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12:02 AM
@BESW They certainly do. Especially when they are still armed with the weapons they wielded in life.
@SimonGill Barrows are good for that too.
(If I want a coherent fantasy source to pull British Isles content from, I go to the Chronicles of Prydain.)
(And, um, I ignore the Disney film entirely.)
@BESW There was a disney film?
Anyway... is sleep time. See you guys later :)
12:17 AM
@SimonGill ah, yes. The Black Cauldron.
Very forgettable, although it had some interesting fog effects.
I fully expect someone to try reviving the series, in this age of obscure fantasy series being milked for revenue.
I also fully expect it to be as abysmally disappointing as The Seeker.
(Now THERE was a good solid British Isles fantasy series firmly rooted.)
Hey, remember the tiefling Matron who speaks through undead mouthpieces? I'm gonna have her send a minotaur zombie to speak for her at the negotiation.
12:37 AM
@Phil Hi!
Trying to get my head around Dresden Files RPG - first FATE game I've ever really read, and not sure where to start :os
Ah, yeah. I'm in a similar position.
@SimonGill has been very helpful.
Got it for Xmas - read both books but nothing has gone in yet
Anything in particular you'd like to talk about in it?
Not really
Need to work out how to start remembering and understanding the rules
Create my own cheat sheets etc
12:44 AM
One of my problems with DFRPG is that while it's a very entertaining read it's a little chattier than it needs to be, and this obscures some of the rules.
The FATE core (which is coming out soon!) is much more accessible.
One thing I'm having a little trouble getting my head around is the number of trappinigs with some of the skills
@Phil Such as?
they seem to be very broad within each skill
For example - Scholarship
Trappings - Answers, Computer Use, Declaring Minor Details, Exposition and Knowledge Dumping, Languages, Medical Attention, Research and Lab Work
That means that if you are "Good" and Scholarship then you are "Good" at all the trappings yes?
12:47 AM
Fair enough.
What if you want a character who is good with all of those except say Languages?
or probably more realistically, Medical Attention
@Phil Yes, although even an astonishingly high Scholarship skill won't let you do heart surgery without some stunts.
Yeah I get that
still seems an extremely broad skill though
maybe I'm just too used to more prescriptive, detailed rules systems :)
Then I would say it's entirely appropriate to either make sure one of your aspects is easily compellable re: not liking blood.
Or you could just choose never to use the skill in that way.
12:49 AM
@Phil That may be so. I'm from a similar background, and having a hard time knowing where to draw the line.
If you want a mechanic, make it very tempting for the GM to regularly invoke an aspect against that use you don't want to have.
And remember --you can compel yourself.
Also, its generally been a looooooooong time since I tried running a game with a set of rules I have no experience in evening playing
what do you mean by 'you can compel yourself'?
you mean as a player or GM?
As a player.
ah cool, yeah I get that
But yes, the easiest thing would just be to not use that application of the skill unless the situation would force your character into it.
(And in that case, the GM should feel free to work with you on making it difficult.)
Taking an aspect that reflects why you're not so good at that application shouldn't be hard either.
If you don't want to be good at Languages, you could have an aspect that reveals your character's insular, sheltered, or xenophobic nature.
Or just "Not So Much With The Talking," indicating a disinclination to use language as a tool entirely.
hmm, interesting - didn't think of it like that :)
1:01 AM
(Interestingly, "Not So Much With The Talking" takes on an entirely different colour depending on the character's other aspects: he might be a shoot-first brawler, or a shy bookworm.)
@Phil Yeah, the FATE system's core gimmick is that your character's personality becomes his mechanics.
RP as crunch.
So if he's not good with language, he should have a mechanic that says so: an aspect that says something about him which contains that information.
That makes sense - thanks :)
This is one reason you can re-name an aspect at the end of EVERY session if you want; characters change and evolve, and so the mechanics that reflect their personalities have to change too.
yesterday, by Tynam
...pithy Aspect phrases is an art that I'm still learning. One tip so far: when a player Aspect describes a skill or mindset, try rephrasing to describe how they got that way. (Allow players to rewrite aspect phrasing in the first couple of sessions if something better comes up.) Example from play: "Muscled and charges in" on our white council apprentice got way better once we changed it to "I was the college quarterback."
yeah, I was reading back through that conversation a little earlier
I expect to be instigating a lot of FATE conversations next week when the FATE Core goes public, about how to make its more streamlined ideas backwards-compatible with the DFRPG.
$10 for pdfs of all that kickstarter content is a steal.
Gotta go now. Hope to see you around again soon!
1:21 AM
thx for the help :)
2:13 AM
@BESW Oh just the currently running, etc area. I'd not thought about that. :)
2 hours later…
4:00 AM
1 hour later…
5:24 AM
@BrianBallsun-Stanton Urgh?
@BESW urrrrrrrrrrrrrgh
I agree whole-heartedly.
5:41 AM
I visited my FLGS today.
First time, actually.
It's run solo by an 80-year-old prepper who deliberately operates at or below cost.
5:59 AM
The main room is lined with model vintage cars, used DVDs, obscure action figures, a life-like cat statue with rabbit fur, and a table of beat-up comics. Its main income is obviously trading cards. There are no dice beyond the standard cheap plastic d4/6/8/10/12/20, the D&D section seems to have been abandoned to its own devices a couple years ago, the miniature selection is minimal, odd, and exclusively plastic.
And the gaming room is lined with (I was told) enough supplies to feed a family of ten for a year.
@BESW uhhhhhhh
that's.... special
Based on my conversation with the guy (who is quite nice, in his own crazy-old-guy kinda way), the D&D community here split and shattered around 4e.
@BESW aaah
also, yay for hotel with a curtain (I kid you not) as the "sheet" and... no hot water.
There's one 3.5 group he knows about, and there's a "Looking For Group" index card on his notice board that says "Nick" wants to play 3.5... or any other D&D edition... or any system, really.
@BESW ::wince::
6:11 AM
The store owner makes his game room available to anyone who wants to use it, free of charge, because it's mostly TCGers who more than make up for costs by buying cards.
So... if my group ever wants an extra 15 minutes' drive each way to play under the baleful gaze of a wall of plastic bins filled with tuna and beans, he's got us covered!
I've never actually met a Quirky NPC before.
6:15 AM
The life-like cat statue with rabbit fur? It's a new line of product he's hoping to start carrying: Fake Sleeping Cats.
They use rabbit fur because covering them with actual cat fur would be creepy.
@BESW oh.... oookay. Sure, of course it ... is
3 hours later…
9:16 AM
Q: How do you build a medieval political campaign?

FlammaA friend of mine is running a campaign and wants to make a political twist. As he knows I use to play that gamestyle (although in a contemporary setting), he has asked me to get involved on the setting design. The campaign will be based on a city state in Middle Earth norwest. I have made up an ...

This question is very very specific: they're asking for third-party sources of advice on a particular campaign setting/genre collision.
9:29 AM
@BESW yeah.
Just saw it myself and went "errr"
I just dropped a comment on it.
Middle Earth =! medieval.
I mean, there's a raging debate among Tolkienites about whether Rohan specifically was medieval.
9:50 AM
@Rob Hi!
Morning @BESW :)
It does say "based on a city state" so may just be the maps and so on with the magic, orcs and whatnot ripped out...
Yes, well, if that's the case then they need to be a bit more explicit.
I'd run with a Florentine model, myself.
Make some npcs, make a political structure, give the pcs some links, throw them into the mess and see what happens
democracy, monarchy, communism, it can all be worked
9:55 AM
Dinner, must dash.
10:24 AM
1 hour later…
11:36 AM
@BESW Morning :)
@SimonGill Marnin'.
@BESW I saw your conversation with Phil. You gave him some good advice :)
@SimonGill Ah, thank you. I learned from the best.
@BESW Hehe, you're welcome :)
How's the plotting for the diplomacy session going?
The Matron is going to be using an undead minotaur as her mouthpiece. I shall attempt a bad James Earl Jones impression.
11:46 AM
Oh dear... How bad is bad?
@SimonGill My voice is un-deep enough that I have been mistaken for a woman.
That... could be interesting.
If you practice a little, you might get the womans voice coming out of a very deep voicebox/lungs.
I'm thinking about a line like "As a courtesy to you, I speak with her words, but not her Voice."
I can dig down for a good deep tone, but it's not easy to sustain and I can't get much variety or emotion.
@BESW It is an undead beast... do they have much variety or emotion?
@SimonGill Truth.
So we've got the monotone Darth Vader minotaur speaking for the Matron. I like it.
11:58 AM
You'll just have to be clever with the words to provide dramatic interest.
She's not gonna talk much, I expect.
hello, BESW
@Flamma Hi!
You've got some interesting responses to that question.
Do you think the question is unclear?
I think it's simultaneously a little too open-ended and a little too specific. The answers you've gotten are ignoring the exact request you made because it's so specific, and are struggling with being relevant to your needs because of the open-ended nature of your framework.
Your specific request is for "simple, but well thought sources (books, articles,...) for advice on medieval political campaigns."
brb, sorry.
12:12 PM
Ooohhhhh, DriveThruRPG has gotten all(most?) of the old DnD books - dndclassics.com
Hey @Cat - are you still looking for sounds? Just seen this in the feed: feedproxy.google.com/~r/rpgbloggers/~3/oBj9gAS8q4E
@Flamma So, given that medieval politics has very little in common with the Middle Earth setting (the point of religion is a major one, as any medieval or Renaissance social or political discussion is going to be steeped in religion), I think people are very confused about what might answer your specific question.
I suppose the crux of the matter is: Are you looking for Middle Earth material, or medieval material? Which is the real foundation of your campaign?
@BESW well, religion is off. But there are still a lot of powers that would exist
I have made a list
Either can inform the other, but neither is going to work in the other context without a lot of handwaving.
Basically: government, military, guilds, prestamists
12:18 PM
@BESW This is the important question to make sense of what will help.
for instance, some advice in a Song of Ice and Fire RPG, would still be useful
if you know how to translate
Let me ask it another way: Why did you use word "medieval" in your question, rather than asking for advice on running a Middle Earth political campaign?
I think there isn't a lot of sources for political intrigue in Middle Earth, so I can use generic advice
Because if there is material for a political D&D, Stormbringer, Song of Ice and Fire,... campaign is still useful to me
@Flamma Okay, then say that. Asking for specifically medieval advice is confusing everyone and skewing the answers you get away from usefulness.
Maybe I fail to understand the "medieval" word
12:22 PM
You could use medieval politics as an example of the kind of thing you're looking for, but the question as currently worded makes it a restriction.
@Flamma It has lots of connotations that conflict with the Middle Earth setting.
I thought that without being too rigid, the Middle Earth setting was medieval
By specifying "medieval," you're asking for information related to European history from roughly 1100 AD to 1450 AD.
Would it be better if I replace "medieval" by "fantasy"
It's not quite what I was trying to say, but...
@Flamma Hobbits are largely based on late 19th-century English farmers. Dwarves are Semitic.
12:26 PM
In Spain there was jews in Middle Age
@Flamma The setting as a whole has a more Iron Age flavour to it.
@Flamma Medieval Spain was full of Jews because it was run by the Muslims, who were the only Europeans at the time who treated them like people.
(as long as I know Dwarves in that city are based on them)
Which has no parallel in Middle Earth.
And after the lands were reconquered, jews still lived there
12:28 PM
@Flamma Say exactly what you mean: That you're looking for information to help you run a political campaign in a Middle-Earth city-state, and you're specifically hoping for discussions of using real-life examples, perhaps from Medieval Europe.
Problem is I don't want to skew other sources
@Flamma Not sure what you mean?
Me neither
For example if you are a veteran D&D GM expert on political campaigns, but with few interest on Middle Earth I still want you
(Excuse my explanations. I'm not a native english speaker)
@Flamma I assure you, this community will be happy to offer any advice that might possibly be cogent, provided you give them the inches.
12:31 PM
It sounds like you know what you want but are too afraid that specifying it will shut off answers and approaches you might not have thought of
@Flamma No problem, many native speakers are no more fluent.
The thing is that generic advice about fantasy campaigns suits me very well
that's why I wasn't very specific
If you don't mind, I'd like to try re-writing your question a little and see if I can help nail this down.
It's ok.
@Flamma You might be better off saying that you are running a Middle Earth game and you are looking for help from a range of sources.
12:34 PM
@Flamma It's not gonna take much, just a little nip and tuck.
@BESW so you try first, and I later add or modify if I still think it needs to be clarified. Is that?
@Flamma I'm working on a simple edit now.
Is this the heart of your question?
I am interested in guidelines and sources of advice for designing political fantasy campaigns. They don't have to be Middle-earth specific, but ideas about converting them to Middle-earth would also be helpful.
That's good.
Q: Advice and sources for designing a fantasy political campaign?

FlammaA friend of mine is running a Middle-earth campaign and wants to make a political twist. As he knows I use to play that gamestyle (although in a contemporary setting), he has asked me to get involved on the setting design. The campaign will be based on a city state in Middle-earth norwest. I am ...

If you hate it, you can revert the edit.
Many thanks
12:42 PM
My pleasure.
I... do have to say I agree with that -1 comment on Dale M's answer.
He starts out by saying small nations only survive with geographic protection, and concludes by pointing out the Italian city-states, which were basically small nations without geographic protection.
He's right that the d'Medicis (and Florence in general, and the Italian city-states even more so) are a fabulous source of political intrigue you could never hope to match in fiction.
@BESW Distance is geographic protection up to the end of the medieval period.
Also, the misuse of the "medieval" word seems to have centered him too much in Europe
Interesting, anyway
But I don't think they'd work in ME without being re-written so much it'd be pointless to start with them...
@Phil Belated hi again!
[points to @SimonGill] This is the guy whose brain I pick about all things FATE.
12:48 PM
Hi @Phil :)
1:03 PM
@Phil How's it going?
3 hours later…
4:19 PM
@SimonGill Not too bad. Trying to get my head around a couple of new RPG systems I got for Christmas
I saw the conversation about DFRPG. Good choice :)
The other one is Unknown Armies
which appeals to the sadistic/nasty GM in me :D
That has had very good reviews. One I've definitely wanted to try.
Its system is very familiar, based on percentile stuff, but its fluff/background is unlike anything else I've ever heard of
and there are 5 types of madness you can succumb too :)
@Phil That seems excessive, and yet, not excessive enough!
4:24 PM
You get five 'stresses' - Violence, Unnatural, Helplessness, Isolation and Self
Each is tracked individually and you can gradually lose control of any of them
DO you get to keep playing once you've destroyed your mind?
At a certain point your mind breaks and you have the choice of whether to flee, fight or freeze
Destroying your mind is a prerequiste to the majority of the magic available in the setting
@Phil Say what now?
i.e. you have to be a little insane to beleive stuff that cant possibly be true
to beleive you can do stuff which shouldn't be possible etc
told you it was a bit different :)
@Phil ah, that makes slightly more sense
So it's like Mage pushed further with a personality mechanic that works?
4:27 PM
Apparently so - I've not seen Mage so I wouldn't know
Fair enough. What games have you played?
Magic is based around obsession - if you are obsessed with books you are able to do Bibliomancy, and you draw your magical charges from the large library of books you have to keep
Savage Worlds, D&D 4e, Tri-Stat, WHFRP, Dark Heresy, Fiasco
D&D 3.5, Pathfinder
I think thats about it
Good mix. I can see your Fiasco games getting... interesting
I naturally gravitate to dark/horror/gritty settings when I am GMing
Zombies, Deadlands, apocolypse etc
so both Unknown Armies and Dresden Files seem to be a good fit :)
How about you?
The waking of dread Cthulu?
4:32 PM
Ah, forgot about Chthulu - played CoC and Delta Green too
@Phil Lessee... Tiny bit of D&D 2E, quite a bit of 3E and 3.75 and some 4E. Mutants and Masterminds, GURPs (eww), touched on Deadlands/Savage Worlds, Exalted 1 and 2E, Old Vampire Mage and Werewolf, New Vampire Werewolf and Changeling, as little 6d6 as I could get away with and lastly, FATE.
Oh, and some Traveller20 too.
Wait, how could I forget Call of Cthulu d20 myself? And the game of WFRP 3E I was playing?
too many to remember :)
Yeah, just a few. I'm sure I'm missing something as well.
Obviously can't be important, can it?
And now I'm updating my profile with all my gaming history. I blame you :P
4:46 PM
5:01 PM
oh dear... I'm remembering that session.
It was an nWoD game. A bunch of mages "allied" with the vampires of Las Vegas and offered them a free feeding ground where their true nature couldn't be discovered and blood would be freely offered to anyone who wants it.
The only downside - the spell they used made every vampire look like they came from Twilight and every mortal woman into a Bella replica.
Yeah... I think I broke one player then.
Mage is the one where magic is real, it's powerful, but tampering with reality is BAD, right?
5:07 PM
Yeah. This world has physics, but there are the Realms Above which have different sets of rules. A Mage is attuned to one of those realms and can use the spheres to call down the greater rules.
Unfortunately, there was a cataclysm in early history (supposedly Atlantis) which widened the gap between us and the Supernal Realms, making it more difficult to do so.
The idea of the Vegas mages was to build a power generator and prime it with pure sexual energy from the club that could then be used to build a new Silver Ladder to bridge the Abyss.
Another setting using Atlantis? Seems to come up in almost every alternate earth/fantasy setting
Are Vegas mages required to have snappy suits?
What they didn't know was that their method was flawed and would have cratered half of the US if the players hadn't interfered.
@MadMAxJr A few did ;)
@Phil Yeah, but the old version didn't. It's a black mark on an otherwise good game.
Thats one of the main reasons I find Unknown Armies so fresh - it doesn't tend to force you to use any of the common supernatural tropes
@Phil That's good! Unclear histories are usually helpful for GMs who want to be creative.
3 hours later…
7:48 PM
Q: How to Determine *Honest* Sincerity

CatLordThe specific example I am working with is the Sincerity (Honesty) skill in L5R but there is a certain factor of curiosity for any other system: How do you really roll to tell the truth and logically fail? After all, if someone is trying to "sense motive" (to use D&D 3.x terminology), and th...

This is an excellent question.
1 hour later…
8:50 PM
@SimonGill I usually let the players decide if they want to believe someone.
I mean. If someone is "telling the truth" he might be honest or good at deception
So there's actually no mundane way to be sure a true sentence is really true
@Zachiel That's the important thing about Sincerity - it's not about truth, it's about presentation.
plus, if someone tells something that's not true but he really believes it is?
I'm not talking about sincerity now
@Zachiel What context are we talking in then?
I'm talking about the description @CatLord gave
what do you roll when someone tells the truth to understand he tells the truth (or not doubting he's lieing?)
So, it's a D&D context then. There isn't a skill for telling the truth. There is a skill for getting someone to do something because they are your friend (Diplomacy) or you'll hurt them (Intimidate) and a skill for persuading someone that something is true (Bluff).
8:56 PM
It's a real life thing too.
You can be sure someone is bluffing
You can never be sure someone is being honest
@Zachiel Yep. You can't prove that something didn't happen.
And even if we were talking about D&D the only one thing Bluff does is convincing the opponent that you truly believe what you're saying
Real life has added wrinkles, which I touched on in my answer.
Two people, telling the same truth, can be believed differently, depending on how they are connected to the receiver.
speaking of which, I must go convincing a guy that rule 0 is not "a necessary evil"
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