem before.
Google group?
I also wish SO had a private messaging system.
2:17 AM
shrugs they're big on public
even chat was a big step
Eh, this works.
Anybody have a suggestion for finding one more person to rope in?
Working on it
Also, we need Eric's gmail address to add to the share (or we need to get him a gmail invite)
2:23 AM
I'll see if I can get one of my guys to commit.
2:34 AM
I'm not sure if I agree that this is the best way to create a balanced party (and avert TPK), but I think it's a really cool social experiment =)
it is a good way to make a group that everybody enjoys playing though
we shall see
:4346 Is why I'm testing.
Oh, and the encounter will be... challenging, so we risk TPK.
I wish there was a way to pay rep to people.
@BrianBallsunStanton I've got another guy, but he's not up to 20 rep here yet. (Brand new)
I consider that healthy. RPG players tend to get to get lax and let their munchkining skills stagnate =)
does he have any questions about RPGs? =p
he can bribe us for entry by becoming a participant in the regular SE site ;)
Iszi, cool. Well, so long as he answers some questions or asks them, we'll get him there
yes. Bribe :)
2:37 AM
He's been advised as much.
Good afternoon, Eric
Just did the same to one of my friends.
I've got his gmail to add to the doc, and I'm awaiting a race selection to submit for him.
we'll wait till he participates in chat :)
Trading e-mails about the new Shadowrun game I'm joining while waiting
@BrianBallsunStanton It'll be soon enough, I'm sure. Right now he's got internet access issues, but those are very temporary.
2:41 AM
@EricWeilnau I think people want your e-mail address
::nodnod:: Back to work for me, then.
first initial last name at yahoo
hey all
howdy. Let's ... see if that works.
@CRoss I added a note to my profile in response to your e-mail
just trying to catch up on whats transpired
2:43 AM
@EricWeilnau Howdy
@EricWeilnau hey eric
@BrianBallsunStanton Doesn't everyone need a GMail account to access the doc?
Or, can they log in with other credentials?
i have gmail also
just don't read it
Same username?
:4375 Lol, I hope you will pardon my curiosity
2:45 AM
same as the yahoo
no, I am really not him
@EricWeilnau Check now
I've heard stranger things
but if you do run an awesome RPG website (or blog) I want a plug for this ;-)
I think my lastname spelling is actually unusual, his is the more common one
:4389 check what?
2:46 AM
:4380 Google... is flexible. Yahoo might be compatible
the only one that I run is a (now somewhat inactive) log of my shadowrun philly game
@EricWeilnau Your GMail
I do also post updates there when I have a convention coming up that I'm going to run a game at
i see the doc
but I never got around to writing up the last few episodes of my campaign
2:51 AM
Yeah, I'm bad about that sort of thing myself
Posted a link to this chat on my google buzz
:4192 the social contract you have suggested is fine by me
just in case you needed me to explicitly respond
Which books have backgrounds?
that's a good question. I always use the character builder
as long as they're in the free version ... they should be
2:55 AM
Most of the more recent books have some. I want to say PHB2?
and scales of war, and ebberon and forgotten realms are the biggies
yeah, I have PHB2
it has some
oh, wait. can provide better link.
(should this be a proper question? :)
I obviously haven't spent much time there
will do
For the record, I do not own any 4E books except for the monster manual
so I will need you guys to help me out a bit now and then
I am an avid 3.5 & Pathfinder player, though
Q: Where can I find "Backgrounds" for D&D 4e?

C. RossMy DM wants me to pick a couple backgrounds for a 4e game. Where can I find them?

:4425 We have a few experts around :-)
2:57 AM
I guessed that ;)
:4426 this will be my first 4e game also
somebody shoul give JRRodri17 a link to the google doc, even if he can't make it to chat yet
He's got the link.
He just doesn't have 'net yet.
for new players ;-)
2:59 AM
He'll catch up tomorrow.
A: Playing 4th Ed D&D for the first time, what should I read to avoid holding everyone back.

C. RossIf your expected to bring a character you should definitely bring that. If you're going to make a character there you should come with an idea about the following things (but remain flexible, you idea may not be exactly what you end up with). Character name Character race (Human, Dwarf, Elf, H...

so which direction on the google doc is my "left"
down, as it says

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