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Seatox
Mar 12, 2012


Paladine, turn in your God Card. You're fired.

You'd think idiot-mc-godface would have noticed the whole draconian thing going on and put two-and-two together. "Geee, all these dragon-men are kinda like twisted, corrupted mini-metallic dragons, wherever did they come from?"

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Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Seatox posted:

Paladine, turn in your God Card. You're fired.

You'd think idiot-mc-godface would have noticed the whole draconian thing going on and put two-and-two together. "Geee, all these dragon-men are kinda like twisted, corrupted mini-metallic dragons, wherever did they come from?"

Like Istar, Paladine is kind of Lawful Stupid rather than Lawful Good.

Wait, Istar was Lawful Evil.

Wait, Fizban's monkeycheese antics aren't Lawful, at least not in the way most D&D gamers think of said alignment.

Wait...what alignment is Paladine again?

In a similar example, the reliance upon the letter of the law was portrayed as a large hindrance of the Solamnic Knights, their leadership unwilling to adapt to new things to the point that it was stifling their ability to be properly Lawful Good. Derek Crownguard holding a high rank in spite of his many character faults was meant to demonstrate this.

So if anything the whole "YOU BETRAYED THE OATH" thing makes Paladine and the gods of light closer to the "outdated relic" when in fact a big point of the adventure and novels is that their return to Krynn is a good thing.

Seatox
Mar 12, 2012


Libertad! posted:

Like Istar, Paladine is kind of Lawful Stupid rather than Lawful Good.

Wait, Istar was Lawful Evil.

Wait, Fizban's monkeycheese antics aren't Lawful, at least not in the way most D&D gamers think of said alignment.

Wait...what alignment is Paladine again?

In a similar example, the reliance upon the letter of the law was portrayed as a large hindrance of the Solamnic Knights, their leadership unwilling to adapt to new things to the point that it was stifling their ability to be properly Lawful Good. Derek Crownguard holding a high rank in spite of his many character faults was meant to demonstrate this.

So if anything the whole "YOU BETRAYED THE OATH" thing makes Paladine and the gods of light closer to the "outdated relic" when in fact a big point of the adventure and novels is that their return to Krynn is a good thing.

Honestly, it's just all so badly written - like, TVTropes levels of "well let's just throw in three pages of Capitalized References To Stupid Memes, that's what makes a story, right?"

Omnicrom
Aug 3, 2007
Snorlax Afficionado




I am starting to get the feeling that maybe the people were extremely within their rights to abandon the gods.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!



Dragons of Light: 3rd Edition Changes

Obligatory blog post link.

1. There’s no introductory discussion on the different elf types on account that the 3rd Edition “core” sourcebooks already do this.

2. Making D’argent a PC is no longer an option which you can randomly roll: instead it’s suggested as a possibility to discuss privately with a player you trust for the role if you want to go that route. There’s also explanations of what their dragon-disguised D’argent forms are doing and how they’ll try to convince the PCs to visit the Stone Dragon fortress. She is also using a shapeshift spell-like ability rather than a magic jar spell to hijack a person’s body. This means that the “real” NPC is still around but elsewhere, meaning if she’s disguised as Fizban the inevitable encounter with said wizard will be a dead giveaway there’s an imposter (and thus causes said confrontation).

3. The initial white dragon encounter still happens at the beginning, but if the PCs killed Sleet in Dragons of Ice it will be Squall, a much weaker dragon who is the mount of Flight Marshal Odenkeer (who we’ll talk about later. The “replacement dragon” in the AD&D version is a nameless dragon scout from Daltigoth; the D20 version just gave him a name and personality.

4. It’s no longer listed as an evil act to attack the Silvanesti hunting party. Also most Qualinesti NPCs are listed as Chaotic Good, with most Silvanesti Lawful Neutral. The Kagonesti are overall Neutral. In spite of this the nominally freedom-loving Qualinesti are just as eager to enslave the Kagonesti and treat them like trash and hate Laurana for her relationship with the half-elf Tanis.

5. There’s detailed write-ups of the various important figures in the elven lands and their personalities and initial attitudes when meeting the PCs.

6. The disguised ogre mage’s poison is incapable of killing the PCs but can knock them unconscious. Which can still be a lovely TPK given that he’ll attack the PCs once some or all of them succumb to the poison.

7. Several encounters in the wilderness are changed and some new ones are added as well. The Mountains of Ergoth, in addition to having treacherous terrain, have ogre war parties aided by harpy archers, while the legendary boar Harkunos the Thunderer is capable of casting spells from the Strength domain and can shapechange into humanoid form (in AD&D he was just a really big boar).

8. Some DMPC and potential D’argent-disguised characters have different classes and roles: Silvart, formerly a Fighter/Thief, is now a Druid/Rogue with actual spellcasting; Porthios is a Noble/Fighter at 10th level rather than just a Fighter; Theros Ironfeld is an 11th-level Master specializing in Craft skills rather than a meager 3rd-level Fighter (his combat capabilities are still sub-par). Finally, the gnome Theodenes is a multi-class Fighter/Master/Ranger rather than a pure Fighter: some of him more ‘techy’ abilities include alchemical weapons like thunderstones and tanglefoot bags, an “Exploit Weakness” class feature which lets her add Intelligence instead of Strength/Dexterity to attack rolls, and a Gnome Toolbelt which can let him temporarily turn equipment masterwork by spending Tool Points and regain said points by breaking down items and traps.

9. Although not a change per se, the writers saw fit to make the ogres’ farming beasts of burden just as tough in the edition transition. Baluchitheriums are Challenge Rating 9, have 184 hit points, and can dish out a lot of damage in melee. But like all non-magical giant animals they lack the means of attacking enemies which can keep out of their range.

10. The ruined city of Daltigoth is still overall undetailed, but the book points out that there’s more information in the War of the Lance sourcebook now published.

11. An encounter with will-o-wisps in some salt marshes has actual magical treasure in the form of a Wand of Fireballs (that’ll be useful!), two Elixirs of Hiding, and a +2 Mighty Cleaving Battleaxe. This magical weapon property lets the user make a bonus Cleave attack against a second opponent within reach. For our non-D20 readers, Cleave was a notable feat which let you make a bonus attack against an enemy in melee when you KO or kill a different enemy in the same round.
12. If the PCs rob the Tomb of Huma of the sword and shield magical items or D’argent’s personal treasure hoard, the dragon will protest against doing so regardless of what form she has (or growl and snarl if in animal form) but will not attack the party if they ignore her. She will ask them to return the treasures once she reveals her true form to the PCs, trusting that this will give some authority to her request.

13. The tribe of aarakocra the PCs can meet in the Hidden Vale are replaced by Kyrie, a different race of flying bird-people who are also native to Krynn; their tribe is called the Aara-Kocra, which is a none-too-subtle nod to their original species. If D’argent is disguised as the elven leader Porthios, she will be treated well due to taking him there while he was wounded to recover while she was disguised as Fizban. Hearing about this from the kyrie can tip off the party to a potential imposter.

14. The Stone Dragon in Foghaven Vale is occupied by a White Dragonarmy officer, Flight Marshal Odenkeer, and his sivak draconian minions who fill up a few otherwise empty rooms. Odenkeer’s mission is to find the well of dragonmetal and taint it to prevent the creation of any more Dragonlances. He sought to hire Vanderjack’s band for aid, but sent the sivak draconians to kill and impersonate his associates (who he has less need of) as an insurance policy if the legendary mercenary decided to turn upon him. Odenkeer is purely martial, being a Fighter with levels in Rogue Knight (think martial rogue) and Legendary Tactician.

15. If Feal-Thas somehow survived Dragons of Ice, he will replace Odenkeer here.

16. The Guardian of the Lances, that super-boss construct who becomes more powerful the more PCs who fight it at once, is present. Instead of gaining strength from being attacked, it gains power with every opponent of evil alignment it drops.

17. The room with the Guardian is also the room which the PCs will fight Flight Marshal Odenkeer, a pair of sivaks, and possibly Vanderjack who will turn on the party if he’s an NPC/not D’argent. The Guardian already killed 6 draconians previously, and Odenkeer will try to out-maneuver the PCs by putting them and the Guardian in its line of fire if possible. Odenkeer, if successfully fled, will fight the PCs after drinking an invisibility potion down at the Heart level with the Dragonmetal Pool. There’s a giant celestial basilisk instead of a stone golem guarding the forge level who can be dismissed by D’argent. The battle becomes a race against time as Odenkeer will make a mad race for the dragonmetal pool, possessing a foul liquid substance which he can use to corrupt it. Even if poured in, the pool’s corruption can be countered by positive energy magic, but once the corruption is complete only the willing self-sacrifice of a good-aligned character can restore the pool to its original state.

18. The fight with the three white dragons still happens as a climax encounter. But dragonlances do not break off into an enemy’s flesh when using them. Additionally, they deal Constitution drain instead of the user’s/mount’s hit points when used against dragons specifically. This applies every hit with no saving throw, and can do even more Constitution on a critical hit, which still makes them very effective weapons.

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 01:47 on Dec 17, 2019

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Omnicrom posted:

I am starting to get the feeling that maybe the people were extremely within their rights to abandon the gods.

I cannot speak for Weis, but when you see the Mormon symbolism behind the Golden Plates Discs of Mishakal, the Abanasinian nomads being based off of Great Plains Native Americans, and Tracy Hickman's Mormon background, the "do as I say not as I do" aspect of the gods makes sense when looking at it through the lens of conservative Christianity. The God of said theological denomination is much like an abusive parent, who lays the fault of their own moral failings at the hands of those they're supposed to protect, and the more 'faithful' followers then go through hoops of rationalization and justification as to how they can willingly worship such an entity (or group of entities in this case) who causes such needless harm.

At risk of mentioning the name of a YouTube chud, a long-ago debate between the evangelical Ray Comfort and the atheist Thunderf00t inadvertently exposed this line of thinking for me. Thunderf00t asked Ray if he'd agree that any action is moral if God condoned it. When Ray said yes, he asked if this would apply to things such as pedophilia. Ray grew uncomfortable and refused to answer the question, citing his 'fear of God' if he spoke honestly. The fact that an omniscient God can read your heart of hearts if He existed is besides the point; the gaslighting of one's own mind or memories is not unlike what happens with an abusive authority figure to further avoid punishment from them.

Dragonlance's whole "the people left the Gods, the Gods did not leave the people" is a kind of "father/mother knows best, you'll come crawling back to me" line of thinking. It gets even more petty when you read the wider sourcebooks which note that various civilizations, such as the dwarves and the elves, still worshiped the gods or honored their contributions to society in an historical sense but were still denied spells.

A lot of the problems people have with the Dragonlance deities is similar to the problems people have with fundamentalist Christianity's conception of God: that of an entity who claims to be loving but is domineering and quick to anger. And that the text both in-character and out sides against the mortals' feeling of loss just compounds things.

Overall I wouldn't group in Mormons with Protestant fundamentalists as they're pretty much their own thing theologically speaking, but the problem of a God who does actions which would be considered immoral if a mortal does it is still present in their religion in places.

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 02:08 on Dec 17, 2019

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Some of it is also that D&D tries really hard to insist these are super good gods, who will be very active and doing good stuff all the time. So when they get written doing shitlord moves or killing people to play wacky wizard it is extra obvious and jarring.

Contrast Hams: The Gods just tend their things. They're mostly good-ish; you honor them properly, they'll help your harvest or give you courage or inspire your judges or whatever. None of them are promising they're the good god of total salvation or anything. They're just normal polytheistic deities who exist in a fantasy setting where that means the proper rites to them sometimes do cool magic stuff. No-one expects Shallya herself to show up, so no-one is at risk of discovering she was actually practicing her juggling act and ignored a viral outbreak or something.

Trying to impose a conservative Christian sensibility over lovely fantasy gods just ends up making the lovely fantasy gods look so much worse.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Night10194 posted:

Some of it is also that D&D tries really hard to insist these are super good gods, who will be very active and doing good stuff all the time. So when they get written doing shitlord moves or killing people to play wacky wizard it is extra obvious and jarring.

This is less D&D in general, more just Dragonlance. :v:

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


PurpleXVI posted:

This is less D&D in general, more just Dragonlance. :v:

Yeah but then you get stuff like the Fiendish Codex where the Good Gods told the future king of Hell he was free to hurt damned souls or whatever, just...do it somewhere we don't have to see it (before he took all the power and hosed them over). Or the whole of the Faerun pantheon, the Wall of the Faithless, etc.

It keeps happening, is all I'm saying.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

In my excitement of reading the update post and penning the list of Edition changes, I forgot to link my blog post of how I ran Dragons of Light.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Seatox posted:

"But they're listed in Mein Kamph as Always Chaotic Evil!" protested the stormtrooper, as he reloaded his sub-machinegun.

what the gently caress

This is the second Nazi adjacent poo poo post I’ve encountered today in otherwise pleasant threads.

The FYAD closure is really loving with this place.

Seatox
Mar 12, 2012


Midjack posted:

what the gently caress

This is the second Nazi adjacent poo poo post I’ve encountered today in otherwise pleasant threads.

The FYAD closure is really loving with this place.

You perhaps missed the discussion about orc children, Garry Gygax's love of genocide and D&D alignments?

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Seatox posted:

You perhaps missed the discussion about orc children, Garry Gygax's love of genocide and D&D alignments?

You’re right, that kind of post is very much on-brand for you. Cheers!

Seatox
Mar 12, 2012


Midjack posted:

You’re right, that kind of post is very much on-brand for you. Cheers!

I will apologize for it, however, because in hindsight it was a very bad, flippant post.

Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


PurpleXVI posted:

Dragonlance



Dragons of Light

Chapter 8: Foghaven Vale

Alright, so when we last left off, the party, accompanied by a random mercenary, a polar bear, a magic elf dog, a native elf, a burly blacksmith with a magic arm and a saber-tooth kitten had finally made it to Foghaven Vale, the only thing between them and getting to the Solamnic Knights on South Ergoth and relative safety. Now, if I tell you that the Solamnic Knights are to the northwest and show you this map:

Can I just say that this would be so much cooler if that was the whole party? A mercenary, native elf and a blacksmith with a magic arm accompanied by their bear, dog and tiger kitten would have been so much more interesting than what we got.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

Everyone posted:

Can I just say that this would be so much cooler if that was the whole party? A mercenary, native elf and a blacksmith with a magic arm accompanied by their bear, dog and tiger kitten would have been so much more interesting than what we got.

When you give people permission to build their own PCs in the Dragonlance Chronicles, you end up with some rather interesting choices.

When I ran the game for 13th Age, we had among our number a punchy sorcerer who was a student at a magic school from another campaign setting, a grim paladin prophet who rarely emoted, a creepy goblin hermit worshiper of Chaos, and a former exiled elf and Dragonarmy officer. And that was just our Winter team!

From my recollection of the time I ran it in high school for 3rd Edition, we had a snooty Silvanesti elf wizard who was a secret pyromaniac and a mountain dwarf fighter with a fondness for riding a horse everywhere to compensate for his stubby dwarf limbs. The other 2 PC identities escape my mind right now, but given how close the traditional Heroes of the Lance adhere to stock fantasy tropes it can be quite fun seeing how original characters can impact the Chronicles in their own offbeat ways.

I will admit that if I ever became a player in a Dragonlance campaign for a change I'd totally love to play a tinker gnome with some crazy-rear end steampunk technology. Ideally if it can be a mech suit or "power glove/gauntlet" to let me punch things real hard despite my small size. Even if it the system we're using doesn't support that concept, I will try reflavoring some magical class if I can.

Libertad! fucked around with this message at 05:00 on Dec 17, 2019

Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


Libertad! posted:

When you give people permission to build their own PCs in the Dragonlance Chronicles, you end up with some rather interesting choices.

When I ran the game for 13th Age, we had among our number a punchy sorcerer who was a student at a magic school from another campaign setting, a grim paladin prophet who rarely emoted, a creepy goblin hermit worshiper of Chaos, and a former exiled elf and Dragonarmy officer. And that was just our Winter team!

From my recollection of the time I ran it in high school for 3rd Edition, we had a snooty Silvanesti elf wizard who was a secret pyromaniac and a mountain dwarf fighter with a fondness for riding a horse everywhere to compensate for his stubby dwarf limbs. The other 2 PC identities escape my mind right now, but given how close the traditional Heroes of the Lance adhere to stock fantasy tropes it can be quite fun seeing how original characters can impact the Chronicles in their own offbeat ways.

I will admit that if I ever became a player in a Dragonlance campaign for a change I'd totally love to play a tinker gnome with some crazy-rear end steampunk technology. Ideally if it can be a mech suit or "power glove/gauntlet" to let me punch things real hard despite my small size. Even if it the system we're using doesn't support that concept, I will try reflavoring some magical class if I can.

I remember playing through the "In Search of Dragons" trilogy with Michael Dobson, a Greyhawk Tallboy Halfling Psionicist/Thief (Investigator Kit) who was Lawful Neutral with rear end in a top hat tendencies. He was great for meeting the "good" dragon who would be insanely cynical/suspicious of the party sneer for sneer.

Dragon: "They just went to the flying citadel to try to steal it."

Dobson: "Please find some other willfully ignorant way to embarrass your species aside from impugning the honor of myself and my associates."

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Yeah, part of the problem with making your own characters for the 1E version of the DL modules, though, is that at least part of the canon party(like Goldmoon) must still be around as NPC's, quickly leading to party bloat, and that so much stuff assumes the presence of the canonical characters. Deviating too much, like having any Evil characters or even more Neutrals than Tasslehoff, is also heavily penalized by some things like the Last Guardian, and even some traps and items, that will just completely gently caress over non-good or in some cases even non-Lawful Good characters.

It can be done, obviously, but it requires extra work from the GM, and frankly I don't believe the module chain is beatable without heavy reworking of all encounters and character power levels or the main characters' Obscure Death rule.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



So what was Evil about Raistlin Kill-The-Gods-And-Topple-Their-Thrones?

Gun Jam
Apr 11, 2015


The Lone Badger posted:

So what was Evil about Raistlin Kill-The-Gods-And-Topple-Their-Thrones?

The taking their place part? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss?

Aoi
Sep 12, 2017

Perpetually a Pain.


The Lone Badger posted:

So what was Evil about Raistlin Kill-The-Gods-And-Topple-Their-Thrones?

I mean, it always seemed like kind of a bunch of bullshit that just killing these jerks meant the world got irrevocably hosed up in completely unrelated ways. It's not like the jerks had done dick all for...HOW many years since the Cataclysm, aside from Takhisis, who was actually ACTIVELY being a jerk and making the world a better place? The fact that Golddus-, I mean, Raistlin, didn't give a crap about the average person on Krynn put him at no worse a place than any of the old jerks, and it wasn't like he was actively blasting apart the world fighting them, it was just 'old gods die, world measurably gets worse, not because they aren't there to do their jobs, but like if when Lincoln was shot Nebraska blew up', and what you have there? A bad setting.

DAD LOST MY IPOD
Feb 3, 2012

Fats Dominar is on the case




in a lot of settings, including the one we all live in, “gently caress the way things are” is depicted as an inherently evil belief— either because the creator of the alignment system deliberately set up the way things are and likes it that way, or (in more naturalistic full-simulationist settings like Earth) because the people in power, whose views dictate policy, like a system that keeps them in power.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Libertad! posted:

I will admit that if I ever became a player in a Dragonlance campaign for a change I'd totally love to play a tinker gnome with some crazy-rear end steampunk technology. Ideally if it can be a mech suit or "power glove/gauntlet" to let me punch things real hard despite my small size. Even if it the system we're using doesn't support that concept, I will try reflavoring some magical class if I can.

Way, way back when, TSR put out a small handful of Fighting Fantasy-style gamebooks, softcovers about the size and thickness of the 2E Player's Handbook. The one I have is setting agnostic, but there was one where you piloted a Tinker Gnome battlesuit against draconians and poo poo. So, canonically possible, I think!

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


DAD LOST MY IPOD posted:

in a lot of settings, including the one we all live in, “gently caress the way things are” is depicted as an inherently evil belief— either because the creator of the alignment system deliberately set up the way things are and likes it that way, or (in more naturalistic full-simulationist settings like Earth) because the people in power, whose views dictate policy, like a system that keeps them in power.

It must depend a lot on what settings you're reading, I feel like most of the ones I'm familiar with, change is from the ground up something the setting expects or encourages:

Birthright and Dark Sun come with a lot of baked-in injustices and regions full of awful poo poo that the players are encouraged to take a hand in dealing with, entire nations are set up as potential places for the players to overthrow and replace with their own systems and governments.

In Planescape it's assumed you won't be able to change the overarching status quo, that you'll be focusing on more local differences, but ultimately that game comes with the assumption that at least half of all characters will subscribe to a philosophy of: "I/the world around me/the city around me/the society around me are not okay and need changing" without any evil alignment hooks, and in general the factions described as most heartless are the ones with their fangs deep into the jugular vein of the status quo(Harmonium/Guvners/Fated), feeding off it.

Eclipse Phase, for all its flaws, is very heavy on declaring that most of Sol's major governments are doing unsustainable or downright evil poo poo, and that they need to be opposed and/or overthrown for any sort of justice or equality to reach most of the inner system. It probably won't be within the reach of the player characters, but the narration would very clearly be cheering for them if they did it.

Godbound has crises in every state and explicitly presents the world as broken and in need of becoming better(or at last more under your ownership), the status quo is actively a lovely hellbad place to be, and you should go out there and change it.

I think the reason that "gently caress the way things are" is usually depicted as the "evil" approach is that the simplest plot to write is the one wherein someone wants to replace "the way things are" with "I'm in charge now" or "everything is exploded now," and being huge dickheads in the process of accomplishing this. It makes it easy to explain why the party is opposing it and there's no real philosophical debate about whether we should prevent ourselves being exploded(and in the case of interactive media like games, less needing to account for plot branches because what are the odds that the party will want to join the side who rewards them with getting blasted to giblets?), because it's not something we want. Less praise of the status quo, more just the low-hanging fruit in terms of writing.

EDIT: Of course, it depends on how deep your change goes. Trying to change cosmological constants is generally presented as a bad idea that would turn everyone into flan if hosed with.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



PurpleXVI posted:

Yeah, part of the problem with making your own characters for the 1E version of the DL modules, though, is that at least part of the canon party(like Goldmoon) must still be around as NPC's, quickly leading to party bloat, and that so much stuff assumes the presence of the canonical characters. Deviating too much, like having any Evil characters or even more Neutrals than Tasslehoff, is also heavily penalized by some things like the Last Guardian, and even some traps and items, that will just completely gently caress over non-good or in some cases even non-Lawful Good characters.

It can be done, obviously, but it requires extra work from the GM, and frankly I don't believe the module chain is beatable without heavy reworking of all encounters and character power levels or the main characters' Obscure Death rule.

I have to say that's simply not true. When I ran the modules for my group, I didn't use any of the canon Heroes of the Lance (Goldmoon was replaced by a PC cleric, for instance). I did use some of the plot-important NPCs, such as Elistan and Theros, but they mostly went off and did their own things instead of following the party around. I did have to adjust some encounters since my group was smaller than the canon Heroes, but it wasn't anything like a massive rewrite job. Honestly, AD&D is not really that mechanically rigorous.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Selachian posted:

I have to say that's simply not true. When I ran the modules for my group, I didn't use any of the canon Heroes of the Lance (Goldmoon was replaced by a PC cleric, for instance). I did use some of the plot-important NPCs, such as Elistan and Theros, but they mostly went off and did their own things instead of following the party around. I did have to adjust some encounters since my group was smaller than the canon Heroes, but it wasn't anything like a massive rewrite job. Honestly, AD&D is not really that mechanically rigorous.

Well, I mean as a GM you can technically do anything that you want and ignore anything, but the modules mandate the presence of some of the canon party PC's as NPC's, so if we're staying reasonably faithful to them, you can't do that. :v:

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



PurpleXVI posted:

Well, I mean as a GM you can technically do anything that you want and ignore anything, but the modules mandate the presence of some of the canon party PC's as NPC's, so if we're staying reasonably faithful to them, you can't do that. :v:

It's been a long time since I read them, but as I recall there's like one bit in the foreword that says "You MUST have the Heroes of the Lance along," but I don't remember anything in the modules that actually requires the presence of the Heroes. You do need a cleric for the whole business with the Disks of Mishakal, but there's nothing that says it has to be Goldmoon -- and frankly, after Pax Tharkas, Goldmoon becomes irrelevant anyway because Elistan takes over as Chief Prophet and Evangelist. (Presumably following the rule that every church must be headed by a beardy old guy.) A lot of the character bits -- such as the tension between Tanis, Gilthanas, and Laurana, or Sturm and the Solamnic Mustache Boys -- are barely mentioned in the modules; they're left for the players to roleplay out.

Everyone
Sep 6, 2019


EimiYoshikawa posted:

I mean, it always seemed like kind of a bunch of bullshit that just killing these jerks meant the world got irrevocably hosed up in completely unrelated ways. It's not like the jerks had done dick all for...HOW many years since the Cataclysm, aside from Takhisis, who was actually ACTIVELY being a jerk and making the world a better place? The fact that Golddus-, I mean, Raistlin, didn't give a crap about the average person on Krynn put him at no worse a place than any of the old jerks, and it wasn't like he was actively blasting apart the world fighting them, it was just 'old gods die, world measurably gets worse, not because they aren't there to do their jobs, but like if when Lincoln was shot Nebraska blew up', and what you have there? A bad setting.

I guess it really depends on what you mean by "doing their jobs." If that's just collecting worshipers and bribing them with spells, the post-Cataclysm/pre-Goldmoon era indicates that life sucked a bit but it went on. If instead doing their jobs means maintaining some aspect of reality, then their deaths mean that certain aspects of reality cease to be maintained. Like Mishakal is the goddess of healing. Raistlin kills her. Over time living beings lose the ability to get better from wounds, recover from disease, etc.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


Wait, so nobody ever took these module-making GBS threads dickheads to the task? No antagonistic interview or a half-mythic con story? How come? Were the ADnD players used to "modules are poo poo, you have to rewrite near drat everything?" Did the idea of better things not exist back then?

Or is the review missing some One Mechanical Trick that makes the endless railroad encounters and dragon TPKs not that bad?

Note that I said "mechanical," so no waving it away with "having a game with the lads" :V

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


JcDent posted:

Or is the review missing some One Mechanical Trick that makes the endless railroad encounters and dragon TPKs not that bad?

Well if you play the canonical party you're immortal unless the text specifically says you die for straying off the path! :v:

But yes, it's kind of weird that hating on Dragonlance seems to have mostly come years after the setting faded from the public eye. I think part of it is that back in the heyday of Dragonlance, a lot of us were actually kind of "OH MAN, HOW COOL" because we got to play as the heroes of a series of books that seemed awesome when we were, like, 14, and stupid(as opposed to now when we're in our 30's and stupid), and it's only now, on being reminded that this bad series exists, that we're realizing how bad it actually was.

Plus I imagine that a lot of GM's read ahead and didn't just plow through the modules as-intended. I think most of them probably fudged some random encounter rolls so it wasn't all level drainers, or reduced the number of dragon strafing runs, etc.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


I think the novelty of 'actually you are the main characters' probably did a lot of heavy lifting for it.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



Night10194 posted:

I think the novelty of 'actually you are the main characters' probably did a lot of heavy lifting for it.

It did. I've mentioned it before, but if you compare Dragonlance to the other modules being published in the 80s, it absolutely was something new, exciting, and different. Yeah, it looks lovely now when we're looking back at it with 30 years of improved adventure paths and RPGs in general to draw on, but hey, drivers back in the 1920s thought their Ford Model Ts were awesome too.

As for rewriting, well, modules were written by Professional Writers who obviously knew the game better than you, teenage DM, or they wouldn't be Professional Writers.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


I think TPKs and "endless dorfs until you're back on the railroad" must have been iffy even back then :D

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

WELL THAT JUST HAPPENED!

I also think that some parts are so ludicrous that DMs just edited them out mentally and never thought of them as part of the module even if they technically were (the random encounter schedule in particular-I suspect a lot of groups just moved the story along and forgot they were a part of the adventure to begin with).

Flail Snail
Jul 30, 2019

Collector of the Obscure

JcDent posted:

I think TPKs and "endless dorfs until you're back on the railroad" must have been iffy even back then :D

I purchased an adventure produced in the year two thousand and nineteen that contains this.

It definitely makes adventure design dead simple - just provide the GM with a clue-bat with which they can beat the players about the head until they behave.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


Flail Snail posted:

I purchased an adventure produced in the year two thousand and nineteen that contains this.

It definitely makes adventure design dead simple - just provide the GM with a clue-bat with which they can beat the players about the head until they behave.

Due tell.

Though I think DnD deserves less slack cutting as it was the biggest kid in town at the moment.

Flail Snail
Jul 30, 2019

Collector of the Obscure

There isn't much to tell - the adventure is an insanely straight-forward choo choo. It starts off with you either becoming escaped slaves or hanging out doing slave stuff until endless hoards of beastmen attack, forcing you to become escaped slaves. You do a puzzle but if you take too long zombies spring forth and you fight them which apparently solves the puzzle. And any time the main bad guy (who is one of the PCs) dies, another PC automatically picks up his macguffin and becomes the new bad guy. No matter what, you reach the ending. If any PCs remain, they've definitely been corrupted by the influence of the macguffin and must assist the bad guy. You either defeat the good guy at the end and bring about the endless winter, or the good guy defeats you, touches the macguffin, becomes the bad guy, and then brings about the endless winter. If there's a TPK at some point, some random NPC touches the macguffin and brings about the endless winter.

I don't think I could make that interesting enough for a F&F. But it's "Slaves to Fate", if you're interested. Definitely a prescient name, if ever there was one.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.



Vampire: The Masquerade (2nd Edition)

Preface
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Setting
Interlude: A History of Face Grabbing
Chapter 3: Storytelling
Chapter 4: Rules
Chapter 5: Character
Chapter 6: Traits
Chapter 7, Part 1: Clans
Chapter 7, Part 2: Traits
Chapter 7, Part 3: Disciplines
Chapter 8, Part 1: Dramatic Systems
Chapter 8, Part 2: Dramatic Systems
Chapter 9: Drama
Appendix, Part 1
Appendix, Part 2: Forged in Steel


quote:

Most of you are afraid of our neighborhood.
But did you know? So are we.
But we are here, you see,
Not because we want to be.

--True Sounds of Liberty, “The Haunted Palace”

Vampire: The Masquerade wraps up with an intro scenario for the “Forged in Steel” chronicle. It’s meant to be the first session for the PCs, after any “Becoming” one-on-one sessions from character creation. “Baptism by Fire” is designed to instantly put the PCs at the center of the city’s intrigues. It’s flexible and gives them several options, both individually and as a group.

The scenario is set at a party, and it’s designed so that it can be run as a LARP, including suggestions for managing NPCs and a few stage directions. That strikes me as a bad idea for a first session. My other criticism of the scenario is the way various intrigues tend to split the party up. Other than that, it makes for a low-stress session that allows both the Storyteller and the players to get into character. There are only a handful of key events, and the rest of the time is spent meeting the other vampires of Gary and getting a feel for its politics.

Setting

Modius has decided to revive a tradition he maintained in his salad days: hosting a New Year’s Eve party which all the Kindred in Gary are expected to attend. The party is held in Modius’ large mansion, where the decline of Gary and its Prince is on full display. The antique furnishings are almost too rotten and moth-eaten to sit on, and the roof is so leaky that the characters walk past buckets on their way to the hors d’oeuvres they can’t eat. If asked, Modius’ response suggests that he’s too paranoid to even allow a contractor into the house. The proceedings are guarded by four flannel-clad union stewards, all thoroughly Dominated by Modius.



Sergio

Events

The Hunt: Before the scenario formally begins, you may want to run individual scenes where the PCs hunt for blood. It may be their first time doing so without any handholding from their sire! It’s recommended that you not spend too much time on this, but if you like starting in media res with an action scene, a botched hunt is an opportunity to do so.

The Entrance: When you arrive, Modius will greet you, dressed in an old-fashioned tailcoat. As always, Modius behaves with unctuous courtesy. He may reference details from the first time he met each of you, during your formal introduction to the Prince.

Danov: Alexander Danov is standing in the dance floor, staring at the wall. At the slightest prompting, he will converse with you on lofty moral and political topics like the Traditions, the anarchs, diablerie, and Golconda. He will also make cryptic comments like “Don’t let yourself get sucked in,” which he will not explain. Danov is the extremely rare vampire who is intensely interested in learning about the characters without having any ulterior motive, and may seem like a lunatic because of it. If you’re interested in pursuing Golconda, Danov is a gift-wrapped opportunity.

Lucian: The ancient Gangrel is sitting alone and staring off into space. (I think this scenario wants to drive home the point that old vampires are loving weird.) He will answer your questions, but curtly, and pretend to be angered if the questions are personal. With a little effort, he will warm up and gladly tell stories about his very long life. He likes to talk about fighting for Julius Caesar.

However, Lucian is fickle. If he dislikes you, he will play a little prank on you by taking you aside and filling your head with vague talk of conspiracies and hidden threats. He’ll even accuse Danov of being a spy and Modius of being a diablerist.

The Trap: Modius will approach each of you individually to ask where you make your haven. He claims that this is for ease of communication in times of crisis, but it’s a shallow power play. As always, he speaks with mincing courtesy, but throws tantrums and holds grudges if refused. If you lie, you’ll get away with it for now.

loving Up: If you do something stupid that breaks the Masquerade, like displaying your Disciplines, Modius will fly into a rage. He’ll demand that you drink some of his blood as punishment, bringing you one step toward being enslaved to a sad old queen. NPCs won’t intervene--Modius is a joke, which means he leaves them alone most of the time, which means a status quo they can live with.

The Seduction: Allicia will make a play for one of the male PCs, “usually the eldest or most sensitive-looking.” First, she’ll do that thing where she lingers at the edge of your perception and you’re certain she’s looking at you, but turn away if you look back. (This isn’t a supernatural power, everyone in the goth scene just knows how to flirt like this.) Later, she will try to you upstairs to her bedroom, touch you all over, and pantomime a desire to share blood, which is how vampires have sex.

Remember, Allicia is mute. I don’t know how to wordlessly proposition someone for sex and blood-drinking; it’s something that really has to be negotiated in detail. It’s problematic.

Allicia’s desire is sincere; she’s desperately lonely and pretty much gagging for it. But this is all a plot by Modius to establish Blood Bonds on young Kindred. He’ll even try to catch you in the act and pretend to be scandalized to drive the characters closer together. This is meant to be the start of a long-running romantic subplot that will probably end in tragedy.

Midnight Toast: As midnight approaches, Modius will gather everyone for a champagne toast, and complain about Juggler’s absence. He will announce that one of Gary’s steel mills is reopening, and prophesy a glorious future for Gary and the union movement.

Soon after, Juggler crashes the party with a gaggle of drunk mortals. He takes the classical music CD out of Modius’ Bose stereo and puts on some Black Flag or Butthole Surfers, and his followers descend on “any available females” and starts dancing with them.

Modius will--can you guess? He’ll fly into a rage, and demand that the mortals be killed for this not-quite-breach of the Masquerade. (His anger is really born of his paranoia about his haven.) It’s up to cooler heads, i.e. the PCs, to intervene and suggest an alternative. Juggler doesn’t give a poo poo either way, knowing that Modius can’t punish him. Juggler treats the PCs like dirt, calling them “the little slaves” of a “windbag, senile, has-been” Prince. Everything he says is really directed toward Modius.

Evelyn’s Presentation: Juggler has also brought Evelyn, who will introduce herself to the PCs. She’s vivacious, outgoing, and naive, to the point that she’ll admit Juggler is her sire. In a few minutes, Juggler himself will introduce her to Modius and announce that she is his childe. Juggler will, again, fly into a rage that goes on for several minutes and is full of empty threats, before coming to an abrupt halt and letting it go.



She’s always depended on the kindness of strangers.


Annabelle: Late into the party, a beautiful woman arrives in a white limousine. She and Modius greet one another like old friends, and Juggler slinks out as quietly as possible. This is Annabelle, the Toreador justicar. So one of the most powerful Kindred in the world, as far as you know, and kind of a big deal.

Annabelle takes Modius aside for a private meeting in his office. If you hang around, you can hear a lot of shouting. They emerge with Modius still shouting and Annabelle trying to calm him down. It becomes clear that Annabelle has brought Modius a list of demands from Lodin, the Prince of Chicago. It’s equally clear that she delivered the letter personally because she anticipated his reaction.

Modius expects “the neonates among us” to go to Chicago and deliver his response to Lodin. If you refuse he’ll threaten, cajole, bribe, or do whatever it takes to get you to agree--he has no one else. He adds that you will probably have to formally Present yourself to Lodin as if you were new Kindred. Lodin, that fool, thinks he’s the real Prince around here!

Modius offers you two letters, one containing his response and another acting as a safe conduct. If opened, the response contains only meaningless platitudes and excuses. The safe conduct is worthless, and Modius knows it. The only guidance you’ll get is from Lucian, who advises you to look up an old friend of his at the Succubus Club. Modius overhears this and insists that the Succubus Club is a wretched hive of scum and villainy, but it’s your only lead.

And that’s the scenario. A lot of chances to meet people, some tension, some action, some vampire sex, maybe you kill some drunk people, and then you get a quest.


Next time on Kindred the Embraced: Nostalgia is not a harmless vice.

Covok
May 27, 2013

Yet where is that woman now? Tell me, in what heave does she reside? None of them. Because no God bothered to listen or care. If that is what you think it means to be a God, then you and all your teachings are welcome to do as that poor women did. And vanish from these realms forever.


RE: Song of Ice & Fire, do the campaign rules have systems to support dropping 90% of the plot points and having everyone be wildly out of character in the last 2 sessions?

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Flail Snail
Jul 30, 2019

Collector of the Obscure

Covok posted:

RE: Song of Ice & Fire, do the campaign rules have systems to support dropping 90% of the plot points and having everyone be wildly out of character in the last 2 sessions?

You mean the inevitable end of most campaigns regardless of system?

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