General Tabletop RPG Thread


Looks like you can download a PDF of the rulebook here for $5.

The art is kind of janky.


Question for you roleplayers out there. What card size would you prefer for a game which used cards for gear management. Just in terms of hand-feel.


Seven, but a lot of that is influanced by my playing Magic.


Bridge- or Poker-size if I’m expected to hold them in my hand. Mini-euro cards are fine if I can leave them on the table. Tarot-size is just silly.


A game where you’re using cards, but you’re encouraged to “cheat” by trying to see other players cards, stacking the deck, etc… Set the bounds of the kinds of “cheating” allowed and make that the game.


I would probably suggest standard playing card size. Then when players print their own cards, they can just print them on normal paper and put them in card sleeves with some playing cards to give them proper thickness for better handling.


While I basically play 0 card games where this is useful to me, and I own 0 card sleeves. This is a brilliant idea. I’m quite honestly surprised I’ve never thought of it.


I want the Luke Crane quote from PAX Prime 2015’s Far Future of Gaming about how rpgs are great tech because once civilization has collapsed and we’re huddled around burnt-out tvs we’ll still have games we can play.


It’s been about 4 years since I’ve played Pathfinder. And despite enjoying D&D 5e, and appreciating 4e for what it is, I have an undeniable affinity for the fiddliness of 3.5 D&D that is consistent with my love for all of the little subsystems in Burning Wheel.

So we played Pathfinder. Got together with Anthony and Dan, bought an adventure path adventure that we all agreed sounded pretty great, and went for it. We’re logging here:

[URL=“”]Iron Gods AP[/URL]

There was a lot of good stuff in that first session, mostly in the dungeon.

  • The PCs recovered a corpse that happened to have a [URL=“”]Russet Mold[/URL] infection. Watch and Yohuali don’t have the Knowledge skill to actually identify Russet Mold, and the players didn’t suspect anything either, so I was making notes about the chest-burster problems they were going to have coming back out of the dungeon. Yohuali has a thing where he will pour one out for dead adventurers, so he grabbed the corpse’s hip flask and poured one out [I]onto[/I] his body, accidentally sterilizing the infection. I gave up the secret at that point, it was too good.

  • There was a memorable series of bad rolls in a warren full of traps and teleporting gremlins… Yohuali failed a Disable Device check and set off a swinging, spring-loaded spike at ankle height. I rolled to hit with the trap and got a natural 1. Everyone was on the same page for what that crit fumble had to be: one of the of the gremlins teleports in from outside the dungeon using Dimension Door at exactly the wrong time, and gets spiked in the shoulder. I roll damage, and it doesn’t even die because of Cold Iron damage reduction, but it’s only got 1hp and immediately scampers away clutching at the jagged spike in its shoulder.

  • Watch experiencing vague sense-memories from past lives really works for me as a way to explain high Knowledge check results, and totally fits the Android lore.

  • Outside the dungeon, Watch nailed a Diplomacy check to placate a malfunctioning, destructive repair robot crashing through the tavern. She is a Ranger archetype dealing specifically with constructs, and her Wild Empathy works on constructs instead of animals, and it came up almost immediately. Now the broken thing is chained up at home like an injured old lovable dog.

The first scene could have been better… I spent 15 minutes on NPC talky exposition at the start when all we really needed was some descriptive color about the town to set the mood. We had already fleshed out the characters and the starting situation from the adventure over IM and face to face; if Dolga seems boring, it’s my fault for having her explain stuff we already knew before we started playing. Two years ago, I was pretty happy with how I handled stuff like this when we played 5e. I’m happier doing “lore” info-dumps between sessions, so the game is about what the PCs are doing.


Our group sampled various D&D-flavored systems: Torchbearer, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, and Dungeon Crawl Classics. Torchbearer has a lot of required player buy-in, and it’s hard to find players. Lamentations is borderline sadistic depending on the adventure. We mostly settled on DCC for our dungeon delving fun, but we’re planning on switching back to TB once Middarmark comes up.

I can see why people might like Pathfinder, but it doesn’t have the right player and GM work/payoff ratio that I want in a system. It’s clunky, and it basically asks the GM to pick and choose what rules to apply, which is not how I want to roll.

I just finished reading all the Lamentations books I own (as physical books) looking for DCC fodder. When it’s my turn to GM, I’ll probably start them off with Scenic Dunnsmouth and tie that into Maze of the Blue Medusa.

On a unrelated note, the Paranoia boxed set is finally shipping so that’s next on my reading list.


Computer. Please give me a mission to fight dirty communists next PAX South.


I’m not sure about attending ConnectiCon, but there’s also PAX Unplugged!


I can totally sympathize with this. The prep-work alone would put me off if I couldn’t just take published adventures and tweak stuff.


The prep work is never worth it, even with published adventures. It really hurts to watch a DM try and paint a story while the players constantly interrupt to go back to arguing with some imaginary merchant about the price of an imaginary Imaginary Goat. Then they go to some place where the DM spent a day designing a room to weave in a player’s backstory, only to have them walk in and immediately murder everyone inside before anyone can say a word.


My technique comes down to:

It would be impossible if I hadn’t already put in my 10,000 hours in high school, and subsequently played a dozen other games that systematize prep in some way so I can digest a published adventure and then run it from scraps of notecards or a google doc which is little more than a bulleted list and important numbers. I still fuck up sometimes and end up playing too much before we actually play, but I find the process kind of enjoyable.


I still want to GM a local game of FFG Star Wars because it doesn’t seem as much work as running crunchier systems and I know the Star Wars universe better than any traditional Fantasy-based world.


[URL=“”]Iron Gods Session 2[/URL]

Spoilers if you’re planning on playing this adventure at some point, naturally.

Cool stuff…

  • I love “draw 2, pick 1” for the critical hit and fumble decks. We’re only using the Critical Hit deck for PCs, and only using the Fumble deck for NPCs, so it has the unintended side-effect of letting players have some kind of narrative control in the middle of a melee with a badass level 3 juju zombie Fighter. (Two crits and two fumbles in that fight!)
  • Going to the dice to see if there was a masterwork backpack available in Torch (‘no’, on a 90% chance of ‘yes’) kicked off a sequence of events I’ve been wanting to see ever since I read Keep on the Borderlands as a kid. It was pretty awesome to watch a PC actually take an evil NPC’s cash and carry it out in a stolen backpack - cat burglar!
  • As we get farther into this dungeon, I can feel myself drawing on all of the James Raggi dungeons I’ve read. Not necessarily in terms of fuckery, but in the old school back and forth where the GM behaves more like a text parser.
  • Watch and Yohuali don’t have any magic detection or Spellcraft between them. On one hand, it means things are properly mysterious (the techno-artifacts seem more knowable than some of the spell effects) but it also makes some things pretty random. Granted, you can’t reasonably do the legwork on the part of the dungeon they just cleared without Comprehend Languages.

What could have been better…

  • We’re awarding Hero Points from the APG using ad-hoc end of session mechanics (‘ok, who did something cool this time?’). It mostly works, but it’s generous. Pathfinder character sheets don’t have any flags that naturally plug into reward systems like that, so we’re winging it. I’d like to get [I]something[/I] down as a rule, even if it’s just codifying what we’re already doing.
  • It’s a minor thing, but I could have teased a bit more interaction out of Watch commissioning armor for her animal companion (armor for a giant alien chinchilla isn’t something you see every day!)


The GMing best practices in Blades in the Dark are great. A lot of them express ideas I’ve almost- or unknowingly arrived at.

Apocalypse World made me look at RPGs in a completely different way, but Blades digests those same ideas and pushes them into a shape that fits my preferences very well.

[QUOTE]Be a curious explorer of the game in play. Ask the players questions to feed your own interest in the ongoing fiction in which the PCs are protagonists. Your game series is a cool TV show and you’re its biggest fan. When you’re curious about something that a PC says or does, ask them about it! [I]“I’m curious, though, when you tell him you’d do anything to help, do you really mean that? Anything? Are you that kind of person? Or are you just manipulating him?”[/I] These questions will often lead to goals, approaches, and rolls.[/QUOTE]


Summer is the time of Kickstarter deliveries. Received in the last two months or so:

  • Paranoia — Read it, ran it, rereading it now to run at a convention next weekend. This is the one I’ve most deeply explored. More on that below.
  • Inheritance — I really want to play this once before I attempt to facilitate it. The facilitator instructions have some spoilers. A local friend also bought a copy, and we’re trying to organize a place and full roster of players.
  • Blades in the Dark — I keep hearing great things. I didn’t read the preview versions because I’d rather save time by reading the final version. Soon!
  • Ghost Court — It’s a larp disguised as a party game. Sneaky! This looks short and sweet, so I might also have it ready for next weekend.

Things I really like about Paranoia (2016):

  • Group character creation simultaneously bootstraps hostility.
  • Cards for secret societies, mutant powers, non-standard equipment, player-driven interrupts, mandatory bonus duties, etc.
  • Players rolling all the dice. When the GM screws you, you know it was your fault.
  • Player-facing rewards through explicit, in-game gamification.
  • Many things are simplified to get things started more quickly and with less GM prep.

Things I’m not sure about:

  • The (technically optional) initiative system is hard to explain and fell flat in play. That latter problem might have been a bootstrapping issue in getting players to be more antagonistic to each other. I’ll have a new data point soon.
  • The three included missions are weak. Now, one is super introductory for both new players and especially new GMs, so maybe that’s ok. The last mission is the most promising and complicated of the bunch, but I always want more things to throw at players when the excitement dies down.
  • The GM screen. Works fine as a screen, I suppose, but is a bit tall. The screen has it’s own hack of the initiative system on the player-facing side, but initiative is complicated enough so I haven’t dared try it.

Things I dislike:

  • Not as funny as Paranoia 2nd Edition (my gold standard).
  • Fewer tables to mine for ideas. Yes, this version is explicit about Making Shit Up, but I love having tables to get the ideas flowing.
  • Could have used another copyediting pass.


So FFG is spinning off their RPG into a generic RPG license called Gensys