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07 June 2005 @ 01:53 pm
 
Saturday was the last session of the Magian D&D game for the foreseeable future. I want to do Mikado in the fall and won't be doing much gaming during meranthi's maternity leave. It isn't really fare to anyone to come back for a month or two until Mikado goes into full swing and there is no time for gaming at all, so I tried to gracefully remove myself from the proceedings.

Unfortunately, the GM wanted to know if we had any questions (though most of us didn't want to know the plot - we're expecting to come back to it eventually) or comments. This was a chance to put into words to the PTB what I had been struggling with for over 2 years. Many of these were items I really should have brought up earlier, but it is hard when you are good friends with people to be too critical. You don't want people taking things the wrong way and getting upset. That said, I got the catalog of errors off of my chest. Here was my wrap up.

Here were the different comments I made about the game:

  1. There was both too much travel time and simultaneously either not enough happening on the road or not enough hand waving of the time. You can cover a month of travel with one encounter and just saying that the days are passing uneventfully. It isn't too hard, but it sometimes just needs to happen, especially in a game when people are never in the same place for very long.

  2. The skill system, while much better in 3.0/3.5 than in AD&D, has a tendency to be problematic. It is too easy for a group of people to make characters with too much overlap, and even easier for people to assume the related skills and then RP skills that they don't have. It is the fine line between the skills being a crutch for role playing and being an aid. This mostly showed up in B's character not having any tactical skills, but even after talking to her about it before she still rp'ed skill that she didn't have. I ended up telling her that there were times when I couldn't get a word in edgewise, but I am still not sure it sunk in.

  3. Humans were second class citizens, but we were never really treated this way. I know that the GM was trying to make the game more a shade of grey than black and white (aka, not all of the Ogre Magi are evil), but at least in the larger cities I would expect that humans had separate entrances, had to sit in the back, couldn't buy magical items, etc. We were insulted a couple of times, but we weren't really treated badly on the whole. Too much white mixed in the black.

  4. Magic items. Ignoring the issue of item hogs, almost everyone seemed to have a mixed impression of how many magic items we actually have individually/as a group, etc. When jiggliusceasar did his list and toted up the value, he came out just ahead of the base for his level. We're probably all fairly close to that, but it's hard to judge. That doesn't really stop us from thinking that B is an item hog most of the time.

  5. I don't think I really like class-based systems that much, but I love to play clerics and druids (go fig). I think there is a tendency for overlap and the systems themselves aren't really designed to reward roleplaying. Some GMs seem to rectify that by giving out awards specifically for roleplaying, but it doesn't really seem to be as well thought out or as consistent as in games where roleplaying takes on a higher level of importance.


Maybe this all means that I just shouldn't be playing D&D. I had a lot more things in here earlier (some of which I remembered), but I lost the post.

Of course, I really shouldn't make any of these complaints without running another game. However, the last three games I ran (granted, they were years ago) were complete bombs. :P I know that running something else isn't really a great idea right now.
 
 
 
the name of dogenochs_fable on June 7th, 2005 06:02 pm (UTC)
As a GM, I'd always rather hear criticism sooner rather than later, just to have a chance to correct it.

Did others agree with 2 & 4? Did you feel there was favoritism (unconsciously or not) on the part of the GM?

Speaking of game, you and I need to finish some magic/item writeup stuff! drop me a note when you get a chance.

Jigglius Caesarjiggliusceasar on June 7th, 2005 06:35 pm (UTC)
I demand Adventures in Changeling-sitting!

As another player who is slightly more gruntled, I can say:

1. I agree with this. Travel time is not bad in and of itself; taking time to deal with it when there are no encounters is. Either give us conflicts or don't talk about it at all. D was getting better about this in the last month or so, though.

2. M's and my character handled the overlap the only reasonable way: try to out-diplome each other! I don't think the system causes this problem, although there are some things that could be improved therein. B was just not being sensible about handling the skill "overlap".

3. My character came in later than this and was from elsewhere and was from a race actively at war with the Ogre Magi, so I can't really comment.

4. About 30% of my character's wealth was a single item that B's character was also going to take, except that I needed it desperately when we found it. She tried to relieve me of it as soon as (i.e. within 5 second of) not needing it any more. Without it, I'm more than a level behind gear-wise. As far as I know, no one else has done this calculation yet; I'd be curious to see what everyone comes up with.

5. I think Blue Rose has the right of this: give everyone a level when you feel they deserve it. Sweet20 is a concept that seems interesting and can reward both roleplaying and making foes die. On the other hand, D was just generally too stingy with XP for a game with leveling, and fixing that might clear up the whole problem. On the other other hand, you can always play a cleric or druid (by another name if necessary) in just about any system.
the name of dogenochs_fable on June 7th, 2005 06:38 pm (UTC)
well, she's becoming more clericky all the time in my game. Except for pissing off the angels :)
Qarylla Windragarqarylla on June 7th, 2005 08:00 pm (UTC)
Some people just seem more open to criticism than others. That's just the way it goes.

I am not really sure if other people in the game felt that way about the skill overlaps. I just know that when I was playing Razza, B cried in a session because of the overlap between a monk and a thief in the sneaking around skills. I was obviously getting frustrated at my inability to contribute to at least half the level (in the skill) written on my character sheet. Que sera sera.

As for the magic items, I haven't done the math yet, but I was given the total to spend when I created my character and started off with magic armor, magic weapon, and a couple of other things, but I don't feel like I really increased. I don't think that the GM went out of the way to give B more stuff. If no one was actively interested in an item, she grabbed it up. She, at last count, had 4 magical weapons (two of which had versions of blessed on them raising their value). Her argument is that none of her weapons gave her an extra die to roll. But the value of her blessed Great Axe I believe is the same as my character's guisarme with shock (I wrote it as shocking burst the first time, but it is only the d6). There are just a lot of items and I don't think anyone has done the math.
Jigglius Caesarjiggliusceasar on June 7th, 2005 08:28 pm (UTC)
A quick run through </a></b></a>thastygliax's character sheet indicates that his character has about as much wealth as mine, despite being a level higher. Obviously, I don't have access to B's or M's characters, but I suspect he's the one getting screwed the most.
thastygliax on June 7th, 2005 08:15 pm (UTC)
1. Gods know I have pacing issues when GMing, too, but even with occasional comments to D, that side of things didn't improve much until the last few sessions. And by then, he knew I was dropping out for good very soon. :-P

2. There have been other overlap issues with B's character, that should have been resolved more promptly, so they're not all her fault. But B is a bit of a spotlight hog, and keeps complaining about being second-best at everything. She also has a tendency to make characters that don't play well with others--they do their own thing, and don't seem to care much about what others want to do. (Her char in enochs_fable's game seems to be the noteworthy exception. Be thankful!)

B and D should also have discussed parts of her character concept more thoroughly before she ever started playing it. She tried to build a nonmagical gadgeteer in a highly magical setting (where constructs only work through magic), and in a campaign that would involve a lot of travel (thus limited crafting time). The biggest argument I've ever seen B&D have was when they finally realized, in the middle of a session after over a year of play, they they weren't on same page here--not even the same book!

3. Nothing much to add here.

4. I haven't done the math yet (too busy trying to level and tidy up Casimir's sheet before he's retired), but I'm sure I have more than the DMG says I should have. Casimir's been around since the beginning, so has acquired a few more things from characters that dropped out. But he's willing to share.

5. I've been getting rather burnt out on certain aspects of d20, mainly the limits of the class system, and the non-intuitive nature of the whole magic system. D's game has contributed to that, because it took so long to get anywhere, and because I haven't really done anything but d20 for the past couple years. One reason I told D I wasn't making any promises about returning after the new baby arrives is because I need to play other systems for a while. I don't want to burn out completely on d20, because Freeport gave me an in with Green Ronin. So outside of those projects, I'll be trying to get back into GURPS and BESM, and maybe try some new systems.
Jigglius Caesarjiggliusceasar on June 8th, 2005 10:31 am (UTC)
Having done the math.

Here are how Arianwyn's items (not including borrowed shtuff) stands:
2 half wands (one I created and one found): 12750
Ring of protection +1: 2000
Called armor: 5650
Guisarme, shock: 8309
Heavy Mace, blindness: 8312
Periapt of Wisdom: 4000
Scrolls: 1700
Potions: 600
Total: 43321 (under the 49000 for 10th level)

B's items that we remember:
Falchion +1: 2305 (5 gp as general estimate for weapon costs)
Great Axe, blessed: 8305
Halberd, air?: 8305
Ioun stone, strength: 8000
Chameleon skin, +15: 22500
Eyes of the Eagle: 2500
Potions: 600
Ring of Protection +3: 18000
Horn (of hearing?): minium of 5400 for command word 1/day to 30000 to use/unlimited.

Total: 75915 to 100,515 for gp of items.
(I also think she has another +1 weapon.)

Galar (jigglius' character) is at about 50400.

I think the numbers speak for themselves.
Jigglius Caesar: saru-chanjiggliusceasar on June 8th, 2005 10:36 am (UTC)
That was qarylla accidentally posting from my account, but I agree. Also, this doesn't count B's portable forge (which has to have cost a pretty copper) as well as two constructs that look to her (who despite being more trouble than they're worth, would fetch quite a price).
Jigglius Caesar: the princejiggliusceasar on June 8th, 2005 12:28 pm (UTC)
I just checked the psionics SRD and the skin of the chameleon is only 18,000 gp. So revise B's estimate to 71,415-96,015 gp.
Eeeekameranthi on June 8th, 2005 01:52 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure the Horn is unlimited, but I could be wrong. We got it identified when we picked it up, but we were about 4th level then.

And regardless, she is WAY over on magic items, especially if you count the constructs.
thastygliax on June 8th, 2005 05:14 pm (UTC)
OK, I've done the math, but I won't bother inventorying all Casimir's stuff here. At 11th level, he should have 66,000 gp gear. He currently has 63,885, not counting any low-cost (<100) mundane gear or cash/gems, which should easily bump him up to that 66,000 mark. (I'm pretty sure he was a bit over for most of 9th & 10th level--36K & 49K, respectively. He acquired some new items since reaching 10th, but not quite 17K.)

Add 5,500 to Arianwen for boots of striding and springing, which Casimir will insist she needs more than he does. (OOC, they aren't included in his 63,885, and will put her closer to where she should be.)
Jigglius Caesar: the princejiggliusceasar on June 8th, 2005 08:00 pm (UTC)
Add 5,500 to Arianwen for boots of striding and springing, which Casimir will insist she needs more than he does.

Having at least the three of us where we belong does not negate the unfairness that is B's inventory.
thastygliax on June 8th, 2005 09:31 pm (UTC)
Yes, yes, I know. Just providing a data point...

And I will now stop worrying about this whole issue, because, except for the remote chance that D will want to do something Saturday, I'm no longer in this game.
Eeeekameranthi on June 8th, 2005 08:41 pm (UTC)
The issue is not that Arianwyn is now (with this gift) at approximately the right level. The issue is that B has nearly twice what she should have for 10th level, much less 9th. (Though, since she just died, that's less of a problem.)
The Darkermindways on June 8th, 2005 12:11 am (UTC)
As a GM, I'd always rather hear criticism sooner rather than later, just to have a chance to correct it.

Wholeheartedly agreed!

(I can't speak to anything else in this thread, having not been involved in the game, but that's something I take as very important...)