The disoriented ranger oh dm tools, where art thou gas 91 octane

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Even if you disregard the impact those two little rules have on the game itself (completely changing combat dynamics and even exploration tactics, for instance), it should be obvious that not every DM is aware of those dimensions of the game, especially those new to DMing. (I blame video games to some extent for that, but that’s material for another post …)

I love everything about the core mechanics. They are light and fast and fit the atmosphere and style of the game (using cards in a steampunk setting is a no-brainer, imo). The rules for magic are some of the best out there and the dueling rules are great fun. electricity sources uk What the rules lack, however, is support rules for the DM and that is really bumming me out right now. It honestly takes the fun out of DMing, because it gives a DM nothing to play with.

Okay, Castle Falkenstein is a couple of years old and was exploring new ground back then and all that. Agreed. But shouldn’t we know better by now? I’ve been reading this more and more lately: the DMs are players as well, they are just playing a different game. My argument in this is, that the rules for that (part of the) game need to be part of the rules and those rules are just as important as those for the players. Leaving them out of a game reduces a DM to playing referee of an advanced game of cops and robbers.

DM tools inform and form a game. gas in dogs symptoms They expand a DMs narrative range by challenging the necessarily narrow perception or scope a DM could muster of the stage the game is manifesting on. It helps a DM explore the gaming world by experiencing it with a designer’s eyes through the mechanics the game offers. That’s crucial for new DMs and for those willing to actually play a fully realized game instead of just bringing their own notion of how every game has to be played.

I know, I know, most "experienced" DMs out there are able to play/DM any game out there because of the games they already have played. They bring their own tools, so to say, and wing it. Considering the above, they are not wrong in doing so, because lots of games lack that kind of support and need you to bring something extra. However, they are missing out when ignoring those games that offer DM tools specifically designed for the game they are in.

I’m basically forced to either come up with my own rules to use at the table or arbitrarily deciding what I think the game needs in any given moment. If I wanted to do the latter, I’d be better off writing a novel, as the amount of preparation needed to do it properly does not justify the time we play the game (although it’s an interesting exercise, no doubt, but I just don’t have the time). So I have to write my own rules for it. c gastronomie vitam Which sucks as well, for some of the same reasons (time, research, etc.) and one more:

The main crux of the problem is that writing those rules is hard to begin with, doing so for a specific game is where the real challenge lies. You need to know the scope and impact on the core rules in all phases of the game, and the transition needs to work from one system to the other. The results need to match or at least conversion needs to be simple and fast (ideally). Easy example for this? Mass combat.

It’s an art to write a set of rules for a completely different play-style in a way that seamlessly translates to the player-side of the core rules. electricity for beginners The thousands and thousands of soldiers of an army just can’t all have stats and levels and items as the players do. Maybe some of them do (important NPCs and whatnot), but never to the level of detail or depth the players do.

This is a well known problem, of course. Let a group of high level adventurers (players) meet another group of high level adventurers (NPC) and you will see some of the problems. Or a high level wizard. What spells does he have memorized? Did he use any of them already? The easy way out is to just create the NPC somewhat like the player character and use the player-side core rules to play him. But is that satisfying? Are there any better solutions to that? And what about mass combat? Or colossal creatures?

It’s hard to write those rules. gas zauberberg 1 I know, because that’s what I’m facing right now for Lost Songs of the Nibelungs (and for Castle Falkenstein, as if I had needed that kind of additional workload). Way harder than writing a core resolution system for the player side. Still necessary, though, and games that don’t offer those rules shouldn’t be considered "complete", imo.

Fully realized games offer DM tools that either address those problems for the DM or offer examples how to DIY problems when they arise in a campaign. I know it can be done. I argue it should be done. I close in saying that there should be a discussion about games that don’t offer DM tools and the impact it has on a game or the implications it has for the DM. electricity prices over time For one, it is actually unfair to leave DMs out there unsupported … It’d be a start to at least educate new DMs in a way that they know what is needed and what to look for.

Just a couple of observations after the fact: modules and adventures are a good way to introduce even more specific rules to games. I think seeing it this way on the one hand shows how much role playing games actually rely on DM Tools to work, and on the other that the level of resolution (or detail) can vary a huge deal beyond what a game should offer (not that there are any norms about it).

I’d also like to explore that idea a little bit more that the DM has to do all the heavy lifting if the game doesn’t provide it and what that means. In CF it means that I have to be fluent in the setting and the Weird Wild West in general or at least well enough informed to make ad hoc decisions about anything random the players can come up with. That’s why the level of preparation doesn’t match the potential output: you have to know a lot to be able to use little parts of it at any given time (works for writing fiction, though, since you don’t have the players as random agents in the narrative, which means, nothing has to go to waste). Anyway, just a little bit more food for thought … electricity resistance questions Reply Delete

That’s a tall order 🙂 I think D&D pre-3e is a good way to start, especially the DMGs of AD&D 1e/2e and HackMaster 4e, but also the D&D RC (naturally). In a way they are experimenting with what a DM would need to run a proper campaign and you could argue that it is a discussion still going on (one of the reasons, imho, that the "OSR" was so popular in the beginning, all those years ago). There’s tons of blogs out there around the 2010s that explored a little further that way (mostly searching for tools to help DMs create proper content on the fly, which is partly what I’m talking about). Results of those experiments are games like Hulks & Horrors, Arcane Rising, Renegade (and Renegade – Corruption), Machinations of the Space Princess, Adventurer Conqueror King and Stars Without Number, to name but a few. I think Runequest did a rather decent job integrating culture into rules, indirectly helping the DM that way (2nd or 3rd edition, not sure which one they translated). Pendragon is another prime example for offering the DM some proper tools to facilitate a game … I hope that helps a bit? I’m sure there is more (maybe even better?) examples for games like that. Torchbearer might lean heavily in that direction, but I haven’t read it. I think a good way to find out if a game is wired that way is looking at its DM-section. gas oil ratio formula If there’s nothing, it’s probably a bad sign. Delete